Becoming Dr. Grey: Chapter 33—Family is Everything

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. If something that I say displeases you, please, just leave. If you don’t like this story or me, please don’t spoil this experience for everyone. Just go away. For the rest of you, the saga continues…

Chapter 33—Family is Everything

CHRISTIAN

“You’ve been able to rest your eye for about thirty-six hours, Mr. Grey,” the doctor says after putting more eye drops in my eye that sting like hell. “I know it’s been a bit uncomfortable, but it was very beneficial for you. Your vision may be a little blurry and you might be a bit sensitive to light. Your vision should clear up on no more than a day or so. Wear sunglasses for the light sensitivity. I’m going to prescribe these eye drops for you—one is a steroid and one will dilate your pupils. Use them as directed and come back in a week. You should be good as new.”

“Should he be concerned about dizziness and passing out again, Doctor?” Butterfly asks. The obstetrician on call has already released her since her blood pressure has stabilized, but has scheduled a nurse to check on her for a few days at the Crossing to make sure that she doesn’t have any complications. Butterfly was more cooperative than I expected to have a nurse checking up on her. I think she’s just happy to be going home. Dr. Culley saw her yesterday and has cautioned her about strenuous activity of any kind, including overenthusiastic sex. Butterfly is in her last trimester carrying twins with possible complications on the horizon and she is now on restriction. We don’t have to abstain completely, but it’s recommended that we don’t do anything extreme… like we normally do. I don’t even know how to proceed with those instructions.

“He took several blows to the head,” the doctor responds to Butterfly, bringing my thoughts back to the situation at hand… me.  “We’ve done a CT scan,” he says to me. “You’ve had a minor head injury, a tiny bit of swelling from your brain being rattled around in your head a bit, but seriously—nothing to be concerned about. I’ve seen this many times with fights or muggings. You can control the headaches with Tylenol or Motrin. If they become too severe or last more than a couple of days, you’re going to want to come back. Other than that, I’ve already processed your discharge and we’ll see you in a week.”

He gives me some of those horrible sunglasses that you wear after you’ve had cataracts removed. Oh, we will definitely be getting rid of these.

“Find me thum Raybanth,” I tell Jason as I examine the awful things. Butterfly giggles a bit and that makes me feel wonderful, so I put the horrible things on my face. They hurt over my swollen eye—not as swollen as it was before, but still swollen. I’ve had it under ice all day and if I strain, I can open it a little. The doctor advised that I don’t do that. Just let the swelling go down on its own with the ice, he says. I’ve already requested that Gail get some of that tea ready for me. I must have looked like shit because Butterfly says it didn’t do me any good that first day.

I’ve still avoided mirrors, even after they took the patch off my eye. I know that I’m a good-looking man, though I’ve never been particularly vain. I just don’t want to see it.

Miraculously, no one leaked to the press that we were hospitalized, so leaving Seattle Gen is fanfare-free. That makes me truly happy indeed. Being just released from the hospital, Butterfly missed her appointment with Ace. She calls to give him the heads up of what’s going on, promising to make her appointment next week, barring emergencies. We are greeted happily by security and staff when we arrive back at the Crossing. It’s already time for dinner and Butterfly indicates that she’s famished. That makes me happy, too. Gail “tsk’s” at me when she sees me and just shakes her head.

“Was it worth it?” she asks. I shrug.

“I don’t know,” I answer honestly. Butterfly throws a death glare at me. “Vuth it vurth how I feel ant my vife veink thick, no. Vuth it vurth veatink the hell outta that fucker ant never havink to thee him again? Yeth! Yeth, it vuth!”

“Okay, that’s enough talking for you,” Butterfly says slightly perturbed. “First of all, I’m having a hard time understanding you and second of all, I don’t like what I’m understanding.” Charles and Keri join us in the kitchen just as Butterfly finishes her sentence.

“Whoa!” Charles says as he wheels into the kitchen. His eyes are extremely wide and he stares at me in disbelief. “Fucking hell, man!” he exclaims. “I heard about it, but damn! I mean, damn!” Gail just shakes her head again and stirs something in a pot on the stove. I didn’t think she did anymore cooking since we have staff. I guess I was wrong. Charles wheels himself closer to me. “I hope the other guy looks worse.” I start typing into my phone and Jason’s phone buzzes.

’He doesn’t,’” Jason says, reading my text. Charles is stunned.

“You let him beat your ass?” he asks appalled. I type again.

’No, I won the fight. He just got more face shots. That was his M-O.’”

“I think who won is debatable,” Butterfly interjects. I look at her and frown questioning. “You both ended up having to go to the hospital. He just went immediately… and he didn’t have to stay.” I type again.

“’I won. Welch had to throw in his towel to keep me from pulverizing him. He was curled up in the ring like a goddamn baby.’”

“I so want to hear about this,” Butterfly says sarcastically. I decide that it’s time to drop this subject, but Charles adds one more thing.

“You need to talk to this guy, Ana. Somebody needs to set him straight. They could have killed each other,” he says.

“I already have,” she says. “I’ve told him that I never want to see him again and I’ve blocked him out of my phone. I told my father to let me know whenever he might be coming to Kirkland because if he’s there, I won’t be. He’s dead to me and I mean it. There’s absolutely nothing he can say to me after this ever again and I mean it.”

“What did he have to say to that?” Charles asks. Butterfly just shrugs.

“I don’t know. He tried to explain it or something, but I didn’t want to hear it. I said ‘fuck you’ or ‘go to hell’ or something just as colorful and blocked him out of my phone.” I’m typing and Butterfly’s phone buzzes with my message:

**When did this happen?**

“Night after last after I came to bed,” she says, impassively. “You were asleep. I was still awake.” She hands her phone to me. “He texted me. You can look at it.” I shake my head. I close my hand over her hand and her phone. Looking into her eyes, I try to relay that I would never snoop in her phone. I don’t have to. I trust her completely. I kiss her closed hand with my swollen lips and beg her to understand without me having to explain it with my lisp, because I sure as hell am not typing it out. She nods that she understands, but her face still shows displeasure as she drops her phone back into her pocket. I turn to the other people in the room and make obvious slicing motions with my hands.

“I think that’s the cue that this topic of conversation is over,” Jason says. I nod and put my arm around my wife. She leans into my chest and puts her arms around my waist. She looks weary. I guide her into the dining room and pull a seat out for her. She sits directly to my right where she always sits when I’m at the head of the table.

“I’m thorry,” I say, taking her tiny hands in mine. “I vuth thupit ant I thould’ve valked avay.” She shakes her head.

“Part of me understands,” she says. “It’s just… this whole thing was so ridiculous! I don’t want that man! I never will! I made that clear—I was not vague about it; I know I wasn’t. I just don’t understand the purpose of this exercise.” I have to type this one.

**Baby, there’s been wars and duels fought over women. You may feel that there was no purpose to it because you already made your decision, but he couldn’t hear you. I’m just an obstacle. If he kills me, he’ll never get near you, but if he can get past me, he may have a chance. That’s what he feels and that’s what this is about.**

She looks up at me and I gesture at my face. She drops her head.

“Why would he do this?” she says, fighting tears. “He’s a horrible man! I could never love someone like him.”

“You do love thumone like him,” I say slowly to control my lisp. She raises her eyes to me. “I vuld fighth him ant a huntret other men like him if they triet to take you avay from me. I vuld do muth more to them than he dit to me. I don’t exthuthe him, vut I do understant.”

She puts her finger over my lips and closes her eyes as a single tear falls down her face. She takes my face in her hands and gently presses her lips against mine. Her lips are so soft. I haven’t kissed her in two days and I just want to devour her—not a good idea right now with lips the size of Texas. She touches her forehead to mine.

“I love you, Christian,” she says, her voice thick with tears. “I’ll never leave you. I swear, I never will. Please don’t do this again. Fight like this to protect me. Fight like this to save me. Don’t fight like this to keep me. You have no fight with anyone to keep me. I belong to you. Only you. Do you understand?” I nod.

“I understant.” I would fight to the death for you, Butterfly, but I will remember that you belong to me and that some battles are already won and don’t need to be fought anymore. “You drive men crathy, you know that? That poor thucker can’t help himthelf.”

“Well, he just better get used to it,” she says. “I’m Mrs. Grey, and he better get over it. Now, stop talking. Gail!” A few moments later, Gail comes into the dining room. “My husband needs dinner and some of your teabags.”

“I’ve already got them ready. I’ll bring dinner right in.” She goes back to the kitchen and Jason, Charles, and Keri all come around the corner.

“Is the coast clear?” Jason says.

“Yes,” Butterfly answers. “But Mr. Grey is on mute for the rest of the night.”

Everyone takes a seat at the table while Gail serves creamy chicken soup with fresh milk bread—very soft. It’s utterly delicious and I’m only too happy that my bad decision doesn’t mean that I have to eat tasteless food until my lips heal. I can tell that they aren’t as bad as they were on day one because it’s not as hard for me to talk as it was before.

“I need to give you guys a head’s up,” Charles says over coffee after dinner. “I got a call from my brother today. He’s in town.” I look over at Jason, who raises an eyebrow at Charles.

“Is he?” Jason asks. “What brings him now and what took him so long?”

“He admits that he thought I was involved in a drunk driving incident,” Charles says. “I didn’t try to dispel it. Our relationship has been strained at best… horrendous at its worst.”

“So, again I ask, why now?”

“Apparently, one of my friends called him and told him that he was all wrong about me; that I had nothing to do with that accident and that I could have been killed while saving someone else’s life,” Charles reveals.

“That was weeks ago,” Jason says unmoved. “Is somebody sick, or was he just waiting for you to die?”

“I don’t know, man,” Charles responds. “He’s here and I’m not going to do to him what he did to me. I won’t shun him. I’ll hear him out.”

“You’re a better man than I am,” Jason says, sipping his coffee, “but let me know if you need me, okay?” Charles nods.

“Does he know about Keri?” Butterfly asks while sipping ginger tea, a new favorite of hers. Charles reaches over and takes Keri’s hand. She rewards him with a loving smile.

“He knows that I have a girlfriend, but we didn’t get into detail. He’s supposed to be coming by tomorrow afternoon. He’ll meet her then if he shows up.”

“I wotty that his spitit will not be gud foh Chatlez,” Keri says. “I’ve hehd nutting gud about dis man. Even de phone coll sound rotten!”

“What do you mean it sounded rotten?” Butterfly asks. Keri shakes her head.

“He ask too many questions,” she says, “not like ‘how ah you doing’ or ‘how have you been,’ moh lik he tryn to find infohmation—like he want sumting.”

“So, you think he has other motives,” Butterfly presses. Keri nods.

“I jes don tink he comin’ foh Chatlez. I tink him comin’ foh sumting else.” I pull out my phone and text Jason.

**Keep your eye on this asshole while he’s here, just to be safe.**

Jason looks at me and nods.

“I can tell you anything a background check would tell you and save you the money,” Chuck says matter-of-factly, noticing the exchange between me and Jason. Jason looks at me and I nod.

“He didn’t ask me for a background check, but he did ask me to keep an eye on Joseph while he’s here.” Charles does that side-to-side nodding thing.

“Fair enough,” he replies. He shakes his head. “I don’t want you guys to think I was being a stubborn asshole about the meds,” he says, running his fingers through his short hair. “You’re about to meet one of the biggest reasons that I was afraid to take them. Family loves you hard, but they hate you harder. I don’t ask for sympathy. I take responsibility for my actions—I did a long time ago, but I drank a lot and at a very young age. It numbed me at first, and then it made me say and do some pretty heartless shit.

“I showed up drunk at his wedding and ruined the whole thing. I had a girlfriend at the time who basically ran away screaming. I wrecked my parents’ car and almost killed myself and that doesn’t even scratch the surface of the things I did. It was so bad that I had to go to inpatient rehab and alcohol detox. When I tell you that I hit rock bottom, I mean I hit rock bottom. I haven’t even taken an aspirin since I’ve been out of rehab.

“I called several people to apologize for my actions as part of the twelve step program. My brother wouldn’t hear it. I went through the long, rehearsed, sincere apology, and he just said, ‘Okay,’ and hung up the phone in my ear. My parents wouldn’t even talk to me. When I got out of rehab, there was no one there to pick me up and no home to go to. I walked straight out of the rehab center right into the recruiting center.

“I wrote home in boot camp—to Joseph and to my parents. I wanted them to see that I was doing something with myself. Joseph never responded. The letters to my parents all came back. The one time that I went back home on leave, their house was empty and Joseph wouldn’t see me. I don’t know if my parents are dead or alive… and I’m afraid to check.”

“Why?” Butterfly asks. He raises glassy eyes to her.

“Because if they’re dead, then no one thought I should know, and that’s a horrible thing. If they’re alive, I’ve tried to reach out to them several times. I haven’t spoken to them in more than ten years; I don’t even know how to find them… and that’s even worse.” He drops his head and takes a deep breath. Keri gently rubs his back as he tries to fight the intense emotion that’s about to overwhelm him.

“So, I had to focus on myself and being a better man,” he begins again, his voice cracking. “I realized that my family didn’t want anything else to do with me, so except for putting my brother down as next of kin if I die, I walked away and didn’t look back. I have a few people that I consider ‘family’ just outside of Belleville. They let me spend holidays with them, but we don’t keep in touch much throughout the year because we’re all busy with our lives.” He sighs heavily.

“I need you guys to understand that I haven’t introduced any foreign substances into my body since I left rehab. I’m a lucky guy—I’m physically fit with an amazing immune system and a high pain threshold. Even though I’ve been through two tours of duty and I have a stressful and potentially dangerous job, this is the first time that I’ve had any major accidents or illnesses that required hospitalization. I could hear what all of you were saying about the meds, I really could—my sponsor, the doctors, rehab, you guys—I could hear you all, but I just couldn’t get you to quite understand what I had been through, and I couldn’t take the chance. I lost everything once and I can’t go through that again.”

He drops his head and I can see the tears flowing freely now. Butterfly goes around the table and sits in the seat next to him.

“You have us now, Chuck,” she says, sweetly. He raises tearful eyes to her. “You saved my life. That means that I’m your responsibility now.”

I don’t know how I feel about that.

He takes in a shuddering breath and embraces Butterfly, crying freely on her shoulder. I know that he’s only told us a fraction of this story, so the entire tale must be quite harrowing and much more than one man can bear without letting it out sooner or later.

*-*

We’re getting ready to turn in for the night and I’m sitting on the edge of the bed in my shirt and jeans. Butterfly has to put those drops in my eye and they sting like hell, but I try to sit still and take my medicine like a big boy. It helps a lot when your nurse looks like mine does. The swelling on the other eye has gone down a bit and my lips aren’t so tender—still a bit swollen, but not as tender.

She’s standing between my legs, gently cleaning my face from where the eye drops leaked from my eye. The second medication doesn’t sting as much, but still manages to leak from my eye. She again lovingly cleans the medicine from my face, paying close attention to her task. I suddenly feel a possessiveness that I can’t control. Once she has cleaned my face, I catch her hand and force her to look at me. She pauses, her eyes questioning.

“You’re MY rethponthibility!” I say, holding her hand and looking into her eyes. She smiles softly and touches my cheek.

“I know, baby,” she says, sweetly, “but I’m his, too. There’s a level of responsibility that comes with saving someone’s life. You now have an attachment to that person… they’re your charge, and it doesn’t go away. He needs that right now more than ever. It’s the same attachment Jason has for you. I can almost guarantee you that’s the same attachment that he has with his ‘family’ just outside of Belleville. But Christian…” She puts her hands on both sides of my face. “… You’ll always come first.”

I feel warm inside when she says that. Her eyes never leave mine as she gently caresses my face.

“I haven’th looked at it,” I tell her. She frowns.

“Haven’t looked at what?”

“My fathe.” Her face falls. “I haven’th looked at it thince the fight.”

“You haven’t looked in a mirror since Wednesday??” she asks appalled. “Why?” I shrug.

“Lotth of reathonth,” I tell her. “I didn’th vant to thee the damage. I knew I woult juth get pithed all over again. I didn’th vant to think about vut you vere theein.” Her brow furrows and her frown deepens.

“Christian,” she says, her hands moving to caress my hair, “when I returned from Vashon Island black and blue and badly beaten, what did you see?” That’s a no brainer.

“I thaw you,” I reply, “the voman that I love.”

“And I see you,” she says softly while gently caressing my swollen cheek, “the man that I love. Brian wanted to change that. He wanted me to see a hideous creature and be repulsed by it. Well, he succeeded—but he’s the hideous creature that repulses me.” She outlines the swell of my cheek down to the swell of my jaw. “But, this… this is my lover, my life mate, my protector… the man that holds me every night until I fall asleep and comforts me when I’m sick or hurting. This is the father of my children, my whole heart and soul and Brian can’t stand it.”

Her fingers gently outline my swollen lips and I feel heat rising in me. Butterfly, please…

“He thought it was the face,” she continues. “It was never the face. Yes, it’s a pretty face, but it was never the face. It’s the whole package.” She kisses my lips gently. “The whole, beautiful package, and without the face, you will still be my lover, my life mate, my protector, and the man that I love.”

I feel like I’m going to burst. She fills me with so much love that I can hardly stand it sometimes. She kisses me again gently—softly, but the force of her emotion makes me shiver. She slowly begins to unbutton my shirt and I know that we’re finally getting ready for bed. She removes my cuff links, then pushes my shirt off my shoulders to the bed. I watch her walk, the movement and flow of every curve of her body mesmerizing me. She is truly poetry in motion. She places my cuff links on the night stand as I remove my hands from my shirt sleeves.

She walks back to me and begins to pull my T-shirt from my jeans. When she’s standing in front of me, she never moves her eyes from mine. As my shirt slides up my chest and over my head, I find that my body is getting warmer instead of cooler. Somehow, my swollen eye is not so swollen anymore and I can see her out of both eyes. There’s a haze around her, a glow like a halo all over her body. My eye must be more fucked up than I thought…

She stands upright in front of me and begins to undress, first pulling her shirt slowly over her head and then sensually sliding out of her yoga pants. She never takes her eyes off of mine. When she unhooks her bra and lets it dangle from her nipples—now standing at perfect attention—before it slides down her baby bump to the floor, I realize that she’s stripping for me! Greystone responds immediately, doubling in size in a nanosecond and fighting with fury to be released from my pants.

“Vutterfly…” I protested, concerned.

“Sssshh,” she silences me. “I know what I’m doing,” she whispers, her voice seductive, yet authoritative.

I sit silently mesmerized as she slides out of her panties, then rises before me, fully naked. My God in Heaven, she’s so beautiful!

Her delicate fingers undo my belt and pants. I raise my hips to allow her to remove my jeans and boxers. Greystone springs free with amazing force and is now thrumming in the open air and oozing precum in anticipation. I don’t want her to hurt herself. The doctor cautioned her against… oh shit, I don’t know what it was now. I’m so aroused that I can barely breathe, let alone think clearly.

Starting with the tops of my toes, she gently drags her fingertips up my feet, over my ankles, up my shins, over my knees, causing goose bumps to rise on my skin. I’m nearly panting when she gets to my thighs. She passes over Greystone, causing him to weep a single tear, but jerk a bit when her fingers tease the creases of my thighs and my pelvic hairline. Oh my God, I’m going to hyperventilate!

She brushes the palms of her hands gently up my stomach, my torso, and my chest to the fronts of my shoulders before pushing me down on the bed. I’m doing my best to control my breathing, but she has worked me into a sensual frenzy and now, she’s straddling me—naked and glorious, that same glow surrounding her that I saw earlier. She looks ethereal, unreal, and she has a hungry, sultry look in her eye. I was afraid for her earlier, but now I’m a little concerned about what kind of condition I’m going to be in when this is all over.

Those same gentle fingers stroke down both arms from my biceps down to my hands. She examines them carefully, her eyes followings her fingers as they travel over my skin. She grabs both hands and brings them both to her lips, placing gentle, wet kisses on each of my fingertips.

Greystone expresses his approval.

Once she’s done, she places them on either side of my head, holding them down with her own. She leans in and trails her tongue over my lips from corner to corner, first the top lip, then the bottom. Greystone twitches between us and I raise my hips a little to get some friction from her skin. I hiss quietly when she sinks her teeth into my chin to get my attention. When I bring my eyes to hers, the look in her eyes tells me that she’s in charge. Immediately, I know not to move a muscle without being told.

Shit, that’s hot.

Fire slowly ignites in several parts of my body as her lips and tongue travel from my chin down my neck, caressing my shoulders before she releases my hands and places hers on the bed to support her weight. She moves down my body and feasts on the skin on my chest and nipples as she grinds her hips, rubbing her hot, wet core against my erection. I fist my hands to keep from grabbing her hips. She feels so good and I groan in my chest at the wonderful sensation. She purrs against my skin in response and continues her assault, grinding her hips against me and licking my skin.

Her mouth travels further down my chest and I’m both excited and dismayed when her hips move from my groin. Dismayed because that wonderful sensation has stopped; excited because knowing my veracious wife the way that I do, these soft lips and talented tongue that are now outlining the contours of my abs will soon be wrapped around my pounding and dancing dick.

Abs 02Once her tongue has trekked through the roadmap that is my abdominal muscles, she travels further south, slowly tormenting my pubic hairline before dipping her tongue into the valley of the creases between my thighs. I’m huffing loudly now, unashamed of my oral panting sounds. I turn my hands around and grab a fistful of the sheets because I’m going to need all the strength and control I can muster once she locks on to my dick.

She pushes my thighs open tormenting one, then the other of those creases until I’m shivering with anticipation, only allowing her cheeks to brush against my shaft to move it out of her way. The first real contact after an eternity of teasing is my balls. Her tongue wraps around one testicle and gently sucks it into her mouth.

“Fuck!” I breathe, feeling the skin tighten as she rolls it around in her mouth with her tongue. She pays equal attention to the other testicle, licking and massaging the skin until Greystone is throbbing in the air. Not to rush the anticipation, her lips travel to the underside of my dick placing hot, wet licking and sucking kisses up the growing and pulsing vein that will deliver her prize later. She’s slow and meticulous, caressing the upper side gently with her hand while holding it steady so that her lips and tongue can taste and feel the hot, veiny, pulsing and sensitive underside.

She’s driving me fucking insane.

When she reaches the head, her tongue treks all the way around the rim, stopping only momentarily at the frenulum since she knows how sensitive it is. I know what’s coming next. I only have a moment to steel myself before the assault.

She kisses the head gently, like every other caress. Then again, this time open-mouthed, sucking just a bit of the skin inside. A third time brings her lips nearly to the rim again, where her tongue now plays fiendishly with my frenulum causing my thighs to tremble and my chest to tighten from the pleasure and trying not to grind my hips. A fourth pass brings a more forceful suckling of the entire head and that infernal wet sound her mouth makes when she’s devouring me, coupled with a gentle hum that sends vibrations up my back.

Fucking hell!

I squirm involuntarily, turning my head to the side and squeezing my eyes shut, panting passionately. When she gently releases my head, I realize that’s not going to be the most intense assault. I try to prepare myself. I breathe in and grab onto those sheets and…

I don’t feel her lips on my head. Her whole mouth opens and gobbles half of my dick. I feel the walls of her mouth and her tongue on every centimeter of skin of the portion of my shaft inside her mouth. She locks and pulls with force, stopping at the rim and suckling powerfully on the head.

“Mmmmm!” I grunt deep and loud in my chest. No matter how I prepared myself, I still wasn’t ready. A slow, tight drop all the way down my dick has me grunting, growling, and panting loudly. The fact that I can’t move my hips means that I have no control over the stroke, the pressure, the friction, or the pleasure. I have to lie still and take it—every lick, every suck, every powerful slurp. It’s ecstasy and torture at the same time. I dare not watch her or I’ll explode immediately. Fuck, I can’t stroke into her mouth. God, this feels so good!

She torments me for several minutes, first bobbing her head relentlessly on my erection fucking me with her mouth, then teasing every inch of the skin of my dick with licks and sucking kisses… enough to keep me in a blazing aroused inferno, but not enough to come. I’m flexing every muscle in my body trying not to fuck her mouth and she’s loving it. When her hands are not holding my dick so that her mouth and tongue can get a better angle, her fingertips gently tease and tickle rock hard quads and calves.

Her torment subsides when that hot mouth sucks hard on the head of my dick, then releases it with a “pop.” Greystone is pointing straight due north, ripe and ready for action and I’m taking in large gasps of air, holding them so my brain can get some oxygen, then letting them out.

“Mmmmmm,” she purrs as she gently caresses my dick with her hand, interrupting my breathing pattern. “He’s so pretty.” She softly strokes it up and down, just to keep the blood flowing on the surface of the skin. “It looks so good, baby,” she coaxes as her lips wrap gently around the head once more and she moans her approval. God, I’m gonna die.

I feel her stand, still holding my dick, and I try the breathing thing once again.

“Remember,” she says, and I open my eyes and raise my head to gaze on her. Fuck, she’s a goddamn goddess! “Let me do this.” I nod helplessly and watch as she crawls on top of me, straddling me again and still holding my dick. I take in a breath and hold it, still clinging mindlessly to the sheet. She rubs the head between her lips, first at her core, then spreading her arousal up and around her clit.

“Aah!” Her short, primal cry sends shocks through me and the feel of her wetness and clit on the head of my cock makes me shiver and hiss through clenched teeth. She does that two more times, driving me out of my fucking mind before she guides the head to her core. She pushes me in only fractionally, just to the rim of the head. I growl loudly. Fucking hell, she feels good.

“Yes, baby,” she coaches gently. “Stay still. Feel it.” Her voice is a forceful whisper that causes my body to stiffen and listen, and Greystone to stiffen even more. My God, this delicious affliction…

She pushes herself down onto me, around me, very slowly, and each movement makes me feel like I’m going to explode. This is not the usual stamina exercise for me. Normally, I’m moving my hips, controlling the rhythm and friction on my dick. Normally, I have a nipple in my mouth or in my hand, a clit under my finger, two fingers in an ass or a pussy—something to help distract me from the heavenly feeling in my cock. This time, nothing… nothing but this little nymph tormenting my nether regions and the command to keep still and take it.

I have to go way back and remember my endurance training as she starts to grind. Oh, God. Oh, God, help me. She steadies herself with her hands on my chest and rides ever so slowly. Every inch of me feels every inch of her and believe me, she’s taking every inch of me!  I feel her clit slide all the way from the base of me to the head of me and back again when she drops, so slowly that I have no idea how her muscles are keeping this slow, delicious, tormenting pace… slower than I’ve ever moved and more intense than I’ve ever fucked. There’s no set stroke, no determined direction. The first one might be up and down while the next stroke might pull to the right on the upstroke and grind in a circle on the downstroke. It’s totally random… and completely mind-blowing.

Again, I have to remember the “endurance” training I had and not move my hips during this magnificent torment. She’s slides softly, then powerfully up and down my shaft. I don’t know how she does it, but while the downstroke is warm, soft, and wet, the upstroke is tight and hard, promising to drain every drop from me each time she pulls. I move my head from side to side on the bed, barely able to withstand the force with which she’s loving me.

“You feel it, don’t you, Baby?” she coaxes. “Feel me wrap around you and stroke you, like this!” Her pussy does that powerful pull and I groan loudly, trying to fight back this orgasm. Her insides are fire and her muscles are tormenting me masterfully. I can barely stand it… and I can’t move my hips.

“Only you, Baby… only for you…” On the last “you,” she does that coaxing pull followed by a circular grinding of her hips over the head and back down the shaft and I almost lose the fight. I feel my nails digging into my palms as I fight the intense tightening in my groin. So good… so fucking good…

“Oooooo,” she coos, “I feel you getting harder, Baby,” she breathes, her voice oozing with arousal. “I guess I better hurry.”

Do I want her to hurry? I don’t know. I’m aching for release, but the torment feels so good. Release means it will be all over. I don’t know…

Her hands slide to mine and I release my grip on the sheets, entwining my fingers with hers as she continues to torment me. Where her baby bump had presented a problem at other intimate moments, it appears to present no barrier whatsoever as she leans down and bites my earlobe with just enough pressure for the painful pinch to cause a jerk in my hips.

Fuck! Not fair.

“Ah ah,” she breathes in the ear that she just bit. “Let me.”

“Yes! Yes!” I pant, resigned that she is intent on bringing me to the height of my pleasure before the night ends with explosive orgasms.

Ha! Take that, Cholometes!

The merciless assault continues as she holds my hands down for leverage while kissing, sucking, and biting my neck for what feels like hours, though I know it’s much less. I’m transported to mindless ecstasy as she loves me, endlessly, pleasure shooting to every appendage. My breaths and groans fill the room and I’m helpless… totally at her mercy as she loves me and owns the body that completely belongs to her.

“Aaahhh!” she cries. Oh God, she’s close. Thank God! Thank God!

She releases my hands and pushes herself up on me again, her strokes still very slow, but more controlled, now… less random. I make the mistake of opening my eyes and she’s before me, her eyes closed and tweaking her breasts hard with both hands, lost in ecstasy.

“Fuck!” I hiss loudly, and I know my dick responded in like inside of her walls. She opens her eyes and looks down at me. She releases one of her breasts and her hand disappears under her baby bump. She bites her lip as the pleasure shoots through her.

“Aaahhh!” Her weight is on her hips and groin now, and she’s tormenting me with them as she chases her orgasm.

“Sit up…” she breathes. “Lean on your hands…” I rise almost immediately and yes, it changes the angle of my dick and the deepness of the penetration.

“Yes!” we hiss at the same time. Her knees drop to my hips and her hands rest on my shoulders. Now, she’s rising and falling perfectly on my upright dick, her speed increasing only slightly as I know the pleasure has intensified for her.

“Open your mouth!” The command is whispered, but forceful, laced with her orgasm hiding behind it. My mouth flies open involuntarily and her tongue slips in, sensually exploring the crevices of my cheek and dancing with my tongue in the kiss we adopted last year when her lips were like mine are now.

My heart swells at the gesture and it’s nearly impossible to obey the command and keep still. Our eyes are normally open during this time, but I close mine as I’m overcome with the need to love her, touch her, and stroke into her and I have to control it. I grip the sheets in my fists again and let her have the reigns completely. I whimper into her mouth and let go—sinking into the ecstasy and whatever she wants to do to me. This is your body. Do with it as you wish.

She continues to ride me slowly, deeply, and sensually and I feel like I’m not going to make it. I open my eyes to see her beautiful ocean blue eyes lock with mine and I swear the halo around her gets brighter. Am I losing my mind? Maybe my eyesight… at least she’ll be the last thing I see.

“Ugh!” I protest with her tongue still exploring my mouth. The burn in my hips is unbearable. I don’t think I’ll be able to stop this explosion when it comes. “Ugh!”

“Hold it… Baby…” she gasps against my lips, her hands still on my shoulders as she holds me down, riding my shaft, owning me.

Hold it… hold it…

My brain is turning to mush. I’m gripping the sheets so hard that I don’t know how they’re staying on the bed.

“Hold it… Baby… hold it…” her high-pitched voice signals that she’s seconds away from…

“Aaahhh! Aahh! Aahh!” Her head falls back as she gasps through her orgasm, her beautiful breast rising and falling, her body trembling and clenching in uncontrolled pleasure. Fuck, she looks magnificent!

Her stroke only pauses momentarily as she pants through her orgasm and aftershocks. My mouth is still open, this time in utter awe of her immeasurable beauty, and she slips her tongue back in my mouth—hot, wet, and coaxing like her core.

Ooh please, don’t torture me anymore…

Her lips close occasionally, kissing me tenderly and sultrily on my lips—still swollen, but unable to register anything but the softness of her lips on mine, the taste of her mouth, and the feel of her tongue darting in and out with each kiss and caressing my lips and tongue in between. The combination is mind-blowing. Added to the meticulous stroke and post-orgasmic contractions of her pussy, I’m gone in less than sixty seconds… I know it.

“Ooooooooohh,” she breathes into my mouth. “You’re so ready.” God, am I ready! I don’t think I’ve ever been so ready in my whole life. Well, maybe once or twice—like TPE last year and that hot fucking red dress… or the day she edged the fuck out of me on the sofa in my office… or that Christmas blowjob after she sang Santa Baby…

Well, none of that helped.

“Ooooooooooooo!” I moan painfully as I struggle aimlessly to stop this impending orgasm. It’s coming. It’s coming slow and deep and hot and hard and I know that I won’t be able to stop it. My hips are frozen now out of pure fear. I have no idea what’s going to come flying out of my dick when this cosmic eruption begins.

“Come for me, Baby,” she whispers against my lips. My balls tighten painfully and I groan mournfully for the explosive climax that I know will soon follow.

“Come on, Baby,” she coaxes, still grinding with slow, deep precision. “Give it to me.”

I’m panting wildly out of my mouth. I feel it rising—slow and thick and hot. Oh, God, it’s rising all over me! I grip the sheets tighter to try to ground me. I’m dizzy! I’m actually dizzy! And with the next masterful pull…

“Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaggggggggggghhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!”

She closes her lips over mine and at the same time, slides her hands into my hair and pulls. My hips are in agony; my dick is burning, pulsing painfully inside of her. My balls feel like watermelons! I can’t stand it!

“Gaaahhh! Gaahh! Aahh!” I can’t help but wrap my arms around her as she holds herself down onto my violently emptying loins. Somehow, I’ve taken the sheet with me and it’s wrapped around both of us. My head falls back, helpless and gasping for air. Her fingers are still tangled in my hair, pulling possessively as she kisses and bites the tender skin of my neck, coaxing yet more semen out of me. It feels like it’s not ending.

“Wooooooo! Woo… woo… woo… woo…” I am panting through this orgasm like a woman in labor. She’s pressing hard on me as I come, grinding every so often in a circular motion so that I feel the tightness of her walls.

It’s forever—and I do mean forever—when the pulsing in my groin stops and I think the ride is finally over. My face falls into her bosom—swollen side out, my body hunched over her baby bump. I’m drenched in sweat and fighting to catch my breath. I feel her fingers gently combing through my wet curls as she cradles my head in her arms. She’s squeezing her muscles around me, making sure that I’m drained of every little drop and I whimper with each squeeze. There are only a handful of times that Greystone has been down for the count in one round, and this is one of them.

When I’ve gone from gasping for air to just panting, she helps me crawl up the bed to the pillows. I collapse on the bottom sheet, having ripped the top sheet off the bed in an orgasmic tantrum. I’m on the wrong side of the bed. I’m on Butterfly’s side. No matter, I’ll move when she comes back…

I’m awakened by a cool towel gently wiping over my face. It feels good. Did I fall asleep? I open my eyes—both functional now, albeit one is still swollen—and gaze on my Butterfly softly smiling down at me. She wipes my face, my neck, my chest, and my shoulders. I can only lie there on my back. I’m lying on my back? I never sleep on my back, but I can’t move. She continues her care by drying the moisture from my skin with a dry towel before laying the towel on the pillow next to my head.

Aftercare. It’s been a while.

Aftercare without a scene is new, though. Well, it had some scene-like qualities, but no, it wasn’t a scene.

I feel the sheet that I previously ripped off the bed now caressing my skin as she covers me and the bed with it, followed by the heavy warmth of our blanket. I feel my wife slide into bed next to me.

“Come to me, my love…”

I turn towards her voice and she’s facing me, laying the way she normally lies, but on my side of the bed. I turn to her and gladly roll into her open arms. We shift so that I’m slightly lower on the bed than she is and my face is perfectly positioned at my favorite pillow… between her breasts and the babies. I snuggle into my ultimate comfort after the ultimate orgasm with my arms around my soul and her leg around my hip. I quickly fall asleep to the feeling of her drying the back of my hair and the smell of Gail’s secret tea on my face.


 

ANASTASIA

Last night was the first decent night’s sleep I’ve had in three days.

When I woke this morning, Christian was still nestled in my breasts while the children were enjoying early morning playtime… either that, or they were screaming at Christian, “Move Dad! It’s hot in here!” Either way, I had to wake my peacefully slumbering husband to get our day started. We don’t know what time Chuck’s brother is supposed to be here and based on the conversation last night, he’s going to need all the support he can get. I’m praying that this doesn’t turn out to be another “Carla Morton” situation.

When Christian kisses me this morning, his kiss is full of love and reverence—and his lips aren’t nearly as swollen as they were yesterday. The swelling on his cheek and eye have also subsided tremendously, but the bruising is still pretty brutal. He definitely looks like he got the wrong end of the fight. I’m sure Brian doesn’t look like this whatever backlash he may be suffering, but it’s no matter. I won’t be able to stand the sight of him anyway.

I have a lot to squeeze into the next few days. I was supposed to talk to Addie about our plans for Courtney, but that little thing called hospital got in our way. Marilyn is coming by today so that we can go over a few things, including some information about other country clubs. I’ve effectively missed two days of networking, so we’ll have to see if that’s going to cost me anything.

After breakfast, Marilyn and I are in my office hashing out some plans. I want her to have an office at Grey Crossing, too, even though she’s mostly mobile. She’s starting to gather quite the contact list. No doubt, being Anastasia Grey’s personal assistant gets her into more doors than not. However, I don’t discount her personal savvy and abilities one bit when it comes down to getting things done.

As it turns out, while it’s sensible to transform one of the libraries into an office for Marilyn, not so for Gail. She’s right—with the babies due in two months and Gail taking on the role of their nanny, she’s going to be needed closer to the nursery. I’ll first see if Christian or Jason has blueprints to the house before I ask Elliot about them. We’re going to need to knock out a wall or confiscate one of the many secret rooms I heard about in this place.

“Glendale is absolutely thrilled that you’re considering joining them and I like the one with the wall of windows that look out onto the garden with the stone staircase,” Marilyn says, typing away at her iPad. Wait… what?

“Wait, wait, wait a minute. Did we just have two conversations and I didn’t know it?” I ask her, bemused. She raises her eyes to the ceiling as if contemplating her own words.

“Yeah, sorta, I guess. You gotta keep up, Bosslady,” she says, flippantly.

“No, no, no. You gotta slow down,” I correct her, pointing to myself. “Bosslady? Accident? Semi-corked brain?” Any of this ringing a bell with you?

“Okay, so we’re going to have to compromise…” Why is she talking ninety miles an hour? “There’s going to be some times when I’m talking at the speed of light like now because you’ve got me doing ten different things and I’ve got to keep all those balls in the air and keep them all sorted out.”

And she said that all in one breath.

“Okay, I understand that, but when I was one-hundred percent, I wouldn’t have been able to keep up with that. You’re going to have to bring it down a couple of gears.” She chuckles at me.

“Understood,” she says with mirth. “So first, I like the library with the full-wall window—lots of natural light.”

“Got it. How about furniture? Have you had a chance to decide how you would want it furnished?”

“I hadn’t thought about it. Are the books staying?” she asks. I shrug.

“Do you want them to stay?” She nods.

“Yeah, I like how they look. I’ll start looking at some furniture and have some choices for you by the end of the day.”

“There’s no rush,” I tell her. “You can decorate it however you want.”

“Thanks. I just want to get that done. It’s probably the easiest thing on my ‘to-do’ list. Now,” and she switches gears effortlessly, “a little birdie informs me that the country clubs are actually going to be competing for you because Christian has avoided country clubs all this time. So the Greys are the coveted feather in the cap. However, that presents another problem for you.”

“And that is?” I ask.

“You join country clubs as a couple. You don’t join without Christian and he doesn’t join without you.”

How did I not know this??

“Are you kidding me?” I lament. She shakes her head.

“I’m afraid not,” she responds. “They may only court one of you, but they’re hoping to get both of you. Had he been a member before you were married, they would have expected you to join at some point after ‘I do.’” Oh, give me a break!

“So I can’t join the club alone? Even these women’s clubs we’ve seen?”

“They still expect to have his name on the club roster,” she says. “There are some clubs that don’t require you to join as a couple, but the ones that do are the ones that count.”

“Oh, this is just great,” I say, dropping my head in my hands. Even in trying to make a name for myself, I still need the approval of Christian Grey. I sigh.

“The assumption right now is that you’ve either convinced Christian to join a country club or pressured him into it. Either way, the operating premise is that he’s on board. Bearing that in mind, someone is going to approach him, too.” I’m still shaking my head.

“That doesn’t bother me,” I say, “but thanks for the heads up. And we both know that nobody pressures Christian Grey into anything.” I’m not doing this behind his back per se, I’m just doing it. Nobody does anything without Christian Grey’s knowledge and he’ll eventually find out about it. I’m just not waving a banner about my plans right now. The wheels are turning and I’m trying to figure out how I can still use this situation to my advantage in case he doesn’t agree to it.

“Keep gathering information,” I tell her. “I may have to just use the fanfare to my advantage and then drop the bomb later that there won’t be a country club membership.”

“You’re not going to try to join now?” she asks. I shrug.

“Unless I can pressure Mr. Grey into joining a country club, I don’t see how that’s possible, but we don’t know what the future holds. So let’s just wait and see. Who else do you have on that list?” She emails the list to me and I pull it up on my laptop. She’s pretty efficient—she has all of the options alphabetized.

“These are the ones you’re going to want to take a tour of soon, make sure your face is in the place. Glendale, you know we’ve already seen.” I nod as I examine the list:

Bear Creek
Bellevue
Broadmoor (very exclusive)
Columbia Tower
Everett (very exclusive)
Harbor Club
Glendale
Inglewood
Mercer Island (beach club for families)
Overlake
Rainier
Sandy Point
Sunset
The Ruins
A few university clubs and a few athletic clubs

“Set up tours for me for the closest three or four for Tuesday and Thursday,” I tell her. “If he’s going to hear about me courting country clubs and them courting me, they won’t be somebody’s little hole in the wall,” I say, slightly frustrated that I still won’t be able to do this on my own. That reminds me—I need to call Addie.

“Hello?”

“Hi Addie. It’s Ana.”

“Hello, Ana. I was expecting your call on Thursday.”

“I know. I’m so sorry. I had an unfortunate run-in with the hospital.”

“The hospital!” she exclaims. “I hope everything is okay,” she adds, concerned.

“Yes, everything’s fine now. I just have to keep an eye on my blood pressure. Unfortunately, as a result, I was out of commission for a couple of days.”

“I can imagine. Christian must have been out of his mind with worry.”

“Oh, you have no idea,” I comment, the double meaning burning in my throat. “I’m doing much better now. I did want to talk to you about our plans for Courtney.”

“Ah, yes, my beloved granddaughter,” she says with a hint of sarcasm. “I had such high hopes for her. I still do, but I just don’t know how to guide her to the right path. She’s not a bad seed; she just doesn’t seem to have any motivation or ambition, no goals except to be a spoiled rich kid.” Cody Whitmore comes to mind the moment she says that and I would beg to differ about the “bad seed” comment, but I don’t know enough about her to make that assumption.

“Well, I can’t make any promises, but we’re going to do our best to redirect her,” I say. “I have a few ideas. Some of them are pretty cliché, unfortunately, but that doesn’t mean that they won’t work. I already know that I’m going to meet with resistance, and the only thing that will be able to curtail bad behavior is enforcement action.”

“What do you mean?”

I share with her my plans for enlightening her wayward granddaughter as well as my idea of enforcement action to keep her in line. Whether or not my plan works, she will come out of this experience with a bit of education on life, work, and consequences.

“I don’t know if you think this may be too drastic…”

“Oh, not at all,” Addie interrupts. “Desperate times call for desperate measures, and she’s headed in the wrong direction. She’s told old to be behaving this way. It’s time for her to make a change. She won’t go to college, she won’t make a decision for her life, she…” She trails off and I can hear the frustration in her voice. “Desperate times… not too drastic at all.”

“I’m so glad you agree, Addie. I’m of the belief that if she’s still alive, the issue can be fixed, right?”

“I certainly hope so,” she laments.

“So, you’re going to have to bring her to the center on Monday afternoon, because I’m certain that she won’t come on her own. She’s going to go off with her friends or something and swear that she showed up and I wasn’t there. If something happens where I can’t be where I promised, I’ll call you. If I’m incapacitated, I will have Marilyn call you.”

“That’s perfect. I’ll see you on Monday afternoon. What time?”

“One o’clock. She’s going to want to dress comfortably.” Addie chuckles.

“I’ll tell her. I don’t know how effective it will be, though.”

“No worries. She’ll see the sense in sensible clothing soon enough.”

We talk about a few more useful issues and items including lunch at the club again before we end the call.

“Okay, so the Harbor Club and Broadmoor will both see you on Tuesday morning before you have to get to Helping Hands. You always throw your charity in there when you can because a lot of the clubs would love to host some kind of benefit or fundraiser activity for potential members that they’re aching to land.” I nod.

“What about Thursday?” I ask. Before she gets a chance to answer the question, the two-way intercom comes alive. “Yes?”

“You have a visitor, Mrs. Grey.” It’s Ben. He’s very formal since our talk and I can’t say that I mind. No use in getting too attached to him. He’s only standing in until Chuck gets better.

“Who is it?” I ask.

“He requested that I don’t tell you.” What the…?

“It’s not Brian Cholometes, is it?” I demand.

“No, ma’am. Mr. Cholometes is on the proscribed list.” That’s good to hear.

“Where is he?” I ask.

“In the living room, ma’am.” I sigh.

“Fine. I’ll be there in a minute. End two-way communications.” When the intercom goes off, “What about Thursday?”

“Aren’t you curious who it is?” Marilyn asks.

“I’ll find out in a minute,” I respond. “Thursday?”

“Oh, yeah. You have your appointment with Dr. Culley in the afternoon, which means that you have to go to Helping Hands earlier that day. So we were only able to get one in on that day… Mercer Island.” I nod.

“Okay. See if your snooping abilities can get me any inside scoop on any of these places before my meeting so I’m not going in blind. Unless they are a definite no-go, I want each of these places to feel like they are my top choice, so I need some pertinent information—history, famous members past and present if they have any, key achievements in the community, anything you could find me.”

“Damn, Bosslady, you know you could rule the world,” she says, turning her attention to her iPad. “I’m going to use your laptop a bit if you don’t mind.”

“Make sure that’s one of the things you add to the list for your office,” I tell her. “Your iPad is handy and I plan on getting one on Monday morning so that we can sync a few things, but a desktop or laptop with a docking station is invaluable.” She nods.

“Sure thing,” she says, never raising her head. I head to the elevator to see who’s waiting for me in my living room.

“Hi Daddy,” I say to my father’s back as I approach the living room. He turns around to face me and his expression is a bit unreadable. “Why all the secrecy?”

“I was afraid that you wouldn’t see me… after my last visit,” he says, his voice soft. I frown deeply.

“What in the world would give you that idea?”

“Well, I’m told that you and Christian went straight to the hospital after I left. I assumed that it had something to do with my visit.”

“The content of your visit, yes, but the visit, no.” I kiss him on the cheek, then gesture to the sofa for him to sit down and I take a seat on the sofa across from him. “Brian, Daddy,” is all I say to him.

“I know,” he replies. “I’m beginning to question our friendship.”

“You guys have been friends for years. This has nothing to do with your friendship, Daddy…”

“I beg to differ, Annie,” Daddy says. “I know that he didn’t set out to send you to the hospital—that wasn’t his intention, but what did he expect to come from this?” Daddy’s getting angry. “That’s your husband, for Christ’s sake. What did he expect to come from this? Certainly nothing good. You’re pregnant, very pregnant, like ‘nearly about to deliver’ pregnant. He’s no fool. He knew this would upset you terribly. While I appreciate the severity of what he did to Christian, I’m angrier about what he did to you. Christian walked into the fight with his eyes open. He agreed to it, but you, you were an unwilling participant. You didn’t deserve what this did to you. You could have lost your babies, any number of things could have happened, but he was more concerned about making a statement than he was about your state of mind and your health.” I sigh. My father is livid and I can’t argue with his logic.

“Daddy, I don’t expect you to stop being friends with Brian,” I tell him. “You can still be friends with him, but I won’t.”

“How can I possibly be friends with him after this? This is the one of the most selfish and unreasonable things I’ve ever seen in my life.” I shake my head and sigh.

“You have to explain something to me, Dad,” I say, turning my body towards him. “I understand and completely feel the total outrage that you feel right now. I don’t question it at all. I felt it the moment I saw my husband’s face, but where was this outrage when I called you on Wednesday and on Thursday morning when you came to my home to defend this man?” I ask with no malice. “When did you suddenly become so intolerant of his behavior when you weren’t so intolerant of it in the beginning?”

“The moment I saw your husband’s face,” he answers without pausing, using my own words and I’m stunned for a moment. His eyes are sharp and that answer was enough—I really don’t need further explanation, but he elaborates anyway.

“I saw Brian, first. My best friend called me in a state and I was ready to go to blows with your husband, but I had to remember that there are always two sides to every story and somewhere in between the two sides is the truth. You have to consider if Allen called you and you found him in the state that I found Brian, how receptive would you be to anyone’s outside explanation?”

I don’t know in what condition he found Brian—I haven’t seen Brian, but if he was in one-quarter of the condition in which I found my husband and Al came to me looking like that, I can say that I wouldn’t be receptive to outside explanation at all. This is the first time that I can say that I can empathize with my father about why he was defending his best friend. However, it still doesn’t affect my feelings about that vermin!

“No man can do what I saw in Christian’s face without a distinct purpose,” he continues. “There was more than just a message there. There was rage and contempt and malice and…” Daddy sighs. “I’m a Marine, Annie,” he says, soberly. “I don’t know what happened that evening, but Brian could have killed that man. We’re trained to be able to get out of bad situations without a weapon. Even though you studied with that Krav Magna guy, I originally trained you, so you know.”

“Yes, Daddy, I know. That’s how I know that he didn’t unleash his worst on Christian, but he unleashed some pretty bad hits.” Daddy nods.

“To answer your original question, Sunflower, when Brian called us, he just told us that Christian put him in the hospital. When we got there, his entire torso was wrapped and he could barely move. He was under brief observation for internal bleeding, but they ran a few tests and he was okay to leave. We agreed that he could stay with us and we would keep an eye on him. When we got back home, he told me…” Daddy trails off.

“What?” I need to know. This has just gone on long enough.

“He told me that he had approached Christian with some kind of information—I don’t even know what it was…” Probably dangling something over his head about the Myrick/hacker situation, no doubt. I knew we should have never gotten him involved! “He said Christian just went nuts and the next thing he knew, they were fighting.”

“He’s lying,” I tell my father, calmly. I don’t even have to second-guess this one. I wasn’t there. I don’t know how the fight started, but I know he’s lying. When I’m ready, I’ll ask Christian about it, but I know Brian is lying. Lyin’ Brian… “Christian prides himself on negotiation, on being able to get into your head. If anything, I would bet that he pushed psychological buttons that Brian couldn’t take anymore and that’s what prompted the fight.”

“Brian’s the same way, Annie. He’ll goad you to death, but he won’t draw first blood.”

“You just made a very key statement, Daddy,” I say. “He’ll goad you to death.”  I wait and let that sink in. Daddy nods solemnly.

“Yeah,” he says, resigned.

“Lives in Montesano, still in Seattle…” I add.

“Yeah,” he concurs. “I… I just wanted you to know why I originally wanted you to hear both sides of the story before you immediately passed judgement on Bri. It turns out that I was the one that needed both sides. I hope you don’t hate me.” I furrow my brow.

“Daddy,” I scold as I struggle out of my seat and move over to the sofa next to him, “you’re being ridiculous and you know it. How can I hate you for having a good heart? It’s not your fault that your friend is a raging, self-centered liar… or whatever he is.” I wave it off. “You guys have been friends for a long time,” I say softly as I reach over and squeeze his hand. “Your anger will subside and you’ll forgive him. That’s how it is with old friends. You’re right, any number of things could have happened, but they didn’t, so he got off easy. I’m not excusing what he did to my husband, but you’ll hurt if you lose your friend and I know you will. Eventually, you’ll forgive him… but I won’t.”

“I don’t see the use,” he shrugs. “He’ll never be able to come to Seattle again.”

“Oh, he can come, because I don’t live there anymore. As long as he stays away from Helping Hands, Grey House, and Mercer Island, he’ll be fine. Hopefully, he doesn’t go all psycho like David did when I spurned him, because if he does, I won’t hesitate to put a bullet right between his eyes on sight!” I threaten. Daddy shakes his head.

“No, that’s not his style,” he assures me. “This macho, head-butting bullshit—this, I would have expected. That scorned lover, forcing himself on a lady… that’s not him. He may attempt to sway your decision, but he won’t force himself on you.”

“He won’t attempt to sway me,” I tell my father. “If he comes anywhere near me, I’m going to give his balls a taste of what he gave Christian’s face.” Daddy winces.

“Oh, Annie,” he whines, pain evident on his face, “never give a man that kind of visual. We’re very empathetic when it comes to our testicles.” I have to resist the urge to laugh out loud.

“Sorry, Daddy,” I say with a snicker.


 

A/N: Pictures of places, cars, fashion, etc., can be found at https://www.pinterest.com/ladeeceo/becoming-dr-grey/

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

Love and handcuffs!
Lynn x

 

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Becoming Dr. Grey: Chapter 32—Holy Cow, Batman…

Thank you all for my birthday wishes. I had a FABULOUS weekend!!!

Oh, and be nice to Christian. He has a lisp.

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. If something that I say displeases you, please, just leave. If you don’t like this story or me, please don’t spoil this experience for everyone. Just go away. For the rest of you, the saga continues…

Chapter 32—Holy Cow, Batman…

ANASTASIA

“Son of a bitch!” I yell and nearly throw my phone against the wall. Gail comes running into the family room where I had opted to watch television until Christian gets home.

“Ana, what is it?” she asks, very concerned.

“Our husbands are on their way home. What kept them at the office so long is that Brian and Christian were apparently beating each other senseless. Brian had to be taken out by ambulance; Christian’s eye is swollen shut and he may have lost a tooth.”

“Oh my God, are you serious?” she gasps.

“Unfortunately, yes. Jason says you should prepare some of your tea because it’s really bad, which means that it’s not just his eye.” I try to prepare myself for the condition in which I’m going to find my husband. I have all kinds of wonderful things I want to say to him when he gets here.

When he finally gets home, everything I want to say just flies out of my head.

Holy. Cow. Batman.

I gasp when I see him. Jason is almost carrying him. He can’t even walk on his own. The parts of his face that I can see are Technicolor black, blue, and purple.

“Christian!” I breathe, but he doesn’t even raise his head. I try to take him from Jason to help him to bed, but Jason only shakes his head.

“You wouldn’t be able to get him up there,” he protests. “Not even in the elevator.” I nod as I look at my husband, looking more frail and anguished than I’ve ever seen him before… except maybe when he starved himself. I’m just remembering that just this moment. I nod and stand by helplessly while he leads Christian to the elevator, barely able to stand. What the hell did they do to each other? Does Brian look this bad?

Brian.

I stand there for several moments before I go to my parlor and just sit there. I don’t know how long I sit in the parlor—minutes, hours—before I finally call my father.

“Annie?” I can tell he has me on the speaker.

“Daddy, I want you to tell your friend Brian that I never want to see him again.”

“Sunflower, you haven’t heard his side of it, yet.” Daddy is clearly shocked. He obviously knows what has happened.

“I don’t care about his side of it and I don’t know what he thought he was going to prove by doing this to my husband, but I’ve had enough and I’m nipping it in the bud. I never want to see him again, and if he comes to see you in Kirkland, please give me advance notice so that I’ll be sure not to come.”

“Annie, what did he do to Christian?”

“Ask your friend Brian what he did to Christian.” I burst into tears before I can stop myself. Adrenaline tears, I think. I’m angry and appalled. “I told him I didn’t want him,” I sob. “I told him that he could never come between me and Christian no matter what he did. So he does this. He’s vicious and selfish and brutal to do this to the man I love, and you tell him that I never ever want to see his face in my life ever again!”

“You just did.” The flat voice that I hear is Brian’s. After what he did to Christian, his voice is like glass cutting through my eardrums.

“I don’t want to talk to you!” I snap. How dare he say anything to me! How dare him!

“He looks like he’s been hit by a freight train, Annie.”

“I don’t care!” I shoot. “All I know is that my husband has a multibillion dollar company to run and he can’t run it because he’s damn near unrecognizable. He can barely stand! He couldn’t even look at me! Seeing the pain that he can’t hide from me makes me know that his actual pain is ten times worse. I know this to be true because I know Christian! Were it not that I know my husband so well, I wouldn’t even think this is him. You tried to mutilate him because you despise him, and you despise him because of me. I’ve tried to be considerate of your feelings, but there’s no way that you can say that you care about me at all and do this to the father of my children knowing how it would affect me, you monster! I don’t know how or why this happened, but I know that if you had gone back to Montesano and gone on with your life, this wouldn’t have happened. What was this—some macho bullshit exercise to prove that you could destroy his face?” There’s a moment of silence on the line.

“Brian, what did you do to him?” I hear Daddy ask.

“It was a fight,” he defends. “The hits landed wherever they landed.”

“Bullshit!” I retort. He forgets that I’m a fighter, too, and even an amateur could tell that… “…those hits were deliberate. You were trying to prove a point. Congratulations, you proved it. He looks hideous! And you know what? I’m going to go back into that room and I’m going to put my arms around him and I’m going to hold him until he feels better. I’m going to dress his wounds, I’m going to wait on him hand and foot, I’m going to kiss him wherever he can tolerate a kiss, and we are going to stay in this house until he feels better. So congratulations, you selfish sonofabitch, your stunt only proved to bring us closer. Now, I mean it, Cholometes. I never want to see your fucking face again in my fucking life! Goodbye, Daddy!” I end the call. There’s nothing else left for me to say.

I cover my mouth and weep bitterly for my husband—the pain he must be in! His entire face is swollen and bruised. There are cuts from where Brian’s fists broke his skin and none of his beautiful skin tone is visible. He’s been beaten viciously and deliberately and I hope it was worth it, because if I ever see Cholometes again, I’m going to give his balls the same beating he gave to my dear husband’s face. I try to compose myself and look at my watch. Yep, it’s been hours. I need to go to Christian. I turn around right into the swollen and deformed face of my husband.

“What are you doing up?” I ask, wiping my face, but making no attempt to hide my tears.

“I vuth lookink for you,” he responds, his speech mirroring his injuries.

“Is your head still hurting?” he nods slightly. “Then you shouldn’t be up, and you’re supposed to have the magic tea on your face.” The eye that he can open is extremely red from the fight, but the other is swollen completely shut. Even so, I can still tell that he’s looking at me with regret. “This was a really dumb thing you did today.” I touch his face as gently as I can, but it still causes him to wince. His mouth is so swollen and purple. I gently brush his lips with mine. His breath catches when they touch. I remember when my face was like this—not as bad, but swollen and painful. He never for one moment made me feel ugly. I gently stroke his hair with both hands and look into the one eye that can see me.

“A really dumb thing,” I say softly, “and I love you. Don’t ever do it again.” His lips are hot from the swelling, but he can still feel mine.

“Your lipth are thoft ven you’ve vin cryink.” I run my fingers through his hair.

“Let me get you back to bed. You put the tea on your face and we can snuggle and talk and watch movies, or I can read to you and then you won’t have to explain to me why you wasted your time on that idiot.”

“I vould like that,” he says, and I lead him to the elevator.

*-*

Christian is cuddled into me and the babies, sleeping contently while I play with his hair. He was stubborn about taking anything for pain until I told him that I would call his mother. The thought of her seeing him like this horrified him completely, so he cooperated instantly. It still hurt for him to move or lay on his face in any way and he doesn’t sleep well on his back. His only resort was to sleep on my breast. I don’t know how that feels better than the pillow, but he’s snoring away with a large tea bag between my breast and his face and another one held on the side of his face in my right hand.

I can just about imagine what drove Brian to want to destroy his face. Maybe it was because Brian couldn’t stand the sight of Christian. Maybe he thought that I would find it repulsive and shun him. Whatever it was, when he hurt Christian, he hurt me, and he’s dead to me now.

I thought I made that clear. I thought there was no doubt that I am hopelessly and madly in love with my husband. I thought he knew for certain that there was no chance for me and him. So what was his purpose for this? This is my fault. I know it is. I wasn’t clear enough. I couldn’t have been for him to think that this would have any productive outcome. The tears begin to fall and I weep quietly for Christian. I hate Brian for doing this to him. I honestly and truly hate him. I don’t care if Christian ripped an arm off and left him to bleed to death. I hate him!

I’m still crying into my husband’s hair when my phone buzzes with a text message. At 3:00 in the morning?? I’m just barely able to reach it without disturbing Christian. Lo and behold, it’s Brian.

**I’m so sorry for what I did to your husband. I wasn’t thinking clearly. Please forgive me.**

I fire off a text back to him.

**Stop texting me. We have nothing to say. Everything you had to say to me is written all over his face! Now leave me alone.**

I throw the phone on the bed and it buzzes again. I pick it up to see another text from Brian. Without reading it, I respond,

**Go to hell!**

Not very poignant—or mature—but effective. I access my blocking service and enter his number. Now he’ll get a message when he tries to text me or a recording when he tries to call that basically says, “Fuck off.” I toss the phone on the bed again and gently stroke my husband’s hair, hoping that I’m bringing him some small measure of comfort.

I stay awake for the rest of the night, stroking my husband’s hair.

*-*

I open my eyes to the sunrise. I dozed off for a moment, but I couldn’t really get comfortable with Christian lying on my boobs. There was no other way, though, and I really needed him to get some rest. He’s still dead to the world on my boob and it’s nearly 9:00. I’m going to have to wake him soon and get him some food.

“Activate two-way communications.” After the familiar beep, “Locate Gail Taylor.”

“Yes?” she answers after the intercom connects.

“It’s me, Gail. Are you busy?” I ask quietly.

“No more than usual. How is he doing?” I sigh.

“My battered husband is going to need some breakfast,” I tell her. “Soft foods… eggs, scrambled soft, maybe some fruit—melon, bananas, nothing acidic… I’ve never seen him oatmeal or porridge…”

“He’ll eat cream of wheat,” she interjects.

“Oh, that’s a good idea,” I concur. “Something to drink… with a straw.”

“I vant vacon,” Christian mumbles, his face still buried in my breasts. Yeah, a trip to the dentist is in his future.

“Well, you can’t have bacon,” I tell him. “Your lips are tender and swollen and very badly bruised. We won’t get bacon past those lips without doing damage.”

“I’ll put it in the food processor for you,” Gail teases. “You can have bacon puree.”

“Okay, no vacon,” he mumbles without lifting his head. Gail and I giggle and I agree to eat whatever he does to keep from tormenting my husband.

“Deactivate communications.” With a beep, the intercoms are off. Christian groans slightly. He hasn’t even moved. “What do you need, baby?” I ask him.

“I have vhat I need vight heer,” he says, sluggishly as he pulls me closer and snuggles into my breast. I stroke his hair again and he groans.

“Christian, does that hurt?” I ask in disbelief.

“I got da headache,” he says. Now he doesn’t sound sluggish. He sounds like he’s slurring.

“We’ll need to get you something for that, but you need to eat first.” He groans again just as there’s a knock on our bedroom door. “I have to get that, Christian.”

“Tell dem to go avay.” His speech is getting worse.

“It might be breakfast, baby. Let me get up.” He groans and releases me, allowing me to slide from under him. I grab my robe and I crack the door. It’s Windsor.

“I’m sorry to disturb you, Mrs. Grey, but your father is here.” I frown. Is it even 9:00 yet?

“Thank you.” He nods once and walks away. I turn back around to Christian and he is fast asleep—in that small bit of time. I shake my head. If Daddy’s here to talk about what I think he’s here to talk about, then this is perfect timing… when my husband is so weak and battered that he can’t stay awake for ten seconds. I slide into one of my large maternity shirts and leave our bedroom, careful not to wake Christian.

Fuck the elevator, I’m taking the stairs.

When I get to the grand entry, I see that Windsor has taken my father to the formal living room, so I join him there.

“Hi, Daddy.” I kiss my father on the cheek, and stand next to him.

“Hey, Sunflower. Don’t you want to sit?” Not really, because I know what this conversation is going to entail, but I don’t want to tell him that. So I tell him the other truth.

“These days, Daddy, I don’t sit until I absolutely have to or until I know I’m going to be sitting for a while. It’s terror trying to get up,” I say with a soft smile.

“I can only imagine,” he says sympathetically. “How’s Christian?”

“Not good,” I answer matter-of-factly. “He had a terrible time sleeping and I was awake most of the night. I’m going to have to convince him to go to the hospital because I don’t know what kind of damage is done to his face or inside his mouth.” I didn’t want to tell Christian, but that miracle tea didn’t help much.

“Brian’s staying with us for a while.” I cross my arms.

“Well, he is your friend,” I say dismissively.

“He looks terrible, Annie. He feels even worse.”

“So?” I declare. “Did you come over to plead his case? Because if you did, you can save your breath.”

“I just want you to see things from both points of view. He’s my friend…”

“Well, I feel sorry for you, but I don’t feel sorry for your friend.”

“He’s in really bad shape.”

“I don’t care, Daddy.”

“Annie, Christian is not completely blameless in this,” he persists. “They did this to each other.”

“And why?” I nearly yell. “I’ve told Brian more than once that I didn’t want him; I want Christian. I’ve told him more than once that this is where I belong and this was his response! I’m Christian’s wife! I’m Mrs. Grey! He was fighting for me!”

“That’s exactly why he shouldn’t have been fighting,” my father argues. “He already had the prize. What was there left to fight for?” I look at him horrified.

“So now this is Christian’s fault?” I scream. “This man makes considerable unwanted and unrequited advances at another man’s wife and God only knows what he said when I wasn’t around! What would you do if this was Mandy?” Daddy actually winces at the thought. Yeah, it doesn’t feel so good, does it? “You’re wrong, Daddy. That’s exactly why he shouldn’t have had to fight! Brian knows as well as anybody else what would bring Christian to his boiling point faster than anything else and it’s me. Am I happy that these two grown-ass men turned into Neanderthals and beat the shit out of each other? No, but under the circumstances, I wouldn’t expect anything less from my husband!”

“He looks like hell, Annie. He couldn’t even drive.”

“And Christian couldn’t even see. Jason damn near had to carry him upstairs.”

“He had to go to the hospital…”

“I wouldn’t care if he had to go to the morgue!” I point to the second floor towards my bedroom. “That is my husband! My family! When that bleach blonde bitch attacked my husband with my gun, I tried to kill her! Had I not thought Christian was dead already, she would be! Now this asshole attacks my husband over something that he can never have… ever! He was brutal! And cruel!” I say through my teeth. “This wasn’t a fight—this was a message. Christian’s a smart man and I don’t know if he got it, but I got it loud and clear.” Daddy frowns.

“Annie, what are you talking about? What message?” He was trying to deface my husband. When it comes to me and Christian, some people can’t quite grasp the concept that I love him just because of who he is. It has to be the face or the money. Granted, his physical attraction is appealing, but that’s not the only reason I love him.

“You ask your friend,” I say. “You look him in the eye and you ask him honestly what kind of message he was trying to send when he did this to my husband, and if he’s your friend, he’ll tell you. Now, I have nothing else to say about Brian Cholometes and I certainly don’t want to hear you defend him. He attacked my family; he’s dead to me!”

“Annie, he didn’t attack Christian…” he continues like he’s not hearing what I’m saying.

“Daddy, I love you, but if defending that man was the sole purpose of your visit, I think you should leave.” He stares at me. I don’t think he can believe what he just heard.

“You’re kicking me out, Annie?” he asks, horrified and crestfallen. I steel myself for what I’m about to say to my father.

“I’m saying that I don’t want to talk to or about your friend anymore. I’m about to have breakfast with Christian and you are free to stay and have breakfast with us, but if you intend to continue to defend that man for what he did to my husband, then yes—I’m kicking you out, Daddy.” I don’t waver when I’m speaking to him. I mean exactly what I say. He looks like he’s going to head for the door until he looks over my shoulder and grimaces horribly. I turn around to see that Christian is standing just outside of the living room in the area beyond the grand entry. I do a double-take back to Daddy.

“I take it from your expression that he looks a lot worse than Brian,” I say to my awestruck father who doesn’t say a word and involuntarily roll my eyes. I turn to my husband, standing there in bare feet, a T-shirt, and pajama pants. “What are you doing out of bed?”

“I hurth yellink,” he says, his voice weak. “I juth vanteth to make thure you vere okay.”

“And what were you going to do?” I say, walking over to him—more to help him stand up than anything, “Rescue me?”

“If I hadth to,” he says, looking up at Daddy, “but now I thee it vath a valth alarm. Hi, Vray.”

“Christian,” Daddy says, frowning deeply. “How are you feeling, son?”

“Not tho goot,” Christian replies. “I’ve theen vetter dayth.” I look at my husband and I’m certain he’s going to need medical attention. He looks worse than he did last night.

“Daddy, we’re going to have to give you a raincheck on breakfast,” I say, looking at Christian with begging eyes. Please don’t give me a hard time. You need to go to the hospital.

“Of course,” he says, still distracted by Christian’s appearance. He brings his gaze down to me. “I see, now, Annie. I understand. I’m so sorry, Sunflower.” I just nod and hold on to my husband. “I hope you feel better really soon, son,” Daddy adds.

“Thank you, Vray,” Christian answers. “Thorry about your fwendth.” Daddy just shakes his head and shrugs uncertainly before heading to the door without another word.

“I need you to sit down,” I say to Christian and he nods.

“Vutterfy… I need to go to the hothpital…” and he drops.

“ACTIVATE TWO-WAY COMMUNICATIONS!” Beep… “JASOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOONNNN!”

*-*

I don’t know how I got here, but I open my eyes in the hospital… in the bed… in a gown… with an IV!

What the hell?

There’s nobody in this room with me and I have no fucking idea why I’m here. The last time I woke up in a hospital room, I lost my fucking memory. I look down at my stomach—still as big as a house. Check! Now, where’s my goddamn husband? He’s the one that was supposed to come to the damn hospital! I push that call button like the room is on fire.

“Yes?”

“I need to see a doctor… or a nurse… or somebody… needs to tell me what the fuck is going on!” Why am I so foul-mouthed right now? I don’t know. Even my thoughts are foul, but somebody needs to tell me what the fuck is going on!

“Um… I’ll be right there.” She disconnects and I fold my arms. I’m impatient. I want to know what the hell is going on! I don’t know how long it is before she comes into the room, but it seems to take forever.

“Mrs. Grey, I’m Hillary…” Save me the pleasantries.

“Why am I hooked up to this? Why am I here?” I demand.

“You were brought in earlier today because your blood pressure was extremely high and you passed out,” she tries to explain.

“Pregnant women pass out!” I retort, angry that I’m hooked up to these machines with no idea why.

“Your blood pressure was dangerously high, Mrs. Grey. It’s bad for the babies. You’re in danger of hypertension and possibly preeclampsia.” I purse my lips and some machine next to me starts to beep.

“Where is my husband?” I ask through clenched teeth.

“Mr. Grey is resting,” she says. “He was admitted with you. He has some minor injuries that require he be held for observation.”

“I want to see him,” I say finitely.

“Mrs. Grey, you’re under observation as well. I’m afraid…” That’s usually followed by some denial of my most recent request, which was to see my husband. Yeah, I’ve had enough of that shit. I start undoing the monitors and the leads attached to my chest as well as the cuff that apparently takes my blood pressure over regular intervals.

“Mrs. Grey!” she exclaims and pushes some button frantically, no doubt calling for assistance. I turn to her and speak very calmly.

“Not that this part matters to you, but I’m a doctor. However, even if I wasn’t a doctor, I would know that since I’m not a psychiatric patient, you can’t keep me here against my will. You can’t even treat me against my will and since my husband is currently somehow incapacitated, you can’t even garner his support in this matter. So, the way I see it, Hillary, you have three choices. I can rip these monitors and this IV off of me and go find my husband, you can release me AMA as fast as your little feet can take you, or you can get whoever you just called to get a goddamn wheelchair and a blanket and take me and whatever machines will roll with me to my husband’s room… now! The choice is yours.”

I sit on the edge of the bed with the machines partially disconnected and wait for her decision. Anything other than she’s taking me to see my husband means that I will be leaving this place in this gown if I have to.

“And where the hell is my security?” I bark. She’s turning pale.

“I… we… assured him that you would be perfectly safe, Mrs. Grey. He wouldn’t leave the floor but…” I scoff at her weak explanation.

“He’s supposed to be outside my door,” I nearly growl. “Nobody—not even you—is supposed to be able to get into this room without his clearance. Loud voices would have brought him into this room. Where is he?” Christian would be shitting bricks right now.

“That’s not the way it works here, Mrs. Grey…” She begins with a scolding tone. Not the way…?

“Lady, are you aware that not a month ago, someone tried to kill me?” I ask bemused. “I was in a coma for two weeks. I go nowhere without my security. Now where the fuck is he?”

“Mrs. Grey!” Okay, that tone is scolding me for my language and she’s not giving me any answers or doing anything I asked of her. I’m now sliding out of bed and removing the tape from the IV. “Okay, okay, Mrs. Grey, what do you want?”

“I’ve already told you what I want and I’m not interested in your stalling tactics.” I gently slide the IV out of my arm and bend it at the elbow to prevent bleeding. I brush past her and out the door into the hallway and I can feel the air on my ass. They couldn’t even get me a maternity gown!

“Ben!” I yell loudly. “Benjamin Lawrence!” I look up and Ben is sprinting down the hall.

“Ana, what are you doing out of bed?” he scolds.

“Why weren’t you at my door?” I demand. He frowns.

“They wouldn’t let me… I thought you knew.”

“No, Annie Wilkes here won’t answer my questions and she’s treating me like I’m twelve. I recognize and understand that I’m a little more high-strung than usual, but she should understand that, too!”

“Ana, calm down, please… your blood pressure is what got you here,” Ben pleads.

“I understand that,” I growl, attempting to calm myself. “What I want to know right now is where is my husband, why you weren’t at my door…” I look around and realize that I am in completely unfamiliar surroundings. “… And where the hell are we?”

“You’re at Mercer I…” I hold up my hand to silence him.

“Why are we in a strange hospital? Where’s Jason?”

“Jason is with Mr. Grey, I think. He and Chance…”

“… Are both with Mr. Grey?” I ask. He nods. “So, Mr. Grey gets to have two guards and one guard can’t stand outside my door?” Ben’s face falls.

“I didn’t want to cause any trouble, ma’am,” he says, falling immediately into formality. Still angry, I look up at him.

“Oh, trust me, Ben, I understand. This is not your fault.” He relaxes immediately. “Can you tell me why we’re in a strange hospital? Is Christian in distress?” Just then, about five people in white suits—men and women—come rushing in my direction. I turn to Annie Wilkes or Hillary or whatever the fuck her name is.

“If any one of them touches me…” and I just smirk at her. As they get close to me she holds up her hand.

“Stop!” she commands them. They all freeze when they get to her. I slowly turn back to Ben.

“Strange hospital?” I ask again.

“Neither you nor Mr. Grey were conscious. We didn’t know if you were in distress. We had to get you somewhere quickly. This was the closest option.” I nod.

“Okay,” I say pursing my lips. I need results and arguing isn’t going to do it. “Get Jason down here, now. Please inform him that Her Highness is about to go nuclear.”

Her Highness,” I hear from someone in the group of white scrubs, “one of those rich bitches, I see.” I turn around to meet the eyes of the smirking woman that made the comment.

“You know what? I could be a bigger person and pretend that I didn’t hear that, but I don’t want to,” I say with biggest, phoniest smile I can muster. “ My treatment alone screams that I need a to launch an all-out fact-finding mission and campaign to ascertain just how many people feel they have been mistreated at this hospital.” Her expression hardens. “I’m a billionaire’s rich, pampered bitch wife, right? So I have nothing but time on my hands,” I snarl. Her hardened expression softens and a hair of concern flashes across her face. Another time for this shit. Right now…

I fold my arms and wait silently there for Jason. Christian must not be far away, unless this hospital is only as big as a shoebox, because Jason is walking towards me in record time.

“Ana! What’s going on? Why aren’t you in bed?” he scolds.

“You tell me!” I say my arms flailing. “As far as I can tell, I was brought to this trade school because my blood pressure was high and I passed out. My blood-pressure most likely shot up because my husband fell unconscious at my feet. I woke up in a hospital room with nobody there and no idea how I got here—you know how well that went over the last time it happened.” I point to Annie Wilkes. “She won’t answer any of my questions about where my husband is and has most likely called this Party of Five to restrain me. My security wasn’t outside my door and she’s been speaking to me in a condescending tone since I met her instead of answering my questions. I still don’t know if Christian is dead or alive, incapacitated, distressed, shanghaied by pirates, what. She’s supposedly so concerned about my goddamn blood pressure, but won’t tell me where my fucking husband is!” Jason is waving his hands now.

“Okay, okay, okay. Wait, wait, one thing at a time.” He turns to Ben. “Why weren’t you at her door?”

“I was told that I wasn’t allowed to be in this area, sir,” Ben responds. “I stayed as close as they would allow me and I always had the door in my sights.” Jason sighs heavily like he is trying to reign in his temper.

“You are NEVER to be outside of six feet of her if she’s incapacitated. If she’s in a hospital or some type of private meeting, you are NEVER to voluntarily leave your post outside of her door unless you are relieved! If anyone besides one of your colleagues tries to make you leave your post, you vehemently refuse. If they try to remove you by force, you have the right to defend yourself—then, we sue them.”

The Party of Five is slowing putting more distance between them and us as Jason simultaneously scolds Ben while informing these idiots that they really don’t have the power they thought they did.

“Most likely, if you don’t cooperate with their demands,” Jason continues, “they will threaten to call the authorities. Let them. They will either back down at that point or proceed to call the police. When the authorities arrive, if you are polite and explain the situation, they most often take our side. If, on the other hand, you have that rare occasion where they are not on our side, you still don’t leave your post unless they drag you away in cuffs. As you already know, we have a bail fund for things like that. Then we’ll sue them all. Is anything I said unclear?”

“No, sir,” Ben answers dutifully, “quite clear.” Jason turns to me then scans the halls quickly. Finding a linen cart just beyond the nurse’s station, he snatches a blanket and throws it over the back of me and my shoulders—no more breeze on my butt.

“Your husband is currently in a room resting peacefully. He’s had some tests done and his wounds have been dressed. They should have been dressed when he sustained them, but we couldn’t see them for the swelling and he wouldn’t have let us near them anyway. he barely let the paramedics check him out when they carted that other asshole to the hospital. He’s under some pretty heavy meds because he needs the rest. I’ll take you to him.” I sigh and nod.

“Jason, in the future, if we are not in immediate danger of exsanguination, Seattle Gen. If we’re not suffocating and in need of an emergency tracheotomy, Seattle Gen. If I go into labor and there’s a baby’s head sticking out from between my legs, SEATTLE GEN!” Jason grimaces at the thought. “You’re a father. Stop acting all squeamish!” I close the blanket around my body. “Get Grace on the phone. Get us to Seattle Gen. You have an hour.” He nods once and starts dialing. “And find out who she is!” I snap, pointing to the smart-aleck bitch that made the comment about me earlier. I turn to Ben.

“Get my personal effects, get me a wheelchair, and get me to my husband. You have five minutes.” He nods and walks to the nurse’s station. I turn to Annie Wilkes.

“Get out of my way!” I don’t give her a time limit. She steps aside and I walk back into the room. I find a second gown and put it on over and opposite the first one to cover my ass. I clean the blood off my arm with a washcloth and some cold water. The bleeding has stopped, so I don’t bother looking for a bandage. My hair is a fright and there’s nothing I can do about it. I’m feeling lightheaded and realize that there probably is an issue with my blood pressure now that my adrenaline is beginning to drop, but they won’t be treating me here. I probably was a bit of a bitch, I don’t doubt it one bit, but I don’t care. This could have all been avoided had she simply given me the information that I asked for. In scanning my surroundings and myself, I notice that something very important is missing.

Ben knocks, then steps into the room and hands me a small bag. He’s saying something, but I can’t hear him. I reach into the bag and remove the long maternity shirt I was wearing.

“Is this it?” I ask horrified.

“That’s what you were wearing when the ambulance arrived, ma’am,” Ben responds. That wasn’t all I was wearing!

“Where are my rings?” I demand. Ben frowns.

“What?” His eyes immediately go to my hands.

“My rings! Where are my wedding rings?” I’m getting a little frantic now and he’s not answering fast enough. “Jason!” I snatch the door open. Annie Wilkes is still standing there and so is Jason, now with a wheelchair. He’s not on the phone anymore, so I assume he has already made that crucial call. Now, he’s looking at me with a look in his eye that screams “Where’s the fire now?”

“Wedding ring!” is all I can say. If my rings are gone…

“I have his ring,” Jason says in an attempt to douse the fire before it rages out of control.

“Not his! Mine!”

“Uh-what?!” His eyes, like Ben’s, go to my hand. While Ben’s exclamation was more of surprise, Jason’s is seeping with anger. He turns immediately to Ben.

“You don’t have her rings?” He hisses at Ben, who turns white. Jason, on the other hand, turns red. “Go. Find. Her fucking. Rings!” he barks threatening. Ben scurries off like a wounded dog. Jason stands behind my wheelchair and I quietly take a seat. I can’t say anymore. I’m exhausted. I just want my husband and my rings. Though I can’t see him, I can imagine the snarl that he must be giving to the people standing in front of us because they part like the Red Sea. He begins to push me down the hall to the elevator.

“Jason,” I say softly when we’re out of earshot.

“Yes, Your Highness?” he responds curtly.

“Don’t be too hard on Ben,” I advise. “You’ve been with us for years. You know the routine before we do. Chuck’s been with me for a while. He would have known what to do. Ben…” I don’t want to make Ben look bad at all, so I just let my last words leave the impression. “Don’t be too hard on Ben.”

“He better find those fucking rings,” he says after a pause.

“I’m with you on that,” I concur.

Yes, the hospital is about as big as a shoebox, because in no time flat, I’m sitting next to my husband’s bed. There’s gauze around his head, covering his eye—the one that’s not swollen shut. When he wakes up, he’s going to be frantic, because he won’t be able to see. There are more bandages on his face and a brace on his wrist. Neanderthals…

I wheel myself up to the head of his bed. I kiss his forehead and gently stroke his curls. I can’t stop the tears that fall. I don’t understand why they had to do this. To the victor goes the spoils, I know, but there was no fight to begin with. I love Christian. I don’t want Brian. I never wanted Brian. Nothing good could have come from this. This is all my fault. I wasn’t firm enough with Brian, or I didn’t make it clear enough to Christian that he’s the only man for me. What could I have done to prevent this?

“Mrs. Grey?” A man’s voice breaks me from my contemplation, but doesn’t halt my tears. “I’m Dr. Alexander. I’m Mr. Grey’s doctor.” I don’t really acknowledge his presence as I can’t quite stop crying. “He’ll be fine, Mrs. Grey. He just needs rest.”

“That’s… good to hear,” I say with shuddering breaths, never taking my eyes off Christian.

“Would you like to know what’s going on?” he asks. His voice is soothing, like he’s talking to a frightened animal. Right now, he is. I just nod as I continue to stroke my husband’s hair.

“I’m told you’re a doctor. It’ll be refreshing not to have to translate.” He pauses for a moment and waits for a response. I don’t have one, so he continues. “Both eyes have suffered traumatic injury. The red eye—iritis, commonly called uveitis. We’re treating it with steroid drops. It should be better in a couple of days, completely fine in a week. He’ll want to return to his regular doctor for follow-up after that.” Geez, does Christian have a regular doctor? That’s something I never knew.

“The other eye—just a really bad black eye, for the most part. He’s just going to have to wait for the swelling to go down. Ice packs and rest, that’s all we can really do for it at this point. He has three loose teeth. One of them is really loose. He’s going to need to see a dentist. We ran a CT scan to be safe. He has some mild contusions to his head—nothing life threatening, but he’s going to have a headache for a while.” I keep stroking his hair.

“Anything else I need to know?” I ask, still gazing at my husband.

“No ma’am. Rest and meds. He’ll be fine.”

“Thank you, Dr. Alexander. Please make a copy of his chart and have it ready for transfer. I’ll be transporting him to Seattle General very shortly.”

“Mrs. Grey, I can assure you that we can take extremely good care of your husband here.” I turn my gaze to him.

“That may be so, doctor, I don’t know; but your staff has made it perfectly clear that they can’t take care of me.” I speak with no malice and wait for a reaction or rebuttal. I get none, so I turn my attention back to my ailing husband. I only have a few moments to sit alone with him and lament his condition before Ben steps quietly into the room, his face solemn. He immediately presents my wedding and engagement rings.

“They were in the hospital safe,” he says. “Ana, I’m sorry.”

I take the rings from him and put them back on my finger where they belong. I take a deep cleansing breath and let it out as relief floods through me for the first time today. I look up at Ben, who is gazing at me with sincere apology in his eyes.

“I’m with my husband. I have my rings. Don’t worry. Everything’s going to be okay,” I say in a comforting voice. He nods once and turns to the door. As he’s leaving, Jason is entering. I shake my head and say nothing. I had to go into the hallway nearly naked and scream for Ben, but Christian’s room is Grand Central Station. God, I miss Chuck!

“Do I need to hire a private ambulance to get us the hell out of here?” I ask Jason softly.

“No. No, that won’t be necessary. I spoke to Dr. Grey and she’s making all of the arrangements at Seattle Gen. Gail and Marilyn will meet us at the hospital to make sure you have everything that you need. Of course, neither of you have your phones, so they’ll be at the hospital…”

“I don’t want to talk to anybody,” I tell him. “I don’t know who you need to call to tell them about Christian’s condition—Ros, Al, I don’t know—but he’s going to be out of commission for at least a good week or two.” He nods.

“Ana?” He calls my name gently, like a father. “When you get to Seattle Gen, would you please do what they ask you to do? If anything happens to you because of this, he’s going to kill Cholometes, and none of us is going to be able to stop him.”

I know that he’s right, because I want to kill Cholometes right now. I nod.

“I will, Jason,” I reply, mostly because I’m exhausted and I have no fight left in me. He sighs almost unnoticeably and I realize that this must have been a stressful situation for him, too. Both of us were incoherent and he had to make whatever decisions he could.

“Transport should be here in a few minutes or so.” I nod and he leaves the room.

“Ada! Ada!” Christian’s frantic voice awakens me. I must have dozed off. He still has the bad lisp from his swollen mouth and loose teeth. His arms are flailing and his hands immediately fly to his eyes. I grab his wrists before he has the opportunity to start clawing at his bandage.

“Baby! Stop! Please, stop!” My voice is urgent, but gentle. He calms only slightly, his hands still shaking, panting wildly. “You’re fine, baby. Your eyes are fine. Remember, one is swollen shut. The other has a bandage over it. You need to rest them, okay?”

“Okay! Okay!” He attempts to calm himself, but I can tell that he’s still frantic, anxious, and displaced.

“I’m here, baby,” I say calmly, bringing his hand to my face. “I’m right here.”

“Okay,” he says again, his breathing calmly marginally. “Okay.” A few moments later, Jason walks into the room and sees me basically lying on top of Christian holding his arms.

“What’s wrong?” he asks immediately.

“He woke up and couldn’t see,” I tell Jason. He looks over at Christian.

“You okay, boss?” he asks, concerned. Christian’s Adam’s apple bobs as he swallows hard.

“Juth… juth gimme a minute…” He’s still breathing heavily.

“The ambulance is here,” Jason says, lowly. Christian’s muscles tighten.

“Ambulanth…”

“We’re at some quack hospital on Mercer Island and I demanded that we be transported to Seattle Gen immediately!” I say firmly. He needs to know that I have this particular situation under control.

“Okay,” he says. His “okays” are a little less breathy and frantic now. EMTs come into the room.

“Seattle General?” I ask, expecting.

“Yes, ma’am,” one of the EMT’s respond and I nod. I turn back to Christian.

“Baby, I’m going to move and let them transfer you from the bed to the stretcher, okay?” He freezes again but nods.

“Okay.” I think that’s all he can say right now.

“Where’s the other patient?” the EMT asks. “I was told that there were two patients.”

“No, we only need one,” I say, making desperate gestures for him to shut up and that I’ll go down in the wheelchair. Thank God, he’s a quick pick-up.

“Yes, ma’am. Will you be riding in the ambulance with him?” He tilts his head a bit to ask the question. I know what he’s asking.

“I definitely will,” I say, opening my arm and showing him the site of my removed IV, now a little swollen and quite purple. He nods.

“Mr. Grey, are you ready?” The second EMT asks.

“Ada?” his voice is anxious again.

“I’m right here, baby,” I assure him. “I’ll be right next to you the whole time.”

“Okay,” and just like that, he’s back in cooperative mode. With a one, two, three, he’s off the bed and on the stretcher and I’m back in the wheelchair. In no time, they’re rolling us out of this correspondence school and loading us into an ambulance bound for greener pastures. Night has fallen and it’s only now that I realize that we have both lost an entire day in this fiasco. Jason helps me into the ambulance and I sit down next to Christian, taking his hand once again. Jason and the EMT’s begin to close the doors.

“Jason…” he pauses. “Don’t be too hard on him,” I remind him about Ben. Jason eyes me momentarily, then nods before closing the doors.


 

CHRISTIAN

I’m only remembering bits and pieces of what’s happened. I remember telling Butterfly that I needed to go to the hospital and then nothing. I remember waking up and I couldn’t see, then hearing her sweet voice tell me that everything was okay. I remember her holding my hand through the ambulance ride and stroking my hair. It was very relaxing and I wanted to go back to sleep, but I couldn’t. I was too wound up. The next thing I know, I’m waking up again. I’m in the bed alone. I know that she’s not with me and I try not to panic.

“Vutterfly?” I call to her in a controlled voice. I hear movement in the room.

“Hey, Boss.” It’s Jason—comforting, but not the voice I expected.

“Jathon,” I respond.

“How are you feeling?” he asks.

“A little dithplathed without my thight,” I answer honestly. “Vare’th Vutterfly?”

“She’s here,” says. “She’s resting.”

“Vy ithn’t thee rethinck over here vith me?”

“Well, you gave us a real scare, Boss.” His voice gets closer. “There’s a few things I need to tell you… as your friend. I need you to stay calm. Nothing’s wrong, but I need to bring you up to speed on some things. Can you stay calm while I do that?”

I sigh heavily. We’re in a hospital. I’m hearing Jason’s voice instead of Butterfly’s voice, I can’t see, and I don’t know what’s going on. He wants me to stay calm. How the fuck am I supposed to stay calm?

“Can you thit me up, pleathe?” I ask. I hate lying on my fucking back. If Butterfly were here… awake, she’d know this. Jason does something and I hear the hum and feel the top of the bed rising. I’m going to have to stay calm because I’m going to serve nothing by getting upset and even if I do, there’s nothing that I can do without my eyesight.

“You haven’t answered my question, Boss,” he says. I take in a deep cleansing breath and let it out. It’s surprisingly relaxing.

“I’ll thay calm,” I say, my voice resolved.

“Ana’s here. She’s in the room with us. You’re in a double-room, private with two beds. She’s asleep in the bed next to you. When you passed out, her blood-pressure skyrocketed. Once she got help to you, she crashed and passed out, too. We had to bring you both in. That’s how you ended up at the medical center in Mercer. You were both unconscious and we didn’t know if either one of you were in distress, so we had to get you to the nearest facility. The situation turned out to be a fiasco, because Her Highness woke up first and the staff was less than accommodating to her requests. I’ll let her tell you about that experience.

“Anyway, she grabbed the bull by the horns, raised hell, turned that place upside and got you both transferred to Seattle Gen. Grace has been in twice to check on both of you. Basically, you both just need rest so that you can mend and recover. Her Highness is in danger of hypertension and preeclampsia. They couldn’t get her IV’s in and they couldn’t get the baby monitors on because she wouldn’t leave your side, so she had to be gently sedated so that she can rest and bring her blood pressure down.

“This is what we need from you now. We need you to know and understand that everything is okay. Even though you can’t see, we need you to be the strong one. You just need rest so that your eyes can heal. You took a pretty bad beating; they did a CT-scan; you’re fine. You know as well as I do that it’s pretty common to be light-headed after the beating that you took. Her Highness, on the other hand, is at a higher risk than you. If she does develop preeclampsia, she may have to deliver those babies early. So we need her to stay calm. If she’s worried about you, that’s not going to happen. She needs to be comfortable, quiet, and she needs not be excited about anything. It’s severe enough that they are willing to get you two out of here and get you home and send a nurse to the Crossing, because they know she’s not going to relax here.

“I know that being without your sight is a debilitation that no one wants, but I need you to be the strong one here because if you don’t, she will, and that could be catastrophic. Can you do that, Boss?”

None of this is what I want to hear. He keeps saying be calm; he keeps saying everything is going to be okay; then he drops this horrible bomb on me. Quite frankly, I’m freaking the fuck out right now, but if I don’t cover this shit like a pro, Butterfly is the one that’s going to pay for it. I’m literally up for the performance of my life!

“I have thum quethtionth,” I say calmly.

“Okay.” I hear caution in his voice.

“You thay ve vere at thum hole on Merther. Apparently, that’th vare her high vlood pwethure vath thithcovered. Correct?”

“Yes, sir.”

“If they vere tho contherned about hyperthenthion and preeclampthia, vy vere they leth than accommothating to her?”

“She would have to tell you that. I walked into the middle of it and by the time I got there, they were all either stunned or scrambling like roaches. As I understand it, she dropped the bomb that heads were going to roll because of the way that she was treated and she fully intends to execute that promise.”

“Thee’th not goink to exthecute anything,” I clarify. “You are. Vind out every perthon that gave her throuble or cauthe for conthern; every perthon that vithheld informathion or thithn’t immethiately rethpont to any of her requethth. My vife ith in danther of developing a condithion that can cauth the premathure birth of our children. Any of thothe motherfuckerth that thithn’t treat her like the goddamn queen of England, I vant to know who they are. I vant somebody’th head lopped off and mounthed on my offithe wall by the end of the week. Any quethtionth?”

“That’s him!” Jason exclaims quietly. “That’s the guy I’m looking for. That’s who we need. Anything else you want, Boss?”

“Do you have any idea vat her vlood pwethure vath like before thee vent to thleep?”

“Well, they won’t tell me much, because I’m not… you, but I could visibly see that she was doing better once we got you guys out of Mercer. She was a little high once we got you guys here and started to get you settled in, but she’s wearing this cuff that takes her blood pressure every few minutes, and it looks like it’s down. It’s going to be lower while she’s asleep anyway, though.” I nod.

“That’th good. Let her reth, then.” I take a moment to recall the conversation before we left the first hospital. “Tho there vere two pathientth that had to be tranthported… thee vath the thecond.” There’s a pause.

“Yes sir, that’s true,” he admits. “She was hand-signaling and gesturing wildly so that no one would let the cat out of the bag. We were lucky that the EMT’s were quick on the pick-up. Real professional guys. Grace met us at the door when we got here and took care of everything else.” I nod.

“Vat time ith it?” I ask. More silence.

“It’s about 11am, Boss. It’s Friday morning.” Friday morning! I lost a whole damn day!

Stay calm. Stay calm.

“How long hath thee been athleep?”

“All night.”

“Tho ve’re talking like twelve hourth?” I ask.

“Yes, sir.” I sigh heavily.

“Can you pleathe find out vat’th okay for my vife to eat, then get it here. No hothpital food. Thee won’t eat hothpital food. Onthe it geth here, find out how ve can gently routh her. Thee needth to eat and thee needth to feed the babieth.”

“Yes, sir. Williams is outside the door. He can hear you if you call, but I’ll be right back after I find out what she can eat.”

“Good man.” I hear the doors open and close, then silence except for an occasional beeping from the machines next to me, or next to Butterfly.

I feel like a stupid fool—a grade-A stupid asshole. I let this jerk egg me on until he goaded me into a fight. He got just what he wanted from this. I can’t talk and I look like hell. On top of everything else, my beautiful, delicate wife is now sick and in danger of having to deliver our children. I am an idiot!

“Christian?” Her voice is frail and weak. She’s still under the sedation. Showtime.

“Yeth, Vutterfly?”

“Are you okay?” she squeaks.

“I’m fine, Baby. Jathon ith gonna get uth thum food. I vant you to reth until he cumth back, okay?”

“Okay.” I swear not ten seconds later, her breathing is rhythmic again. I take a bow and the curtain falls.

All this time she’s been strong for me. She wouldn’t even let me know that she was the other patient. She was still taking care of me when she was in danger herself. None of this would have happened if I hadn’t given in to that asshole.

Her blood pressure had probably already been high since Wednesday night. I was pretty out of it, but I remember Jason telling her that she wouldn’t be able to get me upstairs. That means that she tried. She already knew how bad it was.

When I woke up in bed alone after collapsing the moment we got to the owner’s suite, I remember going in search of her. She was in her parlor on the phone with someone. I wasn’t sure who it was, but later discovered that it was Cholometes and Ray, and she was furious…

“Bullshit! Those hits were deliberate. You were trying to prove a point. Congratulations, you proved it. He looks hideous! And you know what? I’m going to go back into that room and I’m going to put my arms around him and I’m going to hold him until he feels better. I’m going to dress his wounds, I’m going to wait on him hand and foot, I’m going to kiss him wherever he can tolerate a kiss, and we are going to stay in this house until he feels better. So congratulations, you selfish sonofabitch, your stunt only proved to bring us closer. Now, I mean it, Cholometes. I never want to see your fucking face again in my fucking life! Goodbye, Daddy!”

I wished I could have been a fly on the wall when Cholometes heard those words, but through my good eye—or what I thought was my good eye—I could see my wife weeping bitterly. That’s when her blood pressure was rising, either then or when her not-so-prize-fighting husband came home unable to raise his head.

The next day—yesterday—I remember her talking to Gail about bacon puree… yuck! I don’t even remember her getting out of the bed, but I do remember waking up to her yelling at somebody. When I stood up, the room was spinning like I was hungover, but I had to get to Butterfly. I made it to the landing overlooking the living room and I saw her yelling at her father after he told her that Cholometes had to go to the hospital…

“I wouldn’t care if he had to go to the morgue! That is my husband! My family! When that bleach blonde bitch attacked my husband with my gun, I tried to kill her! Had I not thought Christian was dead already, she would be! Now this asshole attacks my husband over something that he can never have… ever! He was brutal! And cruel! This wasn’t a fight—this was a message. Christian’s a smart man and I don’t know if he got it, but I got it loud and clear.”

My wife is very smart. She figured out exactly what that asshole was doing. Cholometes may have succeeded at defacing me, but it only served to piss my wife off, not make her turn away from me. I could still hear them arguing when I came down the stairs and I think I heard Butterfly kicking her father out of the house. His reaction when he saw me let me know that I must have looked pretty bad. I never bothered to look in a mirror at any time after the fight. I guess I should have…

“Christian, how are you feeling, son?”
“Not too good. I’ve seen better days.”
“Daddy, we’re going to have to give you a raincheck on breakfast.”
“Of course. I see, now, Annie. I understand. I’m so sorry, Sunflower. I hope you feel better really soon, son.”
“Thanks, Ray. Sorry about your friend.”

I remember feeling the room tilt and I knew I needed to get to the hospital. Something was really wrong. I don’t remember if I said it or not before I passed out, but I was just gone before I woke up in the hospital and couldn’t see.

It’s my fault that Butterfly isn’t well right now. She had better make a full recovery or Cholometes is a dead man, but it’s my fault that she’s here. I’m so damn cocky, always having to prove I’m the stronger man. I’ll admit that it felt good kicking his ass, but at what cost?

His biggest weapon was a dead woman that had a miscarriage last year. There was a possibility of scandal, but that was it. There’s no way to tie the baby to me since my relationships were not public. It had no effect on me whatsoever—it really didn’t, but the fact that he dug so deeply to find such an inconsequential morsel of information was proof positive that he was never going to go away. He was never going to stop and we were never going to have any peace. When I saw the opportunity to get rid of him once and for all without having to kill him, I couldn’t let it go.

Now, I’m going to have to be off from work for God only knows how long because I look like I was jumped in an alley somewhere. My wife is sick and I have to do everything in my power to make sure that she doesn’t complicate her current situation. She doesn’t have to worry, though. I have nothing else to say to Cholometes. Even if he reneges and stays in Seattle, I’m completely done with him. He’s officially on the proscribed list. As far as I’m concerned, this was a deliberate act against me, my wife, and my children and to keep from killing him, I can’t see or speak to him ever again.


 

A/N: Ana never ascertained who Hillary was, doctor or nurse, but she keeps referring to her as “Annie Wilkes.” For those who may not know, Annie Wilkes is the ex-nurse in Stephen King’s novel Misery who held her favorite author prisoner in her home and tortured him until he eventually killed her and is later rescued. You may remember the movie where she was portrayed by Kathy Bates.

“Party of Five” was just a play on words. It was an old American television series about five siblings who were orphaned when their parents suddenly died in a car accident, the oldest of which became guardian to the other four and continued to raise them. Five nurses/orderlies/whatever came to subdue Ana when Hillary was pushing some emergency call button.

Pictures of places, cars, fashion, etc., can be found at https://www.pinterest.com/ladeeceo/becoming-dr-grey/

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

Love and handcuffs!
Lynn x

Becoming Dr. Grey: Chapter 31—Head to Head

This is a repetition of the email I sent. If you’ve seen it, you don’t have to read it again. 

I’m sure that you all at some point will see that I go through and “like” some comments and some comments, I don’t–just like on Facebook or Twitter. We don’t all have to like everything; we just keep on cruising. You don’t have to agree with me–that’s fine. Feel free to disagree with me, but you don’t have to be disrespectful when you do it.

This is the last warning I will be issuing. I won’t be issuing any more.

Unless I see the same person doing it over and over and over again, I’m going to start cruising by more dissenting comments. I’m going to start teaching myself that I don’t always have to respond to a dissenting comment. That doesn’t mean that I won’t respond, but I don’t always have to. When and if your dissenting opinion becomes disrespectful, hurtful, repetitive, attacking, or personal, I will delete it. (Repetitive? Why repetitive?) If your dissension repeats for several chapters, then I’ve already read it. I don’t need to read it again. Most likely, our views have taken turns in opposite directions and you may want to stop reading the story at that point. 

If disrespectful, hurtful, repetitive, attacking, or personal dissension continues after that, I will delete youno questions asked.

Anyone who translates this as “Oh, we have to kiss her ass in our comments,” please leave now. I can’t even deal with that sarcasm right now. If you don’t know the difference between respectfully disagreeing with an opinion, character, or storyline, and “kissing my ass,” you really need to leave now. I don’t even want you here and I mean that from the bottom of my heart. 

To all of my readers who have told me: 
“I don’t agree with all of your storylines, but I read anyway.”
“I don’t agree with everything that the characters do, but this is your story and you take it where you want it to go.” 
“Sometimes I want to just slap CG upside the head, but I know that you’re developing the characters, so you just do what you do…”
To all of you, I say “Thank you” for letting me write the story that I want to write. I know that you have thousands of options out there, and you choose to come over here to my corner, even if you don’t always agree with where I’m going. Again, I say, “Thank you.” 

I’ve chewed your ears, long enough…

All prior disclaimers apply…

Chapter 31—Head to Head

ANASTASIA

“It’s not a difficult question, Jason. How many outside access doors do we have, including balconies and patios?” I call Jason on Monday morning since he and Christian left so early. I’ve learned my lesson. He won’t catch me in the cold again without a coat.

“Why would you possibly want to know something like that?” he asks. I sigh.

“Well, if you must know, it’s so that I can have a coat at each door.” There’s a pause.

Hmm,” he says after a beat or three. “I can’t find a reason to argue with that logic. Okay, so there’s the front door, the patio door off the formal living room, the side access door off the formal dining room at the foot of the stairs, the French doors off the family room, the mudroom… “

“Slow down, I have to write this down,” I scold.

“No. No. Ben has a checklist. I’ll have him mark off the doors that you don’t readily have access to and text it to you.”

“What doors would I not have access to in my own home?” I ask.

“I didn’t say not have access to, Mrs. Grey. I said don’t readily have access to—keep your girdle on. And to answer your question, exterior access doors to concealed security suites.” Oops, okay.

“Um, okay. Sorry. Tell Ben not to sleep on that list. I need it pretty quickly.”

“Are you being timed?” he taunts. Yes, I am actually. I don’t want Christian to be aware of what I’m doing. I just want to have it done before he gets home.

“Can you please just keep it to yourself and get me the list?” There’s another pausea pregnant pause, Al would call it.

Okay,” he says, his voice accommodating. I may have just let the cat out of the bag, but I don’t care. Just get me the damn list.

Once the list is compiled, I give Windsor the task of making sure there is an appropriate hook or accessory rack at each door and Mare the responsibility of making sure that I have a maternity coat or wrap at each door. She can even go out to Macy’s or something and buy some if there aren’t enough. I don’t see her or Windsor for the rest of the morning.

We haven’t made contact with our adopted family since the Family Affair and I decide that today would be a good time to reach out to them.

“Hello?”

“Hello, is this Mrs. Radcliff?”

“Yes, it is. Who is this?” She sounds cautious.

“Mrs. Radcliff, this is Anastasia Grey…”

“Anastasia Grey… really?” she sounds skeptical. “I’ve heard about you on television. Why would you be calling me, Mrs. Grey?”

“Well, my husband and I were chosen to ‘adopt’ you and your family in the Greater Seattle Adopt-A-Family Affair.” There’s silence on the line, then a small gasp.

“Oooh!” she exclaims. “I had forgotten all about that! Well, this is wonderful!” She sounds genuinely surprised and pleased.

“I’m glad to hear that,” I reinforce. “I just wanted to talk to you a bit to get a better idea of what you might need this holiday season.” She sighs heavily.

“Well, I don’t really know what to tell you right now, Mrs. Grey,” she begins.

“Ana, please,” I tell her.

“Ana. Thank you. Please call me Thelma. I’ve seen your charity on TV—Helping Hands. I’ve wanted to contact them, but…” she trails off.

“What is it, Thelma?” I ask, fully expecting her to tell me that she’s an abused wife.

“My husband’s a bit of a proud man, but we really need help,” Thelma says. “The baby doesn’t even have a crib. Very little clothes to speak of… I’m breastfeeding, but we don’t even get food stamps so…” She trails off again. I know that means that she’s not eating well, so they’re not eating well. She can’t produce enough milk if she doesn’t eat. At least she didn’t say that she’s a victim of domestic abuse, but this is still not good.

“Were you denied for food stamps?” I ask. She falls silent.

“My husband is a proud man,” she says again. Proud enough to allow his family to starve to death? How did they even get on the Adopt-A-Family Affair list? No matter, we’ve pulled their names and we’re going to make sure they and the baby have enough to be healthy.

“Your list is mostly for the baby. What about you? What do you need?”

We talk for a long time after that and she tries to steer the conversation away from her own needs. I get a good idea what’s going on, though. She has none of the markers of an abused wife that I can tell. I would have to delve a bit deeper to see if she’s suffering any mental cruelty. She respects her husband and his wishes, but she’s not beyond asking for help for her baby.

Mr. Radcliff, however, is a tough sell. He’s just started his job and doesn’t want any handouts from anyone. The problem is that right now, while you’re trying to get back on your feet, your wife and baby are starving and miserable. From what I can tell, it’s going to be a long time before he actually gets caught up. Taking care of a new baby is quite costly and he’s refusing help. Maybe Christian can talk some sense into him, I don’t know. What I do know is that I’m going to be about the business of making sure Thelma and that baby are warm, clothed, have a decent place to sleep and enough to eat.

*-*

By Wednesday morning, I’m very ready to take on some new challenges, as I know I will have to with lunch on the forefront with Addie and her melon-clad granddaughter. Addie’s suggestion for lunch falls right in line with my plans. Marilyn and I will be meeting her and Courtney at the Glendale Country Club in Bellevue. She’s a long-standing member there and being her guest for lunch is very likely to cause a bit of a stir. Marilyn looks fantastic in a high-waist blue pencil skirt with a white long-sleeved shirt and large belt. I felt a bit trollish in my white with black striped maternity dress, cream trench, and Jackie-O’s until Addie greets me.

“Now why couldn’t they make things that cute when I was pregnant?” she laments. I actually blush.

“Thank you, Addie. I’m sure you were quite beautiful when you were with child.” She waves me off.

“You’re sweet, dear, but remember… I was pregnant in the sixties. Those were the days of polyester slacks and shirts with neck bows that were way to large, skirt suits with sailor tops, and those horrid A-line dresses that flattered absolutely nothing.” I chuckle as the waiter pulls my chair out for me.

“I don’t think I would be the one to disparage the clothes of the sixties, Addie,” I say, taking my seat and thanking the waiter. “I’m very partial to vintage clothing.”

“Oh, I’ve seen your version of vintage clothing!” she interjects. “That stunning swing coat that you wore in that last interview… I’ve been dying to know where you found it.”

“To be honest, I don’t remember,” I admit. “I frequent vintage consignment shops and secondhand stores all the time. Well, at least I used to… I just haven’t found the time lately. You can find some real gems if you don’t mind taking the time to look.”

“I’ll have to remember that,” she says with a smile. “Of course, you remember Courtney,” she says, gesturing to the melon queen, now sitting quietly in a stylish and respectable gray dress.

“Of course, Courtney,” I say by means of greeting. “And this is my personal assistant, Marilyn. She helps me to remember the many things that I forget since the accident. Marilyn, this is Adelaide and Courtney Wilson, friends of the Grey family.”

“It’s nice to meet you, Mrs. Wilson, Miss Wilson,” Marilyn says, before taking her seat. I love that she’s the picture of decorum now when we were talking major trash about Courtney not ten minutes ago.

“I’m really honored that you invited me to lunch at the club, Addie. I’ve been wanting to take a tour, but didn’t want all the fanfare that usually goes with an announcement like that.”

“Oh, get used to it, dear,” Addie says. “You will always be surrounded by some sort of fanfare. You’ve married into society. It goes with the territory.” I sigh.

“I’m trying to get used to it,” I tell her. “I’ve never been accustomed to living my life so… out in the open, for lack of a better phrase.”

“Exposure is good,” she protests. “It lets society know who you are and what you stand for. It can work for you or against you, so you have to be careful.” I nod.

“Exposure is good sometimes,” I lament honestly. “No one wants to see getting kidnapped or trials or comas played out live and in living color.” I hold my head down. There are parts of my life that I would really like to keep private… like my suffering. Addie reaches out and touches my hand.

“Unfortunately, that makes the best news,” she says. I raise my eyes to her, twist my lips and shrug.

“It is what it is,” I reply as a means of changing the subject.

“So, tell me about yourself,” she says while getting comfortable in her seat.

“There’s not much to tell, I think,” I tell her. “I was born in Montesano. I spent most of my childhood there and part of it in Vegas—I’m sure you’ve seen the news stories.” She nods.

“I have. It was quite the stir when the story first broke. I really couldn’t imagine having to go through something like that, then having to relive it to identify your assailants.”

“It… was very difficult. It’s the reason I became a psychologist. I didn’t know at first what I wanted to do, but then I spoke to a guidance counselor and she pointed me in the right direction.”

“So you didn’t just want to be a psychologist?” I shake my head.

“I wish I could say that my plight was so noble. No, I didn’t know what I wanted to do. In fact, I was floundering. I was still very young; I didn’t have the guidance of my parents—my choice. I had no idea what I wanted to do. I couldn’t afford therapy to discuss what had happened to me, so I suffered in relative silence. When I learned about the Center for Children and Family Wellness, I used the free services to help me deal with my anger issues and fear. That’s when I talked to the counselor and here I am.” She nods.

“It almost sounds too good to be true,” she says, “that you specifically took a tragic situation and turned it around as a means to help others.” And now she’s feeling me out.

“It is,” I tell her, challenging her obvious analysis and her cliché summary of my plight—not to mention that she hit the nail on the head. She raises an eyebrow at my confession. “I was looking for help. I was afraid and lost and alone. I had no answers as to why these people targeted me. I was afraid for my life for years. I spent many hours—years, in fact—in some kind of therapy and I’m actually still in therapy, dealing with the aftermath of the tragedy that was my childhood.

“Initially, didn’t decide on psychology as a means of helping others. I did it to help myself. I did it to conquer my own fears, to get answers to my own questions. As a result, you end up helping others. It’s the nature of the beast. I was able to let go of my own issues and focus on someone else. I understood that what happened to me—though quite unfair and very tragic—was in the past while the people that I was talking to had real and present problems. As long as I didn’t concentrate on what happened, I didn’t resent it, but things just kept happening to bring it back to the forefront.”

“Really?” she says, and I clearly hear the skepticism in her voice. Good God, this woman is harder to sell than any reporter Christian could have been worried about. I steel myself in my seat and wait for her next accusatory double-entendre. “I seem to remember that the story about the attack hit the news right before your engagement to Christian.” And here we go.

“Like you said, that’s what makes the best news,” I respond, keeping my voice even. “When I met my husband, we didn’t hit it off immediately. I couldn’t stand him.”

“You’re kidding?” she gasps. It’s probably the first sincere reaction she’s had all evening, but I know why she’s skeptical, so I try not to take it personally. I shake my head.

“Oh, I thought he was gorgeous, but he was the most self-important, narcissistic egomaniac I’d ever met in my life. All I wanted to do was get away from him. He actually initiated a background check on me which opened some old closets that had long since remain closed, the biggest being the Green Valley case. I would have been content to leave well enough alone, but not Mr. Grey. No, he had to get to the bottom of it. One thing led to another and somewhere in there we fell in love and moved in together. I let him run with that issue, intent to turn my back on it until I learned that one of my patients who had actually sought me out for dignity therapy was present that night.” She frowns.

“She sought you out?” Her disbelieving tone has returned. At this point, I’ve stopped caring.

“I was her bucket list,” I say, unable to hide the small amount of ire that I still feel towards Melanie. “Here I am, helping her come to grips with her last days and she turned out to be the videographer of the worst night of my life!”

“Oh my God! How macabre!” she exclaims.

“Oh, you have no idea,” I hiss. Come back, Grey. Breathe… “She turned a copy of the video over to me, the original she gave to the attorney general in Vegas. The only reason the story came to light right before our engagement is because my mother’s husband passed away in January and I went to Nevada to his funeral.”

“I thought you said you weren’t close to your parents,” she says.

“No, that’s not what I said,” I reply, looking her square in the eye without faltering. Her eyebrow rises again.

“I stand corrected. Can you refresh my memory?” Now, my eyebrow rises.

“Of course,” I reply. “What I said was that while I was in college, I didn’t have the guidance of my parents and that was my choice.” She nods.

“Yes, now I recall. That is what you said. I just assumed that meant you weren’t close to them.” I smile.

“Careful of assumptions, Addie,” I warn. “You know what they say.”

“Yes, I do know what they say,” she responds. I continue with my story while Courtney and Marilyn remain our captive audience.

“To clarify your misunderstanding, I’m extremely close with my father, Ray, here in Washington. My mother and her late husband, Stephen, are and were quite a different story. I only went to his funeral to make sure that the bastard was dead and to curse his remains.” Her head jerks back in surprise.

“Okay,” she says, apparently more eager to draw this particular topic to a close. You opened the door, lady.

“I visited the attorney general at the same time to kill two birds with one stone. I have no desire to return to Las Vegas if I don’t have to. My husband surprised me at the wedding reception of a good friend in February with a very dramatic proposal that had made the news before we even left the hotel the next day. Some opportunistic reporter felt that this was a good time to mar one of the happiest days of my life with news concerning one of the worst days of my life, hence the ‘coincidental’ simultaneous announcement of my engagement and the breaking story of the Green Valley attack.” Balls back in your court, Addie.

“That’s quite a tale,” she says, sipping her ice tea and gesturing to our waiter while clearing her throat. “Would you ladies like something to drink?” she asks once the waiter arrives. I turn to face him.

“May I ask what’s on the lunch menu?” I ask.

“There are several options, ma’am,” he says. “We have selected entries with chicken, beef, pork, and seafood as well as vegetarian and vegan choices.” I nod.

“I have to ask because I have very violent reactions to the smell of beef since my pregnancy. I’m told it’s not as bad as it was, but I’d hate to chance an embarrassing moment.” Addie turns to our waiter.

“Howard, please make sure that no beef entrees or dishes make it to our table.” He nods.

“Yes, Mrs. Wilson. Drinks, ladies?”

“Can I please have half cranberry juice, half sparkling water in a tall glass over crushed ice? A sprig of mint if you have it.” He nods.

“You, ma’am?” he says to Marilyn.

“Lemonade, please.”

“I’m fine with the iced tea and she’ll have the same,” Addie says about herself and Courtney.

“I wanted Pinot Grigio,” Courtney protests. Addie throws a look at her and she doesn’t even flinch.

“We’ll have iced tea,” Addie repeats. Howard nods and goes off to retrieve our drinks. “So, Ana, I have to warn you. You are about to enter the female version of the Old Boys’ Club. Women are more brutal. We’re catty, vindictive, and scrutinizing. You get in by breeding or marriage and we don’t like outsiders. Your ‘Grey’ name will get you very far everywhere else, but not here. You will either rise to the top like cream or you will be pegged a relentless and unworthy social climber.” She’s unapologetic with her words and Courtney seems to be getting a kick out of the fact that I was just read. These ladies just don’t know me very well.

“Oh, make no mistake, Addie. A social climber is exactly what I am,” I clarify, and she’s taken aback. “I don’t mince words and I don’t dance around the truth. I have a very specific reason for ‘coming out’ into society right now, which is something that I never intended to do. I’m not interested in social climbing per se for the mere sake of climbing. I just want to get to know the right people for the right reasons to do the right things and make the right moves. Consider this—I didn’t even know what Helping Hands was until I met Grace Grey. This cause is ultimately the very reason I got my degree and I didn’t even know this cause existed—proof positive that it needs the right kind of exposure to be able to do what needs to be done for its clientele.”

“So, you’re basically looking for your own notoriety solely for publicity and exposure for your charity.”

“Precisely,” I emphasize. “Grace was never one for the spotlight. I don’t really like it that much, either, but I’m able to draw attention to the cause just by being myself, just because people are curious about who Anastasia Grey is. That’s an asset that I’m more than willing to exploit.”

“That’s very noble, Ana, but Christian clearly knows all the right people. Surely, he could wave his magic Grey wand and get you guys anything you needed.” Coming from anyone else, I would take this as a jibe or an insult, but I know that she’s purposely feeling me out, trying to find my intentions, as well she should. She’s very shrewd, more reason why I definitely need her on my team.

“You’re absolutely right, and all of these years, Grace has turned that down. She didn’t want the fact that her son was giving her money or funding her cause to affect the integrity of the charity. I know that I’m just going to be seen as another charity wife and that’s fine, but that’s precisely one of the reasons that Grace didn’t want to be in the spotlight. She’s doing a full-time job on a part-time basis being the director of this charity. Grace is a successful pediatrician with a thriving practice and a fellow at a major metropolitan Seattle hospital. There’s no way that she could adequately spotlight the needs of the charity without making it look like a backburner project. I’ve closed my practice. All of my ‘patients’ come through the Center and the counseling that I do there. My focus now is my family and the Center. We need people to take us and our mission seriously, and I agree with Grace that her son’s money would just make this look like a pet project.” She nods.

“Again, very noble,” she says. “I see women throw themselves all in to community service and anything possible to gain their fifteen minutes of fame or to anesthetize the fact that they’re trophy wives or stuck in loveless marriages. That’s clearly not the case with you. It’s very refreshing.”

“I do appreciate that, Addie. This is something that’s very important to me. I can’t afford for it to be marred by ulterior motives. I won’t mislead you. It was quite serendipitous that you showed up at my home when you did, even though I wish it was under different circumstances.” I don’t look over at Courtney, but I’m sure she could feel my discontent. “To be honest, I definitely do want to know someone whom Christian has told me is one of the oldest friends of his family. Let’s face it—I’ve met the woman who was supposed to have been the oldest friend of the family and that turned out to be a disaster. So I would really like to be acquainted with someone who isn’t a morally reprehensible piece of pond scum dressed in designer clothes and driving an expensive car.”

“You’re right. You don’t mince words, do you?” she says.

“You gave it to me straight. I’m only extending the same respect.” She nods her approval.

“What’s your impression of Mrs. Grey, Marilyn?” Addie asks. Whoa! I don’t either of us expected that question. You’re interviewing my PA, too? Marilyn thinks fast on her feet. Let’s see how this goes.

“Ever since I’ve known Mrs. Grey, she’s been an advocate for people’s needs. She’s now been put in a position where she can directly affect change on a larger scale. I’ve worked for her for a long time and to be honest, I would follow her wherever she goes… but I have to say that I’m thrilled to be along for this ride. I see her plight, I see what she’s been through and then I see what she does for other people—including me. It’s remarkable. If I ultimately come out of this experience with half of her character, it will have been a worthwhile experience.” I turn to Marilyn in genuine surprise.

“Thank you, Marilyn,” I say sincerely. “I had no idea you felt that way…” and so eloquent.

“Oh, please,” Courtney responds, not low enough. Marilyn throws a pointed glare at her before looking back at Addie.

“Mrs. Wilson, you asked me what I thought of Mrs. Grey. We both know that I could very well be saying all of this just for your benefit. I will tell you this, though—I’m not a very good liar. I’m certain that you are a very good person to know, but before Anastasia was Mrs. Grey, she was Dr. Steele. Even then, Dr. Steele was a good person and a good person to know.” She turns her pointed glare back to Courtney. “Not everyone can say that.” Courtney returns Marilyn’s glare opening the door to our next conversation.

“So, Courtney, we’re here to get to know each other. What do you do with your days?” Courtney turns her attention to me.

“I’m… excuse me?”

“It’s not a trick question,” I say, entwining my fingers in front of me on the table. “I’d like to know what you do with your days. You see, in my early twenties, I had already graduated from college and was on my way to graduate school. I knew what direction I was going in and I did it on my own. I had already survived some of the worst experiences of my life and I set out to make a difference—not because I wanted to be famous, or rich, or the bad end of some cliché, but because I wanted to make an impact on someone’s life. I wanted to be the one that could say that I was a turning point when someone was at the end of their rope because I didn’t have that when I was at the end of mine. I’m proud to say that at 28, I have been that impact many times. I have affected change—positive change—in more than one someone’s life. So, again I ask, what do you do with your days?”

The spotlight is now on this young socialite who probably suffers from a sour case of Affluenza and can’t tell you for the life of her what would be the purpose of her existence. However, I’m not letting her off the hook. I want an answer to what she thinks she should be doing with her life.

She just stares at me, like a deer stuck in headlights. She was so ready to disparage Marilyn for having something nice to say about me. How could she not know that at some point during this conversation, she wouldn’t be sitting in the hot seat? Did she just think that I wanted the pleasure of her company after she made me extremely uncomfortable at a public affair and completely disrespected my husband and my marriage?

Addie just sits there for a moment and lets her fry while we all sit and wait for her to produce a worthwhile answer to my question. She’s granted a temporary reprieve by the waiter arriving with our drinks. Once he leaves, I turn my attention back to young Courtney. You’re not getting off that easily.

“So, Courtney. You have the floor. Your days, what do you do with them?” She turns a glare to me and I’ve already had enough. “You see, Addie, I’m sure that you know an idle mind is the devil’s workshop, and I truly think that Courtney may be lacking balance and direction in her life. I have no doubt that you and Fred have exposed her to an amazing amount of culture and refinement, but it appears that this has only shown her what she can have. She doesn’t seem to have the slightest idea of who she should be.” Addie ponders the statement.

“Unfortunately, I think you’re right,” she laments. “We brought her out here with us to expose her to a fuller lifestyle and I think it’s had the opposite effect of what we had hoped. Neither of us have come upon our fortune easily. Fred was a poor man when we married, so we know what it feels like to struggle. We understand the importance of wealth and the value of a dollar. Courtney, unfortunately, does not. It’s an experience that I had hoped to spare her, but in the process, I may have done her a grave disservice.”

She is right here!” Courtney says indignantly.

“Oh no, you had your chance to speak, and you said nothing. So now, you just get to sit there and listen!” Addie hisses at her granddaughter. She looks affronted at first, then reaches into her purse and pulls out her phone.

“Would you like that plane ticket now?” Addie says to Courtney. Her granddaughter’s demeanor changes immediately. The idea of being returned to wherever she comes from fills her with dread. She is apparently quite averse to discomfort, which gives me a splendid idea.

“Addie, I think Courtney should spend some time with me over the next couple of months, at least until the babies are born and then we’ll see where it goes from there.” Addie looks at me.

“What did you have in mind?” she asks.

“I think she needs to expand her horizons. She should spend some time at the Center since she doesn’t seem to have anything better to do with her days. I really think it would be a good experience for her.” Addie looks like she may not too keen on this idea.

“I think that may be a little drastic, Ana,” she protests. I nod.

“It won’t be a walk in the park, I can guarantee you that; but Addie, each one of us are a stock market crash, a computer hacker, or chemical imbalance away from being one of these women or these families that I deal with every day. You said it yourself that you and Fred come from humble beginnings, so I know that you can appreciate the impact of what we’re trying to achieve. I can assure you that I’ve had more experience with hardship than any one person should have. My trials have served to make me a better person… really. I don’t think that everyone has to have those experiences in order to improve their outlook on life. I do, however, think that each of us should be exposed to such experiences one way or another—even indirectly—so that we can appreciate what we have. My generation and the one after mine lack empathy and I see it all the time. It’s sad, and I really think Courtney would benefit and grow as a person from not only seeing how lucky she is, but also from helping other people that come to us during some of the worst times of their lives. The choice is yours, of course, but I truly believe that there are some valuable life lessons waiting for her in this experience.”

The wheels are turning in Addie’s head. Agreeing to this means exposing her granddaughter to some hard core truths of the real world. Courtney’s clearly not ready for what life could deal her and doesn’t understand just how lucky she really is. Helping Hands is the safe haven—the place to heal and regroup. This is the perfect place for her to see that only by the grace of God is she not in a similar situation. If she can just take a moment to embrace the idea that it’s not all about her, she’ll come out of this experience a changed woman.

“Grandmother, I don’t need a chaperone and contrary to the current conversation, this choice should be mine, too,” Courtney protests. “And isn’t that place dangerous? I mean battered women and starving children… I understand the plight of the less fortunate. I don’t have to see it firsthand.”

I wonder if she knows how ridiculously elitist she sounds. Her money isn’t even hers yet, and she already has this faux sense of authority and privilege that just makes you want to puke. Addie is listening to her, analyzing what her granddaughter is saying as Courtney continues to plead her cause, that this was never the type of life that her parents or grandparents wanted for her, being exposed to the dregs of society and those not fortunate enough or smart enough to leave before they became punching bags.

I feel the blood rushing to my face as I listen to this ignorant, uninformed twit attempt to explain something that she knows nothing about by effectively blaming these abused, neglected, and battered families for the cruelty inflicted on them by the people who they trusted to love and care for them. I’ve seen these women. I’ve seen the fear in their eyes, the terror they feel when they’re trying to get away from life or death situations. I’ve seen the Marlows beaten because they weren’t black enough, the Marcias terrorized because their husbands weren’t man enough, and the Deboras killed over the length a dress.

The more she talks, the more I have to restrain myself from unleashing verbal hell on her. I’m thinking about the fact that I want Addie to introduce me to the “Ladies Club” so to speak, and insulting her granddaughter is probably not the best way to secure that. However, I see all of my principles and integrity standing in front of me wondering how long I’m going to let this continue.

“Do you have any idea what you’re talking about?” I ask, trying to control my voice and my anger. “Do you have any clue how many women and children are brutalized each year—even die—at the hands of their fathers, their husbands, their lovers? Have you ever seen a grieving woman after her fetus has been beaten out of her? Have you looked into the eyes of a mother who has to bury her daughter because her boyfriend beat her to death? I have and it’s one of the most terrible things you can ever experience. You have the audacity to sit on this imagined high horse of yours and judge these women after the drama, the agony and terror they’ve already been through?

“You don’t deserve to be in the same room with some of these women—these survivors. How dare you think it’s okay to talk about mothers like they’re nobody—like you’re so much better than they are, like you couldn’t fall for the wrong guy and end up right where they are.”

“I’m smarter than they are,” she says haughtily. “I wouldn’t let that happen to me.”

“Are you being deliberately obtuse and just cruel?” I ask her, appalled. “Do you just think that these women looked at these men, saw monsters and said ‘gee, I love him, I’m going to marry him anyway?’ You don’t think these women were searching for their happily-ever-after when they stumbled into hell? Are you really that blind and selfish?”

“I’m not blind or selfish, Mrs. Grey,” she says firmly. “I’m just smart enough to know not to get in with some boozer loser who has something to prove by beating up on his poor little wife and kids because he wants to bang the boss’s hot secretary and he can’t get it up!”

I… Am… Horrified. This pompous, entitled, little bitch. My blood is boiling and I can barely think. I’m seeing red. I’m looking into the eyes of a fully-grown and unchecked Carly Madison, and if there’s any justice in the world, she will marry a Cody Whitmore and get exactly what’s coming to her. Just as the waiter returns with starters, I’ve had enough.

“For your sake, Courtney, I hope you’re right.” I push my chair back and the waiter assists in helping me rise. “Addie, even I can admit when I’m licked. I’ve never seen a worse case of cocky, elitist…” I have to stop before I say something truly insulting. I take a deep breath and rephrase. “I can’t sit at the same table with this person. She has a horrible lesson ahead of her. When the moment comes that she realizes that she’s not the center of the universe, you better pray that it doesn’t tear her to pieces.” I turn my attention to Courtney. “Now, if you’ll excuse me, I would rather go and spend my time helping some of the dumb and blind women who barely escaped these horrible situations with their lives than to have to breathe one more breath of air in the same space as you!”

“And so will she!” Addie says as I’m attempting to make my escape. “That’s the character that I was looking for. Please, Ana, don’t leave. Please sit.”

I’m stunned. All I could think of was getting away from this wretched creature who feels that she is so far above and beyond human suffering. My heart literally aches for me and all the people like me who had to deal with entitled, uneducated, uncouth, and uncaring bitches like this. I stand there for a moment, pondering my current situation. I will walk out of here and not look back. I will peddle door-to-door for donations if I have to deal with shit like this just to get into the Ladies Club.

Howard quickly places several appetizers on our table and makes a hasty getaway.

“Ana… please,” Addie reiterates, gesturing at my seat. I look from her to an indignant Courtney. I narrow my eyes so tight on her that if looks could kill, she’d be a puddle of blood and gore right now.

“Ana?” Marilyn says, her voice etched with concern. It’s taking everything in me to calm down. After a deep breath or three, I move to take my seat. Marilyn moves to help.

“I’ve got it, Mare. Thank you,” I say quietly. She nods and takes her seat. Addie sighs heavily.

“I threw every curve at you that I knew to throw,” she begins. “My beloved granddaughter even threw a few of her own. You never faltered. You didn’t crack. The only time the armor fell was when someone insulted the clients. When I saw that you were willing to get up and walk away with no endorsement from me whatsoever, that’s when I knew that I wasn’t dealing with your average young woman. I think Courtney can learn quite a bit from being in your company, and I would be happy to introduce you to some people and show you around.”

Now, I don’t know what to do. I don’t want to be around this little self-privileged, pompous harpy any more that I have to. She’s rolling her eyes while her grandmother offers her up for possible remodeling.

“To be honest with you, Addie, I don’t know if she’s worthy of being in the company of the people that I associate with.” Courtney’s head snaps toward me.

I’m not worthy!” she says, appalled.

“You heard me,” I hiss, reinforcing my stance. “I see no redeeming qualities in you whatsoever, except for your family name. Many of these women I deal with have more grace, strength and courage in their eyelashes than you have in your entire body. I would take one of them to ten of you any day and I’m not so sure that I want your presence insulting their plight. So if I decide that you are worth being mentored by these extraordinary women in these harrowing circumstances, I will let you know.” She scoffs.

“You’ve got it backwards, lady…” she begins.

“Shut. Up. Courtney!” Addie hisses. “You’ve embarrassed me enough for one day!” Courtney’s eyes grow large, but she rolls them again and reaches for her phone on the table next to her grandmother. Addie snatches it from her and drops it into her water glass. My eyes are wide at this point. I can’t believe she actually did that! Addie is clearly fed up.

“Now, you sit there and you shut up!” Addie threatens. “The next time you roll your eyes, I’m going to cut your allowance in half!” Her mouth falls open.

“Grandmother…?”

“Are you trying to test me, Courtney Ann?” Addie says through her teeth. Courtney Ann quickly snaps into shape and assumes the stance they most likely taught her at some fancy finishing school.

“Ana, after your only experiences with my granddaughter, I can understand why you wouldn’t want to be in her company,” Addie says, throwing a distasteful glance at Courtney. “I will ask that you reconsider, however, having her spend some time at the Center. Her priorities are grossly skewed to put it lightly, and I agree that she’s in desperate need of some direction.”

If I didn’t feel like this girl really needed some guidance before she self-destructs, I would say no. Let her fucking walk off the cliff into mindless oblivion, only realizing the err of her ways when she finds herself in an obscure trailer park somewhere, penniless and hiding with her three children from some boozer loser who has something to prove by beating up on his poor little wife and kids because he wants to bang the boss’s hot secretary and he can’t get it up!

“Have her come to the Center Monday at one—ready. To. Work!” I bark. I turn to Courtney. “Show up or don’t show up, I really don’t care, but don’t waste my time. It’s too valuable and I have better things to do with it!”

“She’ll be there,” Addie says. Courtney doesn’t respond. She doesn’t even raise her head. I rub my forehead. If I didn’t want to make the right contacts…

“I’m sorry, Addie,” I tell her. “I didn’t mean to insult or offend you or even your granddaughter…”

“Don’t apologize,” Addie says. “Her behavior is deplorable!” That’s putting it nicely.

The rest of the afternoon is quite productive. We have a lovely lunch of Boston Clam Chowder, Applewood smoked chicken breasts with wild rice and steamed vegetables, and gingham salad. Addie is able to arrange an impromptu tour of the Club and introduced me to some of the ladies lunching there. She explains my plight, which some of them already know, and the fact that I’m in the process of screening country clubs for membership. It’s apparent that Courtney’s behavior and reputation precede her as many of the older women look at her with distaste while the younger ones are either eyeing her with lust or pure disdain. So I guess the theory is that either you hate her or you love her. I personally believe that her future involves becoming part of a horrible reality television show, which will suit her just fine as her views are already quite skewed and her values very weak. She’s part of a pampered society and a pampered generation and she’s following young girls her age doing the same thing that she’s doing. If nobody stops her, she’s doomed.

I’m so relieved to be home when it’s all over. I somewhat prepared myself for what to expect when I joined Addie and Courtney for lunch, but I’ll have to admit honestly that the entire thing was more than a bit draining. Keri and Chuck join me and Gail for dinner as it appears that Christian is going to be a bit late getting home this evening. Chuck looks great! He’s clearly been taking his meds and getting that extra rest he’s needed. I must say that Keri is looking like a million bucks, too!

“I’ve talked to Jay and Christian already,” he starts at dinner. “I wanted to apologize to you two as well. I know what Keri had to put up with, and I know you guys have been a major support system for her. I didn’t know how bad it really was until I finally took the meds and my whole body just gave in. Once the pain subsided completely, I was exhausted. I did nothing but eat and sleep for two days. And poor Keri…” He reaches over and takes her hand. “I feel horrible for what I put you through. I don’t blame you for wanting to leave.”

“Don apologize anymoah, choonks,” she says. “Me know. Me jus glad you tek de meds. You get bettah much soonah nah.” He nods and kisses her hand.

“I love you, Keri,” he says softly. It’s the first time I remember hearing him say it to her. My heart just melts. She smiles and nods.

“Me know,” she says sweetly, cupping his cheek with her free hand. “I love you, too, choonks.” He turns his face and kisses her palm.

After a wonderful dinner with my friends, I’ve decided to cuddle up in my futuristic recliner with a bowl of popcorn and watch Doris Day attempt to outsmart Cary Grant while really outsmarting herself in That Touch of Mink until my husband gets home.


 

CHRISTIAN

I’m feeling a bit better about punishing Butterfly after a couple of days, only to the degree that it’s not the only thing that occupies my mind anymore and I’m able to function properly. I still don’t like the fact that I bruised her so badly. That’s definitely something that won’t happen again. Her state of limbo didn’t sit well with me either. She still hasn’t opened up about that, I think. She didn’t shut down or shrink that I could tell, but I still feel like there may be a monster hiding in the closet on that one.

My Wednesday was mostly uneventful, which is just fine by me. I’m still waiting for Ros and Welch to get back with me about the specific officials who need to have their palms greased as a result of the improprieties and malfeasances of some of my miscellaneous subsidiaries. There’s a bit of barking from my now financially ruined previous legal team, who might soon be facing some jail time for their involvement in the aforementioned malfeasances. For the most part, it’s business as usual. Little did I know, that’s about to change.

“Sorry to bother you so late, sir,” Welch apologizes as he walks into my office just after five in the afternoon. “I would normally let something wait until tomorrow, but I don’t think I should.” I look behind him and none other than Brian Colostomy is floating into my office with him, looking like the cat who caught the canary. He looks happy, so that means that something is wrong. Jason is sitting on my sofa and I hear him mumble some expression of distaste and I know that he’s just as displeased with this man’s presence as I am. I sigh heavily and run my hand through my hair.

“What is it, Welch?” I say, making it clear that I don’t want to hear anything from this contemptible maggot.

“Research indicates that Vernetta Moore was previously pregnant and had a miscarriage only weeks after your relationship ended,” he says. So what?

“And why are we researching this woman?” I ask, stoically. “She’s dead, she can’t do anything.”

We are not researching her,” he says, throwing a conspicuous glance of displeasure at Cholometes. I don’t even look in the man’s direction.

“Why would I care about a fetus that was lost over a year ago? Even if it could be linked to me, why would I care? There are hundreds of live women with live babies that they claim to be mine, just for fifteen seconds of attention. At the risk of sounding extremely insensitive, why would I care about a dead woman’s unfortunately dead child?”

“How do you think this news would affect Ana?” The maggot speaks. “To find out that the woman that nearly took her life may have been carrying your child before she was. The emotional impact could be irreparable.” His voice is smooth and disturbing—soothing in a deceitful type of way. I can imagine that the snake sounded just like this when it cajoled Eve into taking a bite of the apple. Pain literally shoots through my head and my ears at the sound of his voice. This news doesn’t affect me at all. I have no concern for whatever impact this news could have. With all my heart, I only want one thing at this moment…

“I think you need to leave,” I tell him as calmly as I can. “I’ve been through enough this past month and I can’t tolerate you being here. As much as I appreciate all of your help in ridding me of the assholes that broke into my systems and supporting her family when Ana was ill, all of my decorum has been squeezed out of me like a lemon and I have no more strength left to be civil. Part of me is asking as a weary man who just can’t take anymore and the other part of me is warning you as a fed-up and frustrated man who has been stretched to his very limits… Please. Just. Leave.”

“Warning me.” It’s a statement not a question. “You really think you’re in a position to warn me?”

“Seriously, man, I mean really. Why don’t you know when to leave it alone?” Jason says to Cholometes. “I don’t know what you ever think you’re ever going to prove by any of the shit you’re doing. No matter what you do, no matter what you think or say or hope, no matter happens to him…” Jason points at me, “…that woman will still be Anastasia Grey. She loves that man on a molecular level. Anybody within ten feet of them can see that and there’s nothing you can do about it. Everything you’re doing is making you look desperate—crazy, obsessive and lonely—stupid, even. It’s ridiculous and sad and if you need to go somewhere and get fucked and get over it, but all means, get fucked and get over it. Somebody else got the girl. Deal with it! I don’t have anything against you personally, but do you realize how pathetic you look? You’re trying to come off all macho and powerful, but the only thing you’re relaying is pathetic. Listen if you want to and if you don’t, you don’t, I could give a shit—but you really do look pathetic, man.”

You can look in Colostomy’s eyes and see that what Jason just said to him not only hit the nail on the head, but is also is really sinking in. He’s never going to get Butterfly—never. He needs to move on because all the attempts that he’s made so far have been flaming failures. He’s right to call her Helen of Troy, though, because his mourning, hoping, sabotage, and declarations of determination are reminiscent of the jilted King Menelaus who sparked the Trojan War to retrieve his kidnapped Helen. I examine him carefully and wonder to myself if he could be that desperate. I don’t know how much clearer it needs to be made that I love my wife and she loves me—exclusively and endlessly. Who would want someone who doesn’t want them? The last person who felt that way about my wife kidnapped her, hoping that she would succumb to Stockholm’s Syndrome. Could Cholometes be that unstable? I’d kill him before I’d let Butterfly go through that again.

“Brian, what do you hope to accomplish?” Welch asks while we glare at each other. “Sure, you irritate the fuck out of Grey, we established that—but that couldn’t be your only purpose. That couldn’t be the beginning and the end of why you’re still here. If it is, it’s even worse than Jason describes.” Cholometes shakes his head.

“I’m a powerful man,” he says. “I can have anything I want at my fingertips with just a few phone calls. I’ve seen governments fall. I’ve fixed elections in foreign countries. I’ve been responsible for supposed accidental meetings that put the right people at the right place at the right time to meet key individuals and cause incidents that shape most of the foreign policy in place today. The one thing—the very thing that I want, that I waited for, I can’t have because Pretty Boy swooped in and snatched her out of my grasp. Do you have any idea what it feels like to want something—to wait for it for years, to time your approach and then watch some rich punk just slide in and take what you’ve been hoping for?” He’s baring his teeth and bawling his fists. He’s very passionate about his feelings, but he’s just too late. Anyway, Butterfly and I were destined to be together. If he had won her affections before we met, she probably would have still ended up with me. At this moment, I can’t even be angry that he feels the way that he feels. He’s frustrated that he didn’t get the grand prize and quite frankly, the grand prize is really great and losing it brings out the worst in any man.

“She had been broken up from David for years,” Welch retorts. “You had plenty of time to make your move.”

“I was trying to let her mend,” he responds. “She was obviously hurting and quite fragile. I didn’t want to prey on her. Contrary to popular belief and the fact that there’s about 10 years between us, Ana was 21 when I met her—legal, and the most beautiful woman I had ever seen in my life.” His voice is longing, and I just want to punch him in his throat. “She didn’t know me, but she had heard a story or three about me from her father. For that reason, she thought I was older than I really am and I couldn’t get near her romantically. Plus, she was with that fucker and I knew that he was just some punk that would come and go. So I waited. When they finally did break up, she was so devastated that I still couldn’t approach her.”

“So basically, you waited and waited for what you thought would be the right time to make your move, but while you were waiting, Christian came along,” Jason summarizes. The entire time, I just sit there with my fingers entwined, staring at him. He doesn’t shift his glare from me. “Do you realize that you chose to wait and let somebody else slip in and claim what you considered your prize, but you’re holding him responsible for doing that? She was coming out of a restaurant with that fucker when Christian made his move on her. A week earlier, she hated him—I saw it with my own eyes. He saw what he wanted and he went for it! If he would’ve gotten shot down, so be it, but the way I see it, you’re pissed because you snoozed. ”

Cholometes never breaks his glare from me and although I see that we’re caught in the stare game, I’m really not playing. I’m really examining him like the alien creature that he is right now, trying to figure out what makes him tick. I’ve established that he is—or used to be—a submissive, but in his everyday life, you’d never even suspect it. While I’m still trying to figure out what makes a man pine away for a woman for nearly a decade, he’s probably trying to count the 100 ways that he could kill me with a rubber band. I’m under no misconception who I’m dealing with. I know that, without a doubt, he could make me disappear if he really wanted to. I just wonder what he hopes to gain from this exercise.

“I just want this man to go away and leave me alone,” I say. “I’m sorry that I had to call him and ask him for help. I’m sorry that I had to let him back into my life in any way whatsoever. I swear on everything sacred that no matter what happens, I won’t do it again. I just want him to go away.” The last few months have been the most trying of my life. I don’t have the wherewithal to curse this man like he so richly deserves and send him away with his tail tucked between his legs. I’m weary and I just want my wife.

“I think I’ll stay for a while,” he taunts. “Maybe I’ll even get a little place in Seattle, closer to my best friend and his family.” He smiles devilishly and I just roll my eyes. Butterfly and I will have to unite and show him that this bond is unbreakable, which is what I thought we already did, but as it stands, he only wants to stick around to get a glimpse of her—to get closer to her if he possibly can and to hopefully weasel his way into her life… and to irritate me.

“You two need to take it to the mat,” Welch says. I’m the first to break eye-contact and look at Welch.

“I was just thinking the same thing,” Jason says.

“You mean fight him for Ana?” I say horrified. “You’re crazy. There’s no hope in hell that he’s going to get my woman, so no, I’m not going to fight him for her. She’s not some fucking trophy! She’s my wife!”

“Of course, you’re not fighting for Ana, but you’re definitely fighting over her. You two need to slug it out once and for all and call it quits. All this crazy antagonizing and shit, it’s ridiculous and tiring. I’m sick of watching it; I know Jay is sick of watching it. Beat the hell out of each other and bury the shit!”

“What do I have to gain by fighting this guy?” I ask. Although I would love to beat him within an inch of his life, there’s no win in it for me other than that. “I’ve already got the girl and I’m not putting our relationship on the line just to beat his ass.”

“You’re so sure that you’ll beat my ass,” he says. “You train pretty intensely, but with no due respect, the Marines trained me to kill a man with my bare hands! You’re a little too sure of yourself.”

“That’s the thing, Brian,” Welch says. “If you guys hit the ring, it’s going to be a clean fight. Beat the hell out of each other all you want to, but none of the military shit. If you’re going mano y mano, then those are the rules. If Grey wins, you go back to Montesano and leave him and his wife in peace from now on. You do what you need to do to get a grip on what you let get past you, and leave them alone.”

“And when I win?” he says cockily. They all look at me. If he loses, I’m rid of him forever. That’s like early Christmas.

If you win, I’ll buy you a house in the city of your choosing, even if it’s next door to me.” I knew he couldn’t resist that. The idea of living next door to Butterfly makes his eyes light up. For that reason, I have a whole new motivation to beat the hell out of this fucker.

*-*

About half an hour later, we’re in the ring in the gym at Grey house, wearing shorts and no gloves. The rules: no military special attack moves, no moves with intent to maim or kill, no deliberate attempts to break any bones. Everything else is fair game. The fight is over when one of us is either unconscious or can’t fight anymore. There are no sportsmanship rules. Even though we’re in a ring, this is a streetfight. Since Brian really has no one in his corner, he has agreed to allow Welch to be the one to throw in the towel for him if it comes to that. I, of course, entrust that task to Jason.

At first, neither of us wants to be the aggressor. We both know that the one who attacks is usually the one that’s at the disadvantage. The thing is that Brian is that last person that I want to spend my evening with half-dressed. To that end, I opt to take the first hit and be the aggressor. As the aggressor, I’m giving him the first opportunity to counter. However, I have the opportunity to counter his counter. I’m just at a disadvantage because I have to take the hit first. The trick to it after that is to keep the melee going no matter what. Once it stops, we’re back at the beginning—who’s going to be the aggressor? So the big decision is… face or gut?

No matter how tough you are, your face is pretty vulnerable, especially without gloves. Since my abs are hard as a rock, I opt to leave my gut exposed. This means that I have to make a wild and wide lunge for his face. This will leave my side open for a perfect hit and he won’t be able to resist taking that shot. I aim for the side of his face—wild and hard—just in case it connects. As predicted, he swerves out of my way and comes right back with a swift and hard blow to my side. I’ll admit that it nearly knocks the wind out of me, but I was expecting it. I bend my body to absorb most of the hit and simultaneously bring my elbow down so that it hits him in his ear. I know that shit knocked the stars out of his ass! I quickly raise it again and hit him in his neck—a perfect grind right into the soft meat on the side of his neck.

And the brawl is on!

He’s clutching his neck in agony and I do a roundhouse that lands square in his back. He arches from the pain before falling flat on his face in the ring. I land kick after kick in his sides, each one eliciting a grunt from him until he manages to turn over and grab my foot in the bend of his arm. He pushes down on my foot and pulls up on my calf with his other hand and I’m on my back—hard! He scrambles to his feet and the tables have turned. Instead of taking advantage of leg blows, knee blows, body blows, he goes right to my face. If nobody ever said so, a foot to the cheek really hurts—I mean, really hurts!

I don’t have time to nurse my wounds as I know a moment’s lament could cost me this fight, so I’m rolling away from his foot to quickly get my bearings when I see his fist coming as me just as I get on my feet. Fuck! Stars! I can see him through the tunnel of light and I think he hit me in my eye. That’s going to bruise. Once again, one of my high kicks to the chest sends him sailing across the ring, stumbling and wheezing a bit and giving me just enough time to catch my breath—and spit out my blood. My eye is starting to swell shut, so I know that I have to bring this to a close fast or I’m going to be at a serious disadvantage.

I unleash a fury of hellish body blows on this fucker while he’s against the ropes. I swear the hits that he’s taking could easily cause internal bleeding. He’s puffing and sweating like a marathon runner, but in the midst of it, he gets one good punch and then a second that connects square on and I swear he knocks a tooth loose. Shit, that’s going to bruise. I taste more of my own blood as that thought runs through my head in one of Butterfly’s three-second funnels:

Shit, that’s going to bruise.

He hasn’t taken many shots at me. He’s taking a hellish beating from me and I can tell he’s in a lot of pain because I’m beating the hell out of him, but I’m beating the hell out of his body. He’s taken five good solid shots at me—good, solid shots—and except for the first blow to my body, they’ve all been on my face. For a split second, I thought it could be because of my initial analysis—the face is the most vulnerable. Almost immediately, I know that’s wrong. He’s trying to deface me because he thinks that’s what Butterfly loves about me. He knows it’s not my money, so it has to be the face. In his mind, if he rips the face off the pretty boy, he may have a better chance with Butterfly. I don’t know if that’s what he’s really thinking, but that’s what I see.

I take a moment too long to ponder this thought, because my eye does swell shut, but that’s okay, because I plan to damn-near kill this fucker with one eye.

I see him smirking at me and I know for certain that he wants to scar my face. Fine, Colostomy, but it’s going to cost you.

I come at this bastard with everything I’ve got and he gives it right back. I don’t hit him in the face as many times as he does me, but those hits in the body bring him down. I finally have him back on the ground and I am kicking and stomping with everything I have. At this point, I don’t care if this man coughs up a kidney; I’m hitting every piece of meat I find. When his body can’t take anymore and he starts to protect his stomach and sides, I let his face have it. He won’t be as deformed as I am, but he’s going to look a fright.

Intend to make my wife afraid to look me in the eye? Okay, fucker, have it your way.

I’m flailing wildly, exhausted. My hands and fists are flying everywhere and my feet are going nuts, and Colostomy is balled up on the floor, grunting. A towel goes flying into the ring and I don’t know if it’s Welch or Jason. I look over and Welch is slicing his hands in front of him telling me to stop. I look down at Cholometes and he’s coughing, grunting, and wheezing like he just might cough up a kidney. I’m waiting to see if he’s going to make a move—grab a foot, swing, sweep my feet out from under me, what? He’s not going anywhere. He can barely breathe.

I back away from him and wait against the ropes. He’s down. Welch suggests we get him to the hospital and he doesn’t protest. I tell them to dial 911 instead, which they do. Once the paramedics arrive, they have to lift him onto the stretcher. When they look at me, they ask if I need to go, too.

“I’ll let you ethamine me, but I’m not going to the hothpital.” Shit! That’s a very swollen mouth and I can’t even tell if I’ve lost a tooth. The EMT looks at my face and tells me that I will probably need to sleep with my face shoved in an ice pack, but I don’t look like I need to go to the hospital.

Once I get dressed, I’m dizzy and quite incoherent… and in a lot of pain.

“Call Vutterfly,” I whisper. “Tell ther what thappened. I don’t want ther to ve thurprithed by thith.” Jason has to help me to the car and I actually fall asleep on the ride back to Mercer Island.


A/N: Pictures of places, cars, fashion, etc., can be found at https://www.pinterest.com/ladeeceo/becoming-dr-grey/

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

Love and handcuffs!
Lynn x

 

 

My Response to Becoming Dr. Grey—Chapter 30

My Response to Becoming Dr. Grey—Chapter 30

Have you ever laughed through tears? That’s pretty much where I am right now. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not crying, but I am kind of laughing through tragedy, for lack of a better word. The opinions on this chapter were quite varied, ranging from totally understanding where I was coming from and getting the complete and total gist of how the BDSM aspect plays out in the life of a practicing married couple (even if the wife is pregnant) to the completely appalled and horrified, and I do mean horrified. (The only comment on my Facebook author’s page ended with “horrible, horrible.”)

I’ve posted Chapter 30 which, as you all know, means that right now I’m churning out Chapter 35, and I must say that I find myself in a bit of a conundrum as to how to proceed. So, to begin with, I just want to address a couple of things from the last chapter.

First, the cold shower water—one person went so far as to refer to it as water torture. Let’s review…

“He positions me right under one of the blasting showerheads with him. Shit, the water feels like little knives all in my skin. How does he stand this? We stand there for a few moments until I’m shivering, then the water starts to warm up. Thank God! My skin is quite sensitive from the cold water and I don’t like it. He never flinched once.”

Notice she said WE! He didn’t make her stand under the water by herself; they stood there together. However, I would like to bring your attention to one more, tiny little thing…

“He switches the water on at max. Jeez! Arctic water spurts over my backside, and I squeal—then stop, mindful once more that José is above us. It’s cold and I’m fully clothed. The chilling water soaks into my dress, my panties, and my bra. I’m drenched and I cannot stop giggling.”

Does that look familiar at all? If it doesn’t, it should. You know why? Because it’s from Chapter 20 of Fifty Shades Darker. Were you equally as appalled when he stood under freezing cold water with her when they were being playful as you were when he did it when she was about to be punished? Because that’s actually where I got the idea, but I guess we just conveniently forgot about Erika’s little use of cold water because it was all playful and stuff, right?

Next, a couple of people thought that Ana putting coats at every door was a dig at Christian. I must say that had me a bit conflusterbated (one of BG’s made-up words… don’t try to Google it) because I had just read comments about Ana being this poor battered wife and then I read comments about her taking a dig at her battering husband (they may not have been in the same context or comments—forgive me if I misconstrued that). So, you can imagine my confusion. But just for shits and giggles, let’s image that even though she accepted it, she might have considered that being spanked as a punishment wasn’t really a pleasant experience. Remember her inner thoughts… “You wanted pain. You wanted submission. You wanted to teach me a lesson. You got what you wanted.” Although she didn’t resent him for spanking her, she obviously didn’t like it. Could it possibly be that she doesn’t want to get spanked again? I mean, since so many people were so offended by the first spanking, could placing the coats at the exits possibly be her way avoiding a repeat performance? Just something to run around your brain for a while.

Moving on, I’m sorry to disappoint anyone who seems to think that Ana should have safeworded and Ana needs to have this long, drawn-out talk with Christian about this punishment and Ana needs to renegotiate this Dom/sub contract that never existed between them. Ana’s not having a problem with this punishment—everyone else is! I think she said it best when she said, “I didn’t need to safeword, Christian, but apparently, you needed me to.” She may have been feeling some type of way for a bit at first, but obviously, by the end of the next day, she was going to Lamaze, popping popcorn, and watching Disney. I know that may not sit well with some of you—you feel that she should walk around in a limbo cloud pondering her feelings and hashing out her emotions and the meaning of life until she comes up with some meandering conversation that she’ll have with Christian that will bring closure to this story for you. Well, that may or may not happen, but don’t hold your breath because right now, it’s not going to. She’s a shrink who married a Dom. She’s not completely clueless. She knows who she married. She got over it. I kind of need everybody else to do that, too.

Also, the bruising… hmmm. How do I put this gingerly? Does anyone remember somewhere in the Trilogy, Christian says, “You should see what I can do with a cat or a cane?” and Ana says, “I’d rather not?” It was something on the lines of that. Did we all forget that Christian is a Dominant? I’m thinking that because he married Ana, we’ve forgotten that he’s a Dominant. We also seem to think that he’s our Dominant, not Ana’s Dominant and that we can tell him how to act, not Ana—who has not told him that he can’t be a Dominant anymore. And if he behaves—or misbehaves in a certain way, we go so far as to tell Ana what she should be telling him! Also, as our Dominant, I believe that we want him to treat Ana the way that we want him to treat us, not the way that he would treat Ana.

I know… I know… I know that we get invested in the characters and we scream at them like we scream at the television. In fact, I’m getting a bit off the topic here. What I should be talking about is the bruising. What I should be saying is that in a BDSM relationship—Bondage/Discipline, Master/slave, Husband/Wife (in BDSM context), Domination/submissive, Daddy/little, Owner/pet, Sadomasochism, you name it—there is some real bruising. I’ve seen some bruising that will make you gag and run for the hills and I can gather some pictures if you like, far more than a little black and blue from a hand print on your butt cheek. And as proud as Christian is about what he can do with a cane—bearing in mind how he was handling the bamboo reed in the backyard in Aspen in Fifty Shades Freed (or did everyone miss the cane reference there?)—I’m pretty sure that he knows how to leave a welt or five and trust me, those things break skin.

In addition, about the characters and their growth, or maturity, or whatever changes you may be expecting, let me put your mind at ease. WHAT YOU SEE IS WHAT YOU GET. If you’re looking for some Extreme Home Makeover “Move that bus” reveal, you’re going to be disappointed. There’s going to be some epiphanies in their lives, some parenting transitions, some life changes, things like that. But if you’re waiting for them to “grow up,” yeah, keep waiting. Good luck with that. They’re going to keep having fun; they’re going to keep making stupid ass mistakes; they’re going to keep pissing us off; they’re going to keep having hot sex; crazy shit is going to keep happening around them; they’re going to keep having great times, stalkers, people out to get them, maybe even another phantom relative pop up, who knows? You wanna know why? Because that’s what people do—and when they stop, they die! Who they are is who they are, so if you’re waiting around expecting someone else or waiting for some magnanimous change expecting these characters to somehow or another all of a sudden become “normal,” you probably want to move on because that’s never going to happen. Although I do try to keep things as realistic as possible, I fucking hate normal.

After more than one person has made it crystal clear that the Valerie storyline is just gonna drag on forever and woe is us because we’re gonna die before we find out what’s going on with her and when we finally do it’s gonna be a dud like the computer story and one person even insulted my intelligence because I wasn’t writing the story fast enough for her taste, I have come to believe and perpetuate that if the story has become to tedious or cumbersome for anyone to read, then they should feel free to write the story that they would like to read because that’s what I’m doing.

There’s only one other time I decided to kill a storyline after I had pre-written it and that was when I wrote Edward having sex with Ana when she was chained to the bed. In my original version, when she awoke from her stupor, he was actually having sex with her. It was too much for me and I couldn’t upload it. I deleted the whole scene—it was just too much, especially after I had put Ana in a place where she had already been raped by Cody. So instead, I had her wake up right when he was about to do deed and you all know the rest.

I said that to say this—first, I’ve been badgered so badly about the Valerie storyline that congratulations. You won’t hear anything else about her until I’m ready to reveal what’s going on with her or unless her immediate behavior is crucial to what’s going on with her or the immediate storyline. So if you see her in the story, just wave, pay attention to where you saw her, and let her breeze on through.

Second, a little secret—the way I write… I have 34—count them, 34—storylines pre-written and waiting to be stuck into the story somewhere. I just put two of them together and figured out where they’re going to go tonight. They’ll probably be chapter 36 or 37. However, picture my position right now. I’m a budding author hoping to be published soon. What’s my platform—erotic fiction… right now, exploring BDSM to be precise. I’ve amassed a small following of faithful readers, and yet some of these same readers who watched Christian flog a pregnant Ana while she was shackled to the ceiling in the epilogue of Fifty Shades Freed can’t stomach a cold shower and hand spanking because it was part of a punishment from a Dominant husband to his pregnant submissive wife.

And now I’ve come full circle. I’ve come back to the laughter through tears or laughing through tragedy, should we say, because right now I feel like I’m censored and I don’t know what to do about it. Out of these 34 storylines, some of them involve testing Ana’s limits and bringing her more into Christian’s world, which is why I brought up “killing storylines” because I’m thinking about killing them and taking them to a forum that can better handle them!

Of course, Christian is standing there glaring at me threatening me with endless nights of “Henry the XIII” and he doesn’t give a flying fuck if I make him do the whip, the nae nae, or the Macarena. He’s particularly excited about a scene involving a lunge whip even though it would make a few people all cringy and mad (Keep your shirt on, Grey!). So there you have it. There’s my thoughts on Chapter 30, all of the comments, and where the story may be going. Everyone else had an opportunity to have their say, I feel like I should have an opportunity to have mine.

Somebody said something about being weary or my story being wearisome. You want to know what’s wearisome? Having to worry about whether or not my research is correct because somebody is going to check me about some minor or major fact in the story; having to worry about if I should boring down my story or fill it with fluff because I don’t want to offend someone with big bad Dom Christian or whiny, inconsiderate drama queen Ana’s behavior; having to be concerned if my storylines are realistic enough or maybe too realistic that they last so long that when they finally do come to fruition, they turn into duds; that maybe I should write chapters that are 2000 words instead of 10,000 words so that the storylines can move faster, so that the story can be thirty chapters instead of 80 chapters.

That way I don’t have to worry about Doms and subs telling me that my research is wrong and people telling me that my story cruel and my characters suck and everything stinks and it’s dragging on forever! I can cut the chapters short and wrap everything up so that we can hurry up and find out what happens to Val and get the babies born and Green Valley and Elena’s trial and Edward’s lawsuit and any other storylines that are still hanging out there and kill all the rest of this crap floating around in my head and they lived happily ever after. The End!

THAT’S wearisome!

 

Becoming Dr. Grey: Chapter 30—Consequences, Schmonsequences… ?

Those of you who feel that Christian overreacted in the last chapter probably don’t want to read this chapter. You’ve been warned, so don’t whine and cry about his behavior or reaction in the end.

FYI—I spent most of my life in Michigan, Detroit specifically… Michigan is a little mitten island surrounded by water that can get pretty damn frigid in the winter. Maybe not as cold as Canada or Russia or Antarctica, but pretty damn cold. In fact, Detroit is RIGHT on the lake. It’s one of the reasons why I moved to Vegas… the old gray mare couldn’t take the cold anymore. Anyway, whether pneumonia comes from a virus, the cold, a bug, or fairy dust, my sister caught it standing out in the cold and she almost died. Being of that mind and also coming from Detroit (not that all Detroiters feel this way), I can imagine Christian seeing his wife—who was just banged up and in a coma for two weeks—standing in the cold with no coat and dying from pneumonia. He had no idea how long she would have stood out there had he not brought her coat… Oh, and they live on the lake—ever heard of wind chill or lake-effect snow?

Did I also mention that my current husband’s uncle died from exposure to the cold? Not the Canadian cold or the Russian cold or the Arctic cold—the Michigan cold… Detroit, to be specific… Yeah, just thought I’d throw that out there…

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. If something that I say displeases you, please, just leave. If you don’t like this story or me, please don’t spoil this experience for everyone. Just go away. For the rest of you, the saga continues…

Chapter 30—Consequences, Schmonsequences… ?

ANASTASIA

It’s been a long day and I’m exhausted.

Pops has been returned to Grace’s loving arms and gentle care. She surprised us by coming to pick him and Herman up. He made it quite clear to her that he had a wonderful stay and plans on coming back to stay with us for another stint before the babies are born. He knows that our hands will be full once the twins arrive, but he’ll want to spend more time with us before he becomes a “burden.” Christian assures him that he would never be a burden even after the children are born.

Marilyn and I had a very busy day doing the initial review of the country club list. I’m a little surprised that Christian doesn’t belong to a yacht club with that floating hotel that I never knew he owned until we moved to the Crossing. Surprisingly, he just paid the fees at the Marina and moored her there. Nonetheless, there are several clubs that have captured my attention. Marilyn is looking into how soon I can get an appointment to tour a few of the clubs later this week or next week and, just as I had hoped, Addie, Courtney, and I will be having lunch at her club on Wednesday. The ball is certainly rolling.

I stay out of Christian’s presence for the rest of the day after he leaves Keri and me in the kitchen. He acts like what I did was such a huge malfeasance. Yes, I completely agree that it was irresponsible for me to go outside without a coat, but I was only out there for a few minutes. It wasn’t like I stood out there for an hour. Ultimately, he’s right—I really could have gotten sick, but geez, man. I didn’t, and I’ll admit that the soup and the tea did rid me of the lingering chill. Nonetheless, I thought it best to stay as far away from my brooding Dom for the rest of the day.

Keri was my biggest task today. She was unbelievably emotional the entire day. Chuck had pushed her to her limit and once the emotional flood gates were opened, she couldn’t close them immediately. She swayed from angry to distraught for the entire day. When Chuck emerged from his nap, their traditional roles reversed tremendously. He took his meds, so he was visibly feeling better. As a result, he had to help take care of Keri. She may have avoided the literal cliff and didn’t get on the plane, but emotionally, she’s been smashed among the rocks in the valley below. He’s got some work on his hands, and I think he knows it.

I finally get to my bedroom and the promise of blessed peace. After getting undressed except for my panties, I slide into a comfortable nightshirt and braid my hair in a single long braid. I secure it with a ponytail holder and climb into bed. I’ve never been so grateful for these dark walls and this heavy comforter as I am at this moment. And now, blissful slumber.

“You didn’t think you were getting off that easy, did you?” What the…?

I bolt upright to see Christian standing next to the bed in just sweatpants. Where did he come from? He wasn’t there a minute ago. Did I fall asleep?

“Huh?” I say, my voice so high that I sound like a child.

“Out of the bed, Anastasia,” he says, in that voice. “We have unfinished business.”

Are you kidding? I can barely keep my eyes open. I gaze at him like he must be out of his mind.

“I won’t say it again.” His voice is menacing this time. Shit! I better get up. I remove the heavenly blankets and throw my legs over the edge of the bed. I put my feet on the cold floor and stand. I raise confused eyes to him and he looks like a damn tree. I feel about two feet tall. His eyes, I can’t read them—not because it’s dark. I just can’t read them.

“Have you conveniently forgotten about your little excursion out in the cold this morning without a coat that put yourself and our children at risk?” Shit. I had forgotten it… temporarily, and he let me cruise blissfully through the day without a care, and no hint whatsoever that this was coming. I sigh heavily, a bit defiant, and drop my eyes to the ground.

“Yes, Sir,” I respond truthfully, trying to portray the contrition that he’s looking for, but I’m having a hard time dealing with my resentment. I’m tired and I want to go to sleep, but Sir needs to teach me a lesson and in all honesty, I was wrong. So let’s get this over with.

“You have conveniently forgotten?” he repeats.

“Yes, Sir,” I respond. “It was a long day. I’m sorry, Sir.” This doesn’t help.

“Did I tell you to explain?” he says, his voice growing more menacing. I’m still waiting for the contrition to join us.

“No, Sir,” I say just above a whisper. He’s silent. He stands there for a long time, saying nothing. Don’t blink, Anastasia. Don’t even flinch. It’s hard to do since I’m so tired and it feels like I’ve been standing here forever. Finally, he speaks.

“Take that off,” he says. He’s not pleased. He was already displeased with me, but now, he’s even more so. His voice is cold with a hidden emotion lurking behind it—not anger, but something that I can’t identify. I quickly remove my nightshirt and drop it on the floor.

“Those, too,” he says, and I know that he means my panties. I slide my panties off my butt and down my legs, letting them fall to the floor. I step out of them and stand before him, naked.

“Go to the bathroom.” I proceed to the bathroom. “My bathroom!” he corrects and I jump from the force in his voice before changing direction to his bathroom. The lights are off, but the moon is shining brightly through the window. It casts an eerie aura around the room, but makes it surprisingly easy to see. I stop and stand in the middle of the room because he hasn’t given me any instructions. It seems like it takes forever for him to join me, but he makes his presence known immediately. I feel him part my butt cheeks and something cold and wet is introduced.

It’s a glass butt plug. It’s been lubed, but I wasn’t prepared; so when he shoved it into my butt, I wasn’t quite ready for it. I gasp loudly. I swallow hard when he starts to turn it inside of me. I don’t know what I should be feeling right now—pleasure? Caution?

He leaves me there for a moment, then turns his shower on. My head is down so I can only see his sweat pants drops to his ankles before he steps out of them and into the shower.

“Come here, Anastasia,” he commands. I step into the shower with him, but try to stay away from the spray because the water is freezing!

Bad move.

He positions me right under one of the blasting showerheads with him. Shit, the water feels like little knives all in my skin. How does he stand this? We stand there for a few moments until I’m shivering, then the water starts to warm up. Thank God! My skin is quite sensitive from the cold water and I don’t like it. He never flinched once.

“Turn around,” he commands. I do as I’m told. He takes my hair in his hand.

“Just like old times,” he says, fondling my braid. “Hands on the glass, Anastasia,” he commands. I dutifully put my hands on the glass walls.

“Open your legs and stick your ass out.” I obey his command. “More! Wider!” He startles me and I jump, sliding my hands down the glass and bending over slightly, parting my legs further. I imagine that I look like I’m about to frisked… which in fact, I am.

“Yes!” he hisses his approval and rubs my wet ass roughly. “That’s what I want.” He moves to the side of me and manipulates the butt plug, side to side and around a bit. I gasp. The feeling is not quite pleasurable, yet, because of his demeanor. For some reason, my mind wanders to the old playroom. We have this huge house—14,000 square feet—and no playroom? He tugs hard at my hair, bringing my thoughts back to now.

“Am I boring you, Mrs. Grey?” he hisses. Oh, shit! I’ve been caught daydreaming.

“No, Sir!” I gasp. He was already displeased with me. Now, I’ve angered him again. Without warning, his hand comes down—hard—on my wet backside. I cry out. I wasn’t prepared.

“Count!” Count? What? His hand lands hard again and my instinct is to wiggle away from him, but I don’t dare.

“Count, Anastasia!” he orders me.

“Two!” I yell out.

“That’s one! You didn’t start when I told you to!” He wails on my ass again, the same spot. “That’s two.” Shit, that hurts!

“Two…” I mutter, to avoid four becoming two again. He whacks me again, three times in quick succession—hard in the same spot and too fast for me to count. Fuck! Is that three or five?

“Three!” I announce to be on the safe side.

“Have you now forgotten how to count, Mrs. Grey?” he chastises roughly. I had almost forgotten how it felt to be punished by my Dom… almost.

“Four and five,” I mutter, trying to keep the resentment from my voice. I fail miserably.

“Okay,” he acknowledges and comes down hard on me again, same spot, this time pulling my hair against the blow for added intensity. Oh, Christ. My resentment is replaced by slight anguish as he won’t shift the spot where he’s hitting me. My skin is wet and it stings more than usual. Thank God for the non-slip floor.

“How many is that, Mrs. Grey?” he says through clenched teeth.

“Six!” I spit, the word barely choking from my chest.

“And that?” he says, pounding on my ass again.

“Seven!”

“And that?” He’s pulling my hair harder with each hit, and the pain is a bit blinding. My hands are supporting my weight, so I can’t lean back at all to ease the pain.

Eight. Did I say it or think it?

“How many, Mrs. Grey?” I thought it.

“Eight.” It comes out as a whispered gasp. He doesn’t have mercy on me. I close my eyes and anticipate the next hit. My ass hurts so badly because he hasn’t moved from that spot. He strikes the same spot over and over again. It’s hot and painful and my head is beginning to throb.

“Thir… teen.” I choke over the sob in my chest. I can’t hear him anymore. I can’t hear the water spraying from the shower head or the spray of drops hitting the floor. I can only feel the pain—the slaps on the same part of my ass. I can’t even feel him pulling my hair anymore.

“Fourteen…” I can feel the tears on my face. The temperature is different than the water from the shower.

“Fi-fi-fifteen!” I sob through shuddering breaths, crying freely now because of the pain. I brace myself for the next blow as I stand there sobbing, but it doesn’t come. Instead, he disappears for a second, but comes back to me. He pulls the butt plug out—roughly—and surprisingly, the feeling sends shivers through me. It’s the first pleasure I’ve felt all night. I feel a lubed finger circle my rosette then enter my ass. My sobs prevent my moans, but it really feels good, so much better than him hitting me.

He replaces his finger with the head of his penis, teasing my asshole and making me want to moan, but I don’t. I don’t know what I’m allowed to do right now. He pushes into me, slowly… very slowly, stretching me to wrap around him. He pulls out a little and pushes in further, groaning deeply as he goes further inside of me. My cries are now helpless gasps as the pleasure of him filling my ass assaults my senses. I can’t think now. I don’t even remember why I was crying.

“Ssssssssssssssssssssssssssssss!” he hisses long and loud as he pushes himself deeper into me, very deep. I can feel it in my hips. I know he’s sheathed when he grabs those hips and starts to move, pushing me closer to the glass. The feeling is heavenly and I’m panting with pleasure as he fills me. He has pushed me so close to the glass that I’m standing upright now.

“Step up on the ledge,” he breathes, almost chokes. I was wondering what that ledge was for. It’s an eight-inch platform that goes all the way around the shower. I step up and now, I’m the perfect height for him to pound into me without having to stoop. He reaches between us and opens my ass from underneath, grinding deeper into me. I can’t stop the moan that escapes, but it spawns him to cover my hands with his on the glass and rock harder into me.

My head lolls forward as he presses my hands firmly against the glass, pushing long and deep into me. His breath is staccato and I imagine him watching his dick disappear into my ass as he strokes me, the visual assault intensifying his pleasure as my body envelopes him. He confirms my suspicions when one thrust finds him buried deep inside me, his groan deep and loud, his dick pulsing so hard that I thought he was coming. He simultaneously grabs my breasts and pulls me flat against him, my hands still sliding on the glass. My tortured moan matches his and echoes off the shower walls.

“Quiet!” he whispers, his voice thick with his own pleasure. I bite my lips as he continues to grind into me, that paralyzing feeling starting in my knees that signals the start of an anal orgasm. He’s squeezing my breasts, hard, using them as leverage to press me harder against him for deep penetrating. I love it! It’s so fucking hot and intense. I have to stop myself from calling his name out, from moaning in ecstasy, from moving my hands. I release my lips from my teeth and breathe open-mouthed as he plunges into me, owning me.

One hand moves and ends up in the promised land and from God only knows where, he has produced a vibrator—a bullet, I think. He palms my pussy and manages to part my lips, landing that thing on my clit on what feels like the highest setting!

“Aaaaaaaaaaahhhhhh!” I cry out from the surprise and start to tremble violently. It’s involuntary.

“Sssssshhhhhh!” His reprimand is a long, slow hiss that matches his grind. Fuck, he wants me to be quiet through this? I throw my head back, mouth open, panting like a wild animal and trying to keep quiet. My reaction spawns a guttural groan and a probing thrust from my Dom, and I’m certain that he’s hell-bent on torturing me when his other hand moves from my breast and secures around my neck, pinning me to him. I’m trapped. I have learned that this is another method of him collaring me, owning me. He always brings his face close to mine when we’re like this—talking to me, taunting me, giving me instructions, breathing in my ear, driving me wild. He always applies pressure—looser to show affection, tighter to show possession. It spurns my orgasm and I have to concentrate if I don’t want to come too quickly.

Sure enough, he thrusts two wet fingers into my core, hooking them so that he has a firm grip. That damn bullet is hard against my clit, massaging me so, so deep, his hand moving in perfect sync with his shaft thrusting deliciously in and out of my ass. His other hand clamps tight around my neck and the dance truly begins.

He owns me. He so fucking owns me.

Each movement is enough on its own to send me spiraling into oblivion. Together, I’m mindless with pleasure.

“Your breathing…” he whispers in my ear. “You want to come.” Of course, I do! “Don’t come.”

Oh, shit! I’m going to fail this test.

“Did you hear me?” he asks, wiggling his fingers inside of me, causing a deep vibration of the bullet against my clit. I cry out like a wounded animal.

“Yes, sir!” I respond, nearly weeping.

“Good,” he says, and his hand begins to move, opposite his stroke, up and down just enough to finger-fuck me deep and rubs that vibrator against my sensitive and pulsing clit. I’m mindless. I can’t control any of this, not even my own body.

“Oooo, you are so wet,” he croons in my ear. “Your juices just gushed all over me. It feels so good on my hand… so soft and wet.” His thumb joins the dance and begins to stroke the outer lip of my pussy. His tongue, lips, and teeth set to task on my neck and shoulders—licking, nipping, and sucking—while his fingers spread on my neck, two of his fingertips now on my chin, pushing my head back against his shoulder holding me in place. He has moved from possession to affection…

…But he still owns me.

I’m floating, mindless and powerless on waves of obscene pleasure unable to control anything, much less my body’s reaction when he breathes, “Perfect. Yes… feel it, baby… but don’t come.”

I feel it. I feel it everywhere. It assaults all my senses. My body is one big bundle of nerves and he’s plucking every one.

“Hold it, baby…” he coaxes, “don’t come.”

I don’t think he understands. I have no control over this. I don’t know what’s happening. I don’t know what I’m saying. I don’t know what I’m doing. All I know is what I’m feeling… literal mind-numbing pleasure. My brain is literally checking out and my body is taking over. He’s strumming this instrument like an acoustic guitar in a concert hall, and my swan song has begun. I’m rising… higher and higher. My body is no longer my own. I strap myself in and get ready for the ride of my life.

“Hold on, baby…” he warns, his rods pumping into me, going deep and massaging my anus while his hand works its magic on my core. “Can you hold it?” he grunts, pulling me harder against him with each stroke. I feel his body trembling against mine and it doesn’t help my current situation. I know he loves the feel of my ass and I know that right now, it’s clenching tight around him as he pounds into me—long and deep, not slow, but at just the right speed to feel my body grip every inch of him. I’ve always wondered if I feel as good against his skin as he feels against mine, because if I do, he’s about to blow.

“What was that, baby? What did you say?” I don’t know, did I say something? Fuck it, I’m melting, and apparently I’m delirious, too.

“You can’t take anymore. You’re going to come. I feel it,” he says, his fingers probing deep into me, massaging my walls while his palm and thumb push me closer to certain death—Shakespearean death, that is.

“Oh, baby,” he groans deeply. “Your body is insane! Every inch of you is on fire!” You got that right. I feel him open his legs—apparently for leverage—and he is pumping into me wild and deep, grinding hard like he’s losing control. His groans are continuous now and he’s nearly lifting my feet off the ledge with each thrust. His dick is getting bigger, harder… he’s close. He groans loud and long and sinks his teeth into the meat on my shoulder.

I burst into flames in his arms, my entire body is fire as this deadly climax rips through all of my senses, searing through my soul and burning away all thoughts of anything else. I hear myself crying, wailing, but my body and mind are floating, unable to control anything happening to me.

“Yes, baby,” he coaches, his voice thick with desire, “feel it, baby. Ride it out… feel it all…”

And feel it, I do. It’s electrifying and he has to hold me up as he continues to stroke and grind into my ass, drawing out my pleasure with his masterful hips; his skilled hand manipulating my clit and probing my pussy. I’m weeping now, gyrating and trembling helplessly as he groans loudly and empties wild and hard inside of me. His cries of passion are primal as he squeezes my neck, pressing me hard against him, his opposite hand still in my pussy. It’s trembling involuntarily against and inside me as he withstands his own galactic orgasm and I convulse in delicious aftershocks that rival the orgasm that I just had.

“Baby, baby, baby, baby, baby, baby…” He curls around me, holding my limp body and kissing my shoulders and neck, his voice now full of reverence and genuine affection. He’s the complete opposite of the man that brought me into the shower. His love radiates from him into me as he lays his head on my back, breathing heavily and holding me against him as if he hopes we will meld into one person.

I can only weep.

He rocks me slowly and gently in his arms and it only makes me weep harder. He holds me there for a few more moments, then sets me on my unsteady feet. Brushing my wet braid over my shoulder, he kisses my bald spot and my scars several times.

And I weep harder.

My cries turn to unattractive hiccups as he lathers a shower sponge and gently cleans my body—my back, my arms, my massive baby bump, the spot where he spanked me so hard that it still stings. I flinch when he touches it and cover my face, still weeping. I feel him move behind me and now, he’s gently washing my legs, thighs, and feet. The warm water rinses the soap from my body and I feel his lips kiss the site of my spanking over and over again. He’s on his knees behind me, literally kissing my ass.

I weep unabashedly. I weep for him spanking me, for him pulling my hair, for the massive and insane orgasm I just had, and for the gentle aftercare that he’s giving me now. I weep because it’s freezing-raining outside, because the babies have somehow slept through all of this, and because I have no idea what I’m going to wear tomorrow. I weep because Val still hates me, because I closed my practice, and because there are still some things that I can’t remember. I weep because the sky is blue, because I can’t quite recall what day it is, because I don’t like the color of my toenails…

*-*

I open my eyes and find myself in bed alone. If I focus, I can see the sun trying to break through the closed shutters and light-eliminating drapes. I don’t know what time it is and I really don’t care. I’m lying on my right side, the side where I was spanked. It still hurts—not that pleasurable, day-after sting that comes from the erotic spankings to which I have become accustomed. It hurts like hell, like I got my ass beat. I don’t like it and I can’t reconcile if I really deserved it… if the punishment actually fit the crime. I am actually pretty lucky that I didn’t get sick. That certainly would have been very bad for the babies, I imagine. I wasn’t really thinking about my health or the babies and that wasn’t good. To that end, I’ll make sure that I’m not standing in subzero weather without a coat… ever again, but I feel very much like a punished child.

What’s worse is that with the huge pregnant stomach, I can’t even lie on my front to relieve the ache. He put some cream on it last night, but I can’t remember if it gave me any relief. I just know that it hurts now. I could turn on my left side, but I just don’t feel like moving right now. I pull the warm covers up around my neck and snuggle in, looking for that comfort that I had last night before any of this happened. I find a pinch of it as I sink down into the mattress.

He mixed punishment with passion, sort of like he did in Anguilla… but different. Not better or worse, I think, just different. His punishment was decisive—not cruel, but definitely meant to leave an impression. That, it did. I will have a coat or a wrap at every exit. I close my eyes in an attempt to stop my racing thoughts. They’re all over the place and I just want them to calm down. I’m not getting out of bed. I’m staying here today. There’s nothing that I need to do and nowhere that I need to be, so I’m just staying here… relaxing, thinking about sunsets, moonlight, twins playing in the grass, gentle breezes, water washing over my feet and the sand between my toes…

“You never were very good at playing possum.”

He’s here. I sigh and open my eyes. He’s behind me. I’m facing the fireplace and he’s on the other side of the bed.

“I wasn’t pretending to be asleep,” I reply.

“Are you going to get up?” His tone is soothing… gentle and slightly coaxing.

“No,” I answer, “Not right now.” Not today at all.

“Are you feeling okay? Are you ill?” God, no! I’m not ill. Please, let’s not talk that into existence.

“No, I’m just resting,” I say, hoping to appease him.

“You’re still tired?”

“No, just resting.” I hear him sigh gently.

“Would you like for me to run you a bath?” He sounds a little rudderless. I don’t want a bath, because it means sitting down. I don’t want a shower… because I just don’t want a shower. I’m not going anywhere, so I don’t need to shower or wash right now—not to mention I had one before bed.

“No, I don’t need a bath,” I tell him.

“Do you want me to leave?” he asks. Do I? I don’t care really. His presence doesn’t bother me, and his lack of presence won’t bother me, either.

“No, I’m fine,” I reply. “It’s up to you.” I can almost feel his angst. I just don’t have anything right now.

“When I used to have subs, this is why they had their own room. There were times when they needed to be away from me, when they needed space from what we were doing. I’m not sure that I could tolerate that with you… if you felt like you needed to be away from me.”

He’s feeling strangely, I can tell. Remorse, I think, but I know that he won’t apologize because he doesn’t feel like he needs to. Honestly, I don’t feel like he needs to either. It’s the nature of our relationship. I knew that when I married him. I don’t really want to analyze this situation, though I know that I will. I just… want to lay here… think, maybe, I don’t know.

“Are you not speaking to me?” he asks.

“No, nothing like that,” I reply softly.

“Then, what?” What, indeed?

“I’m just resting,” I reply, which is the truth. I’m just lying here resting, thinking about nothing and everything.

I feel him rise off the bed. A few minutes later, I hear his voice.

“Will you turn around and face me?” I roll my eyes and sigh quietly. Turning around is a bit of a task. There’s no way to do it without irritating my butt. As I roll gingerly, I grimace and whimper when my butt hits the bed and quickly move the pressure off the painful cheek. He’s moved to the floor, his chin resting on his hands on the bed. I pull the blankets back up to my neck and lay my head back on the pillows.

“I don’t like that look,” he says, solemnly. “I’ve never seen it before. I don’t know what it means.”

“It doesn’t mean anything,” I murmur, mainly because I have no idea what he sees and I’m not trying to portray or hide anything.

“What are you thinking?” he asks, a slight hint of desperation in his voice. “I need to know.”

“Nothing. I’m just resting.” There’s really nothing there. I was just listening to the silence and letting my thoughts fall to nothing. He sighs heavily and gently strokes my cheek.

“Are you hungry? You need to eat.” An olive branch, I think… totally unnecessary. I’m not hungry, surprisingly, but the babies need to be fed.

“I could eat,” I reply. He smiles.

“What would you like?”

“What time is it?”

“About eleven.” Eleven? My God, I had no idea it was that late, not that it matters.

“I’m not sure what I want. Whatever the cook has ready is fine,” I concede. He nods.

“Are you cold?” Am I? Maybe just a bit. My silence prompts him to rise. “I’ll build you a fire, okay?”

“Yes, that would be nice,” I respond. He disappears behind me and I hear him open the flute and add logs to the fireplace. In no time, there’s a fire crackling in the bedroom fireplace. The warmth is almost immediate. He walks back around the bed.

“I’ll go see what’s ready, okay?” I nod. He kisses me on the forehead. “I love you.”

“I love you, too.” He disappears out the bedroom door, leaving it only slightly cracked. I snuggle down into the covers again as the fireplace casts a glow over the room. I’m starting to feel warmer very quickly. I emerge from my cocoon and look over the edge of the bed to the floor. My nightshirt is still there. I pick it up and slide it over my head. The fire is comforting and it’s warming the room quite nicely. I shift so that my head is at the foot of our bed and I don’t have to lay on my right side to face the fire. No need for underwear; they would irritate me too much. I put a pillow under the twins and one between my legs. My hair falls over the end of the bed and I’m comfortable again.

I sigh deeply as the comfort envelopes me. I know why I’m not feeling anything but the pain in my stinging butt. It’s because I’m in limbo. Knowing my husband the way that I do, I should expect to be punished for going outside and putting myself and our babies at risk. If the tables were turned and he were deliberately and unnecessary putting himself at risk, I would have done the same thing to him. If I think hard enough, I’m sure that I have. I just don’t know how I feel about it. Because the two extremes are battling each other, I’m stuck in limbo. I can’t and won’t tell him that. I have to come to grips with what I’m feeling before I can attempt to present my feelings to him.

The fire crackling reminds me of happier times—all the times we fell asleep or made love in front of the fire at… Escala. Yeah, that’s it, Escala. I concentrate on happier thoughts to pull myself out of limbo…

“I guess you are resting.” His smooth voice wakes me from my light slumber. I didn’t even know that I had fallen asleep. I raise up a bit trying to get my bearings. “Don’t move,” he says. “I’ll bring the tray to you.” I lean up on my side a bit and he places a napkin and flatware on the bed in front of me. He produces a portable tray with two plates. One carries a croissant, which I later discover is filled with prosciutto and gruyere cheese, and a spinach and mushroom frittata cup. The second plate is full of fruit skewers. They look divine. I wasn’t hungry before, but I’m certainly hungry now! I tear into the fruit skewers, using them as an appetizer to curb my initial hunger.

I eat in relative silence. I’m more concerned with getting the food down to the babies than anything else happening in the room or even in my mind. The fruit is scrumptious and I gladly finish every bit of it, then start in on the other courses when his voice breaks my concentration.

“Over the years, I’ve become accustomed to seeing bruises on women. Depending on the severity of our session, the bruising can get to be a bit brutal.” Why is he telling me this? I really don’t want to have a Sunday morning chat about his sessions with his prior submissives! “I’ve seen some pretty nasty welts from a whip and a cane, but spanking…?” He pauses. Where is he going with this? “I’ve seen some of the tannest skin glow bright red from a good hiding, but I’ve never seen any of them glow purple… and certainly not black and blue.”

Black and blue?? What?!Ana bruised after spanking 2

I instinctively bolt upright and forget that it’s my ass that he’s talking about. The pain shoots up my hip and I bear my teeth and grimace. His jaw tightens as I resume my position off of the tender part of my ass. Welp, my appetite’s gone. Let’s check in on the soccer players. They seem content, not grumbling or rumbling in discomfort, so I think they’re okay.

“You cried for a long time last night. I didn’t think you would ever stop. I don’t ever remember you crying that much except when you returned from Montana and it still wasn’t as bad as last night. Why didn’t you safeword, Ana?” I do remember Tearfest when I returned from Montana. It certainly wasn’t the same as last night.

“You always ask me if I remember my safewords before we begin. Did you ask me that last night?” I ask, stoically. His pupils constrict.

“No,” he admits. “Did you forget them?”

“Did it matter?” I retort, my voice still flat.

“Yes, it mattered, Anastasia!” he snaps, barely controlling his voice. “It always matters! Did you forget?” His feelings are conflicted and he needs an answer that’s going to make him feel better, but I don’t have one.

“No, Christian, I didn’t forget. Bells. Whistles. Ladybug.” My tone never changes, but his jaw tightens. “I didn’t safeword last night because I didn’t need to safeword. If I had fought to get away from you, screamed for you to ‘stop this now,’ or made any gestures towards my babies whatsoever, you would have stopped.”

“Then why didn’t you stop me?” he hisses, his emotions barely contained. I still don’t falter.

“I weighed the situation. I put myself and my babies at risk. I married a Dom. This is what happens.” I wait for his response. He runs his hands through his hair and sighs heavily, his jaw even tighter than it was before.

“The very first time you subbed for me, I struck you with my hand thirty-two times. Thirty-two times, Anastasia, and you did not look like that! That must have been agony. Why didn’t you stop me?” His voice is almost begging now. I had all but forgotten about that. Thirty-two times… that was a lot. How did he remember that?

That was different—very different. That wasn’t punishment; that was erotic spanking, testing my limits, regaining his control. That was varying amounts of pressure, different parts of my ass, and hit and caress. That wasn’t repeated, successive, concentrated pounding on my wet skin on the side of my butt closer to my hip where there’s not as much meat as the full-on ass cheek. You wanted pain. You wanted submission. You wanted to teach me a lesson. You got what you wanted.

Did I deserve a lesson? Yes, I did. I wholeheartedly agree that I did. How do I feel about this particular lesson? I haven’t gotten that far. My mind and body won’t let me. I’m not angry—I know that for sure. Unfortunately, I’m not feeling much of anything else right now either. The only word that I can use to describe my feelings at this moment is subdued.

If this is how his subs felt after punishment, then I understand why they needed time away from him. There was no emotional connection, and even if they did feel something for him, he didn’t reciprocate it. So they did need to be on their own for a while after something like this, if for no other reason but to regroup and examine their feelings. My feelings aren’t confused. I still love my husband and I don’t necessarily need to be away from him. If he needs to be in my presence right now or not, I’m fine with either one. I deserved to be punished for disregarding my health and well-being and that of my babies. I just haven’t evaluated how I feel about the punishment right now.

I do know one thing though. He can’t deal with it. His emotions and his dominance and his logical mind told him at the time that this is what I deserved. He expected to hand out his punishment and then for us to wake up this morning and everything be okay. It’s not okay, at least not with him. He didn’t expect the emotional response that I’m giving him—or lack thereof—and he certainly didn’t expect the physical result. I’m sorry, baby, but if I have to live with the results of your actions, you do, too.

“This is what you wanted,” I say with no malice. “You wanted me to have a physical reminder of what I had done wrong. You wanted to teach me a lesson. Isn’t that the whole idea behind the concept of spanking—to curtail bad behavior when you see it?” Yes, I’ve looked into the proclaimed benefits of spanking when he announced that this was one of the ways that he wanted to discipline our children. This is one of the reasons that I can more accept the punishment as opposed to feeling abused or battered. However, being on the receiving end, I have to weigh all of the effects this exercise has had on me. Although we will revisit that topic, I can’t do that right now because it’s still too new. But you, Mr. Grey… you do need to realize that the effects of something like this go both ways.

“You wanted to highlight what I did wrong. You wanted to make sure that I was aware of it and that I wouldn’t do it again. You had a point to make and you made it. I certainly will never breach the door again without appropriate attire for the weather conditions. I didn’t need to safeword, Christian, but apparently, you needed me to.” He stands and turns his back to me for a moment. With his hands on his hips, he begins his counting. Why is he angry? He only counts momentarily before he turns around to face me, his eyes apologetic.

“I didn’t want this, Ana,” he says softly, his voice thick with emotion. “I didn’t want this.” He walks out of the bedroom. I watch the door he exited over my shoulder for a moment. In my head, the Bitch just looks at me and shrugs. I’m with her—fuck if I know what to do next.


 

CHRISTIAN

I don’t think I’ve ever felt this way after administering a punishment… ever. I don’t even know how to label this feeling… angry, disappointed, upset, guilty? I have no idea.

Her butt is black and blue. My hand doesn’t even hurt, and her butt is black and blue! And her demeanor, she’s so complacent. She’s staying in bed, and she’s not ill. She’s never done that. Well, she did that when I was angry with her after the fundraiser fiasco. Hopefully, she’s not feeling the same way now as she did, then. All evidence points to the contrary. Shit, I don’t know where the evidence is pointing. She’s not really telling me anything.

Is this some type of reverse psychology? Nope. No, it’s not. That’s not Butterfly’s style. She’s an open book and what she’s feeling is usually right there for me to see. No, right now, either she’s not feeling shit, or she doesn’t know what she’s feeling… and neither of those are good.

I take the elevator to the group floor in hopes of avoiding the “where’s Ana” questions and stares that greeted me when I came down to fetch her breakfast. When I get to the ground floor, I go straight to the cabinet in the gym and get two instant ice packs. When I make my way back to our bedroom, Butterfly is leaning on her elbow, clearly lost in thought. She doesn’t react when I enter the room. I go into my en suite and get the Arnica cream, the citrus oil, and a clean hand towel and washcloth. I wet and wring the washcloth and come back to our bedroom.

“Have you finished with your breakfast?” I ask. She has eaten part of the croissant and part of the frittata, but all of the fruit is gone. I can live with that.

“Yes, I’m finished.” I put the plates on the tray and move the tray from the bed to the table near the window.

“Would you like something else… another spritzer or some water?”

“No, I’m fine. Thank you.”

“Will you take off your nightshirt?” She freezes for a moment, but then removes her nightshirt.

“Lie down, please,” I tell her. She lies as flat as the babies will allow her with her face on her bent arms, still facing the fire. I examine her bruised behind. She flinches and hisses when I apply the aArnica cream.

“Sorry,” I mutter.

“It’s okay,” she replies, still lying on her hands. I gently massage the cream over her bruises, feeling shittier and shittier every time she flinches. After a while, the flinching finally stops and I can only assume that she’s feeling some relief. I grab the washcloth and the ice pack.

“This is going to be cold,” I warn and lay the damp washcloth over her butt.

“That’s not cold at all,” she responds.

“I’m not finished.” I squeeze the pack and break the tube inside.

“Oh,” she says after she hears the shaking. When the pack gets cold, I put it over the wash cloth. I’m relieved that she doesn’t flinch. I rub my hands together to warm them, then pour some of the citrus oil on them. I rub it in and then proceed to rub it into her back and shoulders. Her muscles relax immediately under my gentle kneading. I concentrate on the small of her back where I know she feels the most pressure during her pregnancy. She moans quietly as I work the kinks out of her muscles. When the area feels totally relaxed, I apply more oil and move down to her thighs and legs, and finally to her ankles and feet. I’m not a professional, but I’ve been reading a bit on third-trimester massage. Her ankles haven’t quite started swelling, but I know it’s right around the corner.

Her breathing has become rhythmic. I stop the massage and move to her face and confirm my suspicions. She’s asleep. I wipe the oil from my hands and sit on the floor at the foot of the bed. I lean my face on my hand so that it’s right next to hers. I gently brush her hair out of her face and examine her features. She’s so beautiful, so tranquil. I see the same beauty in her now that I saw the first day that I met her. Those eyes captivated me from “Sir” and I’ve been a goner ever since.

“You’re right,” I whisper. “I had a point to prove and I proved it. I wanted you to know my level of displeasure with what you did and how it could’ve hurt you and our children. I wanted to exercise my authority upon you because I wanted you to know how unhappy I was with your actions.” I stroke her cheek gently and she purrs a bit in her sleep.

“I’m sorry,” I whisper to her sleeping face. “I didn’t want this. I really didn’t want this.” I just sit there and watch her as she sleeps contentedly, her face looking like she’s dreaming of clouds and unicorns.

*-*

Monday was a fitful day at work. Nothing seemed to go right; everything irritated the fuck out of me and no one could follow simple instructions. I left the office at the height of displeasure, only content when I met Butterfly in Lamaze class. She seemed in better spirits, though still a bit withdrawn. It went very well and I was pleased with what we learned and even with the couple we met while we were there. I’ve already sent Butterfly home while I tend to one last order of business for the evening.

“What I did to her borders on abuse,” I confess to Dr. Baker.

“How so?” she asks.

“The bruising… it was really severe.”

“So the act itself didn’t bother you, but the bruising did.” I don’t answer. “Would you have felt the same way if she hadn’t bruised so badly?” I shake my head.

“No,” I say almost immediately.

“What about all those other things that you do in the course of your relationship?” she asks. “Collars, whips, crops, handcuffs…”

“We don’t use handcuffs,” I say abruptly.

“I thought once you told me that you cuffed her…”

Wrist cuffs, not handcuffs. Wrist cuffs are thicker, usually padded inside… leather or fur. Handcuffs are metal. They cut into your skin if you pull on them. We’ve never used handcuffs and never will since that bastard kidnapped her and cuffed her to the bed for four days.” She pauses.

“Okay, but all of the other measures that you practice during your playtime… how are those things qconsidered abuse and this is?”

“Because of what I did to her. It was pretty bad.”

“But you’ve done this before,” she says. I frown hard.

“I’ve never done this to her before!” I nearly yell.

“Yes, you have!” Dr. Baker retorts, maintaining her tone, but matching my intensity. “You’ve spanked her before to exercise your dominance and to drive some point home. You’ve had rough sex with her while she was either physically or emotionally restrained—even in public places—as punishment for something that she did that displeased you. One of those times was right before your wedding. You needed to remind yourself and her who was in charge. So what’s the difference between those times and this?”

“She was black and blue!” I reinforce. “I hit her with my hand—my hand—and she was black and blue.”

“If you had hit her with something else and she was black and blue, that would have been fine?”

“No,” I say, frustrated and running my hand through my hair. Why can’t this woman just understand what I’m trying to tell her? “I’ve never beaten Ana black and blue. Even our most intense playtime has never resulted in her being bruised like this.” Even our suspension experiment with the custom corset didn’t leave her like that. She had some pretty severe welts from the boning that were very dark red, and we learned that we would need some kind of padding underneath, but she wasn’t black and blue.

“So basically what you’re telling me is that, in your mind, what qualifies this as abuse is not what you did to her, not how she felt in the end, but the fact that she was so badly bruised the next day. Do I have that right?” Well, shit, that sounds kind of fucked up, but…

“Yeah… I think.” That just didn’t sound right. “I mean, her reaction the next day… it was nothing like any other reaction she had ever had.”

“So, her stoicism bothered you.” I ponder the thought.

“It wasn’t stoicism,” I say, trying to place the emotion—or lack thereof—that I received from Butterfly yesterday. “Stoicism would have been more of an indication that she didn’t care what had happened, and I didn’t get that vibe. She wasn’t stoic. She was more like… numb.” Dr. Baker’s head jerks to that explanation.

“Okay,” she says, a little surprised.

“She reacted when I told her that her butt was black and blue, only momentarily, but then she went right back to numb.”

“So she just accepted it—the punishment, the bruising…” I sigh.

“Kind of… I guess… she just didn’t protest it.”

“And if she had protested?” Dr. Baker asks. “That would have made a difference?”

“It would have let me know how she felt,” I reply. She nods.

“So you would have felt better knowing how she felt?” I shrug.

“I don’t know if I would have felt better, but I would have liked to know.”

“And while you were doing it, it didn’t matter.” The words just hang there.

“It’s a spanking, Dr. Baker,” I say flatly. “It’s not supposed to be pleasant, it’s supposed to make a point, correct bad behavior.”

“Do you feel like you’ve done that—made your point and corrected the bad behavior?” I think about the conversation we had where Butterfly said that I did in fact drive my point home and that she would not be caught outside without proper outerwear again.

“Yes, I did,” I answer, maudlin.

“Then what’s the problem?” I glare at her. Has she lost her mind?

“Are you saying that as long as I made my point that it’s okay that my wife looks like a victim of domestic violence?” If she agrees with that, I’m walking out of here and firing this bitch.

“I’m not saying anything,” she says, sitting up in her seat and challenging me. “I asked you a question…”

“And I asked you a question!” I challenge back.

“And I answered it, but you haven’t!” she retorts, pointing in my face. I’m silenced for a moment. “What’s the problem, Mr. Grey?” she presses, unshaken.

“That’s she’s all bruised up like a battered wife!” I hiss.

“You’ve bruised women before. What you guys do is consensual. That’s not the problem. What’s the problem, Mr. Grey?” That’s not the problem? What the fuck is the problem? My wife looks like she’s been attacked! I frown deeply.

“What’s the problem, Mr. Grey?” she asks again. What is she asking me? I’ve told her everything. I told her what I did, I told her why, I told her about the bruising, about how Butterfly acted. I told her everything, so I don’t know what she’s looking for.

“Christian,” she says, her voice gentler, “what’s the problem?”

“I don’t know,” I say finally, all of the fight just rushing away from me.

“Why are you here?” she asks.

“Because my wife looks like hell and I feel like shit.”

And there it is.

She holds her hands out to the side of her as if to say “ta DA!”

“You don’t strike me as a cruel man, Christian,” she says. “You never have or else you wouldn’t be my patient. You have a less-than-conventional way of dealing with your control issues and fulfilling your sexual needs, but the women you have engaged in this practice have consented to become a part of your lifestyle. You even married one. To that end, you operate within a set of boundaries—things that you will and will not do or accept—hard and soft limits, you told me.”

I nod. During our sessions, she has shown quite the detailed knowledge and understanding of the lifestyle, not to have participated in it.

“You told me once that you preferred fair-skinned, pale submissives because when you spanked them, their skin turned pink. When you lashed them, sometimes it turned red and you liked to take them from behind so that the impact of your skin slapping together ensured that their skin would stay red until you found your release.”

Why is she describing this now? It’s making me uncomfortable that I’m getting slightly aroused sitting here talking to my gray-haired shrink. These are, after all, the things that turn me on.

“In the process, you never indicated that you liked seeing them turn black and blue. If this has ever happened in any of your encounters, you never once brought it to my attention,” she says. I’ve seen some dark bruising from a paddling every now and again, but I can’t say that I’ve ever seen black and blue from my own hand.

“I honestly don’t ever recall a woman being beaten black and blue by my hand ever, under any circumstances,” I say softly. I feel horrible, like a horrible, horrible monster. I beat my pregnant wife until she was black and blue. I’m a horrible person and a horrible husband.

“Well, the first thing that you need to do is stop punishing yourself.” What? Is she serious? They put monsters like me in jail—like that fucker that beat Luma’s daughter to death. I should be arrested for what I did to my wife.

“Your remorse is healthy, Christian,” she continues. “It’s one of the things that allows you to determine what’s acceptable and what’s not acceptable. Regular Jane Housewife and Joe Husband may not partake in the things that you do. It may be reprehensible to them, but it’s not for the two of you. What becomes your hard and soft limits are clear and concise in some cases and yet to be determined in others. You were livid with Ana—not only because she went outside without a coat and put herself and her children at risk, but also because she didn’t show you the reverence that you felt she should have shown you when you rescued her from a death of cold and certain pneumonia. You brooded, you went on with your day, and when you felt that your anger had subsided enough, you approached her to impose your punishment. But you and I both know that wasn’t your only reason for waiting.” Yes, we both know. “You need to say it, Christian.”

“I wanted her comfortable,” I say, shame coursing through my veins as I admit it. “I wanted her relaxed so that I could rip her from her comfort zone and show her that I’m still her Dom.”

“And we both know that had you chosen to punish her two hours before as opposed to waiting until she was snuggled in her bed, exhausted and vulnerable, that she still would have known you were her Dom, correct?” I nod. “Use your words, Christian.”

“Yes,” I hiss, anger and self-hatred rearing its ugly head at me again.

“And while you shoved a butt plug into her with no prior warning or preparation, then repeatedly spanked her wet skin in the same spot, over and over, you found satisfaction in that—in her surrender and in your power over her, correct?”

“Why are you doing this to me?” I growl, my eyes shut tight, barely able to stand the intense guilt I feel.

“I’m not doing this to you, Christian. You did this to yourself, now answer the question. Her surrender, your power…”

“Yes, it brought me satisfaction!” I bark. There, I said it. Are you happy now?

“How do you think she felt?” Okay, that question caught me off guard. She was being punished! How the fuck was she supposed to feel?

“I’m a Dom!” I say as an attempt at explanation, but the good doctor is not letting me get off that easily.

“And so is she,” she retorts. “Maybe not as seasoned as you, but she’s your Domme. Not only that, but you subbed for that other woman for several years, so you know exactly what I’m asking you. As your sub, your Domme, and your wife, how did she feel? What was she thinking?” My mind immediately goes back to making Butterfly count. She skipped one and I made her go back. When I struck her three times to five, she counted three. When she showed displeasure with her punishment, I restrained her by pulling her hair. By the time we got to ten, I think she was in some kind of subspace, but not in a good way. I think she simply couldn’t hear me anymore. I was talking to her, chastising her, and she didn’t respond to me—she just kept counting.

By the time I stopped, I think she had resolved herself to endless punishment. Her stance changed, the weight of her head became heavy against the pull of my hand. She was weeping bitterly. I broke her down. I stopped because I felt she had learned her lesson and it was time to fuck her. Part of the sex was my satisfaction and the other part was aftercare, but I don’t think it did any good because she was already broken.

“She cried so much…” I choke. Oh, God, I feel like shit. “I didn’t know why she was crying. She wouldn’t move unless I moved her. She was so tired…” I feel her tears burning a trek down my cheek. “I carried her to bed and she was asleep instantly. She didn’t move once all night. I had to… check to see if she was still breathing…” The words trail off.

“The next day, it was like she wasn’t really there. She just laid in the bed and… she didn’t connect with anything. I don’t even know if she connected with the twins yesterday.” I drop my head in my hands. I hated it. It was great when I was teaching her a lesson and showing her who’s boss, but the aftermath… I hated it.

“You have a new soft limit, Mr. Grey.” I shake my head. I don’t think I’ll ever be able to punish Butterfly again after this, but it’s almost like Dr. Baker is reading my mind. “It may be awhile before you’re able to engage in bondage and discipline like you normally do, but you’re a Dom. You’ll be able to engage again when you’re ready. In the meantime, you have something to consider. Your new soft limit is consequences.” I raise my head to her.

“That’s what got us here in the first place!” I bark. Hasn’t she been listening?

“You’re right, but not her consequences… yours.” Mine?

Hmm…

Mine.

“You never worried about how you would feel after you punished a submissive because you never had to. The punishment most often fit the crime or the situation. You knew their pain thresholds and you pushed them to whatever limits were necessary under the circumstances. When it was done, you provided their aftercare and sent them to their room. The next day, you either did it all over again or sent them away. There was no emotion—no consideration for whether or not you hit them too hard, or hit them too many times, or how they felt because it wasn’t necessary. You had your contract; they and you knew what to expect, and the relationship lasted as long as it lasted for those reasons.

“Now, you have a wife who is also your submissive, a wife whom you adore and who is carrying your children. You don’t have a contract; you play by ear, which means the rules are subject to change. In the bondage and discipline portion of your relationship, you have a new soft limit—how are you going to feel when it’s over?”

Oh, shit. I can’t be a Dom afraid to wield the tools of the trade.

“Don’t worry, Christian. It’ll come back, but you’ve got to renegotiate your terms.” I close my eyes and nod. I don’t know if she’s right about that part.

by_the_doorThe house is quiet once again when I get home. I enter through the mudroom and the first thing I notice is a strange coat hanging on a hook. When I hang my coat, I go in search of… anybody. The first person I find is Gail coming out of the pantry.

“Gail, do we have guests?” I ask. She frowns, bemused.

“No. Why do you ask?” she replies. I point to the mudroom.

“Nothing, I just saw a coat back there and thought we had company.” She frowns again.

“Oh!” she says, realization evident in her face. “That’s Ana’s coat.” My turn to frown. She never stops in the mudroom. Even if she happens to go through the mudroom, she never stops in the mudroom.

“Where is she?”

standing-coat-rack-cappuccino“I haven’t seen her since after dinner, but I’m sure she’s around somewhere,” she replies. I nod and head for the bedroom. As I’m about to take the curved staircase to the owner’s suite, a coat tree catches my eye. I would have missed it because it’s hiding back off to the side a bit it the vestibule, but I caught it because it looks so out of place. There’s only one coat on it… a woman’s trench.

I rise the stairs to stairs to our room and there’s no Butterfly. I remove my tie and relieve myself. As I’m going through the sitting room back to our bedroom, a shadowy form catches my attention by the window.

There she is. Why didn’t she say anything?

I turn on the light and it’s not Butterfly at all. It’s a curtain or something hanging on a hook by the balcony door. As I get closer to it, I see that is a heavy wool wrap.

939e203a6fe6f16ba1afeeaa3d6b7558“She didn’t…” I think to myself. Hoping to God that I’m wrong and on a desperate mission to prove it, I hurry out of the bedroom door and to the large room at the entrance of the south wing—empty, but for a cream wrap hanging on a newly-added wooden hook by the French balcony doors.

183074555_alba-over-the-panel-coat-hook-single-coat-racksI head back to the elevator and pass the wraparound desk where a convenient over-the-door hook has been added to the partition wall and a soft, lavender flannel jacket hangs for easy access on the way to the second-floor balcony.

I swear it feels like someone is stabbing me in my chest. Every exit has a coat or a wrap nearby for Butterfly. I’m sure of it. They’re very subtle for the most part, but they are there.

It’s not odd to see a coat in the mudroom because coats and boots belong in the mudroom. It’s just that Butterfly rarely ever leaves the house through the mudroom.

I never would have noticed the coat near the front door, hanging on a coat tree tucked to the side in the vestibule between the wooden doors and the outer glass doors. I eventually would have seen it, but not immediately had the inner doors been closed.

I would have totally missed the wool wrap in her sitting room had I not been looking for her and mistook the shadow of the wrap for her before I turned on the lights.

Still looking for Butterfly, I check her aquarium and of course, find that a rustic, cast iron, weathered wall coat rack with four hooks has been added to the decorum at the French doors across from the aquarium. It matches the area as there is a seahorse, a starfish, a fish, seaweed, and what looks like a clam across the top of the rack, and one lone coat—a white parka—hanging on one of the four hooks. Sea-Themed Coat Hook

On my way back upstairs, I pass the entrance—or exit—to the barbecue dining room. I don’t have to look to know that I’ll find one, but of course there it is. The rustic wood coat rack was already there, but it has a new addition… a short, red jacket hanging between someone’s gray baseball cap and a set of keys to God only knows what. il_fullxfull-721018209_gdt7

I don’t need to see the other doors. In fact, I don’t want to see the other doors. I never remember feeling so horrendously evil and sick in my whole life, ever… not even after the fundraiser fiasco. This feeling is much worse—a burning, sickening feeling in the pit of my stomach that makes me want to vomit; a stabbing feeling in my chest and all over my body that makes me feel like pygmy mummies are attacking me repeatedly and mercilessly with tiny spears.

When the back elevator opens on the ground floor, I feel like I’ve just taken a journey through the levels of hell instead of my own house, Butterfly’s words haunting me with every step:

I certainly will never breach the door again without appropriate attire for the weather conditions.

Having come full circle for the most part, I don’t want any more reminders of last night’s lesson. Nonetheless, my eyes are drawn to the patio doors off the family room and the tan and brown wrap hanging on a nearby hook.

I don’t need to check the other doors in the house. I know what I’ll find.

Back in the kitchen now, I find Butterfly in the kitchen laughing with Gail and popping popcorn the old-fashioned way—in a pot. She has filled a bowl way too big for just herself and is about to pour the rest of the popcorn in when she spots me. She does a double-take and frowns. She quickly examines herself—for what, I don’t know—then looks back up at me.

“What is it?” she asks. I don’t know if she’s concerned or frightened, and I don’t like not knowing. I shake my head.

“Nothing,” I lie. “A bit of a rough session, that’s all. What are you doing?”

“Popping popcorn?” she says it like it’s a question, then continues. “I was going to find a book or a movie or something.” I nod.

“Can I join you?” I ask. Her eyes travel from my face to my shoes and back to my face again. She shrugs uncertain, but nods quickly. Yeah, I know, I would have changed by now. I’ve been a bit busy.

“Do you want to change?” she asks. “I’ll wait.” I shake my head.

“No, I’m fine,” I say, removing my jacket, putting my cuff links in my pocket, and unbuttoning the first two buttons of my shirt. “Theater?”

“No. Family room. The sofa’s softer.” Okay, so I know that you’re not trying to twist the knife in my heart, but thanks.

“You guys go on,” Gail says, handing Butterfly a bowl of popcorn bigger than her. “I’ll bring you some soft drinks.” Butterfly nods, completely oblivious to the battle raging inside of me, as well she should be. I take the popcorn from her hands and set it on the table in front of the sofa. After retrieving the remote, I sit on the sofa with my leg along the back and position Butterfly so that she is sitting comfortably between my legs, able to shift to her left side if she so chooses. She snuggles against me and brings a bit of comfort to my guilt-ravaged soul.

The first thing that you need to do is stop punishing yourself… Your remorse is healthy, Christian… It’s one of the things that allows you to determine what’s acceptable and what’s not acceptable.

I’m not a horrible person… but I really feel like I’ve done a horrible thing.

“Disney?” she asks, still trying to read my mood. I nod and scroll through the on-demand choices. I find the perfect choice for my current mood. “The Hunchback of Notre Dame?” she asks a bit bemused.

“We can watch something else if you like,” I say. She shakes her head.

“No, this is fine. You haven’t seen it, right?”

“I read the book by Victor Hugo, but I’m told that the movie is a bit different.” She laughs softly… music to my ears.

“A bit, yeah,” she says with mirth. Still, I’m sure the villain Frollo will still meet his demise in the end and if I can crucify a bit of the villainy I feel inside right now, I may be able to release some of this guilt and move on from this incident. My first instinct is to have the coats removed from the doors around the house, but I decide against it, realizing that Butterfly is not the only one that needs a reminder of the consequences of one’s actions.

I push play and start the movie as Butterfly snuggles into my chest.


 

A/N: Pygmy mummies—another reference to The Mummy Returns.

“Consequences, Schmonsequences… As Long As I’m Rich…” Quote from an old Warner Brothers cartoon where Daffy Duck pissed off the Genie of the Lamp because he thought the Genie was trying to take his newfound riches. The Genie later showed him that being rich didn’t mean that his actions were without consequences—a perfect lesson for Christian, I think. 

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Love and handcuffs!
Lynn x