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 40—The Day After… Again
I’m in my own bed. Butterfly is sleeping comfortably next to me. There’s a fire going in the fireplace… and I’ve got to piss. Damn, I don’t want to move.
I move as quietly as I can, trying not to rouse her. The alarm hasn’t gone off yet and the fire is still going that I built last night before we fell asleep. It’s dwindling, but not dead yet. I slide out of the bed and go the en suite. I prepare myself to lift and aim so that there isn’t urine all over the seat, then I remember that I’m no longer wearing the chastity device.
Sweet unrestrained relief! I almost don’t want it to end. I examine my penis carefully. I only wore it this time for 24 hours, so there’s no chafing or bruising, but it’s still sore as fuck from the restraint and from last night’s workout. There’s a tiny bit of tenderness around the head and I’m not sure what’s causing it. A&D Ointment will do the trick for that.
I clean myself thoroughly and apply the ointment to the head of my cock. The relief is immediate, but I still feel the tenderness. It looks like I’m out of commission for a couple of days or soul.
“Sssss, fuck!” I hiss, grimacing with the pain. I don’t know if it was the chastity device, the blowjob, the hand job, or the endless fucking, but that little sensitive ridge can’t stand any contact to speak of this morning. I put a little more ointment around the ridge.
“Well, I was about to get jealous, but that doesn’t look pleasurable.”
Her voice startles the shit out of me. It looks like I was unsuccessful in attempting not to wake her.
“Sorry. I was trying to be quiet.”
“The noise didn’t wake me. Your absence did,” she says, walking into the en suite. “Are you alright?” I nod.
“Just a little irritation,” I reply. “Nothing serious.”
“Let me see.” She kneels down and puts her face right at my dick. Fuck, that shit turns me on. Settle down, Grey. You’re out of commission, remember? “You’re right,” she declares upon closer examination. “That’s a bit of friction burn. You’re using the right thing, though. You should be right as rain if you use the ointment for about 24 hours, three or four times. Has this happened before?” I shake my head.
“Not that I can remember,” I respond.
“Have you ever been in a chastity device before?” I nod.
“Many times,” I tell her, “but for unreasonably longer periods of time. They cause chaffing, but usually after several days.” She looks down at my penis.
“Well, that’s not chaffing, so we know that’s not it.” She seems relieved.
“You were worried?” I ask.
“A bit,” she responds. “You came so quickly when I released you. I was just hoping… you know…” she trails off. It was a new experience for both of us.
“You made your point, Mistress,” I say, pulling her into my arms. “I belong to Anastasia Grey… and I need to remember that before I make dumb decisions.” I lean down and kiss her chastely before touching my forehead to hers. “And Anastasia Grey belongs to me.”
“Yes,” she whispers, closing her eyes and touching my cheek. “Please remember that before you make dumb decisions.”
“Yes, Mistress,” I say softly, kissing her again.
We’re cuddling in bed again, caressing each other’s skin after I have put another log on the fire.
“Wings,” she says softly. I frown. What made her think of that? “I should know what it is, but I don’t remember,” she whispers. I stroke her hair softly and kiss her forehead.
“It’s my sexual safeword,” I tell her. “You told me not to come. I didn’t know if I could, but I couldn’t stop it. I tried to safeword, but it was too late.” She releases a quick and heavy breath.
“I knew it!” she laments quietly. “I knew it was a safeword.”
“I didn’t tell you,” I try to explain. “I only gave you sails and knots. You had no way of knowing… and you didn’t punish me for coming. I would have called foul if you had.”
“I still don’t…” she sighs heavily. “It’s a safeword. I don’t know what I should have done.”
“You did what you should have done,” I assure her. “You comforted me; you let me know that it was okay that I came; and we continued without a problem.” I raise her head to meet my eyes. “It was a remarkable night, and I’ll never forget it.” She searches my eyes for answers, then gently strokes my cheek.
“It was bearable, then?” she asks, a bit uncertain.
“Bearable?” I ask, bemused. “Any more bearable and I would be the one pregnant!” I didn’t know what else to say. She literally fucked me senseless! With her hand, with her mouth, with her body, with her mind—I nearly went insane. She bursts into quiet laughter and shakes her head. Crisis averted. When her laughter has subsided, I capture her gaze again.
“You were perfect,” I say softly. “The perfect Mistress, the perfect Domme, the perfect lover… perfect—in every way.” I kiss her gently, reverently, and she relaxes, but only for a moment. She narrows her eyes at me and pauses. “What?” She stares again, then turns on the bedside lamp. “What is it?”
“We have a problem,” she says, still examining me.
“What’s wrong?” I ask, anxiously.
“The collar,” she says, her voice and expression full of dismay, “it left a bruise.” My hand instinctively goes to my neck. I don’t feel anything. How did we not see it in the bathroom?
“It’s okay, Baby,” I say.
“How is that okay?” she protests. “Now I know how you felt after you spanked me.”
“That was different,” I say, sitting up to face her. “I’m not black and blue—and even if I were, what you did with the collar, you did with the purpose of pleasure. You even tried to take it off and I told you not to, remember?” I glare at her, waiting for her to recall my request. She nods.
“Yes, I remember,” she replies.
“You punished me,” I say. “You paddled me… humanely. Even then, you paused and checked, and I wasn’t black and blue. Chastity cages can be brutal and cruel. Believe me, I know. Even with your use of the cage, you were lenient and caring. The punishment fit the crime. What I did to you…” I shake my head. “That was different.”
“I don’t understand,” she says, frowning.
“You couldn’t lay on that side, Ana,” I respond firmly. “You weren’t even yourself the next day. I don’t like how it made you feel and I don’t like how it made me feel and I won’t do it again!” Her eyes grow wide.
“You won’t spank me again?” she asks, dismayed again.
“Not like that,” I point out. “I should have exercised some restraint. I shouldn’t have spanked you on your hip, and I shouldn’t have done it while your skin was wet. I don’t know what else I shouldn’t have done, but I just know that I won’t do that to you again.”
“Don’t you see that’s how I feel about this?” she says, gently touching my neck. I sigh.
“Baby,” I begin, taking her hand in mine, “did you find any pleasure in that spanking I gave you?”
“I came really hard,” she replies.
“That was after and that was because of the sex, not the spanking. Was there anything pleasurable about the spanking? Anything that you can remember?” She looks at me and then shakes her head.
“No,” she replies. “There wasn’t.”
“When it was over, you cried… and cried and cried and cried. The next day, you were… stoic, for lack of a better word. When I came home and found coats at every door—even balcony doors that we haven’t even used—that’s the behavior of someone who’s traumatized, not someone who has learned a lesson. I feel like I abused you and I scared you and even Dr. Baker couldn’t make me feel differently. Is that how you feel about this?” I ask, pointing to my neck. I haven’t even seen the bruising, but whatever it is, it’s not as bad as what I did to her.
“No,” she says, her voice shaking a bit.
“When you think of that spanking, does it make you want to fuck me?” I ask.
“No!” she says, almost appalled, and that answers my question.
“The collar,” I breathe, “was pleasurable. From the moment you put it on me, I felt the ownership of belonging to you. Whenever I touched it, I thought of you. I had to cover it with a scarf to go to the doctor’s office, and though I was unhappy about not making it to the appointment, I was relieved that I no longer had to cover my collar. When you tightened it…” I slide my arms around her and kiss her gently under her earlobe, “that enhanced my orgasms, and you knew that. The collar was never for punishment; but you still managed to use it for pleasure. When you wanted to remove it, I begged you not to.” I trail kisses down her neck to the hollow just above her chest. “And when I think about it now, I want to fuck you even though I know I can’t. So yes, this is different because this…” I bite her chin and she gasps and whimpers, “… battle scars, baby.”
I hold her head and kiss her passionately. She melts in my arms and moans in my mouth, making me want her more and more. I run my hand down her naked body and over her baby bump, stopping when I get to the promised land. She’s hot and wet, and I sink two fingers into her.
“Ah!” she cries, breaking our kiss. “Christian! Wait… you…” she’s panting.
“Sssshhh,” I soothe, brushing my lips against hers. “Come for me.” I cover her mouth again, kissing and massaging her until she’s trembling in my arms again.
Butterfly has taken the day off from Helping Hands while she and Marilyn attempt to ascertain what’s happening with the deliveries that should be going to the Radcliffs. I haven’t met them yet, but Butterfly tells me that they are very much in need of the things we’ve purchased. I know that we plan to see them this weekend, but I agree that if for some reason the deliveries are being denied, we should hold off on sending anything else to the address until we have the opportunity to speak to them.
I feel like a whole new man today, but it didn’t come without a bit of a bumpy ride in the morning hours. I’ve expressed my regret to my wife about that extreme spanking I administered a couple of weeks ago and after she was duly sated and resting in my arms, we had agreed that we wouldn’t take spankings off the table and that there definitely had to be more moderation in the act than there was when I spanked her then. However, the conversation came at a bit of a cost.
Earlier that morning…
“Why did you fight Brian in the first place?” she asks as we’re getting dressed. “You’re a bit of a firecracker, I’ll admit, but I’ve never seen you pushed to violence like that. It couldn’t have been that he was going to tell me about the baby, so what was it?” I run my fingers through my hair. I’ve been punished for my malfeasance and I sure as hell won’t do it again. Why do we have to rehash this now?
“He wouldn’t go away,” I tell her. “He proved it when he showed up at the house. Your speech was powerful, but he already knew all that. Yet, he still showed up here. I don’t know if he just had to tell you that he loved you or he had to be rejected by you face to face, but he just wouldn’t go away, and I’m not sure that he’s going to stay away now.” I won’t tell her that I think he’s as unstable as David and I think he’s going to come back for her. I don’t know what this power is that she has over men, because she has the same power over me, but they have to have her—even if it’s to her detriment. I don’t think we’ve seen the last of this fucker no matter what he says.
“The Pedophile wouldn’t go away, and you weren’t pushed to violence over her…” she begins.
“No, but you were,” I point out. She pauses. Knocking her over a sofa in a room full of people, knives at her throat, nectarines upside her head, ultimately choking her out and landing her Pedophile ass in the hospital… she has to know what I felt. I can see the scenes playing in her head just as they played in mine.
“He might come back,” she laments, confirming my fears from before. “Then what? Are you going to be in this fight again?” I shake my head.
“No, Butterfly, I’ve learned my lesson. I already knew, but there’s nothing like the hand of my Mistress to drive the point home.” She raises her eyebrows.
“How do I know this?” she asks. “Ultimately, the punishment was desirable for you… or at least that’s what you led me to believe.” I swallow hard.
“In the end, yes,” I admit. “The orgasm that I had after you removed the chastity device was unmatched, mostly because of your gentle touch and the fact that I’ve never been handled after being released from the cage. But the device is not just physical—it’s psychological; I’m sure you’re already aware of that. It’s extreme, because it not only physically prevents you from touching yourself, but you mentally understand that your dick is not yours. That’s a tough pill for a man to swallow.
“For this to have been your first time using the device, I’m surprised that you were so knowledgeable on how it should be used,” I tell her. “When used as a punishment, the cage can be brutal. Believe me, I know. I’ve been forced to wear it for up to a week.” A shadow falls over her face and she frowns deeply.
“A week??” she squeals, appalled. I nod.
“It wasn’t used as a punishment or to teach me a lesson. It was used to break me down—like you would break a horse… and it worked. When I saw that thing in your hand, I wasn’t pleased. I felt like if you were going to go to the extremes that she did, I would safeword and you would have to release me, but I was fully prepared to be restrained for longer than I was.”
“That’s horrible,” she gasps. “That’s just awful to do that to someone for days on end.”
“I knew I deserved punishment,” I tell her. “I knew that the pain that I had caused by my actions required something drastic. You have to know, though, that the chastity device has never been used as an effective means of punishment for me until you.” She frowns again.
“I don’t know what you mean.”
“I have intensely magnificent orgasms when we’re together, the best of my life. I know pleasure; it’s something that I’m not unfamiliar with. I also know the agony of being restrained in a chastity device, but I’ve never known one right after the other,” I point out. “Whenever I was released from the chastity device, it was ‘go take a shower,’ and that was it. I knew the discomfort of it; I knew what was going to happen when it was all over and I just prepared my mind for it when I saw it coming. In the end, it just pissed me off. It made me fear her, not revere her, which is why she had so much control over me for so many years.
“When you employed the device, I was able to feel immense pleasure after immense discomfort and it left a lasting impression on me. I was helpless, I was spent, and I had no control over my orgasm—none whatsoever. That’s never happened. I was able to see the difference between the two extremes immediately and it was enough for me to know that I would want to avoid the chastity device again if I had to. Considering what got me to that point, I have no will or desire to see Colostomy any time again ever in my life. If he has information that would save my life, he has to talk to my security—not me ever again.”
“That’s how I feel about the coats,” she points out, and I still think it’s different. “That still doesn’t tell me what pushed you to fight him in the first place.” I don’t know how to explain it to her so that she’ll understand.
“I had reached my limit, Butterfly,” I tell her. “I couldn’t take it anymore. I just couldn’t. He was always there, always around. He taunted me that he wouldn’t go away and he was enjoying it. I just couldn’t take it anymore. Even Jason and Welch saw that this guy wouldn’t quit. They told him how pathetic he was acting and he didn’t even flinch. If another man told me that I was acting pathetic, not only would I change the behavior that made me appear pathetic, but I’d probably shove my fist down his throat…”
“Maybe that’s why he wanted to shove his fist down yours,” she says, kneeling on the bed in her underwear. She looks really hot.
“We were both ready for that,” I say after pulling a T-shirt over my head and pulling Butterfly’s key from under it. “We would have gladly ripped each other apart at a moment’s notice. The mere hint of it was just fuel on the fire.”
“What, did he threaten you?” I shake my head.
“No, except with information,” I say. Her brow furrows.
“Okay, so what did you mean by ‘the hint threw fuel on the fire?’” I pull a turtleneck out of the chest of drawers and pull it over my head.
“He was acting all cocky like he had something to hold over my head. I knew the information was useless, but he was just going to keep digging until he found something. When he found nothing, he would just stick around to irritate me. That’s when Jason and Welch told him how pathetic he was—how sad it was that he was pining after a woman that he could never have. Then he starts talking about how he waited for you; the whole sob story about how he sat on the sidelines while you were getting over David and how I pretty much came in like a thief and stole you away.” I pull on a pair of black jeans.
“The more he talked, the more pitiful he sounded. It was like his whole life was centered and focused on this one thing and if he couldn’t have it, he was going to make our lives as miserable as possible. Then he was taunting me and telling me that he was never going away and I just kept thinking, ‘Fuck. I’ll never be rid of this asshole.’ Finally, Welch suggested that we slug it out in the ring and get it over with, so that’s what we did.” Her baby blues suddenly sharpen as she blinks, bobbles her head, and refocuses.
“What?” she exclaims. Okay, what did I say wrong? “Okay, wait a minute. This wasn’t a spur of the moment thing? You guys actually planned this?”
“Well, no, I think it was a bit of both,” I respond. “It wasn’t like ‘Showdown at the O.K. Corral at high noon’ or anything like that, but it was a bit spur of the moment.”
“Okay, Christian,” she begins, a frown marring her beautiful face. “I really need you to help me understand this, because if I’m hearing you correctly, all of this happened because you succumbed to peer pressure from your security team.” I have no idea why that statement rubs me so wrong, but now I feel like I need to defend my honor… and my adulthood.
“That’s not it at all!” I retort. “You make it sound like we were a bunch of pugnacious kids just looking for a fight. I’m willing to take my medicine for my mistakes and I made several, but what I won’t allow you to believe is that the mere suggestion that I fight this guy was what led me to beat his ass—that I’m so impressionable that someone can just say ‘fight’ and I fight. I was at the end of my rope. I had overlooked him, fought him with words, a few times he even came to me with information that he felt would be damning to our relationship and I told him to just tell you. Anything! Just get the fuck out of my face! I did everything I could! I used every tactic in the book—intimidation, jealousy, belittling, ignoring him, information, everything! And he just kept coming back! He wouldn’t go away! He was like an incurable disease. Hell, even you told him there was no hope. You made him swear to protect me, for fuck’s sake! Yes, Jason and Welch made a suggestion, but believe me, I had already thought of it at least a hundred times before. I wasn’t coaxed or led into a fight like a schoolyard boy—I wanted to kick his ass. I wanted it so badly, I could taste it! But I didn’t think about what it could cost me in the end. I only thought of the moment. My actions have consequences, and I need to see that.”
I can never adequately describe the look she gives me. It’s confusion mixed with horror mixed with something else I can’t even explain.
“Why didn’t you tell me this?” she asks, her voice begging, but searching at the same time.
“Because if I had, you would have gone easy on me,” I replies.
“You’re right!” she shrieks. “I thought you were being mindless and careless and selfish! I wanted to show you that your behavior is unacceptable!” Her blood pressure is no doubt rising and I have to make it stop. I snatch her in my arms and hold her tight, close to my body.
“Don’t you see?” I implore her. “I was! I was being mindless and careless and selfish! I didn’t think ahead! I should have thought of how this would have affected others—you, my babies, my mother, those incompetent fucks at Mercer Hospital, Ray, Amanda… this shit reached so far and I didn’t think about any of that!”
“That’s not your fault!” she says, fighting to look up at me. “That’s his fault. He didn’t care…”
“I can’t blame him. I can’t hold him responsible for my actions. I have to think before I act…”
“He provoked you!” she protests. “Beyond reason! It was much worse than I ever could have imagined and you didn’t tell me.”
“He’s not responsible for my decisions,” I say again. “He’s an asshole. He deserved what he got, but I can’t hold him responsible for what I did. I can try to explain it away, but the truth is the truth. I was thinking about me… not you.” She suddenly stops struggling in my arms and falls limp, not a surrendering limp. It’s different. I look down at her and I can see the wheels turning.
“We’re not talking about the fight anymore… are we?”
Are we? Shit. I don’t think we are. I sigh. I can’t even lie to her. I didn’t know the conversation had turned until she just said it. She’s right. We’re not talking about the fight anymore. I release her so that I can look into her eyes
“Christian?” I can’t even answer her. I can’t find the words. “Oh God, Christian, no…” She sits back on her feet and covers her mouth.
“Baby…” I try to stop those wheels from turning.
“Christian, please tell me I’m off track… please…” she beseeches me. She’s a smart woman. I can’t tell her that she’s wrong because I know that she’s right. “Oh, God.” She covers her face with her hands. I tried to keep it from her. I didn’t want her to know, but in all honesty, I figured why not kill two birds with one stone?
“My actions have consequences,” I tell her. “You told me that. Dr. Baker told me that. I can’t just run around doing whatever I want anymore. It’s not just me.” She’s shaking her head feverishly.
“No,” she says, shaking like she’s trying to shake away a bad thought. “This is not right. This is not how this is supposed to go…”
“I was wrong, Baby,” I say softly. “I was wrong when I got in the ring with Brian, and I was wrong when I spanked you that way.”
“But this is not how this is supposed to be!” she wails, shaking her fist on each word. “Don’t you see? It can’t be like that! It can’t!” She’s getting more and more upset. I sit on the bed next to her.
“Listen to me,” I begin. “Nothing anyone could have said or done could have fixed what I did or how I felt about what I did. In this instance, the punishment did fit the crime. I was selfish and thoughtless, and you couldn’t go easy on me. I told you what you needed to know—the basics. It was the truth.” Her shoulders drop. She knows I purposely omitted some of the crucial information—and I did, particularly after I fully realized my role in everything that happened.
“Christian, please don’t ever do that again,” she says, obviously fighting back tears. “I asked you… I asked you why, and you didn’t tell me. You only gave me a part of the story… a small part… and you knew that I wouldn’t accept that.” She drops her face in her hands. “We agreed,” she laments. “We agreed that there would be no punishment for punishment. Whatever discipline we had in our relationship would be warranted. We agreed…”
“And it was warranted, Butterfly,” I try to comfort her. “No matter how I felt about what I did to you those weeks ago, this punishment was warranted—for all the reasons that you mentioned. I could have lost so much because I was aching to beat that man’s ass. I could have handled it differently. I really could have. Looking back on it, I had plenty of other options, but I was so caught in the moment that all I could think of was teaching him a lesson. I couldn’t see the consequences until I had to face the consequences, and Baby, that can’t happen again.”
Her big blue eyes bore through me right into my soul. I need her to understand that sometimes, there’s only one way that I can learn; that pain really is a teacher for me, but only when that power is wielded properly.
“It’s masochistic, Christian,” she tells me, shaking her head. “It’s not the nature of our relationship. I don’t like it and I won’t participate in it.”
“Baby, I promise you that I’m not ‘tit-for-tatting’ here, but don’t you think that you accepting that spanking was a bit masochistic?”
“No!” she says without missing a beat. “There were no missing facts with my punishment. I’ll admit that I didn’t like the fact that you waited until I went to bed and got comfortable. I feel like you deliberately let me fall into a false sense of security only to rip me from my comfort zone and punish me. You wanted subdued and that’s what I felt—for the whole day I felt subdued…”
She’s yelling now, not about what she did to me, but about what I did to her. She’s had some repressed feelings, too. When I wanted her to talk about them, she wouldn’t. Maybe she couldn’t. She’s letting it all out now, and it only took two weeks and a punishment on me for her to release it. She’s weeping now and her rant goes on for several minutes, but she never once says that she regrets the spanking.
“Can you tell me that you never thought about that spanking while you were punishing me?” I ask her. She sighs.
“I thought about it once… before we started the scene. Only once, and even then, only in the context of me putting myself and the babies at risk and you putting all of us at risk. I was confused and a bit resentful because you punished me for it and then turned around and did the same thing yourself. But it was never revenge, Christian—never revenge, and I can’t do this anymore if that’s what it’s going to be.”
“It won’t, Baby,” I say, taking her face in my hands. “You felt like the punishment you received fit the crime. You just weren’t pleased with how it was carried out. I understand that. I really do. There were a lot of extremes that I crossed that night, and I needed you to tell me what they were. Only one was visible, but the rest weren’t.” I raise my eyes to the wrap hanging near the balcony door in the sitting room. “I should really say two were visible.” She drops her head, but I put my finger under her chin to raise her eyes back to mine.
“I felt like the punishment that I received fit the crime, too,” I tell her. “I don’t like the chastity device. I would prefer that we don’t use it again, but it’s not a hard limit. I don’t feel like anything that you did was extreme. I didn’t deliberately withhold information from you, but when you asked me what happened, I gave you the bare bones and nothing more. I wasn’t being masochistic although part of me did feel like I deserved a portion of the punishment for what I did to you. If anything, it may have been a bit of topping from the bottom, so to speak. A lesson that you need to learn as a Domme is that as long as you’re not cruel or acting out of anger, if your intention is to teach, you need to go with your first mind. It was effective. That’s what you wanted. It wasn’t cruel. Do you understand?” She closes her eyes and sighs heavily. I think she gets part of it, but still not all of it.
“I’m going to move the coats,” she says softly. I nod.
“Good, because I didn’t like seeing them.”
“That’s not why I put them there,” she begins to protest.
“I know,” I stop her. “You’ve already explained why you put them there, but I’m glad that you see that they’re not necessary.” I pause for a moment, trying to find a way to lift her heavy heart. “I won’t do this to you again—the extreme spanking, ripping you from your comfort zone… and I won’t use you punishing me to satisfy my own guilt.” She raises her eyes to me. “We need to be more open with each other. It’s almost like we’re afraid to talk. We’re about to be parents. That’ll never do.”
She nods, surrender evident in her posture, even though she’s still sitting on her feet in the bed.
“Can I tell you a secret?” I say. She raises glassy eyes to me again. “Do you know what the worst part of the punishment was?” She shakes her head. “That I didn’t get to sleep with you.”
Sadness clouds her eyes as she stares at me.
“I thought about you all day, about the lesson I was supposed to learn. I slept like a baby in my den because I fell asleep reciting my mantra… I belong to Anastasia Grey.” I kiss her gently on the cheek. “The punishment fit the crime, Baby. We’ve just forgotten how to talk to each other, and we can’t let that happen. It’s causing too many problems.”
She drops her head again, nodding in agreement, before her body starts to shake with sobs. I envelop her in my arms and kiss her hair. We’ve both learned a lot, but we’ve still got a lot of learning left to do…
She has agreed to see Dr. Baker with me on my next visit since Dr. Baker already knows all about what I’ve done and how I feel. She’s supposed to go see Ace today, so I don’t know what that visit will be like, but I think she should see him alone so she can freely discuss how she feels.
We talk about the country clubs for a moment. God, I hate country clubs. I just never saw a use for them—except for the ones with marinas where I could moor my boat, and I could moor my boat at any marina for a fee. Now, I have my own marina. So what’s the use?
However, in my new and enlightened level of understanding, I can see why she wants to join. Big or small, Anastasia Steele has always had her own merit. She didn’t make her accomplishments by being Ray’s daughter, Allen’s friend, or David’s girlfriend. Her achievements were all her own. All of a sudden, she meets me and everything that identifies her is Christian’s girlfriend, Christian’s fiancée, Grey’s wife. She had a simple life before she met me, but it was still her life. She had a thriving practice, so successful that she could afford to live in a million-dollar downtown condo overlooking Elliot Bay; she had a waiting list longer than the Constitution; and she could afford a very comfortable lifestyle—including a new car and a stylish wardrobe—all while only working two and a half days a week.
She could come and go as she pleased and didn’t need a bodyguard following her everywhere she went. She’s skilled in martial arts and can take down a man twice her size, and when fear and danger reared their ugly heads, she didn’t hide from them. Instead, Annie got her guns. She is the embodiment and the epitome of the quintessential independent woman and she’s got more people than not placing her importance on “Grey,” including Grey. She has proven that she could handle the media. She’s never really misstepped in front of them. She momentarily froze while leaving the brunch the day after Maxine’s wedding and she was just discovering that she was pregnant when she barfed all over David’s attorney.
I did just drop the iron hammer on her when I said that she couldn’t do those radio spots. I didn’t even talk to her. Maybe she can still do one or two of the interviews. We can talk about it, but I have to insist that she wait until after the babies are born. If her opinion and her voice are important to them now, they will still be important to them in a few months.
I have my follow-up appointment for my eyes today. Butterfly came along to be sure and tell the good doctor that I was following instructions. He was surprised to see that most of the bruising was gone. I told him that it was a homeopathic remedy that helped restore my coloring, but doctors tend not to be pleased with that information. So that’s all the information that I gave him. The issues with my eyes have nearly corrected themselves and as long as I don’t get into any barroom brawls in the near future, the doctor has given me a clean bill of health. I was hoping that this meant that things were looking up for us, until I got a bit of information from my wife that set me off.
“Christian, I have a question for you,” she says as we’re walking into the grand entry and Windsor takes our coats.
“What is it?”
“Where are my guns?” Her guns? Shit! I was hoping we wouldn’t need to have this conversation anytime soon. I sigh heavily.
“I was dreading this day,” I begin, “but I knew it would come. I really wish you wouldn’t carry them, especially with the babies about to be born, but I know I can’t stop you and I know that the threats to us are real. Security has your guns. They’ve had them since the accident. You can have them whenever you want. There’s a safe in the bookshelf in your office for them.” She nods.
“I want them,” she says. I nod, feeling somber and a bit forlorn.
“May I ask what brought this on?” I ask. She pauses for a moment, then sighs.
“Courtney threatened me,” she says softly. What the fuck? That melon-clad bitch that came on to my wife is now threatening her?
“What?” I snap.
“She’s upset because Addie gave me control over her trust fund to make her behave while she was at Helping Hands. It didn’t work. It just pissed her off even more. I’m meeting Addie for lunch tomorrow to let her know that I’m giving up. I don’t want to do this anymore. I’m not putting myself or my children at risk because this little brat doesn’t want to be taught, but I don’t know what that means for Ms. Courtney. She was very clear yet very vague in her threat.”
“What did she say?”
“’I know people, Bitch.’” Oh, yeah, that was a threat. This woman must be on meth. She can’t believe that her name holds more power than Grey. She must be really desperate to get Ana out of the way, but what she doesn’t know is that after the last couple of weeks we’ve had, she couldn’t have picked a worse time to make such a fatal mistake.
I didn’t know that I had been standing there silent for so long until she calls my name. This cunt thinks she regrets she ever met us now? She ain’t seen nothing yet.
“Activate two-way communications.” Beep. “Locate Jason Taylor.”
“Yes?” Jason’s voice comes over the intercom system.
“Please bring Mrs. Grey’s firearms to my den.” Without hesitation, Jason replies, “Yes, sir.”
“We need to have a quick security meeting in fifteen.”
“Has something happened, sir?”
“Yes, it has,” he says. “Fifteen.”
“End two-way communications.”
“Christian, I don’t really want to make a federal case about this. I just wanted to bring it to your attention.”
“I’m glad that you did and it is a federal case, baby. When someone threatens you, take it seriously. You never know what they’re thinking or what they’re capable of and you’re messing with her money.” I gently touch her cheek. “And if something happens to you and my children, I don’t know what I would do… so, yes, this is a federal case.” She gazes at me for a moment, then she nods.
“You’re right. It’s very serious. I don’t know what she’s capable of either and I don’t want another psycho bitch situation on my hands,” she says with a sigh.
“Don’t worry, Baby. You won’t. I’ll make sure of it.” I lead her by the elbow through the house to the elevator. I’m doing my best to control my anger as we ride to the ground floor. This bitch must be insane to threaten my wife. It’s not enough that she came on to her like some common floosy in a nightclub. Now, she’s throwing threats like she’s got some kind of power.
When the elevator opens, Jason is already standing there with a lockbox in one hand and an attaché in the other. He, too, is trying to remain impassive, but I see it in his eyes. We’re a family—a strange little family, but a family nonetheless. When you attack one of us, you attack us all, and he wants to know why she wants her guns.
“Your highness,” he says, handing her the attaché.
“Thank you, Jason,” she says with a nod. “The Beretta?”
“Yes,” he says. “The Glock and Magnum are in here. Where would you like them?”
“Hold on to them and bring them with us,” she says. Jason raises his eyebrows.
“Us?” he says.
“Yes, us,” she replies with missing a beat. “Too many decisions that affect me are made without my knowledge or input. I didn’t sit helplessly by while life happened to me before I was Anastasia Grey and I’m not about to start now. This woman threatened me and I know that this meeting will be about security measures and changes that are going to take place in light of this and in light of Asswipe Cholometes and his latest actions. If you think for one second that I’m going to sit on the sidelines when I learned how to shoot before he did…” she points to me, “…you’re mistaken. And if you want to talk about whether or not you think I can take it because you have an extra appendage between your legs that I don’t, carry two human lives in your body for nine months and then push them out through a hole that starts about as round as a sharpie and has to expand to about the size of a grapefruit and then we can talk.”
Fucking hell, I didn’t need that visual!
Her Highness has spoken and I’m waiting for the boys to say something. I think Christian is stuck on the sharpie/grapefruit analogy. Jason is just standing there frowning.
“Boss?” he says, looking to Christian for guidance. Yeah, Boss?
“Huh?” Christian is still stunned. Snap out of it, Grey! I put my free hand on my hip.
“If you want my cooperation, you’re going to have to accept my participation,” I say.
“Oy!” Jason says, putting his hand on his forehead. Christian finally shakes off his stupor.
“No, she’s right,” he says, finally. “She’s thoroughly trained in self-defense, trained and license to carry and fire a concealed weapon, and now she’s not only a target because of who I am, but because of who she is. She should be present to be apprised of and part of security protocols, especially as they apply to the immediate family.”
I try to hide my immediate shock that he agreed with me so easily, first on the country clubs and now this. I’m so accustomed to dealing with Iron-Fist-Control-Freak Grey that Agreeable-We’re-A-Team Grey is catching me a bit off guard.
“You expected me to fight you on this?” he asks.
“A little, yeah,” I respond. I’m only being honest. I had security before I even knew I had security. He took off to Vegas without consulting me and that was totally about me. He put a tracker in my phone without telling me. Yes, it eventually saved my life, for which I am eternally grateful, but it still would have been nice if someone had told me this was happening… or better yet, asked me if this was okay. The first time I talked to the press in Anguilla, he had a total meltdown—and that situation turned out to beneficial because it sniffed out the mole in his public relations department. Even then, he still wouldn’t concede that I may just know what I was doing and all this time later—and several interviews later—he still doesn’t trust me to have a structured interview with the press.
He sent spies to my hen party. He didn’t tell me about the hacker until it almost ruined our marriage—that and the fund-raising fiasco, that is. I had no idea why Brian was in on the whole thing until I put two-and-two together for myself, which resulted in a lovely anxiety attack. Then, after the man inadvertently put our entire family in danger because he and his fellow Neanderthal wanted to go Mano y Mano, he sneaks the man into our home to discuss buying Brian property for his misconduct. My ideas are shot down like I’m some birdbrain who has no idea what I’m talking about; decisions are made about my life before I even have an inkling of what’s going on; and I am completely and totally kept out of the loop on security protocols more often than not. Forgive me if I’m a bit skeptical!
“More talking, remember?” he says, reminding me of our conversation this morning. “More communication—no more being left out of the loop; no more hiding things.” His eyes examine mine, looking for a connection. I’m still a little stunned, much like he was moments ago with the sharpie/grapefruit analogy. I blink a few times and acknowledge his statement.
“Thank you,” I say sincerely. It feels good knowing that we will both be a part of these important decisions from now on. He smiles and takes my free hand. “Jason, lead the way.”
“Den or center?” Jason asks. Center? What the hell is Center?
“Center,” Christian responds. Jason nods and begins walking towards the den. Christian and I follow behind him and we actually pass Christian’s den. He places his hand on the wall and it actually lights up green—like The Matrix. It’s a handprint panel lock disguised behind what looks like veneer or veneer paper or something. Of course, the wall opens and he leads us into a small dark vestibule. Once the wall closes behind us, he has to clear another panel lock and the wall in front of us opens…
… And we’re in Security Central, like Jason’s office at Escala, but on steroids. Once again, I am reminded of a top-secret installation where a lone harmless-looking security officer sits guard over an elevator that takes you down to a facility that will change your life forever…
Four other people that I’ve never met look up from computers or papers or down from monitors and every last one of them does a double-take when we enter the room.
“Mrs. Grey!” One of them says, leaping to his feet at his seat. The others stand as well, though not as urgently as the first guy. Why the shock? This is my house.
“Is Mrs. Grey the only person you see?” Christian says tersely. Urgent Guy clears his throat.
“I’m sorry, sir,” he begins. “No offense, but I just never thought we would even see Mrs. Grey in here.” I roll my eyes. Of course, you didn’t, Merry Man.
“Please have a seat,” Jason says, gesturing to the conference table in the middle of this huge room. That’s it—I’m certain that the people who lived here before were preparing for Armageddon or something. There’s just no other reason for a room this large to be hiding behind the wall. You could hide a family in here!
I put my attaché down on the table and take a seat with Christian next to me. Moments after I sit, Ben is wheeling Chuck into the same entrance that we just came through, followed by Chance and three other guys that I don’t know.
“Fancy meeting you here,” Chuck says, trying to keep the atmosphere light, yet it’s anything but. “Wow, tough crowd,” he says, rolling up to the table. Once everyone is seated except for the two guys watching monitors, Jason says, “The floor is yours, Boss.” Christian entwines his fingers on the table.
“That same melon-clad bitch who came on to my wife at the Adopt-A-Family Affair has now threatened my wife,” he says. Jason raises his eyebrows.
“Wilson?” he asks incredulously. I nod. “What brought that on?”
“I had lunch with Adelaide last week and she and I agreed that her spoiled granddaughter would learn some valuable lessons if she spent time with the less fortunate. So, it was arranged that she would spend some time volunteering at Helping Hands.”
“Obviously, that didn’t go over so well,” Chuck chimes in. I scoff.
“Like a lead balloon,” I confirm. “She was insufferable, so Addie gave me control of her trust fund to get her to cooperate.”
“Oooo,” Chance says and a lot of the other men react in similar fashion.
“You have control of her money?” Jason asks.
“Had,” I correct him. “She doesn’t want anything to do with this project. She has a plan for her life and as ridiculous as that plan is, she feels that she doesn’t need my help to fix her or anything else. The only reason she was coming to the center was because Addie—through me—was threatening her trust fund. I don’t think she really believed that I had control of her trust fund until she lost $120,000 and now has to wait a year longer than before in order to collect.” Now there’s hissing all over the room. Apparently, many of these people would react similarly had I taken money from them.
“May I ask how that came about?” Jason probes.
“She didn’t show up at the Center one day. No matter how insufferable she behaved, she never just didn’t show up. So, I called Addie to find out if she was okay and Addie was certain that she had just stood me up. We came up with a formula of how much it would cost her for however long it took her to check in with Addie. She froze Courtney’s accounts and discontinued her cell service. Courtney came into the Center yesterday breathing fire. She basically told me to get the hell out of her life and leave her alone. Then she issued the threat.”
“What was the threat?” Chuck asks.
“‘I know people, Bitch,’” I say.
“Eeeeeeeeeeyeah, that was a threat,” one of the other guys says.
“You all know that I don’t take any threats lightly, no matter how small,” Christian says. “If someone says they’re going to do something, you should believe that they’re going to do it—and this girl is an unknown. I don’t know if she’s blowing hot air to try to scare Ana or if she’s serious about her threats. I do know that my wife just asked me for her firearms, so she’s taking this very seriously.”
“Her firearms?” Ben asks. “I didn’t know you carried.”
“I don’t like the idea of carrying while I’m pregnant, but I dislike the idea of being unprepared even more.”
“I was wondering why the hot pregnant lady was carrying a Pelican Storm Attaché,” I hear one of the guys say under his breath. I look up to see who said it, but everyone is wearing a straight face. If Christian or Jason heard it, neither of them is letting on.
“Baby, in addition to a CPO, I want you to have covert surveillance for a while. I know how you hate having a lot of people looking over your shoulder, but…”
“No, no, it’s fine,” I interrupt him. “There’s going to be more once the babies are born, so I might as well get used to it.” He tries to hide his relief, but let’s face it—I don’t trust Melon Bitch. So, better safe than sorry.
“Jason, I’m going to need to discuss some particular needs with you, but right now, I don’t know what they are,” Christian says.
“Duly noted,” Jason answers.
“Chuck, how’s it looking? When does it look like you’ll be back on your feet?” Christian asks.
“I start physical therapy after Christmas, so I should be moving around mid- to late January. I guess it’ll be up to my boss when I can start doing ride-alongs,” he says.
“No, it’ll be up to the doctor,” Jason corrects him. Chuck scowls at him. “Don’t look at me like that. You’ve got a leg broken in two places and a bum chest cage. While I’m impressed with the whole crutches thing, you take it as quickly or as slowly as the doctor says you can.”
“That’s not fair,” Chuck mopes. “How long were you out after you got shot?”
“Don’t compare our injuries,” Jason scolds. “I had a hole in my arm. A few stitches, some stretches and a few rotary exercises and I was good as new. The bones that hold your body weight and make you able to run and move were shattered. Make sure they heal properly. Don’t rush it.”
“I need you in one piece,” I add, hoping that the words will calm his wayward wishes to roam too quickly.
“Yeah, yeah, yeah,” he says, twisting his lips and begrudgingly admitting defeat.
“So, Butterfly,” Christian says, trying to get the conversation back on track, “what’s the plans with the guns? I know the Glock is usually in the glove box, but right now, there is no glove box. The Beretta normally stays by the bed. We don’t need that. You usually carry the Magnum.”
“I don’t know yet,” I admit. “I’m thinking about trading in the .44 for something lighter.”
“That’s a really small gun,” he says, his brow furrowed.
“It’s small, but it’s heavy,” I say. He nods. “The .44 is kissing up on two and a half pounds; the other two are less than two pounds loaded. To be honest, they’re all basically the same size. The Mag just looks smaller because of its contours. For now, I’m trying to decide if it will be the Beretta or the nine.”
“The .44 can’t be the same size as the Glock,” he says in disbelief. I shrug.
“You’ve got the lockbox. Look at it yourself,” I challenge him. Refusing to take my word for it, he puts the lockbox on the conference table and opens it. “Remove the Glock first. You know the drill,” I say, placing the attaché on the table and opening it to reveal my Beretta. We simultaneously remove the guns that are both without magazines. We release the slide to make sure that there are no rounds in the chamber. I set the Beretta down first and he sets the Glock down. It’s clear to see that with only slight differences, the guns are basically the same size.
“Well, of course those two are going to be similar,” he says.
“Yeah, but if we put one down and you size it up with the Mag, you’re going to think the other one is bigger. Now, the Mag…” I tell him, pointing at the Smith & Wesson still lying in the lockbox. He flips open the chamber to make sure it’s empty, then sets it down with the Glock and the Beretta.
“Son of a gun,” he says. “No pun intended. I would’ve sworn the Magnum was smaller.”
“Actually, it looks like it might be a hair bigger, but I don’t feel like pulling out the measuring stick,” I say facetiously.
“If that Glock is standard issue, the .44 is bigger—not by much, but it’s bigger.” Jason’s voice is the first we’ve heard since we started talking about the guns. Everyone else except Chuck is staring at me like some kind of exotic animal.
“Not to mention,” I begin, looking momentarily around the room before turning back to Christian, “I think I’m moving beyond a six-shooter life. It was simple when I could wave a gun and scare away the average predator. Now, the threats are a bit more menacing.” I scan the room again and no one’s eyes have moved. “What!?”
My tone of voice snaps many of them out of their stupor. A couple are still lost in some sort of trance. Jason loudly clears his throat to gain the attention of the last two gawkers.
“Forgive my staff, Your Highness,” he says, rolling his eyes. “No doubt, unless she was in combat scrubs, they’re not accustomed to seeing a woman handle a gun that way.”
“Your Highness? You really call her that?” one of them asks incredulously.
“Apparently, they’re not accustomed to a woman being in the room having functioning eyes and ears either,” I shoot at the idiot that just made that comment. “Yes, he really calls the hot pregnant lady carrying a Pelican Storm Attaché Your Highness,” I say, coining the phrase I heard from that general direction a few moments ago. “Not that it should be of any concern to anyone, but it’s a private joke from when we first met.” Some of the men shift nervously in their seats. Others just look at each other bemused.
“I’m sorry, ma’am. I really didn’t mean any harm by it,” he says. Christian sits silently, clearly letting me take the floor with this group of He-Men. So, I do.
“Duly noted,” I say dismissively. “You all better get used to seeing a little bit more of me. Scratch that—make that a lot more of me, because I intend to be in on the planning for security protocol from here on out. My dad is a Marine. I’m licensed to carry and I can shoot all three of these handguns with precision. I’m trained in Krav Magna by a 6th Dan martial arts master. I can take any one of you down in a fair fight. Ask him,” I say, jerking my head at Christian. Several of them turn to Christian simultaneously, and I can see him nodding in my peripheral vision. I fold my arms over my baby bump.
“I realize that the fact that I’m sitting here looking like a frail and fragile, dainty little feminine whale makes it a bit difficult to see me as an equal. I also understand the fact that I don’t possess some of the essential machinery to be allowed into the boys’ room adds to that difficulty. However, this excess weight…” I gesture to my baby bump, “… will very soon be two little human beings for whom I would gladly risk my life, and not because I’m being paid for it. To that end, I will not be the little woman who stands by the side holding the babies while the big men protect me from the big bad world.” Christian sits back in his chair and crosses his ankle over his knee. Jason hasn’t moved or spoken, and the rest of the room is my captive audience.
“One last thing before we continue,” I say. “The next person that makes a derogatory statement or a comment about me like I’m not in the room, I will fire you. Either of these handsome gentlemen to my left or my right or the hero in the wheelchair will tell you that I do have that power.” Several of them look from Christian to Jason for confirmation.
“I don’t have the floor right now,” he says, perturbed at those still staring at him for confirmation. “You better listen to her because she’s the one talking.”
Clear enough for you, boys?
“I’m not a ball-buster. I’m not a socialite. I’m not a trophy wife. I’m not the little woman. If you cooperate with me, I will cooperate with you. What you give to me, you will get back. If you respect me, I will respect you. If you piss me off, you will know that I’m pissed. Is there anything that I just said that is unclear to anyone within the sound of my voice?” I hear murmurings, but no acknowledgement of my statement.
“Hello? Do I need a bullhorn?” I ask, my voice powering across this very large room. “Do you all understand the words that are coming out of my mouth?” Various attentive “yes ma’ams” float back at me from different directions. “Thank you. There’s no misunderstanding about anything that I said?” Again, various “no ma’ams” float at me. “Good, because if there’s anything unclear that you need clarified or anything that you need to discuss with me, now’s the fucking time!” I feel my blood pressure rising a bit and I fight to control it. Christian leans in and rubs my back, trying to calm me. The room falls silent and I have to say that I’m glad Christian let me handle that without interfering.
Shit, that felt great! Bunch of Neanderthal, male chauvinist…
“Now that we’ve established some ground rules,” Jason begins when the room falls silent, “we can discuss some changes in protocol that I see coming in the very near future—not only because of this recent threat, but also because of the pending birth of Mr. and Mrs. Grey’s children as well as the importance and vulnerability of the people who are closest to them on a regular basis.”
The conversation becomes very official with Jason confirming what Christian said, that I will have a covert surveillance officer assigned to me. Another officer is going to start shadowing Ben particularly when Marilyn is with me because there’s more than one person to protect, and there will permanently be more than one pretty soon anyway.
Courtney, of course, has gone on the watch list. I’ve told Christian that I plan to have lunch again with Addie tomorrow as I haven’t told her what’s happened between me and Courtney, yet. She probably thinks Courtney has been coming to the center these last two days and learned her lesson from losing a chunk of her trust fund and having to wait longer to collect. Nothing could be further from the truth and I’m not looking forward to her reaction when I tell her that I’m abandoning the project and why.
I am the last to know that Al has agreed to personal protection and that he will be assigned his CPO today. My father and Amanda vehemently declined, stating that they didn’t want that kind of infringement on their privacy. Christian has left the door open for them to change their minds, but if I know Daddy, he’s steadfast in his decision. I didn’t even know he had offered to security to my parents. Speaking of which, I can’t wait for Christmas next week because I really miss my little brother and I want to see him.
“It’s just a precaution, baby,” he tells me. “My parents agreed to covert surveillance. Mia turned it down flat, but Ethan was on board. So right now, it’s just covert for them, too.”
“And Elliot?” I ask, feeling the slightest twinge in my stomach about Valerie, but only the slightest twinge.
“Elliot agreed to covert because his shrew girlfriend wouldn’t have anything to do with GEH security. I get the feeling that if she could change him from being a Grey completely, she would do it.” I hold my head down.
“I didn’t ask about her,” I say, signaling that this part of the conversation is over. He gently holds my hand on the conference table.
“I’m sorry, baby,” Christian apologizes. I just nod and wave him off.
“So what’s next?” I ask.
“For you to ask Marilyn if she’s okay with having security of her own,” Jason asks. I frown.
“Why would Marilyn need security?” I ask.
“Because when you’re in public, you two are joined at the hip,” Jason replies.
“Exactly,” I retort, “which means I’ll already have a tribe of security for me and the babies. So, why would she need a separate officer?”
“For when you two are not joined at the hip,” he finishes. Oh… yeah, there is that.
“Do you really think she’s in some kind of danger working for me?” I ask. Jason twists his lips.
“I wouldn’t say that she’s in danger, but you are high profile now, which means she’s high profile. Honestly, Your Highness, it’s like the boss said—it’s just a precaution. If there were any real and present danger, we wouldn’t have let any of the family or personal staff turn down close personal protection.” I nod.
“Okay.” I’ll have to take his word for it. These are obviously things that were in the works before I came into the meetings, so I just have to pay attention and listen carefully… and try not to see Doomsday in every security initiative I hear. That’s easier said than done.
A/N: Remember in Paging Dr. Steele, Ana refers to Christian’s security team as “Men In Black.” When you first walk into the installation, there’s one guard, and an elevator that takes you down to the facility.
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Love and handcuffs 🙂