So normally, I would post every two weeks, but I found myself needing to connect with you guys after the immense stress of this week, so here it is…
IF YOU DIDN’T GET AN EMAIL FROM ME OR DON’T RECEIVE ON WITHIN THE NEXT 24 HOURS, PLEASE BE SURE THAT I HAVE YOUR CORRECT EMAIL ADDRESS.
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…
I almost dread joining the rest of the guests for dinner. Butterfly and I had quite the afternoon, with the cosmic orgasm she gave me in the bathtub after we had made love all night, then the late brunch naked in our room—it’s the most relaxing day we’ve had all weekend. However, she insists on joining the activities for dinner as each night has a different speaker before we head to blissful class for our final lesson. Tonight’s speakers for the dinner will be a labor and delivery nurse and two birth doulas. In the blissful class after dinner, there will be birth henna, which Butterfly really wants to do. I have to admit that I’m excited about that. We decided against the belly casting because it just seemed too creepy to me, but birth henna on that beautiful belly—that, I can really get into.
My wife emerges in this two-piece elegant ensemble that almost makes me want to make her change clothes. It’s a champagne maxi-skirt with a crop top that I can only liken to a sports bra with lace sleeves attached. Her gorgeous belly is on display for everyone to see and it reminds me of that sexy prenatal photo shoot.
Settle down, Neanderthal. She’s perfectly decent.
“You don’t like it,” she says, reading my reaction. “I chose it the moment I read the brochure and saw that they would do henna…”
“No, no, that’s not it at all, Butterfly,” I say walking to her and taking her in my arms. “You’re just so beautiful,” I say, placing my hand on her bare belly and kissing her on her temple. “This is a view of you that I don’t normally share with other people. It just takes some getting used to.” She smiles as I rub her stomach.
“You always know the right things to say,” she says.
“That may be so, but it’s true,” I say, kneeling down to kiss her bare stomach. “You’re so beautiful and I can’t believe how lucky I am to have you.” She covers her face with her shawl, half-playfully.
“Stop, Christian… you’re going to make me cry,” she says, her face buried in her hands. I rise to my feet and move her hands from her face.
“Well, we can’t have that, can we?” I say, using my finger to lift her chin. When our eyes meet, I gently brush her lips with my own, breathing her breath and enjoying our closeness. She sighs softly, and that small surrender makes me want to just gobble her up! I softly caress her scalp where her scar is and her breath catches in her throat. She leans her head slightly into my hand and with her head tilted this way, I can’t resist slipping my tongue between her luscious lips.
She tastes divine.
Before I know it, we’re panting and mauling each other, her with handfuls of my hair in her fists and me with my mouth buried in her neck, tasting her skin and inhaling her essence. Fuck, what this woman does to me.
“Baby, we better stop or we’re not going to make it to dinner,” I protest, tasting her soft skin once more.
“I know… I know…” she breathes, her body literally puddy in my hands except for the death grip she has on my hair. That shit drives me wild!
“Let go of my hair,” I growl. “You know what that does to me!” Her hands release and immediately drop to my shoulders and I dive into her lips once more—a deep, searing kiss, before pulling her back and looking into her eyes.
“You’re so goddamn irresistible,” I hiss against her lips. “I don’t know how I’m supposed to control myself. And then you reveal this delicious ensemble…” I roughly kiss her lips and gently caress her bare stomach at the same time. “I’m not letting your sexy ass out of my sight!”
“Yes, Sir!” she breathes, her eyes closed. Aw, fuck, I really have to get her out of this room now! I kiss her again and slide my hands down to hers. After I take a deep breath to settle myself, I lead her to the door.
“Come,” I command her. “Let’s see what improvements they think they can make on perfection.” A wide smile graces my wife’s beautiful face as she glides out of the hotel room door.
“Well, where have you guys been?” Sheila asks when we get to dinner. “We wanted you to come shopping with us, but we haven’t seen you all day!”
“We’ve um… um…” Butterfly is having a hard time telling her newfound friend that we’ve been fucking all day.
“We decided to spend some quality time together today… in our room,” I say, getting Butterfly off the hook.
“Really,” Sheila asks. “All day?”
“All day,” Butterfly confirms.
‘Hmm,” Sheila remarks, “that explains the glow.” She raises her eyebrow and smirks at Butterfly, who blushes beet red. I can’t believe she’s still so shy sometimes.
“I can’t help it,” I say, brushing her hair back behind her ear. “She’s so irresistible.” I lean down and kiss her gently behind her earlobe.
“Christian,” she warns in that voice, and it doesn’t serve to calm my libido at all.
“I’m sorry,” I say to the couple standing in front of us.
“Don’t apologize,” Sheila says, putting her arm around CJ. “I know the feeling. Sometimes I think I have to cuff this one if I want a moment’s peace!” CJ chuckles and kisses his wife lovingly on the cheek. Butterfly and I share a knowing glance as cuffs have the opposite effect on us.
“Shall we go in to dinner?” I say, gesturing to the dining room. We all head in for dinner and of course, pass Kiley and her asshole husband on the way. She’s wearing an outfit similar to Butterfly’s, but her bottoms are hip-hugging pants that reveal her baby bump. The ensemble is not nearly as appealing as my wife’s.
“I wish I had the nerve to display my baby bump,” Sheila says. “The stretch marks and discoloration… and my linea nigra just looks awful!”
“Don’t say that, baby,” CJ scolds. “She doesn’t believe me when I tell her she’s beautiful,” he says to me and Christian.
“I know, what’s that all about?” Christian says. “I mean, I realize that I’m biased because I’ve always felt that my wife was beautiful, but I just think that this is the most beautiful I’ve ever seen her in my life and I don’t think she believes me.” I’m waiting for some scoff or smart comment to come from my right where Daniels is standing and I swear, this time I’ll deck him and give him his lawsuit.
“It’s not that I don’t believe you, Christian,” she protests. “It’s just that it’s really hard to feel pretty when you’re this big.”
“You can say that again,” Sheila confirms.
“Baby, I don’t think you understand that being ‘this big’ is part of what makes you beautiful,” CJ says to his wife. “There’s life in there… a little human being created by our love. There’s nothing more beautiful than that in the world. Every time I look at you…” He places his hand over her stomach. “Your swollen body and the changes that you’re going through… Oh, baby, it makes me love you more and more every day.”
Sheila looks into her husband’s eyes and her gaze is one that I’ve seen from my wife on several occasions—that her world begins and ends right there. He cups her cheek with his free hand and they share a tender kiss as if they were the only two people in the room. I put my arms around my precious wife and our children, caressing her bare stomach and kissing her shoulder, waiting for our new friends to finish their special moment. When Sheila turns back to us, she’s completely starry-eyed.
“And you wonder why we spent the day in our room,” Butterfly says matter-of-factly, placing her hands over mine on her belly. Hey! What happened to that shy, blushing little Butterfly that was standing here a minute ago?
“No, I don’t,” Sheila breathes, placing her hand on her chest in an effort to compose herself. She looks up beyond Butterfly and her expression changes slightly. We all follow her gaze to Kiley, who is standing just inside the dining room entrance with her annoying ass husband eyeing the four of us. She’s smiling softly at the exchange she just witnessed before turning away and entering the dining room. Sheila sighs.
“I feel so sorry for her,” she says. “I haven’t seen him show her one bit of affection or tenderness all weekend.”
“Me either,” Butterfly says.
I know why, I think to myself. He’s been showing his tenderness and affection to somebody else all weekend.
“How does she tolerate him?” Sheila says as we proceed in to dinner. “I mean, I know love is blind, but that’s ridiculous!”
“For all intent and purposes, everything she’s done and said all weekend gives me the impression that he’s not such a willing participant and she knows fully well that she might be doing this on her own,” Butterfly says clinging to my arm. That small gesture shows me just how happy she is that I’m with her. I cover her hand with mine to reassure her.
“Her outfit is cute,” Sheila comments as we enter the dining room and find a table. “She must be getting the birth henna…”
This conversation goes on through the appetizers, and I can’t help but wonder why Daniels came to this weekend at all. He’s clearly not interested in any of the activities much less his very pregnant wife. Quite frankly, she doesn’t appear to show much interest in him, either. As I ponder how these two could have ever copulated to make a baby, I realize that I’m glaring at him. He meets my glare only momentarily, then turns back to his meal.
Oh… now he’s getting some scruples about fucking with me?
I turn my attention back to my wife and our dinner companions, not wishing to spend two moments too many on that asshole.
Now… I have to say that I didn’t know what to expect when these people started talking about birth henna. I mean, I know what henna is, and I pretty much knew that the henna would be on the women’s baby bump. But watching this art form come to life on several pregnant bellies simultaneously through a small tube of some kind of brown compound is quite a sight to see. At the risk of sounding corny, it’s somewhat spiritual to watch all of these women transform into walking, talking works of art.
And my wife… Good God, my wife!
She’s got this design spiraling out from her belly button with similar designs on each hand. When the artist posed her for a picture with one arm cupping the twins and the other draped over her belly, I had to concentrate to keep from drooling! My God, this is one of the sexiest things I’ve ever seen! And she’s fully dressed!
“Um, excuse me…” I pause waiting for the artist’s name.
“Gada,” she says sweetly.
“Gada, may I please have a copy of that picture?” She smiles widely.
“Of course you can, Mr…”
“Just call me Christian,” I tell her. “This is my wife, Ana.” She smiles again.
“Oh, yes, the Greys,” she says. “You’re joining us from Seattle.” After my curious look, she says, “I make it a point to know everyone’s name.”
“Oh, okay,” I say, trying to appear nonchalant.
“I’ll have that picture for you tomorrow before we leave,” she says. “Your wife is actually very beautiful.”
“Thank you,” I say, “for the picture and the compliment.”
“Don’t mention it. How large do you want it?” I’m taken aback.
“I get to choose?” I say like a kid at Christmas. She laughs good-naturedly.
“Yes, Christian, you get to choose. Why don’t I just do a poster?” My heart leaps.
“And an 8×10? And a wallet size? I’ll pay extra,” I coax. She laughs again.
“I wouldn’t think of it. She’s so beautiful, she inspired me. The pictures will be free. A prenatal gift.” She smiles again.
“I can’t thank you enough,” I say, feeling like I just hit the jackpot.
“Live well and take care of those babies… and keep in touch. Let us know how you’re doing once the babies are born and send pictures for our wall of fame, if you don’t mind.”
“Will do,” I reply, shaking her hand before I rejoin my beautiful wife again, currently admiring her henna in a full-length mirror. “Hello, gorgeous,” I say from behind her.
“Hello, yourself,” she says, smiling widely at my reflection.
“I know I say it all the time, but you look beautiful.” Her smile widens.
“This time, I believe you,” she says, her voice full of mirth. She turns her attention back to her reflection. She looks so sensual with her henna-graced hands framing and delicately caressing her adorned belly. It sends a spark through me that I can’t explain.
“Oh, God, please stop,” I say, sliding my hands under hers and cupping her stomach, placing gentle kisses on her neck and shoulders.
“You find this arousing, Mr. Grey?” she says in a sultry voice.
“I find it unbelievably sexy,” I whisper, grazing her skin with my teeth and causing her to gasp before replacing my teeth with my lips. I’m never ashamed of PDA’s, but I resign myself to stop before I mount my wife here in front of the entire assembly. When I raise my head and examine the room, I discover that many of the other couples are caught in the same lovey-dovey spell that we are. I continue to indulge in her delicious skin, and that’s when I realize…
“Butterfly, did you realize that your back is exposed?” I ask cautiously. She pauses for a moment, then freezes. I was so concerned with getting used to her stomach and maternal beautiful on display for the world that I complete forgot about her back.
And I think she did, too.
“My back!” she exclaims in a desperate whisper. “The brands!” She’s starting to panic.
“Breathe, baby. I’m behind you.” She starts to slowly calm, but I can tell that she’s still nervous. Her back hasn’t been out since the accident and she may still be in the mindset that she was before the tattoo.
“Baby, listen to me,” I say, reaching for her shawl on a nearby chair and draping it gently over her shoulders. She goes to close it completely, but I won’t let her. I know she’s looking for security from the warmth, but she’ll just have to get it from me.
“Christian,” she protests.
“Listen to me… Did you forget about the beautiful garden on your back?” She pauses for a moment.
“The garden,” she says, as if she’s testing the word.
“Yes, the garden. I only mentioned your back because I was paying so much attention to the fact that this outfit has no front that I wasn’t paying no attention to the fact that this outfit has no back. I didn’t mean to unnerve you. I’m sorry.” She examines herself in the mirror again, true admiration in her eyes at the reflection.
“The garden,” she says again. She slowly drops her shawl and it falls useless to the floor. “Yes… the garden,” she says as she caresses her stomach once more with her fingertips.
I back away from her, leaving her to commune with her reflection, and sit in the chair that the shawl previously occupied. I gaze on her as she connects with her prenatal beauty… finally. How can I not love her? She’s exquisite. She’s the embodiment of everything I could have possibly hoped for in a woman. She’s so beyond perfect that I can’t believe she belongs to an undeserving wretch like me. She sees redemption in me. I don’t see it without her.
I don’t know how long I sit there admiring her admiring herself, but I can’t stand not to touch her anymore. The last time I remember her lost in her own beauty and sensuality this way was in the playroom at Escala when I revealed the hidden cameras and monitors and she watched herself play with her own ass. Fuck, I need to be near her, now. If this is what henna does to her—to us—I’ll fucking hire an artist to come to the house every week!
I rise from my seat and replace one of her hands on her stomach with mine, the other on the small of her back. She shivers… as always…
“You’re driving me wild over there,” I confess. She turns her face to me, her eyes boring through me. Good God, that look! She could bring any man to his knees with that look! Her ocean-blue eyes—limpid, just like the cliché—yearning and innocent at the same time. I can’t explain it, but the force is unimaginable and I can’t take it anymore.
She puts one hand flat on the side of my face and it’s like fire, spreading through my cheek and down through my soul. We don’t say anything; we just stare at one another. There’s no one else in this time and space but her and me. I’m a lonely demon, floundering in my own mire and she is my savior, come to rescue me from the muck and sludge that was my existence… my existence before her.
I move to face her and she puts both hands on both sides of my face and pulls me down to her for a soft, possessive kiss and the world floats away again. How can she do this to me? She causes me to lose all control, all reason. Without her, I’m doomed.
“I want to dance with you,” I breathe against her lips. “Somewhere, anywhere… I don’t care. I need to have you in my arms.”
“Where?” she whispers, bending to my will. I take her hand, careful of the henna, and lead her to the main room of the hotel. There’s a small space on the other side of the fireplace.
There! That will do.
I lead her to our makeshift dance floor and pull out my phone. I quickly open Pandora and pull up my favorite oldies dance tune station and the first song that plays couldn’t be more perfect.
I turn to my beautiful wife who’s gazing at me much like Sheila looked at CJ earlier. I stroke her cheek with my knuckles and get lost in those eyes for just a moment. I place the softest kiss on her lips that lasts only a few seconds, but feels like eternity. I can’t stand not having her in my arms one more second.
I move behind her and pull her close to me, as close as we can possibly get—one hand on top of her belly, the other underneath, framing it like she often does. I bury my face in her neck like I always do when we dance this way and do my best to meld into her, pull her into me, body and soul. When we’ve achieved that oneness, her breath catches in her throat and she lays her head back on my shoulder. With her hands over mine, we sway gently to “The Very Thought of You.”
Here in this moment, with my life in my arms, I am home. I need nothing else but her love to make everything right in the world. I don’t even know how many songs played or how long we stayed in the lobby, behind the fireplace, lost in each other. I don’t remember anything but hearing Nat King Cole and being lost in my love.
I don’t know how much time passes, but I can feel that she’s a bit weary. When I open my eyes, we appear to have accumulated a few other dancing couples behind the fireplace, some from our class and others from God only knows where. When I hear the ending of “Walking My Baby Back Home,” I kiss my beloved on her shoulder. If I didn’t know better, I would swear that she had fallen asleep on my shoulder, though that’s impossible since we were both on our feet.
“Let’s go upstairs, Butterfly. You’re tired.” She smiles coyly and nods. I retrieve my phone and apologize to the other couples that the music is leaving as the leading lady needs her rest. I see our henna artist sitting on a nearby loveseat, smiling pleasantly. I go over to her to thank her once more for her talent and the pictures I’ll be getting tomorrow. Butterfly asks her about how to make sure the henna lasts as long as possible and how she should care for it. I catch a glimpse of Jason in my peripheral sitting at the bar. I excuse myself and go over to him and as I approach, I see Daniels at the other end of the bar. We make quick eye-contact and he just as quickly diverts his attention back to his drink. I sit on the stool next to Jason.
“Drinking on the job, Jason?” I jest.
“I’m sorry, sir,” he says. “I couldn’t help it. The Pepsi was calling my name.” I chuckle at him.
“Are you down here keeping an eye on that guy?” I ask. He looks at me, but says nothing. “I think you can stand down from the asshole. He hasn’t said two words since yesterday afternoon.”
“Really?” Jason says, and his reaction is mediocre at best. I examine him, then smirk knowingly.
“What did you do?” I ask. He shrugs.
“We just had a little talk,” he says. He picks up his soft drink and looks down the bar at Daniels. He raises his glass to Daniels and proceeds to take a drink. Daniels’ expression doesn’t change, but he glares at Jason for a moment—making no eye-contact with me—and walks away from the bar.
“He won’t have anything to say to you or Her Highness for the rest of your stay here,” he says, taking another sip of his soda. I laugh to myself.
“Well, there’s not much time left seeing that we leave tomorrow, but thanks for the moment’s peace you afforded us.” I pat him on the shoulder. “You’re a good man.”
“Get some rest. We’re turning in. Her Highness is falling asleep on her feet.” He nods.
“Goodnight, sir,” he says, still sipping his drink. “I’ll just finish this.” I smirk.
“Good man,” I say, rising from the stool and going back to Butterfly. When I get there, she’s thanking Gada and I help her out of her seat. Someone else has started music on their phone and the dancing continues behind the fireplace.
“Geez, you guys bring love and happiness everywhere you go, huh?” Sheila meets us at the bottom of the stairs.
“I guess so,” Butterfly chuckles.
“Christian,” CJ pulls me aside. “I’ve never asked. What do you do?” Oh, if you only knew.
“Some of everything, CJ,” I admit. “There aren’t many industries I don’t ‘dabble’ in.”
“Really?” he says, surprised. “That’s good to hear. I think you’re a good guy and you seem to have a steady head on your shoulders. I’d like to get together and talk shop sometimes. Maybe we could come up with some really profitable joint ventures. I know you’re all the way in Washington, but hey, you never know, right? Worst case scenario, the four of us meet up in Wine Country once a year and we talk about being new fathers, huh?” He hands me a business card. I smile and open my phone case, pulling out one of my personal business cards and placing his inside.
“That’s sounds really good to me, CJ,” I say, handing him the card. He looks at the card and his brow furrows. Then he looks back up at me.
“You’re kidding, right?” he says in disbelief. I shake my head. “Son of a bitch,” he says under his breath. “I never even put it together. All weekend—Christian and Ana Grey. Geez, I feel like a dope.”
“Don’t,” I say with a smirk, “It’s refreshing to be able to spend some time in public with my wife and not be recognized. That’s why I chose this place. It’s pretty remote.”
“You chose this place?” he says, surprised. I nod.
“The babymoon was a Christmas present for my very busy wife,” I tell him. “That little frame packs a lot of power and she uses every bit of it every day. I wouldn’t mind so much if she wasn’t pretty much a human functioning incubator for our bundles, but she really needed a break since the babies are due very soon.”
“That really considerate… but still, I should have known,” he laments.
“Don’t worry, that Daniels asshole had me pegged almost from the beginning. If I had to choose, I would rather it had been the other way around. Look at it this way. You would have acted completely differently had you known who I was.” He nods.
“Yeah, I would’ve,” he admits. I nod back and point to his hand.
“In which case, you wouldn’t be holding that card,” I tell him. “You were a decent guy to me and my wife without knowing who I really am. That says a lot. I’d be happy to see what we could come up with if we put our heads together.” He looks at the card.
“Will I be able to get through to you?” he asks. “I am a businessman. No offense, but I know how this usually works… ‘Have your people call my people…’” he says. He’s right, that’s usually how it works. I point to the card again.
“My cell is on that card. Very few people get that that card,” I reinforce. He looks at the card and proffers his hand to me. I accept the gesture.
“Thanks a lot, Christian,” he says, shaking my hand, “or should I call you Mr. Grey now?”
“Only if we’re around colleagues or my employees. I try to keep it formal with my employees, except with that lug sitting at the bar.” I gesture to Jason. “He’s my bodyguard and best friend. He took a bullet for me once.” Why do I always tell people that?
Hi, meet Jason. He took a bullet for me once.
“I was wondering what the deal was with him, but you know… you don’t pry into other people’s business—unless it’s business.” He raises an eyebrow at me. I nod.
“Yes, indeed,” I confirm.
“I didn’t mean to ambush you, but the wife and I are leaving early tomorrow, so I just wanted to catch you before we left.” I shake his hand again.
“I’m glad you did. Give me a call in a week or two. Let’s see what we can get going.”
“I sure will,” he says with a big smile.
“I know that shake!” Sheila interrupts us. “You said no business this weekend, CJ!”
“It’s not what you think, baby,” CJ excuses.
“It’s my fault, Sheila,” I say, taking the blame. “CJ was just saying ‘goodbye’ because you guys are leaving early tomorrow. We exchanged business cards so that we could keep in touch and it just ran away from there. You know how businessmen get. We weren’t cutting any deals at the bottom of the stairs, just making an appointment for contact in a couple of weeks. Is that okay?” I give her the big gray-eyed apologetic gaze. She twists her lips.
“Yeah, I guess so,” she acquiesces, “and I’m immune to that shit. He does it, too.” Butterfly unsuccessfully stifles a chuckle. When I look at her, she just smiles and shrugs. “Your eyes are strikingly gorgeous, Christian, but they ain’t got nothin’ on my husband’s sleepy brown, come-hither, bedroom eyes. Sorry.” She walks over to CJ. “Let’s get going, Big Money,” she teases.
“That’s my cue,” he says. “Goodnight, Ana, Christian. Next week or so.”
“Good deal,” I say, putting my arm around my wife as they ascend the stairs. I lead Butterfly to the elevator just beyond the stairs and we stand in silence while we wait. I allow her to enter first and push the button for our floor once inside. When the doors close, I stand on the other side of the elevator and just stare at her. She’s holding her shawl around her, careful not to let it touch the dried henna paste on her hands and stomach. She actually looks like she should be in a magazine spread or something, with her hair cascading over her shoulder and down around her belly. The elevator rings to signal our floor and I gesture for her to exit.
“After you, Mrs. Grey,” I say. She exits the elevator and closes her shawl over her chest as she proceeds to our room. I walk far enough behind her to watch her glide.
“Are you watching me walk?” she accuses softly without turning around.
“Mmm-hmm,” I confirm, still enjoying the show. She then removes her shawl so that I can enjoy her full form—those round hips and that gorgeous ass parading down the hall in front of me; that beautiful garden beckoning me to come and play. I take a deep breath in through my nose, and let it out quietly through my lips. This woman is amazing and I’m literally drooling at her walking away from me. Oh, I have plans for you, Mrs. Grey… just for you.
When we get to the room, I ask why she hasn’t removed the henna paste yet.
“Gada says the longer I leave it on, the longer it will stain, so I’m going to try to leave it on overnight and then however long it lasts after that…” She shrugs. Fair enough. I push her against the wall and plant a bruising kiss on her lips while removing her top, which I discover has a built-in bra. Good, less clothes to fumble with. I quickly remove her skirt, underwear, and shoes and instruct her to lie flat on the bed.
With the sash from her robe, I tie her hands together, palms flat in a praying position to save her henna, then I worship her body like the goddess that she is, gently tasting her skin and nipples, knees, thighs and earlobes, and finally her clit and sweet juices when I get to her sex, bringing her to shivering orgasms before cocooning her in my arms as much as I can without disturbing the henna paste and falling into a vastly contented sleep.
I honestly don’t think we’ve ever had that much sex in the span of a few days. Not that I can remember anyway and I unfortunately don’t remember much these days, but I sure the hell remember several times in the early morning hours of Wednesday morning and again after I got out of bed intent to help with New Year’s Day brunch. Then there was Saturday night into Sunday morning and several times that day, culminating with two blasting orgasms in the wee hours of this morning… Hmm, that’s only three days out of the last six. It seemed like more to me, but it’s still a lot of orgasms.
I’m able to get in the morning yoga and Christian, Jason, and I are able to enjoy breakfast—unfortunately without Sheila and CJ, with Daniels looking over our shoulder sans his beautiful wife. He dare not say anything to us. That altercation with Christian must have scared him shitless.
Around noon, we have packed and are gathering our things to get ready to head back to Seattle. The babymoon continues for a few other couples, but we need to get back to work and get ready for the babies. With only a few minor hiccups, I have to say that Project Babymoon was a success. I am thoroughly decompressed and ready to take on the world. I’m feeling sexy and sensual again and I’m excited about the babies. I have to admit; this was just what I needed.
Just as the men are loading the car, I see Kiley at the front desk. She appears to be settling the bill and Arthur is nowhere in sight. He made her pay for her own babymoon? What a fucking deadbeat!
“Hey, Kiley,” I say, just as she receives her receipt.
“Hey, Ana,” she replies, perky as ever. This must be an act. She has to be miserable as fuck living with this guy.
“Listen…” I reach into my purse, pull out a business card and hand it to her. “I want you to keep in touch, okay? And if you need anything, please call me and let me know.”
She looks at my card and smiles.
“I sure will, Ana, and thank you for everything.” She hugs me as warmly as our bellies will allow us and begins to leave. Looking at my card again, she turns around and comes back to me.
“I don’t want you to worry about me, Ana. I’ll be okay. Really, I will,” Kiley says. “My husband only thinks I’m oblivious to his philandering and spending the money from my trust fund on his fly-by-night females. What he doesn’t know is that this baby is not even his.” I frown deeply.
“What?” I ask, appalled.
“I know. I quietly sit by and allow his bad behavior to speak for itself and say nothing until it becomes unbearable. He thinks I’m the meek little, submissive, unknowing wifey because I don’t put up a fuss about what he’s doing, but I’ve known since shortly after his second indiscretion… or was it his third?”
I stand there gaped-mouth, staring at her, unable to completely process what she’s telling me. She knows that her husband is unfaithful and to top it off, she’s being unfaithful, too?
“Yes, I can understand if your view of me has changed, but please remember. I never misrepresented myself. I only acknowledged my husband’s ghoulish behavior and continued with this educational and relaxing weekend. When he had the nerve to tell me that he had been hanging out with Christian when I knew that he was holed up with that bitch in room 305, it took everything in me not to let the cat out of the bag,” she says, her smile a combination of spiteful and knowing. “If he had any good sense, he would count back and realize that at the time this baby was conceived, he was too busy in the company of Slut #6 to give me any of his time.”
Oh, God, this story is just getting worse and worse.
“How can he possibly think this is his child if you haven’t had sex?” I ask, still spellbound.
“Because he’s arrogant and stupid. Haven’t you met him?” she declares matter-of-factly. “For one thing, he doesn’t think I would ever cheat on him. I couldn’t possibly be with another man, but for another thing, he does think he slept with me.” I frown again.
“What do you mean? How can that be?” I know if I fucked my husband. It’s not in my imagination.
“When I missed my period, I took a home pregnancy test. The day that it came up positive, I guilt-tripped him into staying home with me that evening. I fixed a lovely dinner, slipped him a mickey, and while he was barely conscious and quite incoherent, gave him a handjob until he came and passed out. He awoke sated, with me naked in his arms. I’ll never forget the look of disappointment on his face when he rolled over and realized that it was me lying next to him.” She drops her head, the first sign of remorse I’ve seen from her throughout this entire discussion. “He hasn’t slept with me since. When I told him that I was pregnant, he asked no questions. That was five months ago. I’m nearly seven months pregnant.”
“Why don’t you just leave?” I ask. “He’s clearly unrepentant about his actions and, quite frankly, two wrongs don’t make a right.”
“That’s just it. I’m not trying to make a right, Ana!” she retorts. “I don’t want him to see the err of his ways. I want him to have just a tiny bit of the pain and humiliation that he’s caused me over these years. These women calling the house and hanging up; him coming home wreaking of some other woman and sex, and then lying in bed next to me without even having the decency to shower; spending the money from my trust fund on weekend getaways, jewelry, clothes for these little gold-diggers! No, I don’t want right! I want him to hurt! I want him to know that the little wifey knew all along and was never exactly who he thought she was!”
“And how will you do that?” I inquire incredulously. “He’s spending all your money and he’s still sleeping with these women. He brought one here for your weekend getaway!” She smiles widely.
“He’s only spending what I allow him to spend,” she says triumphantly. “I took the lion’s share of my trust fund and invested it… ironically, with the help of the guy whose baby I’m carrying. With the earnings from those investments, I have more money than I started with. Trevor is wealthy in his own right, so he doesn’t need my money, but he showed me how to multiply my investment tenfold. It only took me 18 months to regenerate and surpass the money Arthur pilfered away on his hoes. And because he thinks I’m such a scatterbrain, he had no problem signing a prenup. So when the money in that account is gone, he has no rights to the additional money that I’ve made. So, hopefully before the summer, I’ll be divorced and on my way to live my life with Trevor… or even without him. However I chose to live it, it will be without Arthur. And my ultimate, ultimate revenge will be for him to be standing in the delivery room waiting to see his son and when the doctor presents the baby, he’ll be born black!”
Fucking hell. I’m flabbergasted. All this time, I’ve been sitting here thinking this woman was the poor unsuspecting victim when the entire time, she’s been plotting her revenge. I don’t know whether to be disgusted or impressed!
“I don’t know, Kiley. You know what they say about karma,” I warn.
“I’m very well accustomed to bitches getting over on me, Ana, so she can just get in line,” she retorts with no remorse. “I don’t regret meeting you. You made this weekend bearable and I hope everything goes well for you and Christian and the twins.” She smiles and walks toward the door. I’m standing there, stunned, still unable to believe the tale that has unfolded before me. I mean, I’ve heard and seen worse, but she had me so fooled all this time, I just can’t believe it.
“Butterfly… you look like you’ve seen a ghost.” Christian draws my attention from the door that Kiley just exited. I shake myself as if to shake loose a bad thought.
“No, I just… I was saying goodbye to Kiley,” I tell him. He put his arms around me.
“I feel sorry for her tethered to that guy and having to bear his child.” Don’t… she’s got that all under control.
“I think she’ll be okay,” I say dismissively. I don’t even want to repeat her tale at this point. It’s too much on my poor psyche. Christian examines me for a moment, but decides to let the matter lie.
“Come on, let’s go home. Jason is aching to get out of this place after seeing absolutely no action for four days—sexual or otherwise,” he says, placing his hand in the small of my back and guiding me out the door.
We had our last Lamaze class when we got home, but it seemed a bit of a waste with everything we learned from the babymoon. I think I was hoping to make a similar connection with the people in the class as the ones I made with the couples at the retreat, but it just wasn’t going to happen. At the retreat, we were Christian and Ana Grey. Here in Seattle, we’re AnaChris. It’s a bit depressing. Making new friends felt so wonderful, so fresh—just everyday, average people, not the country-club type and contacts that I know I’ll make when we get into Broadmoor. Yes, I’ll need those contacts, but I’ve never been a country-club girl. I’m a chameleon and I know I’ll fit in, but I’ll never be able to be myself around them… not like I was this weekend when we met up with Sheila and CJ, even when we talked to Kiley—minus her gorilla husband. Is Val right? Have I changed that much?
I suddenly feel the need to be near my husband. A good, swift kick from one of the soccer players indicates that’s a pretty good idea. I stop in the kitchen for some apple juice—heaven only knows why I want apple juice—and head down to his office. He’s been holed up in there since just after we got back from Lamaze.
“Come in,” I hear from the other side of the door. I open the door and I am greeted with an unbelievable sight—poster-sized pictures of me all over the room! They’re everywhere! You can’t even make out the room for the tripods all around the floor, which is impressive considering the size of Christian’s office…
My henna stomach framed by my henna hands above and below…
Both hands on Christian’s face as we share a tender kiss…
Me admiring myself in the mirror, both me and the reflection in the photograph…
The same picture with Christian sitting in a seat nearby gazing adoringly at me…
Us and our reflections in the mirror as we both frame my stomach…
My back with Christian’s hand partially covering the garden…
Us dancing behind the fireplace…
“Where… how did you…?” I’m speechless.
“They’re extraordinary. I only asked for one—that one,” he says, pointing at the first picture I saw. “I had no idea she would take all of these, and she wouldn’t let me pay her. She wouldn’t accept a dime. She said that we were one of the most cosmically connected couples she has ever met and she’s been doing this for 15 years—she even does weddings!” He’s admiring something on his desk and as I get closer, I realize that it’s more pictures of me… and us—some different ones and some smaller ones of the pictures I’ve already seen.
“She talked about you the most—how beautiful you are, your extraterrestrial energy, how the camera loves you, how the henna makes you glow… I thought she had fallen in love with you for a moment,” he says, without malice, but also without mirth. How did we get these home and I never even saw them?
“She had to get them developed, so they were here when we got back from Lamaze, tripods and all,” he says in that eerie way he has of reading my mind.
“That must have cost her a fortune!” I say. Just how much money does she make doing birth henna—or henna at all?
“I’ll say,” he says. “Not a fortune for me, but a fortune for most people.” He continues to flip through the pictures. I look up at his computer screen and his file explorer is open—more pictures of me, thumbnails on a grid. Just how many pictures did this woman take and how did I not see her?
“She sent the digital originals?” I ask.
“Digital copies,” he says. “She keeps the originals. She sent a release form for us to sign and get back to her saying that we didn’t mind if she used our pictures in her classes and ads. I emailed her and told her that I had to talk to you first, since you’re the star of the show. I’m nothing more than background.” I climb into his lap with my legs over the arm of his massive desk chair and put my arms around his neck.
“You’re quite the background, Mr. Grey,” I say in a husky voice.
“And you’re quite the star, Mrs. Grey,” he replies, wrapping his arms around me. “Did you enjoy this weekend?”
“More than you know,” I reply. “Thank you so much. You’re so considerate.”
“You’re so worth it,” he replies and we share a chaste kiss.
“I think we should wait until after the babies are born and we make our announcements before she uses our photos. Someone is bound to recognize us.” He ponders for a moment, then nods.
“That’s a good plan,” he says, looking at the pictures again. “I wish she would have let me pay her. These pictures are out of this world. Look at this one.” He points to the picture with his hand on my back. “These are some fucking amazing candid shots, and we didn’t even know we were being photographed.”
“I love this one,” I say about the picture of him sitting in the seat gazing at me while I look in the mirror. “There’s no amount you can pay for a moment like that. I didn’t know you were looking at me.” I turn to face him. “But that look in your eyes… it makes me feel like the world, Christian. I’m so glad she caught it on film.” Much better than a belly cast.
“You are the world, Anastasia. You’re my world.” Oh, the things this man says to me. I embrace him tight around his neck as he holds me close to him.
“I love you, Christian,” I choke. I won’t cry. I’m too happy to cry.
“I love you, too, Butterfly.” I hold him a moment longer before releasing the death grip I have on his neck and admiring the pictures some more.
“Chuck started physical therapy today,” he says as we look through more of the pictures.
“He did?” I ask, Christian nods. “That’s great news! I need him on his toes for when the children are born.”
“Ben will still most likely be with you guys,” he says. “Maybe more covert, but still with you since he knows your routines. Marilyn’s guy says he has a hard time keeping up with her, so she might want to get him a daily itinerary before she starts the day.” I scoff at the statement.
“I have a hard time keeping up with Marilyn and I know where she is every minute of every day. Who do you have on her?” He frowns.
“Um, I think it’s Bronson,” he says.
“And how old is Bronson?” He shrugs.
“I don’t know, late 30’s, I think.” I nod.
“Marilyn is like a walking talking energy drink. She’s two steps ahead of me no matter what I do. I have to ask her to translate sometimes, she’s moving so fast. She can hit three unrelated topics in one sentence and never miss a beat. Today is Monday… night! I could tell her right now that I need a formal planned for Saturday for 200 people complete with invitations and she could pull it off without a hitch.” He stiffens a bit when I tell him this. “What?”
“Nothing,” he says. “I just think we might need to change her guy.”
“Why?” I ask. “Is he no good?”
“No, it’s not that. It’s just that I think she might need someone more… energetic.”
“Damn straight, she needs someone energetic, but why do I get the feeling that’s not all?” He sighs.
“Butterfly, I love you, but you’ve got to stop seeing trouble where there is none,” he scolds.
“I’m not seeing trouble where there is none, Christian. Your whole body tensed when I said that. I know something’s not right.” He ponders for a moment, twists his lips, then rolls his eyes.
“Fine,” he says firmly but gently. “There are many ways to get to you, Butterfly. I’m just trying to make sure that none of them are weak spots… the children, Marilyn, my mom, the center… it’s a full-time job, baby. I don’t want you worrying about it all the time, but that doesn’t mean that I won’t.” I smile softly.
“You’re a wonderful man, Christian, but stop worrying about everything or you’re not going to make it to 50, and I kind of need you around,” I say, rubbing my stomach with my fingertips. He touches his forehead to mine.
“I know, baby, but when you love someone as much as I love you…” He trails off and sighs, closing his eyes. I touch his cheek and he turns his lips to my hand, gently kissing my palm. I reciprocate by softly kissing his cheek, then his jaw, then his ear… He turns his face back to mine and kisses me deeply, and we’re instantly lost in each other.
I look at my henna the next morning before I shower. The paste has begun to crumble from my skin, so I finish removing it from my hands and baby bump. I stand in the mirror and admire the beautiful reddish/brown tattoo on my now smooth stomach. It’s beautiful and I can finally caress it. I think I’ll be getting henna more often. It makes me feel so beautiful even though it’s only visible to the public on my hand.
I was very happy to hear that Chuck started physical therapy yesterday. I like Ben, but Chuck is like my right arm. Yes, I know that should be Marilyn, but she’s more like my saphenous vein, which would make Christian my jugular.
Okay… this is getting morbid.
Tuesday morning seems a bit quiet… too quiet. I should have known something was amiss.
“You look great, Ana,” Grace says when she comes into my office. “You should get away more often.”
“It was a wonderful weekend,” I say. “I almost didn’t want to come back. I learned so much and Christian and I made some interesting new friends…”
“Wait… Christian made a new friend?” she asks incredulously.
“Yes, can you believe that?” I reply, “They’re extremely chummy.”
“Well, go figure…” Her statement is interrupted by a knock at the door. It’s Courtney.
“Ana, I—I… I think you need to come… like, right now.” She’s stuttering and nervous. What the hell is going on?
“What is it, Courtney? What’s wrong?” I ask. I won’t walk into some unknown situation unprepared.
“Please, come now,” she insists, “please.”
“Do I need to get security?” I ask, rising from my seat.
“No. Well… no… not yet. It’s just… I don’t know what to do. Please, come… you too, Miss Grace, please? Now… please?” Miss Grace? Okay, now I have to go see what the hell is going on. I follow her into one of the classrooms with Grace right behind me. There’s a frail frame in the room alone sitting in a chair facing away from us.
“Good, he’s still here,” she breathes and walks over to the form in a hoodie and old, soiled jeans. “Jack? I brought Ana. I brought Miss Grace, too. She’s a doctor… a pediatrician I think.”
From under the hoodie comes the most haunted pair of blue eyes I’ve ever seen. My God, what happened to this kid?
“Jack? Is that your name?” I say approaching cautiously. His gaze falls on me and he nods. He looks as if he could just give up the fight and die any second. “My name is Ana. I should tell you, I’m a shrink. This is my mother-in-law, Grace. Courtney’s right, she’s a pediatrician.” I hold my hand out to him and timidly shakes it; his grip couldn’t thread a needle.
“Hi… I’m Jack.” His voice is weak, timid and hollow. He’s nervous as he introduces himself to me yet again.
“Can I sit with you, Jack?” His glassy eyes look up at me and I notice a horrible shiner on his right eye. He looks down again and nod infinitesimally. I pull a chair next to him and sit.
“You’re still pregnant,” he says. Still… I nod.
“Yes, I am,” I reply. “I’m due next month.”
“I miss my mom,” he says, sadly.
“Where is your mom, Jack?” I ask. He frowns deeply.
“Dead,” he says. “She died when I was six. Cancer.”
“So you live with your dad now?” I ask. He nods, clearly fighting his tears. “Did he do this to you?” He shakes his head feverishly. “Who then?”
“My… my stepmom,” he says with a quivering jaw and a cracking voice. “She’s horrible. She’s a monster. I can’t take it anymore. I really can’t! I can’t go back.”
“How long, Jack?” He’s sobbing now. “How long has your stepmom been doing this?”
“I don’t know… years. I don’t know.” He wipes his eyes with red, bruised hands and my heart breaks.
“And what does your father say?” I ask, trying to control my voice. “He just lets this happen?” He shakes his head again.
“He doesn’t have a choice,” he says. “She does this to him, too. Worse sometimes. He’s so scared. She threatens him and… she’s got money and she knows people. She keeps saying that she’ll take me away because he’s not fit, but she’s horrible and I can’t go back. I can’t!” Sobs wrack his tiny body. What is he, 10? He’s so small, but he seems older.
“How old are you… Jack?” I ask.
“Sixteen.” Like hell, he’s sixteen! He can’t be sixteen. He’s just saying that because he knows that he’s free to leave home at that age, but there’s no way in hell I’m sending him back to his stepmother. Just his eye and hands look horrific and we haven’t even seen the rest of him.
“Jack, listen to me. We won’t send you back, but you have to be honest with me. How old are you?” He sighs heavily and his body sinks and gets smaller, as if it could.
“Thirteen,” he whispers. I nod.
“Where do you live?” I ask. “Just the city—you don’t have to tell me any more.”
“Redmond.” Shit, that’s on the other side of Belleville!
“How did you get here?” Grace asks.
“The 545,” he says, “drops me off right across the street. I…” He shudders for a moment. “I’ve been here lots of times. I just never came inside. I saw you on TV.” He looks up at me. “I saw you when you did that commercial—about the abused faces…” The Faces of Abuse PSA. That far back? “Then I heard that you got into a car accident and you might die.” He drops his head and tears fall onto his soiled jeans. “I prayed for you,” he said. “I prayed that you would get better, and you did. I said if you got better that I would come inside… for me and my dad… and you did… so here I am.”
I’ve been better for months, though…
“What took you so long, Jack?” I ask. “That was last November. Why did you wait?”
“I was waiting for Dad,” he said. “He’s so scared… He won’t come. He won’t leave, but I can’t stay. I can’t take it anymore. I’d rather die!” He wails. I know he speaks the truth. It’s written all over him. He may very well take his own life if we send him back.
“Jack, will you take your hood off, please?” I ask. Jack removes his hood and he looks like hell. His hair is dirty and messy and he looks like he hasn’t eaten. He’s badly bruised and his ear looks red and swollen.
“Have you been living on the streets?” I ask. He nods.
“In the park, under porches, anywhere that I could sleep. I’ll go back to that if I have to. I’ll go to the mountains, anything! But I won’t go back there!”
“How long?” I ask. He shrugs.
“A few days, I don’t know. I don’t remember.”
“And how did you get the black eye and the bruises?”
“I went back… for food… for Dad…” His voice trails off. “She… she was there. She saw me… she got mad and… did this.” He points to his eye. I’ve heard enough.
“Are you hungry?” I ask. He nods. “Let’s get you cleaned up. You can have a bath and some clean clothes and some food. Can Grace look at your ear and dress your bruises, just to make sure that they won’t get infected?” He looks up at Grace.
“I won’t hurt you, Jack. I promise,” Grace says. “If I do anything that causes you pain or makes you feel uncomfortable, you just tell me to stop and I’ll stop, okay?” He eyes her nervously, but doesn’t answer.
“I’ll come with you if you want, Jack,” Courtney says, her gaze concentrated on the frightened teenager. Hope dawns in his face.
“You will?” he asks eagerly.
“Sure,” she says, “if Miss Grace says it’s okay.” She looks up at Grace, questioning. A small smile begins to form on Grace’s lips, but she suppresses it and nods to Courtney. Courtney turns her smile back to Jack and holds out her hand to him. He quickly takes her hand and rises out of the seat.
“Come on, we’re gonna have to go to someplace more private,” she tells him. “She’s a doctor, so you might have to put on one of those gowns. If you do, I’ll turn away so I don’t see your junk, okay?” and away they go. Grace looks at me, her face mirroring the utter shock that I feel before she follows Courtney and our newest resident. Once I recover from the scene that just unfolded in front of me, I go back to my office and page Marilyn.
“I hear you’ve been giving your security detail the flux,” I tell her. She frowns.
“What?” she replies, taken aback.
“Christian says your security is having a hard time keeping up with you.” She takes a seat in the chair in front of my desk with her iPad.
“You mean Chuckie?” she says, twisting her lip. I look up from my notepad.
“His name is Chuck, too?” I ask, surprised.
“No, his name is Victor. I just call him Chuckie. Get it? Bronson? Charles Bronson? He’s just as old and not as useful.” She taps something on her iPad. I shake my head and sigh.
“Charles Bronson is dead, dear,” I tell her. “If he were alive, he’d be nearly 100 years old.”
“My point exactly,” she says, without missing a beat. I snicker.
“Marilyn, I’m told Bronson is only in his late thirties…”
“Then, get me someone in their late twenties,” she says. “I have a busy schedule. I don’t have time to pull Grampa behind me.”
“It can’t be that bad,” I protest.
“Look,” she says, setting her iPad in her lap. “I have no problem complying with a security detail for obvious reasons, but they have to be able to keep up. You’re a very busy woman and your schedule is busier than even you know.” I frown.
“What do you mean?” She raises her head.
“Do you know how many public appearances I have to turn down for you?” she says. “How many statements have been diverted to PR at GEH? How many small things I have to do to make sure that the big things go well? I have to coordinate your personal and business schedule, run your errands, filter your emails, make sure you’re available when Christian or GEH has a function… Did you know that Andrea and I are Facebook friends?
“I have to know what you want before you ask for it and where to find it. I have to remind you of things that you don’t remember and make sure that unnecessary evils do not fall in your lap and upset you or King Christian is going to have a coronary. I have to know that for the last month, you crave fresh chicken kabobs with tomato, green yellow and red pepper but no onion every Wednesday, but I can’t get them from that place on Third anymore—which you love, but you can’t eat them because they cook them on the same grill with the beef kabobs.
“I’m your factfinder, concierge, butcher/baker/candlestick maker and don’t get me wrong… I can handle it. I love my job and I’m not complaining, but you are a full-fledged celebrity and coordinating your life is a huge duty and a major responsibility. I need somebody who’s going to understand that, or they’re going to hinder me instead of help me, and thus, hinder you. I won’t stand for that as I work very hard to make sure that doesn’t happen. So if Chuckie is having problems keeping up, get me someone else.”
She picks up her iPad and continues to scroll through it. I smile widely. Where would I be without her?
“Duly noted, Ms. Caldwell,” I say. “I actually told Christian as much last night. Let’s see if he got the message on to our security team.” She looks up at me and I wink at her. She smiles and looks back down at her tablet.
I had no idea I had such celebrity status, nor did I know that she was fending off and diverting so many calls for me or that being my PA was such a busy task. Yet another reason why I want to make the connections I know that I can make at the Country Club.
Marilyn is invaluable! She’s stuck with me for life!
“I have to add another duty to the roster today,” I say, handing her the note I’ve been scribbling. “This young boy came into the center today. Very badly bruised and beaten. Here’s his description and this is all the information I have on him right now—no last name, unfortunately. Contact Missing Persons and find out if there’s a current report on him. I’d like to get in touch with his father if I can. It appears that he may be being abused as well. I’m not sending the boy back. He’ll go into the system if he has to, but he won’t return.” She takes the note from me and reviews the details.
“Thirteen,” she says with dismay. “That fucking sucks.”
“Tell me about it,” I concur. “Let me know what you find, Wonder Woman,” I add with a smile.
A/N: Christian and Ana’s dancing song list all by Nat King Cole:
The Very Thought Of You
Walkin’ My Baby Back Home
That Sunday, That Summer
A Nightingale Sang In Berkeley Square
When I Fall In Love
You can find the songs along with pictures of places, things, and fashions on my Pinterest page 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 🙂