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 54—Poking an Angry Bear
You could hear a rat piss on cotton right now. The whole world has gone silent and I see nothing but this Amazon bitch who just slapped the blood into my mouth. At least I think she slapped me. She could have hit me with a sledge hammer for all I know, it happened so fast. It fucking feels like it could have been a sledge hammer. That’s gonna leave a mark.
“Shit just got reeeeal,” Marilyn sings.
“I may be short, but this piece of steel makes me ten feet tall,” I say.
“That’s so…” she begins.
“I didn’t say you could speak!” I growl, and when I say growl, I mean literally growl. A demon’s voice comes out of my mouth. Her eyes sharpen. “I told you to leave and you didn’t, so you’re mine now, ‘cause you just bullied the wrong bitch.”
“Shoot her,” I hear Jack Jr., whisper.
“You hear that?” I tell her. “He’s the only reason your brains aren’t splattered all over that wall behind you and he wants me to shoot you. Sit down.”
“And if I don’t?” she taunts. As the “t” leaves her lips, I hit her in the head with the butt of the gun. She grunts loudly.
“Now we’re even! The next time it’ll be a bullet. Now sit down!” There goes the possessed voice again. “On the floor, on your hands, and don’t move!”
She can’t believe I’ve hit her. She first put her hand over her bruising temple then raises angry eyes to me.
“Don’t make me say it again,” I hiss menacingly.
“You might miss,” she hisses back.
“I don’t miss,” I retort. “Marine’s daughter, shooting since 12. Wanna try me?” I press the steel to her forehead again. She narrows her eyes and slowly glides to the floor. She’s graceful for an eight-foot, 400-pound bear. “Cross your legs, hands under your ass.” She crosses her legs and puts her hands under her thighs. Oh, no, bitch. I know that trick.
“I said under your ass. It’s as big as a fucking semi; I’m sure you can find it.” Her eyes narrow further and she moves her hands under her ass.
“Restrain him,” I tell the guards. “I know somebody has cuffs or something.”
“Zip ties, ma’am,” somebody says.
“Make it happen,” I say without taking my eyes off Le Amazon.
“Mrs. Grey, please stand down,” I hear some unfamiliar voice say. “We can subdue her.”
“You’re too late. She’s already subdued,” I say impassively. Get the fuck away from me. She never should have had the opportunity to hit me.
“Ana…” I hear Grace’s voice now.
“Grace, get the police back here and get Jack and his son to the dorms so that they can get a good night’s sleep… for a change,” I instruct her. Jack rises from the sofa and walks with his son towards Grace.
“See ya ‘round, Jack,” she says, spitting his name in a condescending manner.
“No, you won’t,” he says. She turns her gaze to him.
“You brave all of a sudden, Jack?” she jeers. Jack actually laughs.
“Look at you!” he chuckles. “She’s all of 5’4” and she’s got you sitting on the ground like a dog!” I’m actually 5’2”.
“She’s got a gun,” she says with disdain.
“And after this, so will I,” he says definitively. “You’re nothing but a walking, talking slab of meat and you’ve been bullying me and my son for years. Take your goddamn gorilla and get the fuck out of my life. I’m getting a restraining order against you tomorrow and if you come within 100 feet of me or my son, I’m going to fill you full o’ lead.”
I’m still looking at her and I don’t see Jack talking to her.
“Good night, Glenda,” I hear Jack Jr., say in a mocking tone. Glenda? Like the good witch, Glenda? Well, if that don’t beat all.
“Somebody get me a goddamn chair; I’m pregnant.”
It’s about 8pm when I get home. Marilyn wants to come in with me because she pretty much knows what’s in store for me and she doesn’t want me to face it alone. I send her home and tell her to meet me here tomorrow as I have a feeling we will be redoing my schedule.
“Grace, you’re going to have to do without me,” I say after the police cart Glenda Hyde and her driver away. She frowns.
“You mean for a while?” she asks. I shake my head.
“I mean, do without me,” I say. “Christian’s going to blow a gasket when he sees me. I’m certain he’s going to demand that I don’t deal with this anymore. I know him and I can’t blame him. I don’t necessarily agree with him, but I don’t blame him. If one thing—any one thing—had gone differently tonight, my babies could have been hurt; I could have been in jail… That woman had no fear. My daddy taught me to never pull my gun unless I intend to pull the trigger. Tonight, I actually thought that at some point, I was going to have to. She hit me so fast, I didn’t even see it coming! I don’t even know how she hit me. Was it open-handed or a fist? Was it a punch or a slap? Was it backhanded or front-handed? I have no idea. If this goes to court, all I’m going to be able to say is that she hit me. And she hit me hard enough to turn me from east to west!”
“That’s no reason to quit, Ana,” she says almost pleading.
“I know that and I’m not quitting, but my face hurts so badly that I don’t even want to see it. When he sees it, he’s going to make me sit down, and I’m not going to fight him.” She sighs.
“I need you, Ana,” she says. “We’re about to get our accreditation and licenses. The fact that we had a licensed mental health care professional in an executive position… You can’t leave me.”
“John is going to have to come in more often and pick up some of the slack. He was going to have to do it anyway. I’ll do what I can from home. I won’t leave you high and dry—I promise, but after this, I’m getting grounded. We both already know it.”
“Are you ready to go, Mrs. Grey?” One of the unknown guards asks. I nod.
“Has anyone called Mr. Grey?” I ask. They all look at each other. “I’ll take that as a ‘no.’ Has anyone reported to Taylor?” The same blank looks. I sigh. “Well, that works out well for me. I’ll at least be able to get into the house and tell him what happened. Not so well for you guys though, because somebody’s getting fired.”
“Excuse me, Ma’am?” one of the guards say to me. Tread carefully, Ana.
“You guys did everything you could,” I tell them. “There were minimal casualties except for the face…” I gesture to my sore, swollen cheek. “Nobody left in a body bag. I say that’s a good night. But the boss’s wife is coming home with a shiner or close to it, and nobody told him. Do you see how this could be a problem?” They look at each other and then back at me.
“I’ll explain what happened,” I continue. “I’ll do my best. Everything moved so fast, but you guys know him… somebody’s going to pay. When he pulls you guys in, make sure your stories correlate. I’m already in trouble, so don’t try to spare me, but don’t make me the scapegoat either, because that’s going to piss him off more.” I sigh and they all look like they know they’re headed to the gallows. “Thank you all, really. I’ll make sure he knows you were on your game as much as you could be.” I turn to leave. Please don’t let there be any Robert Harrises in this group.
“Mrs. Grey?” I turn around and several of them are suddenly standing in a group. “It’s been a blast.” My heart hurts suddenly and my eyes burn. No Robert Harrises.
“I won’t let him fire you,” I say, “any of you. I’ll beg if I have to…”
So now, I’m walking in to face the firing squad. The shit that happens to me just doesn’t happen in real life. Nobody in the world goes through the shit that I go through. If I’m honest, I want to be quarantined for a while. Today was too much for my psyche. All I could think the entire time I was waving my gun at that bitch was that something was going to happen to my babies.
Windsor looks at me like an alien when I get in but says nothing, ultimate professional that he is. Yeah, I know it looks bad. I take a deep breath and go to the kitchen. Jason is there with his wife and she’s helping the staff get dinner ready. His eyes swell to the size of saucers.
“Fuck! What happened to your face?” he barks. I’m actually afraid to answer him. I’m stunned into silence. “Fuck! Fuck!” He starts pacing the floor.
“Ana, what happened?” Gail asks next while Ms. Solomon silently retrieves a chemical ice pack from the pantry and pops the center to activate it. I’m trying to tell them what’s going on but the words aren’t coming out of my mouth.
“Goddammit!” Jason pulls out his blackberry. “Where the fuck is Ben?” Oh shit, I forgot.
“He’s at the hospital with Thelma and Jimmy,” I tell him. “This wasn’t his fault.”
“Oh, I got an answer!” he shoots. “So can you tell me how this happened?” I try to say something again, but nothing comes out. I don’t know where to start. “Great—that means ‘long story.’ That means I should fucking know and I don’t! Fuck! Fuck!” He starts dialing his phone,
“Stop yelling at her, Jason!” Gail scolds.
“Oh, I’m just the warm-up!” Jason informs her. “The main event is down in his office, battling with his own monsters from today!” He turns back to his phone. “’Hi Jason.’ Don’t fucking ‘Hi Jason’ me! What the hell happened to her face?” He is mad. That means Christian is going to be furious and I’m not going to be able to save anybody’s job. I’ll be too busy trying to save my own ass.
“I gathered as much. Gimme the short version!” Jason is silent for about 30 seconds, then slowly turns incredulous eyes to me. A few seconds later, he covers his face with his hand before it pushes back to his hairline.
“Debrief tomorrow, 0800 at GEH Security Central. All of you need to be there. Prepare to grovel for your fucking jobs.” He ends the call. By now, I’ve broken eye-contact with him and put the ice pack on my face. I hear him sigh.
“Come on,” he says. “I’m not talking to him by myself.”
“Why do I feel like I’m talking to my father?”
“I don’t know how else to handle this right now,” he says, “but we need to go downstairs because the longer we wait, the worse it’ll be.” I sigh and follow Jason to the firing squad.
Christian’s face turns stark white and his eyes are slate gray and accusing… angry? I don’t know, but I feel like I’m twelve.
“What in God’s name happened to your face?” he asks. He turns to Jason.
“Disgruntled spouse,” he says. Christian glares at him, then back at me.
“Somebody hit you?” he asks, appalled. I nod. I think she hit me. I didn’t see it coming.
“I need some answers. They’re not coming fast enough,” Christian demands. “Some abusive husband hit my wife. I need to know what’s going on.”
“It was a woman,” I say meekly.
They’re both stunned into silence and turn slowly to look at me.
“A woman did this?” Jason asks.
“No, a man with a pussy did this!” I hiss. “She was seven fucking feet tall! I feel like she hit me with a sack of rocks!”
“How many times did she hit you?” Christian asks.
“Once! That was enough. She spun me around on my feet.”
“What the fuck was security doing?” he asks.
“Subduing her seven-foot boyfriend,” I declare. Christian scoffs.
“This is a goddamn horror movie!” he says, flailing his hands in the air. “This shit doesn’t happen in real life!” My sentiments exactly. “Wait a minute. I thought you said this was a disgruntled spouse…”
“It was,” I say.
“So how could she be there with her boyfriend?”
“Hell if I know!” I retort. “Glenda Hyde. She comes from money somewhere and she’s a fucking bully. Beats her husband and stepson. Stepson—13—shows up this morning, beaten all to hell and dirty from living on the street since I don’t remember how long. The father shows up after a hit on Missing Persons with a burn straight across his body like a sash. I swear to God; it looks like my brand—oozing and festering.” I shiver at the thought of it. “We call the police. We make a report. As soon as they leave, she shows up with her boyfriend. The semantics of their relationship are irrelevant here. All you need to know is when we told her to leave, she hit me. It was lightning fast—nobody saw it coming or had time to react. She didn’t escalate or anything. She just laughed and hit me. By the time it was all over, security had restrained her boyfriend and she was about to eat my Beretta!”
“What?” Christian barks. “Did you shoot her?”
“No,” I reply.
“Too bad,” Jason says. I roll my eyes at him.
“So why didn’t you tell me about this?” Christian asks Jason.
“Because I just found out,” he replies.
“How is that possible? I thought you guys had a protocol when something happens to her.”
“We do, but Ben is still at the hospital with Ms. Radcliff.”
“Who was second on the communication tree?” Christian asks.
“I don’t know. I’d have to ask Ben.”
“Ben probably didn’t tell anybody,” I tell them. “I made him chase Thelma so that she wouldn’t get on the bus with the baby. I emailed this to you,” I say to Christian.
“So this is Ben’s fault…” Jason says.
“No, this is nobody’s fault!” I snap. “It’s my fault, okay? I should have left the Amazon woman alone! I should have let the police handle it.” I drop the ice pack on the desk in my frustration and realize a moment too late that it was the wrong thing to do because Christian now gets a good look at my face. He just stares at me for a minute.
What? Are there little people running out of my face?
I put the ice pack back on my cheek. It turns out the hit got nowhere near my eye, but she blew my cheek the fuck out.
“You said she came from money. Where do they live?” Just like that, Christian has slipped into business mode. Not sure I like how easily it came just then.
“Okay, not that much money, but money. What was her name again?”
“Glenda Hyde.” He shakes his head.
“Not ringing any bells.” I pull out my phone.
“Marilyn got a picture of her and her henchman. We knew you’d want to put them on the ‘list.’” I open the gallery and show him the picture. He examines it for a moment.
“Somebody married her?” he exclaims. Well, that’s a bit unkind. “That’s Glenda Shetland. We used to call her Monster Bitch. You got into it with Monster Bitch?”
“More like Glenda Clydesdale. You know her?”
“Everybody knows her. She was constantly victimizing kids smaller than her. Now she’s taken it into adulthood, huh?”
“In the most brutal way,” I say. Christian hands me back my phone.
“I need to talk to my wife alone,” he tells Jason. Here it comes.
“Debrief at 0800 tomorrow,” Jason says.
“Yeah, okay.” Jason leaves and closes the door behind him. Christian walks back to the front of his desk and sits down in front of me. He touches all five fingertips to the other hands and ponders for a minute or two… too long. I don’t speak while he thinks. I need to let him come to whatever conclusion he’s going to come to without my input. An eternity later, he looks up at me.
“I’ve made an executive decision,” he says.
“I figured you would,” I reply. He looks at me and there’s a glint of displeasure in his eyes.
“You are officially on maternity leave,” he says. I raise my eyes to him.
“Yes. You have disgruntled spouses, abusive fathers coming in there that you have to deal with. You’re the first point of contact and you have to deal with this shit head on. You’re putting yourself at imminent physical risk as well as our babies. I try not to be unreasonable because I know that you can take care of yourself, but you are a month from your due date which means that those babies can come any day now and you have to watch your blood pressure. I don’t see how shoving a gun down Monster Bitch’s throat facilitates that, Anastasia.”
He’s firm on what he’s saying and his biggest bargaining chip are the babies, which I knew it would because it has to be.
“I’m officially taking you off of your duties as assistant director of Helping Hands until after the babies are born and you are released by your doctor to return to work. If you fight me on this, Ana, I’m going to call Dr. Culley. We just got back from a goddamn babymoon. All that rest and relaxation undone in one afternoon.” I sigh.
“I won’t fight you on it, Christian,” I say softly. His brow furrows.
“You won’t?” he asks. “You agree?”
“I didn’t say I agree. I said I won’t fight you on it.” He sighs infinitesimally.
“Good, because I was dealing with one of those disgruntled spouses today, which is how I found out about Radcliff’s house. But I have to tell you about it later, because I have to process all this stuff.” He falls back into his chair and says nothing else. I’m assuming I’m dismissed. I stand up, take my ice pack, and walk silently out of Christian’s office.
It didn’t go as badly as I thought it would. I thought he would tell me that I can’t work at Helping Hands at all. He just put me on mandatory maternity leave.
Mandatory maternity leave.
It’s kind of what I wanted, so why do I want to cry?
I take the elevator upstairs to the second floor and go to our bedroom. I don’t turn on any lights. I just lay in the bed with my ice pack. I’m sick of this thing now. Nobody’s going to see me anyway. I take it off my face and put it on the nightstand. I put my arms around my babies and imagine that I can feel the henna on my stomach. Once I’m comfortable, I can feel the tears burning in my eyes and I just let them fall. These are cleansing tears. I’m crying because Christian forced me into maternity leave, because I wanted him to force me into maternity leave and because I didn’t want him to force me into maternity leave. I’m crying because of what happened to Jack and his son, and because I was scared shitless when I was pointing that gun at that Amazon cow. I just cry and cry and cry, rubbing my henna until I fall asleep.
My head hurts.
My scar is throbbing; my face is throbbing; my head is killing me.
I went to bed without dinner last night. I slept straight through. I have no idea what time it is, but the sun shining through windows that normally don’t allow light in lets me know that it’s definitely after 8:00 and I definitely slept more that twelve hours. I feel like I’ve got a hangover.
Yeah, that would probably be because an Amazon bitch tried to kill us yesterday and we went to sleep without eating anything.
Do you have anything constructive to say? Anything?
Go take a shower and get some food. There may be some pain killers in your future, too.
Yeah, that’s productive, I guess.
My head weighs a ton. My head weighs a ton. My head weighs a ton. Did I mention that my head weighs a ton? I’m barely able to roll over and see a small tray on the nightstand.
Fruit salad, cottage cheese, orange juice, two Tylenol, what appears to be Gail’s famous tea bags… and a single red rose.
Did he come to bed last night?
I eat the fruit and cheese offering and take the Tylenol with the orange juice. Hopefully, they’ll kick in by the time I get out of the shower…
Somewhere around ten o’clock or so, I make it down to my office. Marilyn has to be here by now. I drag my ass into my office and it’s empty. No Marilyn. Oh, well. I don’t know what was on the agenda for today anyway. I sit down at my desk and lay my head down, the tea flat on the side of my face. I’m lying there for a few minutes when I hear a familiar voice.
“Wow, you look like you’ve had a rough night.”
She’s here after all. Did she just get here?
“Thanks,” I say with no malice. “How long have you been here?”
“A while,” she says, setting her laptop on my desk and pulling a chair up across from me. She just sits there expecting.
“What?” I ask a bit sluggishly. I think I got too much sleep.
“I know that the last few days have been pretty harrowing for you, and by no means am I trying to make it any worse, but I need to talk to you about something.”
“What’s up?” I lift my head.
“Have you found occasion to call Andrea and make a request of her?” My brow furrows.
“I don’t know what you mean,” I say.
“You know, like giving Christian a message or locate Christian for you or maybe even to remind him of the appointment or pencil something in on his calendar… Any little thing that you requested of her or maybe of Luma.” I pause.
“I’ve rarely had occasion to request anything from Andrea or Luma,” I tell her. “Maybe to locate Christian or give him a message, yeah, I’ve probably done that.”
“But you’ve never outright ordered them to do something or not to do something…” I frown.
“Of course not!” I declare. “Why would I do something like that?”
“Then would it be too much to ask for you to tell your husband to extend the same courtesy to me?” she beseeches. “I realize that he’s got a lot on his plate ruling the world and everything, but I’m never rude or belligerent to him, and I would appreciate if he would extend that same respect to me that I extend to him!”
“What did he say?” I lament. I wait for her response, but none comes. Apparently what I said or how I said it causes her to rethink her tactic. After a long silence, I look up at her and see sympathy in her eyes. It almost makes me cry.
“What did he say?” I repeat, trying to overcome the pitiful look she has in her eyes towards me right now.
“He was just really rude, Ana,” she says. “I knew there would be some kind of laying down of the law after what happened yesterday, but he had no right to speak to me the way that he did when I walked into the house this morning. He barked orders at me like I was the janitor at GEH, telling me not to bother you and to leave you alone until you woke up; telling me not to give you any kind of tasks that required you to go to Helping Hands; demanding that I change your schedule and remove any appointments that involve going to the Center. It was like I work for him, not you. If that’s the case, then I think I should tender my resignation, because I can’t work for him.”
I shake my head. I can barely fight my own battles with Christian. I can’t fight anybody else’s.
“You don’t work for Christian. You work for me. And when he gets like that with you, you have my full permission to give it right back to him. I don’t condone him treating everybody like they’re at his beck and call, like they’re peons in his little world, and I won’t stand by and let him treat you that way either. But to be honest with you, I don’t have the strength to fight him. If he treats you like less than a human being, give it right back!” Her eyes widen.
“Really?” she says surprised. “You won’t be mad?”
“Honestly, I’d welcome it,” I tell her. “I have no problem whatsoever with Christian exercising his authority where his authority should reach. I do have a problem with him thinking his authority should reach everywhere! That’s just not the case, and I just can’t clean up the mess every time he does something like this. So yes, if he disrespects you, give it right back. Let him know you’re not going to accept it. I don’t have a problem with it.” She sighs.
“Thank you, Ana,” she says. “The only reason he treats me that way is because I won’t say anything back. And the only reason I won’t say anything back is because of you. You know I won’t go overboard, but I just want the right to defend myself. You’re sure it won’t cause you any problems?”
“If he says anything to me about it, I’m going to tell him to take it up with you and he can’t fire you because you don’t work for him, just like I can’t fire Andrea.”
“He was all haughty, saying that you wouldn’t be going into the Center for a while and that you would confirm that when you woke up.” She opens her laptop.
“Well, he’s right about that,” I tell her. “I’ve been placed on early maternity leave until after the babies are born.” She frowns. “What?”
“I guess I’m a little confused,” she says.
“His orders were specific… no Helping Hands—well, at least no going to Helping Hands…”
“So, this is the referendum until after the babies are born,” she continues.
“Until after Dr. Culley releases me to return to work, yes,” I confirm. She shakes her head, still frowning. “What is it?”
“It’s going to cause a problem if I say it, Ana,” she warns.
“It’s going to cause a problem if you don’t,” I retort. She folds her hands.
“What’s going to be different after Dr. Culley releases you than right now? What’s so different with the situation right now that won’t be so in two months?”
“I won’t be pregnant!” I state obviously.
“Exactly!” she declares. “Did he say why he didn’t want you going to the Center? Was it because Goon Girl hit you? Was it because of the danger? Was it because of the stress?”
“I would think it was because of the stress,” I say.
“But he didn’t say specifically,” she retorts. She’s right, he didn’t say. “Remember that you told me to tell you this. I wanted to keep it to myself.”
“Go ahead,” I say, anxious to see where she’s going.
“We all know that your husband is the ultimate control freak. I expected some kind of demand to be handed down in terms of this situation, but not this. I expected maybe for him to tell you cut back, but I didn’t expect for him to tell you to stop altogether, and I certainly didn’t expect you to agree to it. People depend on you, Grace most of all! The Center is about to get its accreditation. You implemented most of the programs and put the plans in place to make that happen. You did all the work; you know all the moving parts and now, you’re just going to drop it and run—right when it’s about to come to fruition.” Her voice is drenched with stunned awe and disappointment.
“I think my biggest confusion lies in the fact that whatever dangers are facing you now will still be facing you after you have the babies. So what’s the thrust here?” I narrow my eyes.
“What are you getting at?” I demand.
“Do you really need me to say it?” she asks.
“Yes, I need you to say it!” She shakes her head.
“No,” she says. “No, you talk to your husband. You find why he says you can’t finish what you started at Helping Hands. You already know what I’m thinking and I’m not going to verbalize it because you mean too much to me and I’m not going to risk this relationship. If he has your best interests at heart, then so be it, because in the end, that’s really all I care about. But that’s going to be a discussion that the two of you have, not the two of us! If you’re going to accept his demands, no questions asked, then it’s none of my business—which is what I implied in the first place—and all I need you to do is tell me what my next instructions are. A lot of your life revolved around Helping Hands, but not all of it, so we’ve got other things we can talk about.” I sigh. That was a Marilyn Caldwell dismissal. When and if she’s ever ready to tell me exactly what she was getting at, she will. In the meantime, it’s a closed subject.
“Okay, so what’s next?” I say, almost dreading the question.
“Well, as far as I know, His Majesty was doing the background checks on the potential Broadmoor sponsors. I don’t know how that has turned out yet, so I’m sure he’ll talk to you about it. With your permission, they’ve narrowed the choices down to two couples. I guess we’ll have to wait to see what comes up.” She hands me her iPad and I review the information on the two couples. Nothing stands out immediately about either of them. The names don’t ring any bells. I shrug.
“I guess I’ll just have to wait until Christian tells me if there’s anything to be concerned about.”
“Speaking of which, what’s the verdict with the rest of the goods for the Radcliffs?” she asks. I frown.
“The verdict?” I ask. “In what sense?”
“I’ve done the inventory,” she says. “What do we plan to do with the rest of the stuff?”
“Why did you do an inventory?”
“Christian…” She trails off. “You don’t know what I’m talking about.” I shake my head. “Oh, hell. This day just keeps getting better and better. Yesterday, Christian asked me to do an inventory of the things that you two had planned to give the Radcliffs—whatever you hadn’t given to Thelma yet. He said he was going to talk to you about it and apparently, he hasn’t talked to you, yet.” I twist my lips. He did mention it, but we never finished talking about it.
“Probably sidetracked by the events at the Center,” I say non-committal. “I’ll ask him about it if he doesn’t bring it up… If I remember.”
“And what should I tell the three news outlets who have contacted me this morning about a statement concerning your holding an unarmed woman at gunpoint last night?” she asks matter-of-factly. I am remarkably unmoved by her revelation.
“Turn that over to His Highness and Vee at GEH and let them handle it,” I say.
Have you ever had one of those days where no matter what you do, your thoughts are determined to run completely amuck and no matter how hard you try, you can’t string two of them together to save your life? That’s what’s happening to me today. I’ve got a business to run, but I’d do better to put a sign on my door that says “gone fishing.”
Where do I start?
Talking to Marilyn was a stellar moment this morning. I can just hear her now whining to Ana about professional courtesy and talking to her like a subordinate. I guess she’s forgotten who bought her that shiny new car she’s driving. I know I haven’t heard the last of that conversation.
Fast forward to the debriefing with the stooges this morning on my so-called security staff. I won’t begin to describe my horror as I listened to the details surrounding the assault on my very pregnant wife. It turns out Butterfly slugged her back with the butt of her gun and held her there until the police arrived. She could have been arrested for assault herself, but the previous police report, her badly swollen face, and the commanding size of Gorilla Girl over her all constituted self-defense along with the many eyewitnesses to the incident.
All of these idiots have been temporarily suspended with pay for being such incompetent idiots and allowing this beast to get to my wife in the first place, except for Bronson. It turns out that he really can’t cut it and I had to let him go. Lawrence has been placed on disciplinary probation for not following protocol and passing the communications torch when he took Thelma and Jimmy to the hospital. I don’t care if it was an emergency and he was in a hurry. The moment there was a crisis, Helping Hands should have been swarming with GEH security detail, and I certainly should have known that my wife was assaulted before she showed up at home with a purple face.
I simultaneously get hit with the information that news outlets are circulating that Butterfly pulled her Beretta on Shetland last night and that the Fairlanes are in the lobby kicking up enough dust to cause a sandstorm. I decide to let the Father and Son Fairlane stew for a moment while I handle the media mess that is Shetland.
“I assume you already have contact information for one Mrs. Glenda Shetland-Hyde?” I say to my head of PR.
“Have we met?” she says, handing me a document across my desk and crossing her legs. I open my phone and dial her number. “Christian! You’re calling her?” I just glare at her.
“Glenda Shetland, please.” I say when there’s an answer on the other line.
“May I say who’s calling?”
“Vince Fields from Seattle Sez. I was wondering if she wants to make a statement about the domestic abuse charges against her.”
“One moment…” and there’s silence.
“Christian, this is not a good idea!” McIntyre hisses. I ignore her and wait for this Neanderthal cunt to get on the phone.
“This is Glenda Shetland,” she says on the other line.
“Is this really how you want to play this, Monster Bitch?” More silence.
“Who the fuck is this?” she barks.
“Christian Grey,” I respond.
“Christian Grey… what the hell do… Grey… Grey!”
“Yeah, Grey! That sawed-off doll that you viciously slapped last night and now claims that she pulled her gun on you for no reason was my very pregnant wife!” I hiss.
“Oh, really?” she says. “Well, she did pull her gun on me and I was unarmed.”
“You’re also twice her size and had just beaten your husband and stepson to the point where you were wanted for several counts of domestic assault and one count of assault with intent to maim, you Cro-Magnon cavebitch!” She gasps.
“You are so crass!” she seethes.
“Oh, you can’t be serious!” I shoot. “You’ve been a bully ever since we were kids and you still haven’t grown out of it. You’ve just gotten older and bigger, and now, you’ve picked the wrong one to fuck with.”
“Oh, I’m not worried,” she retorts. “My father will deal with you.”
“Your father,” I nearly laugh in her ear. “Tell your father to call me directly as soon as possible and let me know personally how he plans to deal with me. Make sure you leave nothing out. I’ll be waiting for his call.” I end the call.
“Her father,” McIntyre says.
“That’s what she said.”
“What about her father?”
“Her father’s going to deal with me,” I reply, folding my hands on my desk.
“Her father,” McIntyre repeats, “her father as in Mark Shetland? As in Shetland Rubber Mark Shetland?”
“One and the same,” I respond.
“Oh, this should be good,” she chuckles.
“Still think it wasn’t a good idea?” I ask. She shakes her head.
“You enjoy this shit entirely too much,” she says. “What about Fairlane? That’s going to be a PR nightmare.”
“Do what you can. You know what happened at the Meet-and-Greet. Since the word is obviously out, start spreading our own poison-pill damage control.”
“You got it,” she says, standing and walking to the door. I pick up the phone and dial the extension to Legal.
“The Fairlanes are here,” I tell him.
“I’ll be right there.”
“What the fuck is this, Grey!?” Fairlane Jr., has burst into my office with Jason hot on his heels and his father following meekly not far behind. He is fuming, breathing like a bull. Al sits silently to my immediate right and my eyes are pinned to the computer like I’m engrossed in the most interesting thing I’ve ever seen.
“To what are you referring, George?” I say calmly, without lifting my eyes from the computer screen.
“You know what I’m talking about you piece of shit!” he shoots. “Fairlane Electronics sold to Rosedale, Inc; Fairlane Shipping sold to Aarland Freight; Fairlane Manufacturing sold to Lansing LTD; There’s nothing left but Fairlane Communications, and only a fraction of that! Our people are being laid off left and right! You promised only one-third staff reduction by the end of the first quarter—Fairlane has lost more than 75% of its original staff in less than two weeks! You broke our deal, Grey! We’re going to sue those designer pants right off your ass!” I look up at him unmoved, then at his father, who has stayed decidedly quiet all this time.
“Nothing to say, Fairlane?” I ask Fairlane, Sr., noting that he won’t make eye-contact. This only throws fuel on Junior’s fire.
“Don’t you fucking ignore me, you scheming son of a bitch!” he spits.
“Scheming,” I say, turning my gaze back to Junior and folding my hands. “Now there’s a good word. Tell me, George, how was my behavior scheming? I legitimately bought a company and I legitimately sold it, which I never said I wouldn’t do.”
“Stop calling me George, you slimy bastard! This wasn’t part of the deal and you know it!”
“Deal,” I say as if testing the word out. I type the word into Google and read back the definition. “’An agreement entered into by two or more parties for their mutual benefit.’ Mutual benefit… you wouldn’t know anything about that, would you, Georgie?”
“I didn’t come here for a goddamn English lesson, you fucking snake! You broke your word! Your breached your contract! I’m going to sue you until Grey Enterprises is nothing but a goddamn memory!”
“You can’t sue me, because I was never dealing with you in the sale of the company in the first place. You advised your father, but when it came to signing, you only signed that you would come along for the ride as the president.”
“I’m told I’m not the president anymore!” he barks. “So that contract has been breached all by itself.” I shake my head and turn to Fairlane.
“You had this man as the president of your company and he doesn’t know anything about business?” and clearly, neither do you. He stands silent. I turn to George.
“Any idea why your father’s so quiet, George?” I ask flatly. I already know the answer.
“It’s Mr. Fairlane, you fucking asshole! And I’m doing all the goddamn talking!” He slams his hand hard down on my desk. Jason and Williams are hot on him with that show of aggression. Jason not-so-gingerly pushes George back from my desk. George glares at him with death in his eyes.
“You might not want to provoke that bear too much, Fairlane,” I warn, putting mocking emphasis on the name. “He took a bullet for me last year… in this very room. Any signs of aggression towards me or him are seen as overt threats and will be met with as much force as necessary.” Fairlane breaks his glare with Jason and turns narrowed eyes to me.
“Someone tried to kill me in this office last March,” I say, standing up. “Walked right in with a group of workmen and lay in wait until I was alone. Aimed a stolen gun at me and fired. That man dove in front of me, knocking me out of harm’s way and taking the bullet himself. My wife—that beautiful woman that was ridiculed and ostracized all night by your wives, dates, and female employees at the Meet-and-Greet—witnessed the whole damn thing.”
His eyes widen and Fairlane Sr., finally makes eye contact with me. I don’t know if their surprise is because Butterfly witnessed the whole ordeal or because I’ve let the cat out of the bag that I know what their women were doing. My expression remains impassive.
“That speech she gave about scars? You can inform your coven that although they tried to leave her with another one, they were unsuccessful. As you all can imagine, I took very good care of her, but I can guarantee that a lot of them are nursing wounds that aren’t going to heal anytime soon.”
“You did all this because someone at a party hurt the little woman’s feelings?” Now he’s just egging me, but it’s too late for that.
“No,” I say coolly. “You did this to yourselves. I’m doing what I’m doing because you and your father are ignorant assholes. I’m doing what I’m doing because what you two attempted was really stupid; more than that, it was disrespectful. It was bad business in every way, shape, and form. You sold me an apple—plucked from the tree with maybe a bruise here and there, but still functional. Then the moment you signed the papers, you shot that bitch full of infectious bacteria and then handed it to me like it was some sort of prize. When I took it, maggots crawled out all over me and my wife, and you expected me to take that shit lying down. But you didn’t know that you were dealing with a bigger cutthroat than you. I’ve got proof, Fairlane, including but not limited to that memo you sent out to your department heads the day you signed the deal.”
Both men pale and George isn’t standing so tall against Jason anymore. I tell security to stand by and they move to the side.
“Sit down,” I order. Fairlane sits, but George remains defiant.
“I don’t work for you,” he growls. “I’m not president of the company anymore, remember?” I fold my arms and smile.
“You’re right, you’re not, but you do still work for me. You’re an employee of GEH as an executive of Fairlane LTD—a company that doesn’t exist anymore. I sold the company, but you didn’t go along with the package. You should have read your contract, Georgie. You signed separately with GEH, because I knew you were going to be a problem. If you decide to break your contract, I could sue you for a penny and still break you on punitive damages—especially after I prove what you and your father did to the company you sold me after you sold it to me. You tainted the assets after I bought it.
“So go ahead and try to go nose to nose with me on this and see if any judge in the country would see it your way, but know that I will sue you for every dime GEH gave you—your expense accounts, your salary, and that hefty signing bonus. That’s a lot of money to have accumulated in such a short period of time, and don’t think I haven’t kept an eye on your spending. And once again, if you look closely at your contract, Georgie, once your position becomes obsolete—which it has—I can put you in any available position for any pay I so choose. Oh, yes, you would still have to be at an executive-type level, but I can find many ways to make that unattractive and uncomfortable, the least of which is money. I and my wife are the only officers of this company, so I can’t even be voted out.
“Your ass is mine, kid, and you are beyond being on ‘tenterhooks’ right now. So if I were you, I would tread really lightly with me at this moment and sit. The fuck. Down.”
Georgie glares at me and slowly—very slowly—sits down in the seat next to his father. I walk around and stand in front of my desk.
“Since day one, I’ve been trying to warn you that you’re in the big leagues, now—that you have no idea who you’re dealing with. You still had to show me that your bat was bigger. You rebutted me and fought me every chance you got. You two employed some of the most elementary tactics I’ve ever seen the entire time I’ve been in the business. Never mind that you were trying to pull several over on me. It was insulting that you would employ such amateur techniques with any hope of getting away with them. It would be laughable if it wasn’t so goddamn pathetic. Now, you come marching into my office like you still have a bone to pick with me when you never realized in the first place that you may have carried a big stick, but you were too small to swing it.”
Both gentlemen sit quietly in front of me, Fairlane with his legs and hands crossed, looking anywhere but at me, and Georgie breathing fire and no doubt plotting my demise.
“You want to know the real reason why your father’s so quiet, Georgie? The real reason? Because he doesn’t have a leg to stand on. He knows that I can sue you and your family for what you did to me and get every dime of my purchase price back either in judgements, damages, and legal fees, or in just keeping you in litigation for the rest of your life. I haven’t completely disregarded that option, but I’ve made so much money off the garage sale that was your life’s work that the sting isn’t so bad anymore. I nearly made my purchase price back on your electronics division alone.
“What’s so sad is that I had every intention of rebuilding your company. That’s what I do… I take sick companies and I make them well again. The only ones that I sell are the ones that are dying… Or the ones where the chief officers really piss me off. But you know what? If you really sit down and talk to your father and he really tells you the truth, he would tell you that he got exactly what he wanted, didn’t you, Mr. Fairlane?” He looks up at me with a panicked look in his eye. I’m about to reveal something to his son that he doesn’t want him to know.
“Something wrong, Mr. Fairlane,” I ask. “You suddenly don’t look well.”
“Um… no… um…” he stutters. I continue.
“You see, his only concern was that he never wanted his company in the hands of GEH, but I was giving you the best deal. So when he convinced you and the rest of your lemmings to make the company as unattractive to me as possible the day that he sold it to me, he wasn’t banking on the fact that I’d chop it up and sell it off like pieces of the Berlin Wall. He wasn’t expecting that each division would lose 75% of their workforce in a matter of weeks, because your retention agreement was with me, not with those companies that bought the divisions from me.
“I had no demands, just a purchase price, and no company like redundancies or unnecessary staff. I went to the highest offering the best prices in the industry, many of them known for massive staff reductions upon acquisition—companies, in fact, that I saw you purposefully avoided—and unlike you, I made full disclosure of the staff that they were getting when they purchased the divisions.
“Most of all, Georgie, your father didn’t expect to find you out of work. He was hoping I would ship you off with the company. So, yes, he got exactly what he wanted. He’s sitting on a nice mountain of Grey money, and his once-failing, now-defunct company is not in the hands of Grey Enterprises. But now, he has to look at and live with all the casualties and opportunity costs of his decisions. I got that about right, Fairlane? Did I leave anything out?”
Fairlane is looking a little pale and breaking into a sweat now , but his son is too busy blaming me for their current state of affairs to see it.
“Don’t try to turn this around on my father, Grey,” he says with vicious coolness. “You dealt dirty business; just own up to it.”
“Dirty business,” I say, shaking my head. “Isn’t that the pot calling the kettle black? I guess you can swing that big stick after all, because you’re batting a thousand, but it’s all bullshit. Exactly how much of the purchase price did you get, Georgie?”
George suddenly falls quiet. And in that moment, it hits me, like a freight train. Suddenly, I am overwhelmed with delight that I must contain until I confirm what I just discovered.
“You didn’t get any of it, did you?” I say incredulously. His stone expression tells me all I need to know. “Oh my God. This is classic. You have no idea, do you? You’re just a natural born asshole. You weren’t part of the plan at all!” The glee bubbles up in me and I can’t contain it. In all the years I’ve been in business, I’ve never seen anything like this before. “Gentlemen,” I gesture to my security. “You might want to flank this man, because he’s about to get pissed.”
“Grey…” And that’s the only voluntary word Fairlane Sr., has spoken since he walked into my office.
“Oh, no, you played your cards, and now it’s my turn.” I turn back to George. “Your father isn’t protesting enough because once he saw that his company was failing, he set it up for martyrdom and you were the virgin sacrifice.”
“What!?” George barks. “What kind of fucking bullshit are you spitting now?”
“Earlier, when I mentioned your coven and that memo… On the day of the sale, your father sent a detailed memo to every department head, manager, and executive in the company to be communicated to the employees—except you, it appears. They all had a mission—make Fairlane LTD look as undesirable as possible, up to and including destroying my wife at the Meet-and-Greet. You didn’t need the memo because you’re an asshole anyway, so he was just counting on you being yourself.
“They almost succeeded, but they didn’t expect for my wife to be as strong as she is or for me to put her happiness before the dollar and negate their attempts. Nonetheless, overall, his tactic worked—too well. He didn’t expect me to sell off the pieces. He expected me to see what a lemon I bought and unload it as soon as possible. Had I done that and kept the company intact, then he would have had some small hope of maintaining a piece of the original contract with the new buyers, including securing a place for you. What he didn’t know was that after that very well-positioned display by you and your cohorts, my rummage was underway before the ink was even dry registering Fairlane LTD as a GEH subsidiary.”
At that moment, I burst out in hearty laughter. I can’t even contain myself anymore.
“My God, this couldn’t have gone better had I planned it this way!” I exclaim jovially. “You assholes stepped knee-deep down into your own shit, and you come barging into my office further making a fool of yourself because you had no idea what he was doing,” I tell Georgie, gesturing to his father. “You wonder why I was giving you English lessons; it’s because I was sure that you were being facetious… sarcastic at best. No, you were clueless, which is way better,” I snicker. “So every time you mention dirty dealing and breach of contract and slimy business practices, you better look in the mirror… or better yet, look over at Daddy!”
I can hear his teeth grinding a few feet in front of me and being able to judge body language like I can, the moment his fists clench, I know what’s coming. I don’t have the chance to say anything, I only have time to react—right cross. I swerve just in time to miss his swing and come back with a solid left to his gut. He doubles over in pain and his father leaps from his seat to his son’s aid. I sort of feel a little remiss about suspending the guards over last night’s incident now, especially if Monster Bitch moved half as fast as this asshole did just now.
Jason and Williams are on top of him immediately, but it’s too late. He can’t even breathe.
“What was that for, Georgie?” I hiss. “Can’t stand the truth?”
“D—Dad,” he coughs, “tell ‘im… tell ‘im… it’s a lie.”
“George, I’m… I’m sorry,” Fairlane says. “Junior lifts horrified eyes to his father, still doubled over in pain.
“D—Dad…” he says, his voice broken, “no…”
“I thought I could fix it, George,” Fairlane says. “Even after the price cut, he had the best deal… the best!”
“Dad!” Junior says, finally finding his breath! “You sold everything! You sold Mom’s tears! All those years! You sold me!”
“I didn’t know!” Fairlane beseeches his son’s understanding. “I didn’t mean to!” he says, clinging to Junior’s arm. Junior snatches his arm away and glares at his father in disgust. After several moments, he proceeds to the door, his hand over his still-aching stomach.
“I’ll expect you at work tomorrow, Fairlane,” I say to his retreating form. He slowly turns around and makes eye-contact with me.
“I don’t care what you do to me, Grey, but I won’t work for you.” He turns around and leaves my office, closing the door behind him.
“Well, I’d say that’s game, set, match. How’d that work out for you, Mr. Fairlane?” I say. Fairlane Sr., glares at me, then turns and leaves through the same door his son just exited.
“Well, that was quite the show,” Al says, having not said anything throughout the entire meeting.
“Tell me about it,” I respond. “Get the three-day voluntary resignation letter ready for Georgie. Get with Payroll and Accounting. Tally up his expense accounts. I want every dime of GEH money he’s spent recuperated including the gas in that company car he’s driving.”
“Will do,” he says, rising from his seat and exiting after the Fairlanes. Jason and Williams look warily at me.
“Lawrence’s probation stands. He should have followed protocol. So does Bronson’s termination. He can’t cut it. Bring the others back and wipe their records clean,” I say.
The house is dead quiet when I get back. Windsor takes my coat when I get into the house and informs me that he hasn’t seen Mrs. Grey all day. I noticed Marilyn’s car is gone so I know that she’s not working. I check our bedroom first. Nothing. I take the elevator to the family room—nothing there either. Gail is in the kitchen with Ms. Solomon and other members of the staff. She informs me that Butterfly did stop in for more tea earlier, but has long since gone to parts unknown. I check her office, the aquarium, the spa, her parlor, the theater, even the gym and still nothing. It turns out that the person with information on her whereabouts is Keri, who informs me that she is in the backyard.
It’s dark and cold! What the fuck is she doing in the backyard?
I fetch a coat from the mudroom and trek out to the backyard to retrieve my wife. I find her in a warm coat, scarf, earmuff and gloves, wrapped in a heavy tartan blanket around her legs sitting in a chaise with a large fire roaring in a fire pit off in the grass that I didn’t even know we had near the boat house. I sit in a nearby chaise that I can only assume was previously occupied by Keri.
“You should have some tea on your cheek,” I say softly.
“I had it on all day,” she says, wrapping her blanket tighter around her legs. “Nobody’s gonna see me anyway.” She adds the last part as a murmur that I’m not sure I was supposed to hear.
“Have you heard about Glenda Ste… Hyde?”
“Yes,” she replies.
“I talked to her father.”
“She’ll leave Jack and the boy alone. She’ll retract her statements about you and most likely take a plea.” She nods.
“I’ll tell Grace,” she says, turning her gaze back to the fire. She’s going to be a tough nut to crack.
“I… um… fired the guards from last night, but I ended up hiring them back. I can see how something could happen so fast that they had no time to react.”
“Oh?” She turns a questioning eye to me.
“The Fairlanes came to my office today. Junior almost got one in on me, but I was too fast for him,” I chuckle.
“Really?” She’s not amused. “So, you didn’t get hit.” It’s a statement not a question.
“Almost, but no. He did, though.”
“By you?” she asks. I nod.
“Yes. Once. Gut punch.”
“Hmm, so are you going to take time off now… because you had to defend yourself?”
“I’m not pregnant,” I say. She nods.
“Hmm… of course not.” She turns her gaze back to the fire.
“Butterfly, why are you being like this?” I sigh. She turns her gaze back to me.
“You hand down the law and I take it,” she says impassively. “Whether I want to or not, I take it. Whether I agree with it or not, I take it. What more do you want me to do?”
“I just want you to understand why I feel this way,” I reply. “These conditions are just not good for you…”
“For me, or for me and the babies?” she asks. What kind of question is that?
“Both!” I say, obviously.
“But conditions will be better once the babies are born?”
“Well, yes. It’ll be less stress on your body, less risk of complications, high blood pressure…” She turns her eyes back to the fire before I’m done with my statement. “What the hell am I missing?” She looks back at me.
“Tell me this,” she says, her voice still portraying this eerie calm. “How is it okay for me to carry my gun, stay locked and loaded with intent to shoot to kill, and be on the lookout for mob henchmen or this monster that terrorized you as a child, yet when I get struck by an abusive spouse at my job, the idea that I had to pull my gun to defend myself is unthinkable? Now, all bets are off and I’m grounded from the one thing that I put everything else aside to do. If you can help me reconcile those two things, then I’ll be fine with this. If not, then don’t ask me to understand. I’ll comply, but I won’t understand.”
I just stare at her. I don’t have an answer. All I know is that her being at Helping Hands puts her directly in the line of fire of angry spouses who are abusive to women and in this case, men also, who seek refuge in this place. Some of them will go through whomever they have to go through to get to those spouses, and that includes my wife. It’s a regular hazard of her job. Coming face to face with Anton Myrick is a possibility, not a definite hazard.
“Myrick is not an imminent danger…”
“Neither is anyone at the Center!” she protests.
“The danger is more imminent than Myrick!”
“So what about after the children are born?” she asks. “The Center will have child care and I’m going to have the twins there with me some days. What then?”
Yes, what then indeed.
“It’s just not good for you right now. Can’t you see that?”
“No, Christian, I can’t,” she says with no malice. “I completely understand that you’re upset about what happened. I don’t understand why you pulled the plug on me. I knew that you would, but I don’t understand why. I closed my practice for Helping Hands and now I have no Helping Hands. So I guess for the next month, I’ll just concentrate on waiting until my babies are born and then see what happens next.”
“Ana, you make it sound like you have nothing else.” She frowns at me like I’m completely missing the point then turns back to the fire.
“Christian, I really want to be alone right now,” she says, and now I feel like I just took a gut punch. I stand up and walk back to the house. Raking my hands through my hair, I go down to my office. I’m only trying to keep her and the babies safe. Why can’t she see that? I know that the Center is important to her and I didn’t tell her to stop completely. I just asked her to hold off until after the babies are born. Without taking off my coat, I pull out my blackberry and dial a number.
“Hello, Dr. Baker. I hope it’s not too late.”
“No, it’s not. Is everything alright?”
“Do you have a moment? I really need to talk,” I say.
“Okay, what’s going on?” she asks.
“Doctor/patient privilege, right?” I ask before I say anything.
“Of course,” Dr. Baker says.
“My wife was at the Center yesterday. As I’m sure you’ve heard because it’s all over the damn news, she had to pull her firearm on an abusive spouse. It was a woman—but not just any woman. This woman is nearly seven feet tall and proportionately wide and was abusing her husband and stepson currently in hiding at the Center. My wife is 5’2”. This woman hit my wife so hard with one blow that the entire left side of my wife’s face is swollen and bruised from temple to chin. So yes, my wife subdued her with her Beretta and held her there until the police arrived. I, of course, didn’t learn about any of this until I saw my wife’s face.”
“Ooohheeewww,” she says.
“Yeah,” I reply. “My reaction was definite. No more Helping Hands until after the babies are born and the doctor clears her to return to work. She’s pregnant with twins; it’s already a high risk pregnancy; we’re trying to watch her blood pressure and keep an eye out for pre-eclampsia. Between her losing her memory and nearly dying, the cyber-attack on my company, her batty-ass friend who’s acting like a reprogrammed fembot, the interruption of our honeymoon, figuring out we were pregnant when she blew chunks all over the defense attorney at the trial of that bastard who kidnapped her which had resulted in yet another brutal beating, nearly seeing me shot to death by that psycho blonde pedophile, the complete and utter alienation of her mother, running to the hills of Montana before our wedding, having to relive this Green Valley shit all over again—it’s been one hell of a fucking year!! And that’s not even everything!” I finally take a breath and Dr. Baker is completely silent on the line.
“I’ve met a lot of damn ‘Ana’s’ since we’ve been together,” I continue. “I’ve met Tiger Ana, Mistress Ana, Marine’s Daughter Ana, Submissive Ana, Passive-Aggressive Ana, Sensual Ana, Caretaker Ana, Take-No-Prisoners Ana… but I think the Ana that I’m dealing with now is the one that I dislike the most.”
“And who is that?” she asks.
“Complacent Ana,” I tell her. “This is the same Ana I met after that last punishment—somewhat resigned to her fate, but neither here nor there when I try to get her to talk about it. That ‘yes, Master’ undertone in her conversation, but she pretty much allows me to draw my own conclusions by stating the obvious—by taking that ‘Yes, Sir, you’re right, Sir’ mentality and she knows I hate that shit!”
“I don’t understand,” she says. “If you lay down the law, one would expect for you to expect compliance…”
“But not because I’m barking an order at her,” I clarify. “I want her to understand why I feel this way, but when I try to talk to her about it—about how I feel about her health and her safety—it sounds to me like…” I don’t even want to say it.
“Like what?” Dr. Baker presses.
“Like she thinks I’m trying to draw some kind of distinction between her and the babies.” There. I’ve said it. It was clearly implied in her conversation and if I confront her with it, it’s another fight that I don’t want to have. I fall down in a nearby seat and thrust my hand in my hair, resting my elbow on my knee. Why can’t I act irrational and emotional without everybody thinking I’m selfish or I’ve lost my mind? I want to stomp and yell and say how unfair it is for me to be treated this way when all I’m doing is acting out of concern for my family, but somehow or another, I’ll be the bad guy if I do. Suddenly, I feel very self-conscious.
“I’m sorry I called, Dr. Baker. I wanted to say these things out loud, but really, there’s nothing you can do to help me with this.”
“What are you going to do?” she asks.
“I don’t know, but if you come up with some good ideas, feel free to text me. Goodnight, Doctor.” I end the call and toss my phone on the floor.
A/N: Just in case it’s not obvious, Shetlands and Clydesdales are both equine breeds (horses). Glenda’s maiden name is Shetland, which is a pony that officially only gets to be about 3.5 feet tall (about 107 cm). Ana’s statement about Glenda “Clydesdale” would be a reference to a breed of one of the largest horses in the world, getting to average 6 feet tall, but the largest of which stood 19.3 hands or nearly 6.5 feet tall—which is pretty damn huge for a horse.
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/
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Love and handcuffs 🙂