Becoming Dr. Grey: Chapter 57—The Family Grey

I do not own Fifty Shades Trilogy or the characters. They belong to E. LJames. 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. I hope you—as a fellow fan—enjoy it, too.

Chapter 57—The Family Grey

ANASTASIA

I can’t feel my coochie.

I know that when I go to the restroom, there’s going to be a mess—some bleeding, some stitches, probably some burning and discomfort, but right now in this bed I can’t feel my coochie. That’s not what I expected after labor. I just pushed two human beings out of there! Well, I guess I should thank God for small blessings because there will be enough pain and discomfort in my future.

I’ve eaten enough food to feed a third world country and Christian won’t let me out of this bed. He’s going to have to give in when I want to piss and when I want to go see my son because there won’t be anything to hold me back from either of those. So far I’ve been okay, but nature is going to call any second now.

Nonetheless, my little Mackenzie looks like a little angel! Christian calls her Minnie Mouse, so I’m sure that’ll be her nickname. She’s a perfect little Minnie. She’s just too gorgeous for words with a head full of red hair. We can’t make out her eye color just yet, but wouldn’t it just be the best if she had gray eyes like her dad? He’s already wrapped around her finger and she’s not even a full twenty-four hours old yet.

So with a multiple birth and Michael still in the Neo-Natal ICU, they’re looking to release me tomorrow or Saturday at the latest. Since Christian put the Amex Black down as payment, we have a little more latitude on our hospital stay. I think that’s a bit unfair. Although I appreciate the time to be able to recuperate before being sent home, new mothers with HMOs or PPOs are sent home within 24 hours of delivery because the health insurance refuses to pay for the hospital stay. I’m sure that they would be more comfortable at home, but I know they would at least like to be sure that everything is okay before they’re kicked out of the hospital!

There has been a steady stream of our family and friends in and out of the room to see our children today and everyone has told me how beautiful and healthy Mikey looks. Daddy and Mandy didn’t make it last night as Harry was a bit fussy and Daddy was exhausted. They showed up today of course—my father sporting the proud grandfather smile and huge chest while his wife looked on lovingly, giving me small bits of advice about the next few days after childbirth. At about 1:00, I now need to use the facilities and I’m ready to see my son. Christian begrudgingly helps me to the restroom where I discover that urinating is not as difficult as I thought it would be, but the clean-up is really pretty icky—much like a period, but a whole lot more going on. My husband handles it like a pro. He never flinches once and makes sure I’m clean and dry and comfortable before I leave the restroom.

He wheels me down to the Neo-Natal ICU and I can barely wait to see my baby. When I get there, Christian takes me to his little incubator…

But it’s empty.

“Where’s my son?” Christian says, his voice laced with panic. “Where’s Michael Grey?”  He’s looking around for someone to give him answers and I’m trying not to allow the nausea that’s welling up in my stomach to overwhelm me. I haven’t even seen him yet… or have I? Did I see him after he was born? I was so dazed…

“Calm down, Mr. Grey,” a young intern approaches him with a soothing voice. “You just missed him. They’ve taken him to the nursery. He just needed to stay for a few hours for observation. He’s fine now. If you hurry, you might catch them before they get to the nursery.”

My head is swimming. I don’t know what I thought. I just know that I want to see my son.

“Oh… okay. Thank you. Thank you.” Christian tries and fails to hide his relief as he turns my wheelchair around and we leave the ICU. “What do you say we go back to the suite and just have them bring our children to us?”

“I think… I think that’s a good idea. I’m feeling… a little light-headed.” He examines me carefully.

“You’re looking a little pale, too. Hold on, baby. I’ll get you back to the room, okay?”

Apparently, that small bit of excitement of not knowing where my son was for those few moments were a bit too much for me right after childbirth. My blood pressure rushed to the ceiling and I have to lie down for a while before they bring Minnie and Mikey back to the suite. Christian apologizes profusely for overreacting and getting me all upset, but I can clearly see why he did. All is right with the world, however, when later that afternoon I get to hold and feed my son. He’s not that much smaller than his twin sister, but he is smaller and he’s taking his colostrum from a bottle right now. When he’s latching to the breast, they’ll let me take him home. I don’t think that will be too long because once the bottle is empty, he instinctively turns his face inward and nuzzles my breast.

“Well, when it’s time to feed them this evening, we’ll see if he latches on,” the obstetrician says. “If so, you guys can be in the comfort of home as early as tomorrow.”

“That would make me very happy,” Christian says.

“Now wait a minute, not so fast,” I say. “He was born small and his Apgar was lower than normal. Is everything okay with him?”

“He’s fine, Mrs. Grey,” the doctor says. “He’s got a healthy set of lungs, his coloring is fantastic, and if one of the twins is more than a pound less than the other, we tend to run extra tests to make sure that every is okay and that the smaller twin wasn’t being deprived of anything by the other twin. Michael is fine—4-15 is a good weight. We would hope that premature babies would get up to 4-15. Holding him was just a precaution. Trust me, if we felt there were any cause for concern, we would let you know.” I nod.

“Well, okay then. He’s a handsome little guy and he does seem active and happy.” Mikey has brown hair like me. Like Minnie, we can’t yet make out the color of his eyes, but he’s fidgety and active and very hungry, which makes me very happy. When the doctor leaves, I turn to Christian. “So, the one person I haven’t seen today is Elliot,” I tell him. Christian pushes up the sleeves of his sweatshirt.

“He was here,” he says, sitting on the bed next to me and taking Minnie from my arms while I hold Mikey and gaze into his eyes for some more quality time. He seems so much smaller than Minnie even though it’s only about a pound and a half—a lot for an infant. I’m beginning to believe that while I thought it was Mikey dominating the space in my belly, it was Minnie all along, which is why she soothed so easily at the sound of Christian’s voice or the touch of his hand. She was a Daddy’s girl even in the wound. Wait a minute… did he say Elliot was here?

“He was?”

“Yes,” he replies, gazing at his baby girl, confirming my suspicions, but turning a sobering gaze to me. “He wasn’t alone. Valerie was here, too.”

My heart leaps. Valerie was here? She didn’t stay? She didn’t speak? Had she come around? Will she come back? Had she finally come to her senses? What did she say? Did she see the babies?

“Nobody saw her but me,” he says, in response to my questioning eyes. “At least I think nobody saw her but me. She didn’t see me, though. We didn’t speak.”

“Oh.” I drop my gaze back to Mikey, unable to hide my disappointment. Why did she come? Why was she here? Was she going to berate even while I was in labor? My heart clenches at the thought. Does she really hate me that much?

“I saw her at the nursery window, Butterfly. She was talking to Mackenzie.” I raise my eyes back to him, fighting the tears that want to escape.

“To… Mac…” Huh?

“She was stealing moments with her,” I tell her, “moments she has promised to steal with her as her secret godmother when she comes to visit Uncle Elliot even though King Christian won’t let Valerie near her and Queen Ana hates her.”

What? What did he just say?

“Queen Ana hates her?” I nearly shout, and Mikey stirs in my arms, protesting gently. I have to calm him immediately. Mackenzie looks over at me as if to say, “At it again, huh, Mom?” So once again, I know which one of the children were disquieted in the womb when I was upset.

“You heard this?” I ask incredulously. “You actually heard her say this?” He nods.

“She stood there crying, pinned to the window like she was being denied access by no fault of her own.” He looks down at Minnie. “I’ve already told Elliot and he asked me to tell you. He doesn’t know what’s wrong with her, but he says she’s pushing him away, too.”

I shake my head. It just doesn’t make sense. She’s in love with Elliot. I know she is. Look how she reacted when she thought he left on New Year’s Eve. She even came to my house—the last place in the world that she would be welcome in light of her behavior—to retrieve him, and she’s pushing him away?

“For the record,” he continues, “I stopped the tail on her. It came up completely empty. She barely does anything besides work, and lately, she’s barely doing that.”

Okay, something’s really wrong. She loves her job.

“When you say barely, what do you mean?” I ask.

“I mean that in the last three and a half weeks since I started the tail, she’s probably worked a combined 13 days.” I frown deeply.

“And she does nothing after that? She just goes home?” I ask.

“Nothing,” he says. “She goes nowhere else.”

“What about her phone records? Have you checked those?” I ask. He raises an eyebrow at me.

“No, I haven’t,” he says. “When I saw that she only goes to work and home for the last three weeks, I didn’t see the need to delve any further. I mean, I did the standard background check and that came up clean, except…” He trails off. I raise my head.

“Except what?” I ask.

“Some guy in college,” he says. “As far as I can tell, he may have hit her. The next thing you know, he shows up naked wandering somewhere in the middle of the winter—some kind of hazing incident, it was declared. The guy left school and that was that.” I wave him off.

“That was me,” I say, still pondering the facts he’s given me so far.

“What?” he asks, breaking my train of thought.

“That was me. He didn’t die. Drop it,” I say, glaring at him sharply. I don’t want to talk about this. I want to know what’s happening with my estranged friend. “Is it too late to check her phone records?” Christian glares back at me, then drops his gaze to Mikey.

“I don’t think you’ll find anything, Butterfly, really,” he says. “I think there’s really something wrong in her head—depression, bipolar, something…”

“Are you trying to tell me that you think all of this can be attributed to some kind of nervous or psychotic breakdown?” I ask incredulously.

“Yes, I am,” he says finitely. “Stranger things have happened.” Well, he’s right about that.

“We may never know about that unless we get her on the proverbial couch and she’s not going to agree to that,” I lament.

“Wasn’t Maxine supposed to talk to her at one point or something?” he asks. “I vaguely remember you saying something about that.”

“I honestly don’t remember,” I say. “Even if she did, she wouldn’t tell me—doctor/patient privilege. And Val probably wouldn’t open up to Maxie for fear that she might tell me anyway…” And speak of the devil…

“Knock, knock, are we interrupting?” I hear Maxie’s voice calling from out in the suite.

“Not at all, come in,” I call out to her as quietly as I can so as not to startle the babies.

“Now’s a good time to ask,” Christian says softly.

“I can’t ask her that!” I hiss.

“Hi!” Maxie says gleefully as she and her family enter the room. “Mindy wanted to see her new friends.” She comes over to me and kisses me on the cheek. “You look beautiful.”

“Thank you,” I say with as much of a smile as I can muster. Phil is behind her, pushing Mindy’s stroller. He kisses my cheek in greeting while Maxie softly hugs Christian and looks adoringly down at Minnie.

“Hey there, little fella,” Phil says to Mikey, who looks up at him and simply licks his lips. “He’s a tiny little guy, huh?”

“Yeah, he was born on the small side, but the doctors say that he’ll be fine,” I tell him, cooing at my son.

“So how did your stomach get so damn flat so fast, you bitch?” Maxie complains. I chuckle.

“Post-partum belly belt,” I tell her. “But don’t let me off the hook yet. I’ll be breastfeeding twins and I’ll be doing the belly binding. The moment the doctor clears me, I’ll be on a strenuous get-my-body-back/self-defense ­regimen. So by mid-spring, you will be calling me a bitch and mean it!” I say with a smile.

“Oh, I hate you already!” she declares.

“Don’t,” I tell her with a shrug. “We’ll dump the babies on the men and you’ll come with me.” Her face morphs.

“You mean it? Oh, it might be too late for me…” she laments. I scoff.

“Are you dead?” I scold. She twists her lips at me. “Then it’s not too late. I’m going to be training some of the women at the Center in self-defense as soon as the doctor clears me and I can set up a class. I’m going to have to loosen up, get back in shape, and refresh myself in order to do that. You can do it with me, learn some moves, be my assistant, tighten up—you’ve already got the form for it. It’ll be great!”

“I would love that!” Maxie exclaims. “I hadn’t even considered it!”

“Me either honestly, but hell, why not? Common goal, you just had Mindy a couple of months ago—you’re not that far out from six weeks yourself. Talk to your doctor and start some beginner yoga. Do some stretching to limber up and get your muscles going. Once I get the clearance, we’ll really get into it! By the summer, you’ll have a banging bikini bod!” We giggle at each other and only now remember that we’re not in the room alone when we see Christian and Phil eying us with dry amusement.

“What?” I say to them both.

“So, Chris, what do you do for jock itch?” Phil says, turning his attention to Christian.

“Remarkably, never get it,” Christian replies. “I manage to keep the boys pretty dry even with all the workouts, but I keep this great product on standby just in case.”

“You don’t say?” Phil retorts. “Hey, I found this great little gadget that gonna help with the blue-ball situation over the next month and a half…”

“Now you’re talking my language!” Christian says.

“Whoap, stop right there!” I halt their attempt at man talk and ridicule. “First of all, you’re holding your infant daughter and second of all, I don’t plan on you having to use gadgets just because one of my orifices is out of commission!” I say, slightly bruised.

“She’s an infant!” Christian protests. “She has absolutely no clue what we’re talking about!”

“And, um, if I may interject,” Maxie says, putting her finger in the air like she’s in class asking for permission. I turn my attention to her. “Your intentions are very noble, but the first day you get home, you’ll think of nothing but those babies. By day two, you’re going to be very sore. By day three, you’re going to be very sore and tired. By day four, you’re going to be very sore, tired, and cantankerous—a condition that will hold on for about four to four and a half weeks. Horny will kick in sometime after that and sore will have dissipated well before then, but if he aims that thing at you at the wrong moment, you’re likely to lop it off and serve it to him for dinner, especially if you’re having any bouts with post-partum depression.”

I look from Maxie to Phil and he just nods before turning to Christian.

“Your week one is going to be a lot like her week one, minus the soreness,” he says to Christian. “Well, I should qualify that. How sexually active you are and how easily you become aroused will determine how quickly you suffer from a case of blue balls—I’m not joking about this one, man. Her boobs are gonna swell to the size of cantaloupes, and a good, stiff wind is gonna give you a woody. So your soreness may come from that and how well you can control it will determine just how long you might be sore.”

Oh, Phil. You have no idea. My husband has had lessons in orgasm control and endurance from the best in the business… or I should say the worst. Blue balls won’t be a problem for him.

“Duly noted,” Christian says, most likely thinking the same thing I am.

“I’m serious, man…” Phil protests.

“I got you,” Christian insists. “Now back to the gadget?”

“One word… Tenga,” he says. “There’s a whole line of products, but they’re not available in the US, so you have to order them online. I started with the eggs…” Christian frowns.

“Eggs?” he says. I have the same reaction.

“Trust me, man. One use, but worth every penny. If you’re one of the more… frequent users, go on and give the eggs a try, but you might want to go with the Flip or the 3D. That’ll actually do you better, that is, if Ana doesn’t mind you having the thing around the house.” I try not to scoff too loudly.

“Ana doesn’t mind,” I say. Our conversation is halted by Mindy fussing in her stroller.

“Okay, I’m not one for public displays, so why don’t you gentlemen take this conversation to the other room while I feed our daughter? I’m sure Christian would rather not see my boobs,” Maxie says as she lifts Mindy from the stroller. Christian places Minnie in her bassinet as she has fallen asleep, and he and Phil leave the room still chatting about the amazing Tenga products.

“Good, now that they’re gone…” Maxie quickly unwraps Mindy, opens her shirt, and Mindy latches onto the breast. I’m still holding Mikey in my arms as he hasn’t quite slipped off into Dreamland just yet.

“You better get used to rubbing one out by at least week four and every few days or so after that,” she tells me. “You’re going to need those endorphins to keep you going and help stave off depression. Use whatever you have to, but by all means, don’t engage the enemy for help! I can guarantee you that no matter how much will power you have, you’re going to fail, fuck him, and end up with babies born ten months apart. You’re going to smell him, see him hard, feel him rubbing up against you and you’re gonna fuck. So just don’t do it.”

“Did you do that?” I ask. “Are you pregnant?”

“No, but we came really close,” she confesses. “I woke up one morning with a boner between my butt cheeks and he was fast asleep. I started rubbing against it and working the button along with my imagination. He wakes up and give me a reach-around with a little added thrust and a kiss or three. The next thing I know, my leg is over his hip and his head is right there at the door and I am aching for him to be inside of me! The doctor could have been standing there with a red flag and a whistle and I still would have dropped down on that dick!”

“What stopped you?” I ask, knowing that I would be the same way after four or five weeks of no sex with Christian.

“Phil,” she said. “He later told me that he thought of being inside of me and all the ways that he wanted to fuck me and it dawned on him that I had just had Mindy and he had to stop himself. I wanted him so bad that I cried. I mean he finished me off and rubbed one out between my cheeks, but it wasn’t the same. I needed him inside of me. Don’t put yourself in that position. I’ve seen you and Christian in public… on the dancefloor… you won’t make it.”

I laugh and lament at her comment at the same time. I’m sure she’s right. If I have to go without my man for weeks and sometime during those weeks, I’m presented with his hot, hard, pink, veiny, angry dick, hell no I’m not turning it down. So I’ll just have to leave it alone and stay away from it.

“I need to ask you a sensitive question and I don’t know how to ask,” I say, changing gears quickly.

“You can ask me anything, Ana. I used to be your therapist,” she says.

“That’s just it, I can’t ask you this,” I tell her, “but I’m still going to ask you, and I need you to answer it in a manner that won’t compromise the integrity of our profession.” She frowns deeply.

“Okay, now I’m curious.” I sigh.

“Have… you seen Valerie in a professional capacity at all since our falling out?” Her mouth falls open.

“Ana! You know I wouldn’t be able to tell you anything like that!” she scolds gently. I nod.

“I know. Let me try this another way…”

“It doesn’t matter how you try it, I wouldn’t be able to tell you either way. You were one of my patients and you’re a therapist. You know this!”

“Please, just hear me out,” I beseech her. “This is not just curiosity or some scorned friend trying to get the skinny. She went from best friend to hate in a nanosecond over something that we would have brushed off over a bottle of wine. She turns into Bitchzilla the minute I show up and it’s like she can’t help herself. She can’t stop it. She was at the hospital when I had the accident and everyone thought I was going to die and she was here last night…”

“No, she wasn’t…” Maxie interrupts.

“Yes, she was!” I insist. “If you saw Elliot, Val was here. I know that you and Phil had to leave to get Mindy home, but Christian saw her at the nursery.” Her brow furrows.

“Why was she here?” Maxie asks.

“To see her goddaughter,” I reply. Confusion mars her face.

“You can’t be serious,” she says. “She treats you like pure shit every time she sees you. She can’t still think she’s Mackenzie’s godmother!”

“That’s not all. Christian heard her say that I won’t let her see Mackenzie because I hate her.” Maxie shakes her head.

“That doesn’t make any sense,” she says. “Everybody knows you don’t hate Val. Who was she talking to?”

“Mackenzie,” I laugh at the painful irony, “through the glass of the nursery.”

“I don’t get it.” Maxie is shaking her head. “Maybe she’s saying that you hate her after the way that she’s treated you…”

“No,” I interject. “She referred to us as King Christian and Queen Ana. She’s clearly the victim. So either she’s living in an alternate universe or she’s having some kind of psychotic break. That’s why I asked if she’s under your care—not because I want to know her business, but because I want to know if you have any insight at all on this psychosis going on with her.” Maxie sighs and shakes her head.

“Ana, I can’t disclose to you whether or not Val has spoken to me about anything. Even if I deny that I’ve treated her, I’m still giving you information on her treatment or lack thereof. If I confirm, I’ve told you that I have or am treating her. I won’t do that either way. I will tell you this, though. As a friend, she’s not talking to any of us. She’s shut us all out. We’re as much in the dark as you are and to be honest, you may have more information than any of us. Does that help at all?”

“It… kind of answers my question, thank you… but it doesn’t help the situation,” I lament. Mikey is now asleep and I lay him in his bassinet as Maxie burps Mindy and switches breasts.

“I hate to seem insensitive, Ana, but you’re going to want to hand this off to somebody,” Maxie says. “These next few weeks and months are going to be crucial for you. You’re going to have to get your schedule down with the babies’ and I know you’re going to have help, but it’s still going to wring your mind and body to death and rip your nerves to shreds. Just when you think you’ve just about gotten your schedule down, you’re going to have to go back to work. And then the babies’ sleep habits are going to change. And then you may have to fight off a bout of post-partum depression—and if you think you were crying and moody at the end of your pregnancy, you ain’t seen nothin’ yet! With all that on your plate, you’re not going to have time to worry about Val’s case of Bitchicitis, nor should you have to.”

“I know, you’re right. I should be concentrating on my babies.”

“Yes, you should. If she wants to come around, let her come around. If not, let her stay in her own misery. Believe me, it’s self-preservation time.”

As much as it pains me, she’s right. I’m very worried about Val, but right now, she’s not my first priority. My family is. I have to let this go and focus on them.


CHRISTIAN

“I’m kind of glad they kicked us out. There’s something else you ought to know.” Phil takes me down to the cafeteria where we get two cups of coffee and take them out to the courtyard.

“Shortly after Mindy was born, Max slipped into depression. The books all called it the baby blues. Not for Max. It was serious. She wouldn’t eat; she couldn’t sleep; she was irritable all the time. A couple of days, she wouldn’t hold or feed Mindy. I finally had to take a couple of weeks off work and take care of them both. After a few weeks, she came out of it and she’s been fine ever since. It’s post-partum depression, but hers came really close to post-partum psychosis.”

I’ve read about both of those. For that reason, I had already planned to be off work the entire six weeks with Butterfly and the twins. I’ll work from home and only go into the office as needed so that I can keep an eye on them all and help out where I can.

“Yeah, my wife doesn’t know it yet and she’s probably going to flip her wig when she finds out, but I’m officially on paternity leave just for that reason. I’ve heard about women flipping out and having suicidal thoughts during that time. As I can’t afford to lose Ana or my babies, I’d much rather be home to keep an eye on them.” Phil smiles.

“’It’s good to be the king,’” he jests, patting me on my shoulder and laughing. I laugh weakly with him, recalling Valerie’s earlier comment of King Christian. “Listen, I don’t mean to keep pressing this, but the Tenga products, man. Get them! They’ll be the difference between sanity and insanity for you. The eggs stretch and fit around your junk—you’ll just have to try them and see what I mean, but whatever you’re going to try, order it today! Express shipping! Get at least six of those eggs, different textures…”

“They have different textures?” I ask, my curiosity piqued.

“Yeah,” he nods. “I learned about them from another father in one of our childbirth classes. I keep ‘em around now, like when Max is on her period…” He doesn’t know that won’t stop me and Butterfly, but I won’t tell him that.

“So they work that well, huh?”

“Very well. If you try it and you like it, get the Flip. Some women are sensitive about having those kinds of toys in the house, that’s why I didn’t just outright suggest it. I didn’t know about Ana—she and I are close, but we aren’t that close!” he says. I chuckle.

“She’ll be fine with it,” I tell him.

“Now, about the six-week make up, make the doctor’s appointment the day you get home. See if you can make it before you leave the hospital. It may sound anxious, but if you don’t do it, you’re going to be asking her every day from about day 28, ‘Did you make the appointment?’ ‘Did you make the appointment?’ ‘Did you make the appointment?’ ‘Did you make the appointment?’ At about the fifth time you ask her, she’s going to bite your head off and then she’s going to forget to make the appointment, and you’ll both have to wait another four days to a week before you can get laid—luckily, not my story. Again, another piece of useful information from a father in a childbirth class.” I guess I was just too damn unapproachable for anybody to give me any information.

“Put the appointment in your calendar, but let her go alone unless she decides that she wants you to go with her. She’s not going to see her obstetrician anymore. She’s going to see her gynecologist now. Decide what kind of birth control you want to use if you’re going to use it before you even get to that day and have some condoms ready just in case.”

Oh God, I hate those things.

“And here’s the most important thing. Take the next day off from work, which might not be too hard for you since you’re already off. You’ve got staff, have them bring you breakfast in bed… maybe lunch, too, but not before they announce their arrival—unless you plan a special night and you take her to a hotel or something.” I laugh heartily.

“Anything else, Dr. Phil?” I ask. He shares my laugh.

“It did kinda turn into a lecture, didn’t it?” he says. “I was just sharing the wisdom. I was glad somebody told me, ya know…” I pat him on the back.

“I am, too. They don’t tell you this shit in the baby books. Thanks man.” We talk some more about Tenga and breast pumps and nagging family members and things baby that you wouldn’t expect two guys to be talking about until I hear the sliding doors behind us and Jason walks through looking ominous. When I see McIntyre behind him, I immediately know why.

“Press,” I say through my teeth. McIntyre just twists her lips and sighs. “How?” She taps her iPad and hands it to me. I vaguely recognize the social media page as Twitter and see the picture of the dumbstruck nurse from last night with the name @NurseLisaLisa and the following tweet:

#AnaChris just checked into labor and delivery at Seattle Gen. He looks even hotter in person.

“Fuck!” I hiss. “Does Ana know yet?”

“Not yet, sir,” Jason says, “not unless she’s looked at her Twitter.” I shrug.

“Let’s hope the babies have her preoccupied.” I stand up and take the elevator to the front desk. “Nurse Lisa Lisa” has just come on staff. She’s looking at the crowd of reporters clamoring to get into the hospital, but being held back by the police and what barricades they could erect, some of them leaning in to take pictures of me standing at the nurse’s station.

“I need your supervisor… now!” I hiss at her and she shrinks in her chair.

“What did I do?” she asks in a small voice.

“Supervisor… now!” I hiss again. Several people in the lobby are looking at the surging crowd at the door and wondering what the fuss is. Nurse Lisa picks up the phone and calls “Nora” to tell her that Mr. Grey wants to see her at the front desk. “Screenshot that,” I tell McIntyre. “Just in case she deletes it.”

“She already has,” McIntyre tells me. “This is a screenshot, and it’s saved to the Cloud. She deleted the tweet between the time we saw you in the courtyard and the time we stepped off the elevator.” I nod.

“Mr. Grey, hi. Is everything okay?” The more helpful nurse from yesterday walks up to me.

“I wish I could say yes. My wife and children are fine, thanks in part to you,” I nod to her and she smiles.

“You’re more than welcome, sir.”

“Unfortunately…” I gesture to the clamoring press outside, “my fan club has arrived.” I hold my hand out to McIntyre who hands me her iPad. “This is why.” I hand her the iPad. She gasps.

“Oh, God,” she sighs in dismay, then turns to Nurse Lisa. “Have you lost your damn mind?”

“What?” Nurse Lisa nearly shrieks. The nurse whom she called Nora shows her the tweet. “That’s not on my page!” she defends.

“Not anymore,” McIntyre says. “You see that timestamp? That shows that you tweeted it last night. You see this timestamp? That shows that I took the screenshot fifteen minutes ago. My internet alerts did notify me that you removed the tweet about five minutes ago as we were stepping off the elevator, but as you can see,” she points to the door, “the damage is already done.”

Nurse Lisa just sits there like a deer caught in headlights and I’m too angry to even speak. Nora covers her face in disgust.

“I’m sorry, Mr. Grey,” she whispers, exasperated.

“I’m sorry, too,” Nurse Lisa says in a small voice.

“Don’t!” Nora roars, pointing at Nurse Lisa. “Speak!” She’s angry enough for both of us, so I don’t even need to be the bad guy today. “I can’t do anything with this! I can’t discipline you! I can’t even help you! This is way over my head! Do you know where hospitals get their money from? Patients and benefactors. You just pissed off the biggest of both of those. This is out of my hands. This has to go to the chief. Angelique!” She calls down the hall to another nurse.

“Yes, ma’am?” A petite young African American trots up to them.

“I have to get someone else to help Sarah at the main desk. I need you to cover this one tonight.” Angelique looks at me and my staff, then at Nurse Lisa, and back at Nora.

“Yes, ma’am,” she says waiting for Nurse Lisa to surrender the seat. Nora speaks to me as Nurse Lisa gathers her things.

“Mr. Grey, I don’t know what to say. Someone will be up to your wife’s suite to talk to you. We’ll fix this somehow.”

“I’m sure,” I say with no malice. I feel a little sorry for Nurse Lisa… but not that much. “Will you please send them with my mother so that I’ll know who they are?”

“Your mother?” she asks, her brow furrowed.

“Dr. Grace Trevelyan,” I say.

“Ah, yes, Dr. Grace. Pediatrics. I know who she is. Of course. I’ll make sure of it, sir.”

“Thank you… for everything.” She nods.

“You’re welcome, Mr. Grey.” She walks away with a crestfallen Nurse Lisa behind her. Honestly, this isn’t one of those “pampered billionaire I-want-my-way” type of things. No matter who you are, you should be able to get quality care when you go to the hospital. Yet, being high-profile people automatically means that you’re denied one of the fundamental rights afforded to every average Joe that walks through the door, and that’s privacy. It’s bad enough that your hopes, dreams, fears, highs, and lows are often splattered all over the news—your life events and even your tragedies are spread out for social entertainment, but to come somewhere for professional medical care and to have your privacy compromised by the hospital staff?

There are laws and oaths that prevent doctors from revealing that they are treating patients and for what ailments, but nurses and staff can blab that you’ve checked into the hospital. There should be some type of line drawn—some type of understanding where the staff respects the privacy of the patient simply for the patient’s peace of mind. Apparently, some of the staff are aware of that and some of the staff are not. Now, my family are the ones that are going to have to pay, and so is Nurse Lisa.

*-*

“You look sorrowful,” Butterfly says when I get back to the room. Phil returned when I went to the front desk with Jason and McIntyre, who are both now outside trying to nicely get the press to disburse.

“The nurse that was tripping over her tongue when we got here yesterday?” she nods. “She tweeted that ‘AnaChris’,” I do the finger quotes, “checked into Seattle Gen last night. So guess who’s blocking the door right now?” She frowns.

“Oh, no,” she laments. “Another great escape?”

“I’m afraid so,” I confirm. “We’ll work it out later.” I sigh. “We’ve been reduced to a hashtag.”

“Actually, you’ve been upgraded to a hashtag,” Maxine says. “It’s a big deal when you graduate to ‘trending’.”

“Whatever,” I say, waving it off.

“Did you ream the poor girl a new asshole?” Butterfly asks.

“I didn’t have to,” I say. “I didn’t have to say ten words to her. Her boss scooped her up and took her to the chief!” Butterfly scoffs, shaking her head.

“It never ceases to amaze me that whenever we go somewhere or try to do something like normal people do—you know, like shop for lingerie, buy a recliner or two, or go to the hospital to have babies—someone does something monumentally stupid, and by the time we leave, someone gets disciplined or fired. Pretty soon, no one is going to want to serve us!” she declares.

“It’s all part of the cost of this celebrity shit, baby. If people can’t act like they have good sense when we come into the room, this is what happens. Either they don’t know who you are and they choose to treat you like shit, or they do know who you are and they try to make a dime off of you—or get their fifteen minutes of fame. You can’t blame us for being who we are, but a lot of people do anyway.”

“Well, this is ridiculous and it’s getting on my damn nerves!” she huffs. “All of our worst nightmares, our most intimate moments—splattered out live and in living color for the whole world to see! We didn’t even need to bother doing birth announcements! The babies’ names will most likely be released to the press before we even leave the hospital. Do a Google search for Michael and Mackenzie Grey—they probably already have!”

Okay, this is not good. My just-delivered-twins wife is slowly becoming unraveled. I can see it in her eyes. She’s finally reaching her limit.

“Will our children ever live any kind of normal life?” she fumes. “I mean, what’s the plan? Are we going to have to dress them in burkas or habits just so that they can get to school? Will they even be able to go to school? Oh! I know! Maybe Grey Crossing will have to become some kind of cult compound like Jonestown or the Branch Davidian Ranch and we can invite other AnaChristians to come in and teach our children and worship at our feet and erect statues in our honor! We’ll grow our own food and filter water from the lake and live off the land. How does that sound, Maxie?” Butterfly declares wildly attempting to garner support from her now spellbound friend. “You, Phil, and Mindy can come, too. Yeah! We’ll post snipers in the boathouse, on the beach, on the pier, and at the front gate with automatic rifles, bazookas, and anti-aircraft weapons and maybe then, we’ll be able to get a little goddamn peace!”

Oh yeah, she’s gone.

“Baby…” I try to reach for her hand, but she’s too angry, on a tireless rant about how normal human beings would leave other normal human beings to their lives and stop looking for blood in the water at every turn. I see little pink and blue bundles stirring in the bassinets on the other side of the bed and I’m trying to get her attention, but it’s to no avail. I have to let her vent and rave, but I have to get to the twins, too. Noting my distress, Maxine looks over at the bassinets and gestures for me to come over to them. I carefully make my way around a now panting and ranting Butterfly to retrieve a squirming Michael while Maxie, after having fed Mindy and put her back down to rest, scoops Mackenzie up in her arms. Phillip watches carefully over Mindy, certain that the commotion is going to cause her to stir any minute.

We all turn and face Butterfly who has now moved on to the veritable incompetence of the police force to locate her on Vashon Island with Jason tracking her cell phone and me flying Charlie Tango to pick her up, yet in one weekend, they thoroughly managed to destroy a vehicle that she had waited for three months for the dealership to get all of the features that she wanted. When she raises her head and sees that Maxine and I are holding the twins and Phil is attending a sleeping Mindy, a look that I can only describe as immense regret falls over her face followed by utter silence. She looks as if she will vomit and she runs to the en suite, slamming the door behind her.

What just happened?

I look over at Maxine and Phillip for guidance. Phillip shrugs while Maxine has a bit of a knowing look, cradling my daughter in her arms. She wordlessly jerks her head in the direction of the en suite door. Rudderless, I go over to the door and I can hear Butterfly weeping on the other side.

“Baby?” I call out to her, but she doesn’t answer. She doesn’t even stop crying. “Butterfly, what’s wrong?” She continues to weep, but the sound is a bit more muffled, like she’s burying her face in something. I try to open the door with my free hand, but it’s locked. A surge of panic hits me. I try again as if my brain can’t register that the handle simply won’t turn with my weeping wife on the other side and I can’t get to her. I turn to face the other occupants in the room. I don’t know what registers on my face, but Phillip quickly rises and takes Michael from my arms. I inwardly thank him and try the door again, knocking with urgency, but trying not to bang on it and frighten her.

“Butterfly, please… open the door. Tell me what’s wrong,” I beseech her. She continues to weep and won’t answer me. I tug violently at the door, hoping it will give way somehow, but still conscious that any overt act of aggression could frighten my wife. I stand glaring at the unaffected door, running my hands through my hair. I’m a successful businessman—a billionaire—surely, I can figure out how to get one crying woman out of the bathroom.

“What’s going on?”

My mother’s voice is like an angel. I turn to see her standing in the doorway with another doctor—a man, I don’t know who he is—looking at me for answers on the current situation. Please, have the answer, Mom.

“Ana’s locked in the bathroom,” I say, gesturing to the en suite door like a toddler whose toy rolled under the sofa and he can’t reach it… ironic. “She’s crying and she won’t come out. I don’t know what’s wrong.”

“Did you say anything to her?” my mother asks.

“It wasn’t me!” I declare, my hands gesturing wildly towards myself and my voice several octaves higher than usual. My mother’s hands rise in a defense position.

“Okay, okay,” she says, gently. It’s only then that I hear my own voice playing back in my head and ears, laced with panic. I’ve got to get a handle on this. I’ve got to make sure that Butterfly doesn’t do this again when we’re at home or I’m going to lose it. I’m not accustomed to there being problems that I can’t fix—not with my wife anyway. This time, I don’t even know what the problem is and it’s driving me mad. Mom walks over to the door with that practiced calm that she always has.

“Ana?” she calls out. There’s no answer, just a slight “hiccup” in her weeping. “Ana, dear, are you alright?” There’s a moment of silence before we hear something.

“Yes,” she says, weakly from behind the door.

“Come out, then, dear,” Mom coaxes, and there’s silence again. “Ana… sweetheart, you’re in a hospital. If you don’t come out of there, we’re going to have to call security and have them remove the door from the hinges. Please come out, dear.” There are a few more moments of silence, but then shuffling can be heard from behind the door. After agonizing hours—okay, maybe seconds—the door opens and my disheveled wife emerges from the restroom, gripping a hand towel.

I don’t know exactly what brought on this behavior, so I resist the urge to run to her, scoop her up in my arms and protect her from the world… but my heart hurts seeing her like this. I want to make every bad thing go away and for her to be lost in the happy moment, with our beautiful children and our little family. I don’t want her to feel like this.

She raises bloodshot, swollen, weepy eyes to me and although I don’t know what she sees, she bolts into my arms and puts me out of my misery. The ache in my heart eases a bit as I’m able to help ease the ache in hers, even though I don’t know exactly what’s causing it. I fulfill the urge to scoop her up and back up to the large chair next to the bed with her on my lap.

“Sssshhh,” I soothe as she weeps, rubbing her back, kissing her temple and holding her close. “There, there, now, I’ve got you, Butterfly…”

*-*

Dusk has settled over Seattle when I open my eyes. Butterfly is cuddled in my lap and I’m still sprawled in the chair. My neck hurts now from the position I’ve been sleeping in and I realize that someone is trying to get our attention.

“Boss… Boss, you guys need to wake up.”

I blink my eyes open to Jason standing over me. My stomach reacts before the rest of me does. Food. I’m starving. That means my children probably are, too… and my poor, tuckered wife. I raise my head and my painful, resisting neck and turn to face my Butterfly. God, I hate to wake her. She was fitful before she fell asleep. I stroke her hair out of her face and pepper her eyes, cheek, and forehead with gentle kisses.

“Hmmm,” she whimpers, exhaustion laced in her voice. I kiss her a few more times to rouse her from sleep and she opens her eyes.

“Hey,” I say softly, gently stroking her cheek.

“Hey,” she replies, her voice like a mouse, a bit scratchy. On cue, Jason pours a glass of water and brings it to her. She drinks it down and thanks him before stretching a bit and rising from my lap. The delectable smell that greeted me when I opened my eyes is being brought into the room on two dinner plates and place settings by Gail. Butterfly has gone back to the en suite, and I’m a bit uneasy until I hear the water running behind the closed door and she emerges a short time later. I help her get into bed and situate the tray table over her so that she can eat.

“Thank God,” she says. “I’m starving!” The dome over the plate is removed to reveal chicken Cacciatore over creamy polenta with sautéed spinach and crusty bread. Butterfly’s face is almost orgasmic when she smells the food and picks up her fork to dig in. My stomach protests loudly as I remove the dome from my own dinner and begin to tuck in myself. McIntyre comes breezing into the room just as we begin our dinner. I throw a warning look at her and she freezes, looking from me to Butterfly.

“I’m fine,” Butterfly says, waving her off after swallowing a mouthful of food. “Go ahead.” McIntyre looks between us, puzzled. I shake my head and gesture for her to come in and proceed. She steps in cautiously, but proceeds with her business.

“Well, I’ve asked the vultures several times to leave and nobody’s budging,” she says, her voice low and a bit perturbed. “In fact, there seem to be more of them out there every time I go downstairs. They’re pressing harder against the door and making it difficult for patients to get into the hospital to get care.” Butterfly stops eating.

“Well, that’s not good,” she says, and I’m worried that she’s going to have another breakdown.

“Do we have any suggestions?” I ask. “I’m all for Charlie Tango, but I’d have to land her somewhere and they would just be there waiting for us, not to mention that I doubt that the doctors would clear my newborns or my wife to fly in a helicopter just for privacy’s sake.”

“Wife, maybe. Newborns, not likely,” McIntyre says. “Your mother and the chief of surgery are trying to come up with another solution to get you guys quietly out of here. Quite frankly, the safety of your children is at stake just by the sheer size of the mob at the front door if we try to get you out the traditional way. Did they say when you were supposed to be going home, Ana?”

“They said today or tomorrow, but they were leaning toward tomorrow,” Butterfly tells her. She nods.

“If they could lean sooner, that would be great. I know we want to make sure everything is okay with you and the babies, so I’m not trying to rush anything, but I would feel a lot better about your safety if we could get you guys back to the Crossing.”

McIntyre is not one to harp on safety. She’s public relations, concerned with my image and the image of the company—what gets released and what doesn’t. If she has a security concern, we need to sit up and take notice. I gesture silently to Jason, and we make to move towards the sitting room.

“Christian.” Butterfly’s voice stops me before I pass her bed. I turn my gaze to her. “You said you wouldn’t leave me out of the loop anymore.” I pause at the foot of her bed.

“I… Well, a few hours ago, you were locked in the bathroom sobbing. Mom’s not here to talk you out and I’m not sure what you can handle right now.” I go for brutal honesty with her because I don’t have any other cards to play. What happened in that bathroom after she just had my babies took me completely out of my element. I didn’t know what to do and nobody had any answers for me. So I’m not ashamed to say that my taking this conversation into the next room is a total act of self-preservation right now as we have a problem to which I have to find a solution and I can’t create another problem while I’m doing it.

“We’re talking about me, my babies, and our family,” she says. “I can’t afford to be on the outside of this. I won’t lie—yes, I’m a bit fragile, but I still have to know and we just have to deal with it.” She’s right, but if she runs into that damn bathroom again…

“Do you know how to get a crying woman out of a locked bathroom?” I ask McIntyre.

“Christian!” Butterfly chides. What? I don’t know what to do if she locks herself in there again! The last time she locked herself in the bathroom at Escala, I tore the door off the damn hinges. Mom got her out of this bathroom by threatening that security would do the same. What do you want me to do? Noting my exasperation, she sighs heavily. “I won’t like myself in the bathroom again, okay?” she says, resigned.

You say that now…

I have to take her word for it because I don’t want to make a bad matter worse, so I take my seat back at my dinner and gesture for Jason to sit as well.

“Just how bad is it down there?” I ask them. “The usual clamor? Are they likely to rush the door? Are there barricades in place?”

“Yes to all of those,” McIntyre says, “only the clamor is becoming a bit more than usual. People won’t even come to the hospital because of the crowd—for care, that is. Your groupies have been quarantined to the parking lot.”

“Oh, good fuck,” Butterfly declares, dropping her fork onto her plate. And it begins again.

“Butterfly,” I say in a warning tone.

“I’m fine,” she retorts, and buzzes for the nurse. Uh oh…

“If there are barricades, then what’s the problem?” I ask. “Even the press has always honored a barricade.”

“Do you want to take that chance?” McIntyre says, and Jason nods.

“I see,” I say, quickly finishing my dinner. A few moments later, the nurse comes into the room.

“Is it time to feed my babies yet?” Butterfly asks. The nurse looks at her watch.

“Just about. Would you like for us to feed them or would you like to do it yourself?” she asks.

“Yes,” Butterfly tells the nurse. “I’d like for you to bring two bottles just in case, but I’d like to see if Michael will latch on.” She nods and goes to retrieve our children. I look up at Butterfly.

“If he latches…” I begin.

“Make whatever arrangements need to be made to get me and my children out of here,” she says finitely, her voice unwavering. Her blue gaze locks with my grays and I know that she means business.

“Yes, ma’am,” I reply.

*-*

“I heard that one of my patients was here and I just wanted to check in on you before you left.”

That extra friendly fucker Dr. Hill is here to see Butterfly and the twins before we make our getaway. Just like his dad, Mike got a whiff of the Butterfly tit and clicked onto that puppy with amazing ease. After explaining the situation to the obstetrician and pediatrician on duty and getting clearance from Dr. Culley, we are leaving the hospital. We would have liked to stay for another day, but the throng of press and attention outside is making it impossible for my wife to relax. My mother is a pediatrician and lives only a few miles from our home and Butterfly had no complications during delivery, so we should be fine.

“Thank you, Dr. Hill,” Butterfly says sweetly. “I’m glad you did.”

“How are you? Any problems with the surgery site?”

“None more than usual…” They have a brief conversation about her phantom/not-so-phantom throbbing when she gets upset and the various memories that still come slowly back to her. As this isn’t an official visit, they don’t get into too much detail, but he can note in her chart that he saw her while she was in the hospital and addressed any pressing concerns. He did tell her that her most recent tests indicated that she’s progressing just fine and show no cause for concern, but cautions her, as always, to call him with questions.

It’s nearly 1am when Butterfly and the twins are finally released from the hospital. It’s going to be a bit of a grim walk, but it’s the safest and most private way for us to get the twins out. We are being escorted home via private ambulance out of the back of the hospital… but we have to exit through the entrance to the morgue. At first, Butterfly was against it until we are assured that it’s completely safe for the twins and no different than being in any other part of the hospital—it’s just the entrance used by the morgue. What a way to start your life!

We pack our things and, with the twins in tow, take the freight elevator to the sublevel floor with Jason, Mom and the chief of surgery, my wife in a wheelchair. I hold Butterfly’s hand as the elevator descends—a short walk to the exit and this will be all over, my love. She squeezes my hand when the door opens and we exit the elevator. I’m not looking forward to that awful florescent lighting that’s usually on this floor.

When we turn the corner to the hallway of the morgue, much to our delight, it’s very brightly lit. There’s a mock red carpet spanning the hallway and the walls are lined with several of the nurses from the maternity ward. They have balloons and signs that obviously can’t go into the ambulance with us, but the signs read things like, “Good luck to the Greys” and “We’ll miss you, Mike and Mackenzie.”

My wife is again moved to tears and the nurses gently pat her shoulder as I push her wheelchair, smiling and wishing us good luck as we pass by. There’s a feeling of warmth and happiness, and I’m eternally grateful that the staff took these great pains and extra measures to make sure that we didn’t feel like we were walking through the morgue.

Nicely done, Seattle Gen.

Butterfly thanked them all through teary eyes and our children are secured onto the stretcher in the ambulance while my wife is secured into a seat with a paramedic sitting nearby. I don a paramedics cap and jacket and sit in the front seat with my head down to avoid detection and we’re off.

The ride home is uneventful, and as the press expects that we’re still at the hospital, no one is at the Crossing when we arrive with the twins—an ideal situation. The ambulance enters through the garage and we bring the children in through that entrance for the least exposure to the elements. Gail and Keri take them immediately up to the nursery while I get my beautiful wife to her recliner in the family room. She’s not quite ready to lay down yet and indicates that she has been in bed so much over the past twenty-four hours that she just wants to sit up for a moment.

“I wasn’t really paying attention because I was more concerned with the twins and whether or not you were alright,” I begin, “but did you practice any of the ecstatic birth exercises during labor?” She shakes her head.

“Not really,” she says, relaxing into her seat. “It was too hard to concentrate. I could only think about getting the twins here safely and making the pain stop, on following the doctor’s instructions and pushing through my diaphragm and not through my face. The concepts that Willow taught were too new for me to focus on, so I just worked on the things that I already knew. I don’t regret it. Dr. Culley’s advice was solid and the twins were born with no complications. I’d say that’s a win-win.”

“I’d have to agree, Mrs. Grey,” I tell her.

We’re flipping through the channels as I snuggle in her recliner with her, sleep beginning to fall upon us, when we see the local news station flash with a special report:

AnaChris Makes a Clean Getaway

Butterfly and I giggle to ourselves as the screen shows the ER door of the hospital and McIntyre walking to a podium that has been erected there, probably one where she has stood numerous times today. She begins to speak:

“Mr. and Mrs. Christian Grey checked into the Seattle General Hospital on Wednesday afternoon so that Mrs. Grey could deliver their twin babies. They will be making a formal announcement concerning the delivery of their children at a later date. They have made several requests for the entrance to the hospital to be cleared not only so that they can leave the hospital peaceably and insure the safe transport of their family, but also so that other patients seeking treatment for possible life-threatening ailments, injuries, and diseases could get that much-needed treatment. Those requests have fallen on deaf ears all in the name of so-called free speech. The Greys would like to formally express that they are disappointed that they could not get cooperation on this one request that was so important to them, and appalled that greed, selfishness, and the next scoop appears to be more important than human life—so important, in fact, that three ambulances with critical accident victims had to be diverted to hospitals miles out of the way because you all are blocking the emergency room doors.”

A silence falls over the crowd. No cameras are flashing and no murmurings can be heard. Vee removes her glasses and does something completely out of character for her.

“On a personal note, I’d like to say that I’ve worked for Christian Grey and Grey Enterprises Holdings Inc., in the public relations department for several years. I’ve seen a lot during my tenure at GEH. I’ve seen even more over the course of my career. However, not since the death of Michael Jackson have I ever seen anyone take this much sadistic interest in the happenings and tragedies of someone’s personal life. I can honestly say that never in my life—personal or professional—have I seen such a blatant disregard for someone’s privacy and/or suffering. Tragedies in the Greys’ lives have been splattered all over the news as fodder for gossip rags bent on selling subscriptions and internet blogs of lonely, hateful, bitter women who make up stories and start vicious rumors to turn an upstanding doctor and citizen into the bad guy simply because Seattle’s most eligible bachelor fell in love with her. Dr. Steele-Grey won’t say this herself, but she struggles to hold her head up and stay strong in the midst of the spiteful rumors and hateful lies and comments thrown at her as she attempts to recover from the horrendous truths of her past that have already been splattered all over the news:

“The vicious attack on her as a teenager in Henderson, Nevada;
“The exposed lies and betrayal of her mother and stepfather during that ordeal;
“The kidnapping and assault she experienced the year before last on Vashon Island;
“The accident last year that nearly cost her life and left her in a coma for 12 days;

“None of these things appealed to the sense of human decency of any of you to give these people a moment’s peace and some of you have even chosen to exploit these items just to sell more papers and boost your ratings. None of you have even considered that anytime you see Anastasia Grey in public, she’s always given you an interview. She’s always answered your questions with decorum and grace—always greeted you in a friendly manner. Even when she was in a hurry, she gave you a smile and a wave, and you repay her kindness by camping outside of the hospital every time she gets admitted, hoping to catch her at her worst—preventing other people from getting crucial care so that you can invade her privacy…”

McIntyre presses an earpiece into her ear for a moment, still holding the silent audience captive.

“My little rant is over now, not that any of you are paying any attention,” she says as she looks at her watch. “I would like to add one last thing. I have just been notified that effective approximately six minutes ago, the family for which you vultures have camped out for two days and blocked a hospital entrance has been transported back to Mercer Island via private ambulance and are now at home resting comfortably. You can all go back to your nests now.”

This was obviously recorded earlier as we’ve been home now for at least an hour, maybe more. After her speech, McIntyre exits the podium to complete silence and walks—undisturbed—through the crowd, to her car, gets in, and drives away.

Somebody’s getting a raise.


A/N: “It’s good to be the king.” History of the World, Part I—Mel Brooks plays a spoof of King Louis XVI during the French Revolution where he walks around openly womanizing, groping, and otherwise inappropriately manhandling females, after which he repeatedly turns to the camera and says “It’s good to be the king.”

So I know that many of you were happy to see that the birth went off “drama free,” but let’s face it… This is AnaChris and the birth of their frigging babies! Did you really expect for that to be drama free??

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 🙂 
Lynn X

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Becoming Dr. Grey: Chapter 56—Surprises Abound

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 56—Surprises Abound

ANASTASIA

I’m more than a little surprised on Wednesday morning when the Ben announces that Courtney is at the front gate.

“I know she works at the Center, but I didn’t get clearance that it was okay for her to visit the house,” Ben says.

“Why is she here?” I ask.

“She says that Grace asked her to drop off some modules to you and that Marilyn isn’t at the Center.” That’s because Marilyn’s here.

“She’s okay, Ben. You can go on and send her in and have Windsor show her to the office. If you need to tell Jason, please do.”

“Okay.” A few minutes later, Courtney walks into my office and she looks really good, dressed very professionally.

“Well, well, well,” I say. “I hope Grace didn’t put you on the bus in that outfit. You look great.” She chuckles.

“No, I’m driving the Center van,” she says, giving me the modules Grace sent. “She said she would call you. I’m sorry this was a surprise. I didn’t mean to cause a commotion.”

“Don’t worry about it. They’ll get their records together. Why the wardrobe change? New job?”

“As a matter of fact, it is,” she says. “Miss Grace said that I did a really good job with Jack, so she’s going to let me help out with the teens.” She shrugs. “It could be because of where I come from. I really do know about that life. It’s just… you know… you forget.” I nod.

“I see. So, you’re going to be hanging around for a while,” I say.

“Well, yeah. The state is going to help me put a down payment on a place. Since I won’t be making much at the Center, we’re going to see about income-based housing.” I frown. Those places are horrible. “I know, but it’s all I can do right now. It’s beats the street and trust me, even the worst places I’ve seen here beat where I came from. You gotta start somewhere, right?” I nod.

“That’s right… are you sure you don’t want me to call your grandmother?”

“No!” she says vehemently. She rolls her eyes and sighs. “Ana, I accept that I was horrible to my grandparents. I accept that I was horrible to you… to Mia… to just about everyone I’ve met. I accept that I get what I deserve and I have a lesson to learn and I’m learning it. I accept that I hurt my grandmother and I regret it and I wish I could take it back, but…” she trails off.

“But what?” I ask.

“But she hurt me, too,” she answers almost inaudibly. “She said horrible things to me. She treated me like an animal. I would never say those things to anybody ever! I probably deserved every word she said to me, but it still hurt… way too badly. Maybe I’m wrong for feeling that way after what I said and did, but I do. I lay awake at night thinking about the things she said to me and the way she treated me. Please don’t misunderstand me—I’m not saying that she was wrong because I was a real bitch, but it still hurts, and I just think that with all the hurt between us that we should just move on and go our separate ways.” I frown. That’s a really sad state of affairs.

“That’s a strange situation to be in, Courtney, but you’re only human. I’m sure she meant for you to hurt. That’s why she said those things.”

“Well, it worked,” she says with a sad smile.

“You don’t think there will ever be a time you guys can sit down and talk about things?” She shakes her head.

“I was waiting for my Grandma to die to get her money. She told me I was good for nothing more than replacement parts. I think that ship has sailed.” She picks up her purse and the keys to the Helping Hands van. “And now, I’m going to make a speedy getaway before I turn into a blubbering idiot. Call Miss Grace after you go over those modules and projections, please. She’s waiting for your call.”

“Drive safely…” Just as Courtney is leaving my office, she runs face first into Mia coming in. Shit! I forgot she was coming to go over birth announcements with me. I was expecting Mia when security told me that it was Courtney. Courtney tightens her lips and sighs.

“Hi, Mia,” Courtney says, closing her coat and walking past Mia out the door. Mia is only momentarily stunned before she replies, “Bye, Bitch.”

“Have a good day, Mia,” Courtney calls back.

“Eat shit and die, Courtney,” Mia yells. I shake my head. That ship has sailed, too. “What was she doing here?”

“She’s working with troubled teens at the Center. She was dropping off some papers for me to go over for Grace.”

“Hmm, troubled teens… she should know,” Mia quips. “Anyway, I’ve got a couple of choices for you to look at and they can be printed the same day the babies are born…”

*-*

As I bend the corner to go into the kitchen, I get a funny twinge—kind of in my stomach, but some in my side… and there’s a tiny bit of pressure in my back.  I brush it off and proceed to the refrigerator for my snack.

Several minutes later, I’m sitting at my desk looking at the modules for Helping Hands and I feel the twinge again—nothing alarming, but different. Could it be? The timing is perfect. Dr. Culley says that I’ll most likely deliver the twins a little early and this is what… week 37? Week 38?

Oh, shit. There’s that twinge again.

“Marilyn?” She looks up from her iPad.

“Yeah?”

“I don’t want you to panic, but I think we might want to keep any eye on Ana.” Her face changes.

“You okay?” she asks, concern lacing her voice.

“Yeah, I’m fine. It really could be nothing, but since this is my first baby… babies… we just want to be alert, okay?” She nods.

“Okay. Should I call Jason? Or Christian?”

“No! Absolutely not! I won’t interrupt my husband’s day for a twinge. If it becomes any more intense, we’ll alert Jason to be ready, but we won’t alarm Christian until we’re sure.”

“Fair enough, but know that I reserve the right to overrule you if I get spooked.” I sigh.

“Fair enough.”

“Anything specific I need to know? Seriously, in case you’re unconscious and have to be rushed to the hospital?” I shrug and sigh again.

“It might surprise you—especially because I’m a doctor—that Christian and I have decided that if there is a situation where a choice has to be made between me and the babies, the choice is to save me.” The shock on Marilyn’s face is alarming.

“This is a surprise,” she admits. I nod.

“Emotionally, it’ll rip me apart. It’ll rip us both apart, but we weighed the pros and cons of both decisions without the emotional hero aspect of ‘sacrificing myself for my children…’” Dear God, please don’t let it come to that. I’m not sure I could survive without my beans. “The truth of the matter is that choosing the children over me would not only mean that Christian would have to raise the twins on his own, but also that the babies would be a constant reminder of the wife he lost during childbirth. The children would be constantly reminded of this as well. Though he would spare them this information when they’re young, at some point, they would want to know the truth. We both think it would be far less cruel on them and on him if we saved me. Then, after we’ve healed from the emotional and physical pain, we could try again.”

“Do you really believe that?” And there goes the twinge again. Shit, I think this is it. I’m a little scared.

“I don’t know what I believe, Mare,” I say honestly. “I just pray to God that we don’t have to find out. We have the best doctor; we’re going to the best hospital; we’ve taken all the necessary precautions. These babies are miracles already. I’ve heard of more than one instance where women have lost children from just one of the things I incurred during my pregnancy. These little superheroes have held on through a lot. I don’t think they intend to abandon me now.” She smiles.

“’Miracles are not contrary to nature, but only contrary to what we know about nature,’” she says.

That’s beautiful,” I say. “Where did you hear that?”

“It’s a quote by St. Augustine. One of those useless pieces of information you pick up throughout your life.” She shrugs. I smile and fight the tears.

“Not useless,” I say, my voice cracking. She doesn’t know just how much I need that at this moment. “Thank you.” Her smile widens.

“Anytime.”

There’s another twinge, only this time, there’s a little more pressure in my back and some slight tightening in my pelvic area.

“I’m going to the family room to sit in my recliner. Meet me there after you go to the twins’ nursery and get my bags.”

“Bags? As in plural?”

“Yeah… Christian. Once we started Lamaze and he really got into reading the baby books, the packing became obscene. It’s only two, but it’s down from four.”

“Four!” she laughs. “Okay, I guess two isn’t so bad then.” I nod.

“Put the bags at the door, then alert Ben and Chuck to be ready, but let them know that I will call Jason.”

“Got it, bosslady,” and off she goes. I take my phone and my laptop and proceed to the family room. Chuck has started doing some ride-alongs with Jason, but more getting back into the swing of things with Ben and me, so he’s been shadowing Ben’s duties around the Crossing as of late.

This chair was the best purchase I’ve ever made in my life. The moment I sit in it and turn on the lower lumbar heat and massage, I almost forget to call Jason… almost.

“Ana? Are you okay?” I know he’s shocked to see my number come across his phone.

“I’m fine,” I tell him. “I’m having some… activity in the abdominal area. Nothing serious, but I’m just putting you on notice just in case. Please don’t alarm Christian. This could so be false labor…”

“Are you having contractions?” He’s alarmed. Great.

“No. I’m not having contractions, just some twinges and some pressure. It could just be the babies positioning themselves.” The line goes quiet.

“Your Highness… have you forgotten I’ve been through this with Shalane and Sophie? You’re at week 37. The babies are already positioned.” Well, so much for that theory.

“Please, just let me see what’s going on before we call the fire department… or His Majesty… please?” He sighs.

“You or Marilyn better update me every thirty minutes and I mean every thirty minutes on the dot! If you don’t call me, I’m calling you. If you don’t answer in three rings, we’re at DEFCON 1—no negotiations. Understood?” God, he’s worse than Christian!

“Understood, Admiral,” I jest.

“We’ll discuss that error at a later time. I gotta go. Ben is calling me, probably with the same news.”

“I told Marilyn to tell him that I would call you. He didn’t trust me?”

“No offense, Ana, but he’s not supposed to. He’s under strict instructions to call me under these conditions with no exceptions. You’re forgetting that he’s on disciplinary probation after the incident with Neanderthal Bitch…”

“Monster Bitch,” I correct him.

“Whatever. Now, I gotta go before he hangs up. Thirty minutes!” and he’s gone. I put the phone down and continue to work on my planning duties for Helping Hands. I turn on the television for background noise just as Marilyn comes into the family room.

“That snitch Ben called while I was on the phone with Jason,” I tell her. She frowns.

“I told him you said you would call,” she replies bemused.

“Yeah. Apparently, he’s on probation and has strict instructions to call Jason under these circumstances no matter what. Speaking of which, set your alarm to call Jason every thirty minutes on the dot or the National Guard may come bursting through my back door.” I mock Jason’s voice on the words on the dot. “That first call should be in about 23 minutes.” She shakes her head.

“Geez! He’s worse than Christian!” she exclaims as she sets her alarm.

“My words exactly!”

*-*

I awake to discover that I have fallen asleep in the recliner. Marilyn’s tablet is on the ottoman next to my chair, so I know that she’s still here and most likely not too far away. I wiggle out of the wonderment that is that recliner and find that my thighs are terribly wet. I’ve been reduced to nocturnal incontinence.

“Fuck!”

I‘m trying to get to the nearest restroom, but the trickling doesn’t stop. Well, this is embarrassing. I make it to the restroom only to discover that I’m not peeing. Funny—my only concern right now is if I ruined my recliner until I realize…

“Uh oh…”

I look down into my panties and there it is… the mucus plug.

“Mare?” I say in a voice so small that I can barely hear myself. “Mare?” I call more frantically. “Marilyn?” I scream, scared to death that my babies are going to be born in this toilet.

“Ana, where are you?” I hear her muffled voice and she sounds like an angel.

“The bathroooooom!” I scream. I’m losing it. I have to calm down. She shamelessly throws the door open. Without saying a word, she looks at my face, then at my wet clothes and the mucus plug in my panties. She takes a deep breath and cracks her neck like she’s about to fight.

“Are you having contractions?” she asks clearly.

“No… I… no.” Respirer, Grey, respirer…

“Good. Activate two-way communications.” The familiar beep, then “Locate Gail Taylor.”

“Yes?” I hear Gail’s voice after several beeps.

“Gail, it’s Marilyn. Where are you?” Her voice is amazingly controlled. I’d be screaming into that thing right now!

“I’m… in the owner’s suite,” Gail answers unsure.

“Perfect! I need you to bring me a pair of clean underwear and a pair of clean pants for Ana. We’re in the bathroom off the family room. Oh! Look in the dressing room and bring me two large hospital pads… and a pair of clean socks, too. Her water just broke.”

“Oh! Hell! Okay!” And just like that, she’s gone. “Locate Benjamin Lawrence!” Marilyn’s voice is more frantic when she’s talking to the intercom than when she’s talking to people. Just as Ben answers the intercom with “Lawrence,” my first real contraction hits. I gasp hard… I wasn’t ready.

“Uuuuuuuuuuuuuugggggghhhhhhhhh!”

“Ana?! Ana, are you okay?” Ben’s voice is frantic.

“Get the car, Ben! Come in and get the bags! We’re on the move. Call whoever you need to call! We’ll be at the door in less than five!” Marilyn is barking orders at Ben like he works for her.

“Got it. See you in five,” and he’s gone too. Gail comes bursting into the door just like Marilyn did.

“Towels are in the cabinet,” she says, pointing to the cabinet on the other side of Marilyn. Mare grabs two towels while Gail gingerly removes my wet pants and soiled underwear.

“Eew,” I lament as my friend undresses me from the waist down.

“Ssh!” Gail scolds quickly, and that one gesture along with her facial expression lets me know that there will be no more discussion of any kind about my currently ill-placed modesty. “Do you still feel the trickle?”

“Yes,” I say, my voice sounding like a mouse.

“Okay, so that means we’ll have to put the pad on the second that you stand up. I didn’t see a sanitary belt, so you’re just going to have to hold it up with your thighs.” Yeah, that won’t be a problem.

The ladies work as a team drying my legs and butt, then sliding clean socks, underwear, and pants onto my ankles. Marilyn helps me off the commode while Gail quickly situates the pad between my legs to catch the trickling amniotic fluid. That feels so much better. Gail pulls my pants and underwear up just the intercom lets me know that Ben is looking for me.

“Family room!” I call out as Gail and Marilyn assist me in walking from the bathroom to the family room. Seconds later, Ben comes around the corner, takes a second to assess the situation, and then nearly snatches the air out of me when he lifts me into his arms.

“Seattle Gen,” he barks at Marilyn. “You ridin’ or drivin’?”

“Riding,” Marilyn says as she falls in line behind Ben, who is now carrying me out to the car. Once he places me in the back seat, I put on my seat belt and sit back, praying that we hurry and get to the hospital. Nothing will go wrong. Nothing will go wrong. About ten minutes into the ride as we’re crossing the bridge…

“Ana?” I raise my head and look at Marilyn. “It’s Christian. He wants to talk to you.” She’s handing me her phone.

“Hello?” and there’s the mouse voice.

“Baby? Are you okay?” He sounds positively frazzled!

“Yeah,” I answer, unconvincingly… and here comes another contraction.

“Are you having contractions?”

Yeeesss!” I cry through the contraction.

“Why didn’t you call me sooner?” he scolds. Son of a…

“I was asleeeeeeeeeep!” You asshole!

“Okay. Okay.” That’s more like it. “Are you breathing?” What the… now, I’m getting irritated.

“Of course, I’m breathing!” I bark. “I’d be dead if I wasn’t breathing!”

“Not that breathing, baby, the Lamaze breathing.” Oh, yeah, I forgot about that.

“Oh! Yeah! That! How do I do that again?” My brain is mush.

“When the pain hits, in through your nose, out through your mouth—slow and deep…” Why am I thinking about sex at this particular moment? The contraction is starting to wane and I’m able to speak like a human being. “When the pain gets more intense, fast breaths in and out of your mouth. I’ll be by your side in a few moments. Will you be okay until then?”

“Yes, baby, I’ll be fine,” I say, already a little breathless.

“That’s my strong, brave girl. I’ll see you in a moment. Let me talk to Marilyn.” I nod to Marilyn and she takes her phone back.

“Hello… In just a few minutes, I think… No, Christian, I haven’t timed this drive. So, yes, I think…” He’s giving her the third degree and by the sound of her voice, she’s giving it right back to him. Mare has never been one to kowtow to Christian, especially after that last exchange they had a couple of weeks ago. “Yes, I have been timing her contractions. I’m not a complete idiot. They’re twenty-two minutes apart.” Twenty-two minutes? They feel a lot closer than that. “Yes, that’s a really good idea. Go get a wheelchair. We’ll be there in a minute!” She ends the call and turns back to me. “How are you holding up?”

“Twenty-two minutes? That’s all?” I ask dismayed. She nods.

“Yeah, bosslady, the two that you had were 22 minutes apart.” I groan. That means I’m in for a looooooooooooooong labor.

“I think you two are related somehow,” I point out. “His bossiness irritates the hell out of you and scares the hell out of everybody else.”

“Well, he’s not my concern right now. You are,” she responds matter-of-factly. A few minutes later, we drive up to the emergency room entrance. Christian is pacing in front of the door and I swear his hair looks like it’s standing straight up on end. I afford myself a small giggle at his appearance.

“What took you so long?” he snaps at Ben as Jason helps me into the wheelchair.

“The speed limit,” Ben retorts, and both Christian and Jason glare at him, but he doesn’t back down. Christian rolls his eyes at him and takes my hand, walking next to me into the hospital.

“Name, please,” the admitting nurse says.

“Anastasia Grey!” Christian barks impatiently. She nods at someone next to her who starts typing and she walks over to me.

“Hello, Mrs. Grey. How are you holding up?”

“Okay, so far,” I tell her.

“Has your water broken already?” Her voice is kind. I nod. “Do you know how long ago?” I look at Marilyn.

“About 45 minutes,” she tells the nurse, who nods.

“And how far apart are your contractions?”

“Twenty-two minutes,” Christian and Marilyn say at the same time. The nurse smiles.

“You have quite the support system here,” she points out. I point to each of them.

“Husband. PA,” I say, a little weary.

“You’re tired. We’re going to get you in a room in just a moment, okay?” She extends her hand to Christian. “Mr. Grey.” He releases my hand to shake hers. “It won’t be much longer now, sir.” He just nods. “Lisa, have you found her?”

Hmm, I like that. She treated us with such courtesy and didn’t know who we really were.

“Um, yes.” The second nurse gestures to the first. I hear her tell the first nurse who we are and that I am a patient of Dr. Culley’s. A suite should be ready for me at all times since this is a multiple birth.

“Oh, we have local celebrities,” the first nurse says sweetly. “Welcome back to Seattle Gen. We have a wing named after you.” I smile weakly while Lisa, the second nurse, gazes longingly at Christian. I don’t have an opportunity to get miffed about it before the first nurse springs into action. “Well? Is the suite ready?” she barks at Lisa, who jumps at the sound of her voice.

“Um, I don’t know.”

“Well, stop standing there with that monkey glare on your face and jump to it!” she hisses through her teeth at Lisa while snapping her fingers twice very loudly before pointing to me. “She can’t be very comfortable. She’s sitting there in water!” Lisa gets back on the phone and the first nurse just shakes her head.

“You’re preregistered, Mrs. Grey,” she says to me. “We’re going to go on up to the maternity ward. We’re not going to wait.” She looks at Jason, who is pushing my chair. “The elevators are a few feet down the hall and to your left.” She turns back to Lisa as Jason pushes me away. “Tell them we’re on our way up and they better have something ready when we get there.” She quickly falls in line with us just as we get to the elevator. Once inside, I’m hit with another contraction. Holy fuck, that one hurt!

“That was 22 minutes?” I lament nearly in tears. Marilyn is already looking at her watch.

“No, bosslady, that one was 18,” she informs me. The nurse nods.

“They’re coming closer together,” she says. “Have you already made a decision concerning pain management?”

“Epidural!” I announce as I squeeze Christian’s hand, the pain lancing through me and cutting me in two. We empty out of the elevator and she stops at the nurse’s station. “Anastasia Grey.”

“Room 3221,” the nurse at the counter replies.

“Is Dr. Culley on duty?” she asks.

“No, but she’s been notified. She’s already on her way.”

“Who’s on duty?”

“Dr. Usher.”

“Let him know that this patient wants an epidural. Her contractions are 18 minutes apart, her water has broken, and she’s a multiple birth.”

“On it.” She’s on the phone paging the doctor on duty and the first nurse moves to Jason.

“I’ll have to take it from here, sir,” she tells him. “Only the expectant mother and father are allowed in the room while we set her up.” Jason steps away. “You guys can come in as soon as we get her changed and on the monitors.”

This is a hospital room? I think to myself as the nurse rolls me into the birthing suite. This is incredible! It looks more like a hotel! A luxury hotel at that! Dr. Culley told me that the room would be extravagant, but this is even more than I expected.

“Where did they get the money for this?” Christian asks, the CEO coming out in him.

“Honestly, another benefactor, just like you,” she says, while helping me out of the chair. “He didn’t like the accommodations we had when his daughter was about to deliver, so he actually had one suite built just for her. He then funded the entire wing. It’s cash only—insurance won’t pay for it. The cost for nightly services can run from $4000 to $8000 a night, half of which is kept to maintain this wing while the other half goes to the leukemia ward.”

“Instructions of the benefactor?” Christian asks while I get undressed. The nurse nods.

“Yes sir, kill two birds with one stone, so to speak. Not everyone can afford a room of this magnitude, but if you can, know that it means that not only will your wife be getting the best care in the most comfortable surroundings possible, but that you’re also directly funding the treatment of cancer patients.” She hands me a gown, not one of those ugly hospital gowns—a pretty, flowy gown that goes over my head. Christian nods his approval.

“You can’t argue with that,” he says.

The suite is two sitting rooms and the actual bedroom, along with a really nice bathroom. It’s decorated beautifully and except for all the necessary monitors and equipment, it’s pretty damn cozy. I only have a moment to enjoy the surroundings pain-free before my uterus reminds me why I’m here.

“Fifteen minutes, Mrs. Grey,” the nurse says. “Let’s get you into bed. Things are moving kind of quickly.” She pulls back the bedding to reveal a bed pad already there. This is good because she took my hospital pad and I’m still leaking. I stiffly climb into the bed as she puts two baby monitors on my stomach. God, I hate those things.

“I’ll be right back, Mrs. Grey. I want to see how far away your epidural is and we have to set you up with an IV, okay?”

“Okay,” I pant, breathing through the last part of the contraction. It’s just me and Christian now and he has been deathly quiet since we got here, with the exception of asking about the birthing room. “Christian?” My voice is more impatient than I intended, but I realize that I feel a bit neglected. Yoo hoo—woman having babies here! He turns his attention to me and sighs as he takes off his suit jacket and tosses it on a nearby sofa.

“You’re a million miles away,” I say in an accusatory tone. I can’t help myself. I don’t want to attack him. It’s just coming out this way.

“I’m sorry,” he says in a low voice. “We and hospitals just don’t do well.” He sits down in the seat next to my bed. “Me nearly starving myself; you being kidnapped; nearly losing my whole world in the accident…” He chokes on the last word. “Cholometes beating the hell out of me; you suffering from depression and neglect and then the high blood pressure scare… I’m just… trying to… overcome these feelings of dread, for lack of a better phrase.”

Oh, God. I can’t do it, not this time. I can’t hold him together and me, too. I’m tired and weak and scared and this is just beginning, and he’s having flashbacks of the bad old times. My heart breaks and I start to weep. I can’t do it. I just can’t do it.

“Baby!” His voice changes immediately. “Butterfly!”

“I need you, Christian!” I wail, my chest hurting from despair. “I can’t do this on my own! I can’t!” My body is shaking with sobs and I’m suddenly overcome and drowning in grief.


CHRISTIAN

Nice going, Grey! What happened to that whole new, sunny outlook and shit? She’s in labor, you dumb fuck! Since when did this become about you and feelings, you selfish, inconsiderate bastard? You’re about to become a father! You’re about to meet Michael and Mackenzie. This is about to be one of the most significant days of your fucking life! Get a grip, you asshole!

“Butterfly, I’m sorry,” I say, sitting on the edge of her bed and trying to move her hands from her face, but she won’t let me. She just keeps crying. She’s inconsolable.

“Baby, you’re not doing this by yourself,” I try to convince her. “I’m here with you every step of the way. This isn’t about me, it’s about you…”

“No, Christian, it’s about us!” she wails from behind her hands.

“Okay, okay, it’s about us. Please, don’t cry. Please…”

“Uuuuuuuuuuuuggggggghhhhhhhhh!” Okay, that’s a contraction. Now, she’s crying and hurting. She falls back on the bed, her head on the pillow and her face turned away from me. I make note of the time—4:12. I move to the other side of the bed and kneel on the floor beside her. She has a small sheen of sweat on her forehead, most likely from dealing with the contraction. She’s trying to breathe through the pain and when it looks like it’s subsiding, she just lay there with tears still streaming down her face. I gently stroke her forehead and decide to recommission a song that once meant despair for me:

For all the times I felt cheated,
I complained, you know how I love to complain.
For all the wrongs I repeated,
Though I was to blame, I still cursed that rain.
I didn’t have a prayer, didn’t have a clue,
Then out of the blue

God gave me you to show me what’s real
There’s more to life than just how I feel
And all that I’m worth is right before my eyes
And all that I live for though I didn’t know why
Now I do, ’cause God gave me you

Her cries have turned into sniffles as she looks into my eyes. I sing the rest of the song to her as her tears subside and I wipe the rest of them from her cheeks.

“I’m here for you, Butterfly,” I say softly. “This is the first day of the best of our lives. I wouldn’t miss it for the world. Please forgive my selfishness. I’m fine now.” She looks into my eyes and I try to portray all the love and contrite apology that I feel in my soul. She says nothing, but she nods. I kiss her forehead gently before looking at my watch—fourteen minutes since her last contraction. I take her hand and take a deep breath.

“Get ready, baby,” I warn. Her eyes question, then constrict and sharpen. “Squeeze,” I instruct her. She squeezes my hand hard and whimpers. I start to breathe like the Lamaze instructor taught us and she mimics my breathing. Good girl. That’s my brave girl. You’ve got a job to do, Grey. Your wife needs you and nothing else matters.

*-*

“How are we doing?” Dr. Culley asks when she comes into the room. It’s now nearly midnight and Butterfly has been in labor for hours now. If we start from when she got the first twinge nobody told me about, it’s been roughly fourteen hours. Only one of her sacs broke, so they had to break the other one. Butterfly was none too pleased with swimming in bed, but they were quick and efficient in cleaning her up before the water soaked the mattress.

“She’s been resting peacefully,” the maternity nurse says, who is coincidentally named Anna.

“How far is she dilated?”

“When we last checked, she was nine. That was about an hour ago,” Anna replies.

“Good,” the doctor says. “We should probably check again.” The nurse nods and rises from her seat. Dr. Culley gently rouses Butterfly and I make sure that I’m right in her line of sight. “Mrs. Grey?”

Butterfly opens her sleepy eyes and takes a moment to focus. Once she sees Dr. Culley, she immediately searches for me. Chuck and Keri are here now in the sitting room and have graciously brought me a sweatshirt, jeans, and sneakers from the mansion as well as the expressed colostrum from the freezer. Relief floods her face when she sees me.

“I want to see how far you’ve dilated, okay?”

“Okay,” she says in a sleepy voice. Dr. Culley removes the blanket and checks Butterfly’s cervix. She nods at the Anna, who returns the nod and leaves the room.

“Okay, Ana,” she begins, “everything looks very good. The babies still have a strong heartbeat and I don’t see any complications at the forefront. You’re almost just at ten centimeters, so we’re going to get you ready and move you to the operating room, okay?” Butterfly nods calmly. “Remember, there may be no need for a cesarean, but we want to be prepared just in case. Now, a few instructions before we go.” She takes the seat I’ve been sitting in for most of the day and night. Anna comes back in and begins to assist me in getting dressed for the OR.

“These go over your clothes, Mr. Grey,” she whispers and I start to put the pants, gown and shoe covers over my clothes.

“When we get to the OR, we’re going to stop your epidural. You’re going to feel your contractions as soon as the epidural wears off, which will be a few short minutes, maybe less. They’re going to be hard and fast—about two to three minutes apart, so I want you to be prepared. Don’t push until I give you the go-ahead. You could hurt yourself and the babies. Utilize whatever breathing or pain-management techniques you’ve learned until I tell you to push, and when I tell you to stop pushing, you stop immediately. Do you understand that part?”

“Yes, doctor,” Butterfly says. I see the determination in her eyes even though she’s still tired. She’s knows that it’ll be time to meet our children soon.

“Now, when I tell you to push, you take a really deep breath and you push from here,” she points to her pelvis. “Push like you’re having a really hard bowel movement. Mr. Grey?” Oh, she’s talking to me. “You’re going to be her coach. You’re going to give her an even 10-count—ten seconds, use your watch if you need to. One, two, three…” Is she seriously trying to teach me how to count? “Ana, you don’t stop pushing until he stops counting. Then you wait for me to give you the go ahead to push again. Do not push through your face,” she warns. “You will be tempted. Pushing through your face will only result in broken blood vessels in your eyes and cheeks and it won’t help any of us. You will be able to tell the difference. The moment you feel yourself pushing through your face, stop and start pushing through your pelvis. I’ll be able to tell the difference, too,” she warns.

“You will be tempted, but please, don’t cry out,” she cautions. “It’s labor, I’ll expect to see some tears, but don’t scream. It causes the diaphragm to pull back…” She does a rising, pulling motion with her hands to illustrate the pull of the diaphragm. “That will suck the babies back in. That can mean the difference between fifteen to thirty minutes of pushing and forty-five minutes to two hours of pushing and a possible C-section.”

“Got it,” Butterfly says in a less weary voice, giving the doctor the thumbs up. She nods, then turns to me.

“Are we ready, Dad?” Dr. Culley asks.

“Ready,” I assure her.

“I hear that from fathers all the time and at the first sign of blood, they’re out cold on the floor.”

“That won’t be me,” I assure her while putting the ugly protective cap on my head.

“Okay, let’s get moving. Anna, as soon as you get to the OR, stop her epidural and assess. I’ll be there as soon as I change.” And she leaves.

“Mrs. Grey, you’re about to meet your babies, are you ready?” Anna’s voice is comforting and encouraging.

“More than ready,” Butterfly confirms as she adjusts herself in the bed. Anna, who is now dressed like me, calls for assistance to roll Butterfly’s bed out of the room. I stop to assess the scene in the birthing suite as Butterfly rolls by. All of our family and friends are scattered between the two sitting rooms in the suite. Even Maxine and Phil are here with their baby. I look over at the dining table and there’s my brother—no Valerie, but Elliot is here. He rises from his seat and gives me a huge hug, which I feverishly return.

“Thank you,” I whisper in his ear.

“Bros before hoes,” he whispers back, giving me a squeeze before releasing me to join my wife.

*-*

Okay, things really move quickly once we get into the OR. That epidural is stopped and the pain starts in something like three minutes. Just like that, the show is on. Butterfly is sobbing through the pain with her oxygen mask on, but she follows all of the doctor’s current and prior instructions. She never once cries out and is an excellent pusher. Thirteen minutes after we roll into the OR, Mackenzie Anastasia Grey is born at 6 pounds and 7 ounces and a final Apgar of 8 with a head full of red hair. She makes one quick cry of disapproval and just looks at her mother as if to say, “Hey! What gives?”

Butterfly doesn’t really get a chance to enjoy the comedy of the situation because Michael is being a bit stubborn. You want to stay up in there like your old man, huh, Mike? Sorry, son, but you’ve got to come out. It takes him a little longer to make his debut—twenty more minutes, in fact. I had never heard of a multiple birth taking that much longer and I was worried that he might have been in distress. He makes his presence known, though. Nothing like his demure, quiet, shy and retiring sister, Michael Allen Grey makes the rather long and loud announcement that he is not pleased to be ripped from his warm and quiet womb. As with Mackenzie, I’m able to cut his umbilical cord and he is placed immediately on his mother’s chest.

“Hey, you,” Butterfly says weakly. “What’s with all that noise? You and your counterpart over there have been playing Dodgeball with my insides for the last several months and you have the nerve to be displeased?” Michael instantly quiets, almost as if to say, “Yeah, I guess you’re right.”

Michael is taken from his mom just as quickly as Mackenzie. He’s a little light—only 4 pounds 15 ounces, but not a major concern. His Apgar is 7 but Dr. Culley assures me that there’s nothing to be concerned about. He’ll most likely gain weight just fine with the extracted colostrum and a little time in the neonatal unit.

“You did great, Mommy!” I tell my beautiful wife as I kiss her on the forehead.

“Thank you, Daddy,” she says, really exhausted now, her hair sticking to her face. “I don’t hear them crying.”

“Your babies are beautiful, Ana,” Dr. Culley says almost in response to Butterfly’s concern. “I should warn you that your little girl is over here flirting with Dr. Mays.”

Hey!

“That’s not funny,” I warn, and Butterfly chuckles a bit. Dr. Culley comes over to the bed.

“Your little boy is resting comfortably,” she says in a soothing tone. “He’s a little small—4-15, but that’s not terribly small. One ounce from five, so that’s good. He’s going to spend the night in Neonatal Intensive Care and we’ll see how he’s doing tomorrow. Remember, this is why we had you to expel the colostrum for just such a situation, but in my professional opinion, he’ll be just fine. He’s got a good, healthy color, strong lungs as we all heard, and his Apgar is 7, so no need to worry.” She smiles and gives Butterfly a wink.

“Oh, okay…” She’s starting to fade.

“Let’s get her placenta delivered,” Dr. Culley says. “Ana, can you give me one more push?” What? It’s not over? A couple of pushes later and the placentae plop out into a small tub at my wife’s crotch.

Eew, that’s probably what made grown men pass out. I look down at my wife and she’s shaking… profusely!

“Dr. Culley!” My alarm causes the doctor to rush to her bedside. She puts her hand on Butterfly’s shoulder.

“Another blanket?” she says softly.

“Y-yes… p-please…” Butterfly answers wearily. Dr. Culley nods. They begin to clean her up and remove the stirrups.

“It’s normal, Mr. Grey. She’ll be fine,” Dr. Culley says with a nod. I look back down at my wife, who hasn’t stopped shaking yet. I feel a little like window dressing right now, not quite sure where I should be or what I should be doing. I watch in silence as my wife’s shaking body is cleaned as much as possible, her vaginal area stitched from the slight tearing, and her soiled gown replaced with a clean one. The entire process takes less than ten minutes—and I’m still standing here wondering what my purpose is. The next nine words I hear answer that question for me.

“Mr. Grey, would you like to hold your children?”

I freeze. Would I like to hold my children? You bet your sweet ass I’d like to hold my children! But… Butterfly…

“G-go,” she whispers when I turn my gaze back to her. “M-m-make sure… our ch-children… are o-o-k-kay.” She’s still shivering while they transfer her from the table to the bed, then quickly throw heated blankets on top of her. I turn around and two nurses are waiting patiently with two small bundles of linen. My heart swells as I instinctively position my arm for my daughter… my beautiful girl, Mackenzie. She’s heartbreakingly gorgeous. I can’t tell if she knows who I am, but she is just lying there in my arm and looking up at me. I’m so a goner. She just stares at me, her little eyes asking “So, what now?” I almost laugh until I remember that my other arm is empty. I position my arm for my son, and the second nurse places Michael in my arm. Michael—a strong name! It means “gift from God.” Michael is the archangel closest to God and responsible for carrying out His judgments; St. Michael is the patron saint of soldiers… a strong name, indeed. Michael started out a couple of steps behind his sister—born second and smaller—but right now, here sleeping and yawning in my arms with his mouth forming the perfect little “o,” he takes up just as much room in my heart as she does.

I’m warm and the room suddenly feels like it’s full of light. No, not light, sunshine… huge beaming rays of sunshine that warm and light the four corners of the earth!

daddy-holding-twins-02“Beautiful!” is all I can breathe. “H… hey, you two,” I push the words out of my mouth, unable to recognize my own voice. “I’m your dad,” I say in the same feeble voice. “Welcome to the world.” Mackenzie’s little non-seeing eyes say, “yeah, yeah, yeah, I so own you,” while Michael nuzzles into the blankets, his puckered mouth saying, “wake me when it’s feeding time.” I look back and forth between my children and sigh heavily.

“They’re beautiful, Butterfly,” I breathe, “perfect and beautiful.” I turn my gaze to my wife and she has stopped shaking and is fast asleep, resting with a content expression on her face.

“Perfect and beautiful,” I whisper to her sleeping form. They’re all perfect and beautiful—my gorgeous, strong, remarkable wife and my beautiful, healthy, wondrous children. I’m overwhelmed with how blessed and lucky I am at this moment. A tear escapes my eye and lands on Mackenzie’s blanket. Another one soon follows and before I know it, I’m weeping heavily—almost mournfully—over my children; my wondrous, glorious family.

All too soon, my babies are ripped from my arms and taken for their newborn tests and my beautiful wife is cashing in on a very much needed date with the sandman. I’m having a hard time composing myself when Dr. Culley comes over to me.

“Go take a walk,” she says softly. “Get something to drink. Get a bit of air. Tell your family the good news. Start with something wonderful, because your red eyes are going to make them think the worst.” I nod obediently, but try to dry my eyes. I look back at my Butterfly.

“She’ll be back in the suite in about twenty minutes.” I nod and lean down to my wife.

“Thank you,” I whisper tearfully in her ear, stroking her forehead gently so as not to wake her. “I love you, beautiful, beautiful, girl.” I kiss her softly before leaving the OR.

I find the nearest restroom and just take a moment to take a few deep breaths and compose myself. I look like shit. I remove the ridiculous blue cap from my head and splash some water on my face and swollen eyes. I dry my face with that horrible hard paper towel and leave the restroom. When I get beyond the OR doors, Chuck, Jason, and Lawrence are all standing there waiting for news. I can only nod and hope they understand what I’m trying to say. Just as I think I’m regaining my composure, part of the team from the OR bursts through the door, laughing and chatting and rolling my children right past me—Mackenzie in her bassinet and Michael in his incubator.

“Those are mine,” I choke, pointing at the two beautiful pink babies.

“No kiddin’?” Jason says, watching them roll my babies away for testing, talking and joking with one another. “Everything okay?” I know he’s referring to Michael in the incubator. I just nod. I’m getting choked up again and I’m trying to hold it together to tell our family and friends that everything is okay.

“Her Highness?” Jason asks, concerned, most likely perplexed by my emotions. I point to the OR doors and just nod. The collective sigh among the three of them is audible and the relief is palpable. Don’t worry, fellas, I’m upright so Ana is fine. If something were wrong with her, they would be rolling me out of that room!

I take a deep breath before I walk back into the birthing suite. All conversation stops when I enter. The suite is full of the usual suspects and you could hear an ant breathing in this room right now. In the sea of faces, my sight settles on my mother, her eyes caring and concerned—and I lose it all over again. I’m weeping in the middle of the room in front of all of our family and friends. My mother is in front of me in moments.

“Christian,” she says, her voice anxious. She cups my face. “What is it?” Start with something wonderful, you blubbering idiot.

“They’re… beautiful, Mom,” I say through shuddering breaths. “They’re the… most… beautiful little creatures… I’ve ever seen… in my… l-life.” Come on, Grey. Pull yourself together…

“Jewel?” Allen’s is voice is laced with fear. Well, put him out of his misery, you moron!

“She’s… f-fine,” I manage to squeak out. “She’s… they’re getting…” I can’t for a complete sentence. “She’ll be here… in a… minute.” I barely get the last word out before I crumple to the floor. Pride be damned, I can’t hold it in anymore. I’ve been strong all this time—for my Butterfly, for my babies—and now my soul is wrenched from all the fear I’ve hidden, from the overwhelming love and emotion that’s taking over me, from the immense relief that’s flooding my soul. They’re taking over me as I sit here on the floor of this $8000 birthing suite, sobbing like a child. My dad and Elliot help me off the floor and into the bedroom, away from prying eyes. They deposit me on the loveseat and my mother sits next to me, cradling my head while I continue to cry tears of joy and relief.

*-*

I awake extremely rested. I didn’t know that I had fallen asleep. I’m curled up on the loveseat and someone has covered me with a warm blanket. Mom, no doubt. Butterfly is sitting up in bed flipping through channels and looking as fresh as a daisy, and as beautiful as a rose. Her brow is furrowed though. I sit up and stretch—no kinks, no cricks, no tight muscles… surprising. I roll my neck and look at her and her gaze is on me, now.

“Good morning,” she says, softly. “How do you feel?”

“Ravenous,” I growl. “How are you?” I ask, my voice softening, and suddenly I can’t wait to be near her.

“The same,” she says, scooting over and welcoming me into her bed. I put my arms around her and kiss her gently on the scar on her ear and then underneath her earlobe. My hands instinctively reach for the beans and I’m momentarily alarmed by her nearly-flat stomach confined in a hospital waist belt. I rub it and sigh.

“That’s gonna take some getting used to,” I say, smiling softly and looking down at my hand on her stomach.

“I know,” she says with a sigh, placing her hand over mine. “I felt the same way, but when I saw Mackenzie, it was all worth it.” My smile widens, then falls.

“You didn’t see Michael?” I ask.

“He’s still in NICU. I wanted to wait for you.” I nod. I think she’s needs support because she’s afraid of what she’ll see.

“He’s beautiful, baby,” I reassure her. “I tried to show you, but you were already asleep. You looked so angelic and after the ordeal you’d just had, I couldn’t wake you.”

“It wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be,” she admits. “Well, most of it wasn’t. I thought the labor was going to be much longer, but waking up to intense pain was not fun. I won’t have the 48-hour labor story, though, thank God.”

“Well, I’m going to rustle us up some food and see if I can rustle up our children.” I stand up and stretch. “Why were you frowning earlier?”

“Oh! Well, for upwards of $8000 a night, you would think we would be able to get some premium cable channels. I can only get basic and only the substandard channels at that.” I have to agree with her on that one.

“Let me look into that, okay? What do you want for breakfast?”

“I’m just hungry,” she shrugs. “Something delicious.” She smiles.

“Coming right up.” I go out into the sitting room and Allen and Elliot are both asleep on opposite sofas. I guess I should send out for breakfast for them, too. When I leave the room, Jason is just about to switch with Williams, who has been here all night with two other members of the security staff. Chuck has come with him, too.

“Good morning, sir,” Chuck greets. I appreciate that even with our newfound friend-and-family relationship, he—like Jason—can fall back into professionalism as needed.

“Good morning. Back on duty?” I ask.

“Not just yet, sir… our version of a ride-along to get me back in the swing of things.”

“Keri?” The light immediately leaves his eyes, but he tries not to show it.

“She’ll be leaving in two weeks. She has stayed as long as she possibly could and she has to get back. She has a job and a life, you know… family and friends…” I realize that he’s saying this more for himself than for me. I nod. I don’t want to make it any harder on him, so I just nod.

“Maybe his ride-alongs can wait another week or so,” I say to Jason as discretely as possible. “It’s going to be rough on him when she leaves. Let him spend time with her.” Jason turns a scrutinizing eye to me.

“You’re getting soft,” he mumbles.

“Shut the fuck up and do what I said,” I growl. “And my wife is hungry, and so am I… and I’ve got two freeloaders lying on sofas in there, so you may want to get them something, too.”

“The beloved Mrs. Taylor and some of the staff are way ahead of you. They should be here very soon with a special push breakfast for Her Highness.” Push breakfast. That reminds me… I need to put some fire under my push gifts. I should have had them ready by now, but I was so sure I would have a little more time even though Dr. Culley warned us that the twins would most likely be born early. “Earth to Christian…”

Jason snaps me out of my train of thought and I realize that I’ve been daydreaming.

“I’m going to the nursery. I’ll be right back.”

“Do you need an escort, sir?” Lawrence asks. I shake my head.

“I think it’s okay,” I say before taking the long hallway to where my little princess is residing. I can hardly wait to see her again, but when I turn the two corners to get to the nursery, a very unwelcome sight greets me.

Valerie is there—gazing into the window. Her hands and face are pressed so hard against the glass that you would think she was looking at her own babies.

“You’re a beautiful, beautiful little girl,” she says just above a whisper. “I’m your godmother, even though you don’t know it yet and it may never be official, but I’m going to love you anyway. I’ll love you from afar and I’ll take you places and buy you special things that’ll be just between us when you come to visit your Uncle Elliot.” She smiles widely. “I never dreamed you would be so beautiful. I’m glad that I was here to see you. It may be a while before I meet you in person because King Christian thinks I’m the devil and Queen Ana hates me so much…”

Now, she’s right about how I feel right now, but Ana? Ana doesn’t hate her. Ana never hated her. In fact, Ana’s still really hurting over the breakdown of their friendship. Something is so not right with this picture, but I don’t have the time to analyze it myself and as much as I want to get my hands on my daughter, something won’t allow me to interrupt Valerie’s exchange. Instead, I walk around the long way to the neonatal ICU to check on my little prince.

“He’s doing wonderfully, Mr. Grey,” the intern says as she walks with me to Michael’s incubator. “He’s taking his colostrum very well and his coloring looks much better. We were a bit concerned about his extremities—they were a little more blue than usual, but he pinked up very nicely overnight. He has a healthy set of lungs, too, and he’s opening his eyes more today.” Just when she says that, I look down and he’s looking at me… or at least I’d like to think he’s looking at me. I know that he can’t see much beyond maybe a blob about a foot in front of him, but those little non-seeing eyes are on his old man right now.

“Hey, little guy,” I say, bringing my face as close to the incubator as possible. “I hear you’re doing really well. That’s the Grey blood in you, son. You hurry and put on some weight so we can get you out of this thing, okay?”

He wiggles a bit, then settles again and I would like to think he somewhat understood what his dad was saying. My mind knows better, but my heart won’t listen. I choose to go with my heart right now.

I spend a few more minutes with my baby boy before thanking the intern and heading back to the nursery for Mackenzie. I’ve given Valerie enough time to bond with my baby. When I get there, Valerie is gone and so is Mackenzie. I knock on the nursery door.

“Baby Girl Grey?” I ask when the nurse opens the door.

“Oh, they took her to be fed. She should be with her mom right now. Are you the father?”

“Yes,” I say, trying not to show my relief too much. She nods.

“She has your hair. It’s going to get a little darker as she gets older, but when the sun hits it, it’s going to shine just like it is right now. My husband’s a redhead, too, so our son came out quite the little ginger.” She laughs. I return her smile.

“Thank you,” I say before leaving the nursery room door and returning to my wife’s side.

The food has arrived and Gail, Marilyn, and Ms. Solomon are setting up at the dinette table. I’m ravenous and the food smells so good, but I have to see Mackenzie first. I knock on the bedroom door, which is now closed, before barging in. The sight that greets me is enough to bring any man to a crumpled mess on the floor all over again.

breastfeeding-mackenzieMy wife is breastfeeding our daughter.

She hasn’t noticed that I’d entered the room as she is focused solely on Mackenzie. She’s cooing at our baby, who is hungrily feasting on her mother’s nipple while holding on to Butterfly’s thumb with the strength of Solomon.

“That’s my good girl,” Butterfly coaches gently, though I don’t think Minnie Mouse here really needs any coaching. I stand against the door, gazing at my girls for I don’t know how long until our solace is disrupted by a knock on the door.

“Quit hogging the baby and open the door before the food gets cold!” Of course, it’s Allen. That man needs a kid, I swear.

“My wife is exposed, so you’ll just have to wait,” I tell him.

“What? It’s too soon to be doing the nasty!” he scolds. I’m about to retort, but Butterfly silences me.

“Just stop,” she says, softly. “He’s been working for you for a year and you don’t know that you’re just egging him on?” she laughs. “Besides, I think we’re done here.” She positions Minnie Mouse and gently rubs her back until she gives up gas. “Good girl,” she says. “All done?” She tries to latch Minnie back on, but my daughter has had her fill.

“Were you watching us the whole time?” she asks and she closes her robe.

“I was,” I respond. “You looked so beautiful… I couldn’t turn away and I dare not disturb you.” She smiles again.

“You’re so sweet, Christian.”

“And you’re remarkable,” I say, smiling back at her. “Should I let the ruffians in? They come bearing edibles.”

“Oh God, yes, please!” she exclaims. I open the door and Allen is the first to lead the charge. He has two hefty plates stacked with everything I saw on the table for Butterfly’s gourmet push breakfast:

Baked currant doughnuts; semolina pancakes with honey; butterscotch sticky buns; a wheat breakfast burrito with scrambled eggs, turkey bacon, feta cheese, and spinach; eggs benedict with smoked salmon and hollandaise; cinnamon and brown sugar brioche French toast with Nutella and fresh fruit; and chicken-apple sausage. Marilyn is right behind him with fresh squeezed orange juice and coffee.

“No, I’m not hungry, but thank you,” I say sarcastically as Allen breezes by me. He turns around and glares at me.

“When you push two human beings out of your genitals, I’ll bring you breakfast in bed.” He ceremoniously turns back to Butterfly, placing her plates on a nearby rolling tray. “These are for my Jewel. I didn’t know what you might have a taste for, so I brought you some of everything.”

“I just may eat it all!” Butterfly groans. “I feel like I haven’t eaten in weeks.”

“Well,” he places flatware on the tray and rolls it over to Butterfly, “you take the food and give me my goddaughter.” He looks over at me. “May I, Mr. Grey?” I nod once.

“By all means, Mr. Forsythe,” I reply. Butterfly gently hands our daughter over to Allen, who becomes lost in “Cooville” in a nanosecond. Butterfly digs into breakfast, groaning with every bite. She worked very hard to bring our children into the world. She can have whatever she wants.

“Elliot?” I say, capturing my brother’s attention. “Can I talk to you for a sec?” Elliot’s expression is a combination of confused and concerned, but he follows me out of the suite into the hallway.

“What’s up, Bro?” he asks.

“Elliot, I think your girlfriend needs a psychiatrist.” Elliot sighs

“Look, Christian, I’m very aware of how you feel about Val. Can we not do this right now?”

“Please, Elliot, hear me out.” His demeanor changes immediately. I don’t know why, but I can only assume it was my tone of voice.

“Okay,” he acquiesces.

“You saw how she treated Butterfly at Christmas. It was no secret. It was like she loathed her. Butterfly never responded once, but Valerie just wouldn’t stop until I checked her. Then she acted like she had no idea what I was talking about.”

“I remember!” he snaps, as a means of shutting me up.

“You’re with her all the time. You see it, too. You know what I’m talking about.” He doesn’t respond. He just put his hand on his neck. “When I went to the nursery to get Mackenzie, Valerie was there at the window talking to her. She didn’t see me. She talked about how much she loves Mackenzie and that she’s still going to be Mackenzie’s godmother even though—and I quote—‘Queen Ana’ hates her so much.’” Elliot frowns deeply.

“What?” He’s truly shocked by this revelation. “Ana doesn’t hate her…”

“You and I know that! Butterfly knows that! Valerie doesn’t!” I declare. “Valerie is not attacking Ana when she sees her. It’s attack in the form of defense! Valerie is defending herself. I don’t know if she’s bipolar, schizophrenic, or just plain delusional, but something’s not right in the belfry!”

“Christian…”

“Elliot, something is wrong!”

“You don’t think I know that?” he hisses at me. “I’ve tried to talk to her! I tried! Now she’s pushing me away!” He knows. Shit, of course he knows. “I love her, man. I love her…” He’s fighting his emotions. This is not a repeat of Katherine Kavanaugh. Something is really wrong and Elliot is miserable.

“Is there anything I can do? Any way I could help?” I hate to see my brother like this. I must admit, absolutely nothing panned out from the tail I had on her, so I just had it stopped. It was a waste of time and money. He shakes his head.

“I don’t even know,” he admits. “I don’t even know what to do. You could do one thing for me.”

“Sure, Bro. Anything you need.”

“You can explain to Ana what you just explained to me,” he beseeches me. “She doesn’t hate Ana. I know she doesn’t. I just don’t know what’s wrong.” I nod.

“Sure thing, Elliot.” I pat him on the shoulder.

“I’m going to go and find her… and we’re going home, okay?” I nod.

“Do you want to take some food with you?” I offer. “It’s enough to feed an army.” He shakes his head.

“No, we’re just gonna go,” he says, defeated. “I’m glad Ana Montana and the babies are okay.”

“Thanks again for coming. I really appreciate it. And Elliot… please do what you can to get her some help.”

“I’ll do what I can,” he says as he sulks away down the hall. I sure hope he figures out what’s going on with his girl. At first, I thought she was just being a bitch, but what you say and do when you think no one’s watching makes all the difference in the world. I’m sure that there’s something going on that none of us knows about.

While I’m out here, I remember Butterfly’s television situation.

“Excuse me, nurse?”

“Yes, sir?” the nurse at the station greets me.

“I don’t mean to be a nitpicker, but we’re paying a hefty sum for this room, and my wife can’t get HBO?” She sighs.

“Yes, sir, unfortunately that’s true. The administration is working on it, but right now, every room gets the same basic cable package. We can’t get different signals to different rooms. She does have a blue ray player in the entertainment center underneath the flat screen, and we have a very large selection of DVDs if that will help.” I nod.

“I see. I’ll find out what she wants to do.” I turn around and go back to Butterfly’s suite, torn between the sympathy I feel for my brother and the glee I feel at the birth of my children.


A/N: So alas, the day has finally come. I hope you have enjoyed the birth of Christian and Ana’s children and look forward to the adventures yet to come in their lives. 

God Gave Me You—Bryan White… The song Christian was singing to Ana while she was in labor.

You can find the song 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 🙂 
Lynn X