fbiPeople don’t know that with these arguments about Ana and Marilyn and Christian, you’re just proving my point—that Ana and anything that she was before Christian should just “fade to black” because she married him. No matter how the argument is presented, it still comes out to be the same thing. I’m not going to continue explaining that Marilyn doesn’t have to take shit from Christian because he married Ana and he has money. She doesn’t work for him. If you don’t like it, suck it up.
Something else people need to realize is that Ana and Marilyn’s relationship is only the same as Christian and Andrea’s to the degree that they are both PA’s. ANDREA DOESN’T COME TO FOOD AND LIBATIONS! There’s no damn anti-Christian conspiracy going on here! Ana and Marilyn are friends… she calls her “Mare!” She sees her every day! Am I mistaken that I’m the only one who may vent to my friends (or my Mom) about my husband sometimes? I may not give all the intimate details, but I may shoot one off because I need to talk to someone AND have terms of “endearment” for his different attitudes. That doesn’t mean that I disrespect him… that means that I don’t want my head to explode! If that’s just me, well, I guess that’s just me. I must be just lucky that my husband hasn’t left me after 15 years…
Get ready to hate Ana some more because “Paging Dr. Steele” Ana is back and feistier than ever! Please just move on if you feel you can’t tolerate that.
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 60—Back to Shore
“I really appreciate you gentlemen accommodating me,” I say to the two men who look back at me from my laptop screen.
“It’s no problem, Mrs. Grey,” one of them answers curtly. “It’s not often that we receive a call like this from the actual owner of the company. So, we thought it best to investigate immediately.” The Attorney General’s office was the first meeting of the morning. Gasko and Bianchi were told to give me their unquestioned and unlimited cooperation and now, they sit in a conference room at GEH along with Alex and the two gentlemen from the AG’s office, Mr. Kokinos and Mr. Peters. Al is spending the day at the Crossing with me to handle the conference calls that I will be hosting except for the IRS, who insist on meeting in person. “We’re a bit surprised not to see your husband present, however.”
“That would be because his presence is not required,” I say impassively. “Although my current physical condition prevents me from being able to attend this meeting in person, I’m perfectly capable of explaining the discoveries of my audit team without the assistance of my husband.”
“That wasn’t the implication, Mrs. Grey,” Mr. Kokinos says. “I was only alluding to the fact that Mr. Grey was not present to present the facts himself for one of his subsidiaries.” Alex shifts uncomfortably in his seat and I can tell he’s expecting a slight showdown. Settle down, Alex.
“Oh, I see,” I acknowledge. “Well, as previously indicated, Mr. Grey’s presence is not required because this is not one of Mr. Grey’s subsidiaries. This company is wholly and solely owned by me. It was originally our intention to absorb the company into Grey Enterprises Holdings Incorporated as one of our subsidiaries, but as you can see, the internal audit revealed some discrepancies that will make that an impossibility now.” Mr. Peters’ eyebrows rise.
“Your subsidiaries,” he says, a statement, not a question. “You have an interest in GEH as well?”
“Currently, yes,” I respond. “I’m a partial owner of the company.” Kokinos and Peters throw incredulous looks at one another, attempting and failing miserably to be inconspicuous.
“Currently?” Peters says. “Is that subject to change soon?” I sigh quickly and fold my hands on the desk in front of me.
“With all due respect, gentlemen, we’re getting off topic here. Our current focus shouldn’t be on GEH at all, but on Edwise Software and Programming—my unfortunate inherited mess that I would like to turn over to you for investigation.” Both men straighten a bit, having realized that they slipped into comfortable interest about GEH and veered the conversation away from the topic at hand.
“Excuse me, Mrs. Grey,” Mr. Peters says, sincerely as an apology. “It’s just that I don’t think I’ve ever seen a situation where a man amasses an empire like Mr. Grey has and willingly signs over a portion of it to his new wife.”
“That makes two of us, Mr. Peters,” I say with an ironic smirk. “I told him that he was out of his mind when I saw the prenuptial agreement, but he insisted.” Both gentlemen again show visual expression of ill-repressed shock. “Believe me when I tell you that many people respond with the same morbid curiosity—no offense—when they discover that I’m half owner of GEH.”
“Half!” Kokinos breathes, not as quietly as he would have liked.
“Yes, Mr. Kokinos, half,” I repeat, acknowledging that I had heard him. “Christian wanted me to know that what was his also belonged to me. I already knew that. I didn’t need him to sign his company over to me as proof, which is something that we are currently negotiating. Having said that, I hope I have curbed your curiosity concerning your questions about my stake in GEH and we can now get back to Edwise. I feel that the longer we sit on this situation, the more of a festering pestilence it becomes. Is that okay with you gentlemen?” My voice is firm, but professional. I don’t want to talk about my husband’s company anymore.
“I’m sorry, Mrs. Grey, it’s just such an incredulous situation…” and Peters continues like I didn’t just say in so many words that I was done talking about my husband and his company. Now is the time to employ Christian’s impassive stare while he continues his rambling—or baiting, as it were—and when he’s finished, he’s met with several moments of utter silence. He frowns at my lack of response.
“Mrs. Grey?” he asks. I still wait, making sure that he’s said all that he wants to say about my husband’s decision to make GEH a jointly-owned company. “Mrs. Grey, are you okay?”
“Oh yes, I’m fine,” I say, a little too sweetly, “I’m just waiting for you to purge; get it out of your system.”
“Well, that comment was unnecessary,” Peters injects.
“On the contrary, it was highly necessary,” I retort. “I’ve attempted several times to steer this conversation away from irrelevant topics and back to the reason why I had our head of security contact you in the first place and each time, you have directed this conversation back to irrelevant topics like a daytime talk show host chasing a story. So, I thought I’d just allow you to exhaust that topic until you’re finished.”
“We’re only trying to get to the facts, Mrs. Grey,” Kokinos responds, attempting to regain some control of the situation on their end.
“And that’s fine,” I say with a shrug. “I’ll be glad to interject once we get to the facts as they relate to the case at hand. Until then, feel free to chat amongst yourselves about whatever other topics you deem necessary or favorable. However,” I glance at my watch, “please be mindful that I also have meeting scheduled with the IRS and the FBI.” I fold my hands in front of me again and sit silently, waiting.
“I’m detecting a hint of hostility, Mrs. Grey, and I’m not sure where it’s coming from. We’ve been nothing but professional during this meeting.”
“I’m not one to question your professionalism, Mr. Kokinos, but what you’re detecting is impatience. I initiated contact with you because I found evidence of a crime—several, in fact—in a company that I acquired. The company is an LLC, which means I acquired the assets, not the debts and certainly not the responsibility for the crimes committed by the previous owner. I’m handing it to you part and parcel, including the employees, so that you can follow the trails and see where they lead. If you don’t want it, then we can end this conversation right now. It’s my civic duty to let you know this is happening, but it’s not my legal obligation because I haven’t done anything wrong.
“I could have sold off all the assets, got as much of my settlement as possible, took the money and ran, and no one would be the wiser. I’m sure that’s what the previous owner was hoping that’s I would do, because then all evidence of his crime would have been covered or destroyed. But if you’re too busy for this or too infatuated with Grey Enterprises to be concerned about this tiny little matter of multiple RICO violations, I can still do that!”
Al reaches over and touches my hand to calm me before I let loose the dragon. Professional, my ass! Who is he trying to fool? Is he trying to find something against GEH in all of this? What’s the fascination? Well, search though you may, you won’t find a thing but us replacing the money we took from the company to donate to Helping Hands, and that’s thoroughly documented. Al hasn’t said anything throughout the meeting, but he can see that I am quickly losing my patience with these people. Noting this gesture of tenderness, Peters now sees another bone to gnaw on like a catty little gossiping bitch. Professional… yeah, right!
“Just so that we can have the information for the record, who is the gentleman to your right?” he asks, almost accusing.
“Oh him? This…” I put my hand on top of Al’s and squeeze. “… Is my best friend of fifteen years, Allen Forsythe.” A knowing look passes between Kokinos and Peters. “He’s also my attorney and sitting legal counsel for Grey Enterprises Holdings,” I add with a little sharpness. The knowing smirks on their faces fall and they’re both taken aback a bit. If I didn’t know better, I would swear that they were twins, attached by an invisible string of some sort as their reactions are so similar and almost simultaneous. I look at my watch and realize that twenty precious minutes have been wasted on bullshit. No more asking for permission. I’m moving this fucking meeting along.
“Gentlemen,” I say, releasing Al’s hand and opening the portfolio in front of me. Al does the same with the one in front of him. “I inherited Edwise Software and Programming as a settlement in a lawsuit. If you direct your attention to the documents in front of you, you will find that the first document in the portfolio is court docket 3:16-JU-154-KI-015 from December 20, 2013…”
I take control of the meeting and run through the events that led to me acquiring ownership of Edward’s company and finding out about his dirty dealings. Kokinos and Peters are as shocked as Gasko and Bianchi were last evening to see that I can identify the various RICO violations found in the internal audit report even though I inform them that we didn’t pursue the trail for fear of retaliation from the parties at the ultimate destination. Neither of them speak for the next twenty minutes while I outline the basic information in the reports. I had studied them first thing this morning when Gasko emailed them to me to make sure that I was ready for the meeting. The hell if I was going to be window dressing at this little gathering. My need to be an active participant—no, a driving force—was further fueled by the reaction of the representatives from the AG’s office to me being part owner of GEH.
I’m more than just a pretty face, gentlemen.
“I think I’ve given you ample background and the framework that you need to pursue your investigation, gentlemen,” I say after I have outlined the situation surrounding the cause for the meeting.
“Indeed, you have,” Kokinos says, in slight stunned amazement.
“At this point, I’ll turn the floor over to Mr. Gasko and Mr. Bianchi for further elaboration on the audit reports.” I mute the microphone and sit back comfortably in my seat, watching and listening to the meeting between the gentlemen as they hash out important details needed to initiate the investigation into Edward’s business dealings.
“Did you have to hand them their asses so thoroughly, Jewel?” Al says in a mirthful tone.
“It is what it is,” I tell him. “I have a stigma attached to me, Al. I’m a billionaire’s new bride, I’m physically attractive, and I just had twins. While all these things should be assets to most people, they put me at a severe disadvantage. Either I’m frail or I’m weak or I’m hormonal or I’m a gold-digger or I’m a social climbing trophy wife. I’m fighting an uphill battle before I even open my mouth. Even you didn’t stand up yesterday when I dismissed you guys from that room and I’m half owner of the company that you work for.” He winces.
“Yeah, about that… I’m sorry, Jewel…” he begins. I hold my hand up to silence him.
“Don’t apologize. You didn’t know.”
“I knew!” he defends. “I helped to draw up the prenup, remember?”
“You knew in word, not in deed,” I tell him. “Nobody knew in deed. I don’t even think Christian knew in deed.” Al furrows his brow. “Yeah, that’s why we’re in negotiations now.”
“Negotiations? What the fuck does that mean?”
“I don’t want his company if he doesn’t want to give it to me. I don’t want him resenting me in ten years for a decision that he made today.”
“Um, Jewel, you can’t back out of a prenup unless Christian agrees to do it. Forcing him to do it is going to cause more resentment than just keeping the company. Is giving up your share of a multi-billion-dollar company worth that?” My shoulders sag. Fuck! I just want to give the man back his goddamn company.
“He doesn’t want you to give this company back, Jewel. He knew what he was doing when he gave it to you.”
“No, he didn’t,” I tell him. “He thought he did, but he didn’t. In his mind, when he signed those papers, when he did this deed, he sat in the big seat and I stood behind him—supporting him, loving him, and reaping the benefits of the hard work as his wife, as part of the team. I would have done that anyway. I would have supported and loved him no matter what, whether my name was on that paper or not. But when the possibility, the reality, came to light of me sitting in the seat next to him, making decisions, giving orders, and running the company with him, he froze. The very true reality of this is that from where I sit, I could one day take over GEH, but I’m not trying to do that. All I was trying to do was dismiss a meeting of men who had gathered to discuss my company, and he took issue with me doing that.”
I look at the screen and listen briefly to the men who are now productively combing through the reports and findings of the internal audit.
“I’m at a tremendous disadvantage and I had to turn into a ball-busting barracuda just to get them to listen to me. I almost snatched the whole thing back and said, ‘forget it.’”
“You wouldn’t have done that,” Al challenges.
“Yes, I would’ve,” I retort. “I would’ve done it just to be spiteful. That one has an ax to grind or he’s looking for his big case.” I point to Peters.
“For God’s sake, Jewel, stop pointing!” Al exclaims.
“No, I want him to see me. He doesn’t know that I’m pointing at him. He just knows that I’m pointing at the screen, but he has a good idea that I’m pointing at him.” When I hear that the talking has stopped, I turn to the computer and most of the men are looking at me. I unmute the microphone.
“I didn’t hear a question directed at me. Did you gentlemen need me for something?” I ask sweetly.
“Uh, no… but if we’re keeping you from something else…” Peters trails off.
“Oh, you mean the side discussion that I was having with my legal counsel that’s subject to attorney/client privilege?” I ask, knowing that I’m further egging him on. His eyes narrow infinitesimally, but I see it. “I’m perfectly capable of multitasking, Mr. Peters, so please, carry on. And don’t worry. All official meetings on Grey Enterprises premises are recorded, so if I do miss anything, I’ll be able to see it later.” He clears his throat.
“Very well.” He turns his attention back to the group. “As I was saying in reference to the findings on page 45…” I mute the microphone again.
“Why do you keep poking at that man?” Al asks.
“Because I don’t know what he’s after,” I say, “and I want him to thoroughly, thoroughly comb through those records and not find it! He’s going to rip that company apart, all the way down to the very first program he ever sold and the very first employee he ever hired. He’s going to be digging and searching and looking for something that he’s not going to find, but he’s going to find every dirty deal that Edward ever made. Maybe then, he’ll have his big fish.” Al smiles a fiendish smile.
“You’re an evil woman,” he says.
“You ain’t seen nothin’ yet.”
The meeting with the FBI is pretty much the same as the meeting with Kokinos and Peters. Two puffed-up, overdressed, self-important members of the Boys Club sit at the conference table with Alex, Gasko, and Bianchi waiting for Christian to arrive and take control of the meeting. The difference this time is that I immediately turn on the barracuda and refuse to entertain any discussion about GEH. I comb through the reports quickly and turn the meeting over to Gasko and Bianchi, weary of the attitude of these chauvinistic assholes who feel that I can’t handle this situation on my own. If I had any doubts before, I’m sure now. I want nothing to do with the business world.
I’m almost dreading the meeting with the IRS this afternoon. Christian has decidedly stayed away from everything all day—the meetings, the offices, even lunch with me and Al. I didn’t even see him when I went to check on the children. I don’t know if he’s sulking or planning. I go to our bedroom and change out of the smart shirt, pencil skirt and pumps I had worn for the first two meetings into a sports bra, yoga pants, a pair of footies and leg warmers and finish with one of the brightly colored belly wraps and a warm-up jacket. I put my hair in a looped pony tail and grab a towel. I plan to do yoga the moment these men leave.
I run into Marilyn in the entertainment room while I’m standing at Atlantis before heading back to my office. She frowns at my attire.
“I thought you still had the meeting with the IRS,” she says.
“I do,” I reply. “Nobody cares how I look. Nobody even cares about me. They barely care about the information that I have. I’m wishing I had just disposed of the assets and donated the funds.”
“No, you’re not,” Marilyn says. “First of all, even though you’re dealing with assholes, you know that if you had done that, David would have gotten away with what he had been doing all these years. You know he was hoping that’s what you would have done. And second, you wouldn’t have been able to live with that decision. He needs to pay for what he did, and one way or another, now he will.” I sigh.
“Those meetings were nothing short of dogfights,” I tell her. “I was a snarling bitch, claws out, bearing my teeth, aiming for the jugular. I have nothing to gain from this. I’m too tired for this shit. While I’m trying to impress upon them the importance of following the trail of this corruption to wherever it may lead, they’re all worried about the almighty Christian and why he would give half his company to me!”
“So, let them worry!” she says. “In the meantime, they’ll sniff out this dog and any of his cohorts and make them pay for what they did. And if they don’t, well at least that shit is out of your hands.” She shrugs. “I spent the entire morning with Vee and His Majesty coordinating your schedule so that we could all get together on what appearances you might be available for.” I frown.
“In his den. He thought it better that we not meet in his office so as not to disturb you and Al through the aquarium.” The den… I didn’t even think about the den.
“I thought I said that I would be approving my appearances,” I say.
“He didn’t approve or deny anything, Ana. He was just there helping to coordinate the possible appearances. I didn’t think him knowing was going to be an issue… was I wrong?” I pinch the bridge of my nose and sigh.
“No, you’re not wrong,” I say. “It’s just been a trying day and it’s not even over yet. Just don’t let him influence any of the decisions. Of course, well discuss them, but I have the final say.”
“Understood, Bosslady.” She put her hand on my shoulder. “You’re wound too tight, too soon after the babies have been born. I think you need to hurry up and put this thing to rest and move on to something else.” I nod.
“I think you’re right,” I reply. She heads off to my office and I turn in the other direction and go back up to the nursery. I attach a boob to the breast pump and start expressing milk while simultaneously calling Al down in my office.
“Why are you calling me instead of being down here?” he says.
“To tell you that the meeting is moving to the dining room. I’ll send one of the staff down to help you bring the files and the laptop if you need help. I’m expressing milk right now.” There’s a moment of silence.
“What’s wrong, Jewel?”
“What’s right, Al?” I reply. “Why should doing the right thing and turning this information over to these agencies be such a goddamn headache?”
“Maybe you should let me do the talking with the IRS,” he suggests.
“Yeah, maybe I should,” I agree. I need to be a driving force in some areas of my life, but this clearly wasn’t it. All I needed to do was drop this on someone’s desk and walk away. I didn’t really need to be front and center in this issue, only to be seen so it didn’t appear that I was hiding. That’s what I’ll be doing at this next meeting.
“I’ll get set up in the dining room and see you shortly. Marilyn is down here—we can manage.”
“Sure. Thanks, Al.” I end the call and continue to express my milk.
Sitting in a comfortable lotus position in the empty room on the second floor that will one day be the children’s play room, I just start breathing and concentrating on my pelvic and Kegel muscles as these as the ones that took the most strain and did the most work during labor. Dr. Culley told me that I could begin gentle focus on these muscles and get back into my routine if as long as I’m comfortable. I could have actually started one week after delivery, but I didn’t want to rush it. Rolling onto all fours, I continue my routine, alternating dropping my belly and curling my spine. The entire time, I’m thinking about the meetings of the day and whether anything productive is really going to come from them or not.
The AG meeting seemed to be productive only after I shut my mouth and muted the microphone. The FBI was pretty much the same, only because I refused to entertain conversation about Christian and GEH at all, stated the facts, then allowed the gentlemen to continue combing through and mulling over the information without any further input from me. I remained mostly mute during the IRS meeting after my introduction. They weren’t as cold to me as the other guys and not as interested in GEH or Christian, more concerned about the information that we had gathered, thank God.
Al had looked at me like I grew two heads, no doubt because I showed up in workout gear instead of the business attire I had donned for the previous meetings. After I introduced myself, I sat quietly by while Al conducted the meeting and Gasko and Bianchi only too happily contributed information needed by teleconference. At one point, one of the revenue officers—I didn’t bother trying to remember their names—questioned if I was okay. I answered honestly that the entire ordeal had been very trying for me and I was more than a little anxious to wash my hands of it. When they questioned about how I felt about effectively losing my entire settlement, I answered,
“Gentlemen, this has never been about money. Even if it were, I married a billionaire, so it really doesn’t matter, does it?”
After that question, I excused myself and asked that they direct any further questions about the case to Al and he would relay any necessary information to me, then left without a word. The barracuda was officially out of this round.
Moving on to alternating leg and arm bends and stretches, my thoughts move on to Christian and the fact that he has pretty much been radio silent since last night. He talked some at dinner after I told him that I didn’t want to be part owner of GEH if he didn’t really want me to, then he escaped to his office and I haven’t seen him since. I don’t know if he came to bed because I fell asleep without him, slept like the dead, and woke alone as well. I didn’t even wake to feed the children—Gail and Christian must have done it, or just Gail, I’m not sure. I saw the evidence of the disposable bottles this morning, but I don’t know who did the honors. These next few nights, I’m going to make it a point to get up and feed my children.
As I move into my concentrated pelvic exercises and core foundation focus, I begin to relax and feel more like my old self… physically, anyway. Mentally, I can’t help thinking that I had hit the nail on the head when I said that Christian would resent giving me part of his company. Now, I find out that getting out of the prenuptial agreement is not as easy as I thought it would be, and after today, I really don’t want anything to do with the business end of anything!
After half an hour of light yoga and core concentration, I still feel caged and tense. If it weren’t the dead of winter—or we had an indoor pool—I would go swimming. Alas, that’s not an option. The one thing that I can do to free myself… is dance. I can’t gyrate like I would in a nightclub, but my mind wanders back to the time when I didn’t know what I wanted to do or be—when that damn career counselor told me that psychology just may be my calling. That same day, I saw a video on YouTube—a song by Angel Grant called “Little Red Boat.”
I sit down in a corner of the big empty room and open YouTube on my phone and search for the video. I find the version with the lyrics as well as the video version and I watch them both… one to remind me of the words that I used to listen to over and over again when I felt lost, floating, and—like Angel—trying to get back to shore; the other to absorb the fluid movements I remember of the beautiful bronze-colored woman with henna-decorated hands. That was the first time I had seen henna, and she had it on her palms. It added to the delicateness of her movement. I took my iPod out of the dock that was in the wall of nearly every room of the house and searched for the song on iTunes. Finding it, I put it on repeat and let it pipe softly through the intercom speakers.
A sucker for adventure,
I’m headed somewhere and somewhere is meant for me,
Don’t need no map to guide me,
Wherever I end up is where I’ll be.
Goin’ somewhere, nowhere fast,
As I drift further, I see the past forced behind me
If I don’t reach land tonight,
I’ll drown in my own insecurity
I remember only too well how those words defined that 19-year-old girl who had no idea where she was going or what she was doing, searching for some kind of beacon of light in the darkness, some kind of purpose and acceptance after everything that she had known appeared to be fleeting… failing… a fraud or a huge betrayal…
Stuck out here by myself,
I’m blindly rushing to something I can’t see,
High tide with sharks around,
Send out an S.O.S., come rescue me
My life looks greener now,
What I wished for all turned out to be tumbleweed
The sweet turned salty on me
I guess I paid the price for being free
I never really understood that part, never really related to it… until this moment. Oh, I was only too familiar with feeling alone, lost, and forlorn and rushing towards a goal that I couldn’t see—surrounded by enemies at every turn and crying and praying for someone to save me from the clutches of hell. What I couldn’t understand was her declaration of a greener life immediately followed by the realization that all she had hoped for was really barren and distasteful.
Then I thought of my one true friend that helped to lead me out of the tunnel who now couldn’t stand the sight of me; the one love that I thought would redeem me from the years of hatred I had been subjected to only to throw me into a different kind of hatred—mingled with low self-esteem—and then top it all off by unloading a rotten apple on me, festering with maggots that I have to turn over to a bunch of high-nosed, stiff-shouldered suits that would rather smoke cigars and pat one another on the backs than be forced to sit in my presence.
Now, my husband—my ultimate redemption—has spent the day blatantly avoiding me because I have brought something to his attention that I don’t think even he knew, and now he has to come to grips with it… and I have to let him. I can’t be angry… or spiteful… or catty… and I can’t force his hand. I just have to let him do what he needs to do. We had been connecting beautifully, magically, every day and last night, we didn’t. I’m not even certain that he came to bed. In the meantime, I’m having a really hard time finding my way, locating my chi. This is something that not even Ace can help me with, I’m certain of it, which is why I cancelled my session with him today. Talking to him right now would only be a sounding board, and my thoughts are going too fast for that. I have to tame them before I try to organize them, and I only know one way to do that…
The song starts over and I raise my hands over my head like the singer did in the video. Spreading my legs and stretching my arms I let the music flow through me. I close my eyes and allow the music to reach my center. Once I feel it flowing through me, my arms become languid and I sway with the music and allow my arms to direct my body. Where it goes and what it does, I’m not sure; I just remember the fluid movements of the vocalist in the video as she tries to get back to shore in her boat and image that I’m doing the same thing.
I’m cradled in a kind of inner warmth as my movement and the words of the song become one. The truth of the despair along with the redemption of hope, seeking an escape from and a solution to the helplessness—it’s my life in a nutshell, the cycle it went through from Green Valley through my college years and finding myself in my career. The cycle began again with David’s reintroduction and the confusion that he brought into my life and left its mark with all the horrible milestones I’ve had to overcome since then, including having to let go of my mother; revisiting Green Valley; the kidnapping; the accident; the Pedophile; the breakup with Valerie; and all the little and huge hiccups during my relationship with Christian.
And once again, I’m trying to get back to shore.
Sailing in my little red boat prayin’ to God He will keep me afloat
While I’m sailing in my little red boat til I find my way…
To the things that I know, but I know I can’t stay here too long
But if every journey helps me grow, oh well, I’ll just keep moving on…
So, I guess that’s my answer, as it always has been… just keep moving on.
Trying to get back, trying to get back, trying to get back to shore…
Trying to get back, trying to get back, trying to get back to shore…
Trying to get back, trying to get back, trying to get back to shore…
Trying to get back, trying to get back, trying to get back to shore…
“Fucking hell! That deal cost us a goddamn fortune!” I curse into the phone.
“I know,” Ros laments into the phone. “But Thomlinson decided to go with Farwell instead…”
“… For less money, more conditions, higher cuts in staff,” I bite out.
“It probably has to do with Fairlane,” she suggests.
“It has everything to do with Fairlane!” I retort. “He’s trying to discredit me with his business contacts since his plan to feed me his poison company backfired on him. Now, he’s convinced Thomlinson to shoot himself in the foot just to spite me. Thomlinson doesn’t know that Fairlane got his payoff—or maybe he does and he just doesn’t care. They’re doing this shit out of loyalty. They want to take a hit, let them go ahead and do it. I can afford this shit; they can’t! For a billionaire, losing a couple of million is pennies. For the owner of a failing company, losing a couple of million is losing your goddamn safety net. Send them a sympathy arrangement with my condolences and compile a report of all the deals we have in progress with long-time colleagues of Fairlane LTD. If he wants a war, he’s got one!”
“That’s the Christian I want to hear!” she declares triumphantly. “I’ll get right on it. It’s good to see the bull’s horns again,” she adds with a laugh. “So, how’s Ana and the baby’s doing? Keeping you up at night?” My thoughts shift gears immediately.
“Not so much lately,” I admit. “The first two weeks after the babies were born, I was letting her get as much sleep as possible, but this last week, she’s been vigilant about the nighttime feedings. I think she wants to make sure that each child gets the same amount of breast time so that they don’t get nipple confused.”
“A concept that goes completely over my head,” she says with a laugh. “Cheryl and I haven’t even talked about having kids. I don’t think either of us even sees it on the horizon. I mean, if she ever decides that she wants to, then I’m open for it, but she has to carry the kid because that experience is nowhere on my agenda.” How did we get into this conversation? With nothing else to say after that, I reply,
She pauses for a moment, then breaks out into a throaty laugh.
“I like this new Christian,” she says. “You’ve loosened up a bit, but you haven’t lost your killer instinct. Any message for Fairlane?”
“Yeah, send him a diaper cake. He’ll know what it means.” Ros laughs.
“Hell, I know what it means. Wanna let me in on what you plan to do with the Fairlane companies?”
“Nothing really big. I’m going to be fair and give them the opportunity to drop out of deals before I lose pennies on them because they choose to be loyal to Fairlane. Any of them that want to tango with me, well, let’s just say that Thomlinson is about to be an example for them.”
“How so?” I ask.
“I have deals with Farwell… or have you forgotten?” I say with a smile. I can hear her smile through the phone.
“You’re devious, boss,” she says, gleefully.
“I know this,” I reply.
“Do you think Farwell will go through with the buy?” she asks.
“They might, I don’t know. It depends on how badly they want the company, but they don’t have the capital that I do, which is why their price was so much lower than mine. I’m not going to squash them or even threaten them, but I am going to use my… influence to make the deal look less appealing.”
“If Farwell doesn’t buy, will you buy them then?”
“No.” A very pregnant pause.
“No?” she exclaims.
“No. I’m going to let them crawl to at least three more buyers. By the time the news gets out of the unfortunate luck they’ve had selling the business, they’ll be back to GEH, at which time, I’ll buy the business for a fraction of the price I was going to buy it originally.”
“I don’t know, Christian. That’s a huge gamble,” she warns.
“I know and you’re right, it is, but we certainly can’t lose more than we already have by taking it and we stand to gain what we wanted for less than we intended to pay if it works,” I point out.
“Yeah, you’re right about that. Okay, Well, I’ll get on those assignments and deliveries,” she says. “Plan on coming into the office anytime soon?”
“No immediate plans, but you never know,” I warn. I end the call and sit back in my chair, looking at the aquarium that separates mine and Ana’s offices. A week ago, she met with the members of three different agencies to give them the information on David’s dirty business dealings. She’s told me that she hasn’t heard anything from those meetings yet. The night before that, she told me that she didn’t want to be part owner of GEH anymore. I didn’t know how to take that and had to mull over it for a couple of days. I found myself sulking a bit. I want her to part of my life—every part of my life—but as much as I hate to admit it, she was right. Placing someone else at the helm of GEH even for a moment scares the shit out of me.
Deep down, I know that giving my wife a portion of my company means that I’m not going to do it half-heartedly. I’m going to open my hands and give it to her like I should—to make decisions, to direct the staff and so on. I know that she won’t make any huge decisions without me because she doesn’t know how to run the business without me. Nonetheless, the thought of my beautiful wife—my life mate and the one to whom I would trust anything I own even my most precious and beautiful children—at the helm of my company and giving orders to my staff paralyzed me with fear and indecision.
I have a feeling that the events of those two days sent her into a tailspin as well, because I found her in the empty second floor play area in workout gear dancing to a melancholy song about a boat adrift and trying to get back to the shore. The song was on repeat and I know my wife well enough to know that music plays a special role in her life, and particular songs have particular meanings. The last time I found her dancing like this was at Helping Hands after we had a disagreement about spanking our children. She was dancing to a spiritual song that had powerful words and I watched as her body nearly took flight during the dance. This time, the song talked about being lost and looking for someone to rescue her, about learning painful lessons and trying to move on.
As she moved, she didn’t look like the occupant of the little boat in the song to me. She didn’t even look like she represented the boat. She looked like the water, flowing freely and carrying the boat and its passenger—even the sharks the vocalist sings about—to their various destinations. Unlike the imprisoned soul who’s searching for a purpose, she’s the mode through which the purpose finds its way, and she doesn’t even know it. The one line in this song that really applies to her is this…
I guess I paid the price for being free…
I watched her for four, maybe five repetitions of the song. She didn’t get weary; she didn’t falter; she didn’t faint; she wasn’t even emotional. I realized that she didn’t need to be rescued; she just needed to be alone. So, I left her to it.
That night, we had dinner together and talked very little—some about the meetings with the AG, FBI, and IRS. She wasn’t pleased with how they received her and said that she would let Al, Gasko, and Bianchi handle the situation from here on out. That was a bit of a surprise to me since the night before, she had been pretty adamant about handling things herself and unhappy about not being able to dismiss the staff after the meeting.
“I just needed the agencies to know that I was the one who was turning the company over,” she had said. “Since I am… was technically the owner when we revealed this information, I needed to be present when it was done.”
“So, is it a done deal now?” I had asked. “Have they seized the business?” She shrugged noncommittal.
“I don’t know,” she had replied. “I’m sure when they do, they’ll let me know… or they’ll let one of the boys know, but I haven’t heard anything yet.” The way she said “boys” let me know exactly how the meetings went and why she was so sour. She was having flashbacks of the night before. I reached over and covered her hand, causing her to raise her gaze to me.
“Are we okay?” I had asked, hoping that the situation with GEH would not come between us. She turned the hand around that I was holding and squeezed mine in return.
“Yes, Christian,” she had replied. “We’re okay.”
So, I knew that she was allowing me to come to grips with this situation in my own time, but in the meantime, she seems to be battling some pretty big demons.
She’s been religious about getting up at night and tending to the twins. We have some milk in the freezer for the babies, but they haven’t really been drinking it. Between coordinating schedules with Marilyn and Vee, talking to my mom about the accreditation of Helping Hands, teleconferencing with patients and residents at the Center who refuse to talk to John, taking care of the twins, and her recent recommitment to daily yoga and dancing rituals, I don’t even know when she sleeps! I’ve tried to get in there and take some of the pressure of the twins off of her and I end up only taking some of the pressure off of Gail.
Although she is at home, she’s really busy with her new schedule it seems. I hope she’s not overdoing it. Just because she’s not going into the Center doesn’t mean that she can’t overwork herself. A couple of days this week, she looked weary like she could have definitely used some more sleep. More than once, I’ve found her asleep on the sofa in the family room—not even in her favorite recliner. No matter where she is, she has those intercoms set to monitor the twins. If she hears those babies stir, she’s up like lightening, even if she’s in a dead sleep. I’m afraid she’s really going to run herself into exhaustion.
On Wednesday, she took Gail’s advice and got out of the house. The papers of course caught her on a shopping spree and she smiled pretty for the cameras like she always does, only making a quick statement that she doesn’t fully have her pre-baby body back and had to purchase some things to wear while she works on fitting into her wardrobe.
The shit she bought… I think she’s trying to kill me.
Let’s start with the fact that she came back with henna hands. My mind immediately went to the babymoon and the sweet sexual escapades that we had that weekend. My dick started thrumming immediately in my pants, the first sign of life he’d had in a while since I had been distracted by the whole GEH thing and my concern for Butterfly’s health. I didn’t see any of her wares, however, until Saturday.
That afternoon, I receive a discrete package from a company called Good Vibes. They made certain custom items for me and there was an item that wanted to be sure had arrived when I was ready to use it. When I’ll be ready, I’m not sure, but I know that it’s here. I had a few other items ordered as well and had Windsor see to having them placed where they needed to be placed. The one box, however, that drew my curiosity, I took to my personal dressing room for a later date. When I came back down to dinner, I found that my wife had showered and changed after her daily yoga and dance and changed into something more… comfortable.
She’s standing in the kitchen and I learn that she has decided to be adventurous in more ways than one. First of all, she’s wearing a navy-blue sarong maxi-skirt with a wide blue and gray border. It’s wrapped perfectly around her hips so that they look round and voluptuous as they sway when she walks. The slightest bit of skin peeks out between the hip-hugging skirt the belly bind of the same color as the blue and gray border of the skirt. Her gray crop top has overlong sleeves and wraps around her boobs, the belly bind and the wrap ties boosting her beautiful large tits up for display. I swear, she’s a cup size larger since she started breastfeeding—maybe two—and she’s got that delicious-looking rack on display just enough for me to see delectable, round mounds lead down into her cleavage. She leans over the breakfast bar to taste something that Ms. Solomon has on a spoon and her ass spreads lusciously out over the goddamn counter.
My dick is in pain. I just want to unwrap her right here and now and fuck the hell out of this new body! I mean, it’s really the same body, but that belly wrap must be squeezing the fuck out of her because I swear she looks like a goddamn Barbie doll. It’s only three weeks after the babies were born and I want to fuck her senseless, but what’s more…
I smell steak!
Butterfly tastes something that Ms. Solomon offers her and then gives her the okay sign with her fingers before I see what she’s doing. She’s actually brushing something onto two very large pieces of beef!
“Baby?” I say, walking into the kitchen concerned. She turns to me, then furrows her brow.
“What’s wrong?” she asks, the brush suspended in air. God, those steaks look and smell divine.
“Are… you okay?” I ask tentatively.
“Yeah,” she says, and it sounds more like a question than an answer. She follows my gaze to the steaks. “Oh, beef!” she says, realizing the reason for my concern, then waving it off. “I had steak fajitas on Wednesday. I’m fine.” Well, that’s good to know.
“Yes, you are,” I say, leaning down and kissing her on the neck. I inconspicuously test the tightness of the belly bind and realize that it’s not tight at all. I thought she might have been deliberately wrapping it tighter to rush the shrinking of her belly, but she’s not. “So… the belly wrap is working?” I ask cautiously.
“Yeah!” she says, betraying her own surprise. “Better than I even expected! I know with the basic core yoga and my dance, that’s been helping. I’ll be stepping up my yoga a bit next week; Dr. Culley says it’s okay as long as I don’t move too fast. Then there’s the breastfeeding. That of course helps to shrink the uterus, but the surface fat and the elasticity of my skin? That’s all the essential oil and the belly wrap! Of course, the oils that we used while I was pregnant helped with my skin, but my stomach is shrinking right up. I don’t know what to do about my butt and my boobs, though.”
Absolutely nothing, I think to myself, places for me to hold on to and bury my face in during moments of extreme passion. Groping that sexy ass and sucking those juicy tits…
“Christian?” Butterfly’s voice snaps me out of my sexual fantasy and reminds me that I’m standing in the middle of our kitchen.
“Sorry, I was thinking about your tits and ass,” I announce.
“Christian!” she scolds, slapping me on my bicep. “Go sit down!” she says, shooing me from the kitchen.
She and I and Jason and Gail have a nice dinner of top sirloin steak brushed with garlic butter, new potatoes with the option of sautéed mushrooms, and steamed asparagus. Butterfly also indulges in a long-awaited glass of Cabernet Sauvignon, assuring me that there was enough pumped milk for the twins for a week if needed. She and Gail actually talked baby-shop about the twins while Jason and I talked about things going on with GEH and the security staff, such as Fairlane’s dumb ass move against me and how I plan to discredit his name forever in the business world. I was willing to let him go quietly into the night, but he wasn’t willing to do that. So, he gets to, once again, play with the big boys.
Jason tells me that Chuck is pining a bit over Keri and asks if he can stick around the Crossing at least until he’s on full active duty.
“He’s got too much time on his hands,” Jason says. “No use tempting fate.”
I nod and agree wholeheartedly. He’s part of our family now. I wouldn’t want to leave him out in the cold at a time like this… literally.
“We’ll play it by ear,” I tell him, “let him tell us when he’s ready. No concerns about his performance? The way he was ready to tear a hole into the new guys if they didn’t perform…”
“None whatsoever… and one of the new guys is a girl.” I raise my eyebrow at him. “Don’t worry, she can handle it. Wait ‘til you see her.”
“I trust your judgment,” I tell him, turning my attention slightly to my Butterfly as she and Gail discuss the nuances and idiosyncrasies of our twins. I could have easily fit into either of these conversations as I spend as much time with the babies as either one of them and can easily tell them that Mikey is the laid-back one and Minnie is the troublemaker. She’ll lead her brother into many a mischievous act if he doesn’t quickly learn the wherewithal to tell her “no,” or speak up for himself, or learn to stay out of trouble. Either that, or she’s going to be highly protective of him and he’ll never get a date.
Jason and I talk for a while, bonding over beer and football while he brags about the money he won on the Seahawks and their Super Bowl win two weeks ago, and it’s not until Gail tells him that she’s going to catch a nap to prepare for the 2:30 feeding that I realize that Butterfly has fallen asleep in the recliner. It’s already nearly 1am and I don’t want to disturb her since I know she’s going to bolt up when the babies wake, but I won’t lie. I’ve been talking down a painful boner ever since she bent over that goddamn counter!
I go up to our bedroom and retrieve the box that came earlier from Good Vibes. Inside, there are six Tenga eggs and a Tenga Flip Hole masturbator. It looks a little complicated, with buttons and shit, and I decide to save that one for later. Not only do I need a quick nut, but I want to know what all the fuss is about. Phillip raved about these damn things and I don’t know what he’s working with, but I’m a big boy and these things look pretty goddamn small.
So, I open the box and there are six eggs in the kit. I take one out and they’re supposed to be for a single use, but Phil says that if you use them properly, you can use them two or three times. Hopefully, I won’t have to use these things that often, unless Butterfly and I are using them during playtime… even then, it’s a damn egg.
Just shut up and try the damn thing!
So, each egg has a different texture… clicker, silky, spider, stepper, twister, wavy. Okay. I pull out the one that sounds the most textured, but the least ominous—wavy. Silky sounds like it wouldn’t bite me, but it sounds like it wouldn’t be too interesting a ride either. We’ll save that for experimentation later. I read the description.
Waves of stimulation! Just like the waves of the mother ocean lap onto the shores, multiple layers of wavy ribs deliver a continuous ecstasy-inducing sensation. The large, soft edges of these ribs travel all over your shaft, creating an unimaginable stimulus making you tremble with delight.
“Oh, please,” I say aloud. That’s a bit dramatic for a glob of silicon that may not even fit over my goddamn dick. Whoever marketed this shit is either a fucking genius and a raving idiot. Mother Ocean… gimme a break.
I peel open the seal and there’s a plastic casing inside. I crack it open and there’s the glob—I mean, the egg. It has a small hole down the center where my dick is supposed to go. This is going to be a neat trick. The material is soft, very pliant, so it stretches. It’ll fit inside, but will it stretch the damn thing to the point that I won’t feel any of the texture? I stick my finger inside so that I can see what it should feel like before I stretch it all to hell.
“Hmm, nice,” I say as the ridges massage my finger. Well, let’s see if this thing lives up to the hype. I go into my en suite and drop my pants and my boxer briefs, kicking them off to the side. I lubricate the interior of the egg with the bag of lubricant that came with it. As instructed, I fit the egg over my now anxious throbbing head and start to work it over my dick. As soon as Greystone feels the ridges and the super lube—whatever the fuck this shit is—he is hard and happy.
“Shit!” I hiss as the egg stretches to encase my dick and the ridges massage the sides. I grip my dick and this magic and stroke again—once, twice…
“Aw, fuck!” I need to lean against something, or sit down, or something. I lean against the shower wall and close my eyes, stroking this soft, supple, slippery, wet material over my hard, angry dick. Fuck it feels so good. I try to keep still, to prolong the pleasure, but I haven’t cum in two weeks and this one is ready to blow. I thrust into my fist, gripping hard and grunting even harder, picturing Butterfly’s beautiful full hips and luscious breasts. Oh, God, just the sight of her… the thought of her!
“Fuck! Fuck! Oh, fuck!” My balls tighten, my dick gets harder. The ridges of the egg tease my shaft and my head, causing unbelievable ripples of pleasure.
“Oh, my God! Shit!”
I’m pressed hard against the glass, ferociously pumping this thing along my dick, drawing out unheard of pleasure. I hear myself moaning and pray to God that no one comes into the room right now. I couldn‘t stop this if I wanted to. I picture Butterfly bending over that counter, her cheeks spreading out in that skirt and my sac starts to rise. The moment I envision that skirt is gone and I see that alabaster skin, the party is over.
I blow hard into that egg, having to thrust up to give my slit purchase to release. When my shaft feels those ridges ride up the side and along that vein that carries the semen to the tip, it pulsates and explodes harder in surrender.
“Oh, my God!” I cry, and I almost sound like a girl, I pump my penis one more time inside the egg and shiver at the sensation, still coming hard as the white cream now oozes down my dick and my leg. Greystone still protests, so I stroke him again… and again… and he weeps two more times, crippling me and causing me to double over, almost ready to curl up on the floor, breathless.
Fuck! Whoever marketed this shit is a fucking genius!
I catch my breath and look at my hand. The egg is still intact on my now partially limp dick, my hand and dick covered in lube and cum and some of it has dripped down my leg. I reach into the shower and turn it on. I toss the egg inside and rinse the cum and lube off my hand enough to reach behind me and take off my shirt and T-shirt. I toss them over to the stack with my pants and boxers and step inside.
I let the water run over me and rejuvenate me. My knees are so weak that I almost can’t stand. I’ve gone without sex before, so this is nothing new, but damn! I wash my hair and clean myself up. We knew there would be nights like this, but I almost feel guilty for coming so damn hard and enjoying myself so thoroughly.
The egg lay on the floor like the little glob it was when I opened the pack. It has returned back to its original shape and it looks more like a child’s rubber ball than the instrument of massive pleasure that, moments before, rung an agonizing orgasm out of me that nearly brought me to my knees. Mother Ocean indeed!
I pick the thing up and deduce that I should probably clean it. I turn it inside out and the ridges inside, now outside, actually make me shiver. As I use the shower soap and hot water to clean the cum and lube from the ridges, Greystone starts to rise to attention in memory of the stimulation he received moments ago. I tried to ignore it, but hell, most nights when I make love to my wife, I come at least twice, and I haven’t come in quite some time!
I rinse the remaining residue from the egg and step out of the shower, leaving it running, to where I left the open packet of lube. After squeezing its remaining contents into the egg, I get back into the shower as I’ll need to be there to clean up again when this is all over. Having already come once, I can take my time with this one to really discover the wonders of this tiny little device, for lack of a better word.
I cap it over my dick like the last time and decide to wait there for a moment. Pulling the egg so that it stretches just past the rim of my swollen crown, I stimulate just the head.
“Yessss,” I hiss, “oh, yes…”
I stroke again and again, just the head, teasing it gently at first, then using my fingertips to massage the rim.
“Oh, fuck, yes.”
I stimulate the rim for several minutes until I can’t tell if the moisture I feel on my head is sweat or water. I lift my foot to the ridge of the shower and fist the head of my dick, not too tight, just like her mouth. My hand flat against the glass, I close my eyes and push and pull, mimicking the motion of her hot, talented mouth.
Just the head, just like that, make me come…
In and out, the wetness and the suction and the rhythm, and the stimulation…
Don’t stop! Just like that! Don’t stop!
I close my eyes and drop my head and I can almost see her clamping her hot, red lips down on my hard, angry dick and suckling the head mercilessly right before I’m about to come.
No… wait… I don’t want to come yet…
But she doesn’t stop. She looks up at me with those hungry, royal blue eyes while those pouty lips wrap around my dick and demand an offering.
I have no choice but to give her one.
The orgasm that follows is so mind-blowing that I’m actually banging my head against the shower glass.
A/N: Pictures of places, cars, fashion, etc., can be found at https://www.pinterest.com/ladeeceo/becoming-dr-grey/
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Love and handcuffs 🙂