Becoming Dr. Grey: Chapter 60—Back to Shore

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

ANASTASIA

“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.

“What? Where?”

“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…


CHRISTIAN

“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,

“Mine, either.”

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.

Fuck. Me.

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.

“Baby…”

Just the head, just like that, make me come…

In and out, the wetness and the suction and the rhythm, and the stimulation…

“Baby, fu-uck…”

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.

“Uuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuggggggghhhhhhhhhhh!”

The orgasm that follows is so mind-blowing that I’m actually banging my head against the shower glass.


A/NPictures of places, cars, fashion, etc., can be found at  https://www.pinterest.com/ladeeceo/becoming-dr-grey/

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Love and handcuffs 🙂 
Lynn X

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One Shot—Goodbye, Island Girl

Chuck says a tender goodbye to Keri as she prepares to return to Anguilla.

Goodbye, Island Girl…keri-naked-by-candlelight

 

Chuck

She lays her body on top of mine, her head on the pillow next to my face. Cupping one cheek with her hand and gently kissing the other, she continues to love me. She grinds deep and hard into me, my dick disappearing into her crevice. Her stroke is so intense because I feel her moving, and me moving inside of her, but our groins never separate. She just rolls me around inside of her—whimpering, keening, and making hot sex sounds as I grasp her hips and rub her into me…

“Fuck, Keri…” I protest helplessly as she pushes herself up so that her full weight is concentrated on this part of her body that grinds into me, tormenting me. Fuck, I’ve had hot pussy before, God knows I have, but no woman in the world has ever ridden me like this… claimed me like she does… clamps onto me and holds me inside of her, working me meticulously until she’s ready to let me go. I groan mournfully as I feel that familiar feeling creeping up my thighs, up my spine…

“Oh, Chatles,” she says, her hands flat on my abs as I grip her thighs helplessly, concentrating on the part of her that’s bringing me unbelievable pleasure. “Yuh so close… I feel yuh fatten up inside of meh… You like dat, Choonks? You lek deh way yu feel in mi pum pum?”

Oh God, her hips roll relentlessly on top of me, and that fleshy fucking ass! Shit, that ass.

“Goddammit, Keri!” I protest, my dick rolling around inside of her seeking release.

“Yes, Chooks,” she groans, “es good, Choonks, es good…”

Is very fucking good! She likes to draw this shit out even though I’m as rapid fire as they get—shoot one off and I’m ready again in minutes… seconds even, but when she’s on a roll, she on a goddamn roll, and I do mean roll, like rolling that hot, tight pussy and that juicy, fat ass all over my protesting dick.

“I’m close, baby,” I warn. “I’m so goddamn close…”

She doesn’t let up. She’s primal. She’s writhing on top of me like a feral animal. Her body is so soft and round and she envelops me like a perfectly tailored glove—warm and comforting, but her hips grinding down on me so meticulous and rhythmic… it’s like fur and velvet wrapped around me. I’m not going to hold out.

She shifts position on top of me to something only she has ever done to me… a sideways kind of ride where she’s on top of me, but somehow grinding me sideways. The angle is so deep and perfect that our pelvic bones actually meet with the thrust.

“Fuuuuuuck!” I groan, helplessly throwing my head back into the pillow, but she’s unyielding. I grunt as her hips roll over me, punishing my poor cock into complete submission. This movement and rhythm… fuck, I can’t stand it! It’s like up and down, but this sideways kind of grind on the downstroke. Hell, it’s fantastic. And her hips are so round and meaty. I fucking love the way her hips feel in my hands. And that dimple right at the small of her back—my fingers fit there perfectly when she’s riding me sideways like this. I don’t know where the fuck she learned this move, but goddammit, thank you!

“Baby,” I warn. “Oh, fuck, baby…”

“Not yet, Choonks,” she breathes, leaning over and licking the corner of my mouth. “Almost… almost…” Not yet, Choonks. Fuck, I don’t think I can hold out much longer. I try to concentrate on anything… anything else but her velvety soft vagina gripping my hot, hard dick; anything else but her luscious thighs wrapped around my hips; speaking of hips, anything else but her round, meaty hips and her delicious plump ass pushing me closer and closer to my orgasm. I run my hand up her caramel thigh and squeeze the meat just under her ass cheek.

“Yes,” she breathes, “yes, Choonks… yes, bebe…” Oh fuck, I’m going to blow. I move my hands up to her hips and attempt to still them just slightly, but she’s unstoppable. She’s straddling me, now rolling over on top of me, she’s on her knees and more importantly, on a mission. Her beautiful ample ass rises and falls, bouncing deliciously on the entire length of my erection.

“Uuuuuuuuuggggghhhhh!” I moan mournfully as I’m sure to blow before she does. I can’t stand it. It feels too good, and now, I’ve added to my torment by grasping her hips and feeling her soft, sweet meat gyrating in my hands. Fuck, I love how she feels… all over!

“Baby, shi…” She silences me by thrusting her tongue into my mouth. Goddamn, her kisses! I open my mouth wide and tilt my head, attempting to give what I get, but it’s no use. Her lips and tongue are bigger than mine and she dominates this kiss—every time. When she kisses me like this, I know that she’s close… really close, and I sit back and enjoy, letting her lead me while her tongue explores my willing orifice. I try not to surrender, but her kisses are so deep and delicious that I moan in her mouth every time just from the intensity of it, and it almost always sends her over the edge. It starts with a tremble, then a downright shake. We’re always face to face because she’s always kissing me—so next, her hands move to both sides of my face and she stares into my eyes, her lips only breaths from mine.

Shit, not much longer… I can’t hold out… I’m going to blow…

As if someone somewhere heard my pleas, she gasps twice, closes her eyes, bites my lip, and tightens violently around me, stilling my hips. I grab that wonderful, supple ass and thrust into that pulsing pussy twice more before my balls tighten and explode wildly through my eager dick, firing burning hot semen up through my madly throbbing head.

“GodDAMmit!” I exclaim as I capture her mouth again, this time hungrily claiming her lips and tongue in passionate orgasmic kisses. She hasn’t stopped trembling as I use her deliciously juicy ass to press her hot body against my thumping dick, still emptying inside her.

Fuck, this is insane, I think to myself as I continue to empty inside of her for what seems like the longest fucking orgasm of my life!

“Choonks… oh, God, Choonks…” she pants, trying to free her mouth from mine. I know, baby, I know… now get back here! I grab her head with one hand and hold her in place while I continue to claim her kisses, the other hand crossing her body and holding her down on me while grasping the opposite ass cheek. She moans in surrender and sinks into the kiss and I swear my orgasm starts anew. Oh, Baby, my God… it’s never been this good.

I grind her into me as I ride out the remainder of my never-ending orgasm and begin our afterplay as usual, kissing her face and neck and caressing her beautiful body until she catches her breath. Several moments pass with her lying quietly on my chest. I know she’s not asleep.

“Talk to me,” I say, softly, hoping that she’s not thinking about the fact that this is our last night together for a long time and she has to return home tomorrow. She raises her eyes to mine and rests her chin on her hands on my chest.

“I nevah tought I’d fall in love wit a white mahn,” she says softly. “We see de touhtists all de time. When we weh yong, we laugh ahnd we tahk about de touhtists, how de bring de money to de island. Nevah once did I feel dat I wahnted to be wit one o’ dem. Den I see you at de pahty. You weh so hahndsome.” She smiles widely when she says it, caressing my cheek again. “Youh eyes weh so blue, deh flow right tru me… like de sea.”

I remember seeing her come to the table after Ana ate that banana split big enough for two people. I had seen beautiful black women before and I had just noted their beauty, but hers struck me dumb—so dumb in fact that she had to ask Ana if I could dance.

“My ftiends ahsk me silly questions, like you mayde of dif’rent matittial or sometin.” She says it with a bit of distaste. “I tell dem mind dey own bizness.” She waves the story off, then looks at me again. “But you ahh mayde of dif’rent matittial… you like noh mahn I evah know. You have gud haht, and gud spitit like I nevah met befoh. You change meh, Chatles… you are evy’tin, heyah.” She takes my hand and presses it to her chest. I take her other hand flat against mine.

“And you are everything to me,” I say, gently kissing the back of her hand. “Palm to palm…”

“Haht to haht,” she responds. I take her face in my hands and kiss her softly… and again…

“Heart to heart,” I repeat. “Marry me, Keri.”

“Noh,” she responds for the 100th time in just as many days. “Anguilla is my home. I must goh to heh.”

“I know,” I whisper without opening my eyes. I kiss her again and embrace her. She moves slightly and I feel myself twitch, still inside her. She leans down and kisses my bare chest.

“I love your natutal smell… like fresh watah…” That’s a first. Fresh water… exactly how does fresh water smell? “It makes meh tuhsty foh you.”

Hmm, I guess it doesn’t matter…

“Thirsty?” I say suggestively in her ear.

“Yes,” she whispers, grinding on my growing erection and kissing me gently with her soft, full lips. “Vety tuhsty.”

I cup her face with my hands and thrust my tongue into her mouth. God, she makes me so hungry! It’s like we didn’t fuck like horny bunnies just moments ago and I have to have more of her. Again! Right now!

I roll her over so that she’s under me, her hands to the side of her head.

“Don’t move,” I tell her, need thick in my voice. She nods and I walk to the bathroom. Cleaning myself and discarding the used condom, I catch my reflection in the mirror.

She’s leaving me. She’s fucking leaving me. This time tomorrow, she’ll be gone, and I’ll be alone… all along thinking about my Island Girl and no doubt, island rum. I splash a little water on my face and curtail the need to cry, my full-mast erection falling to half-mast and slowly dwindling at the thought of several thousand miles separating me from my beloved Keri. I turn off the light and go back to the room we’ve shared for three months.

And the sight before me has my dick at full-staff again.

She’s rolled over onto her stomach, her beautiful round ass presented to me, candlelight flickering of her gorgeous caramel skin.

I’m a goddamn dead man.

I crawl on top of her, kissing her shoulders and back and caressing her skin while my quickly hardening cock slides back and forth between her ample ass cheeks. Her bare skin feels so good against my dick. We groan simultaneously at the contact. I’m getting harder and harder as I stroke the skin with her pushing her ass back into my cheeks. It feels so good, it actually makes me shiver.

“God!” I breathe, wanting to be inside her, but feeling the anguish of having to separate to retrieve a condom.

“Tek me, Chatles,” she coaxes, her voice dripping with sex.

“One sec,” I pant, moving to lift off of her.

“Noh!” she stops me. “Tek me, now… please… Ah’ll be fine. Please, Chatles, tek me now!”

Is she asking me to do what I think she is? It would be a fucking dream come true, but I don’t want to send her back to Anguilla pregnant… alone… without me…

“Chatles, please,” she beseeches me. “Ah’ll be fine, I ptomise… please, Chatles… I need to feel you…”

Oh, shit. What man in his right mind can deny that?

I lift my hips and shift my cock so that it breaches her opening and slides right in.

“Oh, fuck!” I groan as she wraps around me like she always does, only skin-to-skin this time. “Keri, goddamn, I’m not going to last.”

“Meh eiter,” she says, groaning and pressing her head back on my shoulder. I swallow hard and breathe deeply before I start to move. Oh, God, she feels phenomenal. I steady myself with my hands on either side of her on the bed, thrusting deep, hard, and slow into her.

“Yes… Chatles… oh… God…” She almost sounds like she’s crying, fisting the sheets and pushing her ass back into my groin.

“God,” I breathe, “So tight and wet… fuck!”

I’ll take care of you, baby. Whatever happens, I’ll take care of you…

“Chatles… oh, God… oh, God, Chatles…” and just like that, she’s tightening around me. Shit! So soon! We’ve never made love raw, without protection, but she wanted it so badly that she couldn’t withstand the pleasure once she got it.

“Baby,” I croon, dragging the word along my tongue, and suddenly, nothing matters more at this moment than her pleasure. I stroke her evenly, gently through her orgasm and when it wanes, I roll us over on our sides, my throbbing dick still inside her.

Don’t forget me, my love.

She’s panting, breathless as I lift her thigh and stroke into her balls deep from behind. She starts to shiver, a gentle protest escaping her lips about her pulsing clit being tender. I’ll stay away from your clit right now, Island Girl, but this pussy is mine.

“Relax, baby,” I coach. “I won’t hurt you.”

She takes a deep breath and relaxes on the pillow as I thrust soft and slow into her, nipping at the front of her shoulder and down to her breast until I’m taking her nipple in my mouth, sucking and teasing sensually. Her hand reaches behind her and she grabs my head and softly begins to keen again. Oh, yes… that’s it, baby, feel it… let it build again.

I rest her leg on my hip and use that now free hand to caress her body—her stomach, her ribs, cupping the round and juicy breast currently in my mouth.

“Yes, bebe,” she moans. “Don stop… so good…”

I won’t stop, Island Girl… I’m just getting started.

Her voice spurs me on and I begin to roll my hips, my cock hitting all of her inner walls. Her back bows and I grab her hair, burying my face in her neck and sucking and kissing her there while my other hand possessively grips her breast.

Fuck, this is good! I have to make it last… I have to… her skin against mine, my bare dick pulsing inside her wet, tight pussy now reaching for another orgasm… God, this is outstanding. How many times can I make her come this way?

“Keri, baby, you feel so good…” I breathe in her ear and she starts to tremble. She’s close again… So soon?

originalI hadn’t paid attention to the music playing on the sound system until Sade starts the croon the words to our song. It causes me to move my hips in a Lambada grind as I thrust sensually into my girl. She groans deep and long, spurring me to do it again… and again… and again…

“Chooooooonks… pleeeeeeeease…” she cries, as Sade sings what I feel, what I want to pound into her so that she remembers this every time she hears our song:

I keep crying,
I keep trying for you,
There’s nothing like you and I, baby…

My strokes are deep and purposeful now as my hand roams all over her body, my mouth still buried in her neck, licking and sucking the skin there. She rolls over onto her back, giving me full access to her body and her pussy, her leg resting on my hip, opening her core to me. Fucking hell, she’s exquisite… and she’s rising fast with each thrust.

I want to make it hard for you to leave me… impossible for you to leave me…

“Choonks… wait…” she pants, “Ah’m gwine… tah cum…”

“Come, then, baby,” I encourage her, pressing my lips and tongue into her upper back and my hand flat on her chest as she squirms from the pleasure, presenting her back to me once more. I push her body against mine again and pound into her, her facial expression showing the anguish of trying to fend off her pending release.

Don’t fight it. Come, dammit!

“You wanted me raw, baby,” I growl in her ear, sex gurgling in my throat as the words roll out, “This is me raw!” I pound up into her again and again. My words push her over the edge and she cries out helplessly once more, pleading with me… to stop… to keep going… I don’t know, as Sade says exactly what I need at this moment:

This is no ordinary
No ordinary love…

I lick the salty sweat from her skin and slow my stroke again as she pulses around me, still riding out the aftershocks.

“Damn, baby,” I breathe, “if you come this much just from my dick, what you gone do when I touch that clit?”

“Choonks, please…” she pants. I roll her over on her back and crawl between her legs. I’m on my knees and her legs are around my hips. I stroke her clit with my hard shaft.

“God! Choonks! Please,” she cries out as her back bows, pushing that sweet pussy further towards me. Okay, I get it… pussy now, clit later. I sink deep into that pussy once more, groaning deeply at the warmth.

“Fuck, Island Girl!” I groan, “that pussy grabs me so good. Dammit, you are so hot!” She raises her hips a bit and suddenly, I need to come. I need to fuck her and fuck her until I come. I grab her around the waist with both hands and pound into her. After several delicious strokes, she grabs my wrists and holds on.

“Goddammit, Keri! So fuckin’ good,” I growl as I’m pounding her.”

“Oh, my God, Chatles…” she pants, “It’s cumming again. Please, Chatles… Ah can’t… Ah can’t…”

“Yes, you can, baby,” I coax. “Give me one more…” I’m panting with my own desire, my own rising passion and inevitable release. “Choonks needs one more from you,” I tell her as I grip her waist and pound into her.

“Ah!” she cries, “Ah love yuh, Choonks!”

“I love you! I love you, Keri! I love you…” I thrust deep into her each time I say the word, using my grip on her waist to pull her down hard on my cock, literally driving my point home. Her mouth hangs open in breathless ecstasy as she gazes at me, her sex-filled brown eyes begging me… to stop, to keep going, I don’t know, but I keep going.

I lay over her, bringing our bodies closer together and making good on my promise. My pelvis and the length of my shaft are both sliding and grinding onto her clit as I fuck deep strokes and circles into her. She groans, her voice cracking in a sob, knowing that it’s useless to resist or beg any further. I’m deep in my passion, in my need to empty inside of her when I see the tears.

“Keri,” I breathe without ceasing my stroke, “do you want me to stop?”

“Noh, please,” she says without hesitation or breaking her tear-filled gaze, “please… don stop…”

Her pleas spur me on, make me harder, cause me to feel that tightening in the base of my back.

“Keri, baby,” I groan, “Imma come so hard for you!”

“Yes, Choonks… yes…” she pants. I pump harder and faster into her as I watch her breasts bounce and her body squirm from the pleasure. It’s more than I can fucking take. She looks like a delicious chocolate nymph… my aching dick is buried inside a juicy, delicious, chocolate nymph about to milk me dry.

Her mouth hangs open in helpless pleasure as her legs stretch wide bent at the knees, her thigh muscles flex and her toes curl. This one will be bigger than the others. She’s going to be ripped to shreds.

I fall down on top of her, entwining her fingers in mine and kissing her deeply as I grind into her. It’s coming… fuck, it’s coming and it’s big. I groan into her mouth as I think I won’t be able to withstand it. She whimpers into mine and I pull back only enough to see her eyes, to feel her breath on my lips…

As I hold her hands in mine, pinning her to the bed and pushing into her over and over, I feel like my breath is leaving my chest. I’m panting, trying to get air, still thrusting deep into her. My body and mind are separating, working on different courses. She’s gazing at me—her beautiful brown eyes revealing something else… like fear, but not. Her body meets me thrust for thrust, her passionate moans and whimpers spurring my body on, but my mind and soul are somewhere else; somewhere lost in her eyes, in what I feel for her… the longing and the aching… pleading… beseeching…

Please don’t leave me… please stay with me… be mine forever…

I see my life in her eyes. My future and my demise… my everything, right here… right now… I can’t breathe. She’s leaving me and I can’t breathe…

I love you… you’re my life… please, Island Girl…

Goddammit, I’m coming hard. I’m coming so fucking hard that I really can’t breathe. I stiffen into her, unable to move as every bit of semen, moisture and pleasure empties into her. She locks her ankles behind me, her heels pressing into my ass, and fucks me through this blinding, crippling, mind-boggling orgasm until…

“Aaaaaaaaaaaauuuuuuuuuuggggggghhhhhhhh!”

The sound that rips from my Island Girl is agony. Her orgasm—fourth or fifth, I lost count—rips more violently from her than mine did from me, and mine was pretty fucking violent. Her head is back and she’s panting, almost hyperventilating, sobbing and shaking as she clings to me, her arms and legs wrapped tightly around my body and her core wrapped tightly around my dick.

For several moments, we don’t move. My dick is still thumping inside of her—tender and empty, but unable to exit just yet as it’s still swollen from its workout. Likewise, her walls are still pulsing around me, begging for mercy and reprieve, which I have no choice but to give her as we are both completely down for the count. We are both drenched in sweat and I’m finally able to lift my head from her shoulder and cup her face, completely slick with her tears. I wipe them away as much as I can and kiss her everywhere my mouth can reach, including her trembling lips.

My beautiful Island Girl… beautiful, beautiful Island Girl…

I roll over onto our sides and embrace her tightly, letting her cry in my ear as I hold her close against my body, kissing her cheek and face over and over and praying that somehow I can absorb her into me and we become one person—and she could walk around inside of me forever.

Don’t go… please, don’t go…

*-*

“American Airlines Flight 1070 to Miami, now boarding at gate 17G.”

“Dat’s me, Choonks,” she says softly. She stands and throws her backpack over her shoulder. Ana waves at us and gestures for me to walk her to the gate. She’s allowing me as much time with her as possible to say goodbye.

Goodbye… the word burns in my throat.

I snatch her back into my arms and hold her close to me. She gasps—at the closeness… because I snatched her… I don’t know.

“Baby, don’t go,” I breathe into her locs, “marry me.”

“Chatles, please,” she says, weakened, “we talked abowdis…”

“I know, I know,” I say, turning my nose into her neck and breathing in deeply. “I had to try… just one more time.”

I pull her back and look into those beautiful brown eyes. God, I love her. I hold her face and kiss her reverently, remembering the taste of her soft, full lips. She’s enchanting and addicting. Strange that I should use that word.

I kiss her again and again, and I know that I should let her go. I bring her hand to mine. We agreed not to touch the glass as she was leaving, because the other’s hand was the last warmth we wanted… not the cold glass.

“Palm to palm,” I whisper.

“H…haht to haht,” she chokes. I kiss her forehead, her face, and her hands once more, then let her go to board the plane… or at least I thought I did.

“Choonks…”

I look down and I’m still holding her hand. I can’t let her go. I can’t. I gather her into my arms again and kiss her so passionately that I lose perception of time and space.

Stay with me. Be with me. Marry me. I can’t breathe without you. Please…

We are lost in each other in this moment in time, her hands rummaging through my hair and my arms wrapped tightly around her, binding her to me. I love her; she is me and I am her. I’ll die without her, I know I will…

“Last call for American Airlines Flight 1070 to Miami, now boarding at gate 17G.”

Our spell is broken. Reality looms and we break the kiss, our foreheads touching, breathing heavily in each other’s arms.

“Heart to heart,” I breathe, and she chokes on a sob. “Go. Go on, baby.” I finally release her or I won’t have the strength to do it again. She nearly runs to the gate and hands the attendant her boarding pass, weeping.

Don’t go Keri… please… I love you… please…

She doesn’t look back as she passes the attendant. It would be too hard on both of us. She’s sobbing as she walks down the gangplank to the plane… away from me—forever, it seems. My chest burns as I watch her shoulders shake and hear her delicate cries.

Come back and marry me… please…

The attendant ceremoniously closes the door as Keri was the last passenger to board. I feel like she’s closing the door on my life. There’s a boiling in my stomach. The burn in my chest has moved lower and I fight not to lose my lunch. I stand there—I don’t know how long—watching, waiting, praying for my love to get off that goddamn plane and come running back to me. I stare out of the window forever as the gangplank begins to accordion back away from the plane.

That’s it. She’s not coming back.

I swallow hard as I watch and wait for the big offensive bird to take my heart far, far away from me. My heart—I had forgotten it existed for a long time. Granted, I wasn’t like Grey, blocking everybody out and fucking and beating little sexbots—from what I heard, anyway—but I was pretty shut down. My family didn’t want me, or so I thought. I was fine getting the regular fuck and moving on. I’ve loved somebody once or twice, but not like this… never like this. I have enough money to retire right now and live a comfortable life in Anguilla with her. I give a fleeting thought to doing just that, but I love my life in Seattle. I love my work, my friends—old and new—and I just found my family again…

… But I love Keri. God, I love Keri. What a fucking choice.

The noise of the engines burns through my soul like the jet fuel powering them. The lights flicker and blink and the big offensive gray bird with the word “American” proudly sprayed across its fuselage slowly begins to move away from the building.

I won’t touch the glass. I won’t touch the glass…

It turns and moves slowly to the runway, and when it starts to taxi faster and faster, I clench my fists and pin them to my thighs. My knees are weak and the room is shaking. I feel like the glass is gone and I could easily fall forward into the abyss and disappear forever. It lifts of the ground and it’s far enough away that I can’t see it very well. The landing gear folds into the bottom and it disappears, finally, behind the building.

She’s gone.
Only an ocean…
And a sea…
And some islands…
And a whole goddamn continent!

I broke our promise. I touched the glass, but not with my hands. I’m leaning against it, the cold burning my forehead. I didn’t know that I was leaning against it until just now. I don’t think that counts, so I won’t tell her.

Three months. I had her here for three months. It felt like a lifetime. She was there when no one else was, when no one else could be. I love her so much. One day, I’ll make her my wife. We’ll have children and build a family—here or in Anguilla, I don’t care, but she will be Mrs. Davenport.

For right now… she’s gone, and my heart is breaking.

“Chuck?”

Her voice startles me. I forgot that I wasn’t alone. I take in a cleansing breath and let it out, but it cleanses nothing. I want Keri. I want her to come back, and suddenly I feel like throwing a temper tantrum like a rotten five-year-old kid, but I won’t. I push myself off the glass without using my hands and turn around to face Ana, wiping away the tears that I know have fallen.

“Will it get better?” I ask her, already knowing my answer. She looks at me with sympathetic eyes.

“It will,” she nods, “but not right now.” She gives me the courtesy of the truth, and that’s why I love her. This would be one of those moments where I would need a drink. Keri knew that and she made me swear on her life that I wouldn’t take a drink. That’s a heavy swear, so needless to say, the need and desire are the furthest thing from my mind right now… but not Keri, not my Island Girl. I take out my phone and send her a text that I know she’ll get on her first layover.

**My heart aches for you already. Until we meet again, my beautiful Island Girl. **

I put my phone away and look at Ana, still gazing at me with those sympathetic eyes. She didn’t get a chance to say goodbye to Keri because I hogged all of her time, but I know she understands… 24/7 for three months and now… gone.

She slides her hand into mine and entwines our fingers. It’s not Keri’s hand, but it’ll have to do for now. I sigh heavily and allow the only sister I’ve ever known to walk me out of the airport and away from the place I last saw the love of my life.

 

Becoming Dr. Grey: Chapter 59—It Is What It Is

vip-mehta

In memory of Vip. We’ll miss you, Buddy. RIP…

It is with a very heavy heart that I dedicate this chapter to one of the very first people who followed my story when I posted it on Fanfiction in 2013. He was one of my first friends and followers on my author’s page on Facebook, and he stayed until his last. I discovered that Vip Mehta passed away a week ago and even though we never met in person, it’s hard to say goodbye to one of your “day ones.” Please keep his wife and son in your prayers. I couldn’t imagine this kind of loss in my life.

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 59—It Is What It Is

CHRISTIAN

I’ve just opened an email from Broadmoor that has been copied to me from Marilyn that they have narrowed the choices down to two couples that would like to sponsor us, asking if we have any objections. That, I have to say, was a tense conversation, too. Not the country club—we’d settled and agreed on that already, but Marilyn. Watching her in action, I see why Bronson couldn’t keep up with her. After talking to her, I’m surprised that Garrett could tame her at all.

“I realize that it was a tense situation when Anastasia was in labor,” I say to her the first opportunity I get to speak to her after the twins are born, “but I will thank you not to take that tone with me that you did over the phone while my wife was being transported to the hospital.”

I had caught her on the lower level of the Crossing headed towards Butterfly’s office. She raised her head from her tablet to hear what I had to say, but swiped the tablet to closed its contents and concentrate on our conversation once I had stated my piece.

“Duly noted,” she says, squaring off with me, “And I will thank you to do the same.” I raise a shocked eyebrow at her.

“Excuse me?” I say, taken aback by her brazenness. She folds her arms defiantly and her brow furrows slightly.

“Did I stutter?” she asks, clearly. “Did you not comprehend the words of your own request?”

“It was not a request,” I say.

“Good. We understand each other, because neither was mine,” she retorts. I’m completely appalled by her reaction. The only other person who has ever squared off with me like this is Anastasia, and I fell in love with her. As I have no intention of falling in love with this woman, she needs to recognize exactly who the fuck she’s dealing with.

“Ms. Caldwell, you seem to forget that you are currently in my home where you are employed and enjoy a very generous salary, I might add. In fact, I purchased the vehicle that you currently drive and I pay the bill attached to the expense account of the credit card that you use so liberally. One could say that the fact that you take these liberties in speaking to me this way could place you in a very precarious position.” She doesn’t take down to the veiled threat. She doesn’t even flinch.

“And make no mistake, Mr. Grey, you can have that card and that vehicle back anytime you like if you think it gives you purchase to treat me like one of your peons.” Her eyes are sharp as she speaks to me and I can hardly believe she’s taking this tone with me. “I’ve worked for Ana for several years and in that time, she has never barked at me. I will not extend that privilege to you, either, especially since my boss assures me that I don’t work for you.” She turns to face me head on and closes the large gap between us to about two feet.

“I don’t want to have a showdown with you,” she says, impassively. “I don’t have a problem with you. I never have. I see no reason to start now, but I won’t be treated like some subservient nobody because you think I’m one of those people who should bow down to you. Ana never treated me like that, which is why I’ve stayed with her for so long. I don’t work for you, I work for her and if that situation is going to change, I will tender my resignation and I’ve already made that clear.”

I’m shocked to hear that revelation. She would rather quit than work for me, go figure.

“I will treat you with the respect that I would treat any other human being and my boss’s husband, the same as I always have. Nothing has ever changed between us; anytime you’ve ever tried to bully me, I gave it right back to you, even when Ana left and went to Montana. Don’t expect it to change because her last name is Grey, or because I have an office in your home, a car that you purchased, and card that you pay for. I didn’t ask for any of those things, and I can give them all back.”

I’m at a crossroads here. I want her to show me the respect that any other employee would show me, but she’s right. She’s not my employee. And who am I kidding? I don’t want respect; I want reverence—that level of regard that has a small sprinkle of fear in it—and she doesn’t have that for me. In fact, the respect that she has for me only extends as far as it does for Butterfly. It has nothing to do with who I am or my station in life. I could be Ray for all she’s concerned, and she probably has more respect for him than she does for me.

“It appears that we’ve come to an impasse, Ms. Caldwell,” I say, flatly.

“It appears so,” she responds. “So how do you suggest we handle it?”

We stand there momentarily squaring off with one another, staring at each other. Of course, she blinks first, and I take a victory thinking this is the end of the game, until she says, “Well?”

Hmm… no reverence.

The last thing I want is for Butterfly’s long-time personal assistant to quit because of a disagreement with me. Priming a personal assistant is very difficult. It takes a long time for them to learn your schedules, your personal preferences, your idiosyncrasies. Now is definitely not the time to upset that delicate balance. I would be pissed to beat the damn if Andrea quit because of a disagreement with Butterfly.

I’ve noticed that during this conversation, we’ve reverted to calling each other by last names when we had long since dispensed with that formality, especially since Marilyn often attends social functions with us in a friendly capacity. I’m certain she took her cue from me, when I began calling her Ms. Caldwell. Now, she stands there, defiant, with her arms folded and we focus on each other, waiting for a response, neither of us noticing that Butterfly had joined us in the hallway until she speaks.

“Is everything okay?” she says, looking from Marilyn to me and back at Marilyn, cradling one of our children in her arms, I don’t know which one.

“Well, I don’t know,” Marilyn says, briefly turning her gaze to Butterfly and then back to me. “Is it?”

I note from her stance and from something she said earlier that she has already had this conversation with Butterfly. I don’t know how that ended, but I’m certain that Butterfly made it clear that she doesn’t work for me. I can’t be angry at that because it’s true, and right now, I need to remember that. Though I may want it, the whole world doesn’t bow down to Christian Grey, even though I might think they should. There is a level of respect that I should expect from the people around me, and I can admit that Marilyn has shown me that respect, only swaying from that program when I snapped at her or attempted to belittle her. The world may be my oyster, but not all of its inhabitants are at my beck and call.

“Yes,” I say impassively. “Marilyn and I were just coming to an understanding.” My use of her first name is clearly an olive branch that she recognizes immediately and accepts with a curt nod of her head.

“Thank you, Christian,” she says, professionally. “I’m glad we had this talk.”

“As am I,” I say with a nod before walking back to my office.

That conversation was last week and we have since declared a truce. As I read the email she sent to me, I see that it was originally sent to Butterfly’s email. Apparently, some of her emails are routed to Marilyn for handling, which is a good thing since we’ve got our hands full with the babies. I’ve seen the background checks on these choices. I’m impressed with them. I respond to Butterfly that if she has a preference, I will agree to either couple.

I’ve also sent pictures of the twins to Gada with scanned, signed copies of the releases from Butterfly and me to use our pictures in her ads. I don’t expect to see us on billboards anywhere, but I suspect a picture or two will show up on her website or in a display at another babymoon. Neither of us have a problem with that.

The birth announcements hit the circuit last week and the requests for interviews and exclusives have been pouring in. Mac is screening the requests and deciding if Butterfly should do some appearances on her own or if we should do one or two together. We haven’t approached her with the idea yet. Quite frankly, we don’t really know how. I made such a big deal about not wanting her to be prey for reporters and people wanting to get to me through her that I don’t know how to explain my complete 180 on this matter. I figure I would let Mac explain it to her—that I was pretty much bludgeoned with reason until I gave in, but for some reason, I just don’t think that will go over well since she tried to explain this to me herself and I refused to give in to the degree that she had to come up with another way to get exposure for herself.

So… I plan on being in the doghouse once we explain this to her.

I’m hoping that my presentation of her push gifts may help me stay out of the bow-wow residence, though. I will shamelessly use the gifts to soften her up, then tell her about the plan to shove her in front of the cameras myself, taking full responsibility for the decision. No use in making Mac the fall guy… er, girl.

I hear the clicking of her heels on the marble as we speak. Might as well get it over with.

I stand from my desk and meet her in her office. It’s been two weeks since she delivered and she couldn’t wait to get back into high heels, but she compromised to not wear sky highs until after her six-week check-up just to keep my heart rate under 150 beats per minute. When I get to her office, she had just sat down at her desk and she looks worn. I know that she’s just finished a task none of us were looking forward to, but it had to be done and she was the person of choice to assist with it.

“Hey,” I say, walking into her office as she removes her gloves.

“Hey,” she says, her voice low and soft, sad.

“How’d it go?” I ask, as I stand next to her desk.

“Not good at all,” she says. “They were both just crushed. I don’t know how he’s going to deal with this. He didn’t say a word on the whole ride home. I think he’s on autopilot, but I don’t know how healthy that is. You should have seen him, Christian. It would have broken your heart.”

“I can’t even imagine,” I say, taking her hand in mind and kissing the back of it. I sit on her desk and she tells me the story of Chuck taking his beloved Keri to the airport to catch her flight back to Anguilla. She stayed as long as she could. Her visa expires tomorrow. She has to stop herself from crying several times as she tells me how Keri wept getting on the plane and Chuck stood at the window until well after the plane was out of sight. Even I have to admit that the tale was pretty heart-wrenching.

“Did the twins behave while I was gone?” she asks. I nod.

“About as well as two-week-old twins can,” I tell her. “Gail and I handled it okay. They should be waking soon, though. They had bottles a couple of hours ago and have been asleep ever since. We’ll handle it if you’re too wiped out.” She shakes her head.

“No, I could use some snuggle-time after the day I’ve had.” I sigh.

“Well, after hearing that, I’m a bit remiss to say what I have to say,” I comment. Her brow furrows.

“What?” I don’t want to wait. No use in having her get happy, then be mad again. Just rip the Band-Aid off…

“You know Mac agrees with you that we should control how information is released to the public about us and about our lives,” I begin.

“Yes?” she says expecting.

“Well, she also agrees with you that you should do some appearances on some local radio and talk shows to help keep the vultures at bay… hopefully put some of these rumors to rest…”

“And you still don’t agree,” she says impassively.

“Well… actually…” I rub the back of my neck.

“You agree with her?” she asks incredulously. Oh, boy… Alpo, here I come.

“Um, yeah?” I comes out like a question.

“Why?” she squeaks.

“Well, she battered me with facts, pummeled me with reason, and ran me over with logic! I didn’t stand a chance!” It sounds like a reasonable explanation to me until it comes out of my mouth. The look on Butterfly’s face can’t be explained. It’s some terrifying mixture of horror and disbelief and incredulity and something else.

“I did the same thing! Why couldn’t you believe me when I was doing that?” she accuses, her voice still incredulous.

“Because you’re my wife!” I defend, my voice as high as hers. “I can’t hear that shit when you’re saying it! All pregnant and needful and swollen and helpless and… stuff!” This argument is not working! She’s looking more and more horrified with every word coming out of my mouth.

“Helpl…” I think she’s stunned. Oh shit. What do I do? The next thing I know, she scoffs out an incredulous laugh. “You stupid boy!” she exclaims. “That’s the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever heard! Go to the corner!”

I’m honestly stunned by her command so… I go stand in the corner.

After a beat, I hear, “You idiot! Get your ass over here!” I walk over to her like a child going to the principal’s office. “Do you realize all this shit was for nothing?” she scolds. “Goddamn Courtney and these fucking country clubs…?”

“Well, actually, it sounds like Courtney made a turnaround and Mac said the country club was a good idea.”

“In what way?” she accuses.

“She’s says it makes us more approachable,” I say. “Well… I haven’t been approachable, you know that.”

“No shit!” she says, walking around her desk. “God, Christian. Things could be so much easier if you would just listen to me. It’s like we went all around the mulberry bush to get to the same point we could have gotten to months ago.”

“I know, I know,” I lament, knowing that this was coming before I started this conversation. At least she’s not moping over Chuck’s situation for the time being.

“Yeah, of course you know, after Vee tells you. What’s so different about what she said and what I said?” I sigh.

“Nothing,” I say, feeling like a scolded child.

“Yeah. Yeah, nothing,” she says, frustration lacing her voice. Not anger, just frustration. She makes to move around me, and my defense mechanism kicks in. She’s not really mad. She’s frustrated with me. I can understand that… but don’t let her get to “mad.”

I snatch her hard against me and take her mouth with mine, my tongue lapping slow and languidly inside her mouth, caressing hers. She moans one long, guttural sound that stirs deep within me while her arms hang to her side. Don’t let her get to “mad.” I’m an idiot. I know I’m an idiot… a stupid boy, just don’t be mad. She’s loopy when our lips part.

“I’m still mad at you,” she breathes heavily, her lids barely open. No you’re not, but I accept the challenge.

“Then I’m not doing this right.” With one hand splayed across her back and the other firmly grasping her nape, I bend my knees and crouch down so that I’m eye-level with her. Grinding our torsos together, I hungrily take her mouth again, pressing her hard against me with each lap of my tongue. She meets my hunger, grasping my biceps and feverishly returning my kiss, groaning deep and primal in her chest.

“Still mad?” I growl against her lips.

“Li’l bit,” she chokes. I wrap her hair around my hand and pull hard, exposing her neck to me. She gasps at the force and I feast on her neck, tasting her and bruising her, lifting her off the ground so that she has to wrap her legs around me. I have to fight the urge to grind my pelvis into her, but our bodies are as close as they can be as I endlessly lick, bite, and kiss the skin of her neck and chest and she thrusts her hands into my hair. As I slow my assault, tenderly kissing my way back to her jaw and cheek, she’s breathless… and seems to be tamed.

“How about now?” I breathe in the corner of her mouth.

“No,” she pants softly, “not now,” and my lips cover hers again.


ANASTASIA

He looks like a damn zombie. He’s white as a ghost, and I do mean white as a ghost! All of the color is gone from his face. He stood at that window for so long, I thought he was going to jump out of it.

He hasn’t said a word. I don’t even know how he can see to drive. Even behind those sunglasses, I can see that the tears haven’t stopped falling. He’s in serious pain and he won’t let it out. Well, I guess he’s letting it out the only way he knows how.

“Do you want to talk about it?” I ask him. He just shakes his head. “You know I’m available if you ever do, right?” He nods, but still says nothing. For the entire thirty-minute ride back to the Crossing, he doesn’t say a word. He’s clearly tormented. I want to ask him why they didn’t just get married. They clearly love each other too much to be apart, but I figure that it’s none of my business and I would just be twisting the knife since she’s already gone.

When we get back to the house, he lets me out at the front door and takes the car to the garage without a word. I wonder when he plans on moving back to his place in Bainbridge? I really don’t want him to be alone like this right now.

On another note, I’m glad that I’m starting to feel a little like my old self again. I still get a bit of a flutter in my stomach and I still miss having my babies there from time to time, but the belly wrap, essential oils, and breastfeeding are really working wonders on my stomach in just two weeks. The belly wrap is also helping me with my posture. It was a bit skewed while carrying the babies, but now, I’m able to walk a bit straighter than before. I catch a glimpse of my reflection in Atlantis after I get off the elevator and I still have my round hips and these huge tits. I wonder how much of these I’m going to keep after I start yoga and Krav Maga again.

I’m melancholy all back over again as I pass the guest quarters and remember that there’s no Keri there. I’m going to miss her colorful conversation and personality, and Chuck is going to be tormented without her love.

Just as I’m trying to digest how to ease my friend’s heartache, my bonehead husband tells me that he has finally come to the same conclusion that I did nearly three months, several fights, and a whole lot of unnecessary security measures later! I feel like I’m walking through the goddamn Twilight Zone! And how did he come to these conclusions? Because Vee told him!

Vee told him!

I literally wanted to pop him upside his head like a twelve-year-old and leave, so instead, I just decided to leave… or I tried to…

My God, that man kissed me until I thought my thighs would explode! Jesus, I don’t know what’s going on between us lately, but the energy and the electricity are brutal! Our connections are almost scary and he can almost make me come with just his voice. We end every night sucking face… every night! We get up at 2 or 3am like clockwork to feed the twins, then go back to bed by 4:30 or 5 every morning sucking face again! I made him come that one night and there hasn’t been an ejaculation since, but there have been intense connections and kissing… lots and lots of kissing!

The bleeding from childbirth has almost stopped and I would venture to say that, by this weekend, it’s going to be gone. I agreed not to wear sky-highs until the six-week check-up, but I plan on bringing out the four inches when the bleeding stops!

So now, I guess we decide what public appearances I’m going to be doing and when. God, he’s such an arse! Why did he have to make everything so fucking difficult? He better start listening to me and I’m going to start being more firm about what I know or feel is right because I was too much of a damn pushover for this one. I know that Christian was and is a high-profile businessman and that puts our family in a precarious position, but I told him then and I’ll tell him again. He doesn’t give me enough credit! I’m not some flighty piece of arm candy that doesn’t know what I’m doing. I’m smart, dammit, and he’s going to make me have to prove it to him just to spite him!

“Butterfly?”

Christian garners my attention by calling my name when he’s walking into my office. I’m sitting at my desk, doing nothing in particular, just marveling over the fact that I can cross my legs again. His face is troubled and I frown deeply when I see it.

“What is it?” I ask.

“Al and James are on their way over along with Gasko and Bianchi,” he says. I frown. Gasko and Bianchi, should I know who these people are?  Noting my questioning look, he continues, “Alon Gasko is from Accounting and Hagen Bianchi is from Finance and Budgeting. The audit on Edwise has been completed.” His expression is still dark.

“So…” I say expecting.

“So, we’re going to have a meeting about it… tonight.”

“Tonight?” I reply. “Can’t it wait until tomorrow? We can meet at GEH, can’t we? We’re almost about to have dinner!”

“Apparently the findings are so delicate the we can’t wait until tomorrow. We’re going to have to act on them now.” I sigh and sink back into my seat.

“That can’t be good,” I lament.

“Uh, no I don’t think it is.” I throw my hands up.

“This man will never stop being a fucking ache in my ass, will he?” I say, rising from my chair. “I swear, I broke up with him years ago and all I wanted him to do is just go away and he keeps coming back like a bad fucking rash!” I lean against my desk, frustrated.

“Let’s just see what they have to say before we jump the gun,” he says, walking over to me stroking my arms. I look up at him skeptically.

“They’re on their way to our house, Christian,” I remind him. “It’s nearly dinnertime on a Thursday night. That gun has fired and the other horses have already started around the track!” His shoulders fall.

“I know, I know. I’m just trying to keep my wits about me here. If this fucker causes us one more goddamn moment of grief…” He trails off.

“Well, whatever was about to trip off your tongue, get ready to enforce it because here it comes,” I tell him. “Activate two-way communications… Where will the meeting be?”

“In my den, I think,” he says.

“Connect to main kitchen,” I say.

Yes?” Ms. Solomon’s voice comes across the intercom.

“Ms. Solomon, please prepare a coffee service for eight and bring it to Christian’s den in the lower level… and some dinner pastries or coffee cakes if we have them.”

“Yes, ma’am,” she says. Geez, I hate that ma’am shit. I know it’s necessary sometimes, but I still don’t have to like it. “End two way communications,” I say grumpily. “What do you know?” I ask him, putting my sweater back on over my ensemble—hip hugger skinny jeans and a soft white blouse with another colorful belly wrap and sweater that incorporated the same colors as the wrap. This was my first time out of the house since the twins were born and I tested my “heel” feet in a pair of black suede booties with a nearly three-inch pump heel. They feel great and I feel great in them. I know that Christian is watching my ass while I’m walking away from him and down the hall to his den. “Come on, Grey, out with it. What do you know?” he sighs.

“Not much,” he says, snapping out of his ass-induced haze. “Just that whatever they’ve found is going to require swift action which is why they don’t want to wait to give us the results.”

“I just bet,” I hiss, walking into the den.

*-*

“He what?” I say in disbelief, my coffee cup suspended in disbelief, trembling as Christian’s accountant, Alon Gasko, relays the ugly truth of Edward’s business dealings to me, now my inherited mess.

“I would venture to say that Edwise has tentacles in all 35 of the listed racketeering crimes of the RICO act,” he says after he had just begun to name only a few of the illegal activities uncovered by the internal audit.

“Was he going for a goddamn record?” I ask as Christian stills my cup, removing it from my hands and placing it on the table between the sofas that the seven of us occupy, Jason having joined the meeting as well.

“Keeping his options open,” Al says, sarcastically. “You know how he loves his options.” I roll my eyes at him.

“This is big, Mrs. Grey,” Hagen Bianchi from Finance says. “With this many branches on this tree, he has to have a network.”

“Which means if the vermin haven’t started crawling out of the woodwork already…” James begins.

“We should start seeing them any minute now,” I finish, bitterly.

“Like hell, we are!” Christian declares, standing swiftly to his feet. “We just had newborn twins. My wife is about to be more in the public eye than she ever was before. The fuck if I’m going to have some back-alley businessman or some low-life dirty-dealing conman show up now trying to give us the fucking shakedown because this asshole handed her this bullshit in a settlement. He wants to play games; he’s fucking with the right sonofabitch!”

“Christian,” Al warns, “you have to be careful with this. We have no idea who we’re dealing with.”

“That’s exactly why we have to jump on this shit now. We can’t afford to lose nerve—and contrary to current popular vote, Mr. Forsythe, they don’t know who they’re fucking dealing with!” He pulls out his blackberry and dials. “We need to be in touch with the United States Attorney General tomorrow morning,” he barks into the phone. “Yes, we need to turn over everything that we have on this fucker’s company as quickly as we can… No, let them see to that… Let me know as soon as it’s set up.” He ends the call.

“Christian, slow down,” I say, rubbing my scar.

“We can’t slow down, Anastasia,” he says. “The sooner we get this ticking time bomb out of our hands, the better! We show that we want nothing to do with it, we replace all of the assets and give it to the proper authorities to do what needs to be done. There’s nothing else to say about it!”

Okay, that’s enough of this shit. I won’t have him dismiss me like this. This is the same thing he tried to do with the radio and television spots only to piss me off and come to the same conclusions that I did three months later.

“Yes, I’m not arguing with that point, but you can’t make that decision,” I say sharply. He glares at me.

“Our family may be in potential danger!” he snaps. “What the fuck do you mean I can’t make that decision?” Oh no the hell he didn’t!

“Because it’s not your fucking company!” I retort, my eyes sharp and my voice just as loud, my hand pressed hard against my now throbbing scar. All of the men in the room fall silent. “Do I get to speak now?” I ask.

“Yes,” Christian says impassively, meeting my gaze. I take a deep breath and let it out.

“I agree with you,” I begin, “that the money taken from the company needs to be replaced, that we need to restore the business to its original state before the audit and turn it over to the US Attorney General exactly as we found it. Let them see to investigating and disposing of the company and the assets. But you are failing to recognize two very key points. First—which should be second—do not make these blanket decisions without so much as even throwing a glance in my direction to consult me for my opinion or my permission on what should happen to my company.” I stand in silence and wait for his acknowledgement.

“Duly noted,” he says in a clipped business tone. “My apologies.”

“Second—which should be first—you can’t turn this company over to the AG. I have to.” His face distorts and he’s about to protest. “This business was never absorbed into GEH!” I say firmly. “I allowed you to oversee the audit because it was easier. You have the more seasoned business mind, but you don’t have the authority to turn this company over. It’s not yours. I know it may feel like it is, but it’s not yours. It’s mine. If you report it, you’ll be turning me in!”

His face turns white as he realizes the implications of what I just said. He won’t be the person turning over the information for the company to the proper authorities so that they can take the ball and handle the situation from there—that would be me. He would just be a whistle-blower.

“Shit!” he runs his hand through his hair. “Well, that was almost a major fuck-up,” he says. I look at the room full of men who were just about to let him go quietly into that good night and shake my head.

“I assume that was Alex that you were talking to,” I say, folding my arms, now feeling like I’m regaining a bit of control over the situation. He nods.

“Yeah, he’s, um… going to get in touch with his contact at the AG’s office, but he won’t be able to do it until tomorrow.”

“I figured as much. We need a few copies of the results of that internal audit. We need to know if we’ve shaken any hornets’ nests. I may not know a whole lot about the ins and outs of this thing, but I know how people work, gentlemen. David most likely was one man in a network of many, but he didn’t have any real power because if he did, we would have known it by now. He certainly wouldn’t have had that bad comedian of an attorney representing him in his criminal and civil trials. He would have settled this issue out of court without the fanfare and I would’ve gotten a cashier’s check from some benefactor or some offshore account somewhere. He definitely wouldn’t have let his cash cow fall into the hands of a woman scorned. This company has been in my hands now for about a month and a half and nobody has contacted us about a sudden hiccup in cash flow or any convenient ‘business arrangements.’ Based on our original calculations of his net worth, what does it look like he laundered through the business in cash only—maybe seven or eight million or so?”

“At least,” Gasko says, a bit taken aback.

“So you know that the actual cash flow through the business had to be exponentially higher than that. I take it that if we’re talking RICO, we’re covering gambling, extortion, bribery, corruption, maybe even to low-man Mafia just to scratch the surface, right?”

Six men stand there staring at me like an alien just walked through the room. I’m beginning to become highly perturbed.

“Keep up! Keep up!” I shoot, snapping my fingers. “Can somebody answer me?”

“Um… uh… yeah,” Bianchi chimes in, opening a portfolio he’s carrying. “At least that—securities fraud, embezzlement, evidence of possible counterfeiting… We haven’t traced any other sources, but there are enough red flags to trigger an investigation.”

“That’s all we need,” I say, standing from the sofa and walking over to Christian’s piano, leaning back against it. “Don’t ruffle any more feathers. Close up shop tomorrow. Pad lock those doors—I don’t want anybody in or out of that building, including Edwise Security. Whoever is in there tonight, get them out. Christian, can you please get one of GEH’s security teams in there to secure the premises within the hour?” Christian is still glaring at me like he doesn’t know who I am. “Christian?” I say sharply.

“Um, uh…” He’s dumfounded. I turn to my back-up.

“Jason?” I ask.

“I’m on it,” he says, and gets on his phone.

“While you’re at it, call Alex and tell him that I need him to report to me about the AG, and I need him to call the IRS, too. I’ll need to make appointments to meet with someone from both offices hopefully as soon as tomorrow.” Christian makes to protest. “And before my husband has a fit about me just delivering babies two weeks ago, please find out if there’s any way that we can video conference or if it’s not too much trouble, a representative can meet us here, but if not, I will go to a local office. This is just that important.” I turn my gaze back to Christian as if to say, “Fair enough?” He does a slight nod in agreement. I turn back to the group of stunned gentlemen and glare at Al.

“You, of all people, shouldn’t be surprised,” I say, pointing to him. “I have a Ph.D. and while I wandered aimlessly looking for a major, you know I minored in busianess and finance.” Al puts his hands up defensively.

“I didn’t say a word,” Al says.

“How did I not know that?” Christian nearly squeals.

“I’m a shrink and my husband is a brilliant businessman. When have I ever needed it?” I ask. The room falls silent again. Even Jason is silent on the phone for a moment before he continues his conversation. “Moving on, whatever we’ve uncovered so far hasn’t ruffled any feathers. Let’s keep it that way. We have no contacts and no information. We seal the books; we close the reports; we turn the whole thing over to the proper authorities, including the employees. We don’t know who knows what or who is or was involved up to what level. Our story is the plain and simple truth. I inherited the company as a settlement in a lawsuit. Before we merged the company into our major corporation, we performed an internal audit to determine its financial soundness. The audit revealed money trails and income streams that had questionable beginnings and endings, setting off major alarms and throwing up several red flags. Rather than delve deeper into a situation with which we are unfamiliar, we sealed the books immediately and now are turning the entire company over to the proper authorities. Al, you have the list of assets that you liquidated to generate the cash that we donated to Helping Hands, right?” Al nods.

“I do, it’s in the audit report.”

“Good. Did the cost and expense of the audit exceed that amount?” I ask. He shakes his head.

“No,” he says. I nod.

“So I take it that his dirty dealings haven’t brought in any cashflow since we took over the company.”

“If they have,” Bianchi interjects, “the amounts have been nominal. But David’s not there to oversee it, so we don’t know what they are.”

“So, if GEH had absorbed the company, we would’ve had to pay for the internal audit anyway, since the company appears to not even be making enough honest money to sustain itself,” I conclude.

“It would appear so,” Gasko says.

“Having said that, we’ll deduct the cost and expense of the internal audit from the amount that we donated to Helping Hands and infuse the difference back into the company as owner equity—no gain, no loss. Put a little bow on this mess and hand it right to the AG and the IRS exactly how we found it. Let them sort it out.” The men begin to nod.

“That appears to be the best course of action,” Bianchi says.

“Um, there’s going to be another issue,” James says, after having been quiet for a while. All attention turns to him. “You’ve already mentioned fraud, but those servers have a lot of evidence of long-term identity theft… mostly of the elderly and deceased, but if you can believe it, even of some children.” I laugh loud and incredulously.

“This fucker is some piece of work,” I say. “This is what comes from being rotten to the core and going unchecked throughout the entire course of your life. He has committed some horrendously heinous acts in his life that have gone unpunished and for that reason, he lived his entire life thinking he was untouchable. He’s committed more crimes and unconscionable acts before he turned thirty than some career criminals have done in their entire lives. Whatever time he doesn’t spend in a Washington correctional facility, he’s going to spend in a federal prison. Jason, include the FBI in that list of people that we need to contact. James, can you generate some kind of report on the identity theft information?”

“I already have,” he says. “The original files have to remain unaltered, but I’ve saved the information on a few flash drives for you. I can have them here tomorrow.”

“Thank you. Early, please. As soon as possible. I’d like to see the information before the FBI does.” He nods.

“You’ve got it.”

“He’s an idiot for not incorporating. He might have gotten some small amount of protection from the corporate umbrella.” I say, shaking my head.

“Maybe not,” Christian says, “he might have had to deal with the SEC.”

“Only if he took the company public,” I say. “And from what they said earlier, he might have to deal with them anyway. He better hope not a penny of his laundering leads to terrorist activities, because he’ll be looking at violations of the PATROIT Act with that one.”

“Eeeeww,” Al exclaims. “I forgot about that.” I rub my hands vigorously through my hair.

“Well, gentlemen, I think we’ve handled all the government agencies that we can handle in one night. If you’ll excuse us, I need to speak to my husband.”

The only person that makes a move is James. Everyone else looks at Christian as if I’m speaking some foreign language. I’m still scratching my head and haven’t noticed that everyone’s feet stay firmly planted until I raise my head. I look over at Christian who also looks at me like I’ve grown two heads and I immediately catch the drift.

“I see,” I say frostily. “Well, when you boys are done with your meeting, I’ll be in my office.” I throw an ice cold glare at Christian before I stand tall and walk out of his den.

Sitting at my desk, I immediately start going through my emails. Almighty Mr. Grey has responded to Marilyn’s copy of the email that Broadmoor has narrowed down our sponsorship choices to two—the Mallorys and the Kennedys. I type in the names of each person into Google, individually and as a couple. I want to see who has a stronger internet presence and involvement in the community. By far, the winners are the Kennedys. Josephine Kennedy is highly active in children’s charities while the couple together are avid supporters of medical research, having lost a child to leukemia. They are extremely active in the community in terms of volunteer work and fundraisers, and not just red carpet events, although there are more than a few pictures of them at black tie affairs. Given the choice, I would say that the Greys would much rather be attached to the community active Kennedys than the seemingly dormant Mallorys. I compose a quick response to Ilene Claiborne at Broadmoor informing her as such before I move on to compose an email to Marilyn.

To: Marilyn Caldwell

Subject: Get Ready to Cram, The Shit’s Hit the Fan

Date: Thursday, February 6, 2014 18:18:09

From: Anastasia Grey

Well, I hope you’ve had time to rest, because it’s about to get crazy in your life.

Yes, I know that I said I would be taking it easy until the doctor cleared me to go back to work after my six-week check-up, but we’ve got some major shit about to hit the horizon. Grey Almighty somehow finally agrees with me that I should be doing some public appearances since Vee has become our publicist instead of just GEH public relations. We will discuss how many ways that has pissed me off at a later date. However, that means that you will have to start coordinating very closely with Vee for dates and times, all of which will be approved by me, not the almighty Mr. Grey. Again, another issue we will address at a later date. So you know your calendar is going to be full.

In addition to that, you are going to be manning some pretty hefty calls over the next few days or weeks or whatever (I don’t know). Most likely, three to five government agencies will be blowing up my phone in the days to come so I will need you to be on your toes. Mr. David has handed me a hot mess that appears to be steeped in illegal activities and I’m turning the whole thing over to the proper authorities, hopefully as soon as tomorrow. So as you can see, we’re going to have our hands full. I need you here bright and early so that we can get the ball rolling on these things. I’ll see you in the morning, Wonder Woman.

Dr. Anastasia Steele-Grey
Assistant Director, Helping Hands

I’m just finishing typing the email to Marilyn and moving on to my next task going over what my calendar would look like under normal circumstances when Christian comes forcefully into my office—not loud, just a little more boisterous than usual, just as I expected he would.

“Would you like to tell me what that was all about?” he says, a bit demanding.

“Yes,” I say, raising my head to him. “I want you to get Allen or legal or whomever you need to do it to draw up an amendment to our prenuptial agreement removing me as part owner of GEH.”


CHRISTIAN

What the fuck kind of bug crawled up her ass and died?

I look around the room at the five other men who each stares at my wife as she saunters out of the den, Gasko and Bianchi no doubt examining that voluptuous ass as it disappears behind the door before turning back to me and donning confused masks.

“Your wife was a business major?” Gasko inquires, surprised.

“Minor,” Al corrects him. “She graduated premed with a minor in business and finance since she had already taken so many classes.” Gasko raises an eyebrow at him.

“How do you know so much about Mrs. Grey?” he says, suspiciously. Al glares at him, then turns a questioning glance to me, pointing at Gasko as if to say “Don’t he know?”

“Allen and my wife have been best friends for nearly fifteen years,” I say dismissively, watching the mask of realization come over Gasko’s face. “Business and Finance?” I say to Al in disbelief. He sighs.

“Ah, yes, one of the many hidden faces of Jewel,” he replies.

“Jewel,” I hear Gasko say under his breath to Bianchi with a chuckle and Al just rolls his eyes.

“He calls her ‘Jewel’ because he’s been calling her that since she was fourteen, before I was even around. You do not get that privilege. Are we clear, Mr. Gasko?” I nearly hiss at him. Gasko suddenly becomes uncomfortable and sits up straight in his seat on the sofa.

“Yes, sir, Mr. Grey,” he responds. I turn back to Al.

“These many face of Ana,” I say to him, “I’m not going to wake up and find that Serial Killer Ana or Lorena Bobbitt Ana is lying next to me, am I?” James scoffs a laugh. He’s the only one in the room brave enough to do so, besides Al.

“Not that I know of,” Al says, a bit sarcastically.

“So who the hell just left the room?” I ask.

“Oh, that was just Pissed Off Ana—no mystery there. You’ll have to go find out what’s wrong. Before you do, you might want to go over what happened immediately before she left.” I look at him confused.

“What happened?” I ask. He shrugs.

“She basically asked us to leave and nobody moved,” Jason chimes in.

“I moved,” James says with a shrug. I scratch my head.

“I don’t know. I’ll go talk to her,” I say. “I guess you all should be prepared to be here tomorrow just in case. At the very least, plan to be on call. James, I know you have a job you have to attend and you can’t be at my beck and call, but if you could make yourself as available as possible, I’ll forever be in your debt.”

“Will do,” he says with a nod. The gentlemen all exchange pleasantries and make their way to the door.

“Alex will contact all the necessary agencies first thing in the morning and correspond with Her Highness as soon as he gets feedback. I told him to keep you in the loop as well.”

“Good man. Now let’s go see what has Her Highness off her perch…”

*-*

“What?” I say incredulously as I examine my wife’s impassive face. She must be kidding. “What are you talking about?” She walks around her desk and leans on it, facing me.

“I’m saying that I don’t want to be part owner of your company if it means that I’m going to be treated like the ‘little woman,’” she says flatly, her arms folded. I frown.

“Where is this coming from?” I ask her. “Are you having another fit of hormones or something?” She laughs, but her smile doesn’t reach her eyes.

“Well, you know how hormonal we little women can be. In the meantime, have the papers drawn up and I’ll sign them whenever they’re finished.” She moves to walk back to her seat. There’s no malice in her voice. It’s eerily calm and matter-of-fact.

“You’re serious.”

Yes, I am,” she says flatly. “I’m clearly just a figurehead, if that. I’m only a partial owner in word, not in deed. The only way that I could get you to back off from my company was to get you to realize that actions on your part would be to my detriment. The fact that the company is legally mine wasn’t enough for you to just back off and let me handle it. After I made that clear and handled the situation with skills that you didn’t even know I possessed, you still acted like you didn’t want to give me credit for knowing what I was talking about. Likewise, I gave an order to people who are supposed to be under my employ as much as they are under yours considering that we were talking about my business, not yours. When we concluded talking about my business, I adjourned the meeting with people that I also thought were supposed to be under my employ as much as yours, and they all looked at me like I was some strange, exotic bird. When I looked to you for support, you had the same look in your eyes like ‘Who the hell is she?’

“I could tolerate that from them, because maybe they haven’t been informed yet, but I can’t tolerate that from you. You treated me just like the little woman in front of the Big Boys Club like I needed to go run off and do my knitting or clip recipes or coupons or something while the ‘menfolk’ run the business. I felt like the girl standing on stage in her underwear in the auditorium full of teenage kids and I couldn’t get out of that room fast enough. You disparaged me and belittled me in front of those men…”

“I didn’t say anything!” I defend.

“That’s what did it!” she confirms. “They were waiting for you, and you said nothing! I can’t walk into GEH and start throwing around orders without anyone knowing what my authority is; you have to tell them. You invited them into our home to discuss my company, but didn’t see fit to tell anyone that I had any authority! We’ve been married for nearly eight months, Christian… nearly eight months! I’ve been part owner of GEH for that long and nobody knows?”

Boy, when she says it like that, it sounds pretty bad.

“The fact that you haven’t seen fit to make any kind of announcement about this before now speaks volumes—nothing in the staff meetings or department head meetings, a company conference, a luncheon, a memo, an email, nothing! Half of the employees at GEH don’t even know who I am! I don’t expect to come in and start running things, but I do expect to say something to someone and they do what I ask. The fact that no one knows—not even a few key people in management positions—indicates that you are clearly not ready to release the reins of your baby in any way, shape, or form, but I’m not going to have you demean me while you come to grips with that.”

Well, I feel like shit now. She’s absolutely right. What’s worse is that this immediate catastrophe could have easily been avoided had I just given a quick nod to the men in the den before Butterfly raised her head. The meeting would have been adjourned, everyone would have been dismissed, and Butterfly wouldn’t have been the wiser. Then I could have fixed it later, notifying everyone that Butterfly is part owner of the company and that her instructions must be followed as if they were mine. Instead, I stood there glaring at her like someone was taking my favorite toy from me while everyone in the room except James was waiting to take their cues from me—hence, the “you boys” comment.

“I’m…” I run my hands through my hair. “I’m sorry. You’re right. I should have handled this better.”

“Don’t be sorry, Christian,” she says, without malice. “Think about what this really means. I don’t want you to appease me. I never asked for part ownership of GEH. I told you that you were crazy in the first place, but I thought you were doing it because you wanted us to be a team, because you wanted me to be… involved in some kind of way.” She actually had to search for the word. “Now, I see that you were just doing it as some kind of grand gesture. I don’t want that. I never wanted that. It was never about your money or what you could give me and if that was what this was about…”

“Of course, that wasn’t what this was about!” I hiss. “How could you think that?”

“What am I supposed to think?” she asks. “GEH is partially mine in word, but not in deed? I’m an owner when it suits you, like when you need me front and center for Fairlane, but not when it’s time to make a decision, like now, or heaven forbid I want to give someone an order. No doubt, Alex has been instructed to cc you on everything that happens with the IRS, FBI, and the AG, right? Don’t bother responding. I already know the answer.”

I think I’m more bothered by the fact that she’s so cool and impassive with this discussion than I am that the fucking nickels keep dropping.

“Ana, give me a break here,” I say, a bit defeated. “I’ve been a one-man band for years, here, and I’m trying to get this right…”

“I’m giving you more than a break, Christian. I’m giving you an out. No hard feelings.”

“Don’t you see I don’t want that!” I say, quickly closing the space between us and clutching her arms. “I don’t want an out! I didn’t make you part owner of GEH as some sort of grand gesture or to just put you in front of people like a trophy. I did it because I want the company to be a joint accomplishment from now on. I don’t want it to be about you and me—I want it to be about us!”

I don’t know if I’m saying this right, but I feel such frustration rising up in me that I just release her arms and turn away from her, thrusting both hands in my hair. She’s right, GEH is my baby, my life’s work. I’ve never trusted her in the hands of anyone without my scrutiny, and now, I have to take a chance on Butterfly. True, she won’t be doing anything or making any decisions without me—not that I would worry even if she had to—but I’ve never placed my life in anyone else’s hands, not since I was four years old. I always kept the smallest part of myself tucked away, hidden just for me. Now I realize that this is the last little piece of me, my ultimate baby, that I want to share with her. Even the twins are a joint collaboration. But GEH… she’s mine.

And she doesn’t want it.

“I won’t take this if you can’t give it to me freely,” she says, almost as if she’s reading my mind and trepidations. “I don’t care what you think you want or what statement you’re think you’re trying to make. It’s just stuff to me if your heart isn’t in it, and I don’t need it. You need to think about that for a while. Take as long as you need, but until you’re sure, I’ll use the resources only to the degree that I’m getting this Edwise shit taken care of and that the company is responsible for our security, but that’s it. I refuse to go through the motions. I don’t need to be in the loop anymore unless our peace and safety is in danger like it was with Robin Myrick. I don’t need any additional information that you don’t need to give me.” I turn around to face her.

“Ana…” She holds up her hand to silence me.

“It’s insulting, Christian,” she says calmly. “You’ve placated me and I don’t want that anymore. I’m not angry. I’m just disappointed, and I don’t want that anymore. So please, just decide what you want and do what you’re going to do. Now, I don’t want to talk about this anymore because there’s really nothing else to say and if we keep talking about it, it’s going to become a fight. I’m hungry and I want to eat dinner now. I’m going to check on the children and I’ll meet you upstairs.”

She walks past me and out the door, leaving me in a somewhat stunned silence standing in her office. I’ve just had my ass handed to me in the politest way possible. She read me completely right and she was spot on in everything that she said. I feel like I’m losing a grip here. I’m just not sure on what. There’s no great catastrophe happening. The world is not slipping into the ocean before my very eyes; no volcanoes erupting around me or earthquakes causing buildings to crumble to the ground, but there’s a sinking feeling of doom inside of me that I can’t seem to place and it’s scaring the shit out of me.

The good news is that she’s not mad. She hasn’t dismissed me or shut me down. That shit is for the birds and I just wasn’t having that. Her words replay profoundly in my ears, though…

Just decide what you want and do what you’re going to do.

She’s resigned. It is what it is. My wife has never been a weak woman, but I have viewed her as fragile in the last several months. Lately, I’m seeing more and more of the woman I used to know—the woman I met in the community center. She’s coming back into her own, that pre-pregnancy, pre-accident tigress full of fire and strength, and I have to re-adapt. I’ve become so accustomed to being her shield and protector. To some degree, I know that’s still my role, but Ana has never been helpless. For months, I’ve seen her body and delicate condition and I’ve known that she needed protection, but she never saw it. She was still the same Ana, just in a different body and was never truly able to see her limitations. For months, she’s been trying to spread her wings and stretch her legs—even when she pistol-whipped Monster Bitch.

Now, that physical limitation is gone, and she’s healing.

She’s seeing her opportunities to fly and run now—with the public appearances I previously forbade, the country club membership and its possibility of connections, and exposing Edward David’s corruption. She’s on a roll, and nothing I can do or say will stop her, not that I want to. She’ll roll me over and leave me where I stand, just like she was willing to do with Judge HammerAss a couple of years ago, and she’s proven it by handing my Jewel back to me with no malice.

“Here. Take your ball and go home. If you don’t want me to play with it freely, then I don’t want to play with it at all.”

… Which is right, because if I really don’t want to give it to her without condition or doubt, I’ll only end up resenting the decision later. I love her dearly, but I hate it when she’s this right.

I smooth my crazed hair and head for the elevator to join my wife for dinner.


A/N: In 1993, Lorena Bobbitt became famous for cutting off her husband’s penis while he slept. There are two versions of the story. One says that she discovered that John Bobbitt, her husband, was cheating on her and she came home and “dismembered” him.  In another version, she claimed that she was a victim of domestic abuse for quite some time and that she just snapped when she lopped off his little soldier. Both versions indicate that domestic abuse was at the “base” of the attack. Either way, she took off with his dismembered member in the car with her and threw it in a field. After realizing what she had done, she called 911. They found the dislodged dick in a field and reattached it to his body. She ended up being acquitted and he went on to be a porn star. 

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Lynn X

Becoming Dr. Grey: Chapter 58—A Whole New World

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 58—A Whole New World

ANASTASIA

Gail wanted to let me sleep in my first night home from the hospital, but I couldn’t sleep if I wanted to. There are two babies in the house… and no longer inside my body. Every time I rolled over to adjust to the baby bump and discovered that there was no baby bump, I awoke in a panic. So I never slept more than thirty minutes at a time. I found myself prodding down to the nursery at least three times just to peek in and watch them sleeping in their cribs. It was no use. No matter what I did, I couldn’t sleep. Maybe tomorrow night…

Of course, this means that morning finds me groggy and disheveled. I have pumped a few bottles with Mia’s super breast pump as well as fed Mackenzie since Mikey didn’t wake up yet. Now, I’m sitting at the breakfast bar, my arms wrapped around my flatter stomach as if my babies were still there, debating if I should try now to get some sleep.

“Look what I found.” Christian’s sing-songy voice causes me to raise my head to find him coming into the kitchen with one of the babies in his arms.

“Who’s that?” I ask.

“Mikey,” he says. “Mackenzie is still fast asleep, but Mikey’s little whine actually woke me up.” He looks up at me and frowns. “Are you alright? You don’t look well.”

“I’m fine,” I say sluggishly, rising from the breakfast bar and holding my arms out for Mikey.

“Do you want me to feed him?” he asks. “You really look beat.”

“No, Mackenzie’s asleep because she latched. Michael’s awake because he didn’t. I have to get him more accustomed to the breast than the bottle, but with how much I pumped this morning, I hope I have something left.” I’m still holding my arms out and Christian is still frowning at me, but won’t surrender Mikey.

“Go to the recliner, baby,” he says. “I’ll bring him to you.”

I’m hardly in the mood to protest. I drag over to the recliner and nearly fall into it. Once Christian puts Mikey in my arms, I lift my camisole and rub my nipple against his tiny little cheek. He turns his head and latches on immediately and I feel the milk flow as if my breast is completely full and I hadn’t pumped a drop out of them this morning. I settle back in the comfort of the chair and relax in the solace of feeding my baby boy.

When I open my eyes, I’m wrapped in my microfiber throw, cuddled comfortably in my recliner. I raise my head to see Mikey’s Pack-n-Play in the middle of the family room. Both newborn nappers have been placed inside, each holding one of my children. I stretch leisurely in my chair. How long was I asleep? I must have fallen asleep while I was feeding Mikey. I have to be more careful in the future.

Although I’m stretched out and awake in the chair, I’m in no hurry to get up. I’ve been awake all night and I just want to sit here. I think about Vee’s speech while we were making our getaway. She really broke her usual protocol last night. She’s always the one who tries to keep us in line—makes sure we say the right things. Last night, she just dropped the proverbial mic and walked off the podium. Christian didn’t say much about her statement. I wonder if he was upset about it. I thought she was spot on, not that it’ll do any good. Those fuckers are probably camped outside the gates as we speak. Those snipers are sounding better and better every day.

I pull up my camisole and look at my belly. I’m not wearing my belly belt and my henna has faded. Luckily, the oil that I used faithfully every day prevented me from having any stretch marks on my stomach, but I do still have the post-partum bulge, of course. I look like I’m a solid four-to-five months pregnant. I rub my stomach—so much smaller than it used to be and so very obviously empty. It feels weird not to have something kick me back when I disturb the peace. I have to admit that it feels a bit… lonely. I’ll have to get used to the way things were before there were people inside of me. I can hardly remember that time. I grip my stomach and try to shake the feeling like I’ve lost something precious.

“What is this?” I say quietly to myself. Nobody prepared me for this. Everybody told me about the joy that I would feel when I held my babies; how they would light up my life and give me purpose; that nothing in the world would feel like being a mother; how you would immediately know what to do when the doctor put them in your arms. All of that is true. My babies are precious and beautiful. They’re priceless and gorgeous and I wouldn’t trade them for anything… but no one told me that one they were born, I would feel so empty… so hollow. I literally feel soulless. What is this horrible feeling?

baby-sleeping-cribI rub my belly looking for the connection that I felt only days ago. Nothing. There’s nothing. Not a flutter. Not a flicker. I throw the blanket off of me and go over to the Pack-n-Play.  Mikey is trying to fit his fist in his mouth, and Minnie is lying with her hands spread open on either side of her head, like she’s trying to mock surprise. It makes me giggle a bit. They kept up so much hell inside me to be so peaceful now. Am I a horrible mother for missing the connection that I had with my children while they were inside of me?

I don’t know how long I stand there watching them sleep, cradling my stomach, singing their lullaby and thinking about the nights I used to lull them to sleep… and they did the same to me. When I felt my worst, my ugliest, my loneliest, they kept me company and gave me purpose, and I kept them safe. Now, they’re out here in the cold, cruel world. There’s nobody to warm me from the inside, and I can’t keep them safe inside of me anymore. What the hell do I do now?

“Hey.” Christian’s concerned voice wafts behind me and causes my shoulders to drop. “What’s wrong? This doesn’t look like the happy, rested mother of two beautiful newborn twin babies.” I’m still grasping my stomach, trying to be inconspicuous about it.

“I don’t know,” I say honestly. “I just… I feel so…” I’m ashamed to say it aloud.

“Is this the post-partum depression thing?” he asks, putting his hands on my shoulder. I shake my head.

“No,” I say, never moving my gaze from the babies. “No, it’s not that. It’s…” I still can’t say it. He examines me closely. Knowing me the way that he does, he takes my arms from around my body, stands behind me and replaces them with his own. He nestles his lips in my neck and places tender kisses there before resting his chin on my shoulder.

“They’re here now,” he says softly, gazing at our children and holding me closer and tighter than he has in months. “They’re here, and they’re alive, and beautiful, and healthy, and perfect.” He speaks with reverence and wonder in his voice. “Two extraordinary beings—products of our love, nurtured in your body, brought forth by your care and your labor—here, with us, now, for us to love and cherish and cultivate… to watch them grow and flourish and thrive.” He rubs my stomach gently. “They may not be here anymore…” He entwines his fingers with mine, and places one on each newborn napper. “… But they’re here…” He then places both hands over my heart. “… And they’ll always be here.”

How I could have married a man so sensitive, kind, and loving, I’ll never know. My heart swells and I have to fight back tears that I don’t want to cry. Too many have been shed for too many reasons, and I just don’t want to shed anymore. I unthread my fingers from his and turn around in his arms. Thrusting my hands in his hair, I kiss him deeply. He moans into my mouth and returns my fever. I love him so much.

“You wanna make out in the recliner until the twins wake up?” he groans.

“Yes,” I breathe, between kisses.

*-*

“How do you two plan to make it six weeks? You’re pawing at each other already.” Jason and Chuck come into the family room in what looks like a semi-official capacity.

“It’s just kissing,” I defend, adjusting myself in Christian’s lap. “I’m not dry-fucking the man!” I examine them carefully. “What’s up?” I ask, knowing they came in to tell us something. The pause is pregnant.

“The sex of the twins has been leaked,” Chuck says, “probably from the same source that leaked that you checked in. There’s speculation on the names—from the exotic to the ridiculous.” Christian’s hand clenches on my thigh. I sigh and curl into his lap, nuzzling his neck and kissing the skin below his earlobe. He shudders infinitesimally.

“That’s okay,” I say, wistfully. “The birth announcements will go out today anyway, the sooner the better. Kill the speculation of Jesus Christ and Mary Magdalene Grey.” I hear Christian chuckle in his chest, a deep, throaty sound as his hand moves from my thigh up to my hips and he turns his mouth to meet my kiss-swollen lips.

“Okay,” Jason says, “that was easy.” It’s quiet for a moment and I tear my attention away from my husband’s lips to see what’s happening in the room. Jason is looking over into the Pack-n-Play at the children and Chuck is making his way over to them as well.

“God,” he says, breathily, “I can barely remember Sophie ever being that small.” He looks at the children in wonder.

“They’re so tiny and helpless,” Chuck says, his protective instinct dripping off him like water from a fresh shower. “I mean, look at ‘em. They depend on you for everything.”

“I know, right?” Jason says, flashing a look at his colleague and friend, carrying on a conversation about our children as if we weren’t a few feet away making out in a chair.

“Are Peterson and Dougherty ready?” Chuck asks, never taking his eyes off the twins. “I don’t want them fucking up on my watch.” Jason chuckles.

“Strange, they’re saying the same thing about you,” he retorts. Chuck glares at him.

“You tell those clowns I’ve been at this for more than a year and I’ve more than once delivered the package in one piece, even in great detriment to myself. They better be just as diligent or they’ll have to fucking answer to me.” His voice is cold and menacing. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to tell that Peterson and Dougherty must be the detail that will be assigned to the twins.

“Easy, soldier,” Jason says, throwing a look back at Chuck. “You know Peterson is top of the line and Dougherty has more than once been underestimated. You know we wouldn’t sidestep on this.”

“Then explain Bronson!” Chuck retorts quietly. “What the fuck was that all about?”

“He was good for the job,” Jason says, “we just didn’t expect her to be so… lively.” Chuck twists his lips.

“I was out of commission and I expected her to be so lively,” he says flatly, and I have to stifle a giggle. How could Jason not know that Mare is such a fireball? If he didn’t, he does now, and I hope her security detail is just as hot.

“Well, I’ll just say this,” Chuck says, squaring his shoulders. “You tell those fuckers not to worry about me. They had better all be on their game, and if any of them drops their ball on my watch, I’ll shoot ‘em my damn self!” He turns around right into mine and Christian’s gaze, having totally forgotten that we were in the room. Without a word, he marches past us towards the elevator. Sergeant Davenport is officially ready for action and to kick ass. Jason watches as he walks towards the elevator, then turns his gaze to us.

“Prima Dona,” he says, before looking back at the twins.

“Should I be concerned?” Christian asks. Jason looks at him and frowns.

“About what?” he says. “If anything, he’s more dedicated than ever. That’s usually the case after something like… this.” Jason stretches his neck and rolls his shoulder. I know immediately that he’s recalling the bullet he took for Christian.

“I can imagine,” Christian say, his voice betraying his gratitude. “What I mean is… they have to trust each other to work together.”

“Oh, that,” Jason says, waving him off. “That’s harmless ribbing. Chuck’s going to be a little sensitive about it because he’s not 100% back on the beat yet, but he’ll be fine. It happened to me, too. It happens to all of us.” I feel Christian relax slightly underneath me.

“I need to shower,” I whisper to him, “and I’m hungry.”

“Mr. Taylor,” Christian says, garnering Jason’s attention.

“Yes, Mr. Grey?” Jason replies in a mocking tone.

“Would you please tell your lovely wife to mind the twins for about an hour and to have something ready to eat at that time? Mrs. Grey needs to refresh herself.” Jason chuckles.

“Will do, sir,” and off he goes. Christian stands effortlessly with me in his arms.

“How about a bath, Mrs. Grey?” Oh, what a lovely idea.

“Oh yes, a hot bath. I haven’t had one in months!” He frowns as we walk to the elevator.

“Is it safe?” he asks. “So soon after delivery?” I snake my arms around his neck and kiss that same spot. He’s so good to me and wants to take care of me. I love him so much.

“Yes, baby, it’s safe. We’re not going to boil me,” I laugh. “And you can join me if you like, just to make sure that I don’t melt.”

“Hmm,” he moans, deep in his chest. “I like…”

I’m cocooned in Christian’s arms and legs in my huge bathtub, adoring the hot water that I haven’t felt in months. I’m lying back on his chest as he gently scrubs my skin with a freshwater sponge.

“So,” I begin, my voice relaxed, “Vee’s speech was uncharacteristic.”

“And true,” he says without missing a beat. “Those assholes never give up. It’s like they’re hoping to see a body or something soon—our worst fears and moments plastered all over the news. It really should have been a joyous occasion, us bringing our babies to our new home. Yet, we had to smuggle them out the back door like illegal drugs. I’m surprised we didn’t have to put you all in body bags!”

“Oh, Christian!” I scold. “How macabre!”

“I’m sorry, baby, but we were one step off of it,” he says. “We had to take you out through the goddamn morgue!”

“I know, but the staff was wonderful, weren’t they?” I remind him. “Had they blindfolded me and taken me to that hallway, I never would have known.” I won’t remember the horrible truth that I had the “smuggle” my children out of the hospital through the morgue. I’ll remember that the staff brought me to tears by lining the halls with balloons, flowers, posters, smiles, light and kindness as we left.

“Yeah, they did a great job. It’s the least they could do,” he adds.

“Don’t blame the entire hospital for the actions of one, husband,” I chastise. “They went out of their way to bring our babies safely into the world and to set things right and you know it.” I feel him nod behind me.

“Yes, wife, you’re right,” he says gently cupping my breast. I turn around in his lap.

“So why do you think she did it… Vee, I mean?” I say, relieving him of the freshwater sponge and beginning to clean his skin with it.

“I don’t know, Butterfly,” he says, gently caressing my body as I stroke the sponge over him—his arms, his shoulders, his chest. “Maybe she was stalling… giving us time to get home. Or maybe she was just tired, physically tired or just tired of what she has been seeing these past couple of years.”

“God, Christian, it hasn’t even been two years, yet,” I lament. “Heaven only knows the fires that poor woman has had to put out with me in your life, not to mention the 24-hour extinguisher she had to carry around before you even met me. I’d be exhausted, too.”

“Yeah, I know,” he says, his voice low. He’s silent for a moment. His caress becomes tender, more sensual. “I’ve missed this,” he says, huskily. I kiss his neck.

“I have, too,” I say, straddling his body but careful to keep my sex away from his. There’s no possible way we could or would dare indulge ourselves right now. I continue to clean him, paying attention to the ripple of his muscles under the clear water. He looks divine. Granted, we’ve had baths, but not the hot, soothing baths… and so close together without our entire family in the tub with us. His arms can wrap further around me again and I like that feeling. Our chests touch again… and I feel his erection growing on my belly, again.

I take his lips with mine and sink my tongue into his mouth, exploring deeply. One arm wraps around my back while the other wet hand comes out of the water and gently cups my cheek. He tries to take over the kiss, but I dominate him, licking the crevices of his mouth and fisting his hair firmly to keep his head angled perfectly for me. He groans deep and tortured into my mouth and surrenders to my kiss, his resolve hanging on by a string and his erection getting firmer underneath me.

“Baby,” he breathes when I let him up for air. I cover his mouth again and he sighs and whimpers, grasping me hard and pulling me against him. I have no purchase to move. We’re tangled in a passionate jungle kiss and when I pull back and look at him, his eyes are feral, hungry, almost dangerous.

“Let me go,” I breathe. His brow furrows and his dilated pupils constrict a bit.

“What?” he says, slightly breathless.

“Release me,” I say. Confused, he releases his hold on me and I slide slightly down his legs, rubbing his erection against my palm. His lips slack and his pupils dilate again.

“Butterfly… no…” he breathes, his control slipping. “I don’t need this.”

“Shh,” I say, still rubbing my palm against his hardening erection. I feel his resolve slipping.

“Baby, you can’t do anything,” he says, his voice shaky, “it’s too soon.”

“I know,” I confess, “but I can take care of you.” I run my palm and fingers over and around the swelling head and he sucks in a deep breath. He gasps my wrist and stops my hand, taking a steadying breath before raising his eyes to me.

“I don’t need this,” he says firmly. I gaze into his eyes.

“You don’t… want me to…” I can’t hide my disappointment.

“I always want you, Butterfly,” he stops me, “any way I can have you, but I don’t need this right now. I can just hold you… touch you and kiss you…” I believe him, that he could just hold me and kiss me, but he would be doing that mostly for me. I crave that intimacy, too, and we can have that intimacy, but right now, more than anything, I want to satiate my man.

“Lie back,” I say definitively.

“Butterfly…” he protests.

“Lie. Back.” I say again, allowing a full three seconds to pass between the words. He examines me for a long time—hours it seems, before surrender settles in his eyes. He releases my wrist and lies back against the marble of the Grecian tub. I fist his erection in my hand and begin to stroke from root to tip. He gasps loudly, attempting to maintain control, but unable to stifle his moan as I stroke his aching cock. I see him pink up under the water almost immediately—my purple, veiny, angry friend very soon to make his appearance.

Like hell, you don’t need this.

I tighten my grip, speeding my stroke just a bit. I feel him steel his hips while he white-knuckle grasps the edges of the tub, his jaw tight as he grits his teeth, watching my hand.

“Don’t stiffen up, baby,” I coax him. “Enjoy it.”

His grip on the tub loosens, but he still doesn’t know what to do with his hands.

You don’t get it, do you? I’m not jacking you off. I’m making love to you with my hands.

I use both hands, one hand firmly pumping him, the other teasing the head, slit, and the frenulum of his cock. I don’t watch my hands. I don’t watch his penis. I watch him—his reactions, his labored breathing, his unleashed desire and finally, his surrender. His muscles start to ripple harder and he starts to transcend, whatever inhibitions he’s feeling slowing slipping away.

“God… oh, God… it feels so good,” he says, almost incoherently, just above a whisper. His head rolls back and his hips roll infinitesimally into my hands. He doesn’t want to disturb the stroke, the manipulation, but he wants it just a little deeper. I allow him to control that thrust and he moans deep in his chest. After several moments, he finally opens lustful, passionate eyes and looks at me. The hunger and longing are there… and the love. I lean forward so that my nipples graze his chest and my mouth is right there at his. He groans hard as my angle gives me a deeper pull against his penis.

“Ana,” he groans in tormented pleasure.

“Hold me,” I say into his mouth. “Kiss me…”

“Yes!” he breathes, cupping my face with his hands and kissing me hungrily, gasping for air in his passion. “Baby…”

“That’s it,” I coax him, biting his lip, gently at first, then firmly to elicit just the right amount of pain.

“Ah, fuck!” he cries, processing the pain in his lip and the pleasure in his dick. His hand moves to my ass cheek and squeezes hard while the other slides to grasp my neck and cheek simultaneously, holding me possessively. I love it!

“You like it?” I growl, my mouth now at his ear, my hand firmly fisting and pistoning his cock from root to tip, ferociously rubbing the head each time I pass it.

“Yes! God, yes!” he hisses.

“You’re about to come,” I say in his ear. “I feel it. I feel your hard cock pounding against my hand. I feel the blood rushing to the surface and that vein pulsing ready to explode!”

“Oh, my God!” he laments, closing his eyes, his voice anguished in helpless passion. I reach down and give his tightening testicles one torturous stroke, and then another, and another. He jerks violently with each pass.

“Mmmmm, you feel that?” I tease. “They’re so ready to blow for me, so tight and ready to release…” I lick his neck up to his earlobe then suck the lobe into my mouth.

“Aannnaaa…” he groans, half in protest, half in surrender as if to say, “why are you doing this to me; why are you tormenting me?”

Because I love you, and I want to feel you thumping in my hands when you come.

“Give it to me, baby,” I say directly in his ear, my bare breasts rubbing against his chest, my tongue lapping at his neck as he offers himself to me. “Give it to me… come on, baby…” His face is agonized, tortured in ecstasy as he chokes out those pre-orgasmic breaths. The hand that previously grasped my cheek and neck now firmly grasps the side of the tub while his other hand moves to the floor of the tub to steady him. I pump hard and deep, sure to cross his sensitive head and frenulum with each stroke and manipulating his eager, tightening balls in the process.

Yes, my love, let it go.

Right at that crucial moment when I feel his testicles solidify and that muscle start to throb, I bite down on his neck and suck hard.

“Ah… ah… Ana…!”

He chokes that familiar mournful sound as I feel him throb in my fist and jerk through his orgasm. His back straight, his eyes closed, his head back, and his mouth open, he’s paralyzed with pleasure as I suck hard, then lick beads of water and sweat from his throat, still pumping his penis while he ejaculates. He’s gasping through his climax as if he’s taking his last breaths and somehow, I know he needed this more than he was willing to admit. He shakily leans back against the tub, still trembling and unable to catch his breath, speechless, his hair sticking to his face and his eyes still closed. I lean against his chest and he wraps a shaky arm around me, trying to regain his control.

Maxie’s right. I have no idea how I’m going to stay away from that dick for six weeks.


CHRISTIAN

My wife has magic hands. Fucking magic!

I was fine to sit in that wonderful warm water with her, to touch her and kiss her and just be in her presence. Our bodies hadn’t been that close in a long time. I hadn’t been able to put my arms around her and pull her against me like that, feel her bare breasts against my chest and hold her close to my body. I miss the swollenness of the baby bump, but feeling her against me like that was euphoric. I’ll admit, it turned me on and I got hard, but I was fine caressing her and just feeling her body against me.

I almost felt bruised when she told me to let her go. At first, I thought she might have thought I was trying to get some pussy and I was a little hurt, but when she touched me, Greystone ignited immediately and I didn’t think I could stand it. I certainly couldn’t tolerate the thought of her getting me off and I couldn’t reciprocate anything at this point, not even a little one-on-one time with her clit. But when I looked into her eyes, I knew that at that moment, she wouldn’t have it any other way.

I have no idea how we’re going to get through the next six weeks without me being able to be inside her. The only times I haven’t touched my wife intimately for any extended periods of time were when we were having horrible fights—Montana, the fundraiser fiasco, Flynngate—and when she was in the hospital in a coma. I shudder to think of that one more than any of the others. But if today’s demonstration was any indication, we’re going to be clawing at each other on March 6th.

Butterfly handled me like a pro, today. That release was mental, emotional, and physical. I don’t know what it was… recalling taking the babies out through the morgue, the helplessness I felt when she locked herself in the bathroom, McIntyre’s speech and all the memories it stirred—I didn’t even know I was wound so tight. Yes, her hands felt wonderful… magnificent! But more than that, she reached inside me and pulled out the anguish and despair that I didn’t even know was there. Then she warmed me with her body, kissing my face, neck and chest, stroking my hair and calming my soul when the orgasm was spent. I couldn’t stop shaking. I was drained, completely emptied in every way and I had no control over anything. I could do nothing but lie there and hold her and allow her to kiss me and love me when that’s what I wanted to do to her…

“Are you okay?” she asks, concern lacing her voice as she pushes wet tendrils of hair off my forehead. I can only nod. I’m trembling so hard that I can’t find my voice. My dick isn’t coming anymore, but my body is still orgasmic—surges of energy pulsing through me, through all my extremities like the chills you feel later in the day when you have a flashback of the experience.

“Do you need anything?” she breathes. “Some water, maybe?”

The thought of her leaving me, taking her warmth away, her body—it fills me with dread. I weakly reach for her with my other arm and hold her as close to me as I can, still trembling. Her kisses on my face, cheek, and chest serve to calm me a bit. The trembling starts to cease after several moments and I can finally take a full breath.

“There now,” she coos. “That’s better. You told a tale, Mr. Grey. You did need that.”

“I need you,” I say, turning a sleepy gaze to her. “More than anything in this world, I need you.” Her eyes fill with more love and adoration and she climbs atop me, careful how she positions herself. Cupping my face in her hands, she gazes into my eyes and pours all of that love back into me. She strokes my wet hair—from water or sweat, I don’t know—and clasps my face on either side.

“And I need you, Christian Grey,” she breathes, “more than you’ll ever know. So much that I ache.” She closes her eyes and brushes her lips against mine, then her nose, then her cheek, gently touching parts of her to parts of me before resting her forehead on mine and just sitting there. I slowly feel her energy surging into me as I move my arms around her and splay my hands over her back. She doesn’t move her hands from the side of my head, but her breathing changes, as does mine. At first, it’s short and breathless, like we’re only just learning how to use our lungs. Then, we’re panting, like we’ve been running a marathon, holding on to each other as if we would die—or float away—if we let go. Our breathing calms a bit, but it’s still labored, still intense—but even… we’re breathing the same breath, the same air. I need to be closer… closer…

I sit up with her in my lap, trying hard to satisfy this yearning, this aching in my chest—no, my soul… I need her in my soul! I’m clinging to her body, hoping to breathe her in, absorb her…

Butterfly… please…

She opens her eyes and her pupils are a deep ocean blue… and I’m lost. I dive in and immerse myself in the warmth as her energy and electricity surges through me through her fingertips, her breast, her thighs, her skin, her breath…

Ana… my life…

I feel a single tear burn a trek down my cheek at the same time that I see one escape her beautiful, glassy blue eye. I want to kiss it away, but I dare not move, dare not break this connection or I just might expire from the loss of energy. Another one soon follows, and another, and another, until we’re both silently weeping in each other’s arms, each afraid to release the other for fear that one or both of us may disappear or float away to that other plane that we’ve reached together. My soul cries…

I am you… only you…

I feel her whimper… or was it me? We whimpered… we are one. I feel everything… her breath, her pain, her love… it’s overwhelming. I struggle not to collapse from the intensity. I have to hold on… I hold on to her and ascend into this outer-body high… this transcendental plane where no one else exists but us—the I/you/me/we being that no one else understands…

But us… WeMeYouIUs…

Don’t stop breathing… please don’t stop breathing… If you stop breathing, I’ll stop breathing, and we’ll both cease to exist…

Sitting in the family room on the loveseat in a T-shirt and jeans sporting a large purple bruise on my neck, I feed my gorgeous wife her favorites foods—fresh fruits, chicken and vegetable kabobs, caprese salad and bruschetta with some of the sparkling grape juice we had from New Year’s Eve. I have to admit, my wife has always had a thing for healthy food, but it has to be prepared a certain way and that way is delicious! I need a higher protein diet with the amount of energy that I expend, but she won’t eat anything that’s not visibly appealing and tasty.

“I don’t want to spoil your mood,” I say, as I pop a piece of chicken in her mouth and hand her a flute of grape juice, “but I need to talk to you about something… so that I can be better prepared in the future.”

She chews her chicken and glances over at Gail and Keri, who are feeding and cooing at the twins. After she swallows the chicken, she sips her grape juice and holds it in her hands.

“Okay,” she says, somewhat steeling herself.

“When you… were crying, and you locked yourself in the bathroom at the hospital, can you tell me why?” I felt so helpless. She was so fragile and I didn’t know what was going on. All I wanted to do was make her pain stop and I didn’t know how. She looks down at her drink and sighs.

“Helplessness… I think,” she begins. We were feeling the same thing? “I felt like things were happening that I couldn’t control… I couldn’t fix…” Yeah, I know that feeling. “It was so overwhelming.” Her voice cracks. I reach for her hand.

“We don’t have to talk about it if you don’t want to,” I say softly. She shakes her head.

“No, it’s okay,” she says, swallowing hard. “I look at our children. They’re so tiny, and I feel that same dread that I felt when I discovered that I was pregnant, like the Boogeyman is just going to come and gobble them up—as evidence by the fact that our lives were completely disrupted by a tweet.” She says the last part with such disdain and disbelief.

“Then I looked over and you were holding one of the twins and Maxie was minding the other… and I felt the first real emptiness. I know I sounded unreasonable ranting about the Branch Davidians and Jim Jones, but…” She frowns deeply.” Did you ever stop to think what was going through those men’s minds to make them think they could get away with something like that? I mean what made them so desperate to separate from the real world that they would even try something like that? What was so horrible that they would rather die than to assimilate back into humanity. Seriously, Christian, how crazy must the world be when the crazies almost seem sane?”

That’s a really scary thought. When my wife was ranting about turning our home into a compound, I was hoping that the delirium would pass. Now she’s talking about Jim Jones possibly maybe having the right idea.

Careful there, soldier. Not too long ago, you wanted to put her in a box or a cage to protect her from the world. You effectively did just that when you told her not to go back to Helping Hands.

Duly noted.

“It’s a mad, mad, mad, mad world out there, baby,” I tell her, “but we can only do our best to keep our wits about us and protect ourselves and our children. Really, that’s all we can do.”

“I know, but you wanted to know what had me locked in the bathroom… that was it,” she says resigned. “That overwhelming feeling of emptiness and helplessness.”

“And what can I do the next time it happens?” I ask, gently stroking her hand with my thumb. “I don’t want to tear doors down or take them off the hinges, but when you’re behind a locked door, crying, I feel the exact same helplessness.” She shrugs.

“I can’t guarantee that it won’t happen again, but I’ll try not to do it. I’ll try to communicate with you that I’m okay and that I just need a minute so that you’re not so helpless. God knows, I don’t want you to feel that way.”

anas-hair“I appreciate that, baby,” I tell her. She sighs and gathers her long mahogany hair in her hand, twists it a few times, and pulls it over her shoulder and over the short patch that encloses her scar. I gently stick my fingers in her hair and caress the scar, the area now covered with about as much hair as the very shortest part of a pixie cut. Butterfly’s hair grew back pretty quickly during the pregnancy, but I would imagine that it would take an extremely long time, probably years, before this small patch of hair would catch up with the rest of her hair. She would probably layer it or cut the rest of it the match some length of this spot before that ever happened.

Cut it… I actually shiver at the thought of it.

Caressing her scar has a similar effect on her as playing in the garden, only she leans into my hand and draws comfort from the gesture instead of arousal. At the risk of sounding bad, it’s like scratching a puppy behind the ear.

“It’s your hair, and I’ll love you no matter what you decide to do with it,” I begin softly, “but if you ever decide to cut this beautiful mane, would you please warn me first?” She opens her eyes and gazes at me.

“I would only trim it, Christian,” she says. “Five or six inches at the most. I would never cut it off.” I nod. That’s comforting. I lift the tresses from where they lay on her shoulders and chest and allow them to slide through my fingers. She smiles at me and crawls into my lap. She’s wearing these red harem pants that fall off her hips and sinfully small long-sleeved wraparound crop top that would allow easy access to feed the babies. Her midriff is covered by this beautiful exotic belly wrap that she ordered during the babymoon—one of several—making the entire ensemble look like a one-piece red jumpsuit with a really exotic middle. Upon seeing her, Gail immediately commented how jealous she was as Butterfly didn’t at all look like she’s had two babies two days ago and nearly looked like her pre-baby weight in the baby wrap. I had to concur.

“Christian,” Butterfly begins as she settles in my lap, “I know that Vee is your head of PR, but is she also a publicist, because we’re going to need one.”

Do you really think it’s that serious?” I ask her.

“I know it is,” she says. “We’re going to have to spoon-feed some information to the press or we’ll never get a moment’s peace. We may not be international news, although in some circuits, we are. But we’re big shit in Seattle—they’re going to be chasing us around like criminals. We’ll be fugitives in our own city. Vee mentioned Michael Jackson, but do you remember when he had to cover his children’s faces when they were in public—those ridiculous masks and scarves and things? I don’t want that for Minnie and Mikey. We need to drip feed information to the press so that we control what they get, just like we sent out the birth announcements. Yes, that big mouthed bitch let it slip that we had checked into the hospital and that the twins were male and female, but we still had the last word. Let us control what gets into the news instead of having to fend off rumors after the fact. I know we’ll still have to do some of that, but at least we’ll have a bit of a jump on things this way.”

She has a point. People are going to be clamoring for statements and pictures the moment either of us hit the public eye. We’ve got to be able to move around freely and handle our business.

“I’ll talk to her and see how she feels about it. If she can’t handle it, we might have to hire someone.” Butterfly sighs.

“Well, that’s going to be a nightmare,” she laments. I frown.

“How do you mean?” I ask.

“Name one publicist anywhere who wouldn’t want to make a name off your back,” she says. “We’d have to break them in, explain everything—how we move, why we do certain things, the non-disclosure agreements and what they entail, my history, your history… Vee knows when to come, what to do, what to say… we’ll never be able to train anybody like that.” I nod.

“So we have to convince McIntyre to do both jobs,” I say. “I don’t know, baby…”

“Isn’t there someone that you could promote from inside and make them head of PR if you make Vee our publicist?” 1I shrug.

“Maybe… I’ll talk to her about it on Monday,” I say.

And so we settled into a simple weekend—cuddling our children and each other, laughing and spending time with our nanny/house manager and security staff, who ironically are also our closest friends, sans Butterfly’s beloved Al. There’s a bit of melancholy in the moment as we all watch Keri connect with the children, caring for them coming naturally to her as if she’d done it all her life, the sad reality being that her visa will expire in less than two weeks and she will have to return to Anguilla.

She’s become a bit of a fixture around here. She and Chuck decide not to spend any of their precious remaining time together moving back to his home on Bainbridge. He’d agreed to do that after she left, much to Butterfly’s chagrin. She, like the rest of us, had become accustomed to having them around on a regular basis. Their absence will be sorely felt once they’re gone.

Finding a sleep schedule is a bit of a trial, especially since every moment Butterfly and I have alone, we can’t seem to keep our hands off each other. It’s not necessarily a sexual thing. I mean, I love her body and I always want to be inside her, but the raging monster that wants to fuck has subconsciously put himself on a brief hiatus, knowing that this is an impossibility right now. I don’t know how long he’ll stay tamed, but for right now, he’s calm. That’s not to say that he won’t show up front and center when she wants to put her hands—or her mouth—on me, like she did in the bathtub, sending me to a level of Nirvana to which I had no idea or intention to ascend. Lately, we’ve just wanted to touch, hug, kiss, and most of all, connect.

Our connections are cosmic and frequent lately, at least once a day. We’ve come to realize that the connection room, in theory, is a really good idea, but the actual act of connecting is quite spontaneous and we never actually get the opportunity to get to the room. It’s something that can’t really be planned. It’s not like meditating, where you set time aside and you focus or concentrate and get into a space in your mind… no. It just happens. And for some reason, we’ve been needing it right now more than ever.

The energy around you changes; your body and mind get caught up in the moment and if you move or think, the moment is lost. At the risk of sounding hokey, it’s like the spirits envelop you and push you together; tiny, powerful, invisible threads connect you and you can’t move. It’s only at the very beginning or when I wake that I realize that our hands always gravitate to the weakest points of the other’s body—the face, the neck, the garden, the burns, or a scar—where they stay welded until the connection has ended, and the love energy and healing energy flows back and forth from one to the other through these power-points, for lack of a better word, with such force that the soul and spirit can only weep. When the connection is over, we’re so spent that we always lose consciousness or fall asleep no matter where we are. That day in the bathtub, we stayed there until the water was cold.

I remember once reading a book in school that compared intense emotion to dying. The character’s grandmother had told him that each of us was born with a box of matches or candles inside of us, depending on which interpretation of the book you read. If all of those candles were lit at once by a strong emotion, it would create a brightness like a tunnel’s end that would lead the soul back to the place of our creation and leave the body dead. I was very young when I read that book, and I was certain that I would never feel that kind of love or emotion. So I was never in danger of being overcome and falling over the precipice of light into darkness, especially since I was already in perpetual darkness from what I could see. However, after waking in my wife’s arms a week after the birth of our children with her spooning me like she did on our honeymoon after our very first connection—still trembling from the intensity of the experience—I truly begin to wonder.

It’s almost like we die each time we connect; at the very least, we leave our mortal coil for a while, because I’m never conscious of the ending of the connection. I never asked Butterfly, because I don’t want to be too analytical about something so precious, special, and seemingly vital to our existence. But just this once, I lay here looking at the ceiling and wondering…

Could the connection actually be strong enough to cause us to transcend that far?

I certainly hoped something so beautiful couldn’t be the end of me, or worse, of Butterfly. I can only imagine that this is one of those things that—like Butterfly’s intense love—would drive a weaker man mad, or even kill a weaker man. Maybe I’m reading too much into it. All I know is that this experience is always mentally, physically, and emotionally draining. The world could be crumbling around us and we would never know. It’s better than sex and it reminds me of things like old movie scenes about giving ourselves to each other and book quotes about “going to the light.”

One thing’s for damn sure. If that’s how I have to go, I’ll embrace it wholeheartedly, because I wouldn’t trade this level of love and connection with my Butterfly for anything in this world.

*-*

February has come in and the month brings with it several developments that will make for a busy new year. I’ve taken paternity leave to spend the same six weeks bonding with my family as my beautiful wife, but that doesn’t mean that the work stops at GEH, or at home for that matter. McIntyre has agreed to become our publicist, but refuses to relinquish the reins of the PR department to anyone else. She’s afraid that some gung-ho idiot will drop the ball on some majorly important issue and we’ll have an international incident on our hands. I can see where she would be concerned about that sort of thing. She’s had to handle some pretty delicate situations for me. Had they been handled any other way or by anyone with any less experience or savoir faire, the results could have been disastrous.

She begrudgingly agreed to an assistant department head who couldn’t make any decisions in the beginning without her, but would gradually gain more responsibility as time progressed and they showed that they were worth their salt. When Butterfly wasn’t in earshot, I asked her what had caused her candidness during the press statement the night we left the hospital.

“I knew this was coming,” she says, sitting in one of the seats across from my desk in my home office. “I’m surprised you took so long to ask me.”

“You’ve always impressed upon me the importance of keeping a rein on your personal feelings. I was just wondering what caused you to stray from your own advice.” She tenses a bit.

“I didn’t mean to offend anyone,” she says, swallowing hard. “I hope that I didn’t cause any problems and I wasn’t trying to be unprofessional in any way…” I raise my hand to halt her explanation.

“That’s not what I meant,” I say, halting her attempts at an apology. “You said everything that I’ve wanted to say for the last year and a half, but you’ve stopped me from saying it and you said it more eloquently than I ever would have. Had you not taken the position as our publicist, I would have given you a raise anyway.” She releases a sigh of relief and visibly relaxes. “Butterfly and I were both just curious about what brought it on at that moment.” She sighs again and holds her head down.

“The only time I’ve ever seen you helpless is when it comes down to your wife,” she says, raising her eyes back to me. “You’re at your very strongest or your very weakest when it comes down to her. When it comes to protecting her, you’re a bull with impenetrable armor. When she’s hurt, unconscious, or missing, you’re a marshmallow. I’ve never seen that before in any person, anywhere, in my life ever! I wasn’t privy to what happened before I got to that room, but the panicked look in your eyes when you thought your wife was going to be locked in the bathroom again was just something that I couldn’t explain.

“She wasn’t handcuffed to a bed held captive by a psychotic ex-lover.
“She wasn’t off in the mountains of Montana with you not knowing whether or not she was going to return.
“She wasn’t in a coma on an IV knocking on death’s door.

“She was standing there listening to a conversation, and something that happened previously caused her to lock herself in the bathroom and that sent you into a state of slightly controlled anxiety. You were a marshmallow again attempting to bear that armor, and it wasn’t working. In that moment, I saw one of the strongest men that I’ve ever known with the exception of my father reduced to a heap of goo.

“Also in that moment, I got yet another glimpse of the utter torment that it must be just to be Anastasia Grey—the scrutiny that she’s had to suffer before she even became your wife. Here’s this woman who hasn’t done anything to anybody. You can’t find anything on her. Believe me, I’ve tried. And yet, she’s villainized as a gold-digger, a black widow, even a home-wrecker wherever the fuck they came up with that one. People hate her just because you love her, and she can’t have a moment’s peace, even to have her goddamn babies!” Her irritation is rising as she speaks her piece once again, but something she said keeps playing over in my head.

“People hate her because I love her?” I ask. “Why do you say that? I mean, I don’t doubt it, but what brought you to this conclusion?” She pinches her nose and her fingers spread across her eyebrows until she is massaging the edges near her temples.

“Christian,” she says, slipping easily into the familiar, and I can tell that she’s weary, “if you only knew how many hate sites I’ve had to kill, how much I’ve had to report on social media as slander, libel, or cyber bullying, empires would fall. She has more hits on Google Alerts and search engines than you do. AnaChris is only popular because of the Ana. I have a small staff of people that do nothing but comb the internet for hits you, her, or AnaChris and trust me—these days, Ana gets more than Chris.”

“Do you need more staff?” I ask.

“Yes, I do,” she says without hesitation.

“Hire whoever you need,” I reply. “You have total carte blanche.”

Visible relief settles on her face and she sinks back into her chair infinitesimally. She holds her head down and sighs heavily, like she’s let a huge weight off your shoulders.

“To answer your question,” she begins without raising her head, “I said those things because I was just tired… tired of seeing the way that she was being treated, how you were being treated, and the fact that you couldn’t even come to the hospital to have your babies in peace. Hell, a heart attack patient had to be diverted to St. Sinai because the ambulance couldn’t get through the throng of reporters and these assholes thought that was fine as long as they could get a scoop on you! In what world is that okay?”

I don’t speak because I feel like there’s more that she wants to say, and I’m right.

“I just, I don’t know… Something about her makes you want to protect her. She’s a good person, and deep down, so are you. I know a lot of people see the ruthless businessman, but I’ve seen more and I know that deep down you’re a good person, too. I just don’t think that you deserve the hand that you’re being dealt when it comes down to the press.” I pause for a moment and ponder what she just said. Yep, that’s my Butterfly, alright.

“She has that effect on a lot of people,” I say. McIntyre raises her head. “A lot of people want to protect her. I don’t know what it is, but she brings that out in me, too. So I know exactly what you mean.” She shrugs one shoulder.

“I’m glad to hear that,” she says. “I was afraid it would sound a little stalkerish.” I laugh.

“No, not stalkerish. Completely normal. Just don’t start dressing like her and we’ll be fine.” Now it’s McIntyre’s turn to laugh.

“That’s not very likely,” she says through her laughter.

We spend the morning plowing through some immediate PR items. I want to know just how big AnaChris really is…

It’s BIG!

From the mundane to the ridiculous to the utterly outrageous, you name it, it’s out there. From fan sites to fashion pages where her choices are compared to similar outfits on other “celebrities” in a “Who Wore It Best” showdown. There are even a few women who claim to have been surrogate mothers to our twins—their stories still holding water even after all the pictures of my pregnant wife out there laboring in public, very pregnant over the last few months. It takes all kinds, I guess.

“You know, I think the country club idea was a good one,” McIntyre says. “Ana’s?” I raise my eyes to her.

“What makes you think it was her idea?” I ask. She raises one eyebrow at me.

“How long have I worked for you?” I nod.

“Duly noted. Yes, Ana’s,” I concede. “I think she wants to get exposure for herself and the Center.”

“Hmm.” It was a grunt that had something behind it. I’m sure of it, but she didn’t finish the thought.

“What?” She raises her head, but doesn’t say anything. “Spill it, McIntyre.”

“Look,” she says, placing her tablet on my desk and leaning her elbows on her knees. “As your publicist, I’m going to be working very closely with you an Ana, closer than I ever did as your head of PR. I’m going to know a lot more about your personal life than you’re comfortable with and I’m now going to be able to admit to knowing a lot more about your personal life than you’re comfortable with.” I frown.

“Come again?” She sighs and sits back in her chair, folding her arms and crossing her legs.

“Come on, Christian, you can’t possibly be that naïve,” she says. “The kinky clubs, the women, the freaky lifestyle—I don’t know all about it, but I’ve got a pretty good idea. Any relatively intelligent person can make some decent deductions. Who do you think keeps that shit out of the news… Alex?”

Fuck me sideways. And all this time, I thought I was so damn smart.

“Okay, so where is this going?” I ask, folding my hands.

“Well, first, stop calling me McIntyre. Doesn’t that get tiring? It’s sure exhausting for me to hear it.” I nearly scoff at her.

“What do you expect me to call you?”

“Good God, man, I’m all up in your business now. I was all up in it before, only now, you know. With everything I know about you, your life, and your wife, I think we can be a bit less formal. If you can’t call me by my first name, call me Vee or Mac. I’ll answer to either one.”

“I’m more comfortable with Mac,” I tell her.

“I figured you would be. I won’t call you Christian if you think it’s too soon.” Now, I laugh.

“You haven’t noticed that you already call me Christian?” I retort. Her brow furrows.

“I do?” she asks, truly surprised.

“Yes, you do,” I confirm.

“You never said anything.” I wave her off.

“Don’t change the subject, Mac. What’s behind the grunt?”

“What grunt?” I glare at her for a moment. “Oh! That grunt. Yeah, the country club. It’s good because it makes you more sociable. You’re a family man, now, and your image is going to change slightly whether you want that to happen or not. We’re going to want the press and the world to be able to draw the line between the social family man and the businessman. It’s important that those lines don’t get grayed. To that extent, the country club gives the impression that you and your wife and family have a social life that you set aside from business. Your competitors are already seeing you as the husband and family man, which is why Fairlane tried to leverage that against you—well played, by the way.”

That’s high praise coming from PR. They’re the first to be able to tell you when your image is slipping. Confirmation that I handled the Fairlane account exactly as I should have is just what I wanted to hear.

“Joining the country club says that you are handling your social exposure on your own terms—especially Broadmoor. Highly exclusive, extremely active in the community, required sponsorship… you could have just gone with Mercer, but Broadmoor shows that you’re scrutinizing and not just trying to get on someone’s roster. It also solidifies Ana’s position in society as well as eliminates the social climber stigma as Broadmoor sniffs those out just from the ink on the paper.”

“Well, that’s good to know,” I tell her, especially considering what started this whole thing in the first place.

“That brings me to another point,” she says, picking up her tablet and swiping the screen. “Ana is publicity gold and she has instincts like a cat. She’s high-profile and she can’t avoid it and you’re trying to hide her under a bushel.” I frown deeply.

“What?”

“More than half of these rumors, hate sites, and gossip rags can be silenced if you just let. Her. Speak,” she says slowly. Was she reading my fucking mind? “When has Ana ever stepped wrong with the press?” I sigh heavily.

“Never,” I admit, reluctantly.

“Then why are you stymying her? What has she said or done that causes you to doubt her instincts? What has shaken your trust in her abilities? From the first time I met her, the first time she opened her mouth at that press conference in 2012 when she handed Cheryl her ass on a platter and charmed the pants off the rest of the reporters, I knew she was thee one. I knew that no matter who shoved a camera or a mic in her face, she was going to dominate the interview, and so far, she has. She’s had a sacrificial lamb at almost every appearance—by no fault of her own—and she even sniffed out your mole!” Fuck, I had completely forgotten about that. “Most of her appearances have been impromptu, sidewalk interviews with the exception of that one press conference and you’re telling me that you honestly don’t trust her in a controlled environment?”

“Things have changed now,” I defend. “She’s had this accident and lost her memory. Yes, it came back, but I don’t want to see her exploited because of it. She’s still recalling some things, you know.”

“Was she so weak before?” Mac asks. “From what I’ve been told, she boxed you in and made you come out swinging when you met her. She was a force to reckon with before she became Mrs. Christian Grey, and those are the only memories currently under scrutiny, correct?”

She pauses and waits for my answer. As I ponder her point of view, I realize that she has a point. Butterfly was a fucking fireball when I met her. She wouldn’t even take down to me face-to-face. When she did break down, I wasn’t supposed to see it. I was supposed to be long gone, and every time she came back at me, the next blow was more powerful than the last.

“Has she had any trouble defending herself since then? Sources tell me that she chased a couple out of the Fairlane Meet-and-Greet and if I remember correctly, she was in shark-infested waters that night. So what gives?”

“Myrick,” I say in a low voice. “Myrick is out there. He’s gunning for me; I know he is. Putting her on the forefront will just put a target on her back.”

“Have you been listening??” Mac exclaims. “She’s already on the forefront and not in a favorable way. You’re a high-profile couple. Everybody knows how to get to you. They just can’t because they can’t get through your defenses. Anybody who has been watching you over the last year knows that nobody is going to be able to get to you without an army. Jason took a bullet for you, Chuck almost died, and now you’re beefing up security because of the twins. Nothing short of a Sherman tank and a bazooka is going to break through that wall and if it does, then God help us all!” She lowers her voice and leans on her knees again.

“Myrick would have to show up with paratroopers and the Navy Seals to get to you all now, and you know it. You can’t keep her hiding in a box. At some point in time, she’s going to break free. You might as well let her appearances be on your terms, where you can control what is said, what questions are asked, and what will be aired. You know she won’t go against you because she knows that not only do you value your privacy, but that it’s detrimental that we control the flow of information. Use that to your advantage.”

She has systematically taken away every argument that I had for keeping Butterfly out of the press. Not only that, but she even used Butterfly’s logic against me—that we control the flow of information to keep the dogs at bay.

“Have you been talking to my wife?” I ask. She shakes her head.

“Not yet,” she replies. I sigh.

“Okay. Let’s see where this goes,” I concede.


A/N: Christian talks about movies scenes and book quotes when he thinks of the connection. The movie scene he was speaking of was Cocoon made in 1985. Kitty, an alien from another planet, decides to “give herself” to Jack. So they get naked and get in the pool with the other cocoons. Kitty takes on her alien form and starts to glow, after which her “essence” shoots off of her, bounces around the pool house a few times, then slams into Jack, causing him to have an electric, euphoric experience of his own where—for a brief moment—he actually starts the glow, too. After he catches his breath, he exclaims “If this is foreplay I’m a dead man!”

The quote he discussed came from a book called Like Water for Chocolate by Laura Esquivel—”She remembered then the words that John had once spoken to her: ‘If a strong emotion suddenly lights all the candles we carry inside ourselves, it creates a brightness that shines far beyond our normal vision and then a splendid tunnel appears that shows us the way that we forgot when we were born and calls us to recover our lost divine origin. The soul longs to return to the place it came from, leaving the body lifeless.’”

So, I was reading the comments and realized that I forgot to add my informational blurb about Jim Jones and about the Branch Davidians. So, here’s the short version:

Jim Jones was a cult leader from the 70’s of the “People’s Temple.” He was power hungry and crazy—like most cult leaders are—and basically lead hundreds of people to follow him to Guyana and start a compound there called Jonestown. The People’s Church was basically chased out of San Francisco. The “Rainbow Family” (Jones and his followers) was supposed to defect to the Soviet Union. However, when a congressman and camera crew came to Guyana to investigate accusations of acts of human cruelty, they offered to take anyone who wanted to leave with them when they departed Guyana. Several people left with the delegates and they were attacked by Jones’ “Red Brigade” before and after they boarded the plane to leave. Five people died, including the congressman. When the Soviet Union heard about it, the refused refuge to the Rainbow Family. Jones then convinced 909 people (over 300 were children) to consume cyanide-laced Flavor Ade and commit “revolutionary suicide.” He said: a) if they didn’t, the government would send paratroopers that would come and capture and torture them and b) they were all going to die together and live in peace on another planet—something he called the “Translation.” This is where the saying comes from—if you’ve ever heard it—“don’t drink the Kool-Aid.”

The Branch Davidians were another cult with their own crazy ass leader, David Koresh (hence, “Davidians”). They separated from the Seventh Day Adventist Church in the 50’s and had a ranch in Waco, TX. When the ATF tried to raid the ranch in 1993, they were met with extreme resistance and gunfire from the Branch Davidians. Six Branch Davidians were killed in that raid. The FBI attempted to “gas” the Davidians out of the compound. There is still a dispute as to what happened next—each side blaming the other. However, during the standoff, three fires ignited inside the ranch and the structure burned quickly. While 35 people left/escaped during the FBI standoff and nine more survived the fire, 76 people—including Koresh—died as a result of the fire from various causes including buried alive in the rubble, smoke inhalation, carbon monoxide poisoning, or fatal gunshot wounds. Twenty-eight of those people were under the age of 20 (one was 20 years old); 20 of those were under the age of 18 (none of them were 18); two were pregnant.  

You can find songs along with pictures of places, things, and fashions on my Pinterest page at https://www.pinterest.com/ladeeceo/becoming-dr-grey/

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Love and handcuffs 🙂 
Lynn X