Wow, I guess you all liked the action in the last chapter, huh? LOL. You guys make me feel so appreciated. I’ve had a lot of people ask about the butt plug that was used during the massage. Here it is.
Those people ought to pay me a commission!
I will be changing my emailer very soon. Please add
to your contacts so that the chapters don’t go to your junk mail box. Thanks!!!
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 68—More and More
To say that our weekend was highly orgasmic would be a massive understatement. Mr. Grey and I more than made up for lost time bringing each other to climax after massive climax in the three days and two nights that we spent in our little cabin in Sisters, Oregon. We didn’t heed Maxie’s warning very much not to “engage the enemy” during the six-week-no-sex period and still found ways to get each other off. However, when it came time to partake in the ultimate fruit once more, it was no-holds-barred, and we sure released all inhibitions and let our passions run wild.
I was like a kitten with a ball of yarn while he navigated us back to Seattle in Charlie Tango. I did my best not to distract him, touching him only in safe areas like gently caressing his hair or touching his arm every now and then, but I had a very difficult time keeping my eyes—and hands—off of him for the entire ride back. Not even Ben and Chuck’s presence in the seats behind us did anything to curtail my attentions to my husband.
He sets us down safely on the roof of Escala and gives me a quick peck after he releases me from my harness. He winks and smiles at me before getting out of the helicopter. I’m walking on a cloud as Ben, who has scrambled out behind Christian, helps me step down from Charlie Tango. My Cloud-Nine mood quickly dissipates as I see Christian’s expression as he speaks to the replacement pilot who is to take Charlie Tango back to SeaTac.
“Oh, shit,” I murmur to myself. Something’s wrong. I sigh and brace myself as I wrap my arms around myself and wait for Christian to finish his conversation. Chuck and Ben are retrieving our things from the helicopter as Christian nods to the pilot and comes over to me.
“What is it?” I ask as he places his hand on my back and leads me to the elevator.
“Al and Mac are downstairs in the penthouse,” he says as he calls the elevator. “We need to stop down there and see what’s up.” I close my eyes and drop my head. Al and Mac aka Vee. That can only mean one thing.
“Paparazzi,” I sigh, wearily. “Where?”
“I don’t know,” he says, as the elevator arrives and we step inside, Chuck and Ben close behind us. He punches in the code to the penthouse. “Harper says they weren’t downstairs when he got here, but Al and Mac were here.”
“Pit stop?” Chuck says from beside us.
“Yes, we’re stopping at the penthouse. Allen and McIntyre are there,” Christian replies.
“Oh, shit,” Ben murmurs.
“My sentiments exactly.”
“So apparently, your mansion is swarming with reporters,” Vee says the moment we walk into the great room. I haven’t even had an opportunity to remove my coat yet.
“Why didn’t Jason call me?” Christian huffs, pulling out his phone.
“You were already in the air when the swarm started,” Vee heads him off. “I told him to worry about security and let me and Allen talk to you. The latest buzz, of course, is Edward David’s death and Elena Lincoln’s trial tomorrow. By themselves, they may be a bit newsworthy, but together, they’re front page. You should also know, Ana, that something’s cooking in Green Valley.” My brow furrows.
“What the fuck is cooking in Green Valley?” I ask.
“One of the major players is set to agree to a plea and testify in an upcoming trial to start next Monday. You’re supposed to get a subpoena if you haven’t gotten one already.”
“No, I haven’t gotten one!” I hiss. “Aren’t they supposed to give you more than a fucking week? They did that same shit with Edward. I was in Greece, for Christ’s sake! What did they give us with She-Thing, like two, three weeks?” I ask Christian.
“Something like that,” he says, running his hands through his hair.
“Did you change your address with the court?” Vee asks. I frown.
“No, but I was living here when I went to court, so it could have been delivered here… or with Allen. There’s no excuse. If the trial is next Monday, I should have been served by now. Who’s going before the judge?”
“One of the minor players…” Vee begins.
“There are no minor players,” I interrupt her sharply. Anybody who had anything to do with this branding on my back, the beating I received, and the murder of my unborn child is not a minor player!
“I apologize,” Vee retracts her statement. “I’ll have to find out who it is. It wasn’t Whitmore or Madison-Perry, so I didn’t commit it to memory, although Madison-Perry is the one that’s taking the plea.”
“Fuck!” Christian hisses and my insides twist. We knew this, though. We found out shortly after we returned home from Greece.
“It’s Michael Underwood,” Al chimes in, the first thing he’s said since we walked in the door. “He’s claimed innocence from the beginning, but he’s in the video and so is his car.”
“He’s in the video?” Christian confirms. Al nods. “He’s in the video actually attacking her?” Al nods again. “Why the hell do they need Madison-Perry’s testimony if he’s on the video?”
“Corroboration. A video can be altered. Jewel was incapacitated. They want to make sure the guy doesn’t get away.” I need alcohol. I really do, but I decide against it, because one more day with that breast pump and my boobs are going to fall off. I scrub my face violently.
“I need a bacon-double-cheeseburger with fries,” I say, and all eyes turn to me.
“The last time you had a bacon-double-cheeseburger…” Al begins.
“I’m not pregnant anymore and not from that greasy hell joint!” I interrupt him. “I need a bacon-double-cheeseburger or a few shots of tequila and since my tits feel like hamburger and I don’t intend to pump any more milk, I think you better get me a bacon-double-cheeseburger!”
“I’ll get it,” Chuck says, and leaves the penthouse.
“Maybe we should just spend the night here,” Christian says. “We’ve got to be in court in the morning.” It’s a practical solution, but they’ll be on the stairs of the courthouse, too, trying to get the scoop on the trial. They’ll be double trying to get information on the David situation. There’s something else, though.
“Christian, I really need to see my babies,” I tell him. Not only do I miss them terribly, but I’m also a human food-producing factory. So… yeah.
“I do, too, but there’s no way we’re going to get through that crowd.”
“Yes, there is,” I tell him. “Give them what they want.” His eyes narrow.
“Butterfly…” he begins his protest.
“Christian, it’s a part of our life,” I tell him. “We’re going to face the same thing on the steps of the courthouse tomorrow if not camped out in front of our house. Give them what they want.”
“She’s right, you know,” Vee says, and Christian turns to her.
“I know you’ll agree,” he snaps.
“She’s right, you know,” Al chimes in.
“Et tu, Brute?” Christian says. I sigh.
“Like it or not, we’re local celebrities, babe,” I say, climbing into one of the stools at the breakfast bar. “We’re Seattle’s ‘It’ couple until they find something else to be interested in, and quite frankly, we’ve got a lot going on. If I get a hangnail, it’s news, and look what’s happened so far—I’ve had twins; I got in an accident; I lost my memory; I was attacked by a crazy Amazon; David died; Elena’s going to trial; and that’s just the last few months. There’s no telling when any of this is ever going to die down. Settle in for the ride and let’s just focus on living, raising our babies, putting these people in jail that need to be put in jail, and damage control. But the more we hide, the more they clamor. Let’s just give them what they want. They’ll give us a moment’s peace until the next headline.”
“They’ll never go away, Butterfly,” he says. “If we indulge them, they’ll never go away.”
“They’ll never go away if we don’t,” I retort. “They’ll keep pushing and pushing until we explode and they get some unfortunate sound bite or emotional explosion. They’re relentless about getting pictures of children. All our travel plans must be made in total secret. We have to control what’s released into the media and how. When it was just you, that’s what Vee did. It was an easy job. She made a statement; you made a statement; take a picture at a red-carpet affair; make sure all NDA’s were in order; it was an easy job. Now there’s four of us. There’s more work to do, Mr. Grey. We can’t hide under a rock. We have to control information flow.”
I turn around to face the bar and rub my scar. There’s nothing else to debate on this topic. I point to the refrigerator.
“Can somebody see if there’s cranberry juice and sparkling water in there?” I ask. I hear Christian sigh behind me.
“Does anybody else want cheeseburgers?” he says, resigned.
We drive slowly to the front gate of Grey Crossing in the Audi SUV and stop at the security booth. It’s just before sunset and there is quite the crowd of reporters clustered in front of our house. We sent word ahead that if they blocked our path, they wouldn’t even get a statement. So, except for a few hard-headed stragglers, we had a clear drive to the front gate. Jason was there with several members of security to meet us at the gate and the six of us exited the SUV and Al’s Jaguar to greet the press at the front gate. Christian is known to let me do the talking unless questions are directed at him or unless it appears that I’m floundering for some reason. Today was no exception.
“You’re looking fit, Mrs. Grey. How are you feeling?” one reporter asks.
“I’m feeling fine, thank you,” I respond.
“You’re very slender to have just had twins,” another says. “What’s your secret?”
“Breastfeeding twins, belly-binding, and lots of yoga,” I reply, eliciting a bit of laughter from the crowd.
“How are Michael and Mackenzie doing?” the next question comes.
“They’re doing fine, progressing as normal—nothing remarkable to speak of, but thank you for asking. I’m sure we’re not here for small talk though, and I really want to get back to my babies.” Let’s move this along, please.
“How do you feel about Edward David’s death?” someone asks.
“He’s gone,” I say. “It’s tragic when anybody dies.”
“Is it true that you went to see Edward David on February 24th, twelve days before his death?” one reported asks.
“Yes, that’s true.”
“Why did you go see the man convicted of kidnapping and assaulting you?” another asks.
“To tell him face to face that I had turned his crooked company over to the federal government and to expect contact from them in the near future.”
“What was the purpose of that?” someone called out. “Did you feel you owed him a warning.”
“No,” I say flatly. “I wanted to see him squirm.”
“Goddammit,” I hear Christian murmur. I know I just gave them a sound bite and I don’t care. That’s how I feel.
“Don’t you think that’s a bit insensitive?” someone asks.
“No, I don’t,” I reply, impassively. “I never wished him dead, but when he was sentenced, I felt like he got just what he deserved. That man kidnapped me, tried to rape me when I was handcuffed to the bed, held me captive for four days while he allowed a monster to beat and rob me, planned to take me to an undisclosed location where he hoped I would succumb to Stockholm Syndrome, and when I was rescued and he was forced to stand trial for his actions, he tried to blame me! When I was rewarded a settlement for the physical, monetary, and emotional damage he caused me, he turned over this cesspool of illegal activity to me as payment for his debt hoping that I would take the fall for his prior actions, and you actually stand there asking me if my wanting to see him squirm is insensitive?”
My voice has risen to an incredulous tone and I realize that I have unintentionally identified today’s sacrificial lamb. Ironically, but not surprisingly, it’s a woman… it’s always a woman.
“I only did what was right and legal,” I continue. “My audit team found holes and discrepancies, so we shut it down, wrapped it up, and handed it to the feds. I walked away with no settlement, but that was fine by me because I’m already wealthy; I was just going to donate the proceeds to help battered women anyway. So yes, call me a flawed, vindicated human because I took some small comfort in going to tell him that his crooked company was now in the hands of the federal government.”
Cameras flash at me and at this reporter, whatever her name is, as more questions come flying at me.
“What did you know about David’s business associates?” Ah, the magic question. Let’s clear this air.
“I know nothing,” I reply. “When I saw what was going on with the numbers, that was enough information for me and all I wanted was to get it out of my hands. I immediately contacted my attorney and key members of the GEH staff to contact the proper authorities to get that pestilence out of my hands.”
“Oh, come now, Mrs. Grey,” some guy says, “do you really expect us to believe that your audit team combed through the records of this company and you have no idea who David’s business associates are?”
At this moment, I have a violent three-second funnel. I look at this guy’s face and I see the “little lady” look in his eye, like he feels like I might have been coached a bit to say what I’m saying in front of the big bad reporters. In addition, he’s so hell-bent on getting his story that he’s not going to accept what I’m saying—he wants to break me down. Finally, even though he knows that David was involved in illegal activity that landed his company in the hands of the federal government, he only wants to cast the idea that I may know who these other illegal participants may be. He has no consideration for the fact that these may be dangerous people, that he may be putting my life and the lives of my friends and family—including my father, my children, my husband—in jeopardy. No, he has to get the scoop; break the little lady down so she’ll tell the story. Back her into a corner so she’ll spill the beans. All of this goes into the funnel and out comes one thought…
“Who is that?” I ask, leaning into Vee.
“Robert Strutherfield.” My head pops back hard.
“Robert!” I hiss, turning to him. “Robert!” I repeat, garnering the attention of some of the members of the crowd. “Is anybody live?”
“Oh, shit,” I hear Christian say behind me. I snap my head back to him.
“Keep your shirt on,” I say, before snapping back to the crowd. A few hands go up.
“You might want to get this.” I turn my attention to Mr. Strutherfield. “Well, Robert, I really don’t care what you believe, because when you go back to your little computer, you’re going to type what you want anyway. However, to answer your question again, I have no idea who that low-life, back-alley, dirty-dealing, underhanded crook was dealing with! I saw trouble, and I backed away quickly. Now if you’re looking for names, places, and dirt, you go do that digging—and good luck to you. Better yet, go ask the feds. Maybe they’ll be forthcoming to you because I’ve. Got. Nothing! I’ve handed this mess over and I want nothing else to do with it. Have I made that clear enough for you, Mr. Strutherfield?”
My voice is curt and sharp and causes a near hush to fall over the crowd while they all turn to Mr. Strutherfield to see if there will be a redirect. When there is none, another question floats across the crowd.
“What can you tell us about the upcoming trial of Elena Lincoln?”
“Nothing,” Vee says, yelling out clearly. “You all know the rules—no discussion of upcoming trials. Thank you and goodnight.” She gently pushes me to the right and following Christian’s guide in the small of my back. I walk inside the bubble of our security team to the front portico and through the front doors.
“Well, that could have gone better,” Christian says, handing his coat to Windsor. “Coffee,” he barks. Windsor nods as he takes everyone else’s coat.
“I think she did great,” Vee says, handing Windsor her coat and following me into the formal living room.
“How can you think that was great?” Christian says, nearly ready to explode, walking behind us with Allen bringing up the rear.
“Because she showed them that she bites back!” Vee says. “She’s the picture of decorum and professionalism, but don’t you get it? It’s time out for this victim shit! She’s about to be an icon in her own right. She’s a mother, a public figure, she’s worth billions—loved by many, loathed by some, recognized by quite a damn few. This damsel in distress picture has got to go. Use it for Green Valley, but for Seattle—no! She’s married to one of the most powerful men in the country, and she needs to be seen as one of your strengths, not your weakness!”
I sit on the sofa, fold my arms and cross my legs at the knee. I completely agree with Vee, but I’m not going to rub it in. I’m not going to push anything; I’m not going to be difficult, but I’m not going to fade into the background either. I’m going to meet regularly with Vee about what not to say, but when the Paparazzi shoves a mic in my face, I’m not going to run.
“Baby, what part of that conversation do you think could have gone better?” I ask Christian. Let’s see how he feels about what I said and maybe, we can come to an agreement about what I’ll say next time… or I can win him over to my side about what I said this time.
He’s a bit taken aback by my question, not prepared with an answer. Vee, I think, recognizes my plan of attack an awaits his answer. I raise an eyebrow at him when there’s no response.
“Did I say something wrong during the interview?” I prompt, trying to direct the conversation further. He has long since stopped pacing and I can see him playing the interview over in his head.
“Maybe…” Vee starts to speak and I raise my hand to silence her. I think she may not have liked that, but I need him to think about what he disliked about this interview while it’s fresh in his head and I need to know what his issues are with it.
“I don’t think you should have said that you went to the prison to see David squirm,” he says, “not after the guy killed himself.” I nod.
“You may be right about that,” I say. “In hindsight, there may have been a better way to express that feeling. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find it at the time, so I felt that honesty was the best policy. Stumbling over my words would have given the impression that I was hiding something. I think that would have caused more damage than giving them a sound bite. It’s no secret that there’s no love lost between us for what he did to me. So, if the press uses that against me, I can honestly live with it. Can you?”
He ponders the thought carefully for a few moments, then nods.
“Yeah, I can deal with it. Anything that becomes too heavy, we have PR.” He throws a look at Vee and so do I. Vee nods once and I turn my attention back to Christian.
“Was there anything else that concerned you? Something else I should have done or said differently?” He sighs.
“A bit of warning when you’re going to alert live cameras?” he says. I raise my eyebrows.
“I thought I did,” I respond.
“May I interject?” Vee asks, a bit like a student asking permission to speak in class. Christian and I turn our attention to her. “Christian, we have to operate on the assumption that we’re always live.”
“Oy!” Christian runs his hands through his hair as the coffee service is brought into the room by Ms. Solomon. He falls onto the sofa next to me.
“Was there anything else?” I ask, looking over at my husband. He looks over into my eyes, then puts his hand on my thigh.
“Nothing else,” he says. “You handled the crowd very well.” I nod and place my hand on top of his.
“Good!” Vee begins. “Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, a few pointers for tomorrow…”
I’m in the rocking chair in the nursery and Christian has helped me situate both babies in my arms so that they can breastfeed. Gail admits that although they haven’t been a bother, they were a bit fussier than usual due to the slight nipple confusion. I must admit that my nipples were confused as well and none too happy with that damn breast pump. I’m actually relieved to have my children breastfeeding again.
“How is Sophie doing?” I ask Gail when she and I are alone in the nursery. She sighs.
“It’s hard to tell,” she says. “We talk to her every day, thank God, but I think she’s hiding something. I think she’s trying to protect her mother and in the process, she doesn’t know that she’s hurting herself.”
“What gives you that impression?”
“Just the way that she talks,” Gail says. “She’s very evasive about anything going on with Shalane. We don’t know if Shalane has left her alone anymore or not and Jason won’t ask her because he doesn’t want to put her in a position where she’ll have to lie.”
“But all of that is going to come out in the custody case,” I protest. “She has to know that.”
“I think the poor child is hoping that it’s not going to come to that,” Gail says. “My understanding is that she’s hoping that she can scare her mom back into shape—that they can hopefully be decent co-parents without having to go to court and have the whole public fight and such, but that’s not going to happen.”
“No, that never works,” I confess. “I’ve seen Shalane’s type many times. She’s bitter and spiteful and wants to use the child against him for as long as she can. She’ll never be cooperative and never have a kind word to say to or about him. Thus, they’ll never be able to co-parent.”
“I know this, but try telling that to a hopeful twelve-year-old girl,” Gail says with a sigh. I shake my head. I could never understand how any mother anywhere could feel that turning a child or using a child against their father could—in any way—be in the best interest of the child, but I see it all the time. Women scorned and angry because the men didn’t want to stay with them dangling their children in front of their faces like carrots, accusing even good fathers of being deadbeat dads because they didn’t want to remain in a relationship with the mother for whatever reason. It’s beyond me how these women can think that they’re mature enough to be mothers, but aren’t even mature enough to be women.
I tuck my two little bundles of love into their cribs after they have been fed and burped and kiss them goodnight. After assuring Gail that everything would work out for the best in the end—even though I’m not 100% sure of that myself—I go to our bedroom to turn in. Christian is awake and sitting on the edge of the bed. I crawl onto the bed on my knees behind him and kiss him on his back.
“You okay?” I ask. He sighs.
“I wish they could do this without me,” he laments. “I don’t want to see her. I don’t want to be in the same room with her. She makes me feel and think evil things.” He holds his head back and looks at the ceiling. “She makes me remember the man that I used to be—the man I hate so much.”
“Sssshh,” I say, placing my hand on his back and kissing his shoulder. “You’re a strong, good man. A loving husband and a good father… a good provider, a protector… a wonderful son, friend, and brother.” He looks over his shoulder at me. “A powerful yet gentle dominant, an obedient and grateful submissive, a masterful and attentive lover…” I caress his hair softly and kiss his temple and his eyelid. “Whatever you may have been before, you’re all these things now, and I thank God every day for that and that you’re mine.”
He takes me in his arms and kisses me passionately. I match his fervor with my own, kissing him deeply.
“You’re a miracle, do you know that?” he whispers when our lips part. “Many women tried… they tried to make me love them, tried to be everything I needed them to be. None of them could do it. They bowed and they submitted…” He closes his eyes and brushes his lips against my cheek, my lips, my face, my temple…
“They were beautiful… and submissive… obedient… they loved me. They were perfect…” He buried his face in my neck. “… But they weren’t you… none of them were you. None of them touched me like you. None of them felt like you. None of them moved me like you.” He presses me hard against him.
“There were women that I couldn’t have before,” he says, turning his nose to my hair and inhaling deeply. “I just moved to the next and forgot them… but you… I had to have you… my soul had to have you… I would have died without you.”
He clings to me, kissing my neck and chin. I hold my head back, giving him full access as I thrust my hands into his hair.
“She lost her mind,” he says sadly, laying his head against my chest. “She wanted so badly to be the one. For years, she wanted to be the one and I never knew. But it was impossible.” He raises his eyes to me again. “Because it was always you. Even before I knew, it was always you. No matter who tried… no matter who wanted it… it was you…” He lays his head on my chest again. “Always only you.” I play with his hair and sigh.
“I’ll… never keep your children from you.” He raises his head and looks at me. “No matter what happens… I’ll never be one of those women who keeps your children from you… ever!” He frowns deeply.
“What’s brought that on, baby?” he asks. I shake my head and sigh.
“I don’t know. Gail… Sophie… Shalane… I don’t know…” I shake my head as if to release the thoughts. He squeezes me tighter.
“I’ll never give you a reason,” he says softly. “I’ll never leave you or give you a reason to leave me. I’ll never give you a reason to be that woman. That will never. Be us.” I wrap my legs around him and kiss him deeply. He crawls up onto the bed and the pillows with me clinging to him like a vine. God, I love this man. I love everything that he is and everything that we are when we’re together and everything that we’ll become. He peppers sweet, sweet kisses on my lips before pulling back to speak to me.
“So… Mrs. Grey… do you want me to make love to you tonight?” He kisses me again gently on the lips. “Or do you want me to hold you…” He kisses my cheek. “… And kiss you…” He kisses the corner of my mouth. “… Until we both fall asleep?” He kisses just under my earlobe. “… Because I can be content with either one.” He kisses my lips again, then looks into my eyes. I take both hands and smooth his beautiful copper curls off his face.
“Why don’t you just… hold me…” I brush my lips against his. “… And kiss me…” I press a tender kiss to his lips. “… And we’ll just play it by ear?”
He gazes into my eyes for a moment before closing his lips deliciously over mine.
We arrive at the King County Superior Courthouse on Monday morning in matching gray tweed suits—his a three-piece flawless Anderson & Sheppard, tailor-made for his magnificent frame, with a navy blue tie, white shirt and pocket handkerchief and black Cesare Paciotti Italian leather shoes; mine a knee-length pencil skirt power suit, the jacket sporting a single row of large black buttons and a high collar, finished with jet black stockings, and leather pumps, gloves, and clutch and, of course, my signature Jackie-O’s. Flanked by Chuck, Ben, and Jason—witness for the prosecution as well as on duty—we ascend the stairs to the courthouse to the flash of several cameras, studiously ignoring questions being thrown at us as we’re not allowed to answer any. Once we get inside and past the metal detectors, we meet Al at the bank of elevators.
“I hate you two so much right now,” he says with a straight face, “No couple in the world has the right to look that pretty.” He turns around and begrudgingly punches the buttons to call the elevator and I have to fight to hold a straight face.
We pause at the door of the courtroom, my hand folded into Christian’s elbow. He swallows hard. He’s counting. Al and I both know what he’s doing, so we don’t disturb him while he prepares. I murmur a quick prayer for our strength while I’m standing next to him. He sighs heavily and trembles just a bit. I squeeze his elbow.
I’m here for you… I love you…
He looks down at me and I soften my face a bit. He closes his eyes and touches his forehead to mine for a moment. Then he straightens his back, squares his shoulders, opens the door and leads me into the courtroom.
There’s not a lot of people in the courtroom, thankfully. It looks to be only the necessary staff, a few onlookers somehow related to the case, and the district attorney. The jury, the defendant, and the judge have not entered the courtroom yet. Christian relaxes and leads me to a seat behind the prosecution.
We sit in silent contemplation as I recall the last time I was required to be in a room like this. It was to make sure that David rotted in jail for kidnapping me. Even now, it all seemed so surreal. I still can’t believe that he actually thought he would take me away and lock me in a dungeon somewhere and cause me to fall in love with him again. I can’t even believe I ever loved him at all. Heaven forbid he thought we would have kids! How could he possibly believe I could love him after being with Christian? Now he’s dead—rotting in hell with his cohort Robert Harris, and some asshole somewhere had the nerve to insinuate that I was insensitive about his death. Gimme a break!
My reminiscence is broken by the sound of a door opening off to my left. Christian and I turn simultaneously to see what has caused the slight disturbance. We’re both taken aback by what we see. The bailiff is leading the defendant into the courtroom and I almost want to get up and leave because I think we may have the wrong courtroom. She’s completely unrecognizable!
Her hair is brown, like mine, and very short. It’s curled and finger-tossed. She’s wearing very little makeup and she appears to have lost quite a bit of weight. Her skin is hanging from her face a bit and you can tell by the looks of the creases in her neck that she has missed more than a few facials and chemical peels. She’s wearing a conservative blue pants suit and very modest blue pumps. Her hands are haggard-looking and covered with liver spots. Being a convicted felon charged with attempted murder among other things, she also dons a lovely pair of silver bracelets to which only the bailiff has the key, courtesy of the Washington Department of Corrections.
She easily and rightly looks more than twice my age. I don’t know how she ever thought she could compete with me. She looks like a soccer mom… no, a soccer grandmom, nothing like the cocky dominatrix I’ve come to know. I guess several months in the clink with a bunch of angry women will do that. Her eyes immediately find me and I grimace at how unkind the year has been to her. Her eyes shoot to Christian and I hear a sound of muffled displeasure come from his direction. I look over at him and his hand is cupped over his mouth, his face contorted in disgusted disbelief.
Christian and I are both completely befuddled. Apparently, every single bit of Mrs. Lincoln’s beauty came from a bottle, a needle, or a knife. Locked behind bars with no access to her usual “beauty regimen,” for lack of a better term, she looks well beyond her years—haggard, aged, grotesque even… Elena Lincoln, the Crypt Keeper!
I look back at Christian and now, he’s scowling at her. His anger and hatred are tangible. I subtly squeeze his hand, breaking his attention and his gaze. He brings my hand to his mouth and places a gentle kiss on my fingers. I smile at him before looking back at She-Thing, who is now scowling at me. I know I shouldn’t poke at bears, but hell—the bear is in cuffs, so why not?
I turn back to Christian and look into his eyes as the jury is being led into the room. I rest my free hand gently on his chest, something that I know Elena never quite got over.
“What do you need?” I whisper gently into his ear. “Are you okay?” He covers my hand with his free hand and brings my other hand to his mouth again as he closes his eyes.
“I just need you to stay with me as long as you can,” he says, “until they make you leave for mine and Jason’s testimony.” He breathes in deeply and squeezes both hands. I squeeze back.
“I’m here baby,” I say softly, leaning my forehead on his temple. “I’m here and I’ll never be far away.” He breathes in deeply again, holds it, and releases it before nodding. He kisses my hand again before opening his eyes and focusing to the front of the room. I move my hand from his chest, but he replaces it with our clasped hands and just sits there for a moment, unmoving.
Our tenderness almost caused her to expire.
I hear her gasp and when I turn to look at her, She-Thing’s eyes grow large. Her skin has gone pale and she wobbles a bit before getting to her seat. Her attorney catches her and asks if she’s okay. Before she can answer, the judge enters the courtroom and we’re all told to rise. Christian never turns his attention back to She-Thing as she is clearly having trouble making it to her seat. By the time that she does, whatever color was left in her face is gone.
The bailiff is introducing the Judge and the defense attorney is trying to make sure that his client doesn’t faint. As the judge takes his seat on the bench, She-Thing actually looks as if she’s about to hyperventilate.
“You may be seated.” His Honor is Judge Joel Burgess, a handsome, tall, older, black gentleman with salt and pepper hair. He has a no-nonsense look about him, and I hope that means that he won’t put up with any shenanigans in his courtroom. I’m on a short leash and doing my best to hold my unpredictable, yet unadmittedly fragile husband together.
The prosecution begins his opening arguments. Mr. Duane Skinner paints and accurate picture of a woman obsessed with a handsome and successful businessman, the son of her best friend. He carefully avoids any reference to Pedo-Bitch’s prior conviction as he is unable to open the door to that information unless the defense does so first. I don’t know how they’ll be able to explain the particulars of the crime and what got us to this point in the first place without reference to Christian’s and her unholy relationship. Nonetheless, Mr. Skinner does a masterful job of illustrating how unstable, irrational, and delusional Elena became once I became a factor without revealing the fact that she had groomed him as a teenager and subsequently fell in love and became obsessed with the object of her pedophilia. Thus far, she only came off as a delusional woman scorned who couldn’t take ‘no’ for an answer and tried to kill her ex-lover.
Now comes the fairytale that is the defense. If I hadn’t been there for the entire show, I might have believed this guy—much like the presentation with Edward David. Attorney for the defense, Wyatt Underwood, contends that Mrs. Lincoln should not be held accountable for her actions because she was raised to believe that the rules never applied to her. He bases his defense on a concept of extreme entitlement—of never being taught the difference between right and wrong or how those consequences may apply to one’s life. Acute pathological narcissistic personality disorder is what he called it. I’m immediately reminded of that teenager who, just a few months ago, plowed into a group of people with his car while he was under the influence of drugs and alcohol. He killed four people and got off with probation and rehab with a trumped-up defense just like this.
They named it affluenza.
That defendant was a teenager and even though I still think his ass should fry for having taken the lives of four people, he still has the excuse of youth and inexperience. We’re talking about a predatorial 50-year-old woman here. She’s old enough to be somebody’s goddamn grandmother! How the fuck do you live on earth for fifty years and observe the cruelties that is life and not believe that there are consequences for your actions?
As a witness for the prosecution and having seen what transpired in my husband’s office, I can hardly believe that we’re even wasting the court’s time. As a mental health professional, I can hardly believe they found another mental health professional that would attest to this bullshit. As a human being and a mother, I’m frightened and appalled that this is actually being heard in a court of law and if it works, could set a precedent for psychos all across the country.
I can barely hear anything the attorneys have said during opening arguments—the People of the State of Washington vs Elena Gabriele Lincoln. I’ve heard enough to commit names to memory:
Only one name seems to hold any importance right now as my blood runs so hot through my body that I can actually hear it pumping in my ears:
Elena Gabriele Lincoln…
Evil slithering incarnation from another world!
My hands sweat and I try to pay attention, focusing solely on the witness chair and trying not to lose it. I do all that I can to draw strength from Butterfly, because I’ve seen the witness list. I think Jason should go first, but I’m first—probably because I was the target and everything happened in my office. I don’t know why they won’t just show the video and let that tell the story, but I’m sure there’s a method to the madness.
I’m terrified and glad at the same time that I get to go first. I get to hear all of the testimony and I’ll get mine out of the way. Once I’ve given my testimony, I can sit in the courtroom for the rest, so this is actually a good thing… as far as anything can be good in this situation.
“Bailiff, please clear the courtroom.”
That’s my cue. I stand with my wife and my bodyguard and best friend along with the rest of our party and leave the courtroom. Al will be allowed to return as our attorney, but no one else, not even the other members of our security—not until all of us have testified.
Everyone stands outside of the courtroom waiting for them to call the first witness. I grasp my wife’s hands tightly.
“I’m the first witness,” I tell her after swallowing the lump in my throat. She frowns.
“How do you know?” she asks.
“I’ve seen the witness list. It’s what had me so distracted when you came to bed last night. I just couldn’t talk about it.” Her face changes at first and I know she has feelings about me not telling her, but then her expression softens. She puts her hand on my cheek and looks into my eyes with love and sympathy. She tries to smile, but fails miserably. It doesn’t matter; I draw my strength from her touch.
“Christian Grey,” the bailiff announces flatly from the door. I turn my face to her palm and kiss it softly.
“I love you,” I breathe.
“I love you, too,” she replies.
“Jason will next, then you,” I inform her. She nods.
“Go put that bitch back in the hellhole where she belongs.” She winks at me.
“Chris…” Al urges. I squeeze my wife’s hand once more and square my shoulders before walking back into the courtroom.
At first, I don’t look at her. I make no eye-contact with her at all. She doesn’t exist… yet. I just walk to the witness stand and take my seat. I’m asked to state my name for the record after I’m sworn in.
“Christian Trevelyan Grey.”
“Mr. Grey, can you tell us what happened in your office on the afternoon of March 19, 2013,” Skinner asks.
“I had just spoken to my wife, who wasn’t my wife yet, and invited her to a late lunch. She was shopping with her best friend for her wedding dress and was very stressed out…”
I recounted the afternoon that this sick bitch shot my best friend—her speech, my feelings, the look on Butterfly’s face, how my soul cracked thinking that our life together was ending before it even started. It’s not until I stop talking and the entire room is silent that I realize that I have given this description between clenched teeth… in my Dom voice. The jury, quite frankly, looks stunned and the Pedophile is damn-near panting. Even in this setting, she can’t control her obsession.
“Um… Mr. Grey,” Skinner finally finds his voice, “to what was Mrs. Lincoln referring when she said, ‘He’s seen his mistake, I said. Now I can have him back?’”
“Objection,” Underwood exclaims. “Mr. Grey cannot testify to what Mrs. Lincoln was thinking.”
“I’m not asking him to testify to what she was thinking. I’m asking him to testify as to what she was referring when she spoke to him. Surely, he knows what she was talking about.”
“Overruled. Mr. Grey, please answer the question.” I drop my head.
“We were once lovers… years ago,” I say. “We became friends after the intimate relationship ended… well, at least it ended for me. I can’t say if it ended for Mrs. Lincoln.”
“Why do you say that?”
“Overruled! He can answer the question about his own words. Continue, Mr. Grey.”
“She wouldn’t go away. I told her that I didn’t want anything to do with her anymore. I wanted her to go away and leave me alone. I started dating my wife shortly thereafter. Mrs. Lincoln became relentless. She was everywhere. She kept showing up unannounced at my apartment, my office. She wouldn’t take ‘no’ for an answer. Even when she got into altercations with my wife, nothing stopped her from coming back.”
“Did she have any reason to believe that the two of you were still in a romantic relationship?” Skinner asks.
“None whatsoever. There were times when I knew that’s what she wanted, but I never led her to believe that we were. To clarify, our prior relationship was intimate, not romantic.” He frowns.
“Can you tell us what you mean by that?” he asks. “How can a relationship be intimate and not romantic?”
“Our relationship was purely sexual. There was no emotion involved. What I have with my wife is and always has been romantic and intimate. What I had with Mrs. Lincoln was only intimate.” She frowns at my description. Strange, really, since she’s the one that always tried to convince me that love is for fools.
“So, you and Mrs. Lincoln were not in a relationship when you met your wife?” he asks.
“When I met my wife, I still considered Mrs. Lincoln my friend. By the time I started dating my wife, she was nothing,” I clarify.
“I’m only asking this question, because I know that it’s going to come up,” he prepares me and I nod. “Did you leave Mrs. Lincoln for your current wife?”
“No,” I say without hesitation. “One, I would have had to be in a relationship with Mrs. Lincoln to leave her for my wife. Two, I’ve said it several times and I’ll say it again. I ended my friendship with Mrs. Lincoln before I decided to pursue my wife.”
“You have to admit, though, that they were very close together. It seems convenient that a close friendship that you had with a woman with whom you were once intimate ended seemingly moments before you began the relationship with the woman whom you would later marry.”
“It doesn’t matter that they were close together,” I say. “She. Was. A. Friend. Not a lover, a friend. I ended that friendship and went on with my life. I subsequently decided to pursue my wife and we began a relationship that culminated in our marriage. Mrs. Lincoln can’t accept that she wasn’t that woman, so she’s making up in her head that Anastasia stole me from her. Ana didn’t even know who she was until after we were dating. By that time, I had ended my relationship with Mrs. Lincoln. She wouldn’t accept my refusal, insisting that Ana turned me against her, and she began stalking us.”
“Objection! Mr. Grey has no idea what Mrs. Lincoln was ‘making up in her head.’” The defense objects.
“Sustained. Please strike that from the record,” the judge orders. I roll my eyes.
“Can I say that she accused Ana several times of turning me against her… in my presence?” I ask.
“Yes, Mr. Grey, that’s fine,” the judge answers and nods at the prosecutor.
“Mr. Grey, at the time of the shooting, what was the state of your—friendship—with Mrs. Lincoln?”
“We didn’t have one,” I tell him. “The last time that I had seen her was months prior when she came to my apartment building uninvited and I had made a police report. The next time I saw her, she was pointing a gun at me.” The prosecutor picks up the Beretta marked as evidence.
“Is this the gun, Mr. Grey?” he asks. I look at the weapon.
“It looks like it, yes,” I answer.
“There’s something unique about this particular firearm, isn’t it?” he says.
“Objection—leading the witness,” the defense says.
“Withdrawn. Mr. Grey, do you recognize this weapon?” he asks.
“Honestly, I don’t,” I answer.
“Is there any reason why this weapon would be of any significance to you?” he presses.
“I’ll allow it. Answer the question, Mr. Grey.” I sigh.
“When she was waving the gun at my wife, Mrs. Lincoln taunted her about possibly killing Ana with a bullet from Ana’s own gun. Ana had reported her Beretta stolen about a month prior.”
“Let the record show that this gun is a Beretta Px4 Storm Type F Sub-Compact handgun, the same type of gun that Mrs. Grey reported stolen in February,” he confirms. “Do you have any proof or any reason to believe that Mrs. Lincoln has taken Mrs. Grey’s gun?”
“No. When we ran the security tapes from the day of the robbery, it shows a small-framed person dressed in black and wearing a hood entering my wife’s condo and leaving a short time thereafter. We have no idea who it was and we can only assume that the gun was taken at that time because of the timing. Unfortunately, we have no proof at this time who the burglar was or if they actually took anything at that time.”
The prosecutor holds up a piece of paper and declares, “Let the record show that ballistic evidence proves that the bullet removed from Jason Taylor’s shoulder came from this firearm. Registration and ballistics also confirm that this is the firearm that was registered to and reported stolen by Anastasia Steele, now Anastasia Grey.” He places the report back on the table with the evidence. Lincoln is squirming and beginning to sweat a bit. There’s no way out of this, bitch. You are going down.
“I have no more questions for this witness at this time, Your Honor.” He takes his seat while the defense saunters over to me.
“You’re a rich and powerful man, Mr. Grey, accustomed to getting your way. No one says ‘no’ to you, do they?” Underwood begins.
“Yes, yes, and sometimes,” I respond with no emotion.
“Excuse me?” he says.
“Yes, yes, and sometimes,” I repeat.
“What does that mean?”
“What did you ask?” I respond. He sighs.
“Permission to treat the witness as hostile,” he directs towards the judge.
“It’s clear that he’s hostile, counselor. The defendant stands accused of trying to kill him. Now, please, stop antagonizing him and get on with your questioning,” the judge fires back. I find it hard not to smirk as I see some of the wind get knocked out of this fucker’s sails, but he doesn’t allow that to deter him.
“You say that Mrs. Lincoln showed up at your home and office unannounced. Wasn’t that the nature of your relationship?”
“At one time, yes,” I reply.
“But not anymore.” It’s more of a statement than a question.
“I’m sure I’ve already made that clear.”
“Why not? What happened that changed your relationship?” I knew it would happen. I knew it was coming, but I’m prepared. I’m prepared for whatever fallout there may be. This woman must be stopped.
“I’m not sure that I am allowed to say since the content has something to do with another case,” I respond.
“Are you actively part of that case, Mr. Grey?” he asks.
“No… not actively, but indirectly.”
“Then you can tell us why your relationship with Mrs. Lincoln changed so suddenly.” He smirks at me. Fine. You want it, you got it.
“I discovered that she was a pedophile and I wanted nothing else to do with her,” I say.
“You… discovered?” God, this man is really a slimy ass bastard. “How did you discover this?” I sigh.
“Mrs. Lincoln was a long-time friend of our family. During one of her visits, a member of my family revealed to me that she had come on to him when he was 14…”
“Objection! Hearsay, Your Honor.”
“You asked the man how he made his discovery and he’s telling you how he made his discovery. Objection overruled. Continue, Mr. Grey.”
“I asked Mrs. Lincoln about it, but she denied it,” I continue. “Her explanation was flawed. I considered her answer carefully, as well as our relationship, and realized that her interaction with me was pedophilia.” Many of the jury gasps. There it is. It’s out in the open. I was one of her victims. “I never wanted to accept that. I never wanted to believe that’s what it was. I actually thought that I was special. Then I find out that there were others—that she did this regularly. I wanted nothing else to do with her.”
“You sound like a scorned lover, Mr. Grey.” he says.
“Objection!” Skinner pipes in.
“Sustained. Careful, Mr. Underwood.”
“If I may, Your Honor?” I ask, looking up at him. He nods. “’Lover’ implies that I had an intimate relationship with this woman. I had not had an intimate relationship with this woman for several years. We were friends—nothing more. However, I’ll admit that I did feel a twinge of betrayal when I discovered that there were others—not because I didn’t have her all to myself, I couldn’t care less about that. I felt betrayed because she told me that she was doing this to help me—to keep me focused. She made me think that I was the only one and that she was doing this for me when the entire time, she was just fulfilling her sick lust for little boys!”
“Objection, Your Honor. Seriously?”
“Sustained. No conclusions, Mr. Grey. Stick to the facts, please.” I nod.
“The fact is that she molested me for several years and told me that she was doing it to save me. I was a troubled teenager, just like her other victims….”
“Objection!” I put up my hands.
“I’m sorry. I’ll rephrase that. I was a troubled teenager and I will admit that what she did help to put me on the right track. It diverted my focus away from my then-destructive behavior, but what she was doing to me wasn’t any less destructive.”
“And here you are now, a wealthy, successful businessman, and you want the court to believe that this woman damaged you? Abused you?” he accuses.
“Yes, I do,” I answer flatly.
“Yet, you stayed friends with her for ten more years after you became an adult.”
“She helped me with my business and I subsequently help her with hers.”
“Oh, so the is the reason for your success!” he shoots.
“No, she’s not!” I hiss. “She gave me a loan, which I repaid. I built my company on my back, with my own blood, sweat, and tears. My success is in spite of her, not because of her. All she has ever done for me is plant moles in my company, molest me, break my family’s heart, and try to kill me!”
“Your Honor!” the defense barks.
“Mr. Grey, control yourself!” The judge instructs.
“He shouldn’t ask me the questions if he doesn’t want the answers!” I bark. “I’m going to give you the truth, not some dressed-up version of it that’s going to suit her needs! Yes, I was her victim! Yes, she cuffed me, beat me, and had sex with me in her dungeon just like she did those other boys. Yes, she lent me money to start my business and did everything that she could to control my life afterwards. Yes, I discovered that she was a full-on pedophile when my brother revealed that she had propositioned him three years before she propositioned me. Yes, I was angry and disgusted when I realized that I wasn’t the only one and that what she did to me really was twisted and illegal and I wanted nothing more to do with her. Yes, I ended my friendship with her and very shortly thereafter, began to date my wife.
“She terrorized us for so long and so relentlessly that we had to get a restraining order against her, which did no good as she kept returning to my apartment, kept showing up in locations where she knew we would be, kept showing up at my office. She even crashed my father-in-law’s wedding on New Year’s Eve! I am not drawing conclusions for the court, but her behavior was obsessive—I can’t shake her no matter what I do. When I finally cut her out of my life completely and thought she was gone forever, she comes back and tries to kill me telling me that we will be together in the afterlife. If it weren’t for my bodyguard and best friend, she would have succeeded. I don’t have anything nice to say about her. I’m not going to paint a pretty picture of her and anything that you ask me is going to reveal that!” He pauses for a moment.
“You really hate this woman, don’t you?” he asks.
“She tried to kill me… after she terrorized and molested me. What do you think?”
“I’m not asking what I think. I’m asking if you hate this woman.”
“Passionately,” I say without a pause.
“And you would do anything to see her in jail, wouldn’t you?”
“Within the law and the truth, yes, I would.” I answer honestly, again without a pause.
“Including lie on the witness stand?” he asks. I lean forward.
“Did you miss the part where I just said ‘within the law and the truth’ or are you deliberately ignoring it?” His face falls just a bit. He did miss it. “You were doing better with those ridiculous objections. I know you have a little plan laid out here, but try to listen. It’ll serve more to help you defend your pedophile, murderer client there if you do.”
“Mr. Grey, you’re very close to being held in contempt,” the judge declares.
“My apologies, Your Honor,” I say. I sit back in my chair and cross my ankle over my knee, folding my hands in my lap. Your move, Asshole.
“So, you would definitely say that Mrs. Lincoln didn’t take your break-up well?” he continues. Nice try.
“Our break-up was many years ago and quite amicable. The dissolution of our friendship was less so. I assume that’s to what you were referring. Please feel free to object if I’m wrong.” His eyes narrow. I’m on to you and I won’t fall into one of your holes.
“You have said many times—in police records and in conversation as I understand—that Mrs. Lincoln is sick, twisted, and crazy. Do you really believe that?” Answer this carefully, Grey.
“Sick and twisted—yes. Crazy, only to the degree that she thought she could get away with this,” I say.
“Aren’t they the same thing, though, Mr. Grey?”
“I’m sorry, counselor. You have me confused with Mrs. Grey. She’s the shrink, not me.” A small chuckle that I truly didn’t expect comes from the direction of the jury.
“But you said yourself that she acted as if she was obsessed.”
“From a layman’s point of view, she did and she does, but will my testimony prove that she’s supposedly insane?” I shrug one shoulder, noncommittal. He’s seeing his defense fall apart so he pulls his last trump.
“Mrs. Lincoln reveals that you and she practice the same lifestyle. Is that true?”
“Number one, I am not a fucking pedophile—so no, that’s not true!” I put my hand up before the judge can reprimand me. “I’m sorry, it slipped.” He narrows his eyes and purses his lips, but acknowledges my apology. “Number two, I refuse to answer any questions about my personal life that have nothing to do with this trial. It is none of your business or anyone else’s. I am a very private person and I’m not going to drag my personal life or that of my wife, my family, or my business out to display simply because that woman is on trial for her crimes. I take my privacy and the well-being of my family very. Very. Seriously.” I glare at him without blinking, hoping that I relay to him that he may become famous because of this trial, but if he takes me down with that pedophile, he’ll be a substitute civics teacher in some high school in Toad Suck, Arkansas before the month ends.
I think he got the picture.
“No further questions at this time, Your Honor,” he says before walking back to his seat. I look expectantly at the judge.
“You may step down, Mr. Grey,” he says. I leap from my seat and head to the door. Looking from left to right, I see her come from a door a few feet down the hall. My feet can’t move fast enough as I watch her bolting towards me, her arms extended. I vaguely see flashes, but I don’t care right now—I have to get to her. She launches herself into my arms and I pull her close to me.
“Hold me,” I say, burying my face in her hair. “Please, hold me…”
“Are you okay?” she asks, thrusting her fingers into my hair. Pulling my lips down to hers, she kisses me repeatedly. “I so wanted to be there for you. I hope you know that.”
“I know, Baby. You were. You are. I love you so much.”
“I love you, too.” She wraps her arms around my neck and squeezes me tight.
“Sir,” Jason interrupts us. “They’re calling me to the stand, Sir.” I look up at him and nod, then look down at Butterfly.
“Are you okay?” I ask, stroking her cheek.
“Yes,” she says softly while caressing my hair. “Are you?” I nod, and touch my forehead to hers, taking one moment to thank God that she is in my life. I bring both of her hands to my lips and kiss them gently. “You can’t be in the room for Jason’s testimony either…”
“I know,” she says with her eyes closed. “I’ll be here when you’re done.” She gives me a warm smile.
“Sir…” Jason is more urgent.
“I’m coming,” I say without taking my eyes off her. I hold her hand until the last possible moment before going back into the courtroom with Jason.
A/N: The last time I made an assumption that everybody knew what something was, somebody blessed me the fuck out, so…
“Et tu, Brute?”—from the Shakespearean play Julius Caesar. Brutus was Caesar’s friend and part of the conspiracy to kill him. When Caesar was being stabbed to death by multiple assailants, he couldn’t believe that he was being betrayed. As he’s being killed, he sees Brutus—his best friend—coming at him with a knife, too. Before he dies, he looks at his friend in disbelief and mutters these three words, which translate into “You, too, Brutus?” (literally into “And you, Brutus”).
Pictures of places, cars, fashion, etc., can be found at https://www.pinterest.com/ladeeceo/becoming-dr-grey/
You can join my mailing list on the “Contact Me” page. Just click the link and it will lead you to a form to join the list.
Love and handcuffs