Becoming Dr. Grey: Chapter 69—The Hard Answers

 

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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 69—The Hard Answers

CHRISTIAN

Jason and I are back in the courtroom and I’m feeling better now that I’ve given my testimony and drawn more strength from my Butterfly. Jason’s demeanor is cold. He’s stiff, like he should be in uniform sitting on the stand. He doesn’t look left or right and concentrates an icy blue glare nowhere else but at the person who’s speaking to him.

Skinner has him recount his version of the story, which starts when he received a signal that there was trouble in my office after I pressed the panic button. He knew about the closed-circuit television and activated it before leaving his office to assess the situation. However, when the situation began to escalate, he routed the audio to his earpiece and quickly moved into position behind the hidden panel in my office. Alex had been notified from the first panic button, but not the police. I didn’t know that. Maybe I did, but at the time, I can’t be sure.

Nonetheless, he hadn’t been behind the panel a few moments before the situation had already escalated to Elena proclaiming that she would kill me and then herself, leaving Butterfly behind to mourn. Jason had only just released the panel lock when I was saying goodbye to Butterfly. There was nothing else to do but leap. He remembers talking to us about his allergies to the medicine and telling me that he had been hit in the shoulder, but he remembers little else.

Underwood couldn’t shake him. Jason’s story never faltered from exactly what he relayed had happened. Underwood kept trying to get with questions that started with, “But you can’t be certain that” and “How could you know if you weren’t in the room?” But Jason stoically gave him back everything he tried to give. That military training came out in full force and that squirmy little asshole wasn’t going to make him budge.

“What do you feel for Mrs. Lincoln now, Mr. Taylor?” Underwood asks.

“Nothing,” Jason says, flatly.

“No hatred? No disdain? No wish for revenge?” he presses.

“No.” Underwood is taken aback.

“You’re quite the evolved human being,” he says. “Even your boss indicates that he has a wish to see Mrs. Lincoln pay and the bullet never hit him. No wish for retribution or retaliation for your pain and suffering?” Jason never flinches.

“Sir, I did two separate tours when I was active duty. I was always prepared to lay down my life for my country. I’ve seen creatures in the desert that were more dangerous than that woman. She doesn’t scare me. She doesn’t bother me. She doesn’t impact me in any way. Her actions initiated a forced leave of absence that I didn’t really want and that was all. I don’t have time or desire to concentrate on her or chase her down for a mini-bullet to the shoulder. Time, life, and karma will deal with her if justice does not. I’m certain of it. Anything else?” He doesn’t give up. He has to see this military man break.

You don’t know Jason Taylor. Hell, I don’t know this Jason Taylor.

“So you’ve never once considered being the hand of justice and giving Mrs. Lincoln what she deserves? She did shoot you after all,” Underwood says.

“My name is Jason Taylor. No matter how you manipulate my name, neither ‘time,’ ‘life,’ nor ‘karma’ will come out of it.” Skinner stands.

“Objection. I’d like to know what the purpose is of this line of questioning,” he says.

“Quite frankly, so would I,” Judge Burgess asks. “There’s no debate here that the defendant shot the witness. Maybe he’s angry, maybe he’s not, but what relevance does that have to the case?”

“It… um… will show relevance to Mrs. Lincoln’s state of mind,” Underwood retorts. He just wants to get under Jason’s skin and we don’t know why.

“In what way?” His Honor asks. “Are we now asserting that she somehow knew that she would shoot Mr. Taylor as well?”

“No, Your Honor,” he flounders, “but that her actions in shooting him had no consequences.”

“Again, that would be based on an assumption that the defendant knew she was going to shoot Jason Taylor. Is this your purpose for this line of questioning?” Tread carefully, asshole. That’s another premeditated attempted murder charge.

“No, Your Honor,” he concedes.

“Then I suggest that you get to a correct and relevant point in this case or abandon this line of questioning. Objection sustained.” Underwood looks at his notes as if he’s reviewing for further points to cover. You’ve got nothing, asshole. Sit down.

“No further questions for this witness.” It’s somewhat remarkable. His testimony was pretty short, but he was the one who got shot. He looks at me and I give him a short nod before he takes a seat behind me.

“The prosecution calls Anastasia Grey to the stand.”

The bailiff goes to the door and moments later, my beautiful Butterfly strides confidently into the courtroom, the picture of elegance and professionalism. She plants herself onto the witness stand and crosses her legs at the knees, sitting up straight—not one sign of weakness or fear in her. No matter what happens today, I’m already proud of her.

“Please state your name for the record.”

“Dr. Anastasia Rose Steele-Grey PsyD,” she replies, her voice clear and strong. Immensely proud!

“Dr. Steele-Grey, do you recall the incidents on the afternoon of March 19, 2013?”

“I do, and Dr. Grey is fine,” she replies. Skinner nods.

“Would you please tell us in your own words what you recall?”

“I was shopping for wedding dresses that day with my best friend. I was losing my mind and we called Christian… Mr. Grey… who suggested that I come to the office for a late lunch. When I arrived, there was yelling in his office—a woman’s voice. I won’t lie; I wanted to know what shrew was in my fiancé’s office yelling at him that way. So, I went storming right in.”

“What did you find when you entered?”

“The defendant was on one side of the room pointing a gun at my then-fiancé. He was standing back by the bar near his desk. She was angry before, but she just lost it when I came into the office. I immediately recognized my gun…” She shakes her head.

“Your gun?” Skinner asks.

“My Beretta,” she says. “It’s not a very large gun, but it’s not very small either, and I have small hands, so it has… had a hairpin trigger, and she’s waving it around like a damn water pistol! And there was one in the chamber…!”

“Okay, you have to help us out. What does ‘one in the chamber’ mean?” Butterfly nods.

“She had cocked the… pulled the carriage back and loaded a round into the chamber, which makes the firearm ready to fire. So now, she’s waving around a semi-automatic with a hairpin trigger and a round in the chamber ready to fire.”

“Again, Dr. Grey, I don’t mean to make you keep repeating yourself. For the laymen, can you please tells us what you mean by ‘hairpin trigger?’” She nods again.

“It’s a play on words. It’s actually ‘hair-trigger.’ It’s meant to indicate that the trigger can be activated with just the force of a ‘hair.’ Of course, it can’t, but the term means that the trigger needs very little pressure to fire.”

“How did you know that was your Beretta?” Skinner asks.

“That’s the gun I used to get my CCW. That’s the gun I used at the firing range along with my Glock, on occasion. I would know that gun anywhere—not to mention that she taunted me and my fiancé that day, saying how ironic it would be for me to be shot with a bullet from my own gun.” I shiver as I recall hearing that bitch say that to my Butterfly.

Butterfly continues and relays the incident in intrinsic detail, all the way to the point where she passed out and ended up in the back of the police car in my lap. I had forgotten to include the part about singing “The Itsy-Bitsy Spider” to calm me down and Jason had forgotten it completely, but Butterfly remembered, and it left an impression on the jury. Some of them covered their mouths in sympathy or horror while she relayed the tale.

“Mr. Grey paints a picture of Mrs. Lincoln that insinuates that she’s delusional. What’s your professional opinion of her behavior?” Skinner asks.

“I can’t give you my professional opinion of her. I’ve never treated her or evaluated her,” I tell him. “I can only tell you what I’ve observed and ever since I’ve known that woman, I’ve been the root of all of her problems. I didn’t even know who she was until after we had started dating! We were spending a quiet, very intimate Sunday afternoon at home and here she comes! I was horrified because she treated me like I wasn’t supposed to be there when she barged in on us! I had no idea who she was; I wasn’t even dressed and she expected me to leave. Chri… Mr. Grey informed me as she was coming up the elevator that they were no longer friends and he had already told her not to come to his house anymore. He vehemently made this clear to her once again before walking out of the room and she still wouldn’t leave.

“She showed up everywhere. She was like a recurring rash. We had a protection order against her and it still didn’t stop her. She even showed up the night of my father’s wedding. My father’s wedding, for God’s sake! I don’t know what disorder this is they’ve come up with, but what’s more accurate is something where you destroy everything you touch and then you blame everyone else for the carnage you leave behind!”

“Objection! Dr. Grey did indicate that she’s never treated or evaluated my client,” Underwood says.

“It’s an opinion, not a diagnosis, Your Honor,” Butterfly retorts.

“However, counsel did ask you for a professional opinion and you did offer this opinion in response to that question,” Judge Burgess says. “Sustained.”

“Am I allowed to offer a personal opinion?” I ask. He nods.

“Yes, you are, but you must specify that’s what it is before you offer it as you have introduced yourself as Dr. Anastasia Grey.” Butterfly nods.

“Yes, Your Honor.” She turns back to Skinner. “In my personal opinion, she’s the most delusional person I’ve ever met in my life—and I’ve met a bunch!” Stab! Stab! Stab!

“Thank you, Dr. Grey,” Skinner says. “No further questions at this time.”

Now it’s time for Underwood to take a stab at my wife. She sits up straight again. Noting her posture, he lights right into her.

“Readying yourself for battle, Dr. Grey?” He says “doctor” with immense contempt. Butterfly is unmoved. She’s clearly ready for him.

“Should I be?” she retorts.

“I only want to get to the truth,” he says. Butterfly doesn’t respond. “You’ve given us quite an account of the events of March 18th, Dr. Grey.”

“No, I haven’t,” she says. He raises an eyebrow at her.

“Oh?” he says, innocently. “Have you omitted something?”

“Yes, I have… quite a bit. The entire day in fact, considering that the events in question happened on March 19th.” Shit! I didn’t even catch that. What is he playing at?

“Oh!” he says, mocking embarrassment. “My mistake.”

“Yes, it was,” she replies, unmoved.

“So, you’ve given us quite an account of the events of March 19th, Dr. Grey, and you’re sure you haven’t left anything out,” Underwood says.

“I’m sure,” she says.

“However…” He retrieves a document from the evidence table. “We have reports here from Detective Randall Fischer and Officer Charlene Daly of the Seattle Police Department that during questioning, you didn’t remember anything after the shot was fired.”

“That’s correct,” Butterfly says, without hesitating. Underwood clearly didn’t expect her to answer so quickly. It takes him a moment to recoil as he obviously expected a denial of some kind.

“So you don’t deny that it?” he asks.

“No, I don’t, she says. “I was in shock after the initial gunfire. I later had total recall.” He scoffs a laugh, turning his attention back to the documents in disinterest.

“Well, isn’t that convenient.” It’s a statement, not a question.

“No, it’s unfortunate,” she replies, bringing his attention back to her. “You have no idea how scary it is to black out from shock and lose several moments of your life, then come back to yourself and discover what kind of damage you’ve caused. Yes, I disarmed her and kept her from harming someone else, but I could have killed her… with my bare hands! I couldn’t live with that!” The first chink in Butterfly’s demeanor, but she quickly recovers.

“That’s interesting. What if I told you that my client will testify that you threatened to kill her more than once?” Underwood says.

“Objection!” Skinner declares.

“Your client will also testify that it’s my fault that she doesn’t have Christian right now, but I think we all know how false that is,” Butterfly interjects before the judge has a chance to interject.

“You’re saying you’re not the reason for their break-up?” Underwood says.

“They were together?” she asks, with a smile. “Look at him and look at her… seriously?” There are sad attempts to hide chuckles around the room. He clears his throat.

“You said that you conveniently had total recall of the details of the incident after the shot was fired, but your recollection never became part of the police file. Why is that?” Underwood asks.

“Because I never went back to update the police file. My recollection came during one of my sessions with my therapist.” He raises his eyebrows.

“Your therapist!” he declares incredulously. “The shrink who sees a shrink, how interesting!” Oh, he’s like a kid with a new toy.

“Yes?” Butterfly says, expecting.

“Are you unstable, Dr. Grey?” he asks.

“Well, I don’t know, is everyone who goes to a therapist unstable, counselor?” Whoa! Careful. You don’t know who’s on that jury.

“I don’t know either, Dr. Grey, and I’m not referring to everyone who goes to a therapist. I’m referring to you.” She smiles sweetly.

“Well, in that case, my that has never indicated that I’m unstable, but I guess you would have to ask him. I’m not in the business of diagnosing myself.” She folds her hands on the stand in front of her.

“I see, Dr. Grey. Apparently, the physician cannot heal herself,” he says in a condescending tone.

“Most physicians can’t and really shouldn’t try,” she says matter-of-factly. “I’ve yet to see a surgeon who can perform a procedure on himself.”

That shut him up. Next topic!

“Please forgive me for bringing up yet another painful situation in your life, but isn’t it true that on November 7, 2013, you were in a car accident?” Oh, shit.

“Yes, that’s true.” Butterfly still doesn’t flinch.

“And were there serious injuries from that accident, Dr. Grey?”

“Yes, counselor, there were. I suffered internal bleeding, multiple lacerations, and traumatic brain injury.”

“Can you be more specific about the traumatic brain injury, doctor?”

“Sure thing, counselor.” That’s the second time she’s done that and he flinches. She’s onto him, and giving him exactly what he’s giving her. What I love so much is that her use of the word counselor is so much edgier than his use of the word doctor. “I suffered from a diffuse axonal injury.” She turns to the jury. “Think shaken baby syndrome.” A lot of them nod in recognition. “My brain swelled and I was in a coma for twelve days.”

“Isn’t it true that when you awoke, you had lost your memory?” Underwood asks, and here it is.

“Yes, that’s true,” she replies.

“And what had you forgotten?”

“From the time just before I met my husband,” she says.

“And you miraculously remember everything now, doctor?” he says, his tone condescending.

“No, counselor, I don’t,” she says, and he flinches again. Give that doctor shit up, man. “I still have moments when things are still coming back to me.”

“So, Mrs. Grey…” he took my advice, “you have forgotten large chunks of your life, yet you expect this court to believe that you remember everything that happened that day last March in the great detail that you’ve described without any coaching?” he actually laughs a disbelieving laugh as he says this.

“Yes, because it’s true,” she says, still very matter-of-factly.

“Come now, Mrs. Grey. Let’s be reasonable. You admitted that you couldn’t remember facts from that day on that day. Then you subsequently had a very tragic accident that resulted in traumatic brain injury and memory loss less than six months ago. Yet, you want us to believe that although you are still recalling other details of your life, you remember every detail of this incident perfectly?” Underwood presses.

“Yes,” she says simply, “I also expect you believe that during that time I successfully carried twins who survived and were delivered healthy and strong by natural childbirth less than two months ago—also an unlikely medical event under the circumstances. Would you like to see the pictures?” It would appear that Butterfly has won this round, but then she appears to give him more ammunition.

“But, I’ll tell you what… don’t believe me,” Butterfly says. I have to choke back a gasp and the defense zeroes in on her.

“Are you saying that you’ve lied to this court, Mrs. Grey?” he accuses, feeling that he has her on the ropes.

“No,” she says, unshaken. “I’m saying that you’re right. I had an accident last November and I’ve lost quite a few details of my life. My memory’s been compromised. Things come back to me in pieces if at all. At the time that woman tried to kill my husband with my gun, I couldn’t remember what happened. I blacked out.” Underwood smiles widely and allows Butterfly to continue to dig her hole, so to speak. “I later recalled what happened, but then, I had an accident and lost my memory. I couldn’t even remember my wedding. I remembered loving my husband; I just couldn’t remember marrying him until days later. I woke up very pregnant with our twins and horrified because I didn’t know how it happened.” She throws a glance at Elena, who looks like she swallowed something bad.

“So if you are remiss to believe my recollection of the events of that day, I don’t blame you,” she says, looking sincerely over at the jury. “My memories are a bit questionable to the outside observer.” She pauses for a moment. “But there’s a video!” she adds. “Believe that.” The attorney falls silent.

“That’s not the issue here, Mrs. Grey!” he snaps.

“Isn’t it?” she says, still maintaining her cool demeanor. “You see, your goal here is to discredit me and my testimony as a witness, and I can’t stop you from doing that. As much as I would like to see justice done, I’ve had some problems, and my recollection is questionable. So even though I currently remember everything that happened in that room as if it happened yesterday, you have the right to question my recollection of those events. However…” She begins to count on her fingers. “… Believe the man she tried to murder. Believe the man who took the bullet. Believe the fact that my Beretta was stolen and I never got it back; it’s up there as exhibit four. Believe the police report that I filed weeks earlier reporting that gun stolen. Believe the forensic evidence. Believe the officers that are going to testify. Believe the video. Discredit me all you want. Don’t believe me if your logic and sense of reason leads you not to—but believe everything else.” She folds her arms and sits back on the witness stand. The attorney clears his throat and attempts another diversionary tactic.

“That’s a very nice speech, Mrs. Grey, but the fact remains that your memories have been tainted and your testimony is questionable, isn’t that so?” I just shake my head.

“Didn’t… didn’t I just say that?” She looks at him incredulously before turning to the judge. “Didn’t I just say that?” The judge nods, but she has already turned to the jury. “I’m sure I said that. Didn’t I say that?” Members of the jury nod and she even looks at Elena. “Didn’t I say that?” She turns her attention back to the attorney? “Do you not understand English or did you not hear me? Wait, I got it… let’s try something else.” She clears her throat. “Oui monsieur, mes souvenirs sont entachés. Ils peuvent être très discutables. Cependant, regardez la video.”

She holds her hands up and waits for recognition from the attorney. I stifle a laugh.

“No?” she says. “Okay, how about this. Esyay irsay, ymay emorymay is aintedtay osay I amay otnay ebay uhthay estbay itnessway, utbay atchway uhthay ideovay!”

She holds her hands up again, waiting for recognition from the attorney.

“Still no? Okay, I’ve got something else.” She holds up one finger. “Yo dog, my brain corked. Got knocked upside da head, don’t know what happened—but dat joint prob’ly on YouTube.”

By now, several people in the courtroom—myself included—are covering their mouths and giggling quietly. Butterfly, on the other hand, is still approaching the situation like she’s seriously trying to get through to this counselor.

“Nothing?” she says, when she gets no response. “Okay, last shot…” and she breaks into sign language. I didn’t even know she knew sign language!

“Counselor,” Judge Burgess interjects, “I think you should move on. To be quite honest, the witness is making a fool out of you.” Daunted, Underwood turns his attention back to Butterfly.

“Your theatrics are quite entertaining, Mrs. Grey,” he says, clearly not amused.

“They really shouldn’t be,” she retorts. “I’m all for everybody deserving a fair trial and I’ll play my part, but I was there… and I do remember. I remember watching her aim my gun at the man that I love and seeing my life and my happiness ending in a moment! So, you do what you must, counselor! You do your little song and dance and you make those people believe that I don’t know what I’m talking about and you let that monster walk free and set a precedent in this new trend of ridiculous court cases that proclaim that as long as we convince our children that the rules don’t apply to them that it’s okay if they go out and kill people. Then we can set them loose on the city and pray that none of them are roaming your neighborhood with your family. I’m raising twins. We can start with them!”

Her once cool demeanor has been replaced with such contempt that my blood runs cold. The room falls silent and I think the attorney thinks better than to go toe to toe with an angry mother who has just informed him that she’s waiting for the success of his trial to decide if she’s going to teach her children to kill then set them loose in his neighborhood.

“No further questions for this witness,” he wisely concludes.

“I think it’s time for lunch,” Judge Burgess bangs his gavel. “One hour recess.” Butterfly stands and glares at the defense attorney with a serious half-smirk on her face. It’s clear that he didn’t break her, but oh how he wanted to. She leaves the witness stand with the same confident stride she had when she walked up to it. She walks over to me and I put my arm around her waist.

“You were amazing,” I breathe in her ear.

“Thank you, Mr. Grey. I’m so glad I made you proud.”

“More than you’ll ever know.” I pull her to me and kiss her sweetly, then again. She wraps her arms around my neck and get a glance of the Witch over her shoulder, looking longingly at me. I close my eyes and block her out, embracing my wife and caressing her back, inhaling her scent and allowing it to comfort me. When I open my eyes, they have removed the Pedophile.

“Let’s go see if we can commandeer a quiet room somewhere and have a sandwich or something. Trying to go out for lunch is a useless task,” I tell her.

“I agree,” she says, taking my hand and allowing me to lead her out of the courtroom.


ANASTASIA

“So… we need to talk.”

Christian has found a quiet room for us to have lunch and Chuck has procured some chicken salad sandwiches and sodas to hold us over until we could get a decent meal at home. When my husband begins a conversation with we need to talk, I’m not very hopeful of the outcome. Given the events of the day and our current location, I’m scared shitless. I swallow the final bite of my sandwich, certain that he deliberately waited until I had finished my lunch to break whatever news he has to me that he is about to tell me.

“Okay,” I say, bracing myself for the monsoon.

“Some things came out during my testimony,” he says. “I need to call my parents and you should probably call Ray…” He trails off.

“Christian, what is it?” I’m really scared now. He sighs.

“They know why Elena’s in jail right now,” he continues. “They know the lengths and depths of her depravity, and now… they know that I was one of her victims.”

I can’t hide my gasp. These implications are very far-reaching. His family, my family, his business associates…

“Have you told Vee?” I ask. I shake my head.

“No,” he says. “There’s more.” What more could there be? “There was an implication towards the lifestyle. I diverted the question, but anything besides an outright denial is enough for speculation.”

Fuck! I can’t tell my father that! He reads my expression and takes my hand in his.

“I’m sorry,” he says, sincerely. I shake my head.

“No… this is not your fault,” I tell him. “It’s just… there’s such a stigma attached to the lifestyle and I just don’t want it to follow us. I’m not ashamed of what we do in the privacy of our own bedroom, I just feel like it should stay in our bedroom.” I sigh. “What was said?”

“Her asshole lawyer made a comment about both of us partaking in the same lifestyle and at the time, we were talking about her being a pedophile. Sometime before or after that, I had said something about her beating and fucking me in her dungeon, but at this point, the comment was close enough for me to divert the conversation to her pedophilia. I freaked out. I roared at him for insinuating that I would take part in pedophilia. Then I made it clear to him that I was not going to drag any of my private affairs, nor that of my family, nor anything about my business out into the open for him to pick apart because his client is on trial for murder.”

“Bravo, Mr. Grey!” I tell him. “It sounds to me like you did what needed to be done to dodge that bullet.”

“Don’t celebrate yet,” he says. “She has yet to testify. She threw me under the bus once just to keep from being disowned by my mother. What do you think she’ll do to avoid being convicted of attempted murder?” I shake my head.

“So what do we do?” I ask. He takes a drink of his soda.

“We’ll run the PSA again for starters,” he says. “That was one of the purposes for it in the first place. The requests for public appearances are really going to start pouring in for you. We’re going to need a plan of attack if this becomes a topic of conversation, which it will. Paparazzi are really going to be relentless about a statement, so we’ll have to make one—but we won’t address it until it comes to light. We have to cross each bridge as we get to it, but we just have to be prepared so that we’re not ambushed. I’ll have Mac release a statement about the molestation. We can’t avoid that one.” I sigh heavily.

“And so it begins,” I say. I wanted to get back into the swing of things and start taking the twins to the Center with me, but I can’t do that now. They might get hurt just trying to get them past the press. I definitely can’t leave them for a whole day every day, either, so I’ll have to return to work only part-time, and what about Green Valley? Will I have to travel down there to testify at Michael Underwood’s trial? Underwood… no wonder I didn’t like that attorney’s name. I’m only just now making the connection.

“What are you thinking?” Christian asks, and it’s only now that I realize that I have fallen silent. I rub my eyes.

“Just that I was hoping to get back to work after we were done with the trial, but I may have to make some changes now. I wanted to take the twins into the Center some days, but I don’t see how that’s going to be possible.” He’s silent for a moment, causing me to raise my head to him. “What?”

“Nothing. It’s just that… I mean, I knew that it was going to be a problem with privacy and safety and the twins and such but…” He trails off again. I examine his face.

“You didn’t expect me to cooperate,” I say. He shakes his head.

“It’s not that…” he begins.

“Yes, it is,” I interrupt with no malice. “Admit it, Christian. You didn’t expect me to cooperate and now you’re surprised.” He shrugs and picks at an invisible piece of lint on his pants.

“Maybe a little,” he mumbles. “I didn’t expect for you to just fall in line. I hoped you would understand, but I did expect a little resistance.”

“I don’t blame you,” I respond. I can be rather difficult to deal with and there’s going to be so tightened security in my future, especially when it comes to my children. I can’t remember one time when that’s happened and I didn’t give him some kind of backtalk about it. “Right now, what say we just skip this part of the conversation for now and decide exactly how much we need to tell our parents about this, because I would really like to tell Ray as little as possible.” He scratches his chin.

“I’m going to have to let you make that decision, Butterfly,” he says. “Grace and Carrick know everything. All they need to know now is that it might go public.”

“And what will you do then?” I ask. “If this goes public, won’t this affect how your colleagues look at you?”

“It’s not an ideal situation,” he admits, “but all they can ever do is try to use it as a weapon against me—a weakness. They can only speculate as to what I do and how I participate. They have no idea. You never come to a dogfight armed with speculation and conjecture. Anybody in this business knows that. And if any of them wants to play hardball with this topic, that would be an early Christmas present for me. This is an arena where futures are made and destroyed, so if you step into the coliseum, you had better be armed with a sword and a shield because coming at me with this shit is like running against a gladiator with a pocket knife.”

I believe him. I know my husband and nobody had better step to him with any bullshit about this matter.

“If that’s the case, Christian, then why all the secrecy? Why not just come out with your lifestyle in the very beginning?” I ask.

“Because it was nobody’s business what I did in my sex life,” he replies. “People had their theories and I was okay with that, but no one needed a first-person view into my bedroom. Then, there was my family. Remember, I didn’t want even want them to know. Once that basically exploded in my face, then there was Elena and her trial coming out and not wanting to be associated with that. Then there was your family and all the far-reaching ways this information could affect us—even Cholometes breathing down my back and for the record, he already knew and tried to use that against me, too. He’s a submissive.”

“How do you know that?” I gasp.

“Same way you do,” he says. “I’m a Dom. I know. You knew when you dominated him in my den,” he adds. Shit! I didn’t think he picked up on that.

“I… suspected,” I stumble, “and I didn’t do that on purpose. I don’t just walk around dominating people.” I suddenly feel ashamed… and dirty.

“I know that,” he says, reaching for my hand. “You don’t intend to walk around turning people on or driving people crazy, but you do.” I raise my eyes to him. Suddenly, I want to cry. I just wrap my arms around his neck and hold him close to me. If he dominated someone in front of me—at the same time he was dominating me, no less—I’d feel helpless and furious at the same time. I’m not sure that I could tolerate it. It’s an abuse of power and I’m only just now realizing that I did it. To me, it feels like a form of cheating.

“I’m sorry,” I say, unable to fight the tears that burn my eyelids. I can’t shake the feeling that I’ve betrayed his trust.

“Hey,” he closes his arms around me. “None of that. I didn’t bring it up for that. You did what needed to be done at the time, I know that. It wasn’t sexual—you were furious, and I wasn’t angry. I was never angry.” He pulls me back and wipes my tears with his thumbs. “Had I known you would react this way, I never would have even mentioned it. Don’t you think if I had a problem with it, I would have said something before now?”

“That doesn’t make it right,” I say in a sobbing voice.

“But it was necessary at the time,” he says, pulling his handkerchief from his pocket and gently dabbing my face. “I knew that. Your instincts are never wrong, and they told you what to do even when you didn’t know it. Do I want you to exercise that power regularly? No, I would prefer you didn’t. It’s one of the things that made me fall in love with you. Do I know that it’s most like the reason that we haven’t heard from that bastard since? Yes, I do. Am I grateful for that? More than you’ll ever know!”

I choke out a laugh behind my sobs and he kisses me gently.

“I hate it when you cry… but I can’t resist kissing you when you do. Your lips are so soft…” He kisses me again… and again. His hand cups my face and several slow, soft, sweet kisses later, I forget what I was crying about.

The afternoon is full of testimony from witnesses for the prosecution—Alex has to testify since he was the one who presented the video into evidence. Watching that thing again chills my blood to no end. Even though I knew what was coming, I still jump at the sound of the gunshot. This time, I can see Jason emerge from the sliding panel in Christian’s office. It happened in a split second—he moved like lightning. At first, he wasn’t there, and then, he was. It wasn’t all dramatic like Kevin Costner in The Bodyguard. He didn’t necessarily throw his body in front of him. He just ran into him and pushed, like he was tackling him—like a linebacker. I see now that was the best way to result in the least damage. Had he done the whole Bodyguard thing, she may have hit an internal organ.

She watches the video stoically. Not a single flash of emotion, recollection, or remorse crosses her face as she watches herself pull that trigger intent on ending my husband’s life, not even when members of the jury gasp when the shot is fired. I want to leap across this barrier and scratch her eyes out again! She truly is a stank-ass, slutty, nasty, filthy, slimy, Pedo-Bitch She-Thing demon from hell, and she needs to go back where she came from!

My reaction was swift and sure, like the wrath of God. I cover my mouth and almost want to cover my ears when I hear my own heart-wrenching shriek after the gun was fired. I see Jason flinch only slightly in my peripheral, but that’s the only emotion he’ll reveal during these proceedings. The court frowns on displays of affection, but Christian puts his arm around me anyway, asking if I’m okay as I sit shivering in my seat and watching the ungodly exchange of blows between me and Elena. The jury is glued to the screen as we beat the living shit out of each other and I watch my husband painfully examine his best friend, asking where he’d been hit.

My stomach burns with the need to wail and I cover my mouth and try to cry silently. Tears stream unbidden down my face as I relive Christian flinching away from me when I reach for him and running to the bathroom, praying that the bullet didn’t hit a major artery in Jason’s shoulder. When Jason starts singing “The Itsy-Bitsy Spider,” I lose it. The sob I was choking on coughs very unladylike out of my throat and cuts through the relative silence that’s fallen over the room, save the chaos that’s erupting on the video. I know this is going to be a spectacle soon, so I leap from my seat, heaving uncontrollably and dash for the door. I burst into the hallway as if the oxygen on the other side will help stop the flow of my tears and the involuntary heaving of my chest.

It doesn’t.

I lean against the wall for support, certain that I’ll pass out any second as I hear a camera or two flash to capture this moment for posterity. I don’t care. I couldn’t watch that video another second. I sat through as much as I could, but reliving those horrible moments in living color was more than I could stand. I could have killed that woman. I really could have killed her. Christian, sobbing over his best friend; Jason, singing that damn song not knowing if these were truly his last moments. Goddamn that evil demonic bitch!

The seconds that it took Christian to burst out of the courtroom behind me felt like hours. Relief floods through me faster than I can process it when I see him standing in front of me, his eyes full of concern.

“Baby! Baby, are you okay?”

I can’t form any words. I’m heaving so hard reliving the goddamn moments on the tape, wishing I had killed that bitch and so glad that I didn’t at the same time. I can’t focus or think and my head starts to spin.

“Breathe, Baby. Please, breathe…”

That’s the last thing I remember.

*-*

I awake in someone’s chambers… again. At least I wasn’t on the stand this time. I’m trying to breathe around this apparatus on my face and take in my surroundings at the same time. I don’t know where I am. This isn’t the same judge’s room… and I’m not on a sofa. I’m on a stretcher! And this is an oxygen mask on my face! I mumble something and move my hand—or try to move my hand—to get this thing off my face, only to find that Christian has my hand cemented to his.

“Butterfly!” The word is a heated whisper and he’s in my face in seconds.

“Get this off of me,” I slur, grasping at the mask.

“You need it, Butterfly,” Christian protests.

“No, I don’t,” I say, grabbing the mask finally and trying to pull it from my face.

“Okay, okay, wait.” He gestures to someone and a paramedic—a paramedic—comes over and removes the mask from my face.

“Don’t be difficult, Anastasia.” I look up and Carrick is looking down on me, speaking in a fatherly tone. Oh, God, exactly how big of a spectacle have I made of myself?

“I don’t need the oxygen,” I say, trying to sit up.

“You’ve been out for over twenty minutes,” Christian scolds. “You say you don’t need the oxygen, but I draw the line at you getting off that stretcher.”

“We’ll need to take her in now,” I hear one of the EMTs say.

“No!” I protest as clearly as my meek little voice will allow.

“Anastasia…” Christian chides.

“Could she be pregnant again?” Carrick asks.

“Not unless I can have this reaction in two days,” I answer him. His brow furrows.

“More information than I needed about my daughter-in-law,” he says sweetly looking down at me.

“You asked,” I remind him. “My children are exactly six weeks and four days old. We just got back from a weekend away.” I give him a knowing look.

“Jesus, Christian, what did you do to her at that cabin?” Carrick jabs.

“Dad!” Christian protests. I shake my head as much as the stretcher will allow. The situation needed a little levity. I squeeze Christian’s hand to garner his attention.

“Crying or fainting… remember?” I say. I told him when I passed out at Morton’s grave and again when I passed out before the cuffs came out on the fateful day that has us in this wonderful establishment today that my reaction to immensely stressful situations that bring on way too much adrenaline too fast is either crying or fainting. He examines me for a moment, then thrust his hand in his hair, the worry slowly starting to leave his face.

“God!” he exclaims. “It hadn’t happened in such a long time, I forgot. You scared the shit outta me.”

“I’m sorry. I just… I couldn’t…” I feel the tears coming back. He takes one of my hands in both of his.

“Okay. I know. I know,” he says, kissing my hand.

“Mr. Grey? Mrs. Grey?” The EMT is attempting to get our attention. I begin to sit up.

“Slowly,” Carrick warns, gently grasping my shoulder—to assist or halt my ascent, I don’t know, but it does a little of both. God, he’s as protective as his son. I try not to roll my eyes as I slowly sit upright on the stretcher. “How do you feel?” I wait a moment to see if my head is spinning or if there are any residuals from the fainting spell. I nod.

“Fine,” I tell him. “I feel fine. Shouldn’t you be in a courtroom somewhere?” I ask with a smile.

“I was,” he says. “I was just leaving to go back to my office when I saw my son white as a ghost carrying my unconscious daughter to parts unknown.” Daughter… my heart warms immediately. “He was clearly stressed out, sweating profusely, and about to ruin a perfectly good Anderson & Sheppard, so I asked Judge Morris if we could borrow his chambers. And here I am.” I smile warmly at him and put my hand on his cheek, relaying gratitude and love.

“Thank you,” I say just above a whisper. He returns my warm smile along with a blush.

“You’re welcome,” he says, taking my hand and giving me a gentle peck on the forehead. “Try not to do that to us again, okay?” I nod.

“I’ll try.” I’ve gained another father… something I wish I could have had in Morton since he claimed to love my mother and stayed with her until his death. I’m certain that part of the reason she was so cold and distant to me all those years had to do with the fact that he, for whatever reason, couldn’t stand my guts. They shared a mutual distaste for me—it was probably one of the things that kept them together for so long. I was just a kid, and they could have very easily gotten rid of me by sending me home to my father. But no, that decision wasn’t lucrative enough.

“Okay, Dad, enough schmoozing with my girl,” Christian says. “What are you trying to do, steal her away from me?”

“An impossible task, I think, son,” Carrick says. “Besides, she’s quite lovely, but I only have eyes for one.” He winks at me.

“Can you and Mom make it to the Crossing tonight, Dad?” Christian asks. “I really need to talk to you.”

“I can, but I don’t know about your mother. I think she’s on call tonight.” Christian murmurs an expletive.

“Okay, well, you may have the task of relaying a message to her.”

“Can’t you tell me now?” Carrick asks. Christian looks around.

“Definitely not!” he says definitively. “And I’m taking Ana home. We’ve had enough of this for one day.” He reaches down to lift me off the stretcher.

“Christian, I can walk!” I protest firmly. I don’t want to be carried out in front of the press. He reads my expression and stands upright.

“I hate to tell you this, baby, but they’re everywhere—even wandering around with fancy cell phones. They’ve already got pictures. Stretcher or my arms; the choice is yours.” He’s completely unwavering. I frightened him. When I frighten him, he needs this. I sigh in surrender and open my arms to him. He scoops me up like he’s carrying my clothes with nothing in them. I’m certain he could carry me with one hand.

“Thank you, gentlemen,” he says to the EMTs. “You can send the bill to my office,” and out we go, down the hallway, out the door and down the stairs to flashing lights and questions about what happened and why Christian is carrying me. He looks straight ahead to the Audi SUV parked at the curb, his only task to get us to the car. I listen to the questions being thrown at us and carefully answer only one.

“Mrs. Grey, are you alright?”

“Yes, I am. Thank you.” I lay on Christian’s shoulder as he quickly and easily takes the rest of the stairs. Chuck opens the door for us and Christian climbs in with me in his lap. Chuck closes the door behind us and two raps on the roof later, we’re off to Grey Crossing.

*-*

“Hello?”

I swallow hard when my father answers the phone later that evening. Carrick was able to come by and Christian is speaking to him in his den. I didn’t have the chance to ask Daddy and Mandy to stop by and this can’t wait, so, I’m having this very sensitive conversation over the phone.

“Hi, Daddy,” I say softly into the phone.

“Hey, Sunflower,” he greets me. “How are you? You’re all over the news. Are you okay? I tried not to worry and bug you. I knew you would call. I’m so glad you did.” He’s talking a mile a minute. I want to laugh, but our conversation is no laughing matter.

“I’m fine, Daddy,” I say. “I need to talk to you about the trial.”

“Okay,” he says. “What’s up?” I clear my throat.

“Some things came out in the trial that may make the news very soon and I want you to hear about them from me before you hear about them in the news.”

“What’s going on, Sunflower?”

“You know that horrible woman was originally arrested for her crimes against minors—young boys, pedophilia…”

“Yes, yes, I know.” He cuts me off and I know immediately that this is going to be harder than I thought.

“Well, today, it was revealed in court that Christian was one of those boys.”

The line is quiet for a long time.

“Oh my God,” he says, softly. “How’s Christian?”

“He’s okay,” I tell him. “He came to grips with this quite some time ago, but this is something that he really didn’t want to be public in that way.”

“I can see why. Are you okay?”

“Yes, Daddy, but… that’s only part of it.”

“There’s more?” he asks, appalled. I nod, as if he could see me.

“She introduced him to a lifestyle at a very young age. It’s the only thing he knew. He practiced it…” I clear my throat. “… Into adulthood and we… still practice now.”

“And what is that?” Daddy asks cautiously. I close my eyes.

“BDSM.” There is a long silence on the line. “Da…?”

“WHAT!?” my father roars on the other end. “Are you serious? I give my daughter to this man and this is what he brings you into?” He is furious. I have to take control of this conversation right now.

“He didn’t bring me into anything, Father!” I snap. Daddy is silenced immediately. “Yes, he practiced before we met, but I learned about BDSM in college during my human sexuality studies and when he spoke to me about it, I was already curious. I had already seen it in practice and I consented to it.”

“You consented to be abused?” he spits.

“He doesn’t abuse me!” I retort. “And I don’t abuse him.” There’s silence again.

“You do that to him?” he asks, confusion lacing his voice.

“We do it to each other,” I tell him. “It’s purely consensual and it’s none of that hardcore, crazy shit that you see on the internet. I wouldn’t stand for that. Look what I’ve already been through!”

“That’s why I don’t understand this!” he snaps. “Why would you subject yourself to something like this after what you’ve already been through?” I sigh.

“Because, Daddy, our relationship is not like what you see on the internet or what you may have heard. Yes, there are some very deviant aspects to the lifestyle, but Christian and I practice nothing like that. Our experiences are about desire, adventure, and mutual sexual satisfaction.”

“I don’t understand, Annie,” Daddy says. “Everything I’ve seen, everything I’ve ever heard about… the lifestyle…” He says the word with so much contempt. “… Has been whips and chains and sexually deviant behavior. Didn’t you say that sick woman on trial practiced this crap?”

“Yes, but I’m trying to tell you that’s not the only aspect of it and that there’s nothing sexually deviant about what Christian and I do.” He’s not hearing me. He’s a traditional man with traditional values and all he’s ever heard of BDSM was dungeons and abuse and female degradation and the taboo things that he’s probably seen online. I can’t get him past the sadomasochism part of the BDSM lifestyle to even explain to him how what Christian and I do is so different.

The conversation goes on for about twenty more minutes without my father hearing one thing I say about mine and Christian’s relationship being more loving and giving than about bondage, dominance, and submission. Nothing I say gets through to him. Every rebuttal that I give him to his preconceived notions are met with more preconceived notions. The conversation finally ends with him hanging up on me, telling me that he has to let this whole thing sink in and can’t talk to me anymore right now and me sitting there staring at the phone like it’s going to give me answers that I’m probably never going to get.

I’m beat, way too tired to sit here and argue with my closed-minded father about the many aspects of BDSM and that Christian and I don’t practice the extreme shit that he sees on sexually deviant websites. To each his or her own, but that’s not us and I can’t get him to see that.

I drag my ass up to our bedroom and strip down to nothing, climb into the hottest shower I can stand and attempt to scrub this day off of me. I’ve already told Gail that the day has been a bit too much for me and that I’ll need her to please handle the twins’ feedings. Thankfully, she agreed. So, while I’m in the shower, I just allow the milk to express from my breast under the flow of the hot water instead of pumping it. I almost forego washing my hair because it’s hell if I sleep with it wet and I don’t feel like drying it, but I can’t resist letting the water run all over me and my head in and attempt to rinse away every single thought of the day… that smug ass lawyer, Pedo-bitch, the video, the fainting, the conversation with my father.

I swear my skin was numb by the time I got out of the shower. I dry my skin and reach for a warm nightshirt. I wrap my hair in a towel, grab my moisturizing lotion and head out to our bedroom.

“There you are,” Christian says, rising from the bed and walking over to me. “Dad wanted to say goodbye before he left, but you had disappeared.” I sit on the bed with my lotion in my hand.

“I needed a shower,” I tell him, “this has been a long ass day.” I bend my legs and begin to moisturize my skin. He holds out his hand for the bottle.

“Let me,” he says. I hand him the bottle, too weary to protest. He never asks what’s wrong; he just goes to work on my legs and ankles. I sit back on the bed.

“The conversation with my father didn’t go well,” I tell him. He freezes momentarily, then proceeds with his massage.

“Oh?” he asks.

“No,” I say. “He’s stuck in his narrow-minded, Puritanical views and I can’t get him to budge.” He frowns as he moves to open my nightshirt.

“That’s… odd,” he says. “I would think… he would understand, or at least listen to you.” He starts to caress my torso with the moisturizing lotion. He removes one arm from the nightshirt and begins to moisturize that arm.

“I thought he would, too,” I say, removing my other arm from the night shirt, “but try to tell Daddy that his little girl is into BDSM.” I say. Christian frowns.

“Yeah,” he says, moisturizing the other arm. He is the father of a daughter now, isn’t he? Even if she is just an infant…

“I just didn’t expect him to be so unyielding,” I tell him. “Daddy knows I’m no dummy or wimp. I thought you called off the wedding and I left so that I could decide what I wanted. Why would he think I would submit to something I didn’t want?”

“Is that what he thinks?” he asks, going into my dressing room.

“Yes,” I say loud enough for him to hear me. “I had to convince him that you didn’t bring me into this…” He’s coming back with my brush and comb and two hair ties. “… And that I was interested in it before I met you, but he could only focus on the sexual deviance of the lifestyle. I think I’m just going to have to let it marinate for a minute before I try to get him to listen to reason.” He removes the towel from my head and starts to work the tangles from my hair.

“I’m sure he’ll come around. Ray seems like a reasonable man to me. Maybe it’s just the shock of it all.” He separates my hair down the center and begins to braid one side. I feel the tension begin to ooze out of my body as he continues to care for me. “Remember how I was so afraid to tell my parents? After they got over the initial shock, they rallied behind me.”

“Yeah, but they got over the shock immediately,” I protest as he fastens the first braid with a hair tie.

“No, they didn’t!” He corrects as he starts the second braid. “Remember Dad breaking down in my apartment?”

Oh, yeah. I did forget that.

“Yeah, but they never blamed you. They blamed Elena, like Dad blamed you, but then they got shocked and got over it. Dad is like… completely unmoving. Every time I try to explain to him that we have a mutually giving relationship, his brain goes right back to bullwhips and spiked collars and leashes and ball gags and cages…”

“But we don’t do anything like that!” Christian interjects.

“I know! But he couldn’t hear. When you say ‘BDSM,’ that’s all certain people see. Unfortunately, my dad is apparently one of those people!” He finishes my hair and puts the comb and brush on the nightstand.

“I wish I had an answer for you, Butterfly,” he says, stroking my face gently. “Give him time, I guess. He loves you… he’ll come around.”

I gaze adoring into his eyes, filled with love and compassion for me at this moment. He only wants me to feel better when this is mostly his catastrophe. He’s still going to have to worry about how this will affect his life… his business… I’m just worried about Daddy. I sigh as I consider that possibility.

“What is it?” he asks. I close my eyes and lean close to him, breathing him in.

“I wish I could make you feel what you make me feel,” I say softly. He frowns.

“What?” he asks.

“Just…” I sigh. “All the love and the warmth… and the things you do to my body… the way you take care of me… you make everything all better. I wish I could make you feel it.” There’s a sadness in my tone when I say it. He examines me for a moment, then stands from the bed. Without a word, he removes his T-shirt and then his jeans and boxer briefs in one movement. He stands before me, naked and glorious, and I sit on the bed in the same state of undress. He runs his hands over my braids to the ends and lets them drop on my breasts. He then takes my hand and presses it against his penis. I’m shocked at first. He’s completely flaccid, but with my hand under his, him manipulating my fingers on his erection, he’s hard in seconds—and I do mean seconds.

We’ve had sex every night since Friday; I don’t know if I can do it again tonight, but something in the way he’s looking at me—saying nothing, having me touch him… it’s making me… yearn for him.

He lays me down on our bed, situating my hands over my head. He crawls into bed between my legs hovering over me. He pushes my legs open wide and brings his face close to mine. I feel him at my opening, his hands on either side of me on the bed, but he doesn’t enter me. He’s looking into my eyes, so close that our lips nearly touch, but don’t. I feel his breath… taste his breath, but I can’t touch him. He moves his head as if he wants to kiss me, but he doesn’t. I start to pant from his proximity, his energy, it’s almost like a drug.

I feel him harden against me, the head right against my clit, but he doesn’t move. I swallow hard. He’s still looking at me… looking through me… God, his eyes… I see such… wanting and yearning there. I tilt my head and get lost in the story, the needful beseeching to be loved.

His breath becomes my breath, or mine becomes his, I don’t know, and I feel him slowly slip inside me… so slow that it takes an eternity for him to sheath himself in my sex. We’re still breathing the same air as he fills me, then pulls out all the way to the head until the slit in his penis is kissing my clit again.

Oh, my God… what is this?

He still says nothing as his head throbs softly on my clit, suddenly pebbling hard underneath him. Nothing else is touching but our breath… and our eyes… if you can consider that touching. I want to whimper, but I dare not make a sound. His head slides down my clit and into my core a second time, so agonizingly slowly that I can count the seconds until I’m filled with him again.

Thirteen. Thirteen goddamn seconds and I’m burning with each stroke as he pushes into me like never before. What is he doing to me?

Like the first time, he holds himself there for a moment before pulling out just as slowly as he entered, and my core is on fire. His penis is getting harder and harder, throbbing more and more each time the slit comes out to kiss my clit. By the third time he exits and meets my clit, his slit is pulsing so hard that my pebbled clit actually slips inside a bit. The sensation is so insane that I’m not quite sure how to handle it. By the fourth time, I’m panting wildly into his open mouth, unable to contain myself any longer. He matches my uncontrolled breathing, and I feel his semen begin to explode on my clit. He closes his eyes and slips into me again to ride his orgasm inside of me and the feeling is so hot that I burst into flames behind him, trembling underneath him—our lips and bodies still never touching. We concentrate only on our sex and the pulsing, pumping, burning, throbbing we feel from five simple strokes.

“Did you… f-feel that?” he chokes, without opening his eyes.

“Y-yes!” I mutter, barely able to speak.

“Th-that’s… what I… f-feel… for you.” A single tear escapes from his eye and slides partially down his cheek before dripping onto mine. I bring my hands from over my head and cup his face, examining him closely. He’s trembling—not like he’s cold, like he’s holding on to a weight and his body is about to give out under the pressure. I wipe the tear away with my thumb and gently run my tongue over his parted lips. His breath becomes more labored, but he doesn’t reciprocate and he doesn’t open his eyes. He just stays there with his body suspended over mine, his sex still buried inside of me. I feel all of his love, all of his helplessness and surrender, just how much he truly belongs to me.

I caress his hair and face and lick inside of his lips, his breath coming in short bursts now. We are still everywhere else except my hands caressing his face and hair and my lips licking his… and my heart, reaching out to his and melding with it, joining with it until two hearts become one.

God, how I love you…

He breathes heavily into my mouth and I worry that he might hyperventilate. He doesn’t close his mouth, nor open his eyes, and I watch him attentively, lost in some kind of otherworldly state. He doesn’t move a muscle except for his labored breathing. I don’t move either, except to caress his face and hair and adore him and infuse him with my energy and love. And then…

He grunts in his chest, then whimpers mournfully… longingly. His breaths are staccato… and then, he’s coming again inside of me. I’m amazed, but I don’t stop what I’m doing—licking his lips gently and caressing his hair and face. His lips don’t move. I know they don’t, I’m kissing them… but I hear the words as if he’s spoken them loud and clear.

Ana… my love…

I choke a sob as tears slide unsummoned down my temples. His hands move from their position on the bed beside me. He pushes them under my shoulders and his hands come up to cup my face. He opens his eyes and gazes at me with so much love flowing from him that my body fills with warmth and heat and I become helpless. My body falls limp underneath the weight of his as I weep softly.

We’ve changed roles.

His lips close gently over mine, but mine remain slack… weak from the onslaught of emotion. His lips wander from my mouth to my cheek to my ears, my neck…

I’m yours… I’m yours… do with me as you will…

Gentle lips continue over whatever part of my body they can reach as he holds my head in place with his hands and, even after two orgasms, begins to drive into me—slowly and deliciously, only slightly faster than before… a torturous slow grind; loving, attentive, and meticulous.

I love you, Ana…

Did he say it? Am I hallucinating? Oh, God… So much… feeling! So much.

I love you… I’m yours, too… I belong to you…

Oh, God, I’m going crazy! He’s kissing me; he’s not talking. Oh, God, the emotions… I’m losing myself…

Stay with me… don’t go… remember the matches…

Matches? What matches? Oh, the matches!

His mouth closes over mine and I return the kiss, trying hard to focus on the here and now and not the burning in my heart and soul, the need to reach to a plane higher than this one and when it hits…

My body curls into his and I whimper helplessly, repeatedly. He continues to hold me down as my hands grind uselessly on the pillow on the sides of my head, my back arching into his body and this cosmic release that’s burning bright hot red fire and light through my pelvis, chest and torso and reverberating to each one of my extremities. He doesn’t cover my mouth or extinguish my cries. His mouth is on my neck, now, talking to me, telling me how much he loves me, how he feels everything that I’m feeling, begging me to stay with him…

I think.

I’m wheezing when the burning stops and the light dissipates. The emotional and physical impact of what just happened almost too much to bear, but I’m still here… I didn’t burn all the matches.

… But I came damn close.

My love is still gently driving into me, still holding me, still loving me, caressing me and speaking to me in a way that only we can communicate. He takes his time—using his body and his heart to usher us both into a night filled with cosmic love, tantric energy, and rippling orgasms.


A/N: See the author’s note in chapter 58 for the reference to Like Water For Chocolate and the matches.

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

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Love and handcuffs  
Lynn X

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33 thoughts on “Becoming Dr. Grey: Chapter 69—The Hard Answers

  1. asunder73 says:

    Got me smacking my lips toward the end… When she started translating for the sacrificial lamb, I thought I’d either die or shit myself. How stupid can one be? Did Elena fuck her attorney, too? It would explain the obvious brain damage required to stand toe-to-toe with Christian, Taylor and Ana.

    Yes, BDSM has a bad rap, but mostly because the people doing it right desire the same amount of privacy as everyone else has about their sex lives…

    Loving couples with great sex lives don’t generally make the news…Deviant and/or criminal shit makes the news. People have the right to safe, sane and consensual sex lives behind closed doors.

  2. Janis says:

    So many different emotions I am feeling, I cannot begin to imagine how Christian and Ana might feel or anyone going through something like this.
    I think I just want to cry…that would hit most of the emotions; happy, sad, angry, pissed…

  3. Christian618 says:

    Damn the bitch trolls never stops making things difficult for Ana and Christian. Somehow knowing that chlometes is a submissive makes me think he has poisoned Rays mind of all types of crap. I have faith that the jury will see right they the trolls and her lawyers crap and find her guilty.

  4. Jeangb says:

    I totally agree with all the comments by. Asunder73.

  5. Darla says:

    Good chapter

  6. falalalynx says:

    Hey Goddess,

    ahmm uhmm a a a hmmm Holy rock and roll what was that? That was I dunno metamorphic? No that’s not right. Metaphysical? Yeah maybe that. Metayummy? Definitely. Where can I get me some of that? Like hold on a second. I need to collect my brain.

    clears throat, Okay yeah hmmm maybe still slightly off. This might take me awhile to recover but I’m going to try. I’m going with bullet points.

    I love love love this couple.

    I knew Ana was going to run rings around that ‘counselor ‘ lol thanks for that.

    I knew Jason was made of granite. giggle

    They played the video. Elena’s done. End of discussion. Goddess you wouldn’t deny us justice here, in a teeny tiny voice, would you? No no no I have faith in you.

    I knew Ray would react like he has. Yep Ana has his old fashion number. I hope he gets a clue and soon. Oh shoot what’s his wife’s name? Maybe she can set him straight. sheesh See how scrambled my brain is? This chapter needs a warning label. lol Wait wait is it Mandy? I think it is? Am I right? Mandy sweetie talk to Ray for us would you please? lol I know give him a sweet little taste of the wild side. lol I think the largest problem is the words to describe the lifestyle, sadism and masochism. I think the name should be revamped. I’ll work on this. grin

    giggle And on a personal note I am now receiving these notifications that there are 69, 874 some odd porno connections on my system and offering to remove them for me. lol I kid you not. lol I’m so excited. Wait a minute who’s tracking me? Benny could we talk for a minute here?

    Lovely work Goddess. grin You never let us down.

    Peace, Falala

    • As we both know there are people who totally don’t understand all of the aspects of the lifestyle. There are some parts of the lifestyle that I don’t like and that utterly disgust me–and you know what? I don’t address them. Instead of judging them, I don’t address them at all. There are times when I would love to be able to openly talk about the lifestyle and even my own experimentation in some of the erotic aspects of it–but the S&M has most people feeling like the the B&D and the D/s are ALL disgusting and abusive–and even those who practice the S&M don’t feel that there’s anything wrong with it even though those of us on the outside have opinions about it. Le sigh…

      • falalalynx says:

        I’ve often had conversations with you in my head about these very things. It is very difficult to have an open and honest discussion and I think that’s mostly due to the fact that it’s so utterly personal, no make that Personal. And unless you’re an exhibitionist it’s deeply personal, the type of personal you only want to share with your partner. Too often bdsm is portrayed as vicious and cruel in entertainment and books. Take bondage for example, I personally could never tolerate it. In my mind it brings up flashes of being held captive, of rope cutting into skin, not being able to move or leave or get out of it the instant I wanted to be free. In my opinion bdsm requires huge gigantic amounts of trust in you partner. I’ve never met someone I trusted enough. I’m somewhat envious of someone who has that amount of trust in someone else. Ah to have that kind of trust would be remarkable. So while it appears to one thing it is actually something else all together. The Sub has the control. The Dom is there to make there dream come true. I think. giggle I don’t know personally. I do completely believe that what a couple does in the privacy of there own space is there own business and none of mine. People get confused because parts of bdsm looks abusive. Unless you’re part of the scene it’s hard to know.

        Yeek did I just have a serious moment? Yes I believe I did. Well don’t let it happen again. Hey I don’t have that many. This is true.

        Peace, Falala

  7. o that lawyer got it poor ray all confused and aww carrick great chapter

  8. Better2BeLoved says:

    I was cackling like a damn hen when Ana started busting out the linguistics on that foul counselor. She is just too much, I love it!

    I can’t imagine being in Ana’s position having to discuss aspects of your intimate life with your father. My mom and I are VERY close and there are some things I don’t discuss with her and I’m sure she doesn’t discuss with me. I empathize with both of them.

    Loved their connection at the end, always so sweet and tender.

    THANK YOU, BG! ❤️

  9. Leomy says:

    I have never practice the lifestyle. I’m not judging it, I’m learning through reading and since I started reading your work I have learned so much. When you say BDSM people are already thinking abuse and scary things.
    That last part has me feeling too much. To have that kind of connection with someone is just……..

    Thank you BG for a awesome breakfast read🐝🐝🐝

    • S. Hodgson says:

      I thought like that at first too until I started doing research. Then it became interesting. I’ve also taken a Psych class that talked about the lifestyle. My hubs always sees whips and chains whenever it’s mentioned but he has explored a bit with a few things which is fun. It just takes time 🙂

  10. S. Hodgson says:

    What a heart pounding chapter. I can’t believe Elena’s attorney and the lack of defense that he has. What was he trying to prove by belittling her in such a way. It just doesn’t make sense. The fact that you connected the two Underwood’s together make me nervous. Like really nervous. I hope that they are a coincidence and that Green Valley isn’t going to be a giant shit storm because of this trial and that lame ass attorney. OMG. Please don’t do it but I totally get it if you do. Ugh!!! Anyways……….

    What a tender ending. Gave me little flutters in my tummy and it was so pleasant.

    I’m trying to remember another fic a read where the author spun the story of Christian being a Dom in a more “alluring” light. It might be lillian121 but I’m not positive. But I do remembering the “conference” Christian had with his people and family and they suggested they not hide the fact that he’s Dom but more capitalize on it. Not sure that same approach could or will work with the set up you have going here but it’d be nice for the sake of Christian’s nerves.

  11. Ann Shearer says:

    What a brilliant chapter BG you are amazing, you are the very best, everyone deserves the right to enjoy sex anyway they please, i love the way you write about ana and christian because it shows how much they love each other, your story is perfect sweetheart, i never want it to end, love ann xxxxx

  12. mitzijem says:

    FYI one of your stories is posted on fan fiction without giving you credit.it is titled Mending by klaineshipper97

    On Sun, Feb 26, 2017 at 1:18 PM, Butterfly Saga wrote:

    > divinebronzegoddess posted: ” I will be changing my emailer very soon. > Please add divinebronzegoddess.gmail.com@mail.benchmarkapps.com to your > contacts so that the chapters don’t go to your junk mail box. Thanks!!! If > you are not getting the email, please check your spam folder” >

    • Thank you. Time to attack!

      • falalalynx says:

        Good morning Goddess,

        When I came back this morning to read others replies I came across this and immediately saw red. I rushed over to confront this person even though ff still will not accept my post. I wanted to see what was what. It’s a bit odd. I am trying to give the individual the benefit of the doubt. uh huh Falala sure you are. No it’s the truth. I put on my Sherlock hat and went to investigate. This person seems to have created a profile to use as a folder for stories they want to eventually read. At one place it clearly states that they did not write the story and yet it appears the matrix for the profile page states that the person is the author. Either way they have ‘not’ posted your story and claimed to be the author. In truth they have only posted two chapters from Mending Dr. Steele, chapter 21 and 22. Chapter 21 is also so friggin garbled as to be unreadable. It has all types of computer speak mixed in with your words. This could be just an honest mistake by a person who doesn’t know how to mark a story they want to read. The last thing I want is for you to be insulted. I feel very protective of you and I am aware that ff has treated you poorly. I make no bones about the fact that I think you are one of the best fan fiction writers I have ever read. I hope my little investigation has help you find clarity about this subject. Now I need to take this crazy hat off it’s all itchy.

        Good Monday morning to all in Goddessville.

        Peace, Falala

      • I appreciate you playing Devil’s Advocate. I’m usually the first one to do that. Chapter one (21) looks like it was posted with a bunch of code on it, but chapter 2 (22) is clearly a copy and paste of my story. And she did not ask me if she can do it. So even if she is just trying to Mark something that she wants to read, that’s what “follows” and “favorites” are for. I follow and favorite several stories so that I can read them later. I don’t copy and paste their chapters or my profile. So while I do understand that it could be an honest mistake, that’s why I respectfully asked her to remove it. But she better respectfully remove it because she posted it without my permission.

      • falalalynx says:

        Hey Goddess,

        Just looking for a clarification about this. The issue is they didn’t ask your permission to post it? Correct? Because who steals a story in the middle and claims to be the writer, which they didn’t do? This is why I thought they had made a profile as a place to put the stories they are reading. Perhaps they are even worse than me who still doesn’t know how to make ff work for them. I understand they definitely should get permission from you but to me it didn’t look like they were claiming the body of work. Maybe it’s an honest misstep that needs to be corrected. grin And I’m not trying to play devil’s advocate, heaven forbid. giggle maybe Nosey Nellie.

        Peace, Falala

      • There are three issues, Falala–the first being that they didn’t ask my permission to post, yes.

        The second, I don’t want ANYONE posting my work ANYWHERE else. I may be posting it on TWCS, but I haven’t decided yet. It is here on my site and I still don’t know what the big deal is. Yes, I’ve had a handful of people (seriously, like 5 people) tell me that they have a hard time reading it, but I can’t figure out why. It is white background, black writing just like a book, epub, Kindle, PDF, or Fanfiction. I have read my story on every device from a 3″ iPOD Touch (the original teeny tiny ones, not the nice ones that they have now) to a 17″ laptop screen and everything — and I do mean EVERYTHING in between except for a Mac, a Chromebook, or an iPad because I don’t have those. But I have numerous Android phones, iPhones, Android tablets, two iPods, desktops with two different operating systems, and laptops with everything from Windows ME to Windows 10. I still can’t see what the problem is, but what’s worse is if you subscribe directly from the website, the entire post gets sent right to your email–THE ENTIRE POST! So, no, my work on other sites posted and managed by other people is something that I definitely do not want.

        Third — and don’t confuse this one with the second one, it’s definitely different — that last place in the fucking WORLD that I want my work is on FANFICTION. What I want to stay on Fanfiction is already on Fanfiction. I don’t know if you guys noticed, but I’ve been tweaking and updating PDS over here. The version on FF is different. When I’m done with PDS, Ana will be a psychiatrist, not a psychologist. So what’s on FF stays there and I don’t update it. My new work, I don’t want over there.

      • falalalynx says:

        Dear Goddess,

        Thank you for taking your time to clarify this for me. Truly I am not trying to be difficult. grin This explains why awhile back when I decided to do the great ‘reread’ of the entire story from the beginning when I got to chapter 27 of PDS I was suddenly shuttled over to your website and ended up in Journey of Miles. I didn’t think you were posting at ff anymore. I apologize if I stuck my noise in something that was none of my business but you’re ‘my’ girl and I wanted to know what was what. I stand with you, in front, behind, where ever I’m needed. I was appalled at the treatment you received at ff. ff doesn’t like me for some reason and none of my post would post. But my voice does get through here for which I am eternaly grateful and I wanted you to see that you have support from me, your crazy court jester of a fan. Smoochies Goddess

        Peace, Falala

      • falalalynx says:

        Oh oh my bad. grin I have a Chromebook and you come through loud and clear. just fyi. giggle

      • Thanks for that info!!! ❤

  13. Lori says:

    Ana was spectacular on the stand, so strong and confident. Poor Ray so confused by all of this. I hope it doesn’t harm their relationship. And the ending…so powerful, I have no words. You rock.

  14. VRB (Mariposa) says:

    Wow, is all that I can ever say after reading the ending of the chapter…I actually forget for a moment what happened in the rest.. sigh 🙂 <3.

    I can understand Ray's reaction to what Ana told him; I wonder what his reaction to CG will be the first time he sees him after receiving that news.

    Ana's testimony was as expected….amazingly entertaining.

    Can't wait for the next update as always thanks for the entertainment 🙂

  15. valentinesgenie says:

    Once again awesome work see you next time take care….

  16. Mar says:

    Wow and wow
    Poor Christian having to deal with this and come on Ana daddy will understand I hope that you understand Christian and get your shit together girl you are stronger than this…
    Can’t wait for next chapter and what’s up with Val and Elliot

  17. vamomoftwins says:

    Hdamn that was good

  18. jjgoldmann says:

    Ana almost totally eviscerated that attorney and it was awesome. Hopefully Ray will come around soon and not kill Christian?

    I can’t wait for Elena to give her testimony and see what she says?

  19. Lucinda says:

    Omg…what an awkward conversation to have to have w ur dad.

    Well done.

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