Raising Grey: Prologue

https://www.pinterest.com/ladeeceo/raising-grey/Welcome to Book IV of the tetralogy… so far, that is. We never know how far the story is going to go. We just have to see what life has in store for us.

THERE IS NO EMAIL FOR THIS POST, at least until I post chapter 1, so only those connected to me on social media or who have actually “liked” this blog are getting this early sneak peek. It’s very short, but it’s a taste. Having said that, on with the story…

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…

PROLOGUE

ANASTASIA

Marilyn and I are sitting in my office going through the calendar for the rest of the week and the mail from yesterday. The month has been a bit wild, what with the Broadmoor Meet and Greet—which was bearable, Sophie’s first birthday while living with us, Val’s final radiation treatment all out of the way, and my little brother’s birthday fast approaching. I almost hate to open the mail.

I open each envelope, putting things in piles for Marilyn to handle, a household pile for Gail, and a third pile of personal items. A letter from the licensing board marked “confidential” catches my attention halfway through the pile. What’s this? Nothing from Helping Hands comes to my home, so I know it’s not for the accreditation. It may be concerning my continuing education credits or volunteer requirements, but Helping Hands would have assisted with both of those… although that notice would not have come in an envelope marked “confidential.”

I turn my attention away from the other mail and focus on the envelope in my hand. Using the letter opener, I slice open the envelope and remove the notice. I’m immediately horrified by its contents. As I scan through the letter, I’m certain that I must be mistaken about what I’m reading. So, I read it again to find that I’m certainly not mistaken and someone, somewhere has completely lost their rabbit ass mind.

The document enclosed is informing me that I must appear before the licensing board to defend a claim of medical sexual misconduct.

What the hell? Who would accuse me of something like this? I read the papers over and over before I finally put them down on my desk, the words in print now swirling through my head…

Medical ethics…
Sexual Misconduct…
Exploiting the patient…

“But I haven’t had a sexual relationship with any of my patients!” I say out loud. Marilyn’s voice snaps me out of my trance.

“What?” she says, in a disbelieving tone. “What are you talking about?” She picks up the envelope and examines it. “Is that what that’s about? One of your patients is accusing you of sexual misconduct?”

“It looks like it,” I say bringing my attention back down to the God-forsaken documents. “I’ve been called before the medical ethics board for possible sexual misconduct with one of my patients. Who would accuse me of that? I’ve never been intimate or inappropriate with any of my patients! Who could this be?”

I stopped seeing patients one-on-one last year and I didn’t have many male patients, although I know that doesn’t mean anything. I feverishly scan the documents to see if there’s any hint of my accuser, but there’s only an accusation of misconduct and instructions to contact the board.

“What is this about?” I say to no one in particular.

“Could it be that bitch, Ms. Hightower trying to get back at you for dropping her as a patient… or someone from the Center?” Marilyn asks.

“Right now, it could be anybody,” I say, slumping in my chair before dialing Al’s number.

“Hey, Jewel,” he answers, sounding a bit tired. Now, I’m sorry I called.

“Bad day?” I ask.

“Not so much, just busy. What’s up?”

“I hate to impose on you, but I need you.”

“Okay, what’s the problem?” he asks.

“Before I tell you, I need you to keep this between you and me.” He sighs.

“Secrets, Jewel?” he says, exasperation in his voice. What the fuck? I’m already scared as hell and my lawyer is giving me flack about confidentiality! Before I know it, I snap.

“Goddamn right, secrets!” I retort, loud and sharp. “I’m not contacting you as counsel for GEH; I’m contacting you as my attorney! Is there a problem with our confidentiality?”

“Jewel, no! Calm down, what’s going on?”

“I need your fax number,” I bite between my teeth. He rattles off the number and once I write it down, I hang up without a word. I hand the number and the papers to Marilyn.

“Fax this,” I say. She wordlessly takes the papers from my hands and sets to her task. I have gone from zero to nuclear in less than three seconds and I couldn’t even control it. What Al said wasn’t the worst thing in the world, but these accusations suddenly have me so wound up that I can’t even focus. I’m so upset that I’m shaking and before I know it, I’m weeping—adrenaline tears, I know. So, I just bury my head in my arms and cry on my desk.

I must have been crying for a while because when Marilyn puts her hand on my back to rouse me from mourning, she has a cool, wet hand towel and a cup of the gourmet coffee I used to drink when I was pregnant. That took some prep time, so yeah, I’ve been bawling for a while.

“Thank… you…” I say in those terrible shuddering breaths. I take the towel and cover my face, trying very hard to stop the adrenaline tears while she sets the coffee in front of me. She sits in one of the chairs in my sitting area, saying nothing. When my phone rings, I can’t even answer it, so she answers for me.

“Dr. Anastasia Grey’s phone… yeah, she’s right here. One second.” After a pause, she says, “It’s Al.” I try to pull myself together, but it’s no use.

“Put it… on… speaker,” I tell her.

“You’re on speaker, Al,” Marilyn says.

“Jewel?” his disembodied voice calls.

“Y—yeah?” I say, tears evident in my voice. He sighs.

“I contacted the licensing board. There’s only so much information they can give until they meet us in person. They could tell me who the victim is since it’s not a juvenile and that information is actually public record, but I couldn’t find out who the informant is. The complaint was made anonymously.”

“Can they do that?” Marilyn asks incredulously. “Can any old nut call in and make a complaint against any doctor without proof?”

“Unfortunately, yes,” Al says. “If someone feels that a patient is being taken advantage of—even if the patient doesn’t think so—that person can lodge a complaint with the Federation of State Medical Boards. They have to investigate because any allegations of any sexual conduct between a doctor and a patient. It’s not only a matter of patient safety, but also about the protection of the public at large.”

“This is such bullshit,” Marilyn hisses. “So, an anonymous caller says I killed someone, and the police can come and arrest and interrogate me without any proof.”

“Kind of, yeah, but no. With a murder, they need a body and evidence, and you can’t be arrested without evidence—some kind of probable cause. With this case, Jewel will get to plead her case against the complainant, but there still has to be an investigation.”

“Whoever is doing this simply wants to ruin me,” I say, finally getting my breathing under control, though the tears keep falling. They know that even if nothing comes from it, the complaint will always be a black mark on my record. Worst case scenario, I could lose my license.”

“Not only that, but did you take a good look at these papers, Jewel?” he asks.

“Why? What did I miss?” I ask.

“You’re being accused of sexual impropriety and sexual violation,” he says.

“Oh, just fucking great,” I laugh incredulously through my tears.

“What does that mean?” Marilyn asks.

“It means that I talked the talk and walked the walk,” I hiss. “In other words, not only did I say something, proposition someone, or behave inappropriately in a sexual manner, but also, I went balls to the wall and fucked them, too.” I throw the towel down on the floor. I can’t even begin to assume who brought these charges.

“Jewel, there’s something else…”

There’s fucking more?

The informant is anonymous, but the complainant is not. When you hear who it is, you’ll know why I can’t keep it a secret.” I roll my eyes. This has to be good.

“Who’s the complainant?” I ask, totally deflated.

“Christian.”

My brow furrows as I let this sink in. I must have had something jammed in my ears. The sound of my blood rushing through my head must be affecting my auditory senses, because…

“I could swear I just heard you say that my husband is accusing me of sexual misconduct,” I protest.

“He’s not accusing you,” Al corrects, “but whoever is accusing you is naming him as the victim.”

And the blood rushes to my head and most likely out of my ears.

“He’s my goddamn husband!” I shriek, standing quickly from my chair. “How the fuck can I be sexually inappropriate with my goddamn husband? Not to mention that I’ve never been his fucking shrink! What the fuck is this?”

“Um, Jewel… group therapy.” Shit. Shit shit shit!

“Somebody is saying that I was inappropriate with him during group therapy?” I ask.

“It looks that way.”

I don’t even remember what happens next. I remember seeing black and red and hearing Marilyn screaming, “Get Christian here, now!”


CHRISTIAN

I’m driving so fast I think I’m going to break the sound barrier. Jason had to jump into the passenger seat to not get left behind. He’s sitting silently next to me, plastered to his seat like the statue I need him to be right now. We make it home in record time and I’m moving so fast into the house that my feet barely touch the ground. Marilyn is standing in the mudroom when I enter and she looks a total fright.

“Where is she?” I ask.

“Downstairs… the office…” I’m headed for the back-access stairway before she completes her sentence. “Christian…?”

She’s too late. I’m already down the stairs and headed for my wife. I don’t look left or right. I do a beeline right to her office and throw the door open.

Nothing could have prepared me for what I see.

The room is unrecognizable. Furniture is flipped over—some of it broken. Files and papers are strewn about. Broken knickknacks are everywhere. It’s looks like a train ran through here! Marilyn makes it down the stairs or the elevator, I don’t know which, and is panting behind me.

“What happened in here?” I ask horrified. “Where’s Butterfly?”

“That’s what I was trying to tell you,” Marilyn says, slightly out of breath. “She got some really bad news today and she did this in a matter of five minutes. She’s in the parlor. You need to go talk to her… now.” Marilyn’s look and sound of concern lets me know that I don’t need to ask questions. I just need to find my wife.

I find her in the parlor, alright. Her hair is a fucking fright, but besides that, she’s sitting there looking perfectly normal, looking at an unlit fireplace like she’s contemplating life.

“Butterfly?” I say, tentatively, while cautiously entering the room. She sighs heavily.

“You’ve heard,” she says without raising her gaze to me.

“No, I haven’t,” I tell her. “Al came into my office with his hair standing on end telling me that I needed to get home right now and running out of the building telling me that he would meet me here. Now, I’m here and he’s not. Marilyn is so upset that she’s shaking, and your office looks like a tornado blew through it. Please… please… tell me what’s going on.” She doesn’t move for several seconds, then she speaks.

“I got a letter today,” she said. “I have to appear before the Federation of State Medical Boards.” I frown deeply.

“For what?” I ask, bemused.

“I’ve been reported for unethical behavior with a patient.” All I can feel is horror right now. What is this all about? Why would someone claim that her behavior was unethical?

“Unethical in what way?” I demand. “By whom?”

“Sexual misconduct, and I don’t know by whom… it doesn’t say. The accusation is anonymous.”

That’s bullshit!” I say. “Even in a criminal case, you have a right to face your accuser. So now, you have to go before the board and you don’t even get to know who’s accusing you?” I ask incredulously.

“I don’t know who’s accusing me, but a victim has been named,” she says.

“Who?” I demand. Her face pales and she looks up at me with tears in her eyes.

“You.”

What. The. Ever. Loving. Fuck?

“WHAT!?” I roar. The tears are flowing freely now. Who the fuck would do this? Who would say this? “I’m a grown ass man! Who the fuck can make this kind of report? Who can make this allegation? You’re my goddamn wife!!” I declare feverishly.

“Anybody can. Anyone who thinks that my behavior is unethical can report me. Whether it actually goes to the Board and becomes a hearing or not depends on if the allegations can be proven.”

“They can’t be proven, though. I pursued you.” I protest.

“… And that will help me when the time comes for me to present my case, but it can be proven,” she says through her tears.

“How? How can something you didn’t do possibly be proven?”

“You were in court-ordered group therapy at the Community Center. I was the facilitator. I have turned in several reports to the court that show past practice and documents that I was the facilitator of those group sessions. When you’re assigned to the group sessions, I suddenly quit and a week later, we’re dating. Our relationship is very public, but only someone that knew about the group therapy would have been able to call foul on our relationship,” she says, her breath shuddering. “One of those catty women that wanted you in the group, Brian, Flynn, anybody! You started therapy on June 11. On June 29, we were fucking. It’s suspect enough to call attention to my behavior as a medical and mental health professional.” I sit down next to her.

“We’ll straighten this out, baby,” I say softly wiping her tears away. “We’ll find out who did this and I’ll make them regret the day that they were born. When is your hearing?”

“Two weeks or so. I can’t remember exactly.” Boy, they’re fast.

“Tell me, what’s the worst that could happen?” I know what it is, but I want to hear it.

“I could lose my license,” she weeps. I pull her into my arms. The last thing I ever wanted was for her to have to choose between me and her career. I would never make her do that, but it looks like the State of Washington just might.

“What can I do, Butterfly?” I ask, cradling her in my arms.

“Be there for me. Testify when they call you, because they will call you… and find out who did this. I know you can.” My girl never takes anything lying down… except maybe a good fucking… and a good flogging… and a nice licking… Okay, we’re straying from the subject.

“I will Butterfly. When I do, we’ll ruin them. I promise.” She nods at me and tries to stop crying. My sole purpose now is to find out who the hell is trying to ruin my wife, and why.


A/N: So the drama begins. Any guesses who could be at the root of this first drama in the life of the Greys? 

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

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~~love and handcuffs

 

 

Becoming Dr. Grey: Chapter 83—Grey House of Resolution

 This is the last chapter of Book III. Enjoy!

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 83—Grey House of Resolution

ANASTASIA

“Get us a Justice of the Peace here—I know you can. I need this woman to be my wife today. I’ll give her the wedding that she wants later, but I need her now.” Elliot is only too ready to take Val’s hand today if the mighty Christian Grey can pull it off, but even Christian knows that’s an impossibility.

“Bro…” Christian protests.

“Please, Christian,” he says, never moving his eyes from Val’s. “I need her now.” I look over at Val and she stares back at him with love and adoration, nodding her ascent. Christian sighs.

“There’s a three-day waiting period to get married once you get the license,” Christian says. “I can’t put a rush on that. You want your marriage to be legal and valid, right? I can’t even get in touch with anybody tonight.” Elliot raises his eyes to his brother.

“Okay. So, if I get the license tomorrow, that means we can get married on is Saturday. My feelings won’t change.” He looks down to Val. “Will yours? I don’t want to rush you.”

“I…” she begins. “I’m sick… and I just wanted to be better for you…”

“You are all to me,” he says gently but emphatically. “I’ll never leave you. I’ll be with you forever. I’ll love you until the end of my days no matter what condition you’re in. No one but you… only you. Please don’t make me wait.” Valerie bites her lip and nods enthusiastically.

“Okay! Okay!” she whispers desperately. “Yes! Please!”  She throws herself into Elliot’s arms. She gasps as he removes the scarf from her head.

“If you want to wear it in public, if it makes you more comfortable, that’s fine. But when you’re home with me… with your family… I want to see only you.” He caresses her bald head reverently. I can see and feel her heart melt from across the room as he presses his lips onto hers.

“Okay, now we can leave,” I whisper and quickly usher Christian out of the room. When he closes the door behind us, I let out a gasp of my own.

“What is it?” he asks.

“I have to plan a wedding in three days,” I lament. “Val will get married in a burlap sack as long as she gets to marry that man, so I have to start my miracles right now. This fucking sucks.”

“Why does it suck?” Christian asks, bemused. “They love each other. They want to get married. What’s the problem? If all else fails, we’ll call our wedding planner, tell her that she has two days—simple and sweet and money is no object.”

“That’s not the problem, Christian,” I tell him. “Your birthday is on Friday. I wanted to celebrate.” He groans audibly. “You hate your birthday, don’t you?”

“It’s just another year getting older,” he says. “We can celebrate my birthday next week. My brother is going to spontaneously combust if he doesn’t marry that girl this weekend.” I narrow my eyes at him. Yeah, you got out of it this week, Grey.

“I won’t be able to attend the meetings this week,” I tell him. “There’s absolutely no way.” He ponders the situation.

“Well, you don’t need to meet accounting and legal. You’ve already met accounting and Al is legal. You’re going to have to set some time aside on Thursday, though. That’s the day you meet the Twins’ security detail.” I rub my eyes.

“That means I’ll have to work real miracles tomorrow.”

“You’ll be interviewing for the position of executive vice president soon, too. ” I frown.

“What? What happened to Ros?”

“We need help so there will be three of us now,” he says. “Interviews begin in two weeks.” I throw my hands in the air.

“I don’t want to be executive vice-president!” I nearly screech. He rolls his eyes.

“That’s not what I meant!” he retorts.

“Well, that’s what you said! You said that I would be interviewing for…”

“What I meant was…” he interrupts, “that you, I, and Ros will be conducting interviews in two weeks for an executive vice-president.” Well, that’s not what you said, genius!

“Fine, fine,” I say, waving my hand and dismissing the situation as it doesn’t take precedence right now.

“What do you hear from Josh these days?” My head snaps toward him.

“What?” That was a quick change in topic… and we need to be talking about this damn wedding! My birthday plans for Christian have already gotten the kibosh and although I know it’s for a very good reason, I can’t help but feel a little disappointed. “I don’t know… nothing. I haven’t talked to Josh in a while. Where did that come from?” Christian rubs his chin.

“I haven’t talked to Mac yet, but I may be considering him for her assistant in the PR department, if he’s interested. I know it’s not as exciting as the freelance reporter and photographer gig, but it’ll pay a lot more. And I really wouldn’t care what he does in his spare time, as long as it doesn’t interfere or conflict with what he does for GEH.” I shrug.

“You can approach him. I have no idea how he’ll feel about it though,” I tell him. “I can say that he’s never expressed a desire to leave what he’s doing, but it’s not like we sit down and chat about our hopes and dreams.” I say flippantly. “What time will I be meeting the Twins’ detail on Thursday?”

“I don’t know yet. Let me talk to Chuck and Jason and I’ll get back to you on that.” I nod.

“Tell Marilyn,” I say. “She’ll put it in my schedule as I’m sure that I’ll be a clucking duck for the next few days. Will you or Elliot make sure that your family knows? If Grace wants to help with the planning, I’ll welcome it—but she must understand that everything is tentative pending Elliot and Val’s approval. There will be no bullying, no crying, no whimpering, no getting her way and if I see her doing it to Elliot because he’s her son, I’m going to intervene and make sure that he and Val get what they want. Val can’t have any stress and I won’t have her popping in and stressing her out because she wants some outrageous thing that…”

“Okay! Okay! I get it!” he says, grasping both my arms. “I don’t want you to have a stroke either. I know that you’re strong—stronger than Valerie right now—but you’ve had cranial trauma, too. Please remember that.” I nod and sigh. “Mom will behave or we’ll uninvite her from the wedding,” he adds, garnering a laugh and a smile from me.

“Okay,” I say after a cleansing breath. “Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to go call Al… and gloat.”

*-*

“You’re a horrible cow! Both of you!” Al declares through the phone as I activate the contingency.

“Honestly, Al, this was so short notice,” I defend, “short notice like she decided at three and proposed at seven.”

“No excuse! That was plenty of time to call me, you heifer!” he retorts. “I’m so going to get you guys back for this! I just don’t know how yet!”

“Well, that chance might come sooner rather than later, because she wants to get married on Saturday.”

“Saturday?” he gasps. “What the fuck, Saturday?!”

“Yes, Saturday, which means the special surprise that I had for my husband’s birthday will now most likely be a bachelor party,” I huff because it still smarts.

“Why does she want to get married so soon?”

“Well, honestly, it’s not her. It’s him. She even said in her proposal that she was perfectly fine waiting until she was well so that she could be better for him, but Elliot insisted.”

“That sentimental pussy,” Al says. “It probably didn’t help that we brought our wedding to Val’s hospital room. Chocolate!” he calls out to James.

“Yeah, babe,” I hear James call back.

“What’s the name of that place where we found those yummy tuxes?” I don’t hear anything for a while.

“Why do we need tuxedoes?” I hear him ask.

“Because there’s a wedding on Saturday,” Al says.

“Saturday?” James exclaims. “And you’re just now telling me?”

“I’m just now finding out myself,” Al responds.

“Who’s getting married?” James asks.

 

“Fuck, is she dying?” I hear James’ concerned voice come into the room.

“Shit! Jewel, is she dying?” Al says, turning his attention back to me.”

“No!” I yowl at him. “I just told you that she told him she wanted to wait until she was well!” I scold. “Why would she say that if she knew she was dying?”

“Oh, yeah, I forgot about that. No, Chocolate, she’s not dying.”

“Oh. Well, that’s good,” I hear James say. “Um, we used the Tuxedo Club, but I don’t know if they’ll have something for them by Saturday…”

“Tell them it’s for Christian Grey,” Al says.

“But they’re closed right now,” James protests.

“Well, call them tomorrow,” Al says. “We don’t have any time to lose.”

“I have to work in the morning!” James protests.

“Chocolaaaaate,” Al whines and I already know he’s about to get his way. There’s a pause.

“Fine. I’ll call in the morning. Now get off the damn phone.” Oops, sounds like somebody has to go pay the piper.

“Gotta go, Jewel. Gotta earn the tuxes.” Oh, God… I think that was TMI.

“Bye, Al,” I say with no further conversation. He’s not going to be able to activate the contingency anytime soon, so I call Maxie and Gary with the news, promising to give them an update tomorrow and I don’t really know what direction I should be going in…

The cake…
The food…
The location…
The dress…

I guess the dress should probably be where I should start. Christian will get the Justice of the Peace and we’ll obviously have the wedding here as Val is not up for too much traveling. Other than that, I have no idea what Val is going to want. Is it supposed to rain on Saturday? Will she want the wedding indoors or outdoors? Will she even be up to a wedding after a full week of radiation?

The easiest thing for me to do would be to plan a family party—quick and easy. I’ve got an entire kitchen staff; they can do the cooking. We’ll have to get a cake, though—fast! I simply can’t do this without Val’s input. Even anything tentative would be a disaster if she doesn’t want it.

I go back up to the bedroom and knock gently on the door.

“Come in,” Val’s voice says softly. I walk in and Elliot is on the phone with his hand pushed on the back of his neck. Val looks a bit forlorn. I point to him and look at Val.

“Grace,” she says. “You know how she always wants a Broadway production and we can’t even put on a school play by Saturday.” I sigh, and listen to Elliot try to explain to his mother that they won’t postpone the wedding to accommodate more guests. I shake my head.

“Put her on speaker,” I tell him. He frowns, but puts his mother on speaker as I requested. She’s not even listening to him. She’s still talking when he puts her on speaker.

“… And how am I possibly going to get the Manor ready for a wedding by Saturday? You simply must postpone the wedding! I just can’t pull it off!”

“Grace?” I say, interrupting her tirade.

“Who is this?” she asks.

“This is Ana.”

“Ana, thank God! Help me talk some sense into these two!” she beseeches me. Actually, I’m here to talk some sense into you.

“Grace, my friend here has cancer. That means that she can’t have any stress. If you could see her face right now, this conversation is stressful for her. That doesn’t help the healing process, wouldn’t you agree?”

“I know that! That’s why I’m telling them to postpone the wedding and give us time to plan.”

“But, that’s not what they want, Grace,” I say, attempting to refocus her intentions. “Elliot almost lost the woman that he loves. They realize how valuable time is, and he wants Valerie to be Mrs. Grey, right now. The only thing stopping them from saying ‘I do’ at this very moment in this bed is a three-day waiting period.”

“Oh, this is absurd!” she declares. “I want to at least have a hand in planning one of my son’s weddings!” Well, I think that was a shot at me and the fact that I didn’t allow her to invite a thousand people to mine and Christian’s wedding. But you know what? We’re not going to have that fight, because it’s done.

“Well, you know what, Grace?” I say, trying to rein in my anger, “you can totally have a hand in planning your son’s wedding, as long as you listen to and do what he wants. Now, there’s a lot to be done between now and Saturday. I have two gourmet cooks on my staff, so we don’t have to hire a caterer. Your house isn’t wedding ready? My house always looks like a showplace. They can get married here… unless they chose another location. We’ll need decorations, seating, music, and a cake, and I’ll have to find something beautiful for my friend to wear on her wedding day. Al is already working on the tuxedos. There will only be family and very close friends here, so the banker from Washington Mutual will not be on the guest list. There’s plenty on that list that I’ll need help with and you can always help me with those things, but Grace? I will fight rabid dogs and wild horses to keep stress away from my friend and sister, because I almost lost her, too. So, you can get on the bus with us and we can plan this wedding and have a beautiful party on Saturday or we can call the whole thing off and Christian can contact the Justice of the Peace on Saturday, and they’ll get married alone.”

“That’s not fair!” she squeals through the phone. “Why is it that we have to…”

“Two choices, Grace,” I say, shutting her down. “This is not open for negotiation. Pick one!” The line is silent for a moment and I think she’s appalled. In fact, I know she is.

“Fine,” she pouts. “I’ll help out where I can.”

“Excellent, and now for the rules…”

“Rules?” she huffs.

“Yes, rules!” I retort. “Repeat after me… I, Grace Trevelyan Grey, will not walk around huffing like a toddler because I’m not getting my way.”

“What?” she nearly shrieks.

“A month ago, my friend was at death’s door! We could have lost her! She wants to grab the bull by the horns and live life to its fullest because none of us knows how long we have left on this big blue ball! We don’t even know if she’s going to be up to a wedding after radiation on Friday! I refuse to allow anything to upset her, not even you! Now, say it!” She’s still silent on the phone, no doubt waiting for Elliot to say something. Wrong tactic. I’ll be the bad guy if I have to.

“I’m not kidding, Grace, I love you dearly and I really mean it, but I will block your number out of every phone in this house, quit my position at the Center, and have the guards block you at the gate. Say it!” She huffs again.

“I, Grace Trevelyan Grey, will not walk around huffing like a toddler because I’m not getting my way.”

“I will also not call my sons and try to guilt trip them into doing something that I want them to do while Ana’s not around.”

“Oh, this is ridiculous…”

“Blocked at the gate, Grace,” I remind her. She sighs.

“I will also not call my sons and try to guilt trip them into doing something that I want them to do while Ana’s not around,” she hisses.

“I will remember that I’ve already had my wedding and I got what I wanted against my parents’ wishes and I need to let my children have what they want now.” She falls silent again.

“I will remember… that I’ve already had my wedding and I got what I wanted against my parents’ wishes and I need to let my children have what they want now.” Her voice is softer now. Forgot about that, didn’t you, Grace?

“I will remember that Elliot and Valerie love each other very much and they’ve crawled through hell to get to where there are right now including baby scares and death scares and they don’t want to wait anymore.” Her voice cracks as she repeats that one.

“And I won’t make Ana quit her job.” She laughs at the last one, and I can tell that it’s through tears.

“And I won’t make Ana quit her job.” I sigh.

“Good, because I really do need your help. Can you possibly secure a cake? Anything—something pretty, hopefully, but anything? Preferences, you guys?”

“Chocolate or red velvet!” Val says.

“Red velvet’s good for me… or carrot!” Elliot says.

“Ooo, carrot’s good!” Val chimes in.

“Okay, you heard it. If you can get me three tiers with chocolate, carrot, and red velvet, that would be great. If you can find something suitable in just red velvet or carrot, I can deal with that.”

Okay,” she says, her voice small. “Can I send over a picture of my wedding dress? I’d like for Valerie to wear it, if it’s a good fit and if she likes it.” I look over at Valerie, who nods.

“She says ‘yes.’ If it’s suitable, that’s two major things that we don’t have to worry about.”

“I’m sorry, you all… I… tend to get carried away with these things, but hopefully you can see why.” Her voice cracks at the end again and I feel a little badly for how harshly I spoke to her.

“Don’t worry, Grace. When I’m trying to run things at Minnie’s and Mikey’s wedding, you’ll get to sit back and laugh at me.” She laughs good-naturedly.

“I love you all,” she says through her tears.

“Buck up, little soldier, and go find us a cake.” She laughs again and says her goodbyes. Elliot ends the call and I release a huge sigh.

“Oh, God, thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you…” Elliot comes around the bed and embraces me warmly, curling his body over mine in gratitude and burying his face in my shoulder and repeating his “thank you’s.” I have a feeling that the situation was more stressful on him than it was for Val. She just sits there smiling at us as I rub his back.

“I told you, you’re my brother. I gotta take care of you, too.”


CHRISTIAN

I thought it best to postpone the meetings with accounting and legal until next week—after the wedding—since I rode with my brother to the courthouse to get his marriage license. He was excited and terrified at the same time.

“I’m going to have a wife, man,” he says. “Maybe even some kids.”

“You gettin’ cold feet?” I ask. He nods honestly.

“Maybe a little, but I can’t see my life without her,” he replies. “When I see my future… when I see Mrs. Elliot Grey, I see her. I proposed to Kate. I had every intention of marrying her, but I never saw her in that spot. When I see way down the line—gray hairs and bald and forever… I see Angel. Why wait? I know she’s what I want and it’s not going to change.” He puts the license in his inside jacket pocket. “How did you know Montana was the one?” I chuckle.

“Day one, man,” I tell him as I maneuver the car through traffic with Jason and Williams following close behind us. “She literally had me at ‘Sir.’” He frowns.

“She was calling you ‘Sir’ from day one?” he asks.

“Yeah, but not the way you’re thinking,” I correct him. “I was daydreaming—about her, no less—and she called me ‘Sir’ to get my attention. I wanted her before she opened her mouth.”

“Yeah, you wanted her, but when did you know that she was the one?”

“I’m telling you it was right then,” I tell him. “I was looking for a new submissive. I had just gotten rid of the old one because she was too damn clingy. I had the perfect one lined up—Elena found her for me because of course, she knew exactly what I liked—but I couldn’t seal the deal, because I wanted Butterfly. We were both in denial. She hated me and I hated her. We really did hate each other… but we wanted each other even more. I crashed her date; I took my helicopter on what could have been a wild goose chase to rescue her. Then, when we got there, I ran toward gunfire to find her. I may have hated her, but I knew from day one that she was the one, because I couldn’t get her off my mind.”

I stop at a bar right before you cross the bridge and Elliot and I order burgers and fries for lunch. We’re sitting at a table waiting for our food when Elliot informs me, “I’ve always known that Montana was a fireball, but now I’m convinced that she’s not from this planet!” I frown. He just called my wife an alien.

“What the fuck does that mean?” I ask, my brow furrowed.

“She handled Mom like a pro,” Elliot says. “I’ve never seen anybody talk to Mom like that. She threatened to lock her out of the wedding!”

“What?” I say, nearly choking on my beer. Elliot nods.

“I left Mom a message yesterday and she called right back in full-on barracuda mode. She wasn’t listening to anything I was saying. Montana came into the room, told me to put her on speaker and mowed over Mom like a tractor!”

“No shit? And Mom took that?” Elliot nods again.

“Montana told her that if she didn’t behave that she would block Mom’s number from all the phones, quit working at the Center, and tell security not to let her pass. And she made her swear not to call me or you to try to get things done her way behind Montana’s back.”

“You’re bullshitting me!” I laugh. “How the hell did she manage to get Mom to agree to all that?”

“I don’t remember the whole conversation, man, but I remember mostly that it’s because Valerie almost died and Montana wasn’t gonna let anything stress her out and that this is what we wanted and nothing was going to get in the way of that. She might have said something about dogs with rabies and stallions running wild, I don’t know, but when it was all done, Mom was as meek as a church mouse.”

“Well,” I begin, taking another drink of my beer, “the tiger strikes again.” I turn to my brother. “You know, you call my wife ‘Montana.’” He looks back at me bemused.

“That’s what I called her from the first day I met her… Ana Montana, you know, like Hannah Montana…” He gestures demonstrating with his hands.

“I know what you meant, but you know that’s where she ran off when she left me.” He ponders the situation, then his mouth falls open.

“I never put that together,” he says. “I’m sorry, Bro…”

“It’s no big deal, I just wondered if you ever knew it.”

“I didn’t realize it until now,” he says.

We talk for a while longer before we wander back into Wedding Central. Butterfly keeps Valerie included as much as she can, but only to a certain degree as she agreed to accompany Valerie to her radiation treatments and talk to her about wedding stuff to keep her mind occupied. Now, Valerie is worn down and trying to rest, so the dining room table has been commandeered for all parties involved to stop in, drop their responsibilities and maybe pick up a new one or add ideas.

My mom and my wife are working surprisingly well together, like a well-oiled machine. Butterfly has discovered that Saturday is one of those rare Seattle days that won’t have rain, so the wedding will be outside. I’d never seen Mom’s wedding dress before, but apparently, she asked Valerie if she wanted to wear it and Valerie said yes. Butterfly mentioned to me that the dress is way too big in some places because of Valerie’s treatment-induced weight loss and I offered to pay my tailor extra to take her measurements and have it altered overnight if Mom didn’t mind. He was only too happy to oblige.

Butterfly took a break from planning on Thursday to meet the security detail for the twins. One of them, she had already met—Tate Nixon was assigned to Marilyn, but it’s been decided that he would be a better detail for Mikey, so Carolyn Ridenoir is going to be assigned to Marilyn, now. Rebecca Peterson is going to be Minnie’s detail and I’m more than a bit surprised that both of the new members of my security team are female. Were these the “guys” giving Chuck a hard time about being soft? I like them already.

“I need you to take Elliot somewhere to decompress,” Butterfly says to me right after the meeting with the new security detail. I frown.

“Um, like where?” I ask her. He’s definitely not going to go for a bachelor party. The man doesn’t even drink.

“Um, like figure it out,” she replies. “He looks like he’s aged ten years in the last six weeks. This situation is beating him down. Now, Val has revealed that she’s not going to her treatments today and tomorrow because she wants to be sentient for her wedding and he’s having a cow. I tried to explain to him that two days of treatment are not going to make or break her in a five- to six-week regimen and that she could make them up if it was a problem, but that did little to placate him. I need him more anticipatory groom and less worried father-slash-boyfriend-slash-caregiver and I need you to make that happen. I need him to loosen up!”

How the fuck do you get a teetotaler to calm down beside drug him without his permission? Me and my wedding party went paintballing, but I can’t tell everybody to take Friday off to go paint-balling with a one-day notice. Maybe we can go alone… nah, paintballing requires a team or it’s no fun. Shit, I don’t know what I’m going to do with this short notice. She doesn’t realize that she’s asking me to move mountains.

Move mountains… there we go…

“My wife has given me the impossible task of making you relax tomorrow so that you can get married on Saturday without any problems,” I say to Elliot after I’ve made some calls to set up our day.

“You’re kidding, right?” he says, sitting on the patio and watching the garden get decorated early for part of the party.

“No, I’m not,” I reply, “Apparently, not only are you looking like Rip Van Winkle, but you also had a meltdown when Valerie told you that she wouldn’t be taking radiation for the next two days. So, now, I have to keep you from having a stroke before we get you down the aisle.” He sighs.

“Dude, imagine if your wife tells you that she’s going to stop her life-saving treatment,” he laments.

Dude, she’s not stopping it. She’s postponing it. She’s taking two days to regroup so that she can be coherent enough to tell you how much she loves you on Saturday. She’ll pick up right where she left off on Monday, and if she needs any additional treatments, they’ll tack them on at the end. My wife’s right, man, two days is not going to break her. Had it been a holiday, they would have given her a break and she would come in another day or pick up where she left off—we learned that when we were doing research for you guys to move in with us.”

“Her doctor wasn’t happy about it,” he protests.

“Her doctor also wasn’t happy about her moving in with us,” I remind him. “Tell me she’s not doing better since she’s been here than she was at the hospital.” He sighs again.

“Yeah, she’s doing better,” he admits, “much better in fact.” I put my hand on his shoulder.

“She’ll be fine, man,” I assure him. “It’s only two days. Nothing can happen in two days that wouldn’t have happened before.” He holds his head down and nods in surrender.

“So… where are you taking me?” he concedes.

“Well, we’ll get up early in the morning and I thought I’d take you soaring first.” He raises his eyebrow.

“Really?” he says, his voice lifting. “I always wanted to do that.” I nod.

“Then, after a healthy, high-carb breakfast, we’ll grab the dirt bikes and do some riding. Once we’ve had our fill of that, we’ll grab the packs and hit the side of a mountain.”

“Whoa, that sounds like my kind of day,” he croons.

“It’s not done yet,” I tell him. “We’ll pack up a 4X4 and head to that spot on the Sound that Dad always used to take us to, set up camp and do some fishing.”

“Yeah?” His eyes light up like a kid at Christmas. It causes me to chuckle.

“That means your lazy ass better catch something or we won’t have anything for dinner.”

“Oh, please,” he laughs, “You were always the one who caught the least fish, if any at all,” he teases.

“I’ve gotten better since I got my boat,” I tell him. “Maybe I’ll take the family out on the water this summer. She’s been moored for way too long.”

“I can’t argue with you on that one, Bro,” he says, then his brow furrows. “You said we’d set up camp and eat fish for dinner. We’re staying all night?”

“That’s the plan,” I tell him. “Consider this your bachelor party. I even got you some O’Doul’s for around the campfire.” This elicits a hearty laugh.

“Leave it to my billionaire brother to find non-alcoholic beer,” he jests.

“You can’t camp without beer,” I tell him.

“Well, you get to tell our wives,” he says. I smile. He’s calling her his wife already.

“Sure thing,” I assure him.

*-*

After assuring Butterfly and Valerie that we had battery back-up and chargers for our cell phones, they reluctantly agree to set us loose in the wilderness. I remind Butterfly in bed on Thursday night that it was her idea to get my brother to decompress. Not only is this what he likes to do, but he’s thrilled about the day trip—24 hours of nothing but outdoor sports with the Grey brothers. He completely let go of the fact that Valerie was skipping radiation for two days.

She’s convinced that I’m getting back at her for making me deal with my damn-near hysterical brother—who wasn’t hysterical at all, by the way. So, she bound me to our bed and fucked me within an inch of my life, coming three times before she allowed me to come once. Fucking hell, that was good!

I still manage to wake up before dawn and get Elliot to Evergreen Soaring for an acrobatic glider ride. He’s like a kid on a roller coaster! He fucking loves it and makes me promise to teach him to do it one day. He even wants to stick around and watch some other acrobatic flights, which we do for an hour or so before we go to breakfast. After oatmeal and sausage, we hit the trails with a couple of dirt bikes. My brother gives me a real run for my money. He says that kicking the alcohol was an amazing cleanse for his system and helps with his energy levels. I might do a cleanse of my own to see what it does.

Our hike turns out to be a basic Q&A session about married life…
How did we decide we wanted to have kids?
What do we do when we’re mad at each other besides fuck?
Have we made any preparations for the kids should something happen to us?

He was a little horrified when I told him that Valerie is the godmother and she takes the twins if something happens to us.

“Don’t you think I should be part of that decision?” he says.

“Yeah, you should, but you should probably have that conversation with your wife because I’m certain that this was some kind of blood oath from a decade ago or something. Come between that if you want, but I’m not touching it with a 10-foot pole.” He laughs at me.

“Pussy,” he teases.

“Why yes, I love it, and I won’t fuck with the opportunity to get it as long and as often as possible.” He laughs at me.

“My wife,” he repeats. “I’m getting married tomorrow.”

“You’re getting married tomorrow,” I confirm. He sighs.

“So, let’s get on up this mountain,” he says, and his pace picks up.

We eat lunch from our backpacks once we get to the top of the mountain. We just sit there for a while and enjoy the view and each other’s company. My brother starts to relax a bit and he begins to talk more about the future he sees with Valerie. He’s happy that he made the ultimatums that he did or they never would have found out about the tumor. He still feels guilty for the comments that he made about being glad that her behavior had to do with something physical and not that she was just turning into a raving bitch, but he maintains that feeling as the whole “raving bitch” thing is what took Kate away from him.

We make our way back down to the waiting Audi 4×4 and hit the road again, headed for the camping area. When we get there, we set up camp and go over to the fishing spot on Puget Sound where our Dad used to take us when we were kids. It’s mid-afternoon and I don’t tell him that I brought some cans of pork and beans in case we didn’t catch any fish since we usually set out fishing in the early morning hours. To our delight, we made three great catches—my brother beating me two-to-one once again—and had a wonderful dinner of fresh fish.

“I do miss beer,” Elliot says as he drinks his near-beer. “This tastes like the real thing.”

“I’m no connoisseur of non-alcoholic beer, but I did do a little research and this one got the highest reviews.” He nods as he takes another swallow his drink.

“Sorry we had to commandeer your birthday, man.” I shrug.

“You know how I hate celebrating my birthday,” I admit. “I only do it now for Butterfly. This is a pretty cool way to celebrate,” I tell him, raising my beer to him.

“Hear, hear!” he says, clinking his bottle with mine. “I didn’t know it was possible to love somebody more than you love yourself,” he says, gazing into the fire. “Isn’t that supposed to be unhealthy or something?”

“It depends on how you look at it,” I tell him. “I think you’re wording it wrong. To say that you love her more than you love yourself indicates that you have no value of your own existence and I don’t think that’s true. If it’s anything like what I feel for Butterfly, it’s that your existence—your happiness and your life—is now wrapped up in hers, too; that you would give your life to protect her, but you’re not looking for that to happen anytime soon. If she falls to harm or unhappiness, that makes you unhappy. You, in turn, will do whatever is necessary to make sure that she’s safe and happy to secure your own happiness. That’s the height of self-preservation, man.

“Butterfly is only just now fully understanding why I’m as possessive and controlling as I am, and we’ve been together for nearly two years. It’s not about me having to be in control of everything—it’s about knowing that everything is as it should be. And now—with her and the twins—my very sanity is dependent on knowing that she and my children are safe; on keeping them happy and making sure that all their needs are met. The moment you love someone more than yourself, and their life becomes more important than yours, then you’ve got real problems, Bro.

“I think it’s more that we know that we can take care of ourselves and we feel that they need our protection. So, that ‘me Tarzan, you Jane’ mentality comes out and we want to stand in front of them and protect them from the world. The thing is that we have two of the strongest women on earth—walking, talking, breathing, living pillars of strength—and when they’re brought down, we can’t see straight. So, something as major as a brain tumor or an accident that leaves her in a coma for twelve days brings their importance and their role in our lives to the forefront… not that it wasn’t always there. We just realize how precious and fragile life is when we’re threatened with the possible loss of someone we love.” He frowns at me.

“Dude, how did you… how do you know all this?” he inquires. “No offense, but before you met Montana, you were one of the most screwed up motherfuckers I’ve ever known, evidenced by the fact that you had to practice this lifestyle with random women and no feeling. I’m all for a good fuck and a one-night-stand—well, at least I used to be—but you had some intense shit going on. I seriously want some inside information, because that shit drove two women crazy, that I know of, and you’ve got a third hanging on to you for dear life, so much so that you build room in your house just for this. What the fuck, man?” I blink several times.

“Well, first, I learned from experience and a whole fucking lot of therapy. And Elliot, the right woman can set you on the right path every time. I don’t have to tell you that. As for the lifestyle…” I run my hands through my hair. “I don’t know if Ana has discussed our practices with Valerie, but you would definitely have to discuss this with her before you embark on something like this. It has to be consensual between both parties involved. You have to set definite limits of what you will and will not do, and Elliot, it can spice up the fuck out of your sex life, but it can ruin your relationship if you’re not compatible on this level. So, be very sure before you set out on this journey.”

“Well, how do you know?” he asks.

“You don’t until you try. The thing is that you may discover that you want something different out of it than Valerie does. Are you willing to take that chance?” He frowns again.

“Not… no… no. I’m not willing to do anything that’s going to make me lose her. It’s just… well… I wouldn’t mind putting some fire back into our nights, once she’s well again, that is.”

“That’s easy to do,” I tell him. “You don’t have to go full-on Dom to do that.”

“Full-on Dom? What is that?”

“Nothing,” I say, swallowing my beer. “Let that plane fly and let me just give you some pointers…”

My brother and I spend the next several hours under the stars talking about how to please a lady.


ANASTASIA

Val, Al, Maxie and I spend the night talking and eating finger foods, all of us drinking non-alcoholic beverages and going back down Memory Lane. We finally get to sleep all camped out in Valerie’s room at about three in the morning.

Of course, I’m the first to wake, with a million things still left to do before the wedding this afternoon at three. We’ve kept it as simple as possible. Christian’s tailor delivered Grace’s altered dress yesterday and it’s beautiful on Valerie. She’ll just wear some white ballet flats underneath and she’s decided to wear a crown of daisies on her shaved head just like she wore at Al’s wedding. I can tell that she feels subconscious about getting married bare-headed, but she’s trying not to let it bother her, especially since in a show of solidarity, Elliot cut all his hair off.

The garden, patio, and pool area are all decorated with spring flowers, fabrics and linens. There’s no particular color scheme, just springtime. Since the guest list consists of all the people who are usually around us on holidays anyway, we just rent comfortable outdoor furniture for informal seating. The food and drinks will be set up buffet style in the outdoor dining room.

There’s a trellis set up in the middle of the seating where Val and Elliot will say their vows. We have a wheelchair for Valerie, but she’s determined to walk down that aisle. So, we just have a beautifully decorated chair sitting at the trellis for her so that she can comfortably exchange vows with her fiancé. James had tuxes delivered for Al, Elliot, and Christian as Christian will be the best man and Al will give Val away. Elliot was easy to please as James told him what was available on short notice and Elliot just picked one. He went with the charcoal gray with matching vests, silk lapels, and thin-striped gray and white ties. Maxie and I will wear some pretty, low cut peach dresses that she found off the rack for us along with some nude stiletto sandals that match pretty nicely. We’ll have daisies in our hair, too.

Grace worked a small miracle and found a baker that did a five-tier cupcake set-up in our flavors of choice with pink roses spaced on the tiers and a top layer red velvet cake for the bride and groom. We’ve completed the wedding ensemble with a full bouquet of white roses and soft pink flowers. Maxie and I will be carrying smaller versions of the same. God has graced us with beautiful weather and the make-up team will be here at noon to make sure we are all relaxed and beautiful when the time arrives to say, “I do.” At eleven, however, another delivery comes while I’m polishing Val’s nails a soft pastel pink.

“Look what I’ve got,” Maxine says as she comes into Val’s room with a medium sized box. “It’s from Elliot for our bride to be.” I smile widely at Val, who blushes prettily. There’s are three envelopes on top and the white on says, “Open me first.” I gently open the envelope, remove the letter inside and hand it to Val so that she doesn’t ruin her nails. She reads it silently, her hand covering her mouth and her eyes filling with tears as she hands me the note.

My Angel,

The day they told you that they would have to shave your head, you cried bitterly. You cried even more to learn that you may be completely bald from the chemotherapy. You asked them to sedate you before they shaved your head. It broke my heart to see you that way and there was nothing that I could do about it.

Today, there is. You are giving me the precious, immeasurable gift of becoming my wife. I have done this small gesture to show you how much I love you and what you mean to me. I asked a special local charity to do this for you and in gratitude for their work, they asked that I make a direct donation to the cause.

So, my angel, these are my two wedding presents to you. Please open the blue envelope first, and then the gold, before you open the box.

I can’t wait until you’re Mrs. Grey.

Your love for life,
Elliot.

“Read the notes, Ana,” she says, weeping and still trying not to smudge her polish. “I’m going to cry all over them and ruin them. I know I am.”

I nod and remove the blue envelope from the box and open it first.

“This is to certify that a donation has been made to the Cancer and Research Wing of Seattle General Hospital in the amount of…” I pause and gasp when I see the number. I didn’t know that Elliot had this kind of money just laying around. “… Fifty thousand dollars…”

Valerie’s gasps and covers her mouth, tears squeezing from her eyes as she weeps quietly. I swallow my emotions and continue to read the note.

“… In the amount of $50,000 by Elliot Grey in the name of Valerie Marshall-Grey to advance the study and research of cancer and tumor treatment in hopes of one day finding a cure.” My voice goes up on the last words as I can’t hold in my emotion anymore. Maxie stands next to me, covering her mouth and attempting to hide her tears as well. I’m glad Franco hasn’t done our makeup yet or we would be runny, ruined messes right now.

“I don’t know what… he could possibly do… that could be more… loving and generous than this!” she weeps. I wipe the tears from my eyes and place the note and the blue envelope on the table next to her.

“Let’s find out, shall we?” I say, pulling myself together and taking the gold envelope from the box.

“Once you were asleep and they had to shave your beautiful hair, I asked them to save it and give it to me, which they did. I was hoping this gift would be ready in time and by the grace of God, it is.”

What the hell could he make out of her hair? We both twist our lips a bit in preparation of what might be in the box. Might as well rip off the Band-aid. I open the box to find another box inside… well, actually, it looks like a travel bag. I take the travel bag out and there’s another note on top. I gasp when I read it.

“What? What is it?” she exclaims. I unzip the front of the bag so that it falls open in front of Val. She frowns.

“He wants me to wear a wig?” she says in dismay. “It’s really pretty, but…”

“It’s not just any wig, Val,” I say, looking down and reading the final note aloud.

“Dear Angel, wear this only if you want to, but I wanted you to have it just in case. It’s shorter, I know, but it’s made entirely of your hair.” Val gasps again and covers her mouth.

“No…” she breathes as she reaches into the wig travel box and removes the mannequin head that holds her wig. “This is all my hair?” she says, her voice cracking terribly. “Oh, my God, it’s beautiful, Ana, look at it.” She touches the wig like it’s made of gold.

“Yes, it is,” I say, unable to hold back my tears anymore.

“And it’s so soft,” she says. “He really loves me.” She breaks down in uncontrollable sobs.

“Did you doubt?” I ask. She shakes her head, tears streaming down her face.

“I was such a bitch!” she weeps. “I almost lost him!”

“You never would have lost him,” I assure her. “One way or another, this would have come out, and you wouldn’t have lost him.” We cry a little longer before I fix her smudged nails and we wait for Franco to come and put us back together.

*-*

“Tell me you guys are almost ready. My brother is about to shit his pants out here.”

Christian looks absolutely delicious in the charcoal gray tux James chose for him. I stick my head out to greet him, but I completely lose my words when I see him in that tux. I bite my lip, thinking about all the things I want to do to him. My mouth is fucking watering…

“Ana,” he warns, bringing me back to myself. I shake my head like I’m shaking off a dream.

“Um… yeah… yeah, we’re ready. I was just going to call Al to bring the wheelchair. Can you send him up, please?” The corner of his mouth rises in a knowing smirk.

“I’m going to gobble you up when this party is over,” he says, his voice deep.

“Likewise,” I say, shameless, licking my lips.

“Promises, promises,” he taunts.

“One I intend to keep,” I say, crisply.

“C’mon, guys, I’m getting married! Where’s my chariot?” Val’s impatience elicits a laugh from both of us. I blow him a kiss.

“Go,” I say, lustfully. He growls in his throat and walks back down the hallway. I turn around to look at Val and shrugs.

“If Elliot looks as good as he does, you’re going to have a problem,” I warn.

“I know,” she says, half-lamenting, half lustful, although I must say that Franco and his team did a fabulous job on all of us. He has styled this custom-made wig for Val and you would never know that it’s a wig. Her eyebrows have thinned and he lightly filled those in with a pencil, but her eyelashes only needed a little mascara and she looks pretty as a picture with a soft pastel palette of colors. A few minutes later, Al arrives with the wheelchair. For a moment, he’s struck speechless.

“Oh, my God,” he breathes. “Valerie… you’re beautiful.” Val’s face scrunches.

“Al, please don’t make me cry,” she squeaks.

“Please tell me your face is smudge-proof,” he says. “There’s not going to be a dry eye in this place.” And she’s crying. I’m dabbing her face with a hanky and thankfully, yes, everything is smudge-proof.

“Let’s go get your man,” he says as he helps her into the wheelchair.

He was right. Once Maxie and I walk out of the patio door and down the makeshift “aisle” to the center of the seated guests, the sound of sniffles and weeps can be heard all across our backyard as Valerie makes her way to the arch. Elliot is completely spellbound and absolutely dumbstruck. Christian has to pat his back to make him close his mouth. He picked the song for her to walk down the aisle and it’s totally unconventional. She didn’t expect it, but when she hears it, she smiles widely at her husband to be. She and Al walk to the chair that we’ve decorated for her as Leona Lewis’ voice booms over our outdoor sound system declaring an angel being the answer to her prayers.

Al can hardly give Val’s hand to Elliot when the Justice of the Peace declares that it’s time to give her away. He just sheds a tear and kisses her on the cheek before turning her over to the man who will protect her for the rest of her life. He gestures for her to sit and she shakes her head, telling him that she’s fine and promising to sit if she gets tired.

They stare into each other’s eyes, never looking left or right no matter what’s said or what occurs around them. They never even flinch… until it’s time to exchange personal vows. Elliot asks for Val to go first. He knows she’ll want to stand and say her vows and he wants her to be able to sit if she gets tired. She’s happy to oblige.

“I had rehearsed vows, but… I can’t remember them.” She swallows hard and gazes at Elliot. “I’ve searched my whole life to find a man like you. I’ve waited an eternity to feel the love that I feel for you. It’s all-consuming and it takes over your mind and body like nothing else. Even the tumor didn’t dampen or cloud what I feel for you. Oh, Elliot, I love you with all of me… every part of my body and soul even my toes love you.” She says the last part in one breath and a slight, soft chuckle comes over the room. “There will never be anyone else for me. You are love… and hope… and laughter… and beauty… and passion… and life… all rolled up into one! I don’t know how… I got so lucky… or why you love me… but thank you!” She’s weeping now, holding tight to Elliot’s hands.

“I promise you, I swear to you, I will spend my life loving you, supporting you, and making you happy. And when I give you a hard time—because we both know that I will, please don’t forget that I love you. Please don’t forget that you are my world. Please don’t forget…” She closes her eyes and brings his hands to her lips, kissing them reverently before brushing the backs of them against her cheek as she weeps.

There’s silence for a long time and the only sound that can be heard is that of Val’s gentle weeping. She’s weakened now, either by exhaustion or emotion, but she reaches for the chair. All of the men on the groom’s side, including the groom reach for her, but of course, Elliot is there to help her to the seat. Once she’s seated, he gracefully descends to his knees and waits for her weeping to subside a bit. He releases his grip and takes her tear-stained face in his large hands. He gazes at her for several moments, well after she opens her eyes and raises her gaze to him. Finally, after a very long pause, he speaks.

“My love, my heart, my mind, my body and soul… all belong to you. Do with me as you will, because I’m at your mercy.”

That’s all he said… but did he really need to say more?

Valerie chokes and sobs in a very unladylike fashion, and the rest of the women in the room—and Al—all follow suit, weeping and sobbing and trying not to be unseemly. We all do our best to compose ourselves, but to very little avail. The bride finally regains enough composure to exchange rings with her beloved. Finally, after one of the most emotional ceremonies I’ve ever seen in my life, the Justice of the Peace pronounces them man and wife. Elliot melts into his wife, gathering her into his arms and kissing her with the passion and hunger of a starving man.

“Mrs. Grey,” he breathes between kisses. “Mrs. Grey. Mrs. Elliot Grey…” His voice is wistful and longing.

*-*

“Well, we just have you guys left,” Christian says, gesturing to Marilyn and Gary, “and you guys.” He gestures to Keri and Chuck, too.

“Hey, don’t rush us! We’re enjoying ourselves,” Marilyn proclaims.

“Hear, hear!” Gary says and he and Marilyn share a tender kiss.

“What about you two?” Christian says to Chuck. “Have you… thought about it? Love is in the air.” Keri giggles.

“Yas, weh tink about it. Weh don know yet. I luv mi Choonks and mi Choonks luv me, but weh don wan shotgun weddin to stay in da contry.” I nod.

“What about… I mean, you were sick. Have you seen a doctor?” I ask. She nods.

“Keri got a full medical work-up right after we got back to the states,” Chuck says. “It turns out that she was just… grieving. We’re keeping track and watching for pregnancy and things like that, but according to the doctor, she was just unhappy.”

“I jus miss mi Choonks,” she says, leaning on his shoulder. “Mi no gud witout ‘im. Anguilla no longeh mi home witout ‘im. Mi home wherever mi Choonks is.” He leans down and kisses her gently, gazing into her eyes and gently stroking her locks. Say what you want, I have a feeling we’ll be hearing those wedding bells soon, too.

Christian is right, though. Love is in the air. Elliot has Val sitting on his lap, feeding her red velvet cake and kissing the crumbs off every time they fall. She’s lit up like springtime and I have to admit that the wig of her own hair is not only beautiful and flawless, but it also has to be one of the most thoughtful gifts I’ve ever seen.

Mindy is asleep on her father’s lap as Maxie sits comfortably under Phil’s arm as they talk about whatever.

As Celida and Mariah play with Maggie nearby, Luma and Herman are in deep conversation. Luma blushes as Herman whispers something to her, and Pops sits sleeping and reclined in a nearby chair, not wanting to be shuttled to some room to “rest” while the party is going on. Mandy is bouncing little Harry on her knee while Daddy plays with his son and gazes at his wife. Carrick and Grace sit close while holding a conversation with Marcia, and on the dance floor, we have a canoodling Mia and Ethan, Allen and James, and… what’s this I see? Sophie and Marlow!

I don’t draw attention to them… well, not at first, but Marlow is smiling and telling what seems to be an interesting and funny story while Sophie—at least a foot shorter than he is—gazes up into his eyes with the unmistakable look of a love-struck teenager. I glance at Jason and Gail, happy that they’re caught in their own session of canoodling, before I gently poke Christian to get his attention.

“What do you make of that?” I say, quietly, bringing his attention to the young couple on the dance floor. He shrugs.

“I can guarantee you with no level of uncertainty that he views her completely platonically,” Christian says. I raise my eyebrows.

“Well, his eyes may say ‘platonic friend,’ but her eyes say, ‘teenage crush,’” I inform him. He looks at Sophie and Marlow again before stealing a glance over at Jason and Gail.

Still canoodling.

“Let’s not tell Jason,” Christian whispers. I shake my head inconspicuously.

“Let’s not,” I concur. His lips slowly cover mine and I taste delicious kisses that make me want him right here and now. Just as I’m about to sink into the kiss, my beloved Minnie starts to stir in her Pack-n-Play.

“She can’t be hungry,” I lament. “I just fed her an hour ago.”

“It’s all the activity,” Maxie says. “She wants to see what’s going on.” I sigh and move toward the Pack-n-Play.

“Seet down, Anah, I got heh,” Keri says, and she has scooped Minnie out of the Pack-n-Play before I can even get out of my seat. Relieved, I snuggle back in next to Christian. Minnie fusses a bit, but calms when Keri looks down at her and starts to sing. Chuck gazes at his woman like the sun rises and sets in her eyes, which for him, it probably does…

Res yo’ hed, chile, ees tyme to dodo,
De sun goh down behind de mounten slope,
If yoh fine it hahd to sleep,
Tuhn yo’ hed, close yo’ eyes, don peep!
Emagin dah banana boat on de sea,
Keepin’ you afloat oh so gtacefuhlly,
So many stahs shinin’ in de skies,
You can coun dem all if you close yo’ eyes…

Looking over at Keri smiling down at Minnie and singing her into contentment while my daughter coos back at her, the answer to one of our dilemmas slaps me in the face as if it had been staring at me all this time… which in reality, it had. I gasp loudly, my finger pointing straight in the air as if to say “Eureka!” Christian looks at me as if I’ve sprouted branches, waiting to see what strange fruit I will produce.

“Sophie’s here,” I say, turning to Gail. “That means you’re a stepmom.” Gail scans the room waiting for a punchline.

“Yeah,” she says expecting.

“You can’t spend as much time on your duties as we had hoped, because of this new responsibility,” I add. She twists her lips.

“We’ve already established this,” she says impatiently. “I’m doing my best. We’ve been actively looking.”

“You need a reason to stay in the States,” I say, turning to Keri, “and a job. You have experience with children. You lived with us for three months. You were here when the twins were born.” Keri stares at me, slowly catching my meaning. I look over to Christian.

“Someone that we know and trust. She doesn’t even have to be vetted.” I gesture to Keri again. “Look how good she is with Minnie.” My husband finally catches my drift and gasps, holding both his hands up in the same “Eureka” gesture as we both breathe at the same time…

“Au pair.”

Keri is stunned.

“Yu wuld do dat foh mi?” she asks.

“Would you do that for us?” I ask. “Legally, you would have to live here and I have a feeling Chuck wanted to get you back to Bainbridge…”

“Chuck will get her however he can get her!” Chuck interjects quickly.

“Au pairs don’t get paid,” I continue. “They work for room and board on a work visa. We would give you something, of course, but it wouldn’t be a salary. We would have to work out some kind of informal allowance or something…”

“Ah don cayah ‘bout da money!” she says, quickly. “Ah’ll b’able tah stey wit mi Choonks… an Ah’ll b’able tah wohk wit dah bebes! Yaz, yaz, please!” I throw my hands up, now in victory.

“That’s it,” I say, happily. “We’ll start the paperwork on Monday.” Keri squeals with happiness, causing Minnie to squeal with her and eliciting a laugh from Christian. I scan the room and catch Gail smiling gleefully at the arrangement, while Jason is frowning, looking straight ahead. I follow his gaze to the love-struck Sophie, her pretty blonde hair brushing her back and her spring dress swaying while she stares captivated up at Marlow, who’s still talking. I sigh and chuckle.

“Now, what are we going to do about that?” I say to no one in particular.


EPILOGUE

You can’t always get what you want,
You can’t always get what you want,

You can’t always get what you want,
But if you try sometimes, well you just might find,
You get what you need.

This song is such bullshit. You don’t fucking get what you need or what you want unless your goddamn name is Grey! Ruin everything for everybody and then just think you’re going to walk off into the sunset with no fucking repercussions. Money is everything. Money can buy you the world, right?

My life… my whole fucking life… ruined! Why?

Grey!
Grey!
Grey!

They eat! They drink! They’re merry! Not a fucking care in the goddamn world. Oh, and the twins that Seattle loves… fucking gag me! Born with a goddamn silver spoon in their mouths. You rob someone of everything they have, then you sit in that mansion surrounded by all those fucking Keystone cops like you’re so goddamn untouchable. Seattle’s sweetheart and the richest man in the free world—you’re fucking laughable! You think you can just ruin people’s lives? Just walk up and wave your fucking money wand and it doesn’t matter who goes down, as long as you get what you want, right?

Well, enjoy it while it lasts, Greys, because you’re going to regret the day you ever fucked with me!


A/N: So that’s all for Becoming Dr. Grey, my lovelies. Stay tuned for more drama, villains, lemons, and life in Book IV!

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

 

 

Becoming Dr. Grey: Chapter 82—Grey House of Confessions

Well, 99.99% of you liked the Bling Playroom Scene. That’s good enough for me. You can’t please everybody. 

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 82—Grey House of Confessions

ANASTASIA

I ache all over. I can’t explain what kind of love potion was loose in this house last night. I had to leave Val and Elliot’s room because I know some kind of sexual activity was happening on the other side of that door. Then, I go in search of Christian and when he finally gets a hold of me, I am used, fucked, and sucked to the very end of my goddamn wits! It’s Tuesday and I know I’m supposed to be doing something today, but I can’t even get out of the damn bed.

We spent part of the night in our playroom bed; that much I know, because I fell asleep after that last orgasm and don’t remember much thereafter. Somehow, though, I’m in our bedroom, snuggled under the comforter and there’s a fire in the fireplace. It’s burning down now, so he must have set it sometime last night. I see that he has conveniently removed the alarm clock as well, so I don’t even know what time it is.

Last night was magical. My Dom was insatiable and the experience of being draped in all those jewels… I saw myself like I had never seen myself before. I truly felt like the goddess he always says that I am—not because I was wearing all that expensive jewelry, although that certainly didn’t hurt the cause, but because when I looked in the mirror, this extremely beautiful woman was looking back at me. If that’s what Christian sees all the time when he sees me, it’s no wonder he can’t keep his hands off me. Hell, I couldn’t keep my hands off myself!

Everything he did to me was exquisite. Every touch was divine and exciting—when I sucked the sweetness from his dick; when he came in my mouth after fucking my tits; each time he worshipped my core with his tongue; the tender, maddening stroke of his fingers while he tormented my nipples; when he finally made love to me after bringing me to orgasm over and over again…

When he was eating me while I was bound to the frame, it was the hungriest, most delicious and luscious mouth fuck he had ever given me… dare I say, even better than the French kiss. The French kiss was all stimulation, round about then centered on the clit. No… this time, with my leg held in the air and my core completely at his mercy, my Dom feasted and fucked me masterfully with his tongue. He was all over and inside my pussy until I didn’t know my goddamn name. I had to safeword to make him stop and he immediately tended to me like the loving and attentive Dom that he is.

I stretch luxuriously in our bed, still in no hurry to leave the cocoon he has obviously tucked me into. I guess I should get out of the bed, but I’m so comfortable. Maybe just a few more minutes…

“Butterfly…”

I’m awakened by his voice and tender kisses on my eyes and face.

“Hmm?” I answer, reluctantly tearing myself away from a beautiful dream where I was lying in his arms on a hammock and the sun was shining and big, white, billowy clouds were in the sky. Cliché, I know, but that’s what I was dreaming.

The reality is better, though.

“You need to get out of bed, baby. You have to eat something.” He kisses me tenderly on the lips, then again, and again. I reluctantly bring my eyes into focus and he’s wearing a jet-black suit with a crisp pink shirt and pink silk tie.

Pink… my man is wearing pink… and he’s making it look good.

“Do I get breakfast in bed?” I coo. Christian chuckles softly.

“No, but if you’re still too tired, I’ll have one of the staff bring you lunch.” My eyes shoot open.

“Lunch?” I exclaim. “Wha… but you’re…”

“It’s one o’clock, baby. I came home for lunch to make sure that you were okay and out of bed. I’ll have to get back to the office soon.”

Fucking hell.

“Why did you let me sleep so long?” I ask sluggishly. “The clock is gone… and my babies… and I think I was supposed to go into the Center today…”

“You needed the rest,” he said, stroking my face. “I kept you up nearly all night. The twins are fine—I checked on them before I came in here. I moved the clock because I knew that you would jump out of bed when you saw what time it was. I called Mom and told her that you had a rough night and asked Marilyn if she could handle any of today’s tasks until you awoke. There are no fires, floods, or hurricanes, Mrs. Grey. I don’t want you dashing out of the bed like a Jack in the box, okay?”

Gee, I wonder why it’s so easy to submit to him…

He takes off his jacket and starts to undo his tie.

“I thought you said you had to get back to work,” I protest gently.

“I do, but you were shattered last night, so we had to skip your bath.” He removes the ruby cuff links from his shirt and put them on the nightstand before rolling up his sleeves. He’s almost in uniform, but his shirt is pink. My heart races anyway.

“Come here.” His voice is deep and sensual and my body glides across the bed towards him all on its own volition. Before I know it, I’m in his arms and he’s carrying me to the bathroom and the marble tub. He places me inside of the milk bubble bath and I immediately sink into comfort. He leaves the room for several minutes and allows me to soak my aching muscles in the tub. A little while later, he’s back and sitting on the side of the tub, tending to me.

“You know you drive men crazy, don’t you?” he says as he begins to clean my skin with the freshwater sponge. I open my eyes and look at him, waiting for an explanation. “I had already planned to come home to get you out of bed, but I have something else to tell you.”

“What?” I inquire.

“Today’s meeting was with security. You’re pretty much up to date on that process and everyone already knew your authority before the announcement. So, there really was no need for you to be there this morning except maybe informational purposes. I can schedule another meeting for you if you like…”

“That’s not necessary. Everybody knows who I am,” I interrupt. He nods.

“The new guards for the twins will be on site next week,” he continues. “You’ll meet them before then and be able to discuss your schedule and how you want things to go. They’ll answer directly to Chuck, then to Taylor as first in command.”

“Oh, I bet Chuck likes that,” I interject. He laughs.

“He does, especially with the ribbing they tried to give him when he came back to work. His main concern is your safety, though, so I don’t think we’ll have a problem with the rest of the staff as long as they’re all on the same page. We have, however, learned something that gives us cause for concern.”

“And what’s that?” I assume this will be what prompted the “drive men crazy” comment.

“You know that Cholometes is on our watch list.” Oh, fuck, I should have known. Edward’s dead; somebody else had to take his place.

“Yes,” I sigh, waiting for the shoe to drop.

“Don’t worry—he hasn’t contacted us. It’s just…” Christian pauses as he continues to clean my body. “He’s seeing someone.” I furrow my brow.

“That’s a good thing, isn’t it?” I ask, bemused.

“Normally, I would say yes, but not so much this time. Do you remember when we dug into David’s past and we found Camilla Johansen?” Okay, now I’m confused.

“Yeeees,” I say, drawing the word out in expectation.

“Remember how we discovered that she could be your twin?” I frown deeply.

“Yes…” I don’t like where this is going.

“Well, you and Camilla have a third doppelganger, and Cholometes has found her,” he confirms.

Shit!
Shit shit shit!

“Oh, this is bad,” I say aloud. “I thought he was moving on. We haven’t heard from him in months and now I know why.” I shake my head. “Do you know anything about this girl?”

“No, not yet,” Christian says, moving to clean my legs.

“Find out as much as you can. See if she’s changed anything, particularly in the last year—her hair color, profession, style of dress, friendships. Find out how long he’s known her. Any information you can get.” He frowns now.

“You sound like me; you’re sniffing on something.” I sigh as he massages my feet and I almost lose my thought.

“If he has a type and he’s just going after that type, then there’s nothing to worry about. But if he’s trying to replace me—trying to find me in someone else—there’s going to be hell to pay on the day that he rolls over, takes a good look, and realizes that’s not me lying next to him.” Christian shakes his head.

“I was afraid of that. I didn’t know how to approach you with it and you not think I was just being plain old Neanderthal me,” he says. I shake my head.

“No, you’re right on this one. He could be a ticking time bomb. I turned him down hard. He knows there’s no chance in hell he’s going to be able to get next to me and he’s my father’s best friend. I’ll ask Daddy what he knows if anything. Does anyone have a picture of this girl?”

“We do, but she’s not really our concern. He is.”

“She is now… and she should be. Christian, you can’t be that naïve.” He didn’t like that description.

“And why, pray tell, would I be considered naïve?” His hand travels up the inside of my thigh and I know that it’s a warning, but I stand—or sit—firm.

“Because that girl could end up dead somewhere,” I say flatly. His hand stops traveling. “If he’s trying to make Ana #2, he’s unstable. If he’s displeased with her performance at all, there’s no telling what he could do.” He stares at me impassively for a moment.

“I really hate it when you’re this right,” he says, drying his hands. “Get your sexy ass out of that tub. I need to dress and feed you before I get back to work.”

Knowing me so well, he dresses me in a pair of my genie pants and a crop top, then watches in wonder as I apply the belly-wrap. I’ll only be wearing them for maybe another week or so, because they’ve completely served their purpose. We enjoy a late lunch before my husband has to make his way back to the office. I touch bases with Mare to be sure that nothing too important has gone undone and she assures me that everything is under control. The real work doesn’t begin until next week when we’ll have to bang out appearances and some things that need to be done at the Center. I’ve been lost in New Mother Land with a few exceptions—Edward’s dirty business, the trips the GEH to introduce me as owner of the company; Elena’s trial—the work at the Center has fallen by the wayside and I need to get back into the swing of things really soon. My gorgeous husband kisses me sweetly and heads back to work around three with the promise that he’ll be home no later than seven.

After checking in on the children, I go in and spend some time with Val. I’m dying to question her about my previous conclusions about her and Elliot yesterday. She confirmed that there was a sexual exchange and began to explain when I voiced my concern about her weakened state.

“Honestly,” she said, “I wanted him to… because it feels like it’s been so long and my body needs it so badly, but he thinks I’m too weak for intercourse and if I’m honest, I am. So, he… gave me a 68.”

“He gave you a 68?” I ask. She nods.

“He’ll cash in on his when I’m better,” she says with a wink. I laugh heartily.

“Well, that sounds like a plan,” I tell her. “Have you already gone for your treatment today?” She nods.

“Before lunch,” she says. “They like to ruin my day early. I say let’s just get it over with.”

“So how do you feel?”

“Okay for now, but give it a minute. I’ll be useless by dinner time,” she laments. “In the meantime, I need girl talk—real girl talk. We’ve missed out on months of it. I need juicy details and dirty secrets and frivolous sex talk that you wouldn’t have with anyone else except our favorite Queen.” I know she means Al. “So, fill me up, because I’m dying for some bonding.” There’s nothing I would deny her now and quite frankly, there’s a lot I want to tell her.

“Christian and I are into BDSM,” I blurt out in a low voice. She gasps.

“I knew that! I knew that!” She points and accusing finger at me with wide eyes and a huge cat-caught-the-canary smile. “You wouldn’t tell me, but I knew!” My mouth falls open.

“I knew there was a closet freak in you, Steele. I always knew,” she says in a knowing tone. “Ever since you dragged me with you to that fetish club in college, I knew. School assignment—yeah, right.”

“It was a school assignment,” I protest, “for my human sexuality class. I have to embrace all lifestyles in my profession. I can’t afford to be biased or prejudiced.”

“Well, you were all in that night, gawking and nearly salivating. I can certainly see the attraction to it with a man like Christian. The chemistry that you two have produces enough energy to light a fucking city… but David…” She shivers at the thought and quite frankly, so do I. “I guess I see why it was so hard to leave him.” I shake my head and look down.

“No… no. Not with Edward. We didn’t practice the lifestyle. I never even explored it until Christian, although there must have been some masochism in me to allow Edward to treat me the way that I did.” I look at the door. “Christian is a very discreet man, Val. You’re the only one who knows who hasn’t signed a non-disclosure agreement.”

“Al doesn’t know?” Her mouth falls open.

“He’s knows,” I tell her, “but he works for Christian. He’s signed an NDA.”

“Do you want me to sign an NDA?” she asks without malice, very willing to keep my secret. I shake my head.

“No, I wasn’t implying that. I trust you. I just wanted you to know that it needs to be discreet.” She smiles.

“Says the woman who took a loser who fucked over me into the woods only to be found wandering naked the next morning in the dead of winter,” she says. “Your secret’s safe with me, Steele… although I’m glad to know you didn’t practice that shit with David. And I’ve seen you naked, so I know he’s not abusing you. So, tell me, what’s your favorite position?” She crosses her fingers and hangs on my words like a starving woman about to sit down to Thanksgiving dinner. I rise and close the door.

“Lifestyle or vanilla?” she frowns.

“Vanilla?”

“Regular sex,” I clarify.

“Both!” she says excitedly. I sigh.

“Oh, God, it’s so hard to choose,” I say pondering the thought. “It’s hard for me to pick a favorite, but there are two vanilla that immediately come to mind…”

I describe for her when Christian sits me on his lap and holds me against his body, driving into me from behind. His dick is so damn big that it feels like he’s right in front of me, fucking me deep. I keep the “big dick” part to myself, but she puts two-and-two together since that’s a position that you can’t really accomplish without the right equipment, not to mention she got an eyeful of him that first Thanksgiving when she, Elliot, and Taylor all walked in on us. Although I like when he cups my tits in that position, I like it more when he wraps his arms around me—or one arm while holding my hip steady. He’s right in my ear, making sex noises or kissing and biting my neck and back and driving me wild. It’s the perfect combination of primal sensual lust and possession because he takes total control of me and he’s good at what he does. I feel protected—truly his, in that position and my orgasms are always cosmic.

The second vanilla position would be missionary, when he melds into me and entwines his fingers with mine, kissing me gently or nipping at my skin somewhere; our noses touching softly or him whispering some soft words of love to me; my legs wrapped around his hips and him grinding into me so deeply, digging into my core until it burns. It feels like our souls unite and we’re one person more in those moments than during any other time when we make love. It’s literally a breathtaking experience.

“Wow, Ana,” Val says, her voice breathy as she swallows hard. “I feel like a damn voyeur. That’s hot as hell… and that’s just missionary.”

“Elliot doesn’t make you feel like that?” I ask with a frown. She smiles.

“Believe it or not, Elliot makes me feel like that with doggy-style,” she says. My eyes grow wide.

“Doggy-style??” I whisper loudly. Doggy-style is hot, not tender! But she nods.

“Yes,” she says, wistfully. “He doesn’t thrust hard into me or go wild when we’re in that position. He caresses my hips and waist and back—very softly. He moves with slow, deliberate strokes and tells me how beautiful I am; how my body and skin calls to him. He prolongs the pleasure, moving slower and slower as we both rise and when he’s getting close, he brings his body close to mine so that I can feel his skin. He’s usually sweating and he hooks his arms under mine and holds onto my shoulders, still driving into me and saying sweet things to me.” She’s being transported to one of those moments right now and her eyes glaze over.

“When he’s about to come, I feel his body tighten. He holds me closer and his breathing changes. His sounds become… helpless, like there’s no way he could resist or stop what’s coming. I usually have to hold on to something, because his deep thrusts and trembling… and those sounds…” She puts her hand over her chest. “It all usually pushes me right over the edge and I’m completely blinded.” She holds her head down and swallows. “He usually just crumples over me in his orgasm. This strong, muscular man becomes a mountain of goo when he releases inside of me and we roll over onto the bed in that position. He has to hold me for hours after that and we usually just fall asleep.”

Sounds like missionary last night with Christian. Now, I feel like the voyeur.

“I love him, Ana,” she breathes. “I love him so much. I can’t even describe…” She trails off. “I mean it’s not just the sex… but, God, the sex!” she exclaims quietly. “It’s like nothing I’ve ever felt in my life!”

“His dick knows the difference,” I say. She frowns.

“What?”

“When we first got together, Christian talked about how sex with me was so different. Look at the man—he’s fucking gorgeous. He’s a billionaire and he practices this taboo lifestyle that’s the hottest fucking thing I’ve ever seen in my life. There are beautiful women falling at his feet and losing their minds. They would do anything for him. The wedding planner… the one you referred me to? She was an ex-submissive of his. Remember how gorgeous she was?”

“Yeeeeaah,” Val says in surprise.

“They were all like that, and there were plenty. Yet, when he got with me, he tried to convince me that I was the best he ever had and I didn’t believe him. I’m not into the hardcore shit that they were into… that he may have been accustomed to. He told me that it wasn’t about that because most of our coupling is and was vanilla, but I was still the best… because his dick knows the difference.

“You two are in love. All the great looking guys and girls and fabulous sex and one-night stands all disappear in a puff of smoke when you connect with someone on an emotional and cellular level. He loves you deeply and you love him, and when you two become one, you not only feel it in your sex, you feel it in your heart… your entire body. That’s why it’s the best for you than you’ve ever felt… and that’s why he crumples over you when he comes. His dick knows the difference.” I see a shiver run through Val at my explanation and the thought Elliot’s dick knowing the difference.

“I have to do something, Ana, and I need your help,” she says. “I have to do it today. I know it’s late, but I have to do it today. I have to make a call and I need you to run a really important errand for me. Can you do that… please?” She sounds desperate and I know whatever it is, it can’t wait another day.

“Yes,” I say without hesitation. “Anything you need. What do you want me to do?”


CHRISTIAN

Sharice Melbourne has been in the business of finding excellent quality, high level executives for the past fifteen years. She’s the same person that I utilized to find Rosalind all those years ago. So, she’s very surprised to be meeting with me this afternoon to discuss finding an executive vice-president.

“I had no idea that you were having problems with Ros,” she says, taking one of the seats in front of my desk when I return to the office after my lunch date with Butterfly. “I have to say, she’s going to be impossible to replace.”

“I’m not trying to replace her,” I clarify. “At least that’s not my intention. It’s come to light that she may be taking on more than she can really handle with my not being in the office as much. I’m more of a family man as you know and because of that, she’s having to take on the lion’s share of the work. I’m thinking more along the lines of a third in command, not a replacement, but someone with the capability to take the reins in my or Ros’ absence. Because I’m gone at a moment’s notice, my second in command is taking on a lot of responsibility and I have reason to believe that she’s wanting to spend more time with her wife as well. She’s also given an indication that she’s resentful of the current circumstances.

“I have no desire to replace her. However, I do need a highly-qualified executive with impeccable references that can fill in the blanks where the two of us may be unavailable as well as take over for Ros, if necessary.”

“I thought you said you weren’t trying to replace her,” Melbourne says.

“I’m not, but that doesn’t mean that she won’t become displeased and leave. Our discussion was just yesterday and her demeanor has already changed. I need to be prepared for every eventuality. I don’t mind interviewing someone who is already employed elsewhere if you feel that they will meet my needs and are willing to part with their current employer without a lot of fanfare and mess. Of course, I can’t impress upon you the importance of discretion in this matter.”

“I assume that you mean I shouldn’t speak to Ros, either,” Melbourne clarifies. I don’t say anything. “Mr. Grey, I won’t begin to tell you how to run your business, but you’re asking me to bring a third party between two sharks… and you’re just going to spring this on her?”

“I understand and appreciate your concern, but no. I’ll discuss this with her before any decisions are made. I expect for her to be part of the interview and decision-making process. I just don’t want to spring this on her without even having a decent candidate in mind. Don’t you think that would be an unnecessary exercise in stress? You may not even find anyone to my liking.” She scoffs.

“You know better than that,” she chides, taking out her iPad and entering something on the screen. “I always find the brightest and best. If they’re out there, they come to me. Man, or woman?”

“Person—someone who can take orders, but take the reins, too. They need to understand that I don’t intend to get rid of Ros, so they’ll often be answering directly to her. Anyone with any kind of coup in mind need not apply and should a wolf get past the gates, they better have nothing to lose and I do mean nothing. Oh, and they had better be ready for quite the scrutinizing eye, because they’ll be interviewing with Mrs. Grey as well.” Her head snaps up in surprise. That got her attention.

Mrs. Grey.” It’s a statement, not a question. I give her nothing else. Do what I say and don’t ask questions. The only reason why I added that bit of information is because I don’t want some opportunistic female sauntering in here thinking she’s going to get past me and Ros. When she gets no response from me, she looks back down at her iPad.

How soon do you think you’d be able to get interviews ready?” I ask.

“Two weeks. That will give me time to do some vetting.” I nod. GEH won’t explode in two weeks.

“That’s fine. Now at the risk of being rude, Ms. Melbourne, I need you to leave now. I don’t want Ros to see you prematurely and start planning a coup of her own. Can I trust you to inform me if she contacts you?”

“No, Mr. Grey, you can’t,” she says, matter-of-factly. I raise my eyes from the papers on my desk to her.

“Excuse me?”

“You asked me to exercise discretion and confidentiality, which is a request you didn’t need to make. I exercise those principles with all my clients, Ros included. So, no, Mr. Grey, I will not inform you if she contacts me,” she says, putting her iPad back in her messenger bag.

“You know, I could take my business elsewhere,” I say, employing one of the most elementary negotiating tactics in business.

“You could,” she says, unmoved, “but you won’t, because you know I’m the best. That’s why you came to me in the first place. And even if you choose to, I still won’t tell you, so I suggest that you tell Rosalind what’s going on yourself—sooner, rather than later.” She stands and extends her hand to me.

“As a businessman, I’m appalled,” I say, standing. “As a client, I’m impressed.” I shake her proffered hand.

“Appalled by what?” she asks, standing up straight.

“I don’t lose negotiations,” I admit.

“I’d hardly call that negotiating,” she says, placing her messenger bag on her shoulder. “It was a badly placed threat that luckily, you and I know was full of shit.” I raise an eyebrow at her—yet another woman who respects me, but doesn’t revere me. I guess I really shouldn’t care. I shake my head and look back down at the papers on my desk. “Consider it your personal vetting process. You know that I won’t breach Ros’ confidentiality to you, so I obviously won’t breach yours to her.”

“But you know I’m just trying to keep her from leaving,” I protest. “I want to make sure that she knows that she’s still valuable to me.”

“While I appreciate that, confidentiality is still imperative. Not all employers feel the same way that you do. Upon hearing that one of their key, high-level executives want to fly the coop, they often employ coercion or intimidation tactics. I won’t be a part of that. If you want her to know how valuable she is, make sure you tell her and treat her that way.” I sigh.

“When you put it that way… I guess I understand.” Melbourne nods and leaves the office, promising to get back with me in two weeks with prospects for the position. Once she’s gone, I look at the pictures of Cholometes and his Ana lookalike.

Fuck. She looks more like Butterfly than Camilla does. But of course, David was looking for a Camilla lookalike when he groomed Butterfly.

They look happy together. I sure hope that he’s not impressing his hopes for a life with Butterfly on this obvious imposter. I truly hope Butterfly is wrong about that analysis. That man knows how to make bodies disappear.

I set the pictures aside and look at the stacks on my desk. Three mergers in the works due to close by month’s end… and Thomlinson. Since Farwell didn’t want to see its open-ended contracts with GEH suddenly come to a close, they long since declined the deal with Thomlinson. The moment I heard the news, I put my propaganda machine to work whispering sweet nothings into the right ears about Fairlane and if he’s going to rescue a struggling company with that landfall of cash he got from GEH since he coerced an old, faithful friend to turn his back on a very lucrative deal with the same company because of sour grapes. He got what he asked for—sacks and sacks of cash. He exercised extreme bad faith by poisoning the company before he turned it over to me. In the process, he sold his son up the river so that not only did he not get any of the cash settlement from the sale, but now, he’s also out of a job. When all was said and done and his underhanded tactics were met with brutal business sense and self-preservation techniques by the injured party, he responded with retaliatory tactics, defaming one of the biggest M&A firms in the business. Talk about David and Goliath.

Fairlane’s credibility will now come into serious question, assuming he has any of it left after this move. He has lofty ambitions, but the problem is that he’s under the impression that since his company is gone, he has nothing else to lose. Everybody has something to lose, and it’s time to show him just how much he has on the line.

There’s a knock at my door. A very quiet one, and I wonder why Andrea didn’t buzz me to let me know someone was in the lobby. If they were a threat, they wouldn’t have knocked.

“Come in,” I say. Andrea breaches to threshold, her face a bit ashen. “What’s wrong?’

“I… um… just got a call from security. Ros ran into Ms. Melbourne downstairs while she was leaving.”

“Shit!” I hiss. “Did anybody hear what was said?” She shakes her head.

“I don’t think so. They were talking in whispered tones. She was white as a ghost.”

Shit, shit, shit! This is not how I wanted this to go down

“Call her office.” Andrea walks right over to my desk and calls Ros’ desk.

“Hi, Boris. Is Ms. Bailey available?” She says the word so casually, not like my whole plan is about to fall apart. “Oh. Well, Mr. Grey would like to talk to her. What time will she be back?” She’s not back yet. Perfect! I gesture to Andrea to hand me the phone. She stops and hands me the phone.

“Boris, any idea where she went?” I ask as nonchalantly as I can, the fact that I’m talking to him at all an indication of the urgency.

“To lunch, I think, sir.” Boris has a smooth voice with a slight Russian accent. I’ve seen women swoon over his natural good looks and the accent doesn’t hurt, but you can tell that he has practiced his English so that the accent doesn’t interfere with his communication.

“This late?” I ask. There’s a brief pause that I think I wasn’t supposed to hear—that Allen training at work again.

“She was waiting for you to return before she left, sir.” I catch the jab, but I don’t let him know that. Yet more evidence that today’s meeting with Melbourne was necessary—for more reasons than one—but right now, I need damage control.

“That’s why I’m calling,” I inform her. “Tell her to come to my office when she gets back. My afternoon is free and there’s something I need to run by her. I think I’ve found a solution to our problem.”

“Problem, Mr. Grey?” Boris presses. “Should I enlighten her of the content of the conversation or will she already know?” He’s fishing. Ros has spoken to him about our… situation. When and if she leaves, he’ll be going with her out of sheer loyalty.

“Oh, trust me, she’ll know. She brought the issue to my attention,” I tell him with no further information.

“Oh, in that case, can I tell her what it’s referring?” I look over at Andrea, who shrugs as she can’t hear his end of the conversation. Who the fuck does this motherfucker think he is? If you want that fast track to another job I can give it to you.

“Have I missed something?” I hiss at him. “Are you seeking employment?” I hear his breath catch on the other line.

“Uh… n… no, sir,” he stutters, apparently searching for his words. I don’t need his fucking words. Ros is feeling hostility and has confided in her personal assistant. That hostility is now being projected at me from his assistant ass and I’m resisting the urge to go up to her office and get in his face.

“This fucker doesn’t know I’ll have his ass walked out of here before Ros gets back from lunch!” I say it away from the phone to Andrea, but loud enough for Boris to hear me. Andrea’s eyes widen, no doubt curious of what the hell Boris said on the line to elicit that response from me.

“No. Boris. You can not!” I say sharply into the phone. “What you can tell your boss is that her boss would like to see her when she gets back. Can you manage that?” My blood is boiling and I’m resisting the urge to go down to her office and wait in her outer lobby, glaring at him the entire time and daring him to breathe.

“Y… yes, sir. I’ll let…” I hang up the phone before his statement is complete. What the ever-loving fuck! I’m trying to be empathetic to her plight, but the hostility that Boris just showed me is a direct result of their conversations. Ros, of all people, should know that above anything else, the single most important thing to me is respect. Yet, her assistant felt comfortable enough to mouth off at me in that passive aggressive can I tell her what it’s concerning method. This meeting is going to go slightly different than I had planned, I fear.

I’m reading over the final proposal for the third merger on my desk by the time Ros has decided to grace me with her presence. Either she left the building and is truly just now getting back from lunch or she decided to just make me wait.

“You wanted to see me?” she says, her voice firm when she peeks into my office after Andrea announced her. I didn’t make her wait because I don’t have time for games and posturing. These department head meetings are coming right on time. While I still plan to balance my business obligations with my family life, I need to send the message that I still have my finger on the pulse of this business and I’m not taking shit from anybody.

“Have a seat,” I say, without raising my head.

“I’d rather stand, if you don’t mind,” she protests. I raise my eyes and glare at her.

“Have a seat, Ros,” I command, the voice coming out before I even know it had. Her lips part slightly and she takes in a sharp breath, almost infinitesimally, but she quickly takes a seat in one of the chairs in front of my desk. I take a deep breath and quickly count down from ten. I’ve had enough of the fucking disrespect in this joint.

“I had planned on this meeting going a little differently,” I begin, “but of course, the best laid plans…” I trail off.

“Boris said you threatened to fire him,” she says, filling the brief silence.

“Did he now?” I retort, my voice sharp and impatient. “Did he also tell you that he has apparently forgotten how to speak to his boss’s boss on the phone?” I retort. “He’s more comfortable and more disrespectful to me than a PA under my employ should be. Any idea why he would feel that way?” My thoughts immediately go to Marilyn, then I remember that she’s technically not under my employ and that she’s never been overtly disrespectful to me unless I throw it at her first.

“I… don’t know what you mean,” Ros says with a frown. I stand a walk to the window. I can’t sit either right now, and this is probably the least threatening position that I can give her.

“Our personal assistants know every detail about our business life, and some personal ones. Ana’s PA is attached to her at the hip and I can probably get more accurate information about my wife’s schedule and obligations from her personal assistant than I can from my wife. That being said, Marilyn most likely knows when my wife is pissed at me before I do. So, what I need to know is if Boris is projecting some emotions on me that I should be hearing from you… or have I already heard them?”

“I…” She frowns and pauses. “I don’t know what Boris said to you, but you know as well as anybody that I can fight my own battles.”

Fight her own…?

“I wasn’t aware that there was a battle here to be fought,” I say with no small amount of disdain. “You want to explain that?” Now, I’m folding my arms, a clearly defensive posture. I see her swallow from across the room.

“Maybe I didn’t word that correctly,” she begins. “What I meant to say was…”

“Coy doesn’t fit you, Ros,” I cut her off. “It never has and it never will.” I walk back to my desk. “I had a meeting with Sharice Melbourne today. I’m looking for an executive vice-president. If instead, I need to be looking to replace my senior vice-president, I need you to let me know now. I don’t like surprises and as unwanted as the situation may be, I’ll face it head on.” I stand and wait for her response.

“Exec…” she begins, but stops short. “I didn’t know the position was available… or even existed.”

“I’m creating it now,” I tell her. “I took our conversation yesterday very seriously. You apparently need some help handling things when I’m not here. I have a family now and things are going to change.” I say the last sentence definitively, indicating that I don’t care how many hissy fits she has—my family is still going to come first. I could close GEH today and live the Lifestyle of the Rich and Famous on my investments alone! “So, again, I need to know. Do I just need an executive vice-president or do I need a senior and an executive?” Her brows furrow again before she takes the offensive.

“What makes you think I want to quit my job?” she asks firmly.

“Oh, I don’t know,” I reply just as firmly, “that meeting we had, your behavior and demeanor, and the fact that your PA feels like he can speak to me any way he wants and you apparently have no idea. You’re projecting hostility towards me onto him and he’s giving it to me with both barrels when I call. Don’t try to tell me that this is all in my imagination, because I know that it’s not.”

She’s at a loss for words, confirming that my suspicions are correct.

“First of all, I’m not being coy,” she defends haughtily, “but I won’t mince words with you. I meant what I said about the way things are going and my having to take the helm so much. Maybe my wording was wrong, but the sentiment is the same and I won’t take it back. I have a family, too, Christian. I may not have brand new babies at home, but Gwen is my family. I feel like you ignore my needs and what’s important to me because you’re the boss, and that’s not fair. Seeing Sharice made me think that maybe I should consider moving on since it appeared that you may have made the decision already. Of course, she wouldn’t give me any information, but I knew. That meeting came right on the heels of our conversation… I knew.”

“So… where do you stand with GEH? I need to know,” I press.

“You’re not firing me?” she asks, her voice weak. Oh, for fuck’s sake, have I been talking to myself all this time?

“Stop being such a girl, Ros,” I snap. “I was never firing you! I don’t do shit underhanded and you know that. You would have known first.” She fists her hands at her hips.

“What the hell does that girl comment mean?” she demands.

“You know exactly what it means!” I retort with no remorse. “You’re standing here acting all sensitive and girly,” I say in a mocking tone, “after jumping to conclusions without even asking me what was going on. That’s not your style and you know it. You give me what for when you know I’ve got it coming, even if you may go overboard. Then suddenly, you want to act all shy and retiring. That’s not the first time in the years that we’ve worked together that I’ve put you in your place for  forgetting who I am and it won’t be the last. I don’t like repeating myself, but I’ve already had to do it more time than I want to in this conversation.” I count the points on my fingers.

“Stop acting all damn girly. It’s getting on my nerves.

“Either tender your resignation if that’s your intention or start coming up with what you’re looking for in an executive vice-president so we can both have some time with our families without having to worry about the castle coming under siege.

“Prepare to attend and participate in the interviews whether I’m hiring a second or a third in command. Mrs. Grey will be there, too.

“Have a talk with your personal assistant about what line of questioning—if any—is appropriate for your boss’s boss.” She frowns at the last request.

“Line of questioning?” she questions, her voice rising an octave or two in surprise. I raise an eyebrow at her.

“Apparently, he’s told you about what he considers my malfeasance, but not his. Ask him why I mentioned that his ass could be walked out of here before you got back from lunch and remind him that insubordination has a very wide breadth. That was the last time he will take that liberty with me, and if he acts as if he doesn’t know what I’m talking about, tell him to try it again.”

“It… might… help… if I knew… what the liberty was.” Her voice is cautious. Good. The meeting has had the effect that I hoped it would.

“Ask him,” I retort. “If you still have questions after you speak to him, by all means, let me know and I will clarify the situation in a sentence or two,” one of which will be to HR to process that fucker’s separation papers. She sighs.

“Yes, sir,” she says, resigned.

“And stop walking around here like somebody stole your goddamn puppy!” I snap. “You were out of line and you know it. I let you know, like I always do. You take it on the chin, straighten up and move on. Stop acting like you’re headed for the fucking gallows! You’re depressing me!” I walk over to my desk and start stacking the reports that I was examining. “Now, pick up your face and get the fuck out of my office.” She gasps.

“You’re a real asshole, you know that?” she comments flatly.

“Yeah, and you can be a real bitch, so what else is new?” I say without looking up from my desk. There’s a momentarily silence before she heads to the door. She’s deliberately waiting, so I raise my eyes to see her smirking at me, causing me to hide an involuntary chuckle.

Yeah, Ros is back.

*-*

“What did you do??” I nearly shriek at my unrecognizable brother when I get back to the Crossing that evening. He’s dressed in a black T-shirt and jeans and carrying a camouflage backpack. Elliot frowns at me.

“I went to the office to check things out. What do you mean what did I do? Is Val okay?”

“You know exactly what I mean!” I accuse, scrubbing my hand over his head.

Shaved Elliot 1“Oh, that,” he says flippantly. “Angel’s all hung up over her hair—or lack thereof—so I got a haircut to make her feel more comfortable. I would have shaved it bald, but I didn’t want to completely freak her out.”

He wasn’t that far from bald now. There wasn’t that much hair left. He has maybe a quarter inch of hair on his head, if that.

“Dude, you look like you’re twelve,” I laugh. “You got it baaaaaad.”

“Don’t make fun of me, Christian,” Elliot says, somberly. “You would have gladly given a limb if there was the slightest inclination that Montana wouldn’t wake up from that coma and the gesture would bring her back.” He’s right; I can’t deny it. “We’d be calling you some cruel nickname like ‘Hoppi’ or ‘Stump’ right now.”

“Okay, okay, so I’m not one to talk, but you still got it bad.” I move past him to head down to my office. Surprisingly, he follows me.

“Something on your mind, Bro?” I ask when we step into the elevator. He scrubs the newly-grown mini-beard he’s sporting these days.

“I didn’t know you could love another person this much, Christian,” he says. “I never dreamed… I never had this with anybody, not even the women who agreed to give me her hand in marriage.” He sighs.

“Okay, so we’re suffering from the same ailment. What’s the problem?” We exit off the elevator and give a wave to Keri and Chuck sitting in the community room downstairs. I’ve been meaning to ask him if Keri has gone to the doctor yet, but it’s only been a few days since she’s been here. Besides, I’ve got Elliot waiting for privacy so that we can continue our conversation, so one catastrophe at a time.

“I’m always afraid that she’s going to leave me or that I’m going to mess it up. Now, there’s this tumor—beating her body down. It’s killing me, man,” he admits once we’re out of earshot of Chuck and Keri. “I’m going to have to employ Montana’s assistance again. I know she’s helping Angel, so I won’t put her in any compromising positions. I just want to talk some things out… get some help handling things.” We go into my office and close the door.

“I’m no psychiatrist, but I nearly lost my wife six months ago. You can talk to me… I can empathize.” He raises his eyes to me, filled with gratitude. He nods slightly and removes his backpack, dropping it on the floor. When he sits in one of the chairs in front of my desk, I deduce that it’s a better idea that I sit closer to him than on the other side of my desk. I move to the chair next to him and loosen my tie.

“I’m lost,” he begins. “This is the first time in my life that I have absolutely no idea what comes next. Even with Kate, everything fell into place—I knew exactly what was coming. I loved her, I would marry her. She turned into a bitch, either she would have to straighten up or I would dump her. She fell in love with that Roger bastard, it was done. Everything was cut and dried. Not so with Val. I love her and I’m so fucking loopy and confused that I don’t know what to do from one day to the next. She turned into a bitch and I couldn’t leave her to save my life, no matter how many times I threatened. Even when I packed my things this last time to get her to go see the doctor and was sure that I would go through with it if she didn’t, I can’t see doing it. I was at my wits end and I still don’t think I would have left her. Now, she has this big, huge, ginormous, life-threatening thing going on and I feel so goddamn selfish.” I frown.

“Why?” I ask.

“Because I pray every day—every day—for God not to take her away from me. I don’t pray to end her suffering; I don’t pray for Him to make her feel better… just don’t take her away from me. I know in order for her to stay here with me, she would have to be healed… but I don’t pray for the healing or even for relief. I just pray that He doesn’t take her away.” A single tear falls down his cheek and he quickly wipes it away.

“Believe me, I would take on her pain and suffering in a minute if I could. She’s so weak and so tired, and I hate seeing her this way. If I could take those damn radiation treatments for her and she be the one that gets well, I’d do it in a second. I can’t stand her suffering. But Christian, if I lost her, if she left me… I’d lose. My fucking. Mind.”

“And there’s your limb,” I say empathetically. “You’ve truly never felt this way before, and you don’t know what to do with it. You don’t know how to handle somebody else meaning more to you than yourself.” He nods, his head down and tears falling freely onto his jeans.

“That’s it exactly,” he says in a harsh whisper.

“It doesn’t get any easier,” I tell him. He scoffs a laugh. “If anything, it gets worse. Your love grows stronger and bigger every day, and you have to fight for reason when it comes to her… it’s the most terrifying, horrible, heart-wrenching, torturous, beautiful, fulfilling, ecstatic, life-affirming experience you’ll ever have.” He raises red, puffy eyes to me. “Grasp every moment with both hands and hold on for dear life.”

“How is it that what you just said makes absolutely no fucking sense at all, but I get it?” he says.

“Because we’re men,” I reply, “We love and we love hard, but we feel things differently than our ladies do. They feel hearts and flowers and butterflies and every so often, they turn into wildcats, hell bent on death and devastation to those who dare challenge them. Men… what we feel is powerful and destructive. Our emotions and reactions are ‘kick the door in and tear the walls down’ every time. Butterfly could have accomplished the same task… pick your feelings and thoughts apart and break them down, coming to the same conclusions after about half an hour. But I know exactly what you’re feeling,” I say, banging my fist against my chest gently, “so I can relate.”  I stand to my feet and go over to the bookshelf that I use for a bar.

“I know you don’t indulge anymore, Bro, but I need a drink after that small inner trip down memory lane.”

“It doesn’t bother me. Go ahead,” he says as I fill a tumbler with two fingers of Japanese single malt whiskey and throw it back quickly. I contemplate having another, but decide against it since I don’t want to be falling all over myself.

“I never asked why you decided to stop drinking altogether,” I say. “It’s been, what, nearly a year now?”

“Our father had to put me on a punishment, Christian,” he laments. “When was the last time our father put you on a punishment?”

“When I dropped out of Harvard,” I answer without hesitation. “He didn’t speak to me for weeks. He barely wanted me to stay in his house! He and Mom used to argue all the time about me and whether or not I could stay. I agreed to start my business and if I failed, I would go back to Harvard. Dad wouldn’t hear it.”

“Yeah, but you found your way anyway and you proved them wrong,” Elliot retorts. “What’s more is that your behavior wasn’t destructive. It was just against what they wanted. I’m a grown man. When it gets to the point that my father has to discipline me for drinking, and my girlfriend had to call him… that’s too much. It stuck with me. I don’t need alcohol anyway.”

“But you never had any alcoholic or destructive tendencies,” I protest. “We all throw back a few too many once in a while. It’s not that I’m trying to get you to drink, but I do want you to look at things in the right perspective.” He nods again.

“I understand, Bro, but I have a question for you. We’re all alcoholics born alcoholics?” I sigh.

“No, I would say not,” I say with finality. He’s resolved to his decision and I won’t press it anymore. We talk for a little while longer, still sorting out his feelings when the two-way communications system comes to life.

“Yes?” I reply, waiting for a response. Nothing. I never got used to what Butterfly does, just yelling “Ana” into the air, but maybe that’s what the system is waiting for.

“Christian,” I say, trying the system once more. It just beeps again. I look over at Elliot, then point expecting. Maybe it’s looking for him. I did tell him to register with security before he took Valerie to her radiation treatments. Did they do it?

“Elliot?” he says, a question, not a response.

“El, can you come here for a minute, please?” Valerie’s frail, soft voice comes over the two-way communication system. Elliot springs to his feet.

“I’m on my way, Angel. Are you okay? Do you need something?” He sounds almost frantic. Calm down, man. That’s how we communicate in this mini-city. I just shake my head.

“I’m fine. I just need to see you up here for a minute,” she says.

“O—okay,” he says, uncertainly.

“Elliot, is Christian with you?” my wife’s voice floats melodiously through the system.

“Yeah, he’s here.”

“Can you tell him to come, too, please?” she says. I was just about to get some work done before dinner and prepare for tomorrow’s meeting with accounting and legal, and if there’s enough time, PR. But I know better than to deny my wife when she beckons. I remove my tie and nod at Elliot.

“He heard you. We’re on our way,” Elliot calls into the air.

“Thank you. End two-way communications,” and the system disconnects.

“Elliot,” I say as I remove my jacket and toss it over the chair with my tie, “don’t panic when Val summons you through the system. It doesn’t always mean there’s an emergency. This house is nearly 14,000 square feet. Other than cell phones, this is our primary source of communication. Butterfly has this thing wired as a high-tech baby monitor. The moment one of the children start to stir or cry, the two-way system pages her. Get used to it. It’s a part of life at Grey Crossing.” He nods, hesitantly.

“I don’t know if I’ll ever get used to anything like that,” he says as we walk to the elevator. “Your house is bigger than Mom and Dad’s. They never had anything like this.”

“I’m not sure the technology was available when we were kids,” I tell him. “Plus, we have way more staff than Mom and Dad, and our safety wasn’t as delicate at the time as my wife and children.” Elliot twists his face.

“We sure as hell don’t have to worry about the Candyman getting to us in this fortress,” he says as we enter the elevator and he pushes the button for the second floor.


ANASTASIA

“Are you okay?” I ask Val while we wait for our men.

“I’m fine,” she replies. “A little anxious. I don’t know what he’ll say… or if he’ll just agree because I’m sick.”

“He never struck me as that type, Val,” I try to reassure her. “Just… set expectations before you say anything. Make sure that he knows that this is what you want, but you want the truth. A lie now and the truth later will only hurt you more.” She nods, then startles as she hears the door. Her mouth falls open and I can’t immediately see why as I’m standing on the other side of the door. I soon see the reason for her shocked expression.

Holy. Shit.

Did he lose a bet or something?
I don’t know, but I can’t wait to hear this explanation.

“Elliot, what did you do?” Val asks, her gaze pinned to Elliot’s now nearly bald head.

“I… cut it,” he says, his voice full of trepidation. “I wanted you to see that the hair wasn’t important and as long as you’re bald, I’ll be bald… well, maybe not completely bald. I didn’t want to shave it all off because I didn’t know if it would freak you out.” Val’s hand flies to her mouth and she starts to weep. Elliot rushes to her side and sits on the bed.

“I’m sorry, Angel,” he says. “You don’t like it? It’ll grow back in no time…” Val shakes her head and swallows her sob.

“It’s beautiful,” she weeps as she runs her hand across the fuzz on Elliot’s head. “It’s soft and furry and I want to play in it.” Elliot laughs lightheartedly and wipes her tears from her cheeks with his thumbs.

“Should we leave?” Christian says quietly to me. I shake my head.

“No,” I tell him, pulling him to my side while I fumble with my phone.

“You said you needed me for something,” he presses.

“I do. Now, keep quiet for a minute.”

“Baby, I’ve got work I have to do…” he protests.

“Christian!” I hiss, harshly, but quietly as I snap my head in his direction. He puts his hands up in mock surrender. Satisfied, I fumble with my phone some more while Val composes herself. After a few moments, she’s ready to talk to Elliot.

“I… want to say something,” she begins, “but before I do, I have to ask that you be 100% truthful to me, even if you think the truth will hurt me.” Elliot’s face falls and he frowns deeply.

“Angel, if you’re asking me to hurt you, I’m afraid I can’t do that.” She nods.

“That’s good to know, but also know this. Saying something that you think I want to hear now only to discover that you were not being truthful and to find out the truth later will hurt me more. Swear to me that you will be truthful, even if it hurts.” Elliot drops his head.

“You’re asking a lot from me here,” he laments. “I don’t know how to willingly hurt you.”

“Well, if what happens next ultimately means that I’m going to be hurt, then I’ll either be hurt now or later, and I can’t forgive you for later… not with this. I’d rather just keep it to myself…”

“No, baby…” Elliot takes her gently in his arms. “Stress is not good for you. Don’t hold it in.”

“Then I need your word,” she says, her voice starting to tremble again. “Don’t say what you want me to hear… tell me the truth, or I’ll keep it to myself.” Elliot sighs heavily.

“I hope she knows how much he loves her,” Christian says quietly in my ear. I look up at him strangely and he mouths, “He’s gone… way gone!” If that’s the case, this should be a no-brainer.

“Promise me, Elliot,” Val presses. Yeah, promise her, Elliot. His swallow is audible.

“I… I promise. I’ll be 100% truthful,” he says finally. She pulls away from him and takes his hands.

“Thank you,” she whispers before taking the biggest breath ever and letting it out. I fumble with my phone once more. Here goes…

“El, at my very worst, you were there for me. When I thought I couldn’t love again, you showed me that I could. When I least expected to let someone into my heart, you knocked and walked in. When no one else was left and I had chased everyone else away, I looked up and you were there. When there’s no one else, there’s you. When there’s everyone else, there’s you. When everyone wanted to be there for me, you pushed them all back and let them know they had to come through you first. You are everything I could ever, ever want in a man, in a lover, in a friend, in a companion, and I would be content just to be with you for as long as you choose to be with me. I would cherish every single moment you choose to give me, but I swear on every healthy T-cell I have in my body…” They both laugh nervously at her joke, “… that you would make me the happiest woman alive if you would agree to become my husband and spend your life with me if you can tolerate me.” She swallows hard as tears begin to roll down her cheeks. “Elliot Grey, when I’m well again, would you please marry me?”

“You bet your sweet ass, I will.” The words are out of his mouth almost before she finishes her question. He takes her face in his hands and kisses her gently, but repeatedly. She reaches in her chest pocket and pulls out a ring box. Without even seeing it, he holds his hand out to her. She giggles girlishly as she opens the box, removes the ring that we chose this afternoon and had delivered before our men returned, and slides the ring onto his finger—a solid platinum band with a single inlaid diamond.

cool-mens-wedding-bands

He holds his hand up in front of his face like the typical newly engaged girl and admires his ring, releasing a deep sigh and examining his hand fondly.

“You like it?” Valerie asks nervously.

“I love it,” he breathes, dropping his hand but never taking his eyes off the ring. His breathing is ragged, almost like he can’t catch his breath. He’s nervous… or disarmed. What’s wrong?

“Baby?” Val asks, concerned.

“I’m okay, Angel,” he says, turning to the nightstand and opening the second drawer. “It’s just… now…” He pulls something out and turns back to Val. “I don’t have to find a way to ask you to wear this.”

platinum-1-00-carat-princess-cut-solitaire-diamond-engagement-ringA collective gasp is heard across the room from its other three occupants as Elliot produces the oh-so-familiar Cartier box already open to reveal a simple platinum princess cut solitaire engagement ring.

Valerie covers her mouth with shaking hands, speechless as she gazes on the ring.

“If you don’t like it, we can change it. It’s just that I noticed you like simple jewelry and…”

Still unable to get her words out, Valerie whimpers and waves shaky hands at Elliot, holding her left hand—still trembling—out to him in a gesture that clearly means, “Shut up and put the damn ring on my finger!”

He slides the dainty platinum creation onto her finger, her hands so small from the chemo and radiation treatments that the ring is truly perfect for her. Anything larger would have made her look gaunt. She weeps freely and he gives her his handkerchief from his jean pocket. She tries to control her tears, but they only worsen as he gathers her in his arms and cradles her to his chest.

“Congratulations!” I say, unable to contain my glee anymore. “Al’s going to be so pissed that he wasn’t here, ha ha ha ha!” I tease. This immediately draws a laugh from Val, which was my intention.

“That cow gets to see everything,” she says through her tears, drying them as much as she can with Elliot’s handkerchief.

“Oh, I love you so much!” I say like a giddy schoolgirl, tossing my phone at Elliot and running to Val, embracing her warmly. “We really are going to be sisters! Get the fuck outta here!” We both burst into uncontrollable laughter, abating more of Valerie’s tears. “I’m so glad I didn’t miss it,” I say with a sweet smile.

“I glad you didn’t either,” she says. Just above a whisper. She looks over my shoulder and I realize that Christian has moved behind me. I step aside so that he can come to the side of her bed.

“Welcome to the family, Valerie,” he says, softly, as he places his hand on her scarf and gently kisses her forehead. She looks up at him with glassy eyes.

“Thank you,” she says, her voice cracking. He puts his hand under her chin and lifts her face to meet his gaze, cupping her face with his other hand.

“You stay with us as long as you need to,” he says. “You don’t worry about anything. Your main concern is to get well, get back on your feet, and then marry my brother. Everything else will take care of itself… or we’ll take care it.” He turns his gaze to Elliot, who gives him an acknowledging nod. Then he looks back to Val. “You understand?” A wide smile graces her face.

“Yes, Christian,” she whispers. “I understand.” She grasps his hand that is cupping her face and kisses his palm in gratitude as a lone tear falls down her cheek. “Thank you.” Christian puts a finger to his lip in a “shushing” manner.

“Don’t mention it,” he says. “You’re a Grey now… the paper is just a formality. We Greys stick together.” He kisses her on the temple and squeezes her hand before releasing her and turning to me. Elliot throws an equally grateful glance at him as Christian wraps his arm around my waist.

“You hear that, Angel,” he says sweetly. “You’re a Grey.”


A/N: I can’t remember if Ana ever told Val about her and Christian and the lifestyle before this, but I can’t seem to recall her doing so. If anyone can find in the story where she may have mentioned it to Val, let me know so that I can adjust this chapter accordingly. I’m reading through myself to see if I can find anything like that.

Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous was a show back in the 80’s and 90’s where host Robin Leach traipsed through the mansions and parties and vacations of the filthy rich to allow us poor common folk to live vicariously through the escapades and indulgences of the wealthy.

One more to go…

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

 

 

Becoming Dr. Grey: Chapter 81—Grey House of Passion

Wow! There were mixed reactions to Ros’ outburst. Some thought that she was justified in her feelings while others thought she was out of line. Unfortunately, you’ll still have to wait to see how that turns out because this next chapter is thirty pages—13,086 words—of fucking. I know that there are some people who skip over lemons, so I thought I would give you fair warning.

There’s a new board on Pinterest for this chapter. Click here to check it out. 

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 81—Grey House of Passion

ANASTASIA

I subconsciously go in search of my husband once I leave Elliot and Valerie to… whatever they were doing. Today has been a strange day for me, for lack of a better word. I want my husband—want my husband, but I need my Dom. I really need him to be in control… total control.

After checking all the usual places, I deduce that he must be in his study. I didn’t have to worry about the twins as Gail fed and bathed them while I visited with Val. I’m aching to be near my husband, but I don’t want to disturb whatever he’s doing, so I go to my office instead. I don’t bother trying to do any work or look at anything important, to be productive in any way. I just go over to the wall that separates our offices, the one with the aquarium. I put my hand on it and imagine he’s right on the other side, like he can feel me touching him. I close my eyes and absorb him right through the wall.

My breath quickens. It’s as if he were standing in the room with me, bearing down on me with steel gray eyes. No matter how I try to control my breathing, it’s no use. I turn around and lean my back against the wall, rubbing my hand on my chest and neck and taking in deep gulps of air. I want him so badly…

Just then, my office door slams open and my husband bursts in, breathing like a wild beast.

“I knew it!” he hisses through his teeth when he walks into the office, closing the door behind him. “I can feel your fucking energy radiating through the goddamn wall!”

He stalks slowly over to me and I’m paralyzed… frozen to the wall behind me and captured in his gaze—his powerful, hungry, gaze. He closes the space between us and I swallow hard. He doesn’t touch me. He just glares down at me as I timidly look up at him through my lashes, my breathing embarrassingly ragged. He doesn’t break his gaze for several moments, but then somehow, it changes. I can’t say how, exactly, but it does… and he suddenly seems… taller… imposing…

Good God.

I swallow again and drop my gaze, simply unable to look at him any longer. I part my lips to get air in and stop the damn panting, but my throat is dry and I can’t think with him this close to me.

He takes my hand and, walking backwards, leads me from behind my desk to the middle of my office. He makes me stand there while he circles me, stalking me, hunting me.

“You’re topping from the bottom,” he says, in that voice. I am? I’m not trying to…

“I’m… No, I’m… I di… I’m sorry…” I can’t even form a coherent thought with him this close to me. I’m looking at his feet standing off to the side of me. His finger is like fire when it comes up and touches my lip to silence me.

“It’s not intentional, I know,” he says, his voice still holding me captive, “but you are. You’re screaming at me and you’re giving me no choice. Your need is seeping through your pores, calling to the basest part of me… and I will have you.” He brushes his lips against my cheek. “Go to our bedroom and wait for me.”

Did I run? I don’t think I did. I hope I didn’t. All I know is that he gave me instructions and I was gone.

When I got to our bedroom, I don’t know what to do. He didn’t give me instructions except to wait for him. So, I sit on the bed and wait…

… And wait…

… And wait…

I know that only a few minutes passed, but it felt like hours when I hear the two-way communications come alive. Shit! The babies…

“Ana,” I say into the air.

“Mrs. Grey?” It’s him. Goosebumps rise on my skin.

“Yes, Sir?” I say timidly.

“Bathe. Twenty minutes with bubbles… use something sweet.”

“Yes, Sir,” I reply, going to my bathroom to start the bath. Something sweet, something sweet… cinnamon/vanilla. He liked that. Of course, I was dominating when I wore that, but that’s the only “sweet” bubble bath I have. I pour the bubble bath in the tub and fetch the accompanying body wash from the shower. Tying my hair in a bun so that it doesn’t get wet, I climb into the bath and luxuriate in the bubbles and fragrance for a few minutes. I love the way this stuff smells on my skin. I only used it that once—or twice—to make an impression on Christian. It appears that it may have.

After ten minutes of luxuriating, I use the other ten to make sure every little crevice has been kissed with cinnamon/vanilla. I know that the whole idea of a bubble bath is to do just that, but better safe than sorry. My natural sponge smells positively edible when the bath is done and I wrap myself in one of the warm bath blankets while I let the water out of the bathtub. Still wet, I go into our bedroom to dry off.

He scares the shit out of me!

“I…” I gasp. Am I supposed to speak? Will he think I’m topping from the bottom again? “Yo… you said twenty minutes… am I…”

“Ssshh,” he gently silences me. He’s sitting on the bed wearing just a pair of slacks and the belt. He stands and strolls over to me, taking the towel that I’m holding in both his hands. He leans down and kisses me deeply, pulling me against him with the towel. I melt into the kiss. When our lips part, he takes a deep breath and inhales my smell.

“Yesss,” he whispers harshly. “Perfect!” He uses both hands to dry my skin with the bath towel, but he’s not really gentle. His technique is forceful and possessive as he runs his hands all over my body, collecting every drop of moisture in the towel… well, not every drop. I swallow hard. He’s making me so hot.

He allows the towel to pool on the floor around me. He rises and slowly courses his fingertips over my skin on both sides of my body from my feet to my head. I shiver at his touch and my heart races, barely able to contain my arousal. He runs his fingers through my hair and my breath catches. I don’t want to slip too far into the enjoyment of the feeling.

“What’s wrong?” he asks, his voice deep.

“I… I don’t know what to do,” I say honestly. “I don’t want to misstep.” He smiles as his fingertips ghost over my skin. I can’t help the breath that escapes.

“Tonight will be all about pleasure, Anastasia,” he growls in my ear. “While I expect you to follow my directions, there’s nothing wrong that you can do.” He grasps my head on both sides and jerks it back, exposing my neck. He goes right to the soft spot on my neck on shoulder that he bites during sex when he wants me to come and plants a powerful open-mouthed kiss there, grazing it with his teeth. I moan as I open to him. God, I want him to do everything to me tonight… just… everything.

His next words and actions show me that he plans on doing just that.

“Are you ready for an adventure?” he says, his voice raspy. I swallow hard. His breath against my skin is driving me up the goddamn wall.

“Yes, Sir,” I breathe.

“Good… because I have this fantasy,” he says as he circles, his fingers and mouth touching me in different places. “I’ll admit that it was originally reserved for who I thought was my best submissive, one that I felt was worthy. I never found her…” He stops in front of me, staring at me with hungry… no, ravenous gray eyes. “… Until now.”

I swallow hard in my throat. It felt like needles… dry, expectant.

“I’m going to bind you, gag you, and blindfold you, photograph you and record you, observe you, regard you, ogle you, objectify you, then I’m going to use you… sex you, suck you, lick you, bite you, spank you, explore every one of your orifices, fuck you, please you, tease you, come inside of you, over and over again… all while you’re draped in diamonds, platinum, gold, and pearls.”

Fuck-ing-hell. I gasp at the thought… the many things he wants to do to me. I can’t imagine what different sexual experiences he has in store for me tonight, how many different ways he wants to make me come and come inside of me, all this while I’m dressed in nothing but jewels.

“Um… y-yes, Sir,” I manage to squeeze out. He smiles knowingly at me.

“You can say whatever you want… call me whatever you want… just know that I’m going to drive you out of your goddamn mind. And remember your safewords.”

Oh. My. God. I don’t even know how to react to that. He closes in on my lips, licking them as he speaks.

“Just the two,” he says against my mouth. “You won’t need the third. The way I feel, you may have to safeword so that I’ll stop making you come.” Shit, he’s going to kill me… “What are they?”

“Bells…” He slips his tongue into my mouth when I say the word and I shiver as he tastes me. He finishes the gesture by gently biting and sucking my bottom lip. Oh, God, this man… “and whistles,” I barely choke out over my arousal. His lips are working across my jaw and cheek and back to my ears.

“Do you know how much I want you?” he breathes. “All the things I want to do to you right now?

“No,” I breathe, my libido totally out of control. “No… I…” I trail off.

“Well, you’re about to find out,” he says, his voice full of promise. “Let’s begin, shall we?” He walks behind me and retrieves something from the table there. I don’t turn around so he has to come to the front of me and show me what it is. It’s a diamond-encrusted collar… and a leash.

I don’t know about this.

“I would never degrade or demean you,” he says immediately, “but it’s part of the fantasy.”

Still not completely sure about the leash, I nod. I trust my Dom. He gently attaches the collar to my neck. He then tests it to see if his fingers fit between the leather and my skin. Not too snug, Sir. It’s fine. He examines me for a moment and seeing that I’m okay, he leads me by the collar into his dressing room, through our meditation room and finally, into our new playroom.

The blue is striking, and my Dom has been busy. Several large pieces are hidden—covered with satin or velvet drop cloths. The prominent pieces on open display in the room right now are the chesterfield sofa—now black—and a large matching black chesterfield chair. There are also two black tall boys and several mirrored panels in various areas of the room. On top of the tall boys are two jewelry boxes—my blue one from the safe and another large black one that I’ve never seen before. There’s a tripod set up and facing the hugely imposing wrought-iron bed that we chose together. Christian has traded in his small digital camera for what looks like a top-of-the-line model from Fujifilm with all the bells and whistles, even a neck strap…

Bells and whistles… how appropriate.

The only visible other piece of machinery in the room besides the bed—if you can call the bed machinery—is the wallsystem base, which is the multi-function bondage frame system that we traded out the St. Andrews for. This one is standalone and has 360-degree access. It’s one of two styles that we ordered. I’m sure the other style is under one of these velvet tarps.

Christian removes the camera from the tripod and puts it around his neck. He pulls a remote from his pocket and presses a button; sensual music begins to play. Of course, Sir can’t have his scene and fantasy without music. This is the same—or similar—music that was playing during our six-week escape—sexy instrument pieces that didn’t distract you with words. I love this choice. He goes to the tallboy and begins to remove pieces from the jewelry box on top—the one that I’ve never seen before.

“The only other eyes that have ever seen these pieces are the jewelers that made them,” he says, “except for the pieces you’ve already seen, of course.” His hands are full of diamonds and gold and platinum… I can’t make out anything except… shoes! Shoes, made of diamonds with pearl ankle cuffs and foot bands that have a blue butterfly on the back of the ankle cuff and another one on the foot band. The heels are made of towers of diamonds.

Talk about money to burn!

“You know I’ve got a hundred ways to may you come and I hope to use a few new ones on you tonight,” he says with promise. “There will be several wardrobe changes tonight, Mrs. Grey, but we’ll start with this.” He smiles fiendishly as he begins to dress me in obscenely expensive jewelry…

A diamond and platinum body chain—a single string of diamonds that drapes around my neck and leads into large platinum links down my belly before splitting to drape my hips in more diamonds.

A multi-strand hip piece that starts as three anchoring strands of diamonds on one side, but gathers into a large broach-like patch of diamonds in front and splays several strands of diamonds from my hip down to my knee on the other side.

A platinum garter thigh chain on the opposite thigh that drapes into a diamond shape with two chains wrapping around my thigh. What appears to be a Swarovski crystal hangs from a third chain almost down to my knee.30adcd5270a7e3e25be9f8f4b443f6c7

Platinum multi-strand leg chains that drape from my knees to my ankles.

Those insane shoes.

Topped with a platinum and pearl Butterfly headdress.

The pièce de résistance—a pair of wrist restraints retrofitted with diamond wrist cuffs.

Money to fucking burn… and he’s burning it all over me. I feel like the hottest sex symbol that ever walked the earth. I feel so good that I want to touch myself!

“Fuck! You’re beautiful,” he declares as he starts taking pictures of me. The camera only flashes occasionally, but it clicks incessantly—like, several clicks per minute… or second. “On the bed, my love,” he commands, his voice full of arousal.

I walk over to the bed as I’m told. Damn, I feel so fucking sexy in nothing but all these damn jewels. As I’m walking, I catch a glimpse of myself in one of the mirrors and I gasp, stopping in my tracks. I can’t help it. The jewel-draped goddess that gazes back at me from the looking glass has me speechless.

I’m… breathtaking.

I’m captivated by the stunning creature as her fingers caress the platinum links on the chain adorning her surprisingly firm belly before traveling up to the diamonds that form a “V” around her cleavage and up and over her ample breasts. I lick my lips as her other hand rises to stroke her shapely hip and the three strands of diamonds there. The platinum garter chain showcases a very inviting thigh and her toes stick out like pieces of candy from the diamond and pearl encrusted shoes.

I’m getting hot. I’m straight and my reflection is actually making me hot!

“You seem surprised by your own beauty.”

His voice startles me—an intrusion on my moment with the enchantress in the mirror. As I’m still struck dumb, he continues to speak.

“This is why no one fit the bill—why I was waiting for you… it had to be you.” He kisses my bare shoulder and I’m jealous of the lips that get to touch that delicate skin. I gasp at the contact and even the sight if my lips parting gives me chills. Such kissable lips…

What the fuck is wrong with me?

“You’re driving me crazy, Butterfly,” he groans. “Knowing that the sight of you is doing to you right now what it does to me all the time… is so fucking hot!

I feel shivers at his revelation. How could he know? I’m nearly high with wanting to touch that woman so much… so I do.

I caress her soft, supple breasts… feel how luscious they are in my hands and watch how the nipples respond to my touch. I moan as I watch them pebble and elongate while I pinch and roll them between my thumb and forefinger. My hands course down her taut stomach again, caressing her soft skin and enjoying the feel of it against my fingertips, not to mention the goosebumps crawling up my back from the touch.

The diamonds… so fucking sexy draping from her round, beautiful hips. My hand graces over the chain draping from her thigh, then journey inside and underneath the cluster of diamonds, searching for the freshly-shaved treasure I know I’d find underneath.

“No.”

His voice is raspy and carnal behind me. I’m shocked out of my moment with the reflective nymph once more and remember where I am. I tear my gaze away from her and focus on his reflection instead. He’s fully naked now, standing behind me and to the right about three feet. He’s stroking deep and hard on one of the most impressive erections I’ve ever seen in my goddamn life—even on him, made more impressive by the fact that his dick is silver…

Fucking silver!

I try not to glare at him, wondering what in the hell he has on his cock. Whatever it is, it’s making the damn thing look fifteen fucking inches long! Que c’est beau!

“Goddammit!” he growls. “How the fuck can you make me hot and jealous at the same time watching you adrmiring yourself?” He continues to stroke himself as he orders me to turn around and walk towards him in that same raspy, hungry voice. As I stride towards him, I see that the room has transformed while I was transfixed on my reflection. Several television monitors have appeared in various walls of the room as well as the ceiling. While a few are in playback mode of the live action transpiring in our playroom as we speak, others are of prior trysts we’ve had before now.

Stills in a slideshow of me very pregnant and adorned all in red from head to toe—most of them with me looking wantonly up at the camera.

A scene of Christian edging me with his dick appearing and disappearing between my legs while my arms drape around his neck.

Me suspended from that corset in the playroom and Christian’s face buried in my ass.

And now, my Dom using his fingers to apply some sort of silver cream to his dick and his hand pumping hard on the engorged flesh.

If I wasn’t horny and hot before, I’m horny as fuck now!

He has placed the camera back onto the tripod, the occasional “click, click, click” reminding me that it’s there. Is it on automatic or does he have a remote somewhere?

“Did you enjoy that?” he asks, his voice commanding and rough. “Touching and watching yourself?” I nod timidly.

“Yes, Sir,” I say softly.

“So did I… and it pissed me off, too, because it wasn’t me… and I didn’t give you permission to touch yourself!” I gasp as his dick looks like it’s getting harder and bigger. “Since you like to watch, I thought I give you some other items for your viewing pleasure!” He gestures around the room to the various screens showcasing our home movies and photo shoots. “And since you like to touch, I think it’s time I gave you something to put your hands on. I have things that I want to do to you tonight, but if I fuck you right now, you’re going to be too tender for all that I have planned. So, you know what that means?” His smile is almost sinister. My eyes drop to his constantly swelling silver cock.

“Um… no, Sir,” I respond. I know exactly what it means, but I know he wants to tell me.

“Oh, I think you do,” he says, stroking his cock one last time before releasing it and allowing it to bob wildly up and down. My mouth is watering and I’m almost drooling. “Yeah, you know exactly what I want,” he taunts as he walks over to the bed and stands at its side. “Over here, on your knees.”

I walk over to him and drop to my knees. I see that we are front and center for the tripod and for one of the video cameras somewhere as I see a perfect profile angle of me at his dick in the monitor behind him.

“Start slow,” he instructs, his voice gravelly. “I want it clean.” He guides the silver head to my mouth. Um… okay. I tentatively suck the head into my mouth and he hisses loudly. He has aroused himself so much that even his head is hard and pulsing.

Fuck! It’s sweet! This silver cream stuff is sweet! Oh, good God, this is going to be so much fun!

I slowly take the head into my mouth again and suck, not to hard but enough to give his pulsing head deep stimulation.

“God, that’s so good,” he breathes. “Look at me. Don’t take your eyes off me.”

I raise my eyes to him and he’s holding the upper frame of the bed while keeping his hips still, looking down and me. I gently wrap both hands around the base of his cock and suck the head into my mouth over and over again, intensifying the stimulation with each stroke of my lips and tongue.

“Yes! Fuck, yes! Just like that!” His abs start to flex and I know he’s fighting to control himself. It’s encouraging and it’s making me hotter. He looks so good, so carnal, so powerful looking down at me while I suck him off, my intention to bring him to his knees while I clean this sweet confection from the skin of his penis. I deepen my penetration to get more of the sugar and he groans.

“Oh, God,” he says, his leg trembling. “Your mouth feels so good, baby.” I continue the stroke at medium speed and intensity. After about a minute, I deepen the penetration even more, bringing my mouth closer and closer to my hands cradling the base of his dick.

“It looks as good as it feels, baby,” he groans, his pupils dilated and his tongue hanging impressively out of his mouth, when he’s not biting his bottom lip.

He’s coming undone and I feel so powerful that I finally deep throat him to the base, sucking the delicious sugary taste from his cock as I pull up.

“Fuuuuuuck!” he hisses, breaking his gaze for a moment and gripping the frame of the bed. “You’re breaking me down! You’re fucking breaking me down!”

Yes! That’s what I want! I repeat the move again… and again… and again…

“Fuuuuuuck!” he hisses again as he uses one hand to grasp the leash and pull slightly while still steadying himself on the bed frame with the other hand. “Suck it, baby!” he encourages. “Suck it deep! Harder!”

I gladly comply, intent now not just on cleaning the silver from his dick, but sucking every bit of the sweet flavor from his skin. I tighten my jaws and increase suction. A sound comes from my Dom that I can’t identify and he bends slightly, the hand that was clasped to the frame now resting on my head as he thrusts into my mouth.

“So good,” he whispers, “so fucking good…” His eyes are closed and he’s now fucking my mouth, lost in his passion and chasing his orgasm, and I fucking love it! I want to rub my clit and come with him, it’s making me so goddamn hot! He drops his eyes to me and slows his pace only momentarily, for about four strokes. He’s hanging onto his control by a very thin thread. His mouth is open, his tongue feverishly darting around inside—or hanging so far out of it that it touches the very tip of his chin.

Okay, now I’m hot as fuck looking at that shit.

But I have to say that watching him become unwound and feral in my mouth is the hottest fucking shit ever!

“Hands. Down,” he chokes on the very edge of his passion and I drop my hands to my thighs. One hand grasps my collar while the other tugs possessively on the leash, and he’s fucking my mouth, deeply. I control my breathing so that the head of his cock can sink back into my throat with the inward thrust, and he’s still looking me in the eye.

I’m going to fucking come on myself.

“Look… at me… look… at… me…” I haven’t taken my eyes off his tortured face, but he feels the need to remind me not to turn my gaze away as he pumps harder and now faster into my mouth. The silver cream is all gone now, but the sweetness is still in his skin and I’m doing my best to follow Sir’s directions and suck it “clean.”

“Fucking hell, this is incredible…” he breathes, indulging in a moment to close his eyes and relish the feeling before bringing his gaze back to my face. When his eyes meet mine again, he thrusts his hips forward and stays stationary while he grabs my collar and the nape of my neck and guides my mouth over his dick. I’m producing a lot of saliva since I’m no longer controlling the stroke and his body jerks and grunts emit from his chest.

“Watch me,” he rasps, “Watch me come.”

Yes, Sir!

He keeps guiding my head and he’s so deep into my throat that I never taste his semen as he starts to spurt into my mouth. I only know that he’s coming from the wild, uncontrollable throbbing of his dick. I swallow instinctively because if I don’t, I’ll have a mouth full of his cum, but I still never taste it and he never stops guiding my head on his dick.

He looks like he’s in pain. His body buckling over and his eyes becoming nearly black then as silver as the creamy sugar that I sucked off his dick… but he never takes his eyes off me and never closes them, and I never take my eyes off him.

He actually lifts his leg like a pissing dog which pushes his dick further down my throat as he comes. He’s balancing on one leg and trembling out an agonizing orgasm that has his body twitching wildly and his face contorted in such a way that I’m afraid his eyes will bulge right out of his head.

Now. I’m. Impressed!

He’s so far down my throat now that I can open my mouth, stick out my tongue and lick his balls… so I do.

He growls deep in his chest for a few more moments as he throbs in my mouth and my tongue caress the walnut skin of his testicle. After a few more violent jerks, he finally succumbs.

“Fuck, stop, stop, for the love of God, stop!” He drops his head back and voices his surrender, begging me to release his dick and balls, which I do immediately and he subsequently drops back on the bed in breathless satisfaction. I sit back on my feet and watch my Dom who has just come completely undone, panting and gasping on the playroom bed.

“That mouth is a goddamn national treasure,” I hear him whisper between breaths, “and it’s mine… all fucking mine.”

I can’t prevent the coy smile that spreads across my face, but I dare not let my Dom see it.

After a few composing breaths, I see my Dom begin to rise from the bed. I quickly drop my gaze before he ascends. Even with the music playing, I feel and hear a still fall over him.

“My God,” he breathes. “I just came like a goddamn geyser and you’re so fucking beautiful… I’m getting hard all over again.”

Thank God, because I’m so hot that I can barely breathe.

“Come,” he says, holding his hand out to me. “You have to get off your knees or I’m going to put my dick back in your mouth.”

What’s so bad about that?

I take his hand and he helps me to my feet. He unclips the leash from the collar on my neck and places it atop the nearest tallboy, then dips his fingers into the silver cream. He turns his attention to my aching nipples and begins to coat and tease them with the silky cream. It tastes delicious, but it feels utterly divine on my skin—like a luxurious body lotion. I’m dying to know exactly what it is, but I’m too focused on the pleasure shooting to my nipples to care right now.

“My apologies, sweet Anastasia,” he says in that voice. “I was overtaken by animal attraction and had to touch my dick, and this part of your wardrobe was the nearest lubricant. It’s very tasty, isn’t it?” he taunts.

“Yes, Sir,” I breathe, shamelessly wanton as his manipulation of my nipples shoots right to my core and causes me to rise higher and higher.

“Mmm, I think you like this,” he says as he continues his torment, my chest heaving almost embarrassingly. He frees my nipple, but uses his thumb to coat my lips.

“Those pretty, pouty lips,” he says, smearing the silver cream over my mouth. I can only imagine how I look. Do I have any remnants on my face from sucking it off his dick? Has he smeared it all over unevenly, making me look like a diamond-clad horny clown? The thought almost makes me giggle until his voice breaks my thought process.

“Wardrobe change.”

Wardrobe change? There’s more? I… did see gold earlier, and I’ve only warn platinum and diamonds… and one Swarovski crystal, I think. He licks the silver sugar from his fingers and removes the headpiece from my hair, then the collar from my neck. As he removes the body chain, the hip piece, the thigh chain, and the leg chains, leaving the insane shoes and the diamond wrist restraints in place, I catch a glimpse of myself in the monitor straight across from me.

He has applied the silver cream perfectly, like lipstick, and the nymph in the monitor gazes back at me with perfect, pouty silver lips. I watch with unbridled envy as he undresses her, piece by exquisite piece, nearly salivating at her taut silver nipples and the fact that he gets to touch her and I don’t.

Fuck! I couldn’t be more like Narcissus if I tried—falling insanely in love with my own goddamn reflection!

I stand there and examine myself as my Dom retrieves the pieces for my next wardrobe change. Oh, how inviting my body is… my full, supple breasts; my round, luscious hips; my perfectly shaved pussy; my toned thighs and legs. Would he mind if I got my belly-button pierced? Or my nipples? How would that effect my breast-feeding?

“You’re a million miles away,” he says, bringing me back to the here and now. Yes, I was. “Where were you?”

What do I say? That I was thinking about piercings? Hell, no! He stands there expecting, my next wardrobe draped in his hands.

“I… was thinking that after today, I no longer have a negative self-image,” I admit. It’s partially true. I mean it’s wholly true; it just wasn’t what I was thinking at the time.

“Are you telling me a fib, Mrs. Grey?” he asks, closing the space between us. I rub my hands over my flat belly and between my full breasts, getting heavier with milk.

“No,” I whisper, admiring myself in the monitor and watching the diamond-clad wrists travel up my body, my hands meeting behind my neck and pushing my hair up.

“Stay right there!” he commands, and I don’t move. He does something behind me then takes my hair from my hands. “Put your hands down.” He gathers my hair in a ponytail and secures it in a ponytail holder. In the mirror, I watch him loop a long gold chain so that it drapes three times over my ponytail.

I guess gold will be the order of the day… or night.

Next, he adorns me in this gold fringe layered box gold body chain creation that has a built-in collar, heavy gold link chains around my shoulders, gold box chains that drape in the front like a fringe blouse over my tits, and more chains that drape over my hips.

I’m draped in gold and diamond thigh garters that attached to a diamond chain around my hips, which is soon semi-hidden by a gold and diamond burlesque fringe draping panty piece that also hangs around my hips and over my modesty in such a sexy way.

And now I’m getting hot again.

I thought the gladiator gold and diamond draping leg jewelry would be the end, but I was wrong!

“I have something special for you,” he says. As he leans down in front of me and sucks and licks one of my breasts clean—clean and taut and hot and aching. Then he slips a little noose on it.

What the…?

A tiny little noose that he tightens almost to the point of pain—made of soft rubber and a small grommet of sorts that won’t slip. Adjustable non-piercing nipple noose—Mobius rings… gold, of course—that act like nipple clamps.

Respirer, Ana, respirer!

I gasp as he suckles the other one, then applies the second gold nipple ring to my aching and taut pink nipple. We’re going to have some spillage soon. Problem is, I’m so hot, I may not even notice it! When he uses his coated thumb to spread the silver cream back over my now protruding and captive nipples, I shiver in pain and delight at his touch.

“Oh, yes, she likes that,” he croons, continuing his torment of my nipples. “I think I’ll take a few pictures before I present my next surprise.” He removes the camera from the tripod and snaps several pictures in quick succession, giving me instructions on how to stand, where to look and where to sit, taking time to spank me every now and again. None of the pictures are raunchy; they’re all tasteful and sexy, just like my red photo shoot. When he tells me to lie on the bed, they get a little more risqué, but still sexy. He puts the camera back on the tripod and turns his attention back to me. From out of nowhere he produces another piece of jewelry.

“Do you know what this is, Anastasia?” he asks.

b016He shows me this strange piece—gold, of course—that looks a little like a narrow paper clip but only with one loop. What appear to Swarovski crystals—again—are attached to two small chains dangling from tiny hoops at either end of the loop. Top to bottom, the whole thing might be two or three inches long. If I’m honest, I have no idea what the damn thing is.

“No, Sir,” I say honestly. “I don’t.” A wicked smile graces his face.

“Do you trust me?” he asks.

“Of course,” I reply, without hesitation.

“The lie back, close your eyes, and relax.” Okay, that’s easy. I lie back and he pushes my legs open only slightly. I feel him playing with my pussy and the next thing I know, something quickly slides down and pinches the most tender part of me.

I yelp. What the fuck!!!

“Are you okay?” he asks, concerned. I’m lying flat, breathing heavily, wondering what in the fuck just happened!

“I… I…” I can’t get a full sentence out. I don’t know what to think right now. There’s an insane tightness between my legs and I don’t know what it is. I hear the shutter of the camera click one time as my Dom kneels between my legs.

“Look,” he says, turning the viewing screen around for me to see it. At first, I have no idea what I’m looking at, but he pushes the camera closer to me and I focus my gaze to see one of the hottest sights I think I’ve ever seen.

“Is that me?” I ask, my voice unrecognizable. He nods but says nothing. I take the camera from his hand and bring the picture closer to my eyes. It’s my pussy, open and exposed, and this piece of jewelry is nestled inside of my outer lips. The open loop at the top is wrapped snugly around my clit while the “legs” rest on either side of the inner lips, creating the pinch I feel. The chains and crystals dangle down the sides and meet at the bottom, falling over my opening.

It’s beautiful…

“Is it too tight?” he asks, his voice thick with hunger. I shake my head in silence, fingering the picture on the camera. He takes it from my hand and places it on the bed.

“Lie back, Anastasia, and open your legs,” he growls. I comply, thinking he’s going to snap a picture of my jewel-laden exposed pussy, but he doesn’t. Instead, he crawls between them, separating my outer lips with his fingers and pulling gently on the adjustable jewel he has placed on my clit. I swallow and groan involuntarily. It fucking feels like nothing I’ve ever felt in my life!

“Please!” I choke before I think about it.

“Mmm, you like that,” he purrs.

“Yes!” I breathe.

“It looks stunning, Butterfly,” he grits out. “Your pussy is all pink and wet; your clit is swollen and pulsing and throbbing in the loop. Every time I give it a little pull…” He pulls slightly on the jewel and pleasure lances from my clit and outward through my entire body. I groan loudly and arch my back.

“Yes!” he hisses, pulling on the jewel again and causing me to writhe. I raise my hips a bit and I feel something cold and metal. I jump from the contact, a bit startled and then he slips it inside on me. It’s thin, so it goes in easily. At first, I feel nothing and then…

“Aaaahhhhaaahhh!”

He twists this curved metal thing until it feels like a ball or something rubs continuously against what has to be my G-spot. Fuck, I can’t believe how good this feels with the clit clip!

“Oh, my God, please!” I beg.

“Jesus, baby, you look so hot!” Christian’s voice is deep with desire. “Fuck, I can’t stand it. That looks so good…” I feel his tongue lap around the opening of my core, then drag up the lips and the underside of my clipped clit. I nearly crawl up the fucking bed and out of my skin. This shit is unbearable.

“God Christian please!” I cry out in one breath, delirious from stimulation. He just groans into my pussy and continues his feast—and when I say feast, I mean feast! This man is sucking on me and lapping my juices like a thirsty dog lapping up water. He licks the underside of my clit the sucks the tight restrained head into his mouth, stimulating it with no respect to my cries for mercy, concentrating so hard and enjoying his task so much, I don’t think he could stop if he wanted to.

Torture… exquisite, intense, torture.

He turns his head sideways and sucks the entire restrained portion of my pussy into his mouth as he works my G-spot with whatever he has inside of me. I’m writing in agonizing pleasure as he concentrates stimulation on my lower regions like he never has before, tugging and pulling on this apparatus as he licks and sucks the swollen, sensitive, restrained head and stimulates me from the inside and outside. I begin to tremble uncontrollably.

“Please… please…” I pant, as I feel a cosmic climax building in my thighs. “Please…” but there’s no reprieve for me. My Dom wants me to come and he wants me to come hard. He concentrates his efforts on making that pussy pop and he won’t stop until it does.

Just when I think I can’t take anymore, I open my eyes to see the finale to one of our home movies playing out on the monitor above me. I don’t know which one this is, but I’m on top of him and the camera has a bird’s eye view of our genitals from behind. He’s slowly stroking into my pussy while holding my ass up and open. His dick is angry and thick and glistening and one or both of us are coming, because arousal—white and thick—is coating his dick, rimming where my lips stop and thickening with each stroke. Imagining what he’s feeling, what I’m feeling in that shot… seeing the sexy result of our coupling gathering on his dick combined with what he’s doing to me right now…

I hold my head back and detonate in an uncontrollable, shrieking orgasm. He groans loudly and just as I’m coming, he flicks his tongue repeatedly across the sensitive head of my clit to draw out the orgasm causing such a reaction that my passionate shrieks become near painful, uncontrollable screams. The effect is blinding, massive, crippling, and I want to beg him to stop so that I can regain some control over my painfully trembling body, but he lost in his passion… in my reaction…

Oh, heaven help me, this sex god is going to kill me.

I’m twitching on the bed when he’s done with me and he takes this moment to snap a few more pictures of his writhing nymph.

“We’ll have to be careful with these little jewels,” he says, pun intended, as he quickly slides the clit clip off me, causing me to yelp once again. “They make you so sensitive that you can’t hold out. I’ll keep them in mind if I ever need them for a sexual torture device.”

“No… please…” I pant, my clit still tender and throbbing from the experience.

“It drives me fucking wild, Butterfly,” he breathes, his voice husky. “I won’t overdo it, but I will do this again.” He gently fingers my clit as he brings his face close to mine. My breath catches in my throat. Even after the orgasm, his slow, long, lazy strokes feel so good. “Can you stand?” I take a deep breath and nod. He takes my hand and helps me to my feet. He leads me over to the 360-Wallsystem frame—our new St. Andrews, so to speak—and attaches my wrist cuffs to the restraints above my head so that I’m facing him. Closing in on me again, he presses a soft, chaste kiss on my lips before zeroing in on my silver nipple, and my milk leaks.

I knew it would.

I’m highly aroused and the nerves are extremely sensitive, not to mention that my nipples are constrained in these nooses and completely taut and at his mercy. He watches the milk leak down my body until right before it gets to the diamond hip dress. Then cleans the trail with his tongue all the way up my body and back to my nipple. I drop my head and close my eyes, squirming in sheer desire as he holds me still with his hands clasped on my waist and sucks… hard! The sensation sends ripples through me as my nipples—one of my very hot spots—sing with pleasure and my breast feels the relief of being emptied. I’m nearly mindless trying to process the ecstasy when…

“Aahhh!”

His finger dips into my core and gathers wetness there before he resumes the delicious lazy strokes from when I was lying on the bed… and again, I’m panting in the embarrassing shameless abandon.

“God!” I breathe as I rise yet again, dizzy from the incline to orgasm. It happens so quickly that he slows his stroke, keeping me teetering on the edge, but never let me fall over.

“Please,” I beg. He smiles against my breast, a small drop of milk slipping from his lips. He catches it with his tongue.

“It’s so sweet,” he says as he moves to the other breast and begins to suckle, bringing me the same pleasure and relief as before as he gently fingers my clit. It’s hot and throbbing now, aching to come again.

“Pleeeeease,” I croon, and he pulls me back from orgasm again.

“Wait,” he says, never releasing my breast and continuing his maddening stroke. My God, what am I going to do? I can’t stand this much longer.


CHRISTIAN

She doesn’t see me taking the pictures of this interlude… her swollen breasts beckoning me; the smell of her heat calling to my animal instincts; her sweet milk emptying into my mouth and down my throat. As I massage her clit, I can tell right when she’s at that crucial moment because it pebbles in my fingers like her nipples. When she does come, she’s going to see stars.

When her milk flow slows in the first breast, I know it’s relieved, so I turn my attention to the other. It’s so natural when the children do it, but it’s erotic and intimate as hell for me… syphoning life from my wife’s body into my own. It makes me feel closer to her than I ever have before. It makes me want to make love to her and make her feel good; make her body explode with sensations that she’s never felt before. God knows I’ve never felt what I’m feeling…

She’s shuddering, shaking, and mindless when I finally empty the second breast, full and content and ready to feast on another part of her body… again. She keens, almost wails, when my lips and fingers stop their ministrations and I sit back on my feet, admiring her body, rubbing both hands from her round hips just above the jewelry up her stomach and stopping to cup her round, shapely breasts—no longer full of milk, but still supple. I look up at her, up her beautiful body to her lust-filled blue eyes as she looks down at me, panting, wanton, burning.

I briefly remember the labia clit. God, it was beautiful! So fucking beautiful! My mouth was fucking watering, I had to taste her! Her reaction to it was so much better than I could ever have hoped! I didn’t know if it would work because normally, her clit is so slippery. But when I saw how fat and juicy her nub was in its aroused state, I was so pleased to try. The result was phenomenal. I swear I stayed hard just thinking about it!

I crawl closer to her and lift her thigh high in the air. Her pussy is fucking beautiful… the lips all bare and the whole area shining—the creases of her thigh, the outer and inner lips, the mans… her core literally dripping with arousal. I know I already tasted her, but I must taste her again.

My approach is hungry and unhindered this time. I attack from underneath, licking hungrily and deliciously at her pussy with my entire tongue like a delicious ice cream cone. Mmmmm… I lick over and over, deep and wet, holding her leg up high and collecting every bit of juice from her moist skin. Every time her hot, aroused core drips or gushes with more of her juice, I gladly accept the offering, lapping luxuriously and ravenously at this delicacy like the gourmet meal that it is.

“You’re so wet,” I say, still devouring that pussy, “and you taste so good.”

She groans loudly, helpless against her bounds and sexy as fuck draped from head to toe in diamonds, platinum, and gold.

Worth so much more, baby… worth so much more…

I continue my feast, angling my head with each lick—each mouthful—for maximum flavor. I want to eat her and eat her until her aroma saturates my nostrils, until her essence is in every pore of my mouth and I can taste nothing else.

“Mmmmm…” I hum in satisfaction when a creamy stream of her arousal slides from her pussy, over my tongue and down my throat. Give me more, sweet Butterfly, give me more.

I stiffen my tongue and bury it deep into her core, in search of more of her delicious juices. I can’t get enough and with her fucking standing over me, they’re just rolling right down into my mouth. She’s quiet and stiff for a moment and then, without warning, she explodes into orgasm. The base of the inside of her pussy gives up a fountain of nectar—like someone cut an orange and squeezed out the juice. I moan deep and I thirstily slurp and swallow every drop.

Fucking hell, this is hot!

Her orgasm wanes, but I can’t stop. I want more! I want her to do that again! My tongue is still inside of her and I keep thrusting, keep licking, keep fucking.

For God’s sake, do it again, Butterfly, do it again!

She’s trembling and shaking and I’m buried so deep into her pussy that I can’t see up her body; I can only see the desirable, irresistible, hot, wet pussy in my face… and the sparkle of a diamond or a hundred. But those gems have nothing on the precious jewel in my mouth right now.

“Christian… God…” she whispers, helplessly, and I know that even though she’s trembling from being spent, she’s beginning to rise again. Feeling the supporting leg shake, I quickly throw it over my shoulder and, still holding the other leg up and open, continue my oral fuck-and-feast.

She’s panting now, uneven breaths matching the uneven and sporadic thrusts of her hips against my tongue and mouth. She’s fucking glorious and still offering me the tastes and smells I crave. Her flavor changes after a few minutes, the closer she gets to orgasm, and I run my tongue around inside her walls to catch every secretion, closing my mouth to suck the outside lips and clit to be sure that none escapes. She moans again, calling my name in painful surrender and hanging from the chains and wrist restraints.

And here comes the inner fountain again.

I swallow it gratefully and at first, her silence makes me think that it’s just an initial offering, like precum. But suddenly, a frightening, feral sound rips from my Butterfly as her pussy pumps ferociously against my tongue. I don’t falter. I hold her open, steady, and drive my tongue deep into that seriously gushing pussy. Not a drop gets by me because not a drop can get out. She’s growling deep in her chest as her pelvis bucks into my mouth and I’m. In fucking. Nirvana.

I close my mouth over her pussy and suck the whole thing—hard and repeatedly—intent to get the very pulp from the orange. She meets my challenge and presses her pussy hard into my mouth, her animal growls and higher octave now, but still emanating from deep in her chest.

After several moments of violent shivers, involuntary bucking, and mournful animal mating calls, my Butterfly starts to whimper and pant, a painful sound coming from her throat.

“Bells… bells…” she breathes. I stop the stimulation immediately, almost broken-hearted to part my lips from that sweet pussy.

“Talk to me,” I say, gently kissing her thighs.

“Tender… it’s tender…” she chokes. I nod.

“Okay, baby,” I concede. “How are your legs?” I ask.

“I…” she pants. “I don’t know.” I put one leg down while still holding the first leg up in the air. I give my beloved pussy one final kiss without touching her tender clit, then put her leg down and rise in front of her.

“I’ll let you rest, but I’m not done with you yet,” I warn.

“Yes, Sir,” she breathes. She’s so fucking beautiful when she’s sated. She’s beautiful all the goddamn time, but right now… fuck!

I put my arm around her to support her weight, then release the chains from the wrist restraints. Burying my tongue in her mouth and kissing her deeply I carry her to the bed, lay her down and hover over her. Holding her hands down on the bed next to her head with both of mine, I lick hungrily into her mouth.

“I couldn’t stop,” I say, my lips against hers, my tongue probing into her mouth. “Do you see how good you taste? Taste how good you taste.” I caress her tongue with mine and she meets my fever with an urgency of her own, running her tongue against mine and causing us both to moan. We’re lost in delicious kisses for several moments before I must have more of her delicious body. Still holding her hands, I move down to her nipples and suck hungrily between the chains draped perfectly over her beautiful round mounds. I grind my erection into her thigh and over some painful chain or jewelry there. The combined sensation is insane and I want to fuck her so badly, but she’s still tender.

“I’m going to fuck you just like this,” I warn her still grinding my dick into her thigh. I gaze into her sated blue eyes and I could just dive in and disappear. “Just like this,” I choke over my arousal, “holding you down and looking into your eyes, kissing you, loving you, and pushing you to yet another orgasm.”

“Oh, God, Christian,” she breathes. You will have to beg me to stop, Butterfly. My mind and body are on autopilot on one of the biggest, hottest fantasies I’ve ever had finally coming true.

I kiss her gently and release her hands. Time for another wardrobe change. That will take some time so that she can rest.

I loved that the nipple hoops didn’t release while I emptied her breasts earlier. She coos softly as I wet the nipples, then slide back the rings to release the nooses. Her tits are still so sexy… so perky and pretty and pink…

I have another set of nipple rings for you, my love.

Once I have removed all the gold and diamond jewelry from her body, I have to decide if I want to use the pearl collection next or the collection I put together with her Chanel jewelry it is. I plan to fuck her now—my dick is so swollen again that it’s bobbing and getting in my way. It’s almost embarrassing and I’m glad her eyes are closed so she can’t see it.

I decide on the Chanel-based collection and dress her as much as I can while she’s still lying down—the Chanel Comète earrings, the Comète bracelet pushed as far up her arm as it could go without causing her discomfort so that it looks like a slave bracelet now, and a beautiful extra-long diamond suspender that extends from her waist and down to both thighs. I don’t even have her fully dressed and I’m ready to fuck her!

“Sit up, beautiful,” I declare. She opens her eyes and sits up on the bed. I adorn her in a steampunk-style diamond choker and shoulder dress with Swarovski crystals that flows down her arms but keeps her breasts deliciously exposed. Yes… I’m saving that jewelry for last.

“Stand, my love.” She gasps quietly at the words and slides off the bed to her feet… the little minx. I drape a diamond burlesque skirt over her hips that frame her gorgeous flat stomach in a “V” and caress her thighs, falling in front of and behind her in the same “V” and allowing the diamond garter on her thigh to peek out at the hem. I never removed the diamond and pearl encrusted shoes throughout each wardrobe change and my beautiful Butterfly is once again proving that she can do anything in stilettos.

And she’s sparkling again—beautiful and priceless and sparkling.

With eager, near-trembling hands, I release the ponytail from her hair, allowing the back to cascade over her shoulders while I secure the front into a mini chignon with two hair combs. Her bangs fall to the side out of habit and covered her short spot. I almost pull it back into the chignon, but think better of it. I then remove her tiara from a box atop the tallboy—the replica of the Holly Golightly tiara that I had made for her near the beginning of their relationship.

She stifles a smile.

I place the tiara on her head and secure it into the chignon. Almost finished. She stands proud and beautiful before me and I produce two diamond non-piercing nipple rings. There’s no noose this time. The rings that secure the jewelry to her nipples are thin as wire… and they’re metal. She looks with trepidation at first.

“We’ll adjust them if they’re too tight,” I say, softly, and she exhales, nodding silently. I gently suck her right nipple, pulling it into my mouth and nipping at it, elongating it until I hear her purr. Then I squeeze the two ends together, causing the hole on the nipple ring to expand and slip it over the deep pink aroused bud. When I release it to clamp to her flesh, she gasps.

“Too tight?” I ask. She swallows and sucks a wanton breath between her lips.

“No,” she breathes. “It’s perfect.” I’m delighted. I repeat the process with her left nipple and she’s nearly writhing with arousal by the time I get the nipple ring on.

“Oh, my God!” I groan when the creation is complete, putting heavy stress on the d. “Com’ere! Come stand over here!” I simply cannot believe how gorgeous she is! I place her right in between three large wall monitors, all displaying scenes from our prior trysts in the Red Room, our prior bedroom, the mirrored room. I just start snapping pictures of her standing there, eventually giving her instructions on how to stand and never letting the camera rest…

“Hands over your head…”
“Clasp your hands in front of you…”
“Turn around, show me your ass…”
“Look at me. Yes, baby, that’s it…”

That last command did me in, because the moment she turns around and I caught pictures of her gazing gaped-mouthed at my angry, hard, throbbing erection with a backdrop of some of the hottest photo shoots, sex scenes, and cum shots I’ve ever fucking seen, my dick suddenly needs immediate release. That’s it—fuck this. I quickly remove the steampunk shoulder dress, but leave the nipple rings in place. We’re going to need those.

“On the bed, on your back.”

She scrambles to the bed and lies on her back. I grab my erection and fist it hard. The burn is killing me!

“Every time I want to fuck you, you’re too tender to fuck!” I growl. I crawl over her and bring my dick to her breasts. She raises her head to take me into her mouth.

“No,” I stop her. “Put the silver cream on your hands and stroke me… hard!” She smears and ample amount of the cream on both hands, grasps my dick, and begins to pull like she wants another set of twins to come squirting out of me into the cosmos.

“Jesus!” I hiss, trying to balance myself on my knees as her tiny but strong hands work to jack me off. This feels fucking fantastic, but I don’t want to come like this. I indulge in a few more minutes of stroking into her firm, silver coated hands before I command her to release me. With her luscious jeweled breasts staring back at me, beckoning me, I can’t resist. I grab a tit in each hand, cupping them firmly without covering the nipple jewelry, and slide my dick between them. At first, I only want the visual of my hard cock sliding between her diamond-clad tits while I grope them hungrily with my large hands, but…

It feels. So. Fucking. Good.

The fit is fucking perfect and almost on cue, she anoints the top of her cleavage with the remaining cream that’s on her hands.

“More!” I groan, needing more of the cream between her tits for the silkiness. She dips her fingers into the cream and slathers the confection on her beautiful breasts and my dick.

“Yes!” I hiss as I deepen my stroke. I’m nestled perfectly between her breasts, getting the perfect stimulation while I grip her tits and hold them together. The jewels on her nipples are framed perfectly by my hands and the burn is insane and delicious and…

“Aw, fuck!” I growl as her silky, cream-covered hand massages the head of my dick every time it pokes out from the top of her breasts. I’m trying to control myself and make it last, but it feels so fucking good, so fucking good…

I drop my head back and fuck her tits, amazed that we fit together so well with so little effort. I rarely fuck Butterfly’s tits—I’m usually fucking some other orifice. But as much as I enjoy tit-fucking and the visual of it, I’m a big boy and I usually slipped out of even the most-shapely breasts right when the stroke was getting good and several times during the act, so I’ve just avoided it to spare myself the frustration.

Not with Butterfly. Even rock hard and feral and angry, with little concentration for direction, speed, or angle, my dick fits right in between those ample mounds and moves effortlessly in the space and against the skin as if they were connected and holding me there in a long, continuous, circular grip, sending ripples of pleasure through my shaft. After a few minutes of this mind-numbing delicious visual and physical pleasure, I know when I’m beaten.

“I’m… gonna… come…” I choke with each stroke, “so hard… so fucking hard!” I warn her because the last thing I want is a stream of semen in her eye. Many men find it sexy to come all over a woman’s face. I’m not one of them. I can get off coming all over other parts of her body, but not her face. Upon hearing my warning, she cranes her neck and takes the sensitive head of my throbbing dick in her mouth.

“Aw fuck Ana!” My voice is at least three octaves higher as I thrust helplessly into her mouth and between her tits three more times before pumping an insane load of semen down her throat. “God! Oh, God!” I cry out as she releases my head, but coaxes more cum from my throbbing member by relentlessly tickling my frenulum with her talented tongue. I open my eyes and look down at her to see more small streams of ejaculated shooting into her open mouth and over her tongue while she teases one of my G-spots.

“G… God,” I gasp. The sight is so erotic and feels so good. I continue to squeeze her tits in my hands and lick my lips, tasting the remnants of her juices in my mouth. The combination causes another spurt of liquid to shoot into her mouth. I tremble from the intensity and a shiver runs through my entire body as I’m gasping for breath from a deliciously crippling orgasm. My dick is still pulsing between her tits and I realize something that almost makes me feel sympathy for my beautiful Butterfly.

Dom Dick has arrived.

“Sit up,” I command after I rise off her. As I stand next to her by the bed, she looks at my erect dick and comes to the same conclusion I just did. The real fun is just beginning. She sits up like she’s instructed, her chest and the inside of her mounds covered in silver cream with some on her lips. Fucking beautiful. I quickly clean the silver cream from my dick, then retrieve the five tail Chanel Comète necklace and nestle it on her neck so that the tails meet and lay over the silver of the cream.

“Spread the cream on your hands over your tits,” I order her. Like a perfect little sub—and artist—she spreads the remaining silver cream on her hands overs her tits so that it covers her boobs and comes right to the wire of the diamond nipple rings. I hiss as I watch her. I’m going to fuck the soul out of this woman tonight, then watch as it oozes back into her.

“Arms up,” I tell her, my voice deep, but cracking with intense need. She raises her arms, but she’s not high enough. “Higher… on your knees… rise up!” She rises with her arms still in the air and I attach her wrist restraints to a chain from the crossed bars of the top of the bedframe.

Yes… perfect.

I remove the diamond burlesque skirt and replace it with a diamond belly “chain” with hearts every five inches that wraps around her body and drapes over her hips, one heart dangling down the back to her ass accentuating the word “WHOLE” on her back and making me want her more and more. Her knees are spread at the perfect width and high enough that she can’t move or thrust… or resist. I waste no time getting into position.

I lie on the bed and slip between her legs, my erection already seeking her warm core. I don’t even have to touch it—it slides instinctively between her lips and against her clit, seeking the warmth of her inner walls.

“God!” she breathes, her hands clenching in her restraints, her face tortured from pleasure. So. Fucking. Hot. My beautiful Butterfly, I apologize in advance.

“Don’t come yet,” I command. She doesn’t open her eyes, but her breath chokes out her protest as her face grimaces slightly. Not what she wanted to hear in this helpless position. “Did you hear me?”

“Yes, Sir,” she whispers, nearly hiding her face—and her disgust—in her arms. Don’t worry, Baby. I won’t torment you too long, but I will torment you. With a slight movement of my hips, my impatient dick finds her opening. She gasps as I press the head into her, slowly, breaching her core as I must each time I enter her until she acclimates to my size. She’s panting, her mouth open, as I push into her and stop, right at about two inches where her soft, hot, and wet core is just beyond the rim of my head.

“Fuck!” I hiss, thinking of the ridges inside that goddamn Tenga egg, which reminded me of the softness of Butterfly’s mouth. Fuck, this is going to be harder for me than it is for her! I want to prolong it, but I know I won’t be able to… a few minutes at the most.

You get a reprieve tonight, Butterfly… only a few minutes.

I start a slow, short stroke inside of her, just those two or so inches. It’s torture, edging myself inside her hot, warm pussy. Dom Dick is different tonight. He can come repeatedly, but the pleasure is quite a bit for him and he’s coming faster than usual.

She’s at my mercy—her beautiful, tight pussy spread open to me; her bound above me unable to move and forced to absorb whatever I do to her… draped in diamonds and looking like fucking royalty.

“Shit!” I groan as the head of my dick starts to burn against her walls and the sensitive rim begins to strum pleasure into my balls. If she only fucking knew what the sight of her is doing to me right now.

“Goddammit, woman, you drive me out of my fucking mind!” I grab her hips and fight the urge to drive deep into her, maintaining the slow, short strokes up into her pussy, massaging her G-spot… and mine. She groans in her chest and I’m unable to keep my orgasm at bay.

“Don’t come yet,” I command her as I wet my thumb and begin to gently stroke her clitoris. She almost wails at me.

“Don’t come,” I repeat, pushing myself into her, those short inches, in and out, in and out, the irresistible edging pushing me to an orgasm that’s only seconds away. The sheen arises on her body, but I’m too far gone. The edging inside of her drives me over and I can only repeat one phrase as I manipulate her clit and pulse my release into her…

“Don’t come don’t come don’t come don’t come…”

As I come down from the release and catch my breath, I can only hope that one of these cameras caught that orgasm, because I was paralyzed inside of her while my dick and balls emptied wildly after being edged so deliciously. I know the throbbing was classic, but I don’t have time to think about it. My Butterfly hangs from the bedframe, now throbbing with need… and I have to take care of her.

“No one in the world like you!” I growl as I thrust hard up into her. She throws her head back and cries out.

“Oh, God!” she shrieks.

“The inside of you,” I proclaim as I ravage her body with my mouth, sucking and licking the silvery cream from her skin and pumping hard into her pussy. The tormented sounds that emit from her sound almost like tears.

“S… Sir!” she chokes. “Please!” She can’t resist. I’m too much for her just like she’s too much for me. I leave her restrained until I’ve cleared every bit of the silver cream from her chest and breasts. Then I reach to her wrist and unhook one restraint. The chain slips loose and she comes plopping down hard on my dick. We both cry out at the inevitable thrust.

“Fuuuck!” I hiss through my teeth as my wrap my arms around her and plunge deep into her waiting pussy.

“Plee-eee-eeease! Plee-eee-eeease! Please, Sir, please!” she begs. It’s only now that I realize that I haven’t told her that she can come yet. Shit! I forgot!

“You’re hot! And tight! And you want to come!” I hiss in her ear.

“Ye-eeessss!” she cries, hopelessly in my ear as I thrust mercilessly into her, holding her down on my dick.

“How bad you want to come? How hard do you want to come?” I taunt.

“Plee-eeeeeeeeease!” she cries. She’s going to lose this battle soon with or without my permission.

“You beautiful creature,” I breathe. “You wanton, beautiful creature.” I swivel my hips against her and her ascent begins. She’s at the point of no return. She’ll be coming in moments.

“I want you to come… hard!” I growl in her ear.You want to come hard, don’t you?”

“Y… yes… yes, Sir,” she pants as I thrust into her.

“Then come for me, beautiful girl,” I coax. “Come for your Master.”

Out of nowhere, her whole body tightens and she detonates on my dick as if someone pushed the hammer down on the explosives box. She explodes like the Fourth of July and I can barely hold her body down on my dick. She vibrates and gyrates so violently that I can only hold her there and allow her to ride out her orgasm. I move my hips infinitesimally as her pulsing and squeezing are still massaging a maddening heat in my pelvis. I can’t remember the last time I was this turned on.

Her cosmic convulsions finally release her body and she falls, limp and helpless, onto my lap. Her legs are still straddling me and her arms fall limply to her sides. Her head lies heavy on my shoulder and her tiara has now fallen useless on the bed. She’s whimpering and wheezing and her tears dampen my shoulder. She’s completely spent, and I still want her. One more, Butterfly… just one more.

“I love you,” I say softly as I gently push into her, stroking her long brown hair. I hold her up against me and close my eyes, concentrating on the warmth in our core and moving slow and soft so as not to hurt her after that massive orgasm.

“I love you,” I breathe again as I feel her breath quicken only slightly. Gentle… stay gentle… don’t hurt her… love her, don’t hurt her.

“I love you,” I whisper as I pull her head back to gaze on her face. Her eyes are sleepy—no, exhausted, but I easily read what she feels, her longing for me… not a sexual longing, but the emotional pull that never leaves us, ever present…

I gaze into her eyes for a moment and I don’t know what to do. I want to love her, but I don’t want to hurt her. God, I want to love her so much…

Then love her… like you promised.

I gently lay her on her back, allowing her to straighten her legs, without coming out of her. I loom above her, watching her exhausted expression as she lay with her eyes closed, her head to the side, silently under me.

“I love you,” I say again as I kiss her cheek, her jaw, her ear. I rest my weight on her, then bring my hands down her arms to her hands on either side of her head. Entwining my fingers in her, I gently kiss her cheek again. She turns her head to face me and I gaze momentarily at her before rubbing my nose against hers.

“I love you,” I whisper before taking her lips with mine. A long, passionate kiss ensues that I couldn’t break if I tried, and I begin to move my hips in long, slow, gentle strokes, each thrust saying what my mouth can’t say since my lips are a bit preoccupied.

I love you… I love you… I love you… I love you… I love you…

I finally break the kiss as I’m finding it hard to breath and we both gasp. I continue to drive into her—softly, gently, slowly… but deep, so deep that I would reach in and steal her soul if I could, meld it with my own and make them both live inside of me together… forever…

But then, I wouldn’t have her.

I continue to love her, kiss her, thrust inside her, give her all of me and take all of her for long moments… I have no idea how long; just don’t want it to ever end. After a while, she regains a bit of her strength and wraps her legs around me. The gestures is all the encouragement I need.

“I was nothing before you,” I gasp, still loving her. “I’m nothing without you…!”

“Christian!” she whispers frantically, gripping my hands tight.

“Yes, baby,” I coax. “Feel what I feel for you. It’s too much for me to hold in…”

“Oh, God,” she laments, the energy between us getting thicker, heavier, more charged than it’s ever been.

“Hold on to me, baby,” I beseech her, gripping her hands as she grips mine, driving my hips deep into her as I feel her thighs start to tremble around me. “Stay with me… don’t leave me…”

“I… love you… Christian…” she gasps, her eyes shut tight.

“Look at me,” I beg her. “Please, look at me.” She opens her eyes, those gorgeous jewels of sapphire that strip me of all my defenses. I gasp a sigh as I gaze into my future… my world… I continue to love her, but my chest feels like it’s going to cave in.

“My life begins and ends in your eyes,” I whisper, a surge of… something… running through my body. Butterfly gasps twice as if she can’t breathe. Then her body bows and a mournful cry rips from her throat. At the same time, an invisible hand grabs my body and locks it against hers while that same unknown surge starts from nowhere and ignites me simultaneously from head to toe. I’m fucking dizzy—I don’t know if I’m coming or dying or having a stroke or what! I’m breathing… panting… gasping… but I’m not getting any air. Neither of us can move. Our hands are clenched together and Butterfly’s legs are clenched around my body. My legs, on the other hand, are useless. My face is buried in her neck as I listen to her incoherent murmurings of I don’t know what and wonder if I’m breathing my last breaths. I’ve heard of men dying in the throes of passion—having heart attacks and such… is that what’s happening to me right now?

Does this fucking feel like a heart attack?

My God, she’s divine, and I’m floating or flying or something… the thumping in my penis and the tightening and releasing of my testicles an indication that an orgasm was certainly involved somewhere in the galactic experience that just occurred. I’m useless—weak, wrung out, and sated. My fingers hurt from us squeezing each other’s hands so tightly. Suddenly, I’m not breathless anymore, but I sure the fuck can’t move.

“No more…” Butterfly pants, “please… no more…”

No more, I agree silently, softly kissing all over her face in pure exhaustion. Thank God, because if she hadn’t tapped out after that one, I certainly would have.


A/N: Que c’est beau! —How beautiful

Ana and Christian talk about three scenes in particular throughout their playroom tryst. Here’s where they are…

Stills in a slideshow of me very pregnant and adorned all in red from head to toe—most of them with me looking wantonly up at the camera. (Seeing Red from chapter 9—throbbing pussy pictures)

A scene of Christian edging me with his dick appearing and disappearing between my legs while my arms drape around his neck. (The mirrored room and cameras from chapter 53—You’re a Good Man—Mending Dr. Steele)

Me suspended from that corset in the playroom and Christian’s face buried in my ass. (Chapter 59—Control—Mending Dr. Steele—televised, too. The suspension scene where Ana receives her first tossed salad)          

Narcissus—lots of versions of this story, but here’s the one that I remember. Narcissus was a gorgeous hunter who pretty much hated anybody who loved him. The river nymph Echo fell in love with him, but was previously cursed to only repeat whatever she heard. When she presented herself to him, she could only repeat the questions he asked about her identity, so he shunned her love. As a result, she faded away into broken-hearted darkness until only her voice remains in an occasional hollow glen or space. The goddess of revenge was not pleased with Narcissus and condemned him to fall in love with his own reflection. When the object of his desire—the reflection in the pond—could not requite his love, it is said that Narcissus either died there of a broken heart, pining over himself or he committed suicide, unable to bear the pain anymore. His name is the origin of the word “narcissist,” which of course is someone completely in love with themselves and their self-perceived perfection.  

Respirer, Ana, respirer!—Breathe, Ana, breathe!

Two more to go…

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

There’s also an album of all of Ana’s playroom bling here at https://www.pinterest.com/ladeeceo/playroom-bling/ 

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

Becoming Dr. Grey: Chapter 80—Grey House of Healing

I have gotten requests to write more about Ana and Christian and the babies and I will, but please remember, guys… no one lives in a vacuum. Our lives are not just what happens to us, but also what happens to the people we love. 😉 

There may be a bonus chapter this week if I can get around to it. I don’t feel like the next chapter is really a stand-alone…

Love you guys! 😀

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 80—Grey House of Healing

CHRISTIAN

Butterfly was only around for the first portion of the meeting with me and Ros to be brought up to date on the top tier of what happens with GEH—the very basics of how we select companies for mergers or acquisitions, for example, and how many mergers are in the hopper right now. I thought it would be boring for her and tried to keep it short. I was amazed at how many relevant questions she had. Just how deep into business management did she go when she minored in college?

She got a call during the meeting about Valerie’s arrival at the Crossing this afternoon and decided that she needed to make sure all the final touches were in order. I told her to go on and I would meet her at Elliot’s apartment once I had concluded the meeting with Ros. She’s the only meeting that we set for today since we knew that Valerie and Elliot would be moving in this afternoon. I’m glad she decided to leave, though, because I need to speak to Ros alone.

“May I ask why there was so much tension in the room?” I say when we’re alone. Ros raises her eyes to me.

“I don’t know what you mean,” she lies, turning her attention back to the papers in front of her.

“Don’t give me that shit,” I challenge. “You know exactly what I mean. Am I going to be facing issues with you because my wife is part owner of my business?” She chuckles, mostly to herself as she didn’t raise her head. What the fuck is so goddamn funny?

“I have absolutely no problem whatsoever with Ana or the fact that you have given her controlling shares of the company,” she says matter-of-factly, apparently thinking her sarcasm has gotten past me. I fold my arms.

“Okay, so that means that apparently, your issue must be with me,” I say. She doesn’t answer. “I’m waiting, Ros,” I press. She leans one hand on the desk, the other on her hip as she raises her eyes to me.

“Nobody’s allowed to say anything to you about how you run this business,” she begins. “It doesn’t matter if your decisions are sound or if we feel like they’re ridiculous, heaven forbid anyone try to dispute something you may want to do.” She drops her head back down to the papers in front of her. “… Which is even harder when you’re barely even present.” The last part was added almost as an afterthought and I’m not sure that I was meant to hear it.

“Excuse me?” I retort, my voice sharp and causing her to raise her head to me again. “Do you have something that you need to say to me, Ros, because I don’t have conversations in mumbled tones.” She stands up and squares off with me.

“I have never second-guessed your decisions,” she says. “Even when you chopped up Fairlane without even asking my opinion, I followed you blindly. You run off to foreign countries; leave without telling me anything. I have to run things without knowing whether you’re in the building, in the city, even in the country! At a moment’s notice, I have to pick up the ball and run with it and try to figure out where you left off! It can be a crazy ass rat race and I’m just trying to keep up. You make huge decisions; you don’t tell me anything; and I find out along with the rest of the department heads if I don’t find out in the news!

“So, what else is new?” I ask in amazement. “You knew that was the deal when you signed on. I could be in Seattle today, New York tomorrow, and Tokyo by the end of the week. Nothing has ever changed. Grey Enterprises Holdings, Inc is Grey Enterprises Holdings, Inc because for years, I’ve followed the opportunities wherever they took me. When you signed up with me all those years ago, you knew that. Nothing has changed! Nothing’s changed except for the fact that I have a family now—a wife and children. I still follow the opportunities wherever they lead me. I still make snap judgements that make me a hell of a lot of money on one hand and may lose me a bundle on another. What’s different?”

“I could account for that time, Christian!” she snaps. “I could tell my wife that I’m working late hours and pulling all-nighters because my boss is chasing a deal—because he’s in Taiwan charming the pants off some businessman or factory owner trying to get his hands on some patent or textile or real-estate that we need for some subsidiary, affiliate, or merger with the company. I could justify canceling our vacation because a deal that we had put thousands of man hours into still hadn’t come to fruition if I could promise her a vacation later in the year—a vacation, by the way, that never seems to happen…” I put my hand up to silence her.

“Wait a minute,” this conversation just went south. “Are you telling me that the basis of this conversation is that you can’t account for my time?” My anger is hanging by a very thin thread now. “And I didn’t know anything about any vacations. You haven’t said anything to me.”

“You’re never here!” she snaps. “And what was I supposed to do—tell you to leave your dying wife’s bedside so I could take my wife to Boca?” she shoots.

“How the fuck am I responsible for that?” I retort. “And I tell you every time we’re taking a vacation—when I took her to Anguilla, our honeymoon…”

“You just got back from Anguilla. I didn’t even know you were gone!” she accuses.

“That’s because it was a goddamn day trip!” I’m yelling now. “I’m supposed to tell you about a goddamn day trip?”

“Northern Washington, Montana, Oregon, Napa…” She begins naming off trips I’ve taken with Butterfly over the last year or so.

“All fucking weekends!” I interject.

“Yet, I spend my weekends in this office!” she counters.

“I don’t require that of you!” I respond. “And by the way, I’ve spent many weekends in this office or working at home!”

“I don’t have a choice!” she replies. “If you don’t do the work, who’s left to do it? Somebody has to keep this company running. Somebody has to be available! Somebody has to answer the questions! Somebody has to answer the door when the suitors come knocking! They want answers when they want answers, not when we’re available or when we feel like giving them to them. The world doesn’t stop for our troubles or our whims and certainly not the business world. Somebody has to be there to put out the fires, to make the decisions, to answer the hard questions. These things don’t happen by themselves. I put my whole life on hold for this company. No matter what happens, rain or shine, hell or high water, I’m here. I’m always here—the good man in the storm…”

And now I’m pissed. She’s still talking, but I don’t hear her anymore. This little sawed-off female acts like she’s carrying my company on her back while I’m jet-setting around the world, spending all the money, wining and dining my wife, and living the high life. She acts like I haven’t put my life, my family, and my company on the line to find computer hackers, long-lost assholes dead set on my demise, mob bosses out to find said long lost assholes, attorneys who have been plotting behind my back to possibly take my company from me, miscellaneous subsidiaries that included illegal activities that could have landed me in the same situation as Edward David not to mention funding ex-submissives and useless security companies that were racking up lawsuits right up under my nose, poison pill acquisitions set on ruining my business and reputation before the ink was even dry on the contracts, income statements and cash flow statements showing capital gains and net income for 2013 larger than any year GEH has ever seen…

No, I haven’t been doing any of that. None of that had anything to do with Christian Grey. That was all you, right, Ros? You’ve been running this company, making all the tough decisions and losing all the sleep while I’ve been sipping Mimosas on the French Riviera, right?

I have no idea how long I’ve been silently staring at her, nor do I recall the last thing she said. I vaguely remember her singing her own praises about her value to GEH. I guess the look on my face must have told her that she made a mistake, but it’s too late.

I begin to speak.

“I’m fully aware of your value to GEH, Ros, more aware than you know. And while I do appreciate the huge contribution that you make to this company and the autonomy that it affords me, you need to know that I extend a liberty to you that I don’t extend to many people, and that’s the liberty of being able to speak freely to me. That’s not something that I intend to withdraw anytime soon, but make no mistake, Rosalind…” Her eyes pierce at the use of her formal name. Yes, Rosalind, I mean business. “I am still the pulse of this company. This company is still called Grey Enterprises Holdings, Inc, and I am Grey. So, while my actions and activities may not fall in line with what others might think I should be doing, at the end of the day, I’m still Grey.

“I don’t now, nor have I ever, discounted your value or what you do for me and this company. But unless I’ve missed something on a background check, you haven’t been through half the shit in your entire life that I’ve been through in the last year. Yet, I still manage to come in here and run my damn company—maybe not to your required specifications, but I still manage to get in here and get the job done, turn a little profit in the process, and catch a couple of bad guys.”

I see her visibly begin to shrink where she stands, not totally noticeably… only infinitesimally, but I see it.

“There’s nothing that I do with this business that I can’t do from a satellite office anywhere around the world. However, I like hands-on—face-to-face interaction. When I can’t be there, you’re my person. You’re the other representation of Grey. Your presence has come to strike fear in most boardrooms just like mine does, as if those assholes don’t show you the same respect that they would show me, they usually find their companies at the bottom of the NASDAQ by week’s end. But please be clear.” I stand up and fold my arms. “While I do value you very much, if you ever take that tone with me again about my company or my personal life, I’ll expect your resignation.”

Ros’s piercing green pupils constrict and she swallows, attempting to remain statue still and almost succeeding except for the bobbing in her neck. She licks her lip, pulling the bottom one into her mouth before dropping her gaze, taking a seat in the chair in front of my desk and folding her hands in her lap. I think she’s searching for something to say. She’s accustomed to giving me what for at any time for my shit, but I just reminded her that she’s still a subordinate, and while I hope this conversation doesn’t affect the candor with which we have become accustomed to operating, she still needs to know where to draw the line.

We sit in silence for several moments while I give her a chance to formulate her thoughts. Her next words are crucial. Hell, her next words could be her resignation. I do have to prepare for that. Ros could virtually name her price after working for me, but if she feels like her position gives her permission to speak to me like that, then maybe it is time for her to move on.

She finally clears her throat and starts to speak.

“I hadn’t realized I had become so comfortable in my conversations with you,” she begins. “There are certain things that are appropriate to say, and certain things that definitely should not be said to your superior. After reviewing our conversation, I can see that I have clearly crossed the line. I hope that you can forgive me for that. It won’t happen again.”

Her words are concise and sincere and she makes full eye-contact with me when she says them. I unfold my arms and take my seat.

“I appreciate your edge and candor when we discuss business matters,” I point out. “It helps in the decision-making process. I hope this won’t affect that candor.” She shakes her head.

“No, sir, nothing will change. I’ll just… temper my comments to more appropriate remarks in terms of more sensitive issues.”

She’s choosing her words very carefully. I know that designates a shift in our relationship, but maybe there needs to be. Maybe it’ll be temporary, like mine and Barney’s was. We slipped right back into the comfortable relationship we had before once I realized what an asset he really was to my company and stopped treating him like the computer geek that hid in the basement. Maybe mine and Ros’s relationship will migrate back to the gentle ribbing that it was before, too, but right now, it’ll be candid professionalism for a while.

“Thank you,” I say. “I appreciate that.”

We continue the meeting with me being brought up to date on what’s going with the major deals in the hopper, particularly our progress on Project Fairlane and how his influence is quickly dwindling in the business world. After I made his poison pill stunt known and Farwell backed out of the negotiations with Thomlinson, most of our deals with mutual Fairlane companies have gone through without a hitch. Others are still trying my patience.

Most of the information Ros and I discuss, I already knew with the exception of a few small nuances. Yet, this discussion has brought to light the reality of the changing dynamic of the two business heads of the company—of the fact that each of us have growing relationships and responsibilities. Although Ros hasn’t mentioned it, she may want to start a family. She has a wife after all. To that end, I’m going to have to start putting my feelers out for another Ros—hopefully, not a replacement, just another brain and set of hands to help us out. But I also must prepare myself for the eventuality that I may be losing my second in command.

That had to be the most stressful meeting of the week so far. When it’s over, I call out to Andrea.

“Come in here for a moment, please,” I tell her. She comes in and brings her tablet. “Close the door.” She frowns deeply, but closes the door behind her. I gesture to one of the chairs in front of my desk and run my hands through my hair.

“I need you to see if you can get Sharice Melbourne on the line.” Her brow furrows.

“The head hunter?” she asks with uncertainty. I nod.

“Yes, I may need her services, and Andrea, I need absolute discretion with this. No one knows about this but me and you.” She pauses only for a moment, then nods.

“Should I… I mean… what should I… tell her?” she asks, hesitantly. I know what she’s getting at, especially since Ros just left my office. I sit back in my chair.

“Tell her that I’m looking for an executive vice-president. Once again, discretion is crucial. I’m not looking to replace Ros—at least not right now and hopefully, not ever, but it looks like we’re going to need a third.”

“A third… okay.” She drops her head and starts tapping into her tablet.

“Something you want to say, Andrea?” I ask, firmly. She raises her eyes but not her head and shakes firmly before returning her gaze to her tablet. “Out with it, Andrea,” I press. She raises her eyes again before resting her hands and tablet in her lap.

“Sir, you and Rosalind have very strong personalities. I don’t know how a third is going to fit into that dynamic. Even if they sign on, I wouldn’t expect to see them last more than six months between the two of you.” I fold my hands on the desk.

“I may not have a choice,” I say flatly. “That meeting was ominous, to say the least. My senior vice-president has given me the indication that she is less than enchanted with the status quo. So, although I have no intention of replacing her, I have to prepare for the possibility.” Andrea nods.

“I’ll get in touch with Ms. Melbourne.”

*-*

“You were quite the busy little bee,” I say when I get back to Grey Crossing. I had intended on meeting Butterfly at Elliot’s to help retrieve some of his and Valerie’s things, but when I called to tell her that I was on the way, she just told me to come to the Crossing instead.

“Elliot called and told me that he’s pushing to get Val out of the hospital as soon as possible. So, I just grabbed some of the staff, went over to his place and basically packed nearly every personal item they owned and had it moved over here. If I’ve missed something, we can go back for it later.”

I nod. She’s changed into another pair of those damn genie pants that fall over her ass so sexy and a wraparound crop top. Even though she’s moving around like the Energizer bunny, I can’t help snatching her back into my arms and kissing her deeply—so deeply that it feels like we’ll meld into one; so deeply that anybody walking by would feel the passion of our kiss in their lips.

I move slowly, meticulously in this kiss, surprising her and snatching her will away such that she’s spaghetti in my arms, hanging there helplessly, her arms at her side and allowing me to devour her. Her surrender is arousing and I take full advantage of it, my lips bruising and never leaving hers until I’ve completely gotten my fill of this one kiss. Her reaction when I stop is even more arousing.

When I finally pull my mouth away from hers, she stands there hanging in my arms. Her eyes closed and her lips parted like she’s still suspended in the kiss. Her breathing is… strange, like she’s deliberately controlling it. The steady rise and fall of her chest is fueling my need for her. I feel heat radiating from her skin and if there was a mating call for my soul, she’s emitting it right now!

“Baby…” Each syllable of the word drags slowly from my mouth, full of all the need and desire I’m feeling for her right now.

“Huh?” she whispers, never opening her eyes. That doesn’t fucking help.

“You have no idea how much I want to take you to our Playroom right this second!” I breathe against her lips. I literally feel her pulse rate and temperature rise against her skin as I caress her bare back and play in the garden.

“Yes!” she whispers, totally forgetting that we’re expecting my brother and his girlfriend to descend upon us.

Fuck, she’s completely dazed… totally at my mercy… That shit is so hot right now. The things I would do to her in this state… the ways I would make her come, push her limits, fill the minutes and hours with mindless pleasure for both of us.

Fuck! Elliot and Valerie will be here any minute… Fuck! Fuck! Fuck! A new Playroom, a totally willing and subspaced submissive who isn’t even in the Playroom yet, and pending guests… a Dom’s worst nightmare.

“Another time, Baby,” I promise. “We’ve got people coming.” I kiss her neck gently. “Come back to me, you sexy vixen. Come on, breathe.” I remove my hands from the garden, but keep them firmly planted on her hips for stability for fear that if I let her go, she’d collapse into a useless mound of goo on the floor. She breathes with me and slowly comes back to herself and I almost hate to see her leave that trance. Damn! Damn! Damn! I don’t know how I got her into it, but I sure the fuck wish I knew how to repeat it.

“My brother…” I begin.

“… And Valerie… yes,” she breathes, swallowing hard. “I… want to make sure we have… something ready for her to eat when she gets here—in case she’s hungry.”

“You’re a good friend,” I say, fighting hard not to grab her and kiss her again. “Go on. I’ll go get ready to greet them. I know they’ll be here any minute.” She nods once and saunters her sexy ass out of the room and towards the elevator. Fuck, my dick is throbbing. This fucking yearning is not going away any time soon. I know this need has partially been brought on by the slip in my control during that meeting with Ros today. I know that she’s under no misconception that she stepped wrong today and I’m positive that it won’t happen again. Yet, I’m facing the very real possibility of losing her, and that’s definitely not an ideal situation for me.

These things happen. Executives disagree all the time and either they get over it or decide to move on to other opportunities. But I must admit that I never pictured GEH without Ros and it’s causing me more than a small amount of anxiety.

Maybe Butterfly is tuned in to that need, like she was the very first time she subbed for me and knew that I needed to regain control… or like that nearly disastrous time in Anguilla, another instance where I had a desperate need to regain control. I don’t know. All I know right now is that her body and demeanor are screaming to me like a fucking siren call and whatever happens, I’ve got to keep this desire on a leash for at least a few more agonizing hours. It’s going to be a long ass night.


ANASTASIA

“I didn’t think I’d ever see the inside of this place again,” Valerie says when Elliot wheels her into the grand entry, “that is, unless I crashed Easter brunch looking for Elliot again.” We laugh nervously, but that slight discomfort will change after she’s here for a while. Christian had a private ambulance bring her to the house and much to our surprise, Dr. Moab signed off on Val’s release right after Dr. Hill cleared her to go home. She’s tired right now because she had today’s radiation treatment before she left the hospital. Her nurse will come once a day in the morning. Her radiation treatments will be right before lunchtime, Monday through Friday. Her first caregiver is set to arrive right after she returns from the hospital and will stay through the afternoon and evening. The second caregiver will arrive in the evening and stay all night. Elliot insists on there only being two caregivers right now as he still wants to take care of his “Angel” some of the time, but concedes that the help will allow him some much-needed sleep.

“I’m glad you were wrong about that,” I tell her as we walk to the elevator. “You’ll like what we’ve done for you in the guest room. You should be really comfortable. If there’s anything that you want, please let us know.”

We’re quiet during the elevator ride up and Val is so tired, her head just lolls off to the side while Elliot is pushing her chair. I want to get her to bed so that she can relax.

“You’ll love this bed,” I tell them as we step off the elevator. “There’s a Sleepnumber store in Bellevue and the hospital supply nearby. So, Christian was able to get them to install the hospital bracket on the side of the bed.” Val smiles widely when we get to the bedroom. We’ve moved a lot of her things from Elliot’s apartment in so that they could feel at home.

“Oh, this is really nice,” she says in a soft voice, “so much nicer than the hospital.” Her voice cracks on the last word, but I think it’s more from exhaustion than emotion.

“That bed is the business,” Elliot says. “You wanna test it out, Angel?” Val nods, so he locks the wheels on the wheelchair while I turn down the duvet. He lifts her out of the wheelchair and places her gently into the bed. The comfort registers immediately on her face.

“So much nicer,” she confirms as she settles into comfort. Elliot removes her shoes and she declines having the blankets placed over her.

“How are we doing?” Christian’s voice booms into the room and destroys my entire train of thought. I immediately remember that kiss from earlier, the one that burned through me and turned my body to mush; dominated me without him saying a word. I can suddenly feel my temperature rise as he crosses the room, closing the space between us. I part my lips to get a little air in, imagining his hands on me, his mouth on me…

“Damn, Montana, do you need a knife and fork?”

Now, it’s Elliot’s voice that breaks my train of thought.

“Huh?” I ask, tearing my gaze from my husband and looking at Elliot.

“Oh, nothing. It’s just that ‘fuck me’ look that you just gave my brother made me think you might have wanted to put him on a plate and gobble him up properly.”

“What in the hell are you talking about?” Christian interjects. “And how the hell would you know my wife’s ‘fuck me’ look?”

“Because I’ve seen it before,” he says matter-of-factly. “Anybody who has ever been within 50 feet of you two has seen it before… the wedding, on Thanksgiving when we walked in on coitus interruptus, any given Sunday—but the most memorable one had to be that day right before you went into the hospital, when Kate sent her flowers. You remember, Montana?” I roll my eyes, remembering the Faint Heard ‘Round Seattle.

“How can I forget?” I lament. The week he nearly starved himself to death.

“That was the week I started therapy. I thought you sent the flowers and I made a comment about it. Apparently, the night before must have been a real doozy or something, because at the mere mention of your name, she drifted off into ‘Bend-Me-Over-And-Do-Me-Dirty’ Land with me standing right there and you weren’t even in the room. That’s pussy control!”

“El!” Val scolds, laughing as heartily as her weakened state would allow. I roll my eyes at him.”

“You’re such a child, Elliot,” I say, waving him off.

But is he wrong?
No, he’s not wrong, but I don’t want to get all flushed and flustered while standing here trying to get my friend settled in.
Um-hmm…

“Why don’t you go do something useful and find me something to eat so that I can talk to Ana?” Val says.

“You tryna get rid of me already?” he asks, gently squeezing her calf.

“Never,” she says softly, giving him a gentle smile. He cups her face and gazes into her eyes.

“I’ll see what I can scare up,” he says, kissing her softly on the lips before he and Christian go to find something for her to eat, leaving us alone. I know that there’s already something prepared for just such and emergency, so I turn my attention to Val as we won’t have that much alone time.

“That hospital room was killing me,” she says. “Whatever help the radiation may have been doing, the depression was killing the effects.” She fixes her gaze straight ahead before closing her eyes and releasing a mournful, anguished sigh. “Six months…” she breathes, “six whole months of my life.” Feeling her dismay, I move around to the other side of the queen-sized bed and climb in next to my friend, just in time to see a tear roll down her cheek.

“I was up for a promotion at work, you know,” she says sadly. “I didn’t mention anything because it was your birthday. I had the best numbers over five quarters… five quarters! I know Stockton was about to offer me ‘partner.’ I’m sure of it.” More tears join the one that fell down her cheek. “I couldn’t have been happier. I had all my friends. I had fallen in love with a great guy. You had just gotten married! And having twins! I was supposed to help decorate the nursery and buy way too many clothes for Mackenzie. I would have had to convince Elliot to buy for Michael. I’m horrible with little boys’ clothes.”

“You’re talking like all of this stuff is over,” I say. “We’re going to beat this. Everything’s going to be fine. Your godchildren are ten weeks old, not going off to college.” She smiles.

“My godchildren,” she repeats. “That sounds wonderful.” She sighs. “But I’ll never get the respect back that I earned in my company. I’m debating not going back to work. Elliot says I don’t have to.” I gasp.

“You love your job!” I exclaim.

Loved,” she corrects me. “I don’t even know if I can do it now.” She pauses. “I need you to help me through this, Ana. I need a professional to help me and right now, nobody can. I can’t even talk to anybody; I can’t open up. I can’t let them in. I tried. I need you, Ana. I need you to help me.” I know exactly what she’s asking me and I shake my head. This is the one thing that I have to deny her.

“I can’t be your shrink, Val,” I tell her. “I’m way too close to the situation. It affected me, too, remember?”

“That’s why I need you,” she says. “I need someone that was there to hear what I was going through and help me work through it, help me come to grips with a few things so I can have some closure. If you weren’t a shrink and I had to see someone else, I’d have you coming to every session with me. This way, I can have the best of both worlds.”

This is why. I always knew, because I’m a professional, but just like I told Ron two years ago when I quit volunteering at the community center. I’m a person first, and I couldn’t really filter or rationalize the professional through my feelings, then or when this first happened to me, when Maxie first dumped me, but I know now. From the other side, I see what she meant. And the very reason why I would be the ideal person for the job is the very reason why I can’t do it.

“I won’t be able to help you, Val,” I protest, “to give you the professional guidance that you desperately need and deserve… I love you too much to be objective, and the pain goes so deep that it’ll cloud my judgment.”

“That’s why I need you,” she says, finally breaking down into gentle, exhausted weeping. “I swear, I swear I’ll go get some help later. I’ll talk to someone and I’ll get all fixed up, but right now… I need my friend, my sister to help me through this. I need the one who knows me and saw me, the one who was there, to help me work through what I saw and what I said and what I felt… and what I did to others. Someone who doesn’t know me, doesn’t love me, can’t help me break through all this. Can’t begin to help me sort this out. I need you. I know this is a horrible thing I’m asking you to do and I feel like shit for putting you through this. I’ll pay you double if I have to.” What the…? I glare at her.

“You heifer!” I hiss. “If you offer me money…” I scold, leaving the words hanging in the air and allowing her to finish the thought for herself. She looks at me with sad eyes.

“Ana… please…”

The words cut through me like sharp, hot steel. Dammit! Dammit! Dammit. For the very reason that I’m not the person for this job, I have to do this job. I sigh. I can’t turn her down. I rub her arm.

“Okay,” I tell her. “I’ll do it.” The sigh that follows is filled with tears.

“Thank you,” she weeps.

“Yeah, yeah, yeah,” I say, trying to make light of the situation so that she doesn’t fall apart. “Of course, you don’t want to start right now.”

“Yes, I do, but in a few minutes… not this very second.” She snatches the scarf off her head. It’s a beautiful scarf. It looks like Hermes. “These things drive me absolutely goddamn, fucking batshit!” she says as I examine the healing scar on her head that looks a lot like a giant question-mark.

Val's Scar

“It doesn’t matter if it’s the softest cotton, the finest silk, or the smoothest satin, it feels like a fucking vise on my head! I can’t stand it!”

“Well, you’re home now, Sweetie, why do you still wear it?” She gives me a look that tells me exactly why she wears it with no further questions. Elliot. She doesn’t want him to see her without it.

“My hair was nearly as long as yours,” she says, her voice full of sorrow. “When they told me that they would have to cut it all off, it gutted me. I made them braid it and cut it so that it could be donated to another cancer patient.” My heart swells.

“Oh, Val,” I say, grasping her hand. In her own time of sorrow, when the tumor had taken her away from us, she was still thinking of others. She had never left us; she was here all along. She closes her eyes and shakes her head, smiling sadly and pushing tears out of her eyes.

“It is what it is,” she says. “It’ll grow back… maybe… after a couple of years or so.” I lay on the pillow next to her and look at her face.

“You’re beautiful, Val,” I say. “I know you miss your hair, but you really are beautiful.” She nods and wipes her tears.

“This isn’t about me feeling sorry for myself…”

“Yes, it is,” I correct her. “It’s about every single thing you’re feeling and you need to talk about every little thing you feel and don’t hold back.” She nods.

“I know what you all said,” she says, “but I promise to make this up to you… all of you. I have to. You’ve all been my family and I feel like I… God, I was so shitty. I know it wasn’t really me, but I still see it. I still remember it. I still…” I hear Elliot’s voice down the hall and watch Val scramble to put her scarf back on. I feel terrible that she’s so concerned about how her head looks at a time like this, but I help her adjust it before Elliot gets to the room.

“You’ve got your own section of the Subzero down there,” he says with an accomplished smile as he enters the room with the rolling Butler covered with an amazing spread of food and service for four. “Nothing but organic fruits and vegetables, special milk products, grain-fed poultry, the whole nine yards.” He takes a plate and starts to load it for her—fruit salad and vegetables to start. “You can have some protein if you can keep this down. I brought enough for you, too, Montana, but you have to help yourself. I need to feed my girl.”

Christian and I load our plates with chicken and veggie kabobs, fresh steamed vegetables and pita bread with fruit salad and cranberry spritzers on the side. Elliot is comfortable on the bed facing Valerie, feeding her fresh fruits and vegetables, then fresh chunks of grilled chicken and pieces of pita bread dipped in hummus. She eats well, not gluttonous, but good and healthy servings that will give her more strength. Christian and I notice immediately from out perches at the bistro table that we had put in this room for meals for Elliot and Val, but he’s quite content just sitting on the bed and feeding Valerie, both of them sharing private jokes and laughing.

Elliot is always the funny man, serious when it comes to his work, but a joke for you almost every time you see him. Watching him with Val, he’s tender and attentive. His love for her radiates from his skin. I’m beginning to believe that part of the fate that is me and Christian is also that they needed to meet… to be together… so that he could help her through this.

Christian and I eat quietly at the tiny bistro table. He and I are enjoying one right now, a quiet meal fraught with some unknown tension while we watch his brother dote on my friend.

I don’t know what’s happening between us or what’s going on. All I know is that earlier, when he kissed me—at that moment, all I wanted to do was be his submissive. All I wanted was for him to take me and dominate me… do whatever he needed to do to me. I didn’t want to think about it. I just wanted to turn total control over to him and allow him to take me on whatever journey he wanted—I knew no matter where we went, there would be endless and unbelievable pleasure.

It was at that moment that I realized I needed my Dom. We had dabbled and played, but besides punishments, we haven’t had any serious playtime since Escala. I needed it—I need it—and although I don’t know how to ask for it, my body and mind responded to my Dom immediately and waited for commands when he showed up. I ache for him now and I have no idea how to show him this is what I need without blatantly saying, “take me to the playroom.” That’s topping from the bottom and won’t work with my Dom.

I found myself gravitating towards him all evening. Wherever he is, I have to be. I curl into him at every opportunity, like a kitten walking between your feet and rubbing against your leg. I don’t make eye-contact with anybody as I do this, not even him. I don’t want to make eye-contact with anyone. I have a yearning to be his right now and I don’t think I care who knows it. Now, here at this table with hardly no space between us, I just want to crawl into his lap or sit at his feet or something.

When he reaches across the table and touches my hand, I suck in a breath, attempting to be inconspicuous. I think I succeed—Elliot and Val don’t react, but then, they’re so engrossed in each other that I don’t think they could. The reaction doesn’t escape my Dom, though. He gently rubs his thumb over the back of my hand and it’s fire on my skin. I have to fight to keep still, to keep from panting, from this tiny little touch.

What’s wrong with me?

I raise my eyes without raising my head and peer at him through my lashes. He swallows hard, his expression dark and hungry. His lips part just a little, the tip of his tongue caressing the tender, wet flesh of his inner lip. His eyes pierce through me, gray slate cutting through my defenses and breaking through all resistance, reaching into that place where his submissive sits, waiting—quietly on her knees, hands spread on her thighs, anxiously awaiting his instruction as he places his hand on her chin and gently lifts her face so that her gaze meets his…

“The only two people in the world I’ve ever seen who can fuck with their eyes,” Elliot says, breaking the spell between.

“Elliot!” Val scolds as Christian breaks his promise gaze with me, leaving me breathless.

“What?” he laughs. “They’re making it easy. Every time I look at ‘em, she’s looking like a man-eater and he’s looking like he’ll gobble her up in one bite. You can’t miss it! He’d mount her on that table if we weren’t in this room!”

He’s right. I can’t deny it. Christian’s dominant energy is flowing through me and consuming me. If he told me to drop trou, I’d do it… right here, right in front of them.

“Are you saying that you’ve never looked at me with ‘fuck me’ eyes?” Val accuses.

“I’ve looked at you many times with ‘fuck me’ eyes, and the same goes for you to me, but then we usually get down to business. We don’t sit there eye-fucking each other. Those two…” He points at me and Christian. “They can have a whole session without leaving that table, right where they’re sitting,” he adds, with a chuckle.

“You’re making my wife uncomfortable, Elliot,” Christian says, sweetly, but in that voice… and I never take my eyes off him. Elliot laughs.

“She doesn’t look uncomfortable to me,” he says, his voice full of mirth.

“Okay, okay, enough of teasing my friend. El, Ana’s going to be my shrink,” she tells him, “my initial shrink. She’s going to help me work through some things that no one else is going to be able to help me through and then, if I still need it, I’ll get help from an objective stranger. So, if you don’t mind, I’m going to need some more alone-time with my doctor and best friend.”

I tear my gaze from my breathtaking Dominant, his pull getting stronger and stronger by the second, then turn to look at Elliot and Val. Elliot’s eyes are unreadable at first, all of the prior mirth now gone from his face, but he says nothing. Christian and I move towards the door, not quite sure how Elliot is taking being dismissed from the room… well, not so much dismissed, but asked to leave nonetheless. Christian kisses me softly on the lips, then again… warming me all the way down to my fucking core, but doesn’t say a word before turning and leaving the room. I swallow hard and try to compose myself as I turn toward Val and Elliot, trying to decide if I should just make a hasty getaway instead.

Elliot gently cups Val’s face, staring for a long time into her eyes before he kisses her forehead, then gently kisses her lips. Without a word, he moves past me and I catch his hand before he gets by me. Is he angry with me for hogging her time? I’m not doing it on purpose. He turns his head slightly to me with red-rimmed, tired, glassy eyes and mouths “Thank you.” I can only nod as I release his hand and allow him to leave the room. I suddenly feel the emptiness and absence of my Dom’s departure, but I refocus and turn my attention to my sister and friend, closing the door so that she can feel more comfortable about opening up.

“Where would you like to start?” I ask, walking back over to the bed. I pull a chair next to her and sit down, giving her my undivided attention.

“I’d like to start at the beginning, but I don’t know where the beginning is,” she says, wearily.

“Are you too tired?” I ask. “We can do this later. There’s no rush…” She shakes her head.

“No, I want to get started now,” she protests. “It doesn’t have to be too in depth, but I want to lay some kind of foundation as quickly as possible.” As she once again removes her scarf and rubs her bald scalp for comfort, I suddenly have a terrible fear… a sickening, familiar feeling from the last time someone wanted to move quickly and looked very much like my friend looks now.

“Valerie,” I say, unable to hide my fear. “This… this isn’t… dignity therapy, is it?” I swallow hard, remember when Melanie needed to rush to get through her words and would see no one but me, right before she gave me that damn video of what happened in Green Valley. Her eyes grow large.

“No!” she says, emphatically. “I mean, I know there’s always a chance, but… nobody told me I was dying!” I sigh heavily, relief flooding my body.

“Okay,” I breathe, “Okay, I’m sorry… it’s just that… Pops isn’t doing too well and I’ve only done dignity therapy twice in my life and… well, never mind… that’s not what this is, so…” Val grabs my flailing hand to halt my rambling.

“I’m not dying, Steele,” she says, using my prior name to ground me. “These radiation treatments are hell, but no one told me that I’m kicking the bucket yet, okay?”

I nod, looking into her sincere blue eyes. Her eyes are a color of blue that mine will never get. Her eyes are powder blue or baby blue, almost silver, even at their darkest. The lightest my eyes will ever get is azure, like the color of a midwinter sky.

“Why… don’t I just let you start?” I say, nervously, now cupping her hand in both of mine. She nods.

“I started feeling different when you were planning your wedding,” she says, dropping her eyes, “after you got back from Montana. The smallest things would irritate me and I didn’t know why. You were the first—the biggest target from the very beginning. I can’t give you a reason… I don’t have one. All I can tell you is what I thought and what I felt, but yeah, it started then.”

I remember that wedding planning meeting we had when I came back from Montana and at Jason’s welcome home lunch when he came back from the hospital. Val was vicious in some of her questions and accusations. Well, vicious may be too strong a word. How about confrontational? Yes, that would be a better description.

“I, um… I remember,” I say. “It was a tense time and some of the things you said were definitely out of character. I chalked it up to the high emotions of the situation at the time, especially since we ‘kissed and made up,’” I say, doing the finger quotes. “You’re saying that you think that might have been the beginning?” She nods.

“At least as far back as I can remember,” she says. “You know how I said that it was like watching a horror film that you couldn’t get out of? Like I was screaming at the screen asking the character what the fuck she was doing?” She shrugs as I nod.

“Some of the shit that was coming out of my mouth, I was like ‘what the hell is your fucking problem?’ As time progressed, I would hear and see little smug comments—even more smug that usual—coming out of my mouth towards you and others, but it didn’t seem like such a big deal. People knew to blow me off, didn’t pay much attention to me… until your birthday.”

I’ve been waiting for months to hear exactly what was going through her mind on my birthday. Even now, even though I know that it was the tumor talking, probably had grown to the point where it was really causing the most damage—I still needed to know what was going through her head when she snapped on me… when she said those horrible things to me. As if she was reading my mind, she pats the bed next to her, a signal for me to join her. I abandon my chair and crawl in next to her. We entwine our fingers like we did in college and she lays her head on my shoulder.

“Everything I said was true,” she begins and I feel a sharp pang in my chest. “Hear me out, please,” she says, clinging to my hand. “You’ve had things that you may have wanted to say to me, but you’ve tempered them because of our friendship. You still got your point across, but your words went through a filter because you love me and I’m not just some random bitch on the street.” She raises her eyes to me.

“Yes,” I say, keeping my words to a minimum, because I want her to do all the talking.

“I remember that entire day,” she says, “the day we broke up. It never stopped playing in my head over and over again. Every time I thought to come and tell you what I thought was really going on, the tumor took over like a demon and convinced me not to do it. Whenever you showed up, the tumor convinced me that you were the enemy, and I lashed… I lashed out to protect myself from you… from the hurt of not having you in my life… from you slashing me with the truth that I was being an irrational, childish bitch even though I couldn’t stop it. There were times when you would walk into the room or you would be sitting somewhere and I would see my friend. I would just watch you and not say anything…”

She did that at Grey Manor last Christmas. I remember seeing her and seeing Val for a fleeting second, right before Tumor Val returned.

“The minute I tried to process the words to come out of my mouth to greet you, they were gone. The feelings were gone, and that bitterness came back.” She sighs heavily.

“I felt singled out because I was the only one in the room who wasn’t married,” she says, even though she wasn’t. Marilyn was there with us, too, but that oversight could be attributed to Tumor Val. “And then the scrutiny I was getting when I said that me and Elliot didn’t want to get married.”

An unknown emotion flashes across her face, but it’s gone as soon as it appears.

“I did think your weddings were large and ostentatious. Max had a double-digit wedding party. You got married in a castle, for Christ’s sake… on the waterfront… and rode away into the moonlight in a classic fucking Bentley! Come on, Steele, that’s as ostentatious as it gets… but that was fine, because that’s what you wanted. You two could afford it; you wanted it; you got it; and you deserved it! I was making the point that it’s not what El and I want or need, but it immediately looked like I was firing off at you and Max, because that’s what you had, and that’s why I said, ‘no offense.’”

I remain silent, nodding while she expounds her tale.

“From there, the whole thing just went downhill. Yes, I felt like you were shutting us out and wanted you to tell me why in the world you and Christian were having problems so soon after you guys had gotten married—what was so bad that caused you to go MIA—and yes, I wanted to know if it had anything to do with cheating since you alluded that Christian was so angry. But there was no way in hell I would expect you to answer that question in front of your mother-in-law and I have no idea why I said it. When you came back about not wanting to talk about it, I saw it as an immediate attack and fled before I said something I would regret.

“When I came back and you were crying, I was livid, and I can tell you that I didn’t know which Valerie was angry. Marilyn had come back to tell me that it wasn’t a big deal, that I could come back and we could just talk things out. But when I saw you weeping and everyone falling at your feet, so to speak, I just felt like ‘Oh, here comes big bad Valerie!’ And though nobody said anything or accused me of anything, I felt like I was the villain that was ruining your birthday. I just needed to leave.”

I remember feeling super-sensitive about what she said about my wedding. Hindsight being 20/20, I most likely contributed to the subsequent blow-up by not knowing that the tumor was fueling the delivery of some of the things that she said. I reached back into the pain that I was feeling from her comments about my wedding when the rest of the conversation was going on.

“I had all afternoon for Meg to talk to me…” I frown and interrupt her for the first time.

“Who… the fuck is Meg?” I ask. She laughs and squeezes my hand.

“The tumor,” she says. “I named it shortly after we discovered it was there. The bitch was the bane of my existence. I figured it deserved an identity.”

I just nod. It seemed logical to me.

“So… that’s the day I think Meg fully took over. It was gradual before that… little things became big things and they would just irritate me. But once Meg took over, I was hearing things that people weren’t even saying to me; seeing things that people weren’t doing; interpreting shit completely the wrong way. ‘Good morning’ meant ‘my day is going fabulous; I bet yours sucks.’ I was so disagreeable, people stopped speaking to me after a while and then I became resentful of that.”

She sighs heavily and I can’t help but hope she gets back to the way she behaved the night we broke up. I had cried for hours, and when I didn’t think I could cry any longer, I had cried some more. This is my chance to get complete closure on that and although I’m letting her talk as part of her treatment, I need this therapy, too.

“That passive-aggressive bullshit I did at the lodge on your birthday…” Here we go… “… that was Meg; that wasn’t me. She niggled my nerve every time your mouth opened and I sighed or heaved or puffed or some other childish reaction. Of course, I knew it would set you off, but Meg didn’t care. And yes, I did feel like you changed… I know you changed, but you had to. The life you’re living, the man you married, all of it required that you change. Logical Me knew that; Meg was like ‘Who does this bitch think she is?’ I know it’s impossible and illogical for you to have lived the same way and done the same things that you did before you became Mrs. Christian Grey.

“And yes,” she admits, “I—Logical Me—felt very slighted that your best girlfriends were being left out of the intimate details of your life. Even now, Logical Me still has to process that not everything is any of my damn business. But Logical Me can process that and still understand that there are some parts of your life that I’m not going to be privy to. Meg… no, just no. This high-and-mighty bitch thinks she’s too good to talk to us now and here we go. Hang out all of your dirty laundry and say the most hurtful things I could think of to say in an attempt to quench Meg’s anger.”

She looks at our hands clenched together and swallows hard, sighing thereafter and stretching her neck as if saying these things is causing physical exertion… it probably is, come to think of it.

“One of the worst things I had ever heard was the next morning when Christian explained what my antics had reduced you to. I’ll never forget that shit. It was like somebody branded the Scarlet Bitch across my chest.”

Okay, I could have gone my entire life without that particular analogy, but I simply must know what brought on that strong a reaction.

“You were gone when I woke. When did Christian talk to you?” I ask.

“He didn’t,” she laments. “He was out by the fire pit talking to Elliot. It had to be about four o’clock in the morning and he was drinking a beer. He didn’t know I was there until… well, until he said everything I didn’t want to hear.”

“What… what did…” I so want to know, but I don’t know how to ask.

“What did he say?” she says, with a sad smile. I nod. “He told Elliot that I had gained ‘Kate status’ with him,” she says, doing the finger quotes around Kate status. “He said he would never forgive me for breaking your heart; that you cried for hours before he forced you to fall asleep, then you woke up all night crying some more and begging him to tell you that you had dreamed the whole thing.” Two tears fall from her eyes, and she quickly wipes them away before she continues.

“He said something about having to force-feed you when you awoke because when you two were fighting, all you did was vomit and sleep and you lost eight pounds even though you were pregnant. Elliot tried to get him to elaborate, but he wouldn’t, saying that you guys only talk to each other about it. When I realized that he wouldn’t even tell his brother and whatever it was caused Grace to stop speaking to you guys, I really felt like shit.”

I had no idea Christian had this conversation with Elliot, and the fact that he didn’t reveal what was going on with us to his own brother even though his mother already knew makes me love him even more.

“Christian was beyond enraged,” she continues. “He was talking about how we fought about your ‘wedding for show…’” Finger quotes again, “… and how I took your worst experiences and threw them back in your face. How I dogged you for having security around all the time when it was something that couldn’t be avoided because of who you were and what had already happened to you. How he planned on taking you away for every birthday after this because every time he plans something, you get hurt, and he thought you would never recover from this. That… that’s when I learned that I was supposed to be the twins’ godmother.”

I raise my eyes to her profile and her face is covered with tears now. She just let them fall while she recited what she heard that night. She starts to weep fully and I take her in my arms.

“Please, don’t cry, Val,” I tell her. “The stress is no good for you. I know you want to let this go, and that’s good—better out than in, but don’t linger, okay?” She weeps a moment longer, then nods on my shoulder and wipes her eyes before straightening herself.

“And so…” she says, pulling herself together, “that’s brings you up to date on Bitchy Val or Tumor Val or Meg or however we’re going to refer to it. Everything after that was like being controlled by puppet strings. I could see what was happening… hear what I was saying… but no matter how I tried, I couldn’t control it. When you ignored me… pretended I wasn’t there, it pissed Meg off even more. I swear there were two people living in my head…” I know that feeling, “… only she was the one with all the control and I could only watch while she ruined my life.”

And there it is, the entire explanation that I’ve been looking for since our break-up last October.

“You know you have to forgive yourself, right?” I say, and she shakes her head. “Yes, Val, you do. We all make mistakes of our own doing, but you didn’t even have control over this. You were severely under the influence and didn’t even have the benefit—if you can call it that—of being drunk or high. We all understand that and we’ve all forgiven you. If you decide to go back to work, they’ll forgive you, too. You have to let yourself off the hook.”

“I’ve changed, Steele,” she says. “I’m not the same person. I want different things… I have different priorities. I’m really not sure I’ll be going back to work. Of course, I have to see what happens with my progress, but…” There’s a knock at the door and then the door starts to open. Valerie gasps and starts to scramble, searching through the covers. I’m wondering what’s wrong and I don’t realize until she covers her head with both hands just as Elliot crosses the threshold.

Elliot’s eyes soften and I can see the transformation from clean across the room… a mix of longing and anguish and need and several more emotions that I can’t name. His eyes are fixed on Val as she sits against the back of the adjustable bed covering her bald head with her hands, her eyes filled with horror and quickly filling with tears.

Elliot slowly makes his way across the room, still gazing at his girlfriend. Her body trembles with a muffled sob, though no tears escape her eyes. Elliot reaches for her hands and grasping them in either of his, he removes them from her head and gently kisses each palm before placing them in her lap. Another shuddering breath escapes her chest as a single tear slides down her cheek. Elliot cups her face in his hands, wiping her tear away with his thumb.

He holds her face up so that her gaze can meet his and stares at her for many moments… many silent moments… and suddenly, I feel like a voyeur.

“Montana? Can you leave now?” he says, never taking his eyes off Val. “I really need to be alone with my girl.”

Without a word, I slide out of the bed and quietly tread to the door. As I’m closing it behind me, I see him placing gentle kisses on her shaved scalp and her scar, her eyes closed in utter bliss.

I stand against the wall and take a moment to remember the time when I didn’t want Christian—or anybody—to see the shaved portion of my head. My hair was still so long, but I felt so ugly and unattractive after losing such a large patch of it behind my ear. Christian massaged, caressed, and kissed it every chance he got. He even bought a shit-ton of accessories so that I could dress it up to make me feel better. Every day, he went out of his way to make me look and feel beautiful, even though I felt just the opposite.

He carried me every chance he got—never breaking a sweat—when I was 894 pounds carrying our twins.

He made the sweetest love to me even when I couldn’t see my feet. Somehow, our bodies always fit together.

He told me and anybody who would listen how beautiful I was, and always made me feel like the belle of the ball no matter where we went.

He’s been my knight in shining Armani since the very beginning, and there are many times I don’t know what I would have done had he not been there to hold me up.

I don’t know how long I stand there, but my train of thought is broken by Valerie’s voice.

“El…” she keens softly, and whatever’s happening on the other side of that door, I need to step away and allow them their privacy.


A/N: drop trou—To lower one’s pants down to one’s ankles, often in a sudden, impulsive manner, thus exposing one’s nether regions; short for “dropping your trousers.”

Three more to go…

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~~love and handcuffs