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
“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…
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.”
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.
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.
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,
“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.
“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…
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.
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?
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/
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