Raising Grey: Chapter 7—Counting Down To The Ferryman

We all seemed to have some powerful reactions to Ana’s and Christian’s behavior. I’m just going to try to keep the story going.

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 7—Counting Down To The Ferryman

ANASTASIA

“You and Christian are fighting,” Pops says, when I come into his room the next day. I sigh.

“Yes, we are,” I say with no hesitation. He didn’t come to bed last night. He wasn’t there when I awoke. I showered and changed and he wasn’t at breakfast… and he’s not here now. Elliot and Val kept looking at me all through breakfast like I might spontaneously combust right there on the spot. Grace kept throwing concerned glances at me while Carrick acted as if he was afraid to even look in my direction.

“Why?” he asks.

“Don’t worry about it, Pops,” I tell him. “It doesn’t even bear repeating.”

“If it doesn’t bear repeating, child, then it’s not worth fighting over.” Well, Pops, my husband wants to blame someone for your impending departure from this earthly coil and I pulled the short straw. How about you help me set him straight before you make your way to the great beyond?

“No, Pops, some things just don’t need to be spoken about… seriously.” He nods and decides to change the subject.

“Where’s Mia?” he asks. “She hasn’t come in to see me today to tell me about the wedding.”

“Oh, she had a die-hard client that wouldn’t let her out of her commitment today, so she had to go cover an event,” I tell him. As of late, Mia has been dabbling both in interior decorating and event planning and she can’t decide which one she likes best.

“Well, that’s better than sitting around waiting for a sick, old man to die,” he says. I pause.

“I don’t think it’s that we’re waiting for you to die so much that we just want to spend as much time with you as we can,” I correct him.

“Spend time with the living…” he begins his spiel again.

“… And you’re still living,” I interrupt him. He smiles at me.

“You’re wise beyond your years, child. Has anybody ever told you that?” I smile sadly and nod.

“It didn’t come easily,” I say in a melancholy voice.

“It never does, child. Wisdom ain’t cheap. It usually carries a hefty fee.” How right you are! We’re silent for a moment before he says, “I’ve been dreaming about my Ruby.” I raise my head and smile.

“Have you?” I ask. He nods.

“Sometimes, we’re sitting on the lawn furniture on the porch of that big house in Detroit, where we thought we would grow old bouncin’ grandchildren on our knee. Other times, we’re walking along the beach at sunset, holding hands and quietly looking at one another. In every dream, she’s as young, healthy, and beautiful as she was before the sickness hit her.” I smile sadly at him. “She’s letting me know that she’s waitin’ for me, child, so that I won’t be scared… not that I would be. This old body’s real tired.” I reach over and squeeze his hand.

“Seeing Stanley again must be nice,” I say. He smiles widely.

“Oh, yes,” he says with true joy in his voice. “Stanley’s a gentle soul. I was worried how he would take it if he didn’t get to say his goodbyes. It would have bothered him for the rest of his life. I’m glad he got here while I was doing better instead of right at the end.”

“I am, too.”

“I wonder what Freeman says about this,” he adds.

“I wonder if Freeman even knows,” I say. Pops makes a considering expression.

“Knowing Stan, he doesn’t,” Pops says. “He probably will soon, but he doesn’t now. Freeman’s the family naysayer. Any information that he gets is on a need-to-know basis and we’ve just decided that there’s a lot that he doesn’t need to know.” I raise my eyebrows.

“Pops, shouldn’t this be different?” I ask.

“I’m dying,” Pops says. “He knows. That’s all there is. His anger towards Rick is keeping him away. I have a problem with that. I have a problem with the fact that he’s so damn selfish that he can’t put his own desires aside for one minute, hour, day, week—however long I have left—to afford me the opportunity to see all my sons together one more time before I die. It’s always about Freeman and I’ve finally had enough. It took me being on my deathbed to finally be done with his selfishness. I only hope that it doesn’t take him being on his to realize how wrong he is.”

Pops speaks with clarity and purpose when he discusses washing his hands of Freeman’s behavior.

“Thankfully,” he continues, “I have three of my sons here with me right now—together, supporting one another and not bickering. Under the circumstances, it’s the best I can hope for, and I thank God for it.” I squeeze Pops’ hand and smile, and he smiles right back.

After I have a talk with Grace about her son’s denial while we feed, burp and bathe the children, I decide that I need a bit of fresh air. Still no sign of Christian as I wander through the house toward the French doors. Maybe that’s a good thing. As I’m walking across the grass, I see someone sitting on the bench in the middle of the backyard facing towards the water. At first, I think it’s Herman, but as I get closer, I realize that it’s not.

“Hi,” I say to Stanley as I walk around the bench to face him. He’s just taking a drag from a cigarette and chokes on the smoke as I startle him. “Oh! I’m sorry,” I say as I pat him on the back, trying to alleviate his coughing spell.

“No worries,” he says as he catches his breath and clears his throat, gazing at me for a moment, somewhat confused.

“We haven’t been properly introduced,” I tell him, something that should have been done by my husband, but he’s too focused on that stick up his ass. “I’m Anastasia, Christian’s wife.” I proffer my hand to him and he takes it gently.

“You’re Christian’s wife?” he says, still gazing at me. I nod.

“Yes. I was actually in the room with your father when you came in last night,” I tell him. He nods, releasing my hand after he shakes it gently.

“Ah, okay,” he says. “I saw someone in the shadows, but I was kind of focused on my dad. When I looked around, you were gone.”

“Yeah,” I nod, while sitting next to him, careful to avoid the pile of cigarette butts sitting next to him. It looks like he’s on his fourth cigarette. He looks self-consciously down at the pile.

“I only smoke when I’m nervous or stressed or… something,” he says.

“It’s a rough time right now, I know. No judgment here,” I respond.

“Don’t tell me wife,” he says nervously. I smile.

“She probably already knows,” I reply. I would know if Christian has a habit like this that only manifests itself during stressful times… like hard fucking. I wish that habit would have manifested instead of the useless brooding and blaming that he’s doing right now.

“So… what do you do, Anastasia?” Stanley asks.

“Please call me Ana,” I say. “I’m a shrink.” He raises his eyebrows at me.

“You are?” he asks. I nod. “Please forgive me, but I don’t have much faith in your profession.” Now, my eyebrows rise.

“May I ask why?” I say. He shrugs.

“I just don’t see the need for it,” he says. “If something’s wrong with me, I can go talk to family or friends, a member of the clergy—all for free, without having to pay someone to… shrink me.” I nod.

“I can understand that,” I say. “And you’ve never had any experience with a psychologist or psychiatrist or counselor… you just feel like it’s money wasted.” He looks over at me.

“Forgive me, but, yes, I do,” he says with no malice. I twist my lips and nod.

“Okay,” I say, turning back to face the water. I can feel his gaze on me without looking at him.

“You’re not going to try to convince me otherwise?” he says. I shake my head.

“No,” I reply.

“Is this some kind of shrink trick to make me see the err of my ways on my own?” he asks skeptically. I laugh good-naturedly.

“Not at all,” I say to him. “It’s not for everybody,” I continue. “Counseling of any kind—medical, religious, free—is only as good as your acceptance of it. If you feel that paid counseling is a waste of time and money, then it’ll never help you. You’re on the downswing of the seesaw before you even sit in the chair…”

“Or on the couch,” he adds. I laugh.

“Or on the ‘couch,’” I repeat with mirth. “I never use a sofa unless someone is ill and wants to lie down.”

“So, if you feel that way about it, why do you practice?” he asks.

“Because it does work for some people,” I tell him. “It worked for me. That’s why I got into it.” I turn my eyes back to the water, trying not to remember the terrible condition I was in after Green Valley, the years of mental anguish and suffering that followed, and the Godsend that was the guidance counselor that suggested I go into psychiatry, ultimately leading me to CCFW in Seattle.

“You’ve got a story,” he says, taking a drag from his cigarette and blowing the smoke away from me.

“A very bad one,” I sigh. “That’s how I know firsthand that mental health professionals have their place and can be very helpful.” He nods.

“I stand corrected,” he says. I chuckle.

“I still agree with you, Stanley. They’re not for everyone,” I secede.

“Call me Stan,” he says. I nod.

“Stan.” He turns his gaze to me and I meet it with my own.

“Has anybody ever told you that you have a doppelgänger?” I nod… you mean besides my husband’s prior harem of petite, brunette submissives?

Now, why the fuck did that come to mind?

“Ah, yes… Shannon.” He raises an eyebrow at my revelation.

“He told you,” Stan says, puffing his cigarette again.

“He showed me the picture,” I say with mirth. Stan nods.

“You guys could have been twins,” he admits. “Losing her was rough on Herm.”

“I know, he told me,” I say. “I had to talk to him about staring at me and my husband’s jealous tendencies when we first met, and he explained to me why he was staring. It’s understandable. I would find it quite unnerving if Christian had a twin.” He twists his lips and looks at me again.

“Not trying to be inappropriate, but she was a real looker in her day,” he says. “You’re very pretty. Christian’s a lucky man.” I sigh and look out over the water.

“Yeah, maybe somebody should tell him that!” I hiss, and immediately regret saying it. Stan looks over at me.

“I’m sorry,” he says. “I wasn’t trying to…” I shake my head as he trails off.

“He’s a wonderful man,” I say looking over at Stanley before looking back out over the water. “We’re very stressed out over Pops’ illness. It’s just taking its toll on us all.” He takes the last puff of his cigarette before he puts it out and places the butt with the others.

“Yeah,” he says sadly. “Even when you know it’s coming, it’s still hard to accept… especially when he looks this good. Christian’s last report was that he was doing pretty badly and I needed to get here as soon as possible.” I nod.

“He was right,” I say nodding. “Christian and I went out on the town Sunday night to celebrate our one-year wedding anniversary. I was almost afraid to leave the house for fear of the news I would get over the phone or when we got back. Then yesterday, he got this good-as-new energy burst…” Stan had turned his attention to me, but now dropped his head and put his elbows on his thighs, clasping his hands between his parted knees.

“Oh… that,” he said with deep sadness and a heavy sigh. I look over at him.

“You know what it is,” I say. He nods.

“It happened with my mom,” he says. “We all got our hopes up because nobody told us to expect it. It was fast, though. She died the next day. We called the doctor asking him what the hell had happened, and he explained it to us. If we hadn’t seen it with our own eyes, we would have thought it was a crock of shit. We thought she was going to get out of bed and dance a jig! For that brief moment, Mom was back!” He smiles widely, his eyes twinkling as he remembers the day of his mother’s energy boost before she passed away. The happiness is soon replaced by heavy sorrow. “That’s how Dad looks today. It won’t be long now.”

He tries to catch the tear before if falls down his cheek and onto his arm. I place my hand on his back and try to soothe him.

“Spend as much time as you can with him right now,” I tell him. “I think this is the gift that’s given to us so that we can say goodbye and relive good times before God takes back what belongs to Him.” He raises glassy eyes to me.

“What a nice thing to say,” he says softly. “That’s such a wonderful way of looking at it.”

Pops was right about Stanley. He is a gentle soul.

“Maybe one of you guys should call Freeman so that he can at least talk to his father during this time,” I suggest. Stanley shakes his head.

“Freem was there when this happened to Mom. He’s knows what’s coming and he chose not to be here. I’m not making that call.” I nod.

“I hate that you guys are all at odds about this,” I say, looking back over the water. “You should all be pulling together and supporting one another during this time. It must be hard on you all.”

“No,” Stan says. “It’s business as usual. Freeman is a self-centered asshole and he always will be. I learned a long time ago to stay out of his way. Unfortunately, that’s how I almost lost my brother, and nearly missed out on the opportunity to say goodbye to my dad. Man, if he knew that Christian made a way for me to get out here before Dad died, he’d be pissing gasoline right now.” He shakes his head. “I’m going to make sure that I tell him.”

I can’t stop the chuckle that escapes my throat. I cover my mouth and try to hide it, with the conversation being so somber and all. He elbows me gently on the arm, informing me that my laughter is okay.

“Well-placed levity in an emotional situation is always a good thing,” he says softly before scrubbing his face and composing himself. “It was nice to finally officially meet you, Ana. You’re good people.” I smile.

“So are you, Stan. The pleasure was all mine.” He gives me a chaste avuncular kiss on my cheek before patting my shoulder. Then he brushes all his cigarette butts into his hand before he rises from the bench we’re sharing and heads back to the house.

I remain on the bench for a few minutes after Stan leaves. My heart is so heavy because I’m doing just what I told him to do—spend this time saying goodbye while he’s coherent and energetic. I feel like I was robbed, like I never got the chance to know this vibrant, wise, worldly man before he’s taken away from us… like there’s so much more knowledge and good times he could share with me that I’ll never get because he’ll be gone.

What’s more is that I want to be there for Christian. I want to be there for my husband because this is going to be hard for him, but he’s too busy blaming me to let me in. I drop my face in my hands, my fingertips massaging my throbbing scar in a vain attempt at relief.

When I feel like I’ve wallowed enough in early grief, I stand from the bench and stretch. There’ll be plenty of time for grief when Pops is gone, and unfortunately, plenty of it to go around. I head back to the house and the closer I get, I can see the outline of someone right beyond the French doors. The closer I get, I see my husband with his arms folded, looking like he’s ready for a showdown.

Well, goddammit, I’m not!

My first instinct is to walk around the house and find another entrance, but that won’t do for many reasons—the first of which is that he already knows that I spotted him; the second being that he would only hunt me down if he’s looking for a fight. So, running would just prolong the inevitable. The third being that it would just be childish, and the list goes on and on…

I open the door for myself since even though he saw me coming, he didn’t feel the need to do so. Arrogant, self-centered, misdirected…

“So, you convinced Stanley that this is all in his head, too, huh?” Christian says with disdain as I walk past him. I look over my shoulder at him in bemused anger and he’s still leaning against the wall.

“What?” I snap. He raises his head and glares back at me as if I have not right to take that tone with him.

“He’s doing better! Why can’t you just accept that? No, you have to be the eternal voice of doom, convincing everybody that this is his last hurrah before he kicks the bucket. If you don’t have any positive thoughts about the situation, maybe you should just stay mute!”

The different levels and variations of anger that flash through me at that moment can’t even be numbered. I turn my body towards my delusional, high-handed husband and face off with him.

“I didn’t have to convince Stanley of anything,” I say, trying not to talk through my teeth. “In fact, he told me. He went through the same thing with his mother right before her death. She died the very next day after her energy boost, so I suggest you enjoy the time you have left with your grandfather instead of trying to place blame for the inevitable on someone completely not at fault. And in the future, if all you have for me is harsh words, take your own advice and keep them to yourself!” I turn on my heels and walk away before he has time to retort. I’ve had enough of this. He’s not going to keep saying shitty things to me and I’m just going to stand there and take it!

*-*

Christian took my advice. For the next several days, he has absolutely nothing to say to me. Stanley tries to convince him that this really is an energy boost and he doesn’t want Christian to fall apart when the decline occurs. Even his mother tries to tell him, but he’s still holding fast to the thought that I’m the naysayer and everything’s going to be fine.

It’s ridiculous… and unfair. I don’t get to properly mourn losing someone that I’ve come to love because my life-mate is too busy blaming me and snarling at me every time he sees me, and I can’t properly express my grief. I avoid him now at every opportunity. I don’t know where he’s sleeping, because he hasn’t been to bed. If I’m at the table for a meal and he comes to the table, I excuse myself and take my meal elsewhere. We don’t even sit with the twins at the same time. If he’s in the room, I let him stay and I leave. If I’m in the room, he doesn’t enter.

The family is in turmoil about it. No one knows who to support and they all refuse to take sides, which is actually good, because that would just make a bad matter worse. Pops is blissfully ignorant of the conflict, if you can call having no idea that your upcoming death is the basis of a fight between your grandson and his wife “blissfully ignorant.”

Christian has been working more now, probably partially because he thinks Pops is out of the woods and partially to avoid talking to me. For once, I’m not letting him win this one. I’m right and I know it and he’s having a problem accepting the truth. Someone else who has gone through this has tried to convince him; another doctor has tried to convince him; yet, he still wants to blame me. I know what this is—I’m a shrink. It’s classic transference—there’s a lot of that going around lately, but I’m not going to sit here and take it. I’m sorry that he can’t accept that his grandfather is about to pass away, but I refuse to be the butt of his blame when I’m suffering emotionally, too.

All hail the red, white, and blue. Friday is Independence Day, but none of us feel much like celebrating. The inevitable happens and Pops’ energy boost has run its course. Christian’s eyes immediately throw daggers at me like I had personally sucked the life out of Pops and not this ever-present renal failure that the doctors have diagnosed him with. I leave the room in tears, not because of Christian’s heartless and selfish behavior towards me… I’m over that. I cry because I know that we’ll be losing Pops very soon. I enjoy our talks about Ruby and about mine and Christian’s travels and adventures. Pops and I are lucky that we share and shared a life of love with people who adored us and made adventures more fulfilling. Even though my husband is treating me like Public Enemy #1 right now, he has nonetheless made this ride called life so worth the trip. I can only hope that when I’m breathing my last breaths, I can remember my life with the same love and admiration that Pops has shared with me about his.


CHRISTIAN

I don’t understand for the life of me why my wife would want to throw dirt on this precious gift that God has chosen to give us. For some reason, He’s performed a miracle. My grandfather is getting better. I don’t know what happened and I don’t know why, but he’s getting better. His energy levels are impressive. He’s not using his oxygen mask. He’s telling unbelievable stories about his life and my dad’s childhood. It’s amazing! I’m so happy about it and I’m not going to let her spoil this for me and my family. If she can’t just be happy and appreciate this miracle, that’s all good for her, but I refuse to let her rain on my parade.

“Christian, your wife is right,” Stanley says to me on Tuesday. “Depending on the illness, people may get a boost of energy right before they pass away.”

“She got to you, too?” I ask him. He shakes his head.

“Have you ever watched someone die before, Christian?” he asks with no malice. I don’t respond. “I have, son. You’re blessed if it’s fast. You’re even more blessed if you get the opportunity to say goodbye while they’re lucid. Don’t waste this opportunity.” He squeezes my shoulder and walks away. She’s convinced someone else to try to take away my hope and I let her know that I’m not pleased when she walks into the house behind my uncle. She declares that from now on, I should keep my thoughts to myself. So, that’s exactly what I plan to do.

I decide to go into the office on Wednesday since it’s pretty clear that Pops is out of the woods. Besides, I’m so displeased with my wife that it’s probably better that we don’t see each other today. I wouldn’t want to bruise her delicate little psyche with my harsh words.

“Mr. Grey, I didn’t expect to see you today,” Andrea says when I walk past her desk. “Mr. Welch just asked if you were going to be in today and I told him that you weren’t expected. You might want to call him.”

I nod, acknowledging the information and continue into my office. There is information on my desk concerning the types of furnishings I want in the quarters behind my office. I’m not too particular about what I want in there. It’s only a just-in-case room—I don’t plan on spending any extended amount of time there. I’m thumbing through the information as I dial Alex’s number.

“Good, you’re here. Can you meet me in Central in fifteen? I’ve got something to show you.” I almost want to say “Well, good morning to you, too,” but I can’t fault the man for wanting to get to the point.

“Will do,” I reply before ending the call.

“So, I put three different people on scanning and recording the people coming and going from Ana’s condo in the two-day span you requested,” Barney says when I get to GEH Security Central. “We’ve accounted for just about everyone that wasn’t a resident—what time they got there, who they visited, how long they stayed, when they left. Even delivery people are required to sign in before they are allowed access to the elevators. It was truly a slow day, thank goodness. Now, right here is where we have one of two discrepancies.”

Barney points to a late-model Lexus driving into the parking structure. Whoever was driving piggybacked off another car driving in, which is easy to do in many circumstances unless there’s a guard booth outside… which there isn’t. We watch as the Lexus pulls into one of the visitor parking spaces at the far end of the lot. Nothing happens for several minutes until someone gets out of the driver’s seat of the Malibu parked next to the Lexus—small frame, dressed in a hoodie, so their face is shielded.

“Okay, so stop,” I say. Barney stops the video. “So, we followed the Lexus in to get to this car. Why didn’t we get to this car, first?”

“Tenacity,” Alex says. I frown at him.

“Excuse me?” I say, not sure what to make of what he’s trying to say. He gestures back to Barney.

“So… I’m going to need you to kind of just keep up with me because different things are going to be happening and I’m going to try to explain them the best way that I can,” Barney says. I nod, intent to try to follow his reasoning. He turns back to the large bank of monitors. “That Malibu has been sitting there for three days. We had to do triple-time to see when the vehicle arrived or we would still be watching the tapes. That car drove into the lot on Thursday the 21st. Ana’s Beretta was stolen on the 24th.

“That person sat in that car for three days waiting for the Lexus?” I ask.

“No,” he says. “That person got out of that car about an hour after arrival. You can tell it’s a man.” We watch as a man leaves the Malibu—long, black trench coat, black Akubra Bogart hat pulled down far that you can’t see who it is. He walks right out of the garage and out of sight of the cameras. Shit.

“So, no activity until this Lexus shows up, then someone gets out of the driver’s seat of the Malibu.”

Barney runs the video back so that we can see the driver’s side Lexus door open and close, then the passenger side Malibu open. The occupant is crouched down so there’s no hope in seeing who they are until about twenty minutes later, when the driver’s side of the Malibu opens.

“So, you know this part,” he says as we follow the small-framed person to my wife’s apartment and back out again a few minutes later—heavy one Beretta, no doubt. They enter the same elevator they exited… but they never get to the garage. After we monitor all the elevators, we see that they get off at the first floor.” The petite frame in way-too-baggy clothes gets off the elevator, only now, she’s scratching at a mass of messy red hair that covers her face as she enters the women’s restroom. Even an amateur can tell it’s a wig. Not three minutes later, a scantily-clad curvy brunette leaves the bathroom, waves at the desk guard, and walks out the front door. Barney switches the camera back to the parking lot. I nearly flip out.

“We’re going to miss the woman with the gun!” I exclaim, pointing to the screen.

“No, we’re not, sir,” Barney says, pointing to the scantily-clad brunette, now on the driver’s side of the Lexus. “That’s the woman with the gun.” She’s carrying a small black clutch that I paid no attention to as she left the restroom, and now she has very large sunglasses on her face. She gets into the Lexus and drives away without further incident.

“I ran facial recognition to see if she was in any of the databases and we got a hit,” Barney says.

“Go back to the lobby,” I say. Barney goes back to the lobby camera. “Zoom in.” When he zooms, a familiar fucking face is smiling back at me.

“You didn’t need facial recognition,” I hiss. “Nobody else came out of that goddamn bathroom?”

“No one else went into or came out of that bathroom except the cleaning crew, and they were all accounted for—long-term employees with impeccable records that were all where they were supposed to be during the course of the days.” Son of a bitch.

“Well, I know who stole her fucking gun, now,” I snap. “What about the Malibu?”

“It’s a rental,” Alex says. “The rental company picked it up three days later. My connections say that he called the company and told them where the vehicle was and that he locked the keys in the car, but was on his way to the airport before he missed his flight and they had to come and get it. Surveillance shows employees of the rental car company taking the vehicle off premises.”

“Did your connections tell you who rented the car?” I ask impatiently. He nods.

“Louis Millfeld,” he says. Of course. I knew it.

“So, now we can tie the three together and link them to Ana’s gun,” I declare.

“Really, we can’t,” Alex says. “All of our evidence is deduced and circumstantial. None of it will hold up in court. But you know and I know that she took that gun.” Yeah, I know. Crazy fucking subs and sub-wannabes. This shit is getting completely fucking out of hand.

“Any luck on any leaks of information from any other sources? Any weak spots of any kind, shit we could have overlooked like the last time we underestimated this bastard?” Barney shakes his head.

“Absolutely none, sir. I’ve even had James consulting on this one and nothing so far.” Well, that makes me feel better. Ever since he wrote that program that basically saved my fucking company last year, he can do no wrong in my eyes. It’s good to know that he’s back on the team with this one, even if only on a part-time basis.

“Good. Very good. Keep me apprized. Excellent work, gentlemen. Alex?” I head towards the door with Alex close on my heels. I don’t start talking until the door closes to the elevators.

“Find out where the hell those other twelve women are,” I hiss. “This is getting fucking ridiculous! One of them tries to break up my engagement. Another tries to kill my goddamn wife and children. A third shows up at my father-in-law’s baby shower! Now, this bitch walks right into my wife’s apartment with a fucking key and steals her damn gun, which was used to nearly kill me—and she wasn’t even a sub!”

My fists are clenched so tight and I’m only glad that whatever voodoo my dick—or in this case, the promise of my dick—put on these bitches that I will never stick it into another woman again besides my currently-errant wife! Submissives act like there’s no other man in the world that can fuck like me; Elena Lincoln lost her goddamn mind; and now…

“What about this situation, sir?” Alex says.

“Find me goddamn Greta Ellison,” I hiss.

*-*

I spend the evening with Pops and Stanley, laughing and happy that he sounds like his old self. While I’m conversing with him, my naysaying wife enters the room and kisses him on the cheek.

“Hmm, one too many in this room,” I say under my breath, but apparently not low enough.

“Then, maybe you should leave,” she retorts, throwing me a stabbing glance before turning back to Pops. I narrow my eyes, but it has absolutely no effect on her. “Minnie was feeling a bit neglected that her brother was getting all of Great-Grampa’s attention,” she says, undoing the body wrap she has around herself and Minnie. Pops’ face lights up as she puts Minnie in his hands. She smiles that beautiful smile at the spectacle before her and I remember how it feels to see that smile directed at me. My heart warms momentarily, but only that much as I remember that she’s only waiting for my grandfather to die. She sits on the bed facing away from me, her attention solely on Pops and Minnie. Feeling quite unwelcome, I leave the room and bump into Mom in the hallway.

“You two really need to stop this,” Mom says. “It’s getting out of hand.”

“I’m not doing anything wrong,” I retort.

“The hell you aren’t!” she rebuts. “You’re treating your wife like a criminal—a stranger—all because she gave you information that is completely correct and medically sound and you can’t accept it! Why would you do something like that to her? To your family?”

“Have you seen him, Mom?” I say, pulling her further down the hallway and away from Pops’ door. “Have you taken a really good look at him? The color is back in his face. He’s eating. He’s breathing without the oxygen. He’s talking and acting like a normal person. I don’t know how it happened just like no one else does, but that’s not a dying man!” My mother’s face turns to the ceiling as she releases an exacerbated sigh.

“My. Husband’s. Father. Is dying,” she says, her voice deep. “Every day, I fight to hold him together. He cries at night where none of you can see him. We were awake for your argument because he doesn’t sleep. I’m doing everything I can right now to keep my sanity… my husband’s sanity… and your behavior. Is not. Helping.”

Mom sounds like she’s going to break down any minute. I didn’t mean… I don’t mean to cause her any more stress. We’re all here for exactly the opposite, but…

“Anastasia is right,” she adds. “The dying often have a final burst of energy in their last days, and trust me. I would love nothing more than to believe that a miracle from God has fallen from heaven and landed on Burt’s shoulder, if not for his sake or for all of our sakes… for yours!”

Why don’t I like the sound of that?

“I hope to God that you get your miracle, because if you don’t, you’ll be lucky if that woman ever forgives you for how you’re treating her. I know that I wouldn’t if it were me!”

My mother turns on her heels and marches out of my presence, leaving me standing gape-mouthed in the middle of the hallway.

*-*

What a difference a day makes.

One day…
One fucking day…

He’s jubilant and gleeful on Thursday and by Friday afternoon, he’s back on the oxygen, feeble and frail and unable to eat on his own. And yes, she’s standing there, looking all glum, but I know that she’s gloating inside, thinking she was right all along when it was probably her negative energy that brought him back to this. His doctor made a special trip to the Manor by request of the hospice nurse to see just how bad off Pops was. He’s barely conscious—in a lot of pain, drugged up and incoherent. He’s not even present anymore. His body is just… here.

“How long?” Herman asks the doctor, who shakes his head.

“Days,” he says. “Maybe hours. If you haven’t made preparations, Mr. Grey, now is the time.” Dad puts his hand over his mouth and I turn around to see my wife weeping. I’m immediately enraged.

Why are you crying? This is what you predicted! This is what you said would happen! So, why the tears?

As if she could hear me, she turns around and bolts out of the room. My grandfather is dying. After all that hope… he’s dying anyway. Fucking hell…

Saturday morning, Dad and Herman call all the men to his office. It’s time to make preparations and he wants to get a consensus—again—on what should be done.

“Stan,” he begins, “I don’t know how you’re going to feel about this, but every decision that we’ve made about Dad so far, we’ve made together as a family. We’ve tried to keep Freeman in the loop, but he’s so damn disagreeable. Everything that we’ve suggested, he doesn’t want. He wanted us to put Dad on a plane while he was dying and send him back to Detroit. He thought Herman was going back to Detroit with him to take care of him, but when Herman said that he wasn’t, Freeman sent a form to sign over power of attorney and brochures for nursing homes. His message was clear—come home with Dad or when you send him, I’ll put him in a nursing home.”

“I never intended to go back to Detroit,” Herman interjected, “nor did I intend to put my dying father on a goddamn plane. I just said it to see how Freeman would react. He shot down everything we said and he led us to believe that his opinion was both of your opinions.”

“I didn’t even know any of this was going on,” Stanley says. “I just knew that Dad was on his last leg and I was trying to get down here. That’s all. If all I had was a weekend in all of this, I would have come. Freeman didn’t even tell me that he was coming. I would have tried to come with him.”

“Freeman thinks he’s God,” Dad says. “The law begins and ends with him.”

“That’s our fault,” Herman says, “me, Stan, and Dad. He was such a squeaky wheel that we never let him believe anything different if it meant that he would shut up. Dad lit up like a Christmas tree when he got that invitation to Christian’s wedding. Freeman was breathing fire.”

“I remember that,” Stan says. “Once again, I just kept quiet.”

“Dad wasn’t having it,” Uncle Herman says. “If Freeman had laid down and given birth, Dad was still coming.” The three brothers laugh a bit before Dad gets the conversation back on track.

“Dad has already said that he wants to be cremated and everybody agrees,” Dad says. “But Freeman wants us to have whatever service we’re having here since I’m not welcome at the service back in Detroit, and then ship Dad’s body back to Detroit where he’ll have it cremated.” Stanley frowns.

“Why wouldn’t you guys just cremate him here? Wouldn’t it be easier to ship the ashes back to Detroit? Or I can just take them back?”

“That’s what we want!” Uncle Herman says. “Again, Freeman doesn’t agree, and he had us thinking that you shared his opinion.”

“I don’t,” Stanley says. “What sense does it make to ship Dad’s body back to Detroit so that we could cremate him there? It’s still his remains; he’s still going to be gone. Nothing’s going into the grave, but the urn. What am I missing?”

“You’re missing that your brother’s a selfish asshole,” Dad says. “Dad’s last words to Freeman was that he was selfish.” Stanley frowns deeper.

“You’re kidding,” he says. “That’s the last thing Dad said to Freem?” Uncle Herman nods.

“I recorded it,” he said.

“Herm, why did you record that?” Stanley asks. Uncle Herman shrugs.

“I don’t know… but I did.” Stanley shakes his head.

“Our family’s falling apart,” he says sadly.

“Death has a way of doing that,” Dad says. Tell me about it. My wife and I haven’t spoken a kind word to each other all week.

“We were falling apart before this,” Uncle Herman says sadly. There’s silence again before he adds, “So… are we in agreement? Dad should be cremated here?”

“It’s the only thing that makes sense,” Stanley says. “It doesn’t make any sense to ship Dad’s body back to Detroit. If I was still in Detroit, I would still say that it doesn’t make sense. Cremate him here and I’ll take his ashes back. If Freem wants to say goodbye, he can come here and do it.”

“He’s not welcome in my home,” Dad says firmly.

“But I’m sure that you wouldn’t stop him from attending the service,” Stanley says.

“You’re correct… even though he told me that I wouldn’t be welcome at Dad’s service in Detroit, he’s more than welcome to attend services here.” Stanley rolls his eyes.

“Geez, Freem,” he says under his breath. “Let’s get this call over with.”

“Who’s doing the talking?” Dad asks. “He doesn’t want to speak to me.”

“I’m probably not his favorite person, either,” Uncle Herman adds.

“I’m sick of this whole thing. I’ll do it,” Stanley says as he gestures to Dad to dial the number. Dad presses the speaker phone and dials Freeman’s number. He picks up after three rings.

“Are you calling to tell me that you’re sending my father’s remains?” Freeman barks. Damn. No “Hello” or “Who is this” or nothing. He’s quite the hateful bastard.

“Yes, Freeman, that’s exactly why we’re calling,” Stanley replies. The line is silent for a moment.

“Stan?” Freeman inquires.

“Yes?” Stanley responds.

“Thank God!” Freeman exclaims. “I was so afraid they were just going to do whatever they wanted without any concern for our wishes. I’m so glad you’re there!”

“Oh, they’re not going to do anything that I don’t approve of, Freeman, but you should know that I approve of cremating Dad here in Seattle and I’ll bring his ashes back to Detroit to be buried next to Mom.”

“You what?” Freeman roars. “Has my entire goddamn family lost their minds?”

“Freeman, the only person who has a problem with this is you,” Stanley says. “Dad doesn’t care either way, as long as he’s laid to rest next to Mom. What’s the big deal if we cremate him there or here?”

“I want to say ‘goodbye’ to my father properly,” he hisses.

“I thought you did,” Stanley retorts. “I thought you came here and saw Dad while he was still living. That’s a proper goodbye. Once he’s dead the spirit is gone. The essence has left. There’s nothing left but a shell. Who cares if the shell is a body or ashes?”

“I care!” Freeman barks.

“Then fly to Seattle and say ‘goodbye’ to his body when he passes on, because he’s being cremated here.” There’s silence again for a while.

“He’s not even gone yet?” Freeman asks.

“No, but it’s sure to be any day now, and he’s going to be cremated here when it happens.”

“I’ll get an injunction, I’ll do something to keep you from cremating my father’s body in Seattle.”

“Well, good luck with that, Freeman. In the meantime, if you want to pay your last respects to Dad’s body, you should probably be making arrangements to get to Seattle very soon. The doctor has already been to the house and he says that Dad has days if not hours left.”

“They’ve gotten to you, too,” Freeman says with disdain. “They take my father away from his home, away from his family and fly him clean across the country where none of us can get to him. They make all his decisions for him so that on his deathbed, he can’t be in his home with his family. His family is not there! His family is here! Your family is here! And if you cremate my father in Seattle, you’re a fucking traitor!”

“What home are you talking about, Freeman? That cave on Chicago? That place was falling apart around them! It’s even worse now. It’s not even worth the ground it’s standing on!” I look at Uncle Herman.

“Is he talking about Pops’ house?” I whisper. Herman nods.

“It’s worthless,” he whispers back. “It’s dilapidated and deteriorated. Freeman thinks it’s still worth something because it’s in the historic district. Maybe it is if someone is willing to restore it, but I’m not. When I went back to Detroit, I was ready to wash my hands of it then. I was just trying to see what Dad wanted.”

All this fighting and bickering or a house that’s ultimately worthless?

“Our father worked his whole life for that house! To grow old and spend his last days there…”

“Freeman, I’m not arguing with you about this,” Stanley says. “It was Dad’s choice to come out here and Dad’s choice to stay here. You can split hairs all you want to about the house, but nobody wants to argue about it anymore. Dad doesn’t want the house and neither do we.” Stanley raises his eyes to his brothers who both make gestures indicating that they don’t care about the house. “So, it’s yours, but in the meantime, if you want to see Dad one last time, you need to get on a plane.”

“Fuck you, you little pussy. Fuck you and fuck them! You better fucking get my father’s body back to Detroit in one piece if you know what’s good for you.”

Stanley sighs and shakes his head. His entire demeanor changes before he starts speaking to his brother again.

“God, Freeman,” Stanley says, his tone exacerbated. “Has it ever not been about you? Have you ever once thought of anyone else… considered anyone else except yourself?” The line goes silent for a moment.

“What was that, Stanley?” Freeman says, his voice obviously condescending.

“You know what?” Stanley says, his voice a bit gravelly and menacing, “I’ve stayed silent… for years, I’ve stayed silent just because I didn’t want to fight with you. I didn’t want that battle and I don’t want it now. There are three of us here. Herman has power of attorney and majority rules. Dad is being cremated in Seattle.”

“The fuck he is!” Freeman declares. “You get your ass and my father’s body on that plane and you bring him back here intact!”

“Or what?” Stanley roars. “What are you going to do, Freeman? You’re going to kick my ass? Did you forget I’m a grown ass man? What the hell are you going to do? You want to alienate me like you did Rick and Herman because they won’t kowtow to your ass anymore? You’re not the only one who counts here. We’re all his sons and we all have families that are all suffering in this, but for some reason, you seem to think that you’re the only one who counts in this equation. How can that be? How can you possibly be so selfish?”

“Dad’s family is here! In Detroit! Those bastards out there are not Greys! Rick kissed his family goodbye when he left and as far as I’m concerned, Herman can kiss my ass, too!”

“Is that so?” Uncle Herman chimes in. The momentary silence indicates that Freeman didn’t know that Uncle Herman was in earshot.

“Yes, that’s so!” Freeman says, definitively. “You want to turn your back on your family, then fuck you, too!”

“That’s fine by me, Freeman,” Uncle Herman says. “I thought one day that you’d wake up and not be such a miserable son of a bitch, but I guess that’s the way you’ll always be. I’m not turning my back on my family. Just you.” He raises his gaze to Stanley. “You say whatever it is you feel you need to say to him, but I’m done talking to that blowhard!” Herman marches out of the office and slams the door.

“I’ve said what I need to say,” Stanley says. “Get to Seattle, or I’ll see you back in Detroit with Dad’s ashes.”

“You ungrateful little bitch!” Freeman shouts. “Don’t you ever fucking come to me again when you need something!” Stanley laughs loudly.

“You’ve got me confused with someone else, Freeman!” Stanley shoots. “Think. Really. Hard. When’s the last time I called your ass for anything?” The line is quiet again.

“You called me when Dad went to Seattle. We agreed that he should be at home with his family!”

“Think again, Freem! You called me! I didn’t decide anything—you decided for me. You called Herman and Rick like it was both of our idea that Dad come back to Detroit. I just wanted Dad to be happy! He’s got an entire family of people out here who lined up to give him a kidney and you couldn’t even give them credit for that!”

“A lot of good it did him!” Freeman hisses. “He’s still dying!”

“Because no one matched!” Stanley retorts.

“That’s because they’re not his family!”

“We didn’t match either. What does that say?” The line is quiet again. “I’m sorry you don’t feel like this is your family, but they’re mine,” Stanley adds. “They’ve been nothing but kind to me since I got here and based on the way you treated them, they had every right to shun me, thinking that I was going to be like you.”

“They haven’t done anything for you, Stanley. You’re letting that big house and that money get to your head just like it did Herman!” Stanley shakes his head.

“You’re sick, Freeman,” Stanley says. “You and this rich-phobia you have, it’s out of hand. Dad is as comfortable as he can be under the circumstances, and this entire family has shown him nothing but love since he’s been here. He’s had his energy boost…” Stanley’s voice cracked on the words. “… And he told me about getting to hold his great-grandchildren, and about seeing a beautiful wedding… about meeting wonderful people and seeing a beautiful countryside. He told me about watching the sunset over the lake many nights. He told me about a young raven-haired girl who brightened his days by laying on his lap and calling him ‘Granddaddy…’ things our kids could have done if we hadn’t decided that we were too busy and that Herman had it all under control. But never… not once… did he mention money to me. Not once did the fact that he has a millionaire son and a billionaire grandson ever come into our conversation. Just that he’s loved and happy and comfortable… and that Mom visits him in his dreams. He’s at peace, Freeman. He was lucid and at peace… and you. Missed it.”

“I wouldn’t have missed it if they hadn’t taken my father away from me.”

“They didn’t take your father away, Freeman,” Stanley corrects him. “Renal failure took him away and you’re throwing away what’s left.”

“You’re a goddamn traitor, Stanley, and I want nothing else to do with you,” Freeman says coolly.

“Boo-hoo-hoo!” Stanley retorts. “If the way to stay in your good graces means I have to kiss your ass, then I’ll gladly walk my ass out of them. Just remember… when I get back to Detroit, I’m the one that’s going to have his remains, so don’t fucking cross me!”

“You assholes do what you want to do, but when you send my father back here, he had better be inta…” Stanley pushes the speaker button to end the call before Freeman concludes his rant.

“Are you going to be okay taking Dad’s ashes back to him?” Dad asks.

“What’s he going to do?” Stanley says.

“Did you forget Freeman likes to fight?” Dad says. “He came here and got into a fight with me and my son.”

“Well, that explains the shiner,” Stanley says.

“You should see the other guy,” I murmur. Stanley looks over at me and laughs before turning back to Dad.

“Freeman never could take me, Rick,” he says. “You guys assumed that because I wouldn’t fight him that I couldn’t fight him. Make no mistake, if Freeman steps wrong to me, I will stomp his ass so far into the ground, he’ll have to go to China to find it.”

Dad scoffs a laugh and I choke on nothing at the statement.

“Well, damn,” Elliot says. Stanley was pacing during the conversation, but now he takes a seat. He rests his elbows on his thighs and clasps his hands in front of him.

“Rick, I don’t know if Herman ever told you this, but it wasn’t that we weren’t speaking to you. We just never made to effort to contact you. Had you ever contacted us, we would have reciprocated. Freeman was the only one angry… the rest of us weren’t. He was just so… verbal with his anger and we just never said anything. Our lack of action is no excuse, but it was never because we held a grudge. It just seemed like something we would get to, eventually, you know…” Stanley trails off like he’s trying to find his words. “I’m surprised Nell came out here with Freeman. They’re on the verge of separation. His daughter barely speaks to him. I know this because our kids talk. I’ll be the one that spreads the word when Dad dies. Nobody speaks to Freeman… well, somebody does, but not many. With all his talk, he knows that I have to plan the memorial when I get back or no one’s coming. Herman’s right, he’s a miserable human being.

“I just want you to know that it wasn’t that we weren’t speaking to you. It was just easier to keep the peace if no one mentioned your name. It was a pussy-ass move and I’m sorry man and I hope that we can mend that situation. I just don’t understand why he was so pissed that you went out and found a wife and a family when he went out and did the same thing.”

“There’s nothing to mend, Stan,” Dad says. “I love you and I’ve always loved you. I’m glad I got a chance to spend time with my father before he passed away. It’s a sucky way for it to happen, but I got two of my brothers back, too. I feel bad for Freeman, but it is what it is.” Stanley sighs.

“Thanks, Rick.”

Elliot and I look at each other, silently swearing to one another that what we’re seeing here will never happen between us. It’s going to be a rough few days ahead, to say the very least.


A/N: Counting Down To The Ferryman—Ancient Greeks put coins in the mouths of the dead, believing they would have to pay the ferryman Charon to take them across the river Styx to the underworld.

I stand by my comment to the last chapter. I totally understand that grief can make us not act like ourselves, but when grief makes you lash out and treat other people like shit, you should expect whatever you get. So, for those of you who think that Ana should allow Christian to kick her because he’s grieving when she’s grieving, too, you will be sorely disappointed. And as always, if your comments become disrespectful, I will delete them. 

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

 

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71 thoughts on “Raising Grey: Chapter 7—Counting Down To The Ferryman

  1. crazyblondearmybrat042202 says:

    i had forgotten about Greta and is Louis Millfeld ginger creepy guy I don’t think I committed his real name to memory for some reason great chapter

    • Yes, but that was one of his aliases. His real name is Robin Myrick.

      • falalalynx says:

        But but wait a second, Myrick senior mysteriously vanish from prison but I thought ginger creepy Myrick got snatched back into witness protection. NO? sigh Or did he vanish like Doddy? No he vanished before they got there, right? I’m so confused. grrr You need to give these peeps one name and one name only. I’m having trouble keeping them straight. Greta, now she is/was the wedding planner wench right? Who dressed in the painted on dress when Ana came to see her when she was planning one of the weddings? I thought she moved back east somewhere. Just when I think I have it all straight in my mind you throw me a curve ball. sigh Goddess what are you doing to me?

        Peace, Falala

      • Ginger Creepy Guy (Louis Millfeld/Robin Myrick/the Hacker Victor Grey) was headed off at the airport and arrested by the Feds in chapter 14 of BDG. So, yeah, he’s protected – in Federal prison!

        Anton Myrick (Myrick Sr) – whereabouts still unknown (also chapter 14 & 15 of BDG)

        Greta is the wannabe sub that never got the contract in chapter 6 of PDS. She also tried to seduce Christian in the Marketplace somewhere in MDS while Ana was on his arm.

        The Wedding Planner bitch was Cassie Hamilton

      • crazyblondearmybrat042202 says:

        that’s right I had forgotten that to

      • falalalynx says:

        Ahhhh Thank you. lol It’s all so clear to me now. giggle I bow to my Goddess. Oh yeah I remember Greta now. Man you DO use your characters. Sneaky sneaky but PERFECT!! sigh Okay brain you can stop running in circles. sigh whew what a relief. Love you.

        Peace, Falala

  2. Darla says:

    Great chapter

  3. Ann Shearer says:

    Hi sweetheart im reading chapter 7 now, with my glass of wine, you are still the most amazing writer and it thrills me everytime i recieve a new chapter, and by the way i thought chapter 6 was perfect, everyone acts differently when it comes to losing someone close, and i think you wrote that chapter really well, and i understand from experiance how christian and Ana were dealing with it….lol ann xxx

  4. Beth says:

    I have to admit when I got the email for this chapter I was terrified to read it and re-enter the drama between C&A. I’m still appalled at Christian’s behavior and thoughts. I liked and agree with what Grace said to him. I hope he gets his head on straight soon or he won’t have anyone to cling (mind blank on a better word) to when Pops is gone.

    • Beth says:

      Forgot to mentioned that I just realized every book starts with or has a battle/conflict near the beginning. 😏

      Paging – Court Ordered Group Therapy
      Mending – Flynn-gate (although that was a retelling)
      Becoming – Dress-gate
      Raising – False hope-gate

      Was that planned or just a coincidence?

      • Frustated Reader grounded AGAIN w/o phone & internet says:

        Oh.. I believe BG is always well planned & full loaded 😉

        Even if she was exist in Nazi regime, we are doomed then 😅

      • It’s planned. I hate for books or movies to start with a pop or fizzle. Have you seen John Wick Chapter 2? Crazy, amazing action before the opening credits even roll! My kind of movie!!!!

    • That’s the perfect word. In times like these, the grieving should always cling to one another so that they don’t slip away into eternal grief.

  5. FicMom83 says:

    Your portrayal of grief is on point. Screw the haters.

  6. Me says:

    Grief does strange things to people and everyone handles it differently. I’m glad Grace laid into Christian. He is doing horrible and possibly irreparable damage to his relationship with Ana. We know he is emotionally immature as he just discovered emotions a year or so ago, but that’s not an excuse. I look forward to seeing what happens. Thanks for the great work!

  7. Frustated Reader grounded AGAIN w/o phone & internet says:

    Now.. I had to wait again until next week. This is so sad my 2 heroes having civil war 😭😭😭 (or cold war?)

    Meanwhile, I re-read Paging Dr. Steele (almost finish! again) for the….. umm.. 6th times? Ah, what a happy & cute couple back then.. made my heart meltsss.

    Thank you BG for making this journey with so many lesson learned 💕💕💕

    • Keep re-reading! I’m doing a lot of updating of the first stories to make sure all of the books are cohesive.

      PS–not trying to make you suffer… just so much story to tell. 😉 Smooches!!!

      • Kelly says:

        wait what you are making changes? Like big ones or tweaks? I guess I need to re-read from the beginning.

      • Both actually, such as…

        Ana became a psychiatrist in Raising Grey, so I’ll have to go back and change that.

        You already know that I had said Carrick’s father died in book one, so since he got his own storyline for a while, I took that out.

        Harris’ name is going to change. I like little Harry too much for it to be so close to that name.

        I’m also writing a few “not-so-one” shots and something that Christian wouldn’t do before fits too well with one of his developed characteristics, so you are going to see a change in that if I haven’t changed it already.

        Edits and cohesiveness where something didn’t quite fit.

        Don’t worry, as things change, I try to let you guys know “Hey, it used to be this way in book one and now it’s that way.” So, as real, published books have 1st editions, 2nd editions, 4th editions, etc, it looks like my little story may have those, too. 😉

  8. falalalynx says:

    Ah Goddess,

    Has Christian bought stock in a shovel factory? Because he is digging such a frigging hole for himself and not with just Ana but everyone. Yet I can do nothing but forgive him, sigh poor poor baby boy. He doesn’t know how to fail or accept defeat. Christian honey you are not going to win this one. My heart breaks for them all. I would feel sorry for Freem too but his attitude has nothing to do with his father dying and everything to do with the stick up his ass. What is his damage? He is a toothless blowhard. But I like Stanley.

    Sheesh is this an ex-sub conspiracy at work here? Does Elena have something on each of them and is she making them strike at him like this?

    Wonderful work Goddess. You gave my sinus’s a workout. Until next time. sad smile

    Peace, Falala

  9. Darcy says:

    I am just wondering how far this set back is going to send Christian & Ana. He has really stepped into it, someone should point out that he is acting a bit like Freeman in his own way. I am almost afraid that Ana will take off with the kids.

    Thank you for another great chapter! ❤

  10. asunder73 says:

    When all your enemies are arrayed against you and you shit on the person who’s had your back from the jump. Can’t believe Christian practically compared Ana to the Grim Reaper! Hope he enjoys the imported crow. Perhaps it’ll be easier to digest with the perfect “whine”

  11. S. Hodgson says:

    An awesome chapter. I can’t believe Christian is still in denial. But at the same time I can. Ana is right to stand her ground and protect herself. Keep on trucking babe!!! Maybe Elliot can get through. I dunno I just hope once Gramps dies this anger he has towards Ana will slowly disipate because I foresee rough times if it doesn’t. He needs to talk to his shrink and sort his shit out.

  12. Bernadette says:

    Great chapter. I’m glad that Grace got a hold of Christian because he’s being more than an ass about this. Ana is suffering with grief and can’t express it… has Christian lost his flippin mind… uuugggghhh he’s getting on my nerves but I do get it..I do and it’s true what you said about death and all that come from it for the living. The conversation you wrote with Stan and Ana was simply precious in how you explained death. What a wonderful way to describe it. And I’m glad the brothers had that phone call at the end.

  13. lovesfiftyshades says:

    I was a Hospice nurse for tens years and grief has a personality of it’s own. It’s been studied and has hundreds if not thousands of books written about it. I’m sad for Christian as intelligent as he is that he has not done his own research about the burst of life before the end. I was on the receiving end of plenty of emotion as the nurse who had to bear the news to families that the burst of energy and life just before death was a sure sign that death is immenent. I’ll never forget one family who, when the aged parent died, a daughter came across her parents bed to physically fight me because death occurred. It seems a lot of times there is a Freeman in every family as well. One person who has to have their way and believes everyone else is wrong. I hate when A&C are not getting along but know it’s necessary for this story to resemble real life. Christian is so wrong here I’m with some of the other’s who wonder if he’ll ever be able to dig his way out of this one! Being emotionally immature is no excuse; not being in control and the “transference” is only acceptable for a moment. We better all hold on, I believe you said it will be “chapters” before this resolves. This is so true to life sometimes I think of these folks as if they are real. I am forever grateful for the time, effort and energy you put into this story. I have so much respect for your imagination, well, there really are no words. I hope at some point you’ll tell us about the ‘other’ story you went too as you stepped away from this one. Please don’t let your muse be discouraged by the nay sayers…just delete and move on. Thanks again for this beautiful journey we are on! Take care and can’t wait till next time.

  14. Brenda Williams says:

    I love you🤓 People hate what they can’t dictate and I mean your story
    Peace😇

  15. Dee says:

    Raising Grey, I thought the title of book referred to the twins but after reading this chapter does it refer to Christian or both? He really is showing his behind in this one isn’t he? I think his mom told him best, but no matter how flawed and complex he is, you just can’t stay mad at him. He is still living and learning. The Grey brother’s are hilarious, with comments like ” he’d be pissing gasoline,” “if Freeman had laid down and given birth, Dad was still coming,” and ” I will stomp his ass so far in the ground, he’ll have to go to China to find it,” you managed to take a really heavy chapter and inject humor into it. Well done. Greta Ellison? I don’t remember her. I’m going to start over from the beginning, hands down you’ve got the best series going right now

  16. Anne F. says:

    As always amazing writing and great update, very intense especially when you deal with death. I get that Christian is angry about his grandfather’s near death and needs to take his anger on someone and we usually choose the people we are close to. Ana is right to defend herself. I just hope she has enough strengh and patience to get why he does that.
    I’ve been reading the first 2 books or the butterfly saga because I really miss your chapters that were focused on A and C. There are so many characters in your story now (which is normal since it’s book 4) that there are parts that I skip. Can you write more A and C again and less focus on cousins, uncles, Chuck and girlfriend etc ?

    • There will be focus on Christian and Ana, but there will still be focus on other characters old and new because nobody’s life is just two people and there’s only so much that two people can do before the story is repetitious and eventually dies.

  17. Better2BeLoved says:

    I feel guilty because I want to slap Christian upside the head, but then again grief makes people do/say crazy things, and I’m conflicted because I’m upset with him. Christian is already building up resentment for something he’s made up in his mind about Ana, despite his mom and uncle telling him otherwise. I’m not impressed with him and how he’s handling his greif to be honest. A quick google search would show him that this this is a very common thing that declining people do. My mom is a nurse and refers to it as “the surge”. He’s being selfish and cruel, Ana is losing pops as well.
    I know they always say people lash out at the those they love the most but good God, this is your educated wife, not one of your obsessive, voodoo dickmatized ex submissives with ill intent toward you. When he comes to his senses, this better be one of the biggest apologies ever. Hope he saved that tenga toy, if I were Ana, I would dress in the most tempting outfits and leave him with blue balls for as long as possible.

    Thanks again BG! See ya next week 🙂 ❤️

  18. Christian618 says:

    Ana needs to kick Christine head in and see if he finds his senses again! He is acting very unfair despite his grieving moment. I hope Christian goes after that sub and give her some of this hell and torment built inside of him. Poor Carrick and his brothers with pops dying and freeman still acting like a jack ass. Hmm great chapter today!

  19. Annette Tomplait says:

    Wow, Freeman is a real piece of work. So it’s out, his wife is leaving him and his kids want nothing to do with him. He deserves all the hate being thrown his way. Sad about Pops even though we know it is coming. Christian needs to start some serious groveling to Ana. Can’t wait until next week. Have a great one! 😊

  20. SUE COLLINS says:

    I REALLY LIKE THIS STORY! IT IS A VERY GOOD ONE. RIGHT NOW IT’S VERY SAD BUT OF COURSE CHRISTIAN IS BEING AN ASSHOLE AS USUAL! THANKS FOR THE GREAT UPDATE! LOOKING FORWARD TO MORE GREAT READING.

  21. Sweet Peach75 says:

    AMAZING CHAPTER. I cannot wait to read the next update.

    Christian is being an asshole. He has two doctors (Ana and Grace) and Stanley telling him that Pops is not getting well and he still refuses to listen. I’m with Grace on what she said about Ana forgiving him. He’d have to kiss so much of my ass and practically buy me a country in order for me to forgive his childish, rude behavior. He’s being super immature. The rude comments he’s made to Ana are wrong and not necessary. He should have to grovel and damn near sell his soul to get back in her good graces. Ana should buy a chastity belt and tell Christian he won’t even get a wiff of it until he can apologize, sincerely. Even when Pops dies, I hope she does not give in to him. He’s being ridiculous.

    I always thought “what about one of his subs” who broke into her condo. I never thought about Greta a wannabe sub. Wow, talk about mind blown!!! So, I guess the connection there was Elena, huh? Did Myrick meet Elena while vising the Greys? How did they meet and decide to cook up this scheme?

    I am so glad that Carrick and 3/4 of his brothers have mended their relationship. Freeman needs to fall off the earth. It’s so sad how death brings out the worst in people. And what a revelation that Stanley let slip about Freeman and his wife separating and his daughter not talking to him and hardly anyone talks to him. Why am I not surprised? He’s such a dick.

    You rock, chica. I know I’ll need tissue when Pops dies. I’m impatiently waiting for the next update 🙂

  22. Bumptious says:

    Something about this chapter BG! Loved the end note with Elliot and Christian…. kinda makes you wonder how he is able to absorb the brotherly commitment in rela5ionships around him without noticing the marital ones! Glad Grace could give him somewhat of a hint when no one else did, but looks like his head is firmly up his own ass.

    I’ve been on a rereading kick and it’s helping me pin down behaviors inherent to your characters. There’s definitely a lot that has blurred in my head over time!

  23. Sherry Gomes says:

    I don’t think Ana should just take it, but I also think she should handle it differently. in fact, I don’t think she should have told him the truth about the burst of energy at all. she should have let him have his hope and not said anything one way or the other. Or hedge or something. It was bad when the doctors told us dad had six months or less to live. But if the doctor had said, a few days before the death that it was going to happen soon, it would have been horrible. Hope might be foolish, but it’s the only thing one can cling to at a time like this. But for me, this is getting too painful and worse than anything tey have fought over before. And adding the other brother into it, and the whole death thing, it hurts too much. for the next few chapters, I’m going to check out the endings to see if he has died but more if Ana and Christian are talking again. Otherwise, it only makes the death so much worse, and it hurts me too much to read. I couldn’t have gotten through it without all my siblings, and even my hateful brother-in-law, ex that is, was decent to my sister and me in the aftermath. It was painful to read about the death, but adding ana and crhistian to it is too much for me to handle. So, I’m disappearing till this story angle moves on. sigh. It just brings back too many things that still hurt too much after 20 years. I mean, even grace was a little mean here too. Why is Christian always the bad guy? I hate death scenes anyway. sigh again. I’ll be back when this part is over.

  24. sclark14320 says:

    Oh Christian is so going to regret his actions…lol….. I love all of your stories they are my absolute favorite ones. Don’t think I have read any as great as your. So for that I thank you for sharing them with all of us…. Can’t wait for the next one ☺

  25. Sherry Gomes says:

    I just watned to add that I have no issue with how you are writing the story Lynn. It’s yours and your characters. I support you 100 percent. I just can’t take this part emotionally. My brothers and sister and I did everything we could not to go down any of the negative roads here, even to the point of refusing to go to court against one of dad’s ex-wives, though we were in the right and the money involved would have helped us all. So, I’ve never been able to read this kind of angst and hateful behavior about dying. It hurts too much, and I just can’t read it. and I don’t think anybody meaning both a and c are acting very well here, and I can’t handle it. It brings back too much anguish. But hugs to you in writing it and sticking to it. And please, let’s have Ana do something stupid and mean in her turn in this story. Hoping these two do grow up someday. sigh. See you when things turn around a bit, unless you want to just tell me when it will be safe to read again.

  26. Lori says:

    You write the anger, turmoil and family drama that occurs when a loved one die so eloquently and realistically. Unfortunately, Christian and Freeman are being total jerks and extremely selfish. To have Christian leave Pop’s room when Ana came in with Minnie was just nasty and childish. He is really going to regret this as I’m sure you will have some major fallout after the funeral as far as his treatment of Ana is concerned. I loved the drama and the clues you left us to ponder! Thank you!

  27. 1962 says:

    I love and hate how true to life your chapters are, meaning I know hard grief can be on a family. How everyone reacts deferently to loss. I hate when C&A are at odds the whole center is off! I agree Ana should stand her ground but Christian is kinda out there rudderless too. Somehow he is gonna need some big time help to get through this. Like someone else said I would have thought with him being as smart as he is he would have research this last energy boost thing to see if it was true if for no other reason than to be able to continue to argue with Ana about it. And he needs to check in with his therapist right away, how long has it been? Oh BG keep them coming! LOVE THESE CHAPTERS! Hope everything is going well in RL for you! Xoxoxo

  28. Mar says:

    Wow!!!! Greaving is such a hard thing to do….
    Christian you better start getting ready because Ana 4.0! Is going to show you a lot of pain and you will be graveling to her for a very very long time
    Great story I need to go back and start to re read PDS and read the updated version
    Can’t wait for next week…..what would you have in store for us
    Have a good week
    Thanks again for taking us in this world of love friendship family

  29. bichonmomma says:

    I truly believe that Christian is hell bent to self destruct and seems to be unable to stop hurting Ana. Yes he loves her beyond anything he knew existed but his selfishness always takes over. It seems as if he had no impulse control in these areas. I understand he is in denial about his grandfather dying. I have know so many people go through this self denial when a dying family member rallied and then passed away. It always worries me when the rally occurs because I know what is next but some people refuse to accept it. Regardless of Christian’s grief and/or denial can never make it acceptable to treat his cherished wife they way he is doing. So glad Grace ripped him a new one. He still did not see what he was doing was wrong. Sometimes you want to just smack him in the back of his head and say snap out of it. I just wonder how much and how many more times Ana can deal with this behavior form him. At some point, regardless of how much she loves him, this type of behavior kills the love and ruins a relationship. I am sure Ana is going to put him in his place and I look forward to it. Christian really needs to realize he can not treat Ana this way when things aren’t going his way. He is not 3 years old. He puts her through hell, they go through a an emotionally devasting period and realize they need each other the Christian promises to never behave this way again. It is just like an abusive husband who abuses his wife then apologizes and swears to never hurt her again and the cycle repeats itself. Just because he treats her well most of the time does not justify his behavior when things go south. I am looking forward to how you will write Ana trying to support Christian in his grief when he has treated her so horribly. I am sure you have something great planned. Great chapter once again!

  30. Beachycolor says:

    I’ve enjoyed your amazing ability to see and express so many different personality types. This chapter I’ve also enjoyed reading the reviews. My children didn’t have to google “the surge” they are both physicians and have witnessed grief and dying many times. Yet, when this was occurring to my mother my son was quick to flip the switch …quick that is after my mother spent the last year of her life in several hospitals and rehabilitation centers. After he checked with me and then flipped the switch my daughter verbally attacked him screaming and cursing across the hospital corridors in front of his colleagues during the wee hours of the morning. She was losing her beloved grandmother and it didn’t matter that she had spent four years of medical school and four more years doing her internship, residency and fellowship as well as being a mother and wife. She was losing one of the greatest loves of her life and could only handle it by screaming out in the night.

  31. Darcy says:

    Hello!

    I’m so sorry that I am so bad at leaving reviews. I truly do love your story and I think they are beautiful and well written. You capture such beautiful love stories, which kind of makes it that much more heartbreaking to see them fight. God, there is nothing worse than seeing Christian and Ana fight.

    Especially because these two are overachievers and can never have a small fight lol. Nope. They have to go big and intense and long.

    I guess you love hard, you fight hard?

    While I 100% think that christian should never have said that or been so horrible to ana, I understand why it happened. Again, I don’t condone it, but I understand it. It kind of reminded me of when someone believes in something so strongly, like a kid one Santa Claus, and someone else comes and tells you the reality—you don’t want to believe them. Often times you’ll feel crushed and angry at that person for crushing your dream. So while I think that Christian definitely could have handled his grief 1,000 times better, I do understand why he reacted that one. Watching someone slowly die in front of you can do absolutely awful things, although that is still not an excuse.

    And while I think that ChristIan should never have done that to Ana, I think that Ana maybe could have handled the situation a little better. That’s NOT to say that I think she should have let Christian just stand there and verbally berate her, but maybe she could have used some of her amazing (no sarcasm) therapists skills to diffuse the situation a little more. I do understand though that Ana is a person, first and foremost, so that may be kind of difficult to do. Especially when she is probably still recovering from her babies, her accident, and also her own grief at losing Pops. But I think that maybe she could’ve also handled the situation, that was already horrible because of Christian’s harsh words, a little better. Again, I am in no way blaming Ana, because Christian should have been able to deal with his grief better, but I think that she just may have been able to desculate the situation a little bit more, even though I understand that she has a lot of shit going on also. If that makes sense?

    Overall, I think these have been an amazing couple of chapters. But seriously, my heart hurts everytime these two argue. They are usually so in sync and connected, that when they aren’t, it feels like the earth is off its axis.

    But an amazing chapter and I really hope that they resolve it soon!!

    And I hope my comment isn’t disrespectful or rude, because that was NEVER my intention!!

    Thanks for sharing your story!! 🙂

  32. Diana says:

    I hate it so much when they fight. A few days ago he was telling her how he felt that he was losing her with the fashiongate, and now he is pushing her away. I really dont get it CG. Grief or not, he is acting like an asshole.

  33. jjgoldmann says:

    At least now they know who took Ana’s beretta. What else are they going to find out with those subs? Where is daddy Myrick? So many people want his head on a platter?

    Christian is so going to be groveling AGAIN! LOL He is always in the dog house. How long is Ana going to make Christian suffer after he figures out how wrong he was or is Ana going to take pity on him since it was his grandfather and he was grieving in his own way? How any people in the family have to tell Christian that Ana was right before he believes it? Stubborn, stubborn stupid man!

  34. seralynsmom says:

    Sorry about anyone that thinks Ana is being a bitch here but he’s not treating anyone else like he’s treating her. If he were doing the denial thing and lashing out because he’s angry he could be doing it, should be doing it, to more than just here. For whatever reason he’s focused on Ana. Maybe it’s because she’s the one he loves the most, but if it were because she was trying to burst his little bubble- then why didn’t he lash out at his mother? At his uncle? They both told him Ana was right but instead of getting angry at them, he blamed her again. She got to them. So no, Ana has every fucking right to tell Christian to go fuck himself right now and Grace is right, he better hope to God he didn’t fuck his whole life up with this move. This could be the moment the camels back gets broken. I expect some major grovelling from Mr. Christian trevelyan Grey this time. And maybe even a punishment from Ana. If she takes those kids and heads back to Grey Crossing and tells him to stay away? I wouldn’t blame her one bit.

    Of course it would be a damn sub or sub wannabe. Should have damn known Greta would be the girl. And Milfield? That’s the name Myrick Jr was using was it not? Now we know. Myrick got her in, Greta got the gun, Elena used it. They just need to link them in a way they can charge them. Elena doesn’t matter, she’s in jail. But Myrick and Greta? They’re still viable threats. Myrick got on the other side of the FBI before right? And Greta thinks she got away scot free.

    And because Christian is being a dick, Ana is out of the loop. She has no clue Greta is a danger.

    • falalalynx says:

      Hi sweetie, long time no speak.

      You’ve given me a chance to talk about this. I completely agree Christian is off the rails here with his blaming Ana like he is and his treatment of her is WRONG in so many ways. Oh he owes her such an apology. But, here it comes, I’m not in agreement with the whole Ana needs to punish him severely. She can chew his ass, but good golly all this talk of punishing him, where is compassion and forgiveness and her training in understanding just how devastating death can be for someone? He is wrong and hurting her. Must she be mean and hurt him back? She can’t take the high road and give him the love and understanding he needs at this point in time? Isn’t he the emotional child in this relationship? Can’t she take the high road and help him through it all? Help him see that yes he hurt her but her love is greater than that? This tit for tat mindset is destructive imo. This is an opportunity for Ana’s brilliance to shine through. I think he felt more secure in Ana’s love than his mother or uncle plus she was the first to try and set him straight about what was happening with Pops. She got the blowup and they got blow back. Is every time they have a fight risking there relationship? Then I don’t see that this is a very strong love. BUT grin I don’t feel that. I think they can’t live without one another and love each other beyond belief. SO I’m being an optimist and hoping Ana will be the better of the two and help the love of her life through his loss.

      I love discussing things with you and everyone. And I know you will hear me out. xoxo

      Peace, Falala

  35. mitzi1958 says:

    I have been brewing over this latest chapter of yours just wanting the right words to write in my review. The departure of Carrick’s father has left me with some deep rooted feelings as they reminded me so of my own parents passing. While daddy did not have the peak valley, momma did and it was a fucking roller coaster ride if I ever took one. Her’s was many peaks and than many low points and you could just not guess what you were going to face from day to day.

    I feel for Christian as I went through many of the “it’s a miracle” phases myself only to be brought to my very lowest the next day or two days later. And while this was all going on it was not her last swan song, this was a surgery exergency surgery that had complications that lasted over a four month hospital and rehab stage. No her last hurdle was the losing of her mind to dementia. That was in many hard times a whole lot worse than watching her go through the hardship of the surgery, rehab and so on. Going to see my mother and her not knowing you and not knowing your name was a slow agonizing goodbye for all. So while Christian can celebrate his grandfather’s last relay who are we to say that what he is experiencing is wrong. I feel that Ana is wrong in her wanting her husband to realize the truth of what is going on and being a shrink she should know this but she loves her husband and does not want to see him hurt and grieving. She should know as we all do that grief is a personal experience and no two ways of grief are ever the same. Once again Grace has to step in and scold her children and say stop this, how you are grieving is perfect fully fine than how your wife is handling what is happening.

    As for Freeman, boy did you ever think of a winner with him, his grief is all about him and no one else that is how his family has dealt with him their whole lives and so why should they think it would be any differently now. He may never change and I have seen what grief can do at times like these and that is not with a selfish ass like Freeman. He may never change and than one day he may wake up, find himself alone and wonder why is he so alone but I doubt it, those kind of people never see any wrong that they do only want other’s do to him. It is so bad that his own wife is about to leave him and his own children see his faults, but I am sure they love him.

    Now on to the new challenge of getting a ex-sub out of his and his wife’s lives. I so feel for him, to have so many nut cases coming out of the woodwork has to be disheartening for Christian and it can not be good for Ana but they stick it out, stay together because if they let his ex-crazies and her ex-crazies tear them apart than they win and not Christian and Ana.

    Please more with the kids with Ana and Christian. I loved Christian’s fairy story to Minnie of how he and Mommy met and fell in love! It is one of my favorite chapters you have ever written and I have read it many, many times. Keep up the good work and do not let the “hater’s” get you down, you write some great stories. Not everyone is going to agree with what you write, that is what makes fanfiction stories the best. You listen to us, and we do thank you for it.

  36. mitzi1958 says:

    Just wanted to add after reading a lot of reviews I agree Christian has some major ass kissing to do with Ana, could she not realize that this is the first major death Christian has ever had to endure and maybe it if Ana’s first one too, it does something to your soul, the first death of a family member, you are never the same but at the same time no other death will be like the first one. It is a learning curve for all who are left behind, so maybe Ana and Christian can give each other some slack and be a little more understanding of each other and their children. Does not matter how young children are they understand tension and sooner or later they will act out on the bad vibes they are feeling from both of their parents.

  37. Mariposa says:

    Well I am glad that Grace finally took a side and chewed CG’s ass out about how is treating Ana… OMG he is being such an ass. What can I say about Freeman; too bad he thinks that Carrick’s kids aren’t Grey’s because CG is acting just like him… LOL. As usually another amazing chapter. Thanks for the entertainment Lynn 🙂

  38. Debbie says:

    Just re-read this chapter. Have decided CG is going to turn into Uncle Freeman if he doesn’t get a grip. He’s gonna owe Ana big time.

    CG’s past just has a way of coming back to bite him in the butt one way or another. Looking forward to how the Myrick/Greta/Elena situation pans out.

    BG, you sure have a great grasp on family dynamics….the idyoscyncrities of their personalities you develop are soooo captivating. Well hell…all of your characters and storylines keep me wanting more!

    Love the drama, humor, sweetness and of course the lemons.
    Always an adventure.

    Until next chapter.
    Thanks BG.

  39. valentinesgenie says:

    That was another rough chapter I really think Christian is going to have a lot of apologizing to do great work see you next time take care…..

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