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 19—So Much For Normal…
I don’t know what the big deal is about leaving us the fuck alone. Yes, I’m still looking for a little bit of normal in a whole lot of crazy. Yet, somebody somewhere feels like I’m not entitled to that.
Judd Loser went on a total tirade in the days after the Pacific interview. I addressed everything he could possibly throw at me, so every time he tried to cut me down or retort, they’d just throw a sound bite at him from the interview. It just made him angrier and what’s worse—for him, anyway—even more women came out with sexual harassment claims. One woman at his old job even went past sexual harassment and said he actual physically pushed himself on her. There was no sexual act or penetration, but it was enough to shed a really bad light on the current allegations and may result in some sort of criminal investigation.
There’s been no peace this week. Radio and local television shows are now trying to get me to make appearances, and I know that all they want is to rile me up over Judd in hopes of getting a bad reaction from me. As a result, I’m refusing any new appearances and only agree to do the three that I already had scheduled over the next two weeks with strict instructions that there would be no addressing the Judd Rossiter issue.
Al has kept a close eye on mine and Daddy’s adoption petition and so far, there’s been nothing from Nevada. I know that the court won’t contact Carla, but hell, there’s just no telling what might happen between now and the time that everything becomes legal. I’ve come to hope for the best, but expect the worse in light of everything that has happened to me in my life. It doesn’t matter, though. I don’t care what my mother does; this adoption is going through. Daddy will be my legal father and that’s that.
I’m doing my best to ignore Judd Loser for the weekend. Any time I see his name in the news or someone brings him up in conversation, I ignore it, change the channel, go to another website, or change the subject. In other news, Helping Hands receives some kind of form-letter-cookie-cutter response from the licensing board about the letters that I’ve been sending them—something about the process of approval or whatever the case may be. In response, I send two more letters on Friday with different wording, but the same questions… what’s the damn hold up?
Sunday is mine and Daddy’s big date—behind the dugout at the Mariners game versus the White Sox. Oh, my Daddy and his baseball. He gets quite passionate when his team is slacking, and quite colorful, too. If I wasn’t partially raised with a sailor, I’d be blushing the entire time.
“I’m gonna freeze with that breeze! Hit somethin’ for Christ’s sake!”
“You asshole! The plate hasn’t moved in 100 years and you still can’t find it!”
“Hey Morse, they killed a cow to make that glove! You could at least try to use it!”
“The ball is behind you, fuckhead!!!”
Even the bullpen isn’t safe…
“Shut up! You been sittin’ on that bench for so long, you should have enough splinters to make your own goddamn bat.”
“Yeah, I bet it’s hard sittin’ around for nine innings and twelve games. Stand up and stretch your legs.”
The best one is after a strikeout while gesturing to his torso…
“Just in case you forgot, when the ball comes in this area, you swing!”
It’s really fun to just let loose with Daddy at the game. I can understand his frustration, though. We’re in the fifth inning and the only scoring in the whole game was when a rookie hit a line drive down to left field with bases loaded, allowing the Mariners to score three runs. Thank God it was our team that scored or Daddy would have had a conniption. Just before the bottom of the sixth, I have to use the restroom, but I’m almost afraid to leave Daddy on his own. I nod to Chuck sitting a few rows behind us and he gets up to follow me to the ladies’ room, signaling Ben and Chance to keep an eye on Daddy.
Of course, there’s a line at the ladies’ room and I have to sing songs and think of ridiculous things to distract myself so that I don’t pee on myself. It was a close call, but I made it. After I wash my hands and join Chuck to return to our seats, I swear that I see Judd Loser get a beer at one of the stands, but when I look again, the guy is gone. I assume that I must have imagined it since the asshole seems to be flooding my conscious and my subconscious mind and just go back to my seat.
Of course, I get there just in time to miss the same newcomer knocking in another run for the Mariners. I thought this would make Daddy happy—his team is winning! Instead, he has more heckles for the seasoned players…
“Hey Seagar, rough night? The newbie’s makin’ you look bad.”
“Hey Miller, that’s a $200 bat. If you’re not gonna use it, can I have it?”
I’m in pain with laughter by the end of the game and very happy that the only four runs made possible by a newcomer name Jackson was enough to give us the win. The final score—Mariners, four, White Sox, two.
We stop at the souvenir shop on our way out and I can’t help but buy an 18” Mariners souvenir bat to give to Daddy after the crack he made to Miller. Just as I’m paying for my wares and I’m about to leave, I hear a voice over my right shoulder that I don’t recognize, but it still gives me a fucking chill.
“Wanna see my tattoo?”
I whip around right into the face of Judd Rossiter. I fucking knew it was him at the beer stand. Shit. I gotta get out of here. I turn and look for Daddy, anxious to get away from this asshole as quickly as possible.
“What’s your hurry, doll? That ass looks a whole lot better in those jeans than it did in that get-up you were wearing before!”
Do not engage. Do. Not. Engage. Where the fuck is Daddy?
“Not so big and bad with no mic shoved in your face, huh?”
Oh, this is bad and it’s only going to get worse. Just when I’m getting desperate to find my father, I run right into him.
“Annie! What’s the matter?” he asks, holding my arms.
“We have to go—now, Dad,” I say quietly.
“Aw, Annie, that’s so cute!” Loser taunts. My father raises his eyes to Loser, clearly not amused.
“Something I can do for you?” Daddy says coldly. Oh, shit. This will not end well.
“What happened to your billionaire?” Loser hisses. I can tell he’s had a few beers. “You like ‘em older now? He’s old enough to be your father.” Daddy moves me behind him.
“That’s because I am,” Daddy growls. Loser laughs loudly, drawing attention to himself.
“You should’ve asked for a blood test there, Pops! She looks nothing like you!” His two friends laugh heartily at his tasteless joke.
“Daddy, let’s just go, please?” I beg.
“I make it a point not to allow anybody to chase me from anywhere,” Daddy says, facing off with Judd Loser. He’s taller, bigger, younger, and drunker than my father. Daddy’s going to get hurt.
“Daddy, it’s fine. He’s not worth it, please, Daddy…”
“Fuck you, bitch!” he hisses. “Listen to your bitch daughter and leave, Daddy…” Judd Loser is poking my father in his chest, which infuriates me, but immediately sets off the Marine in my father. Daddy moves so quickly that I don’t even see what he does. I think he grabs Loser’s finger, because the next thing I know, Loser is kind of bent over going in the same direction as his hand, yowling in pain. Once Daddy releases his hand, he recovers quickly and comes back at my father with a clenched right fist.
… And all hell breaks loose.
I don’t know what exactly is going on, but all I can see are my father’s fists flying and two men about to jump him from behind. I have immediate flashbacks of the fight in Anguilla and the drunks jumping my husband in the barfight… and I have a bat in my hand that’s half a meter long. It’s about to go upside somebody’s head.
“Get away from my Daddy!” I scream, pulling the bat back for action. A hand catches my wrist before I’m able to swing.
“Whoa! Settle down, killer! We got this!”
I turn around to see Chance disarming me while Ben and Chuck quickly subdue the two men that were about to attack my father. Daddy has beaten Loser Boy down to the floor and has him face down on the concrete. One hand is holding his neck down so that he can’t move his head. The other hand has Loser’s arm bent in some kind of really uncomfortable-looking submission hold behind him while Daddy’s knee is pressed firmly in the small of his back.
I breathe a sigh of dread as the whole thing plays out before me. Chuck and Ben have produced cuffs from I don’t know where. Daddy doesn’t need them. Somebody’s calling the cops. Everybody here will be detained until they get to the bottom of what happened. In the meantime, Loser is still trying to get from under my father.
“Get off me, you old fuck!” he demands. “You’re hurtin’ my goddamn arm! Get the fuck off me!”
“Son, the more you fight, the more it’s gonna hurt. Wait for the cops,” Daddy says calmly.
“I’m gonna fucking sue you!” he threatens, his voice muffled since his cheek is pressed into the concrete.
“Good luck with that,” Daddy says calmly. “You’ll have to wait until after I press assault charges against you. There are witnesses and surveillance cameras that saw you poking me in the chest and taking a swing at me.” I roll my eyes and take out my phone.
“Ana! What is it?” Vee’s voice is frantic. It should be. I’m calling her on a Sunday.
“Vee, call Al, call my husband. We have a situation.”
“Why did you call me before you called them?” she asks horrified.
“Because the press is everywhere, and they’re going to see it first, so he might see it live.” Vee sighs.
“Give it to me…”
I’m sitting on the same bench in the same spot at police headquarters that I sat when we came to get Sophie the night that Shalane was arrested. I want to just bury my head in a hole and disappear. I keep my face covered since the sea of paparazzi outside have a bird’s eye view right into the precinct doors. It’s not hard to do since I’m so sick with anguish that my dad is back there in a cell with that asshole that I can’t lift my head anyway.
A commotion at the door causes me to look up and I see an angel burst through the crowd.
Christian. Please hold me. I feel like I’m going to die.
I can’t even find the strength to stand when he walks into the door. Sensing my weakness, he strides quickly over to me and squats down to me, gathering me in his arms. I can’t even speak. I just cling to him like life itself and lay my head on his shoulder, trying to find a way to cope with all this bullshit. My father’s in a cell along with Chuck and Ben and this asshole and his drunk friends who accosted us at the ballgame. A normal day out with my dad has turned into an utter fucking nightmare.
“We had such a great time,” I mutter into Christian’s shoulder. “Daddy was a total nut, and the Mariners won.”
“I know, baby,” Christian says softly, caressing my back and hair.
“He made a crack at Miller about the bat. I just wanted to get him a bat…” My voice is shaking.
“Sssshh,” he soothes. “This is not your fault…”
“It’s totally my fault,” I weep. “If I had kept my mouth shut in the first place, none of this would have happened!”
“I’m not going to even address everything wrong with that statement,” Christian says. “Let’s just get Ray and the guys out of here.” I nod into his shoulder and he reaches into his jacket and retrieves his ever-present handkerchief. He lifts my head and gently dries the tears from my cheek. Even though I’m already crying, I feel the adrenaline rushing through me at a back-breaking speed. I can hear my blood rushing through my ears. It’s sounds like a baby’s heartbeat and just as fast…
Whoosh, whoosh, whoosh, whoosh, whoosh, whoosh, whoosh, whoosh!
I don’t know how much longer I sit on that bench while Christian and Chance and Al talk to whomever they talk to over and over and over. Christian had Marilyn call Mandy, but we insisted… somebody insisted… that she stay with Harry while we straighten things out. I’m not weeping anymore, but the tears haven’t stopped falling. And the blood hasn’t stopped rushing.
Whoosh, whoosh, whoosh, whoosh, whoosh, whoosh, whoosh, whoosh!
I put both hands on my forehead in pure frustration. Yet another open case in the life of Anastasia Grey. Dear God, will I live to see a year without a courtroom?
“This is getting ridiculous! Should I have just let the guy sit there with the pussy in my face?” I ask aloud to no one in particular. I want to scream. This whole thing is so fucking ridiculous. He was clearly trying to antagonize me and I called him on it, and somehow, I’m the bad guy?
The sun has gone down… and the two guys who tried to jump my father from behind are released. They walk right pass me. They don’t even look over at me. I really don’t think they even know who I am. I wonder how it feels spending Sunday afternoon in jail simply because your friend is a classless, arrogant, uncouth piece of…
I think I get whiplash snapping my neck in the direction of my childhood nickname. The only other time I remember my father looking this good to me was when he showed up in the hospital after the Green Valley beating. My body is moving before my brain and I only remember being on the bench, then being in his arms, squeezing him for dear life and saying his name over and over again.
Daddy… Daddy… Daddy… Daddy… Daddy… Daddy… Daddy…
“It’s okay, Sunflower,” he says into my hair. “I’m okay.”
“I’m sorry, Daddy,” I say softly, my voice barely audible.
“No,” he replies, just as softly. “That blowhard ran his mouth the entire time he was in the cell. There’s no way I’m letting you take responsibility for that. He’s a real piece of work and my only regret is that I didn’t break his jaw so he would shut the hell up.”
“Everybody’s out now,” I hear my husband say. I release my grip on Daddy to look over at him.
“Everybody?” Daddy asks.
“Yes, everybody, so let’s make it quick.” I take the hint and try to walk to the door, but my head starts swimming and I feel like shit. I’ve been crying for hours and the whoosh, whoosh, whoosh has only just now started to calm. Daddy’s on one side of me in a moment and my husband is on the other. Trying to look as normal as possible—as normal as two large men can look holding up small woman—we head for the door.
The flashes light up the night like the first dawn of morning and the questions fly like crazy as Daddy and Christian maneuver me down the stairs and to a waiting Audi. Daddy gets in on the street side of the car while Christian helps me into the back-passenger seat. Just as I sit my butt down on the leather, I hear that loudmouthed fucker projecting from the top of the precinct stairs.
“That bitch is trying to ruin my life! Just because she can’t take a picture of a pussy!”
Christian’s neck jerks in the direction of the voice and before I have the chance to say a word, he has put me in the car, closed the door, and is now running back to the stairs… towards that horse’s ass. The crowd splits immediately, leaving a straight path right to Judd Loser. Fuck! You won’t let us out of the hospital when the babies are born, but you’ll make a fucking pathway for Christian to get up there and kill the guy!
In the mayhem with cameras flashing, I can see a fight ensue in my mind’s eye, one or both men being beaten to a pulp in front of the police station, and my three-second funnel produces the inevitable outcome.
Christian spends the night in jail.
I could barely stomach the thought of my father in a holding cell without vomiting all over the precinct floor, but the idea of Christian doing time is more than I can handle.
The tears start before I can stop them. I can’t take this shit anymore. I have to think fast before my husband finds himself with another assault charge. I leap out of the car with clenched fists. It’s time for another sacrificial lamb.
“I have had enough of this shit! Christian, get in the goddamn car!”
My sobbing, screaming voice pierces over every sound in what seems like a 50-mile-radius and all eyes are on me… including my stunned husband’s. Don’t lose your nerve now, Steele… um, Grey.
“Nooooooooooooooowwww!” I scream through my tears, shaking my fists like a toddler having an uncontrollable temper tantrum. My husband is horrified and everyone else is frozen in place until…
“Yeah, Christian, get in the goddamn car…” he says in a taunting voice. Christian turns his gaze back to Judd Loser, but before he can move or speak, one of the reporters close to him says,
“You’re a real asshole, you know that?”
I’m almost shocked that someone came to my defense, and like lemmings often do, the others fall in line behind him, criticizing Judd Loser and snapping pictures of his shocked face, but I don’t have a chance to enjoy it. The adrenaline is getting the best of me and I feel myself going down. I don’t know who catches me. All I know is that I see flashing cameras, I feel strong arms, then muffled sounds, then darkness.
“There she is,” he says softly. I’m cradled in my husband’s arms in the back seat of the slowest moving Audi on the bridge. My head is fuzzy and my vision is blurred, but I feel him stroking my cheek and kissing my temple… and I feel like there are leprechauns tapdancing on my skull.
“Wha…” The word is a breathy sound, and that’s pretty much all I can muster.
“I didn’t panic,” he says. “I remembered… crying or fainting.”
I think I nod, glad that he didn’t waste the rest of the night rushing me to the hospital just to hear that I had one of my adrenaline fainting spells. It’s been a really rough, very emotional, extremely fucked-up day. It’s a wonder that all I did was cry and faint. I wouldn’t have been surprised had I given birth to a unicorn on the precinct stairs. That would have given the press something to talk about.
The press… fuck!
I think I’m going to hide in the mansion for a few weeks. As if reading my thoughts, my husband quickly addresses the issue.
“I think we moved too fast for them to get pictures of you,” he says. “They were too busy taking pictures of the asshole.”
I don’t know what I do after that… I’m too damn tired…
Christian and I had the same idea Monday morning… no work for me. I’m certain the paps are camped at the end of the driveway and I just can’t deal with it today. I won’t stay in bed all day, though, although I’m certain that my husband would like to convince me otherwise.
“You’ll see it anyway, so you might as well see it now,” he says as I join him for breakfast in the dining room. He hands me the paper and who do I see on the front of the local page.
Judd Rossiter. What bullshit is he spewing now?
The headline reads, A Real A**hole. Priceless! This I gotta see…
A stunned Judd Rossiter stood at the top of the stairs in front of the doorway of police headquarters yesterday after a reporter called him out for unseemly behavior. Rossiter allegedly assaulted Raymond Steele—local small-businessman and stepfather of Anastasia Steele-Grey—at the gift shop of Safeco Field after the Mariners game. Rossiter, Steele, two members of Grey’s security team and two other unknown men were all detained at police headquarters after the incident. Pictures below depict a clearly distraught Anastasia waiting at the precinct for her stepfather along with a very caring Christian Grey trying to calm her.
The paps had a field day with the cameras yesterday. The pictures could have told the story without any of the narrative.
Me with my hands over my face sitting on the bench lamenting the entire situation.
Christian squatting in front of me holding me protectively in his arms.
Christian wiping my tears as I sob.
Daddy on one side of me and Christian on the other side, both of them basically holding me up as we leave the precinct.
A not-so-flattering picture of Rossiter taunting us from the top of the precinct stairs—they didn’t even bother to blur out his horrible tattoo.
My husband rushing the stairs.
Me with my mouth open, fists clenched, and screaming—also a very un-flattering picture.
A stunned Rossiter staring into the camera.
Christian carrying me, my head on my husband’s shoulder, my face shielded.
How did he get to me so fast? He was easily half-way up those stairs when I started screaming at him?
Rossiter was charged with assault while the other men face no charges. All men involved were released late last night. Rossiter continued to taunt the Greys after his release, prompting Christian to charge him on the stairs of the precinct. Anastasia clearly suffered some kind of breakdown, screaming for her husband to “get in the g**d**m car” before he tore Rossiter to shreds. Rossiter continued his taunting, prompting a freelance reporter on the stairs to call him out as a genuine donkey’s poop chute. Anastasia lost consciousness after her screaming fit and can be seen here once again cradled protectively in her husband’s arms before the Steeles and the Greys are whisked away in a fleet of Audis, leaving Rossiter to face the angry press alone.
Rossiter and Steele-Grey have an ongoing feud about Rossiter’s inappropriate behavior during a live taping of “Rapping with Rob,” and the subsequent fallout. So far, a total of ten women have come forth with allegations of lewd and lascivious behavior on Rossiter’s part—a situation for which he continues to hold Steele-Grey responsible as she dared to speak up about his X-rated tattoo.
There’s a close-up of the same picture of him at the top of the stairs with a zoom-in of that disgusting tattoo. The photographer—or the paper—had the decency to blur out the woman’s clit, but the rest of it is in grand detail. So, one can easily imagine what the entire thing looks like without even seeing it.
Rossiter tried to defend himself, taking another moment in the spotlight to degrade the Greys and their relationship, but to no avail. For the most part, he just came off as a drunken, cursing buffoon defaming a distraught woman for calling him out on bad behavior. Exactly how many beers did you have at Safeco Field, Judd?
I bet his inebriation is going to be my fault, too.
I fold the paper closed and place it on the table, not even bothering to finish reading the story. I pick up my cell phone and dial Daddy’s number. I’m so hurt and humiliated that he had to be brought into this. The phone is answered on the first ring.
“Hello?” What the fuck? Who the…? Oh, shit.
We could barely get out of the driveway with the paps blocking the street. I thought I’d get used to this shit after a while, but I have to admit that I was falling blissfully into my wife’s quest for “normal.” So, I’m resenting the presence of the noisy press more now than I ever have before.
“So, when did he get into town?” I ask Alex during the drive to the office.
“As near as I can tell, yesterday evening. It looks like Mandy may have called him once she found out that Ray had been arrested.”
It appears that our friend, Brian Cholometes, is in the Seattle area visiting Ray and Amanda. I can’t say that I blame him. His best friend was being detained at police headquarters, but I still don’t fucking trust the guy. We’ve been keeping an eye on him and his Ana-look-alike girlfriend, but nothing has given us cause for concern… until now.
I just don’t like him being here.
“What’s he been doing since he’s been here?” I ask.
“Nothing that gives immediate cause for concern,” Alex says. “He got in last night and went straight to the Steeles’ home. He stayed there until Ray was released, and then he left about an hour after Ray returned home and went to the Fairmont. He’s at Ray’s office right now. I would just say he’s checking on his friend and he’s no cause for us to be worried, but I know if he’s here and you don’t know, somebody’s head is going to roll.”
He’s right about that shit.
“Let’s hope that’s all it is. Keep your eye on him,” I say. “Is she with him?”
He knows who I mean… Colostomy’s Ana look-alike.
“No,” Alex says, “Not that we can tell.” That means that either he doesn’t plan on staying long or that he’s hoping to get a glimpse of Ana.
“Just keep your eye on him,” I reiterate. Out of respect for my father-in-law and my wife, I will not engage, but I need to know if he tries to. At that point, all bets are off. My next call is to Allen.
“I’m on my way into the office. I want a restraining order on Judd Rossiter. I don’t want him to be able to come anywhere near my wife, me, or any of her family.”
“Do you really think that’s necessary?” Allen protests. “After they massacred him in the news, I don’t think he wants to see any of you guys any time soon.”
“That man attacked my wife and her father in a public ballpark. He continued to harass and taunt us on the stairs of the police station in front of the press after he had been charged with assault. I don’t know if he’s desperate, unstable, or just plain stupid, but whichever it is, you’re getting a restraining order for his protection. I’m ordering my security to shoot to kill if he comes anywhere near my wife or our family again. Hell, I’ll shoot him myself!” Allen sigh.
“’Nuff said. I’m on it,” he says, before we end the call. “Cholometes is in town,” I say to Jason. He sighs.
“Yeah, I got the text this morning,” he replies.
“How soon before he speaks to Butterfly? Any bets?” Jason shakes his head.
“I’ll give it until noon,” he says while pulling into the parking garage at Grey House.
“Did you know that Brian is here?” my wife says when I call to check on her. I look at my watch. Ten thirty. He didn’t even make it to noon.
“Yeah, I found out on the ride in,” I reply. “How did you discover?”
“I called Daddy’s office and he answered,” she says. I’m quiet for a moment, waiting to hear the rest. “He didn’t dawdle,” she continues. “He asked how I was and about the twins. I told him that we were all fine and he handed the phone to Daddy.” I sigh and try not to say anything about what I think of the asshole. Instead, I just change the topic.
“I’m getting a restraining order against Rossiter,” I tell her. “I don’t want him to come anywhere near you or our family. I shudder to think what might happen if the twins are with you and that guy approaches you again.” She’s quiet for a moment.
“I suppose it’s for the best,” she says. “I would imagine that he wouldn’t have a single friend in the city willing to be seen with him after yesterday’s fiasco, so I can see him feeling the need to settle a vendetta now. My question is why does everybody feel the need to come after us? The things that people do or want to do to us are so damn drastic, I just don’t understand it. I had people who didn’t like me when I was just Anastasia Steele, but nobody came after me. It can’t be the money, because nobody has tried to get any except my mother and Ginger Creepy Guy, so what the hell?”
“It is the money, honey,” I tell her. “They may not want money, but the money makes us a bigger target if for no other reason than that people think that we can buy our way out of any situation. You know, ‘More Money, More Problems,’ ‘With great power comes great responsibility,’ and let’s not forget ‘What’s she got that I don’t.’ The list is endless as to why they want to come after us—we have everything, or we’re capable of having everything—and they’re not. They had one of us or want one of us or want something we have or are upset that we’ve got something they don’t or don’t think we deserve what we have or are angry that we can get whatever we want. Fill in the blank, baby, but trust me… in the end, it boils down to the money.” I hear her sigh.
“I’ve got one last radio show that I’m doing next Monday, then I’m done,” she says. “It’s one of those live shows that runs simultaneously on camera on a local cable channel. I think I’ve gotten enough publicity for my causes for now… I need to let it rest. I need to focus on the accreditation of Helping Hands anyway. The process is taking way too long.”
“I can make some calls if you want,” I offer.
“Oh, God, no, please don’t do that. We already know that Gloria Felton is holding us up somehow. If you get involved, it’ll just throw fuel on the fire. No, we just have to figure out what needs to be done to get this thing moving the right way.”
“But here’s the thing,” I protest. “If you know that she’s holding you up, then the reason is obviously personal and there’s going to have to be some sort of outside involvement or interference, if you will. If this is a personal vendetta, she’s going to run it into the ground. She’s going to wait until you give up or she’s going to hold you back forever.” I hear my wife sigh.
“Just… don’t do anything, please,” she beseeches me. “Being on this side of things, I understand now why Grace didn’t want you to give money to the center. You’re a very powerful man and the last thing we need is the impression that you somehow bought or finagled our accreditation… and believe me. That’s exactly how she would make it look if you got involved.”
I understand what she’s saying, but she doesn’t understand that people with the slightest bit of power and an ax to grind are going to grind it in your ass until there’s no blade left. Whether she knows it or not, at some point, I’m going to have to get involved, but for now, I’ll respect her wishes… and just wait.
“Whatever you want to do, baby,” I say. “So, what’s on the agenda for the rest of the day?”
I listen to my wife talk about what she plans on doing with her afternoon, the entire time thinking about Cholometes presence in this part of the state and the Felton woman that’s holding up the accreditation for the center. I make a mental note to talk to Allen about exactly what’s needed to acquire accreditation and to discreetly look into whether there could actually be a legitimate delay in the approval. We should just wait it out for now, but I want to know first-hand exactly what the delay is.
I know from experience that waiting to see what move someone is planning to make can often be disastrous. I want to know what his intentions are and I want to know now—how long he plans on staying in town, what he’s going to be doing while he’s here, if he’s really here in support of his friend or in hopes of getting a glimpse of or a moment or two alone with my wife. I still don’t trust him. I’ve seen determination before—I’m the epitome of it. I’ll burn down cities for that woman and so will he. I know he will, and some Ana doppelganger isn’t going to change that. David was living, breathing proof of that.
“Put another tail on Cholometes,” I tell Alex. “Have him conveniently be discovered.” He’s silent for a moment.
“You’re playing with fire, Christian,” he warns, “or have you conveniently forgotten your last encounter with that man?”
“Just do it,” I reinforce. He sighs into the phone.
“Yes, sir,” he agrees skeptically.
“You’re leaving breadcrumbs again. What do you want?”
His voice is impatient over the phone and even though I engineered his contact, I fucking hate this arrogant asshole and really could do without talking to him.
“I don’t know what you mean, Brian. I’ve kept my eye on you ever since my wife kicked you out of our house and our lives. You’re a wildcard and I don’t trust you, so just like you’re watching me, I’m watching you.” He’s silent for a moment. Yeah, I know, asshole. “So, if you’re just now finding breadcrumbs, you haven’t been paying much attention…” I wonder just how overt Alex made the men I had him put on Cholometes? It’s only been a couple of hours and I didn’t tell them to go and wave at the fucker.
“Are you that insecure in your relationship, Grey?” he asks. “I realize that your world begins and ends with your wife, but here’s a news flash for you. There’s life after Ana.”
Did I mention that I hate this arrogant asshole?
“You could’ve fooled me,” I retort. “You followed her around for years sniffing her ass and hoping she would fall into your arms, even after we were married and she was pregnant with my children, and now you’re going to pretend that you’re suddenly disinterested?”
“And now you’re following me,” he counters, “and what am I doing? It was okay when you thought your men were being covert, but then you stick them right in my face to summon me like errand boys. And now, you’ve got my attention, so tell me, Grey. What the fuck am I doing?”
“Well, right now, you’re hanging out with a woman who looks exactly like my wife. So, while your mouth says you’re over her, your actions say that you’re not. In fact, your actions say that you’re dangerously close to obsession and that you’re trying to recreate a woman that you can’t have. Ana’s important to you and I know that she is,” I continue, “To you and to me. She gets into your blood and you don’t just shake her off. So, don’t try that coy shit, because it doesn’t work with me. I know exactly what you’re doing, and trust me—I’m keeping a really close eye on you and your new girlfriend.” Another pause.
“Is that what this is about?” he says, his voice actually rising an octave. “This is about Shawna? Oh, boy, I could have saved you some trouble,” he chuckles. “I have a type, Grey, just like you. There are things that I find attractive—that I’m drawn to—just like you, and I find Ana attractive. What’s the matter? Your feelers all up in the air because my girlfriend looks a whole lot like your wife?” he accuses. Yes, asshole, that’s exactly why my feelers are up in the air.
“Take a good look at all of your past submissives, you ass,” he continues. “How many of them could be sisters? Some of them twins? Don’t try to find something wrong with me having a relationship with a girl who looks a whole lot like the girl I fell in love with. Sha knows all about Ana, all about how I pined over her for years and was forced to finally let go. We don’t have any secrets. And yes, I know some of your subs changed to fit the bill…”
How the fuck did he know that??
“… But to answer your unasked question, no—Sha didn’t change. She didn’t dye her hair. She doesn’t wear contacts. She’s exactly three inches taller than Ana and she looked like that when I met her. So, stop thinking you have the monopoly on brunettes. Sorry to burst your bubble, but I don’t covet your life, even though I may have coveted your wife at one time, and there are other attractive women in the world that don’t want you!”
I know that’s supposed to be a stab, but for some reason, it’s not. I only want my Butterfly. As long as that sucker isn’t trying replicate her, which can only turn out badly when he discovers that the person he’s connected to is not Ana, I’m fine. He can get as many fembots as he wants. Hell, he can have my ex-subs—all of them, since he appears to know who they are.
“It might surprise you to know that I really don’t care who you fuck, as long as it’s not my wife. My only concern is for the people you might hurt and who might be hurt because of you.” He scoffs into the phone.
“You’re one to talk,” he jeers. “You’ve got one dead sub—because of you, one living in total obscurity—because of you, one off her fucking rocker in jail—because of you, and your wife was almost killed—all because of you, and those are just the ones you know of. If you don’t want me nosing and poking around in your life like I was before, get the fuck out of mine.” That leaves me uneasy. What the fuck don’t I know? “Listen to me carefully, because I’m only going to say this once. You’re harassing me, Grey. Don’t make me show you just how untouchable you’re not. Stay the fuck out of my life.”
“Don’t give me a reason to go nosing and poking around, and I won’t,” I retort.
“Keep it up, Grey, and you’re going to get more than you bargained for!” he ends the call without another word.
I fucking hate it when people hang up on me. It gives them that superiority that they’ve put me in my place. That shit does not sit well with me at all. I call Alex.
“Who the fuck did you put on Cholometes?” I demand.
“Is something wrong?” he asks.
“He just called me basically taunting me for incompetence!” I retort.
“You told me to make sure they were discovered…”
“What did they do—wave a flag at him?” There’s silence for a moment.
“Look, sir, I’m confused,” he begins. “I told you that this was a bad idea before we even embarked on this endeavor. You told me to do it anyway, and I did. I followed your directions exactly as you said and now you’re yelling at me. Did I miss something?”
No, you didn’t miss anything. I’m just fucking pissed! And I want to hold somebody responsible for me being pissed!
“No. Nothing.” I end the call. There’s no use in dwelling on this. I might as well get some work done or this conversation is just going to niggle at me all day.
I manage to forget my conversation with Colostomy and dive into some documentation and projections about a Spanish company that I want to acquire. I spend the better part of the afternoon picking apart the financials and synopses of the company when I’m interrupted by a text from Butterfly.
**Check your email. **
Well, this can’t be good.
I open my email and go to the folder that I have specifically for emails that come from my wife. And there’s a forwarded email:
To: Christian Grey
From: Anastasia Steele-Grey
Date: Monday, August 11, 2014, 16:14
Subject: FW: Curiosity Killed the Cat
Do I even want to know what this is about?
Dr. Anastasia Steele-Grey, M.D.
Assistant Director, Helping Hands
To: Anastasia Steele-Grey
From: Brian Cholometes
Date: Monday, August 11, 2014, 15:59
Subject: Curiosity Killed the Cat
I’ve respected your wishes. I haven’t bothered you. I haven’t called or emailed you. I haven’t even spoken to Ray unless he initiated contact until he was arrested. Tell your husband to stop poking around in my life and my business unless he wants me to go back to poking around in yours.
What the ever-loving fuck? I’m dialing his number faster than I can even think. He answers the call, but doesn’t say anything. He knows who it is.
“You threatened my goddamn wife? Seriously?” I bark into the phone.
“I didn’t threaten her,” he hisses. “I told her to keep you out of my goddamn hair just like I told you and you’re in it again. I don’t want your fucking wife anymore and I don’t give a fuck about you! Ray is my friend. He was my friend before you ever fucking came along and he’ll be my friend when you’re gone. I’m going to see about him when something is going on with him, and you can’t fucking stop that. Now you and I have nothing else to say to each other. Call off your fucking dogs and get out of my goddamn business. I’ve already told you that I’m not going to repeat myself and I’m a man of my fucking word. Don’t push me!”
The call ends abruptly—again—and I find myself at a crossroads. I. Am. Pissed. I want to drag this fucker through the mud just because I don’t fucking like him, but what’s worse is that I hate for people to get the last word on me! And he did it twice in one day!
However, I’m a smart guy. Yes, I’m a hothead, but I didn’t get as far as I am by doing dumb shit. Cholometes has something on me. He’s got information on my past submissives which is damaging enough, but more so, he’s got information about the outcome of a certain hacker situation last year. There are three guys who conveniently disappeared off the face of the earth and I have no idea what happened to them or where they are, but I’m certain that he does. So, even though it goes against every Alpha-male cell in my body, this is one time that if he says that he’s willing to stay out of my life if I stay the fuck out of his, I should stay the fuck out of his.
I sit back in my chair and think about what he said to me earlier. Part of me knows that I shouldn’t take what he said to me to heart, but this time, I can’t help it…
One dead sub…
One living in total obscurity…
One off her fucking rocker in jail…
My wife was almost killed…
All because of me.
I don’t get it. All I did was fuck ‘em and beat ‘em and that’s the truth. The only tenderness I showed was aftercare. I didn’t show any true emotion until I met Ana. Yes, there was a time when I thought I had feelings for Elena when I was a teenager, but she beat and fucked that out of me, made sure that I knew that it was all about pleasure, pain, and sex and nothing else. I learned. I learned from the best… or the worst, depending on how you look at it, but I learned. So how is it that all these women losing their mind is my responsibility?
And why is it that I feel like he’s right?
I open the file containing the information on my prior subs. One has a Dom. One is a Domme. Four have moved on and are married. Three worked for Elena until she was arrested—not 100% sure what’s going on with them right now. One was chased into obscurity… by me. One hopeful is sitting on the sidelines, most likely losing her mind and plotting my demise as we speak, and three are dead—one as a result of trying to kill my wife. Two of them seem to have disappeared into thin air.
“It was just sex,” I say aloud. “I never promised them anything more. I told them I didn’t want anything more. How is it my fault?”
Is it my fault? Can I really be held responsible for someone wanting more than I could give them when I told them I couldn’t give them any more from the very beginning? Look at Ellison, for Christ’s sake. She went completely rogue and all we did was talk!
Would my wife check out like this if we ever split up? Of course, she would. I’ve unleashed all kinds of sexual, passionate, emotional hell on that woman. She’d go completely out of her mind, just like I would if she left me. It’s a good thing we’ll never find out.
I couldn’t have been all bad. Some of these women have moved on with their lives and forgotten all about me. Others… well…
I really have to know.
I click on one of the names and scroll down to the contact information. This is something I never expected to be doing in a million years.
“Hello.” I swallow hard.
“Hello… is this Charity?”
“It’s… Christian Grey.” There’s a pause.
“One moment.” I hear her talking to someone in the background before then a door closes a few moments later. “Well, I can’t say that I expected this call.”
“I can imagine,” I concur. “I never expected to make it.”
“Are you looking for a submissive? Because I’m not in the lifestyle anymore…”
“No. No, that’s not why I called. I’m married now.”
“I know,” she says. “The whole world knows,” she adds facetiously. “Christian Grey, married. I never saw that coming in a million years.”
“Trust me, neither did I. I… heard that you were married, too.”
“I am,” she replies, “very happily.” I nod.
“That’s good. I’m glad to hear that.” I really am… one less psycho bitch to worry about. I run my hands through my hair. “I…” I trail off.
“Well, this is definitely a first,” she acknowledges. “Mr. Grey is at a loss for words.” I sigh.
“I wouldn’t say that,” I say. “I just don’t know how to ask this question.”
“It’s the same thing,” she says, and I can tell that she’s smiling. “Just ask it. What’s the worst that could happen?”
You could tell me that I’m a living, walking, breathing, real-life monster and totally responsible for driving these women batshit crazy.
“When we were… together, did I ever give you the impression that I wanted more?” She scoffs.
“Not in the slightest!” she responds, “and for the record, we were never ‘together.’ I was your submissive. It was nothing more. I served a purpose in your life and you served a purpose in mine. When it was done, it was done. When I wanted a relationship, I left the lifestyle because I knew that I wasn’t going to find what I was looking for in that arena. What is this, some kind of ‘come to Jesus’ moment?” I nod as if she can see me.
“Yes, it is,” I admit. “There are several women that I engaged that seemed to have just lost their fucking minds. You’ve seen what happened to Elena. It was all over the news.”
“Yeah, but I didn’t know that you engaged Elena!” she retorts. “That explains a lot.”
“It’s a long story… and like what?” I ask.
“Like why she was always so particular about your girls. Like why she was always around. Like why she fawned over you and pawed at you when nobody else could touch you. She pissed all over you and anybody in the lifestyle knew that getting close to you meant going through her first. Girls were auditioning to be under her just to get to you. Being Christian Grey’s submissive was almost like being a part of this weird ménage à trois.”
How did I not know that?
“Are you still in the lifestyle?” she asks, curious.
“Not as such, no,” I reply. “I’m in a monogamous relationship now.”
“You were monogamous in the lifestyle,” she retorts. “At least that’s what you told me.”
“Well, yes, but you all were contracted… temporary…”
“So, your wife is your only submissive now.” I’m silent. Do I want to answer that question? “Don’t worry, Christian. I have as much to lose from exposure as you do.” It’s strange to hear her call me Christian when I was accustomed to her calling me Master or Sir.
“Yes, she’s my only submissive,” I confess. “I love her very much.”
“Oh, trust me, the world knows,” she replies.
“If that’s the case, then why are they acting so crazy?” I blurt out before I think about it.
“You’re asking me?” she says, puzzled. I sigh.
“I really need the point of view of someone that used to be my submissive,” I say honestly. “I told you all that I didn’t want anything more, and I didn’t offer anything more until I met my wife. So… why the crazy?” There’s another pause.
“I can only explain this from my point of view and from what I think I know,” she says. “You bring out feelings in women that they’re not accustomed to feeling. Your technique as a Dominant keeps a woman on the edge of her sanity, and for those who are already teetering on the edge of reality, that’s a dangerous combination. It’s very easy to topple over the edge and when you go over one of them, you go over them both.
“You were looking for something when you wielded that cane or when you cracked that whip. We were looking for something, too. Some of us are and were not willing to admit that we were hoping that you would fall in love with us. You’re a powerful man, Christian, not just in your money and your position. You’re powerful in every way. You overtake a woman, and when she turns her body over to you, you can best believe that she’s turning her mind over to you, too, and sometimes, her heart.”
“But I told these women,” I protest. “I didn’t have a heart, and if I did, there was no way that I was giving it to them.”
“And then you proved yourself a liar and gave it to Anastasia!” she retorts. “You clearly found everything that you ever wanted in Anastasia. Now, imagine finding that, having it for a period of time, and then being told that you can’t have it anymore. Would it matter when or how many times she told you that she couldn’t give herself to you, that she couldn’t give you anything more? Would it matter that she told you that she was incapable of loving you? How would you feel?”
“I’m not sure I could imagine that,” I admit. “Anastasia’s ability to love me despite how fucked up I was, is what drew me out. So, if our relationship had been solely physical, I don’t think I ever would have fallen in love with her in the first place.”
“You couldn’t see yourself falling in love with anyone, Christian, so just go with me for a moment,” she counters. “If after you realized that you were falling for your wife, she told you that she couldn’t be with you, would you have been able to just walk away?” I physically shiver at the thought.
“No,” I reply finitely.
“Now, imagine her giving to some other man what she claimed that she would never be able to give to you…”
I don’t only shiver—I actually squirm at that thought. I can feel my teeth grind inside my mouth.
“You and I both know that Dominance and submission is a totally different animal than these flighty ass relationships with these people talking about ‘I looooooove you….’”
She drags the word “love” out in a comical manner to demonstrate her point.
“The amount of trust that goes into a D/s relationship is often deeper and more intimate than some marriages. You were a master, Master, and then you snatched that away from women who were probably hanging on by a thread and told them to just get over it. You told them that you couldn’t give them what they wanted and then they had to stand by and watch while you publicly gave it to someone else.
“I didn’t pine for you, Christian. I just wanted more. If I could have gotten it from you, I might have taken it, I don’t know… but I just wanted more. Not so for other women. I’ve had some before you and a few after you and trust me, you were the best. You can’t turn a woman’s body inside out and expect her heart not to follow. If that happens and she’s rejected and her mind is already fragile, what do you think will be the end result?”
“These women aren’t fragile!” I retort. “They’re psychotic! Possessive of something they never had…”
“But they did have you, Christian!” she counters. “We were your submissives, but you were our Dom… exclusively. That small part of you belonged to them and then you told them they couldn’t have it anymore. You took them on the ride of their lives. Then when it suited you, you stopped the car and told them to get out. I know from experience that some of those women are hanging on to sanity like a rubber band ready to snap, and you cut it. You gave them a drug and then you cut off the supply.
“You’re obtuse and unattainable, but what you do offer is magnificent and completely out of this world. Women would give anything to have it—that kind of passion and devotion, even if it’s not real. A dream is real while you’re in it until you wake up. Oftentimes, when you wake up, you’re broken-hearted that the dream has ended, and when you’re faced with your reality, it’s too much for you. That’s when they snap. That’s when they look for the object of their dismay… or affection. It may not be logical, but it’s true. You leave an impression on women that can never be removed or undone. You have stalkers that have never even touched you…”
Don’t I know it.
“… Imagine what it’s like for someone who has experienced the full impact of your passion or your fury… or worse yet, both. Imagine what it’s like for a woman who’s barely holding on to herself to withstand a Christian Grey punishment fuck, or one of your never-ending infernal orgasm-denial sessions.”
Shit. I remember how that left Butterfly the first time I did it to her in Anguilla. It was almost unbearable to watch her reaction. I had to make her come.
“So, it really is my fault that these women lose their minds,” I conclude. She pauses again.
“Not totally. You can’t take it all on yourself,” she says, “but there is a responsibility when you impose yourself upon someone the way that you do. You’re remarkably superb as a Dominant, but when someone has the skill that you do, it’s not something that should be passed out like a deck of cards. You did it because you couldn’t commit to one person, but with your talent and ability to consume someone the way that you do, with the passion that you have and the seduction that you emit, you did right to get married. You can’t hand that out like party favors and then tell people they can’t have it. In your defense, you took precautions—or at least you thought you did—to avoid attachment or expectation. But fragile or hopeful or even delusional minds can’t see that. They see happily ever after and one day, he’ll be mine no matter what he says.”
“Did you ever see that?” I ask. She laughs, a little sadly, I think.
“Not even once,” she replies firmly. “Which is a good thing, don’t you think?” I nod as if she can see me again.
“Are you allowed to say things like this?” I ask. “That I’m seductive and passionate and the best you ever had… and you’re married to someone else now?”
“I didn’t say that you were the best I ever had,” she clarifies. “I said that you were the best, meaning that you were the best Dom. You were passionate and powerful and you made me feel things that I had never felt before and will probably never feel again. But it was different… much different than it is with Niko and I sure that you know how that feels.” I nod again. She has effectively answered all of my questions, and maybe left me with a few more, but her last statement brings to mind the times that I told my wife that my dick knows “the difference.”
“Yes, Charity,” I say, “yes, I do…”
A/N: Pictures of places, cars, fashion, etc., can be found at https://www.pinterest.com/ladeeceo/raising-grey/
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