Wine is a deep and beautiful thing.
This is a work of creativity. As such, you may see words, concepts, scenes, actions, behaviors, pictures, implements, and people that may or may not be socially acceptable and/or offensive. If you are sensitive to adverse and alternative subject matter of any kind, please do not proceed, because I guarantee you’ll find it here. You have been warned. Read at your own risk.
Explicit details of sex and BDSM scenes from here on out. Some may be hot while others may not be to your taste… and not necessarily CG with Ana together. Proceed at your own discretion, but don’t say that I didn’t warn you.
Fifty Shades Golden
I’ve negotiated the harvesting rights with three of the main eastern hardwood timberland families that supply Lincoln Timber and I’m working on the western softwoods. Lincoln has had harvesting agreements with these families for over a decade and never saw the need to renegotiate or to lock in exclusivity, mainly because these families didn’t fight for a better price per hectare of commercially harvested wood. As a result, Lincoln took advantage of their naïveté and opted not rock the boat as he was basically clearing their land for a song.
This won’t break Lincoln, but it will place quite the strain on his main lines of business as well as dip heavily into the insane profits he has been enjoying over at least the past several years. Raw, treated, or processed, he now has to buy the timber—or the right to harvest it—from me. As I have negotiated handsome compensation with the families—far more than Lincoln was offering but still enough to turn a profit—he would have to do some major reorganizing to make an offer that would meet mine, much less beat it.
With the coup that I’ve pulled in securing the eastern timberland—and the western softwood is pretty much just a formality now—I’m set not only to make handsome amounts of money from Lincoln Timber now having to purchase its main supply from me, but I could also go into the lumber business myself as one of this asshole’s competitors. As it stands right now, this development may not put him out of business, but it’ll make his company pretty fucking uncomfortable and wreak havoc on his profits for the next couple of years no matter what his contingency plan.
Maybe I should look into acquiring some of his expiring contracts…
“Can you tell me why the hell we’re suddenly clawing at Lincoln Timber’s main babies?” Rockford asks when he brings me the finalized contracts for the eastern timberland families.
“Isn’t it obvious?” I respond to my head of legal. “I’m picking a fight.”
“I can see that,” he says. “I’d just like to know why.”
I used to like this guy. I used to like his cockiness, his arrogance, and his balls the size of Texas, especially in negotiations. Now, he’s just irritating as fuck.
“As long as you’ve been my attorney, you honestly don’t recognize a cockfight when you see it?” I ask with a frown.
“Don’t insult my intelligence, Christian,” he retorts, somewhat affronted. “Of course, I recognize a damn cockfight. I just want to know why him and why now?”
Rockford may be my attorney, but the hell if I’m telling him that putting this frosted fucker in his place is another way of paying tribute to my Mistress while getting back at a nemesis at the same time.
“I’m not ashamed to say that it’s somewhat personal,” I say, flatly. “He calls me all cocky and demanding answers after his wife tried to kill me with a fucking concrete flowerpot, and now it’s wafting back to me in social circles that he’s talking about me at parties, balls, and social events.” His brow furrows.
“I haven’t heard anything,” he says, accusing.
“That would be because we don’t travel in the same social circles,” I reply, my voice condescending. It doesn’t get by him. I follow up with another jab. “If you think for one moment that you have your ear to the ground on every little thing that goes on in my life, you’re wrong. You know a lot, Phil, but you don’t know it all.” Hell, you don’t know the half of it. He raises a brow at me.
“Fine, it’s your funeral,” he says, stacking the papers in front of him. What the fuck…?
“And just what do you mean by that, Mr. Rockford?” I ask crisply, trying not to refer to him as the asshole that he’s being right now.
“Why would you want to push the hand of the most powerful timber producer and processor in the country?” he retorts. Who the hell is this pussy standing before me? Careful, Rockford, your slip is showing!
“Are you serious?” I ask incredulously while sitting back in my seat. “Do you realize that with 30 days of intensive negotiation, aggressive acquisitions, and concentrated redistribution of resources that I could be the most powerful timber producer and processor in the country? While Lincoln must constantly stay on his toes to hold his position, I do this shit for fun! I could stop production on the thousands of lines of business and acquisitions that I have my hand in right this very moment and there would still be enough passive income, liquid assets, and capital for my entire living family and three generations to come to live like kings and queens, and you’re standing here insinuating that I should feel some kind of reverence or fear for that glorified Paul Bunyan?”
Rockford sits in the chair across from me, examining me like I’ve just given him a bit of information that he was never fully aware of. Have you been asleep all these years? Exactly how many supposed industry giants and wannabe moguls have you watched fall at my feet?
“For the sake of argument, let’s assume that platinum-haired lumberjack released his worst, most fearsome wrath upon me. What could that be?” I question. “What could he do to me that I couldn’t flick off my shoulder like a worrisome fly? Go ahead, tell me. I’ll wait.”
Rockford clears his throat and loosens his tie. Apparently, he’s forgotten just how cutthroat I can be.
And, so has Linc, but he’s soon to revisit that lesson in spades. Closing those sawmills put a huge cramp in his production for nearly a year. This undertaking will make our last encounter look like a grammar school dance. Once I’m done with his largest east and west coast suppliers, I plan to target his oversees productions next. Sure, he’d be able to make up for the lost American timber with his European sawmills and providers, but not if he doesn’t see the attack coming, and no matter what the strategy, the solution won’t be cheap… or easy.
Having no comeback for my question, Rockford sits mutely facing my desk.
“Have we met…” you sniveling little weasel? “If you strain your little brain and think really hard, you can probably count on one hand the negotiations that were not favorable for me in all the years you’ve worked for me, and not once was any of those failures by any fault of my own. Now, unless there’s something that you know that I’m not aware of about that silver haired, washed-up phantom trying to wield power that he clearly doesn’t have, I suggest that you keep your angst-ridden opinions to yourself, be sure that my transactions are legal and airtight, and continue to make a fortune off me by doing exactly what you love.”
And now, I’m weary of this conversation.
“What’s happening to you?” I ask. “You sat in negotiations with Cross and let a woman show you that her balls were bigger than yours… and I’m not even talking about the attorney. She lopped your dick off and fed it to you! Now, you reach into that imaginary bag of courage on your hip and you have the inkling to confront me about my business tactics while cowering in fear to that washed-up old woodchuck? Who the fuck are you and what have you done with my cutthroat legal counsel?” He looks at me in sincere distaste.
“That’s… um… harsh and unnecessary, sir,” he gravels.
“Yeah, and you’re pathetic and pitiful. Get out of my sight, Phil,” I say, disgustedly breaking my gaze with him, “before I discover that you’ve totally lost your killer instinct, at which time, you’ll be completely useless to me.”
He knows not to say anything else. He knows that I’ve heard enough. He silently rises from his chair and leaves the room.
I’m going to have to secure new legal counsel, sooner rather than later. I toy with the thought of hiring Golden, but I already know that’s a lost cause. I wouldn’t even approach her like that. She wouldn’t want to work for me in that capacity, nor would I want her to. It’s just… not good to mix that kind of business and personal relationship.
So, I’ve committed myself to giving a speech at the Seattle Businessmen’s Conference this evening and I almost dread the idea of even showing up. With the coup I have in the works, anybody with half a brain and their eye on the boards can see that I’m acquiring the gathering rights to several of the national timber suppliers. It’s been a week since I secured the eastern timberlands and today, I locked down one of the western softwoods. I’m confident enough in my holdings so far that I’ve tiptoed into the Canadian lumber market. This quiet activity has caused small shifts in lumber stocks across the NASDAQ and NYSE with stockholders wondering what’s in the buzz and will it remain a buzz or turn into chopper blades.
Between that and quietly keeping my ear to the ground for new legal talent, the social-business scene is the second-to-last thing on my mind, and the last thing being targeted by some colleague’s young granddaughter looking to snag a guy just like dear old dad… or granddad.
“Hello, Christian.” Her smooth Brazilian voice answers. “I was wondering if you would wait until the last minute to call me. You know I don’t like to be rushed.”
“Hello, Gisela. My apologies. I forgot about it until the last minute.”
“As always,” she says. “Uma história provável…”
“English, Gisela,” I scold. “I’m bilingual and Portuguese is not one of those languages.”
“No matter, why do you call, Christian?”
“You know why I call, Gisela,” I retort, using her choppy English. “Are you available?”
“Last minute again. Will you be sending me a gown… and jewelry?” I roll my eyes. It’s a good thing I have these things already in the guest room for just such an emergency.
“Of course, it’s not a crime to call and check with me, you know,” I scold. “You know I may forget, but you always seem to remember.”
“And miss the opportunity to give you a hard time? Why would I do that?” she asks matter-of-factly. “Besides, in my country, the woman does not approach the man; the man approaches the woman. You will send a car for me, no?”
“No,” I say, “I and my driver will pick you up at eight. And Gisela, don’t make me wait. I have to give a speech tonight.”
“Nem!” she exclaims. “How you say, keep your shirt on. You have gown here and I’ll be ready. Tchau.” She ends the call. I call Mrs. Jones with instructions to choose the white gown and emerald jewelry set and have it couriered to Gisela immediately.
Gisela Serra is much like me in many ways. She graduated with a master’s in finance, but instead of going to work for one of the big firms, she invested her own money and became a self-made millionaire. Like me, she knows her shit, has no interest in a long-term relationship, and is always up for a good fuck once in a while. Unlike me, she’s never worked a day in her life and enjoys these red-carpet outings and hanging on the arm of whatever mogul chooses her as a bracelet that evening.
I’m her mogul of choice, however. She’ll wait for me, even break a commitment for me. Once, for the Carpenter’s Guild dinner, Ron Baristol of Baristol, Freedman, and Young requested her company and she accepted. Then I called, and she cancelled with Ron. It was nearly a brawl when we got to the dinner because apparently, she didn’t tell Baristol that she was cancelling with him to attend the dinner with me. When he approached me, I had no idea what he was talking about. When he told me, I couldn’t help but laugh.
That didn’t go over well with Ron.
I stated that I merely asked Gisela to accompany me. I didn’t know that she had prior arrangements or that she had cancelled them. He called me a cocky asshole and took a swing at me. I stepped aside, and he went sailing into the table with the ice sculpture. We were both asked to leave.
Needless to say, the Carpenter’s Guild didn’t get a donation from me that year and I declined their invitation the next year. The president and chairman both showed up at Grey House to ascertain what the problem was and when I reminded them of the mishap that had me removed from the festivities two years prior when I didn’t confront the guy and never raised a hand to him, they apologized profusely and had Baristol, Freedman, and Young removed from the guestlist completely. I can imagine that a similar conversation occurred at the Carpenter’s Guild headquarters when Mr. Freedman and Mr. Young discovered they were no longer welcome at the annual dinner.
I have nonetheless asked Gisela not to cancel any further engagements for me. If I haven’t contacted her by noon the day of an event, which is cutting it very close, I won’t contact her at all, leaving her free to accept any invitations that she may have on ice. Gisela is the only woman who has ever been seen with me on the red carpet—well, except Juliet when we were dating. So, of course, there’s a lot of speculation, but neither she nor I will entertain any of it. She’s beautiful, she’s smart, she’s rich—so I don’t have to worry about her latching onto me for my money—she doesn’t want a commitment, and she’s a great occasional fuck. Who could ask for more?
Me and my Brioni tux show up promptly at 8pm to retrieve Gisela. She’s prompt for once, as I was fully prepared to leave without her this time. I hate being late. It’s tacky.
“You said you had speech to give,” she says. “I only like being center of attention when is good for me. Fashionably late is no good when you are on the program.”
I told you that she was smart.
Dinner was uneventful. They always serve something pretentious at these dinners like lobster tail or filet mignon in tiny little servings, instead of choosing something classically delicious like veal or lamb chops, or even chicken. Hell, I’d even go for shrimp linguini if I knew I didn’t have to stop at a burger joint or something when it was all over to keep from gnawing my arm off! I always signal Taylor a half-hour before I’m ready to leave so that he can stop and get food before I and my date even get in the car.
I’ve made my speech, the usual mumbo-jumbo about responsible business and helping the community and growth through change… blah blah blah. I believe in all those things. It’s just that the conference never wants to hear anything else—like avoiding the common tricks of the market, interpreting trends so that you don’t end up losing your life savings or your business slosh fund, determining a good acquisition prospect from a lemon. I could use the same fifteen minutes that they have me speaking this gobbledygook and hit all three of those topics and probably save at least 50% of the businesses in attendance from making at least one of those three mistakes.
But, they’d rather hear that I’m building up small businesses in underprivileged neighborhoods. Anybody with a dime can do that. I want to tell you how to keep or multiply your dimes so that you can build up more businesses… but okay.
After the food and the speeches comes the networking. Time to hob nob and mingle with other CEO’s, each of us trying to finagle information out of the other about the next big cash windfall. Gisela and I are in a group talking shop with Stan Warren, Arnold Fishburn, and Felix Martindale—all CEO’s of their own companies, and at the moment, my date has the floor.
“Well, while all of the traders were trying to play the bull market, I made a mint on LAM and FDC… buying low and selling high,” Gisela says, sipping her champagne through the mingling and networking time after dinner.
“Now, how do you know?” Warren asks. He’s hanging on her every word. Not only does she look hot as fuck with this elegant gown wrapped around that beautiful ass, but when she opens her mouth, advice from the finance gods spews forth.
“You have to watch the trends,” she says. “You have to be willing to read the charts and look for the candlesticks in the buy-sell cycle…”
“Now, that’s where you’ve lost me,” Martindale says. “This is why I let my broker handle all of that.”
“If that’s so, I hope you don’t plan to get rich off the market. He’s doing that for you and fifty to a hundred other people or more and your returns are mediocre at best. Am I right?” He nods.
“I do alright,” he says, not wanting to admit his mediocre returns. She nods.
“If alright is okay with you, then you’re doing fine.”
She’s further captivating her audience with terms that I would also much rather leave to my broker when I see an ashen-faced beauty heading in my direction on the arm of another of my colleagues. He’s an attractive man, but an older attractive man… and she’s much too young for him. I know this, because I’ve known this woman Biblically.
“Gentlemen,” Reginald Hornsby says as he approaches. “Are we having the same boring conversations that we have every year?” His date clings to his arm and does everything she can not to make eye-contact with me.
“Right now, Ms. Serra is telling us how lousy we’re doing at the stock market,” Fishburn says, and we all laugh.
“I’m doing no such thing, sir,” Gisela says, mocking disdain. “I was just explaining to the gentlemen…” and she goes into the short version of Investing 101 with Hornsby, whose date is carefully avoiding mine and Gisela’s gaze now.
“So, when do you plan on sharing your talents with the rest of us?” Warren says. I know I’m not the only one who caught the double-entendre, but I don’t let on. Gisela doesn’t belong to me—she’s just my date for the evening, and the last thing I want is yet another scene.
“I only watch my own picks, Mr. Warren,” Gisela says sweetly. “I’m successful because I stick with the best and sell the temporary risers. It takes stamina and fortitude, but it’s a small sacrifice for the payoff in the end. I didn’t succeed by putting a little bit in every pot. I concentrated my efforts and shot the big guns, so I landed the big game.” Gisela coyly sips her champagne, having totally understood what Martindale was getting at and simultaneously shooting him down in front of his colleagues.
“I think what Stan was aiming at…” Oh, she knows what Stan was aiming at, “… is do you have any plans on trading professionally so that others can make the kind of profits that you are,” Martindale says.
“I’m afraid not, Mr. Martindale…”
“Call me Felix,” he corrects her.
“Felix,” she corrects. “Focusing on a few lucrative investments is what put me in the position that I am. So, now I don’t have to work for my money. My money works for me. Watching a trend and getting out before it tanks, I can do that for myself. I can’t do that for a group of people. For me, it’s a recipe for disaster. I’d be spreading myself and my own assets too thin and I wouldn’t be able to do other investors any justice.”
“Is that how you got so rich, Grey?” Warren asks. “Taking tips from this little beauty here?” He’s such an ass.
“I dabble in investing, Warren, but as you know, I made my fortune in mergers and acquisitions.”
“Yes,” Hornsby says. “There’s a little murmur on the wire about you and lumber.” And it begins.
“There’s always a murmur on the wire,” I say, dismissing the topic.
“Come on, Grey,” Warren coaxes. “Let us in on it. How about a little insider trading?” Fishburn frowns deeply.
“You’re kidding, right?” he says, distastefully. “You trying to get us all arrested?” And now, it’s time for me to text Taylor about those burgers.
“Come on, we’re just talking shop,” Warren excuses. “People do it all the time. No harm done.”
“Stock tips are one thing, Stan. Inside information is something else entirely. Geez, did Raj Rajaratnam, Martha Stewart, and Angelo Mozilo teach you nothing, man?” Fishburn scolds.
“Oh, for the love of God! Lighten up, guys,” Warren chides. “It’s not like Grey here is working for the SEC. Right, Grey?” He rips the air with a garish laugh and I just glare at him, sipping my champagne. “C’mon, Grey, we’re waitin’… You’re not spying for the SEC, are you?”
He’s still smiling, but his voice is accusing like he’s speaking for the entire group.
“You never know who’s listening… Stan!” I hiss his name before taking a swallow of my champagne. The group falls silent as eyes shoot from me to Warren.
“You know, I don’t know much for a silly little master’s degree holding female,” Gisela says, “but I do know that companies that are pegged as SEC whistle-blowers don’t do well on the corporate scene. That kind of slander can be very damaging to an established corporation.” She takes a sip of her champagne.
“I don’t think that matters to Mr. Warren, Gisela,” I say, still glaring at his now paling face. “He’s already shown everyone present that he has the tact of a goat and the class of a toad. I wouldn’t be surprised one bit to find that he doesn’t have the common sense of a toothpick.”
Warren looks very uncomfortable now and starts to do a little shuffle on his feet.
“Well, look what I’ve started,” Hornsby says. “Excuse me while I go curb my nicotine habit. You’ll be okay?” he says to Caramel. I had forgotten she was among us. She nods and gives him a sweet smile. He kisses her cheek and leaves the group. If he’s her Dom, he’s not acting like it. She would have had to follow him for the smoke break. She watches attentively as he leaves the room as if she’s urging him not to stay away long.
“You all are a bunch of pussies,” Warren says. “One mention of the SEC and insider trading and a bunch of powerful businessmen turn into a bunch of bed-wetting pansies! I’m going to smoke.” And he’s off behind Hornsby. I wonder what that conversation is going to be like.
“Excuse me,” Caramel says, and she leaves the group as well. Maybe she’s decided that she needs a cigarette after all.
“For the record, Grey,” Martindale begins, “none of us think you’re an SEC snitch. He’s full of shit.” I sip my champagne again, bottoming out my glass.
“It wouldn’t do me any good,” I reply. “I have investments in other companies, but GEH is not publicly traded. That fuckface has completely forgotten that in whatever plight he’s on. What would it serve me? I mean really… what?”
“Nothing at all,” Gisela says, “Now go on over and get us a refill of champagne.” I look over my shoulder to flag a waiter, but none are close by. I locate the bar and see Caramel standing there, most likely waiting for her own refill. I turn my gaze back to Gisela who gives me a knowing look, raises her brow, and hands me her empty flute.
“Must I?” I say, lowly, while taking her empty glass.
“Yes,” she says with a smile. “Go on.” I roll my eyes and walk over to the bar. I sigh softly and speak.
“Hello,” I say, trying not to startle her.
“Hello,” she replies, finally making eye-contact with me.
“Two champagnes, please,” I tell the bartender. He nods and takes my empty glasses, setting them to one side. “I didn’t know Hornsby…” I trail off. She glares at me.
“He doesn’t!” she snaps. “And he doesn’t know that I ever did, either.” I flatten my lips and nod.
“You know, you not saying anything and avoiding my gaze is more conspicuous than you just acting natural,” I warn.
“That’s easier said than done,” she says and turns away from me. This close to her, I can see a gash near her eye. It’s healed, but the scar looks pretty fresh, and I’m certain that it wasn’t there before.
“What happened to your eye?” I ask, wondering if her new not-quite-Dom likes it rough.
“It was…” She looks around conspiratorially to make sure no one is listening. “It was from Mistress,” she hisses, quietly. “She punished me… repeatedly… when I tried to return.” I frown deeply.
“She hit you in the face?” I sneer. She nods.
“One night while I was on my knees, she slapped me… with her big ring.” She closes her eyes as she remembers. “Blood got in my eye, but she was just disgusted and told me to go to the hospital. I did. They stitched me up, only two stitches.” She points at her eye. “It was so much blood, I would have thought it would have been more. I didn’t go back to her after that.”
“I’m sorry, Car…” I stop myself as she raises her eyes to me. “Tammy. I never meant for any of that to happen.” She drops her head.
“My friends made it seem so glamorous, but it never was,” she admits without raising her head. “Mistress had me crawling on the floor and doing unthinkable things. It’s like she wanted me because I was beautiful, and she hated me for the same reason.” She shakes her head again. “Even with you,” she begins, “you were never physically cruel, but you treated me like just what I was… a whore. Reggie does, too,” she says, looking for her date. “He buys me nice things, he gives me money and takes me places. He just doesn’t know what I used to be. I always dread him finding out…”
“He won’t find out from me,” I assure her. She twists her lips but says nothing. She looks at Gisela.
“She’s not a submissive,” she says with finality.
“No, she’s not,” I confirm.
“Figures,” she says. “I have to go before Reggie comes back. Goodbye… Trey.” She takes her champagne from the bar and walks away. Wow. Elena got pissed at Caramel and tried to disfigure her. That sounds like something that twisted cow would do. I take my two champagne flutes and go back to Gisela. She seems to have loosened up since Warren left with his insider trading and double-entendrés.
“How are you?” I say, handing her a champagne flute. She takes a large sip.
“Can we go now?” I look at my watch. It’s been twenty minutes since I texted Taylor. I look at my phone. Sometime during my talk with Caramel, Taylor texted that he’s outside.
“Yes, we can go now,” I say. She throws back her champagne and hands me the empty glass. I bottom out my glass as well and extend my elbow to her.
“Well, well, well, looks like somebody’s got a hot date!” and Warren returns just as Gisela takes my arm. She squeezes just a bit as a sign of her ire. I roll my eyes.
“Goodnight, gentlemen,” I say. Warren is sharing a private joke with Martindale who seems none too amused. Warren continues to laugh garishly as he stinks up the area with the lingering odor of cheap cigar smoke. He couldn’t even buy the good kind.
“Oh, and Stan?” I say, garnering his attention as well as that of the others in the group.
“You’re an asshole.” His boorish smile turns into a sneer as I lead my date away from his presence.
“Go, Mr. Grey,” she says, quietly, as I drop our flutes off at the bar on our way out.
Gisela and I are comfortable on the white rug in front of the fire in my apartment. I’ve shed my tuxedo jacket and vest and undone my bowtie and she’s shed her shoes. We feed our raging hunger while discussing the evening’s events and other minutia.
“You have met someone,” she says, before taking another bite of her burger. I raise my brow at her.
“No one that I want to marry,” I admit, “but… she can grow on you.”
“Was it the mulatto woman?” she asks. What mulatto woman?
“Oh, God, no,” I tell her. “She was just an ex-bedfellow.”
“And a bit bitter,” Gisela observes.
“Bitter? I didn’t notice.”
“You wouldn’t,” she says. “She would wait until you are talking and stare with disdain. She would much rather not see you again, much less to see you with a woman on your arm.” She takes another bite of her burger.
“How did you know there was someone?” I ask. “There’s always someone…” A sub, a fuck-buddy…
“Not like this one,” she says after she swallows her food. “The others, they take the edge off. This one, she has found your… key. She is your ground.” I frown.
“My ground?” I ask, bemused. She ponders her words.
“I say it wrong,” she says, and thinks for a moment. “She… grounds you.”
“She grounds me?” I ask incredulously. “She’s a hot little number and I love her company, but I hardly say she grounds me!”
“Um-hm,” she says, taking another bite of her burger. “You have sex with this woman?” she asks while shielding her mouth. Hmm…
“Not in a matter of speaking, no,” I reply. She won’t let me fuck her.
“Let me rephrase,” she says after a moment. “You come with this woman?” Dammit, just how much does she know?
“Yes,” I say, after hesitation. She nods.
“She have your key,” she says. I shake my head.
“What are you trying to say?” I ask frustrated. What the hell does she have your key mean?
“She… know you. She know your combination… she know your buttons…” Goddammit, Gisela!
“You’re trying to say she knows what makes me tick,” I say for her. She waves her hand.
“You Americans and your expressions. You know what I mean.” She takes another bite of her burger. “Our arrangement will soon end,” she adds, her mouth full. I glare at her.
“I’m not in love, Gisela,” I protest. “I enjoy myself, as always, but she’s not different than the others.”
“She is different,” she retorts, “and she makes you different.”
And now I see. Having Golden as my Domme has changed my demeanor in some way. Gisela sees it… and she doesn’t want it. Fair enough.
“Should I call for Taylor to take you home?” I say, gathering my trash to dispose of it.
“What?” she confronts. “Has your new dominant lover now robbed me of my tryst?” She’s frank. “Surely, you don’t think I just turn down dates for your company.”
I raise my brow and extend my hand to her to assist her off the floor.
“You know the way,” I say to her as I gesture towards my fuck room. She saunters to the room like she owns the place, reaching back and undoing her zipper as she walks. Oh, Ms. Sierra, you have no idea what you’ve unleashed. Then again, maybe you do.
I eat that pussy until her brain seeped from her vagina, then fuck it back up into her head again. She’s totally useless when I send her home. Make you think twice about kicking me to the curb, minha querida, but if you choose to do so, then it’s your loss.
A couple of weeks later, I’m knee deep in negotiations with the Canadians for softwood when I get a call about a “terrible ruckus” in the lobby.
“Caldwell Lincoln, sir,” Taylor informs me. “It’s to the degree that we may have to call the police.”
Where’s the safest place to meet this asshole? I thought the first-floor conference room would be safe, but his psychotic wife hurled a potted plant at me in there and broke my fucking arm.
“Make sure there are no projectile objects in the first-floor conference room and take his ass in there,” I say. “If he moves in the wrong way, shoot him, and tell him I told you so.”
“Yes, sir.” I have no doubt that Taylor will shoot that fucker before I even get downstairs. Fuck, are there any other precautions that I should take before I go down there? I call Welch.
“Sir,” he answers.
“I need high alert. Linc is downstairs causing a commotion, and I swear I won’t hesitate to drop this fucker…”
‘The police have already been alerted, sir,” he says. “I’m on my way to the first floor.” I end the call. There’s no use in playing with this man. I remove my suitcoat, vest, and tie and leave my office, headed for the executive elevator.
Jason isn’t the only one surprised to see me enter the first-floor conference in rolled-up shirt sleeves.
“Casual day at the office, Grey?” Linc seethes. He’s certainly locked and loaded, but so am I.
“I don’t need to ask why you’re here, so cut the shit,” I say. “You wanted my attention, you got it, so handle your fucking business.”
“You think you’re fucking big shit,” he hisses. “You don’t think I know who you are? What you do? You don’t think I know that on top of trying to take my business, you fucked my wife?” Old news.
“Linc, I don’t know what you think you know, but more importantly, I don’t care. I don’t care if you think I fucked your wife in your bed,” which I have. “All I care about is that you continually think you have power over me and don’t seem to realize that you have none,” I growl as I shamelessly close the space between us.
“What the fuck are you trying to prove, you stupid piece of shit?” I continue. Are you that fucking dense? You’re a small dog trying to play in a yard that’s way too fucking big for you. You’re too thick to realize you’re out of your league and you need to stay in your goddamn place! I’m a rottweiler and you’re a beagle. You’re in the wrong cage, you Napoleonic fuck!
“Three weeks,” I say, holding up three fingers. “Three weeks, and I’ve secured 60% of your western lumber interests. Do you think you have the capital to match the Canadian government’s softwood lumber regulations? In a month—or less—you’ll be buying your domestic lumber from me. There’s your business savvy, Linc. What’s next?”
“You’re such the big man,” Linc taunts. “You can talk major shit with a whole battalion of security backing your ass up.”
“Everybody step the fuck back—now!” I demand, and the security staff in the room all slowly spread toward the door and windows. “Even if he’s beating my ass, nobody touch this asshole unless he pulls a weapon—any weapon. You all know how his wife likes potted plants.” I turn back to Linc and move to the middle of the conference room with my arms open, waiting.
“You want to take a swing, you old fuck? Take your best shot. You wanna go mano-e-mano, me and you? You go for it. I can guarantee you, none of these men will fuckin’ touch you. I’ll lay your ass out like the geezer you are. C’mon, you old fuckin’ goat. Stop talking that shit, because I’ve already shown that I’m better than you in the business world, so c’mon. Stop talking that shit and bring it.”
He’s standing there staring at me like I’ve already hit him. He didn’t expect this. I don’t think he knew what to expect. He got that corporate posturing that he was expecting, but it was more than he could bite, so this was his back-up plan? And he won’t take advantage of it? You gotta be kidding.
“You need some encouragement, Linc?” I taunt mercilessly. “You need some help on that road? That journey you started and can’t finish? Look me in the eye, Linc. Have I really fucked your wife?”
I glare at him with the carnal knowledge of that once-blonde-bombshell that he once coveted as his beautiful wife and he lunges at me. His move was so predictable that I only have to step out of his way to leave him sprawling past me and into the opposite wall. I shake my head. It’s Baristol all over again. True to my command, the security detail parts and allows him to splat into the wall without touching him. He turns around, enraged, glaring at me and regrouping for another attack.
He lunges at me again, more controlled this time and with a lot of force, but his right cross is wide and wild. I duck and come up with a left to the gut and a right to the side, finishing with a flat kick to the solar plexus with a size-12 Berluti sending him squarely back to the wall he just vacated with a hard “thud.”
“C’mon, Silver Fox,” I say, clenching my fist and preparing for his next move. “You can do better than that.” His eyes narrow and he comes at me full force, his shoulder and all his weight hitting me square in the abdomen and nearly knocking all the wind out of me as he slams me hard against the opposite wall. He gets some good gut and kidney punches in on me—enough to hurt a bit, but not enough to disable me. I clench my fist and clasp my hand over it, bringing it down hard on his spine, which I know hurt like hell, the second hit bringing him to his knees, allowing that same size-12 Berluti to connect with his jaw, producing a satisfying “crack” and flipping him over and onto his back.
He coughs and spits blood onto my conference-room carpet—that pisses me off—but fights to catch his breath and no doubt, gather his wits.
“That’s all you got, old man?” I ask, a little winded with my fist clenched and ready. “You talk all that shit and all you got is a bum-rush and a couple of gut punches? No wonder your wife was fucking me. Is your game as weak as your fight?”
He glares at me from the floor. He wants to retaliate, but his attempts to get off the floor fail.
What? That’s it? I’m just getting started.
“Yeah, that pussy was good once upon a time,” I jeer, “while you were jet-setting the world, fucking young models and getting young Jamaican girls pregnant.” As if it could, his face turns whiter than it already was.
“What? You didn’t think I knew? You don’t think I know everything you do, everywhere you are the minute you leave the states? Your shit is fucking easier to find than ‘Where’s Waldo’ because you’re too goddamn cocky to cover your fucking tracks. Go ahead, Linc, do your worst. Once I’m done kicking your ass, I can guarantee that you, your business and your name will be shit no matter where you turn!”
I can see the defeat when it settles in his eyes. The fight is over—the physical fight and the cock strut, and I barely broke a sweat. I roll my sleeves down and brush the wrinkles out. Stepping right over him, I head to the door of the conference room and open it to leave.
“Say something!” I warn turning back to Linc. “Say something to the cops. Say something to the press. Say something to anybody. You ain’t seen nothin’ yet. Breathe my name in any direction ever again and I will fucking bury you!” I turn to Taylor.
“Get him the fuck off my floor and out of my goddamn building and get somebody in here to clean up his bodily emissions.” I pull my cufflinks out of my pocket and walk to the elevator. I don’t push the call button since I see that it’s already on its way down. As the elevator rings, I see Linc walking out of the conference room with security walking behind him. I see the elevator begin to open, but I turn my attention to the frosted fuck about to leave my building.
One more thing.
“Lincoln!” I bark, gaining the attention of everyone in the lobby, including Linc.
“Stay the fuck away from Olivet!” I hiss. “You don’t know who you’re fucking with and I can guarantee you that at least nine people of power in this state will bury you… twice. I may or may not be one of them!”
He shows no fear, but that cockiness that he’s famous for is buried behind a swollen, bloody face and somebody’s handkerchief. He walks to the revolving glass door as I insert and snap my second cuff-link. Once he’s out of the doors, I turn around to see Phil Rockford standing in front of the closed elevators.
“Balls,” I bark to him and he jumps at my voice. “Remember those? That’s what they look like. Grow them back… or quit!”
He stares at me for a moment and I realize that he’ll never grow his balls back. I brush past him and get on the elevator.
“Andrea!” I shout, almost before the elevator doors open.
“Yes, Mr. Grey?” she says calmly, no reaction whatsoever to my ire. I hate and admire that at the same time.
“Get in touch with Bonde and Associates. I’m going to need feelers for a new head of legal. Cutthroat—tell them to keep the pussies to themselves.” I breeze past her to my office.
“Yes, sir,” she says, unfazed, momentarily typing on her keyboard. When I look back, she’s already on the phone.
Why can’t my head of legal be that way?
I go straight to the en suite and wash my hands. I feel dirty. That fucker bled, but he didn’t bleed on me. I still feel dirty.
I grab my suitcoat, vest, and tie and walk back out of my office.
“As soon as possible,” I hear Andrea say. “We will begin vetting as soon as we get the candidates information.” I call the elevator and realize that someone has called it before me and it’s not waiting for me. I’m irritated again, not that I wasn’t before.
“Confidential, as always. I am your sole contact… Special instructions? Yes, sir. Cutthroat. Keep the pussies to yourself.”
I have the best PA in creation.
The elevator opens, and Taylor moves to step off. Seeing me standing at the door, he maintains his position in the back of the elevator. I get in the elevator and push the button for the parking garage since Taylor’s express key is already in the keyhole.
“Did you make sure that asshole got his ass out of my building, into his asshole car and on his asshole way?” I hiss.
“Yes, sir,” Taylor responds. The remainder of the ride is silent, as is the ride back to my apartment. The moment he pulls into the parking garage at Escala, I leap out of the Audi SUV and into my Spyder. Without a word, I start the car, throw it into gear, and take off.
I pull up in front of the club, my hands a fearsome grip on the Audi’s steering wheel. I can barely contain my anger, visions of Linc’s snarling, smirking face taunting and pissing me off. None of my normal calming techniques are working and I’m certain that working over a submissive won’t work tonight either. I will fucking kill a sub right now. I call Golden instead, almost praying that she’s available.
“You’re awful limber today,” Kevin says as we hold another of our impossible poses.
“Not as tense as I usually am,” I say, trying to concentrate on my count.
“You get laid?” he asks.
“None of your business,” I retort. It’s time to release and, as usual, he holds me there. “Let me down, Kevin.”
He drops me with a grunt, like he always does—dick still hard, but he’s not groping me. He hasn’t since we had dinner. When I asked him why, he told me that we’d agreed to be friends and he wasn’t going to jeopardize that by being a gropy asshole. He can’t do anything about the erection, though. Holding me in those unreal poses that showcase my flexibility with nothing but dancer’s ass staring back at him is more than he can take. He won’t apologize for the physical reaction, but he can try to behave himself otherwise.
“You hungry?” I ask as I get up from his pounding erection.
“Famished,” he says, and I catch his double meaning.
“Lunch, you caveman,” I scold.
“I know what you’re talking about,” he says, sitting up and drying the sweat from his face with his shirt. “I’ll meet you back here after showers.” I raise my brow at him.
“Why aren’t you getting up?” I ask.
“Because I’m going to sit here and watch you walk away. Isn’t it obvious?” Geez, he has no shame since I sucked his dick. I shake my head and give him the show he’s waiting for as I turn and leave the studio and head to the showers.
We enjoy a late lunch at Dueminuti Pasta, an Italian restaurant on Capitol Hill that specializes in homemade pasta and fresh sauces with ingredients from local growers.
“He did that in the middle of a grocery store?” Kevin asks as he loads his fork with pasta. I nod.
“He grabbed me like they do in those corny romance movies and he kissed me, right there in the store, like I was supposed to swoon when he was done.” I shake my head. “Does that happen in real life?” I ask. “Guys kiss girls and they just swoon and fall into their arms and their beds?”
“It’s never happened to me,” he says, filling his mouth with pasta.
“Well, it wasn’t going to happen to him either,” I reply before taking a mouthful of
Ragu’ alla Bolognese. I love this place. Mom used to bring me here all the time.
“Do you want me to tell him that I’m hittin’ it?” Kevin asks. I frown and swallow my pasta.
“Hitting what?” I ask bemused.
“Hittin’ it,” he repeats over a mouthful of pasta. “He saw us at dinner once. If I tell him I’m hittin’ it, he’ll back off.”
“Oooh! You mean hittin’ this!” I say, pointing to myself. “No, don’t tell him that.”
“Might solve your problem,” he says, before drinking his soda. Silly little man.
“He saw us sitting at a table eating dinner. He walked up and spoke to me like you weren’t even sitting there. He left when he was damn good and ready. When he saw me in the grocery a few days ago, the thought that I might be fucking you never even crossed his mind. If it did, the only thing he was thinking was, ‘How can I snatch?’ He wasn’t concerned that you may have been there first or even that you may be still hittin’ it. All he was concerned about was ‘Can I get in?’ And that may be all he wanted—to hit it once, but he was trying, and you didn’t make one bit of fucking difference. There’s no honor among men. If you saw me and you wanted me, you wouldn’t have any honor for him if you thought he was fucking me, and you expect him to have honor for you?”
“Who the fuck said anything about honor?” Kevin retorts. “He’s a hoe. And if I tell him that I’m hittin’ it and he pursues you, that gives me a reason to beat his monkey ass.”
“Oh, yeah, that’ll help,” I say sarcastically. “You see the really big white guy over there with his arms folded that just scarfed down enough Pomodoro for four people?” Kevin looks over at Jesse. “If Don Juan Jake decides that he wants to fuck with me again, that’s what he’ll be hittin’, or I should say that’s what’s going to be hittin’ him. The only reason he didn’t get pulverized the first time is because I stopped Jesse from killing him.” I smile and eat my pasta.
“You don’t let a guy have any fun,” he pouts.
“I do,” I correct him, “but that’s not the nature of our relationship.”
“Step back, ma’am,” Jesse says. “I don’t want to have to restrain you.”
“You won’t do a damn thing to me, you gorilla, or I’ll have your ass arrested for assault!”
“You’re trespassing right now, you stupid bitch!” I retort behind Jesse. “He could break you in half right now and be within his rights.”
“You shut up!” she screams. “You shut the fuck up! I don’t want to hear anything out of your goddamn mouth right now!”
“Then why the fuck are you in my office?”
A few days after my lunch with Kevin, I get a text from him just as I’m entering my office to a very unwelcome visitor.
**Elena was here looking for you. She’s pissed. **
“You’re a little late, there, Kev,” I mumble.
“I’m going to wring your little neck, you fucking cunt!” she hisses and attempts to lunge at me. Jesse’s long arm of the law stops her before she can move two centimeters, his large hand pinning her firmly against the wall.
“I said. Step. Back. Ma’am,” he reinforces, his voice low and calculated. At first, she’s appalled and shocked, but she finds her composure and smiles at him.
“Are you one of her submissives, pet?” she says in a sweet, condescending voice. Jesse doesn’t flinch. I’m sure he’s heard worse. She turns her gaze to me. “You need your dog to protect you, you little pussy?” she taunts. God, you have no fucking idea what you’re dealing with.
“Stand down, Jesse.” I say coolly. Jesse looks back at me without moving his hand from her chest.
“Stand. Down,” I growl. Reluctantly, he moves his hand from Blondie’s chest and takes a few steps to the side. I close the space between us.
“Now,” I say steely, “there’s no Jesse between us, but be careful, Elena,” I spit her name with disdain. “Because if you touch me, what I do to my clients will be a walk in the park compared to what I’ll do to you.”
Her eyes narrow but she doesn’t fucking touch me.
“I’m not one of your fucking toys, Goldie.”
“And I’m not one of your little slaves, Blondie,” I retort with just as much contempt. She reaches into her way-too-large bag and Jesse reaches into his holster. Without looking at him, she snatches a folded piece of paper and thrusts it in my face. I don’t move to take it, so Chanelle snatches it from her hand. She turns on Chanelle.
“What the fu..?”
“Bitch you don’t know me I will slap the white offa’ you,” Chanelle snaps all in one breath while still glaring at Elena. I don’t think anyone has ever said that to her and she doesn’t quite know how to take it, so she stands there in stunned silence while Chanelle examines the document.
“It’s a summons,” Chanelle says, throwing the paper back in Elena’s face. “Your ass is being sued. You must have pissed somebody off.” The paper falls uselessly to the floor as Elena continues to glare at Chanelle.
“Thank you!” she hisses hatefully. “I already knew that.”
“Then why the fuck did you ask what it was?” Chanelle snaps before going back to her seat. Elena watches her walk to the reception desk and sit down, but she doesn’t say anything else to her. I guess she thinks better of going toe-to-toe with a sistah from the hood who just warned her that she would slap her into another nationality.
“What I want to know is what the fuck this is all about,” she spits at me.
“Oh, that part’s easy. This is from your previous clients—women who were rendered damn near dysfunctional from getting services at your infested establishment.”
“My salons were not infested!” she screeches. “I was cleared by the board of health!”
“Well, according to these women, they’ve had nervous itches, some of them for weeks at a time,” I say calmly. “They have medical bills to prove that they couldn’t rest for fear that their homes were infested with bed bugs. They’ve had to pay for costly inspections and exterminations and one woman actually did find bed bugs in her home. There was no other connection except for you and she’s included in the class action suit.”
With such a large demographic, the bed bugs could have come from anywhere, but civil cases just need a preponderance of evidence, not proof beyond a reasonable doubt. Her biggest admission of guilt was her lack of proactive counter measures. The innocent scream it from the rooftops. She kept quiet in an attempt to keep publicity away from her. It worked, but eventually, it backfired.
“You’re such a spiteful little tramp,” she seethes. “I know you were in on this entire thing from the very beginning. I just know it.” Well, you know wrong, Blondie, and I’ve had enough.
“Now, what I want you to do is dig deep into your brain and pull out some of those logic cells that haven’t been bleached beyond use, assuming that you still have some left. Once you find them, I want you to summon them forward to your ears and allow them to comprehend the words that are coming out of my mouth. Are they there? Are you listening? Let’s hope so.
“I. Had nothing to do. With the fall. Of your funky-ass salons!” I say slowly and forcefully. “At the time of your demise, I hadn’t spoken to Christian for several months. I didn’t know anything had happened to your dime-store face-painting and hair-cutting nickelodeons until well after you lost your shit and broke his arm. By the time I saw him again and knew that anything had happened, it was healed!
“Bedbugs? Seriously? Bedbugs? Five-star restaurants have been closed for rodents, roaches, flies, unsanitary conditions. They clean it up and they’re open in a month. And you got shut down for bedbugs—all your salons in the greater Seattle area for fucking bedbugs! And you think I had something to do with that. That’s one of the most amateur attacks I’ve ever seen in my life—and it worked! I’m astonished that it worked, because you’re an idiot.
“If I wanted to do you in, Blondie, you wouldn’t have to guess. You would have no doubt that it was me because I would have left my mark all over it. We wouldn’t even be standing here talking, missy, because you. Would be. Completely. Destroyed. Your name, your license, your reputation, your money, everything! I would have completely decimated you. Bedbugs? Have we fucking met? That’s laughable. If I wanted your ass that badly, when they came to investigate you, they fucking would’ve found something, and it would’ve been more than any goddamn rodents! They would have found shit on you that would have left you unable to talk your way out of a paper bag.
“Damage control, you stupid blonde bitch. This entire thing could have been avoided by damage control, not by throwing a fucking cement pot at Seattle’s most influential citizen! You’re such a fucking fool! You were so busy plotting my downfall that you never saw that I could have helped you! You could have combated this entire thing with just a few strategically placed press releases. Instead, you had your head so far up my ass trying to find some shit that you could use that you couldn’t even see the forest for the trees. You left that door wide open, and your prior clients are taking full advantage of it. Who am I as a capitalist in America to pass up this opportunity?”
I bend down, pick up the summons, and shove it in her face.
“This is what I do, Elena!” I say, shaking the summons in her face. “I don’t know or fucking care who all was involved in spreading a goddamn rumor, but this is what I do. I take on cases when people come to me with valid legal issues. You wanna be pissed at me, be pissed about the right thing. Be pissed about this!”
I fling the summons in her face and she catches it this time.
“Now, get the fuck out of my office and never speak to me or come near me again. If you do, I’ll have him shoot you and her beat you Moroccan, assuming I don’t get to you first. I’ll see you in court.”
She stands there for a moment, the three of us waiting for another word to come out of her mouth so that we could draw straws on which of us would get to shoot or beat her. She must’ve seen the killer instinct in one—or all—of our faces, because she scurries out of my office without another word.
A/N: Raj Rajaratnam, Martha Stewart, and Angelo Mozilo all had big cases in insider trading.
“Minha querida”—loosely translated, “My dear.”
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