Raising Grey: Chapter 56—Back In The Saddle

This is my five-year anniversary on WordPress. That means that five years ago today, I decided to take my readers and get the hell off FanFiction and leave all their haterade behind. I lost a few readers since then, but I’ve gained more. Thank you all for hanging on for this wild ride with me.

There most likely will not be a chapter next week as I’m splitting my time between preparing to publish and updating, and I have to work next Saturday. We’ll have to play those working weekends by ear.

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.

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 56—Back In The Saddle

CHRISTIAN

“It came this morning,” Alex says, placing a bottle of 1964 Glinlivet Winchester single malt scotch on my desk. I’m just getting into the office on Friday morning and this is what greets me.

“It’s been scanned, and the bottle has been chemical-tested and tamper-inspected. It’s clean and intact.”

“Who’s it from?” I ask. He twists his lips.

“You should probably read the note. It’s been tested, too.” He hands me the note and I’m remiss to take it. He lays it out on my desk so that I can read it.

Mr. Grey,

I am not a man of apologies and I hope you can understand and respect that. I will concede, however, that my employee ghastly misspoke when he met with you earlier this week. You and I want the same thing—to rid ourselves of a certain pebble in our respective shoes. To that end, we are not rivals with nor subordinates to one another in any way.

What my employee was intended to relay is that it would be appreciated if my organization knew when you plan to visit the area. As you know, this problem has escaped solution to date on more than one occasion. As such, an unexpected visit may tend to flush out certain attempts at contact and possibly make an agreeable solution to our shared problem more viable. The notification is only a means to a mutual end, nothing more.

Please accept the enclosed token as a gesture of goodwill along with the sworn promise that, no matter what the prior implications, no harm will come to you or your family at the hands of my organization. You have my word. 

Russo

“Get the fuck outta here,” I say out loud. “So, how good is the word of a gangster?” I say, looking up at Alex. He shrugs.

“I don’t know, but I will say this. Aragon is his gopher—his messenger boy. Maybe a bit more than that, but I think you get the idea. He’s not going to make a move without his boss’ approval and when he left here, he was pissed. If Sunset had given him the go to take you out, he would have come back here and done it himself. I’ll also tell you this. With his organization and ability, he can’t afford attention. He’s got enough of that already. A hit on Christian Grey, billionaire and international businessman?” He whistles. “That’s way more attention that he wants. What’s more?” He picks up the bottle of liquor partially wrapped in high-end paper that previously came in a high-end box, “he’s certainly not going to try to wipe you out with a $25,000 bottle of single malt scotch made 50 years ago, sent with a letter with his signature on it, which can most likely be traced by its purchase. Take it how you want but, in my experience, he definitely means this as a peace offering.” I look at the bottle in Alex’s hand.

“Well, I ain’t drinkin’ it,” I say, looking at the note on my desk again.

“What should I do with it?” he asks. I really don’t know.

“Put it in the safe with the note,” I tell him. “Seal them both in plastic. I don’t know what else to do with it right now.” He nods and takes the bottle and the note with him before leaving my office. I mean really—what are you supposed to do with a $25,000 bottle of whiskey and an apology note from a gangster? What’s the protocol here? I’m not fucking versed on Mafia Etiquette 101.

I suddenly feel the need to watch Goodfellas or The Godfather or Casino or something.

“You got a love note from a gangster?” Jason says walking into my office.

“It appears that way,” I reply. Jason shakes his head.

“You pretty much tell his consigliere to fuck off and get lost and in response, he sends you a prized bottle of whiskey and a letter he personally signed.” He whistles.

“Should that mean something to me?” I ask.

“Yeah, it means that we should keep security tight,” he responds, “not crazy, but tight.” He takes a seat. “You were never in any danger of Sunset. I knew that. His messenger boy, I wasn’t so sure… until now. The way that he spoke to you on Tuesday, he didn’t have any fear of you, but he was upset that you didn’t have any reverence for him. That hothead could’ve taken you down in a minute. That was my concern. Now, Sunset is guaranteeing your safety. You’re not now, nor were you ever, in any danger from his organization. But make no mistake—you’re still in danger.”

“Why?” I ask. “From whom?”

“You’re bait, Boss. That’s what you’ve always been. You took down that asshole’s son. Russo is hoping that he comes for revenge himself. And when he does—when he rises from his hiding place—that’s when they plan to get him. But he knows that Myrick isn’t coming anywhere near you if you’re 50 guards deep. So, he wants you to do what you’ve been doing all along in the hopes of luring Myrick in. You’re in no more danger than you were before, but you are still in the same danger.”

“That’s why I want to find this fucker,” I tell him. “I need this to be over in the worst way. I need this man and everybody associated with him out of my life and I swear to God, the minute I see him coming, I’m going to put one right between his eyes.” Jason examines me.

“I believe you will.”

“Believe it!” I confirm. “He’s a dead man if he comes anywhere near me or my family, so he had better shoot first. Keep security as it is and find that asshole. You military geniuses come up with some way to smoke this bitch out. I’ve had enough of this shit. I don’t care what laws we break just find his ass!”

I knock something off my desk in my anger and begin to count. Jason has left the office by the time I’ve calmed down enough to get my day started.

*-*

I’ve wrapped up a meeting with my M&A team and decide to head down to the cafeteria for a late lunch. I order a grilled chicken sandwich and an endive salad and cranberry juice. When my food is ready, I plan to head back up to my office, but I spot Marlow toiling over some papers.

“What’s got you so perplexed?” I ask as I approach the table and put my tray down.

“The future,” he laments. I frown as I take a seat.

“Care to elaborate?” I say as I take a welcome bite of my chicken sandwich. He shrugs and sighs.

“Truth?” he says. “I’ve finally started getting some kind of social life, but this is my last year of high school, and I really have to start planning what I’m going to be doing. I really wanted to go away to college, but I want to stay close to GEH…”

“GEH can follow you wherever you go,” I tell him after I swallow my food. “We’re worldwide remember?”

“It’s not the same. You know that,” he says. “You’re my mentor. I’ve learned a lot from you and there’s more that I have to learn. I can’t get that hands-on experience that I want and need if I’m at school in Georgia or New England or upstate New York somewhere, but I must admit. Having GEH on your resume makes you look really good to the ivy league schools.”

At least he’s thinking big.

“But I’m finally making some friends… people that don’t look at me funny or treat me funny or try to meet you.” He rolls his eyes. “People who don’t think I’m not black enough… or too black. Girlfriends…”

“Girlfriends?” I ask. “Plural?” He shrugs.

“Nobody steady, just people I see. That’s why it’s plural. I haven’t settled in on anybody being a girlfriend and they know that. I’m no Tiger Woods, don’t get me wrong, but I have a few.”

“I hope you’re using protection,” I say, tucking in to my endive salad. Marlow twists his lips.

“Have we met?” he asks. “Do you really need to ask that question?” I didn’t, but nonetheless…

“Then there’s Mom and Maggie. I’m the man of the house and I’m just not comfortable leaving them alone yet…”

“Scratch that off your list,” I say. “You told me that your mom was seeing someone, and you can’t stay home and be the man of the house for the rest of your life. You’re going to have to be the man of your own home one day. Besides, your mom still has security details since that crazy ex-husband of hers isn’t dead yet.” I take another bite of my sandwich.

“That’s easier said than done,” he says. “Mags is still so young…”

“Stop making excuses,” I interrupt, my mouth full. “Choose the college that’s best for you. Remember this, though,” I swallow my food. “Washington has some good local colleges if you just want to stay in the state. You’ve got U-Dub, Washington State, the directional colleges, Seattle Pacific…” He nods.

“Yeah… I really think that’s what I want to do, for a lot of reasons. I’ll have plenty of time to travel. Now’s just not the time for me.” I raise a brow at him.

“Don’t get too attached,” I tell him. “You’re young, and life is going to take you in a lot of different directions. Working for me is going to take you in a lot of different directions. Your roots aren’t set yet—you have no idea where you want to go. Don’t cling to one thing too much until it’s time… and it ain’t time yet.”

I finish my lunch and talk to Marlow a bit longer about his plans. He knows that he has an ongoing internship here with me, and I’m priming him to do big things in GEH someday, but he’s going to have to decide exactly what he wants to do with his future. He may decide that he doesn’t want to work for me, and that’s fine—as long as he’s successful and doesn’t take any of my trade secrets to other companies.

I’m just getting back to the office when Andrea informs me that Smalls is on line two. I had completely forgotten about Pops’ storage bins until this moment as I was totally preoccupied with getting Windsor over to Aunt Tina’s, making sure that the covert watches were on Kenneth Carter and Roger Servant—yes, I discover that is really his last name—and pondering the “make-up” gift sent to me by one “solar” gangster in the Detroit area. I point to my office, indicating that I’ll take it at my desk.

“What do you have for me, Smalls?” I ask.

“We’ve identified the cars and gotten them all started. I’ve taken better pictures of them and sent them to your uncle at his request. He says that he wants to do a little research on them before sending the deets to you and his brothers. We were able to catalogue the items that were in the storage units with the cars and we’re working on the other two. We’re trying to put the cars in units by themselves, but it may require securing another unit for the extra items that were stored with the cars.”

“Talk to Herman about that,” I advise. “See if that’s something that can be done. How soon before we get the rest of the items catalogued? This is going on much longer than I expected.”

“End of the day, maybe,” he says. “It may go into Monday, unless you want us to work on Saturday.”

“I had no intention of you being here this long as it is. Wrap this up as soon as possible and let us know what’s in those units so my father and brothers can dispose of it how they want.” Money isn’t an issue, but it’s beginning to cost me more than this trip is worth for that crew to be there cataloguing items that should have been done in a couple of days. Now, he’s saying they may be there over the weekend.

“Yes, sir,” he says, noting my agitation. “I’ll get it done.”

“Thank you,” I reply before abruptly ending the call. This shouldn’t be taking this long. One storage bin, then two, then riddles, then four, then cars that won’t start, then six. Now, we have to work through the weekend. Geez, this is ridiculous. Do I have to fly back to that hellhole and get this done myself?

*-*

I’m at my dad’s house looking over his shoulder at his computer monitor. Uncle Stanley asked that we all be together when he called with details about the cars, so I came straight here after work. Williams brought me out to the Manor while Jason went back to the Crossing to have the past due conversation with my wife that he and I had discussed last week. I wanted to go home with him, but he assured me that my presence wouldn’t really help the situation right now and told me to go to my father’s but come home immediately after. He thinks that Butterfly will understand. I’m not so sure based on the report that she’s currently decimating a heavy bag and has been for a couple of hours now. However, remembering a black eye from my first encounter with that delicate little flower and a heavy bag, I take Jason’s advice and go to my father’s.

“He’s being dramatic,” Dad says about Uncle Stan as we wait for his email. “Just send the damn email and let’s get this going.”

“You know Stan,” Uncle Herman says, “Not many opportunities for the spotlight. He’s going to take advantage of this one…”

The brothers continue to rib their youngest sibling when Uncle Herman’s phone rings.

“Stan, come on, man. We don’t have all night,” Uncle Herman answers. Simultaneously, Dad’s email shows an incoming message. He opens it and they begin to examine the contents as Uncle Herman puts Uncle Stan on speaker. Dad opens the email and clicks on the attachment. It’s a PowerPoint presentation.

“PowerPoint, Stan?” Uncle Herman scolds. “This is what took you so damn long?”

“Trust me, brother, you’ll see that it’s worth it,” Uncle Stan says. They start the presentation and pictures of the first car begin to scroll over the screen. The first one is the Mustang—1969 Mach Fastback, cherry red with a white stripe with black leather interior.

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“God,” Uncle Herman says, “that’s even prettier than I thought it would be.”

Picture after picture scrolls over the screen of this classic automobile, completely refurbished. The stats for the Mustang appear on the screen once 16 or so pictures from every angle stop scrolling—4-speed transmission, 4-barrel carb, clean like it was brand new—even the engine. Current value, $28,500.

“Shit,” Dad says. “And there’s four of them?”

“I take it you guys just saw the Mustang,” Uncle Stan says.

“You take it correctly,” I reply.

“Well, sit back, gentlemen. There’s three more.

“Excellent presentation, Uncle Stan,” I say, knowing that his brothers are a bit too dumbfounded to speak.

“Thank you, nephew,” Uncle Stan replies. “I’m glad somebody appreciates my work.”

“Shit!” Dad exclaims. “It can’t be!”

We look back at the screen to see what has Dad all a-flutter. A black cherry classic comes across the screen and I can’t tell you anything about it except that it’s really old.

“Is that a Coup?” Dad says in awe while pointing at the car on the screen. “That’s not a Coup, is it? Is that a five-window Coup?” Uncle Herman looks at the screen and examines the vehicle.

“We have to wait until the end and see,” Uncle Herman says.

“Yeah, Rick, that’s a Coup,” Uncle Stan confirms. Dad puts his hand over is mouth. About nine pictures of this classic vehicle with shiny chrome accessories and black leather scroll across the screen and my dad doesn’t even blink.

1932 Ford Five-Window Coup,” Uncle Herman reads when the pictures are done. “Yeah, that’s what it is.” Automatic transmission in the floorboard, 350-crate engine with a dual carb 671 blower and estimated 600 horsepower. Current value, $78,000.

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“Shit,” Dad hisses and he’s silent for several moments. “That’s the first model car me and Dad ever put together.”

“Really?” Uncle Herman says in awe. “Then it’s yours. Any objections, Stan?”

“None here,” Uncle Stan replies.

Dad looks over at Uncle Herman and simply covers his mouth again. His eyes are glassy, and he’s struck dumb for a moment.

“Thank you,” he whispers when he finds his words. “Thank you so much.”

“I’m certain Dad would have wanted you to have it,” Uncle Herman says. “It’s too much of a coincidence.”

Dad just nods, hiding his face from me and Uncle Herman. It’s no doubt that he’s crying.

“Give us just a minute, Stan,” Uncle Herman says, reaching over to the computer and pausing the PowerPoint. It takes a little more than a moment for Dad to pull it together, but he does, and I can tell that he’s still fighting with his emotions.

“You’re a pussy, Rick,” Stan teases, trying to lighten the mood when Dad stops crying.

“Fuck off, Stan,” Dad jibes back, reaching for the mouse and clicking to continue the slideshow. Next, we see a blue and white, square convertible straight out of American Graffiti.

“What is that?” Uncle Herman asks. “’57 Chevy?”

“Chevy, Herm? Seriously?” Dad chastises. “Dad’s rolling over in his grave.” Uncle Herman raises his brow. I know he wants to comment that Pops isn’t in a grave—I can see it all over his face—but he gets the idea. Technically, he is, he’s just been cremated before he was interred.

“Blasphemy, Herm, it’s a Fairlane!” Uncle Stan chides.

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“A Fairlane?” Uncle Herman laughs. “Do you know I actually thought those cars were jokes?” he adds.

“You’re kidding, right?” Uncle Stan says mirthlessly.

“No. You remember the movie The Adventures of Ford Fairlane? I thought that was just the guy’s name. I didn’t think the car was real.”

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“And you call yourself a Ford man,” Uncle Stan retorts. “Dad really is rolling over in his grave now.”

“Okay, it’s a car, Stan. It’s not the solution to world peace or the cure for cancer. Lighten up…”

As my uncles argue the attributes of the Ford Fairlane, I continue to watch the slideshow until the specs sheet pops up. It’s not as cherry as the other cars, but it’s in amazingly good condition. It’s a colonial white 1959 Ford Fairlane/Galaxy 500 Skyliner with a retractable hard top, original police interceptor 352ci V8 engine with 300 horsepower, and a 3-speed automatic transmission. It has blue tuck and roll seats and comes complete with a white leather steering wheel; red, white, and blue aluminum hub caps, and wide whitewall tires. Current value, $39,000.

Uncle Herman finally cedes the argument to Uncle Stan, informing him that he wasn’t bad-mouthing the car. He just didn’t know that it was a real car. As it turns out, Uncle Herman likes this car more than the other two cars he’s already seen. He says it reminds him of making out in the back seat at the park.

TMI, Uncle Herman.

“Now, that’s pretty,” Dad says. Our attention is drawn back to the computer screen and the final car.

“That’s a T-Bird,” Dad says. “I’d know that car anywhere. That was my first car.” Uncle Herman looks at Dad.

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“Do you think Dad meant for you to have this one?” he asks. Dad twists his lips.

“I don’t think so,” he says. “Look at that car. That’s a kid’s car. Besides, I prefer the Coup.” I look at the pictures of the truly pimped-out Thunderbird scrolling across the screen.

“What makes you think that’s a kid’s car?” I ask Dad, curious.

“I’m not saying a 16-year-old kid, but a responsible twenty-something. Look at it,” Dad says, pointing to the screen. “It’s probably in better condition than when it first rolled off the showroom floor—black exterior so black, it looks like it has six clear-coats on it. Purple lighting kit—purple, gentlemen! White leather interior with purple piping. This car would scream overcompensation for anybody over 40 years old.”

“I have to agree with Dad,” I interject. “I’m a young billionaire, and that would scream overcompensation for me, and not in the penile sense that I’m sure my father means it.

The gentlemen all laugh as we continue to observe the 21 pictures that Uncle Stan compiled of the Thunderbird. Pops must have really liked purple—purple suspension, purple-accented engine, purple trim, and when Dad said purple light kit, I don’t think he knew the light kit is inside and outside the car. To me, this car would scream overcompensation at any age.

“It’s a beautiful car…” Dad says, trailing off, his voice having that but tone to it.

“Yeah,” Uncle Herman says, his voice carrying the same tone.

The specs sheet is way too much to read on this one, but skimming through it, I catch that it’s a 1964 Thunderbird convertible retractable with a 5.0 coyote 430 horsepower upgradeable engine and a 6R80 transmission. There are too many upgrades in this car to even mention and Dad’s right—it most likely looks much better than it did when it rolled off the showroom floor. It’s a classic car, but it’s been completely modernized without losing its classic appeal. Current value, $95,000.

“Hmm…” Uncle Herman says and trails off.

“What is it?” Dad says, examining my uncle’s expression.

“Four cars,” Uncle Herman says. “Four sons.” Uncle Stan makes a disbelieving “pst” sound in the phone. Nobody says anything for several seconds as Uncle Herman drops his head in contemplation.

“I’m not giving him one of those cars,” Uncle Herman says finally. The other brothers know who he’s talking about and they both remain silent as Herman raises his head. “Call me a terrible person, but I’m not giving him a car. That may have been Dad’s original intention, but I don’t think he’d want me to do that now.”

“What do you plan to do, keep the extra car?” Uncle Stan asks. Uncle Herman shakes his head.

“What am I going to do with two classic cars?” He scratches his beard in contemplation.

“Sell it?” Dad suggests.

“No way in hell I’m selling Dad’s car.” He continues contemplation. “If Freeman were to pick one of those cars, which one do you think he would pick?”

“He’d want that T-Bird, hands down,” Dad says. “The other cars are nice in their own right, but that T-Bird—he’d physically fight us to get that car.” Herman nods.

“Then the T-Bird goes to Burtie,” he says. “Any objections?”

“Yeah, Burtie,” Dad says in that “Eureka!” kind of way. “Freeman’s going to piss tar. That’s gonna eat him up! Yeah, no objections here.”

“You got my vote,” Stan says, “but can I keep the Mustang?”

The brothers laugh.

Dad, Uncle Stan, and Uncle Herman wrap up the call and I make a mental note to call Lanie and talk to her about Burt getting Pops’ T-Bird. Once I’ve sent myself reminders to arrange the shipment of the three cars to their respective locations—two to Seattle and one to California—I notice that my father has disappeared. I wander the house looking for him a bit, then find him outside in the backyard on the infamous advice bench. I exit the French doors and begin walking over to him. Even in the dark, I can tell that he’s crying—weeping in fact, as his body is shaking pretty violently.

“Dad?” I say, concerned as I approach cautiously.

“I miss him,” Dad chokes. “I miss him so much. I never thought anything could hurt this badly. God, it hurts so much.” His body shakes with sobs as he mourns.

I sit down next to my father. I don’t know what to say to comfort him because although I’ve filled my time with so many other crises and issues to the degree that I haven’t thought much about Pops, I miss him, too—especially in quiet time. I wipe a tear that has escaped from my eye and sit next to my father.

“I know, Dad,” I say, trying to steady my voice. I hate to see my father cry. His breakdowns have been huge—deep, heart-wrenching weeping and mournful sobbing fits. I saw him cry once before like this—at my breakfast bar at Escala when the full realization of what the pedophile had done to me finally sunk in and he hadn’t done anything to prevent it, not that he could have. He was broken just like he is now; just like he is anytime he has to handle something that deals with Pops. I can imagine that this is how I would be if something happened to him.

I put my arms around his shoulders and try to comfort him. It has the opposite effect. He crumbles into a ball and nearly falls off the bench, his sobs more woeful than before. He’s utterly grief-stricken and I have to catch him before he hits the ground. I sit there, holding and crying with my father on a chilly fall night, as he weeps the cries of the truly broken.

*-*

I’m exhausted when I get back to the Crossing. I don’t know how Butterfly deals with everyone’s emotions all the time like this. Just dealing with Dad has completely wiped me out. Then again, I can imagine that my wife doesn’t fall into crying fits when she deals with people either.

I can tell the house has just shut down. The sink is still damp—Ms. Solomon’s last wipe-down before bed. I wonder how Windsor is doing at Tina’s. I must say that his absence was felt when I came in the door tonight.

I go to the kitchen and retrieve a cranberry-apple juice from the refrigerator. Brandy has been my go-to drink on hard nights and I think I need to lay off for a while. I take several large swallows of the refreshing drink before walking into the dark family room and falling onto the sofa like a sack of potatoes. I’m so tired. Crying is exhausting.

I fire off an email to Lanie with a picture of the Thunderbird, telling her to show it to Burtie and ask if he wants it. She’ll see it in the morning.

I’m just laying my head back on the sofa when the lights come on. I look around the room to find Butterfly in her recliner with the remote to the lights in her hand. Why in the hell is she sitting here in the dark?

“I couldn’t sleep,” she says as if in answer to my question. “You’re late.” She stands from her chair and walks over to me, her face falling as she approaches. “And your eyes are swollen. You’ve been crying! Why have you been crying?” She stands protectively over me, and I simply evade the question.

“I’ve convinced my father to get grief counseling,” I say, “He hasn’t really dealt with Pops’ death completely and it’s becoming too much for him to handle.” She frowns, but quickly recovers.

“I imagine so,” she says. “With Grace’s breakdown so soon after Burt’s funeral, he hasn’t had time to grieve the loss or recoil from it. That has to be pretty rough on him… and you.”

I raise my gaze to her and the light hurts my eyes, so I deflect my gaze and she sits next to me. The truth is… I’m just tired. I’m tired of being the know-all businessman. I’m tired of being the problem-solver. I’m tired of being the rescuer, the righter of wrongs, the “make-it-all-better” guy. I’m tired in so many ways that I can’t even explain how many ways that I’m tired. I’m the fix-it man, the “find-the-bad-guy” man, the “chase-away-the-Boogey” man—and when my Dad started crying, all I could do was cry with him. I feel the pain of loss like he does… but not. I miss Pops… a lot, but my dad is still alive. The great Christian Grey can’t pull out his trusty Amex Black and fix this one. I’m just tired. Some days, this fucking superman cape is hard to wear, and today, I’m just tired.


ANASTASIA

How do you deal with your own crises when everyone else’s crises seem so prevalent? Marilyn, Harmony, Christian, the world… is this innate in my nature or a result of being a shrink? I came home in speechless tears yesterday, wailing on a heavy bag until every part of my body ached, and finally accepted the fact that I’m suffering from PTSD brought on by the shock and pain of Christian’s disappearing act but most likely aggravated by all the bad things that have happened to me—who wouldn’t have PTSD after living with Carla and all the subsequent bad shit that has happened to me? After a long soak in a very hot jacuzzi tub, I go to the family room to wait for my MIA husband and to ponder my situation and course of action in darkness and silence. When he gets home, he looks like shit, and he’s been crying.

Who can ignore that?

Suddenly, my problems which had been consuming all my thoughts seconds before didn’t seem so prevalent anymore. Get him undressed, get him to bed, massage his scalp until he falls asleep. We’ll tackle whatever this is in the morning. It’s too late to deal with it now… though his fingers were tapping madly on his screen in the dark and I’d like to know what that was about. Nonetheless, not two minutes after the scalp massage begins, he’s fast asleep—hard—on my stomach. I fall asleep shortly thereafter.

He’s snoring hard when I climb out of bed and come to check on the children. Keri and Gail are preparing them for their morning bath, and I decide that today is probably another good day to spend with the twins. Jason let the contractor in to get started on the shelves and painting of my office, and I almost instinctively call Marilyn to discuss… whatever, until I remember that she’s off until Monday on a mission to check her attitude. I’ve decided that if she ever gets her shit together, I’ll put her on the task of finding out who’s real and who’s fraud on my family tree. If she doesn’t, well, who the fuck knows what’s going to happen.

I forgot to tell Christian that the contractor was coming to do my office today. It’s just a matter of revamping the shelves behind my desk and doing a little paint. Maybe he’ll be finished before too long. In the meantime, I go to the kitchen and prepare breakfast for us—pancakes, bacon, sausage, eggs, buttery and cheesy grits, coffee, juice, and toast. I load it onto the food cart and go to the elevator.

He seems to be stirring a bit when I open the door. That’s good. I really didn’t want to have to wake him for breakfast. He says that he had planned to go for a run, but upon seeing breakfast, admits that a change of plan never hurt. He’s in better spirits this morning as we eat in bed, telling me about the contents of Burt’s storage units, including four very expensive classic cars, one of which prompted another seriously emotional breakdown from Carrick.

During the course of the conversation, he tells me that he sent an email to Lanie last night about one of the cars, which answers my question about the typing in the dark. He also informs me of the olive branch he received from a certain Detroit gangster. Jason’s theory of the situation, as explained by Christian, put a few of my fears to rest, but still makes me feel quite uneasy about the situation at hand—a situation that really hasn’t changed from a week ago.

“I agree to the current security situation,” I tell him, “but shouldn’t I know what this asshole looks like? In case he approaches me to get to you?”

A visible chill goes through my husband as he agrees that I should be able to identify Myrick.

“I’ll get you information on him before the end of the day,” he says. We finish our breakfast, then indulge in a shower and a midmorning quickie before we go and get our children.

“Jason told me that I have PTSD,” I tell him as Minnie plays with a plush toy in my lap and Christian entertains Mikey on the playmat.

“How do you feel about that?” he asks, raising his eyes to me. I sigh.

“In light of my reactions to certain events and the trauma that I experienced through all this, I tend to think he may be right,” I admit, avoiding eye-contact with my husband. I can feel the air suddenly become a bit thick.

“So… what now?” he asks.

“Right now, we’re going the talking route,” I reply.

“To Jason?” he asks. “Jason’s going to be your shrink now?”

“To anybody,” I tell him, “to whomever will listen when I hear the voice of doom. And I wonder why my shrink didn’t think of this… PTSD, I mean. We could have formulated a treatment plan by now.”

“You know very well why he didn’t approach you with that,” he replies. “You became borderline violent the last time someone suggested that you were suffering from it, and I’m sure you told him about it.”

“Yes, but if that really is what I’m suffering from, avoiding the diagnosis isn’t going to help anything,” I protest.

“So, now, you do realize that the man is ‘damned if he do and damned if he don’t,’ right?” Christian points out. God, I hate when he’s this fucking logical.

“Maybe he did tell me,” I admit, “in so many words, just not outright. He sure didn’t hesitate in calling me suicidal.”

“What?” Christian says sharply enough to make the babies jump. Minnie’s looking at him like, “What the hell, Dad?” while Mikey gives him a “Dude, seriously?” stare.

“Okay, he didn’t say that I was going to kill myself. He just called me a shark’s tooth.” Christian squints his eyes and furrows his brow in confusion. “You had to be there; I can’t explain it. He’s trying tough love on me, but as a professional, I really don’t think it’s working.”

“Is that why you destroyed the heavy bag yesterday?” he asks, pulling his wandering son closer to him on the playmat. I nod.

“I’m not sure if what he was saying really helped me, but it pissed me off. I’m beating myself up enough for not being able to snap my fingers and overcome this situation without also being beat up by my shrink.” He nods.

“So… now you just talk.” It’s a statement, not a question.

“Well, there are two professional treatments for PTSD—psychotherapy and medication. Hopefully, I’m not so bad off that I need medication…”

“Do you think you are?” he asks. “I mean, you are a professional.”

“I’m also not objective. This isn’t happening to someone close to me, this is happening to me. So, I’m not really the one to ask about that, but I’m a huge proponent of psychotherapy, as you already know. So, I’m going to go with cognitive processing therapy and prolonged exposure.”

“Okay, and those are…?” he asks.

“CPT is going to help me understand and deal with exactly how events changed my way of thinking and my feelings. ‘Something bad happened and the Boogeyman is coming to get me’ is not a logical thought process. That’s where prolonged exposure—or talking to whomever will listen—comes in. That’s where I keep talking about situation and about my thoughts and my feelings so that I can gain some control over them and they’re no longer upsetting. I’m going to start journaling again, too, for those times when no one is there to listen.”

“Butterfly, I’ll always be there to listen,” he says somberly.

“No, you won’t,” I say. “What if it’s 11 o’clock in the morning and you’re in a meeting? Or it’s the dead of night and I wake from a bad dream? There are going to be those times when I have to have my journal, and the people around me who claim to love me are going to have to understand that they might be mini-therapist throughout this time. It’s that simple.” He nods.

“You got all this from your conversation with Jason?” he asks.

“I got some of this from my conversation with Jason. The rest I had to get on my own.” He nods but says nothing. “What is it?” I prod.

“I want…” he starts but trails off, sighing and shaking his head. “I want to say or do something that’ll make this all go away. I know I’ve apologized numerous times, but had I known… had I had any idea that this…” He trails off again unable to finish his sentence. He doesn’t look at me while he’s talking. He looks at Mikey, and I’m afraid that he’s going to start crying again. The funny-not-so-funny thing about crying is that once the damn bursts, it’s hard if not impossible to plug it again.

“One thing that useless shrink of mine did make me swallow,” I say softly while stroking Minnie’s hair. “Once something has happened, it’s happened. You can’t undo it and you can’t take it back, but it’s important not to live in it. You have to move on—promise to do better and not make the same mistakes. There’s really nothing else you can do. It’s a tough commitment as memories are hard and sometimes impossible to erase, but sometimes, what’s done is done, and we just have to find a way to let go and move on. And I’m trying… I’m doing my best… You should, too.”

He raises his eyes to me and they’re glassy, but no tears fall.

“I’m sorry, Butterfly,” he squeaks, dropping his gaze again.

“I know,” I say. “I forgive you. Forgive me, too… and yourself.” He doesn’t respond.

Forgetting is the problem, not forgiving.

*-*

I never realized how large my office was until it was empty. It’s pretty ginormous. Apparently, I must have felt the need to fill every bit of space in here when we first moved in, because you would never know that there was so much room in here until it was empty. It could also be that the imposing wood shelves are gone, replaced by a stylish and delicate glass shelving system on a greenish-gray backdrop. The space is brighter and lighter, and I’m glad that Luma and I chose natural textures and fibers to outfit the room.

We spend Saturday with our babies, but Sunday, I spend putting my office together. Between the house staff and some of the security personnel, the furniture is organized in a couple of hours and the boxes are unpacked. I meticulously decide what stays and what goes in terms of décor, books, and accessories. It’s time to get rid of the large, chunky pieces and the books that I never read that can also be donated to the Center.

My office at home is a bit sleeker than the office at work. Although the chunky, space-hogging furniture has been replaced with natural straw rugs, a wicker coffee table and ottoman combination, natural fiber light fixtures and lamps, and a woven basket or box here or there, the glass shelves have been filled with contemporary metal, steel, and glass décor as well as strategically placed books with white or bright earth-tone colors—including my new set of journals. Soft, textured curtains with stylish drawbacks line the bookshelves while Antigua Froth rolling shades allow the light to bathe the room from the floor-to-ceiling windows.

The once almost-mission-style seating area has been transformed with the round wicker coffee table that holds four white incognito triangular ottomans, flanked by two white tufted chairs with a matching chaise across from them. The chairs and the chaise are arguably the bulkiest pieces in the room and would normally look out of place as they are made for a more formal setting. However, the wicker coffee table with the white ottoman cushions help to tie the tufted furniture, straw rugs, and other natural fibers together. The combination is eclectic and amazingly compatible at the same time.

I take a moment or two to admire my work once everything is in its place, and I’m loving the fact that I can have my retractable shades open to half-mast and watch the sun setting over the lake. When it appears that my work is done, I take some time to break in my new set of journals. Meditation and yoga are still on the menu to help keep me grounded, but when I’m floundering, it’s going to take the journals and talking.

I start my first entry by describing how I felt the day I realized that my husband had left me. Even now, I’m not really sure when that happened. I know that he left on that Wednesday night after he found me with Liam in the community room, but I don’t know if I knew that he left me that Friday when he wouldn’t answer my calls after two days of trying or that Sunday when I realized he had blocked my cell number. They were both harrowing days for me. I remember feeling like the bottom was falling out from under my world that Friday, and then actually feeling that bottom fall away that Sunday. So, I elaborate on both days.

I move from my desk onto the floor of the sitting area and use the coffee table to write on. Before I know it, I’m pouring my heart out about the bridge and the window seat in the nursery. I wipe away a tear or two when I remember how I felt sitting in that window and waiting—and hoping—for an Audi. I remember giving up hope and trying to focus on the twins… but not, because I still sat in that window. I still sit in it now sometimes, only I have no idea what I’m looking for when I’m looking out that window, watching and waiting.

I remember losing my senses and driving to that lookout point with a bottle of whiskey. That was truly a dumb thing to do. So many other bad things could have happened and I’m only just now realizing how tragic that whole thing really could have been. Then the whole disaster at the hospital and nearly ending up in the psyche ward. Geez, that would have been a stellar gossip-rag headline! I still don’t know how we managed to keep my fall out of the press.

I keep writing, because I can’t seem to find the appropriate words to describe the pain that I felt during that time—seething, burning, agonizing, unbearable, abysmal, like someone was slowly cutting off my limbs with a dull butter knife—nothing seems to adequately capture the way that I was feeling. It was one of the darkest times of my life. It seems so long ago and yet, it feels like yesterday. That’s why it’s so hard to let go… because it hurt so badly.

A gentle knock on my open office door causes me to raise my head. My husband is looking around the room in awe, and I’d forgotten that he didn’t know what kind of transformation had taken place in this room.

“You did all this in one day?” he asks incredulously.

“It was more like four days,” I say, closing my journal and deciding that there were no more synonyms for excruciating that I would find tonight. “I, um, took a page from Grace’s book… picked my colors, picked a look, and ordered the furniture. It wasn’t as hard as planning my office at work.”

“Your office used to look so… full. Now, it doesn’t. It looks more open and… airy.”

“You’re struggling to be PC. Let me help you. My office was sophisticated—neat, professional—but it was cluttered… chock full of stuff. Now, it looks more relaxing, more inviting.”

“Yeah,” Christian says, still looking around the room in awe. “It’s… brighter in here…”

“Less encumbering,” I assist.

“Yeah,” he replies before bringing his gaze to me. “You missed dinner.”

I figured it was kind of late, but not that late.

“I was journaling,” I admit. “The first entry, it… sets the tone, so to speak.” I arise from the floor and close my journal. Walking behind my desk, I put it on the bookshelf with the others.

“What did you do with all your books?” he asks. Not about the furniture, not about the huge makeover of the bookshelves, the books. He’s searching for conversation.

“I’m donating them to start a library at Helping Hands,” I say, turning around to face him. He nods, still looking around the room.

“Can you do my office?” he asks. My eyes widen. What?

“You want your office to look like this?” I ask, amazed.

“Yeah,” he says. “Well, no,” he retracts, shaking his head quickly like he’s shaking off a bad thought. “My office at work has various colors and a lot of white—sleek lines… it doesn’t look like the space is closing in on you, but that’s because of the corner office and the glass walls. The only windows in my office are behind me, and I can’t really see them. You’ve made it look like Sunday morning in here, literally, and that’s a lot to say after nightfall. My office has all the Oxford-ness—the heavy woods and dark atmosphere…”

Jesus, I don’t think he understands what must be done to lighten that room and still stay in sync with Christian Grey. The room is all dark. The natural lighting is almost nonexistent. He has a large, dark marble fireplace sitting between the only two medium-sized windows in the room. We would either have to rip out the fireplace or cover it with lighter marble. Does he ever even use that fireplace? If we decide that we’re not going to use it, we have to cap off the gas line. Demo, capping, too much trouble.

The fireplace stays.

We would need to get rid of the chunky furniture and the big, imposing chunks of architecture. Keep some of the bookshelves and lose some? The window coverings would have to be pale or non-existent. The bookshelves would have to be painted or completely rebuilt, just like mine. We’re definitely not ripping up that flooring, but there would need to be some area rugs to break up that dark marble.

And light! He needs more light. It would need to be track lighting or recessed lighting, and track lighting tends to look so damn tacky.

Recessed lighting with solar bulbs…

“That’s a massive undertaking, Christian,” I warn. “Your office is completely dark, and to lighten it, the space would end up totally different than it is now. Lighting changes, textures and materials, we still want it to look masculine…”

“You had an idea in mind for how you wanted your space to look. I don’t expect for my transformation to take a week. It’s okay if it takes a month or two—although I’d like to be able to use my space…”

“Which means that no work can begin in there until we have a solid idea…” which is what I did in my office. We could utilize the French Doors between the den and the office to take advantage of the natural light from the den…

“Let me give it some thought,” I tell him. “I’m sure I can come up with something that you like… as long as you give me time.” He smiles.

Take all the time you need.”

That’s exactly what I intend to do.

*-*

“Dad is coming to my office today with Harmony,” Christian says at breakfast on Monday morning. “We’re having a powwow today about the divorce and whatnot.” I raise my brow.

“Do you have some kind of plan in mind for her loser husband?” I ask, chomping away on eggs benedict.

“We’ve got plans, but I don’t know how they’re going to play out just yet,” he says. “This entire thing made me consider all the people who have something to lose—or gain, from Tina’s death. Windsor called me yesterday and apprised me of how the house was run before Roger left. It was… not a happy place to work. He’s finding proof that Roger was skimming off Tina’s money when it came time to pay bills or buy groceries or necessities for the mansion, and that’s just the tip of the iceberg. His cash cow is completely dead, and if she so chooses, Tina can totally sue for embezzlement.

“Not only that, but the moment the doctors announce time of death, Tina’s children that currently have no time for her, along with nieces, nephews, and any other relatives who come up out of the woodwork, are going to swoop in and try to clean her house out, if they don’t try to put Harmony out of the house completely. So, we need to do something about that. To that end, Allen will sit in on our meeting and we’re going to Skype with Tina and her lawyer at Tina’s house to come up with possible solutions.” I shake my head.

“Shouldn’t her will take care of all of this?” I ask. “I mean they can’t just come in and start laying claim to her shit if she has a will.”

“Yes, they can,” Christian corrects me. “If they show up at that house and push Harmony out of the way, who’s to stop them from physically taking whatever the fuck they want? They’re Tina’s children, too. So, we’re trying to make sure that there’s a way that we can legally prevent them from doing something like that. Once we get that in place, my security team will take care of the physical part.”

“Geez, what a mess,” I comment. “If our children behave this way when we’re gone, I’m going to come back and haunt them for eternity.” I finish my breakfast and take a drink of my coffee. “I’m going down to my office now, and don’t worry. I’ll be going into Helping Hands a little later today. We have some new volunteers and some interviews that need to be conducted for key positions to get ready for the new semester next spring.” I give him a kiss.

“Since I’ve been deemed your new interior decorator, I want you to think about colors and textures that make you comfortable—or uncomfortable. I’m going to do this how I think you’ll like it, but a bit of your input might help.”

“Do whatever you want, Butter…” he begins.

“Oh, no, Grey,” I interrupt. “You’re not going to put all this off on me. Colors or textures that you definitely don’t want in the office. That’s all I need since the task seems so daunting.” I kiss him again, on his forehead this time, and head down to my office. “Have a good day, Dear.”

Courtney emails me that she and the staff are getting the volunteers sorted while Grace is preparing for the interviews that we have this afternoon. We’re still waiting for background checks on two of the applicants, but we see no harm in getting the interviews out of the way since the preliminary background checks are already done. Security will, of course, be a little beefed up, but not so that those who aren’t in the know would see anything different than usual.

We’ve decided that an inhouse maintenance team is definitely the way to go. So, we’ll be doing a hiring campaign for that. Our cleaning contract with Clean It Up for You is up for renewal in January and we’ll look to be filling positions for a handyman and staff around that time. To that end, we’ll need to review the proposals soon submitted for insurances by the various benefits coordinators that Grace and Harmony spoke with last week.

I must admit that I’m almost excited to let that Sherwood cow know that her days are numbered. As far as I’m concerned, her company never did come up to the expectations they should have after they dropped the ball charging us for areas that they never cleaned. Handing them their walking papers will be one of life’s little joys for me.

Our special airs tonight, so we’re having Vee and Josh over to view it along with Al and James, Val and Elliot, Grace and Carrick, and our usual household suspects. Mia took a pass on the whole “gathering” thing, opting to watch it from home as did Dad and Mandy.

I review the refreshment menu with Ms. Solomon, which will include gourmet chicken tenders, a loaded-potato-wedge bar, a nacho bar, a variety of popcorns, concession stand candies and treats, and a drink bar—alcoholic and non-alcoholic. We’ll be viewing it in the movie room, of course. I watched with such a critical eye the first time that I’m somewhat looking forward to seeing the finished product this time with a more relaxed mindset.

At about 11am, shortly before I’m preparing to head to Helping Hands, there’s a knock at my open office door. I raise my eyes to see Marilyn standing there awaiting permission to enter.

“Come in,” I say, clasping my hands on the desk in front of me. Her stance and demeanor show that I’m not dealing with the haughty woman that was kicked out of my office on Thursday.

“You finished it,” she says, looking around the office in awe. “The whole thing… in one weekend.”

“Yes, I did,” I confirm, with no malice.

“Without me,” she adds softly. “I thought you’d be kind of rudderless without me.” Her voice has a tinge of regret.

“I am rudderless without you, Mare,” I admit, then sigh heavily, “but life has to continue.”

“I don’t know what was going on last week,” she begins. I do—you’re pregnant. “It just felt like the world was closing in on me.”

“Did you take a test?” I ask. She shakes her head.

“No… not yet.” So, you still choose to put it off—not my business. I will address the part that is my business, though.

“You have sick time,” I remind her. “You’ve probably accumulated at least a year at this point. I don’t keep up because you never take time off. Take it when you need it.” I pause, and she says nothing. “There’s also this thing called the Family Medical Leave Act. It assures that if you need an extended period of time off for a medical purpose that your job will still be waiting for you when you return…”

“I was a bitch,” she interjects without raising her head. “I know that you would never fire me unless I did some really crazy shit. You promised me job security and I believe you. I was just being a bitch last week… and I’m sorry.”

That’s all that needs to be said.

“And now,” I continue, “you can see that I won’t disintegrate if you have to leave for a while.” We both chuckle. “It’ll be hard without you, but not impossible, as long as I know you’re coming back.”

“‘Only death could keep me from it,’” she jests, quoting Nettie from The Color Purple. Death or motherhood, I think to myself. “Right now, I really need to work.”

“Good, because we’ve got interviews today and new volunteers coming in at Helping Hands. I also have a project for you that could take some time.”

“I could use the distraction,” she says, pulling out her iPad. I really want to lecture her on the dangers of waiting to get medical attention while she’s pregnant no matter what her decision will be. Nonetheless, I decide that it’s still early and we can put it off a little while longer, but not too long.


A/N:I have noticed that on my last three chapters, there was no link to my Pinterest page. I have rectified that situation. My apologies…

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

For those of you who are also muscle-car-heads like me, there is another Pinterest link so that you can get a closer look at those beautiful classic cars. https://www.pinterest.com/ladeeceo/classic-cars-for-raising-grey-chapter-56/

The new question and answer thread is always open for questions about the story. be sure to read it and please adhere to the rules when asking questions. You can find it on the left, second from last in the menu our you can click HERE.

You can join my mailing list on the “Contact Me” page. Just click the link and it will lead you to a form to join the list.

 ~~love and handcuffs

84 thoughts on “Raising Grey: Chapter 56—Back In The Saddle

  1. naturallyblonde1221 says:

    great chapter

  2. asunder73 says:

    CG better come clean about Harmony’s come-on…

  3. Darla says:

    Good chapter

  4. Sophia says:

    Congratulations on your WordPress anniversary….. 5 years, that’s phenomenal. Thank you for sharing your extraordinary mind and talent, which keeps me very entertained. May God continue to bless you and best of wishes with your publishing 😍😍.

  5. Sharrier says:

    Damn BG, congrats to you , congrats to us it’s been emotional,funny, suspenseful, fucking exhausting , overwhelming,loving and a whole bunch of stuff. Shit it’s history, French, business and sex Ed classes up in here. I’ve learned a lot and grown so much through your words. Miss the zingers tho they were a hilarious as all heck but greatness outshines what’s lacking in people’s lives. You my dear Lynnybear🐻💖😘, we love you, we love your mind and your spirit. You are phenomenal woman.

  6. seralynsmom says:

    Can I have the Mustang?? Like seriously, I wants it. Looking at that car I felt like Sméagol from LotRs, my preciousssssssssssss. 😂😂

    Seriously Mare? Seriously? If she waits too much longer the choice will be removed from her because she’ll be too far along to legally receive an abortion is she chooses to go that route, she CANNOT keep putting it off and her denial is starting to get on my nerves, no offense. I want to smack her in the back of the head repeatedly until she gets it. Lmao

    I also want to smack Christian. Man, they said that Glenlivit was good to go and it’s not like dude is watching you on the inside from what I can tell. Drink that delicious, very expensive shit and don’t be wasteful!!!!

    I’m glad Ana is finally seeing the forest. For a minute there she couldn’t see it for the trees but I think now that she’s ready and willing to acknowledge her PTSD and handle it she’ll be just fine. It may take a while but she’s already gotten a great start with the journaling. Now to get Carrick back on track with his grief counseling and Christian to stop being everybody’s Superman. The man with break from the load if he doesn’t lighten it soon. He can’t fix everything and someone is going to have to help him realize that.

    Things seem to be looking up for our couple don’t they. What do you have up your sleeve? Because things are looking up. Every time that happens something comes in to implode it. Man am I glass half empty huh?? 😂😂

    Loved baby time. Need more baby time. Daddy Christian is sexy.

    • falalalynx says:

      Hey Ash,

      I forgot about Marilyn in my reply. Thanks for reminding me.

      Marilyn smack smack smack wtf! woman. And here I thought you were a smart cookie but nooooo you’ve turned into an ostrich. This is soo disappointing. I don’t care if you are pregnant I will speak to you like this. Find the fuck out already. Why are you delaying this? It makes no sense to me. sigh hmm grin Okay I got that off my mind. grin

      So now we know Ash has a sweet spot for the Mustang. lol Personally I think they feel like a tin can when you ride in them. giggle But then that’s my opinion of the Corvette too. Sorry not sorry. xoxoxoxo

      Peace, Falala

      • seralynsmom says:

        You take back that blasphemy about the Mustang back right now!!! Lol.

        I totally forgot I wanted to say something about the movers. It is not Smalls’ fault that those units came with more than they bargained for. He is doing what he can with what he was dealt with and Christian needs to learn some damn patience. Yes I know it is not his forte.

        Marlow was nice to see, I’m glad his family is doing well but he has a case of the what ifs and the can’t let go’s. He’s so used to being the man of the house that giving it over to another is implausible to him right now. Christian is right though, this is the time for him to do grand things and he needs to do so. His family will be just fine without him and his mom wouldn’t be happy if she knew he was using her and his sister as excuses. She didn’t get the help she needed and lose that asshole of an ex for her son to not do the things he’s dreamed of.

        Super beautiful touch with the Bird, that was my first go to as well—giving it to Burtie. Take that Freeman, you dick.

        Myrick, idk but I agree with the person who was wondering if he might be right under their noses. I just feel like he is, idk why.

      • The T-bird was my first car–1979. It was BEAUTIFUL! I still miss that car. I would drive the HELL outta that gas-guzzler if I had it now…

      • seralynsmom says:

        They’re nice cars alright. My family is a Ford family. My first car I ever bought was a Chevy Cavalier, my dad about had a fit. 😂😂

      • falalalynx says:

        Ash, Dang it! Just the thought that that slime ball might be breathing the same air as any of them gives me the yucky gag me creeps. This can NOT be. I thought Christian could recognize him?

        Can’t take it back Ash. I thought it in the sixties when my friend would drive me home from school and I haven’t changed my mind. Sit in one and open the windows and drive somewhere. It echos and feel hollow, hense a tin can. giggle xoxoxoxo and Peace darlin, Falala

      • I like all the old cars. This just happens to be a Ford Family, but I wouldn’t sleep on that Vette either! (vroom vroom)

    • Falala is usually my comic relief and I know that she will be again, but you had me cracking up from “my precious” to “drink that shit and don’t be wasteful.”

  7. Ann Shearer says:

    Thanks sweetheart for this chapter, its brilliant, and so worth the wait, you are incredable, i cant wait for you to publish a book if you do i will be the first to buy it, because you are an amazing writer, look forward to next update thanks again xx

  8. Happy anniversary goddess.
    Really great chapter, I think Ana is on a good way and Christian is starting to find his own way.

  9. valarie says:

    Congratulations to YOU BG! On your WordPress Anniversary! I have enjoy the journey with you! I just love the Grey Brothers talking together, but my heart breaks for Carrick> I know about grief, and it can kill you if not dealt with. I hope that Christian can get help being Superman, for a while, he is the fix it man. I am glad that he did tell Anastasia what he was feeling. That helped her for a moment.Communication is the key to any relationship, and they need to do it honestly. He also needs to tell her about Harmony before comes back and bites him in the ass. Hell I can be here all freaking day telling you that I really just enjoys your talent. Thank You for sharing with US! Love Ya 🙂

  10. Better2BeLoved says:

    Congratulations on a extraordinary 5 years on WordPress, I’m so grateful to have found your stories!

  11. falalalynx says:

    Hello everyone,

    Oh boy there was so much I wanted to comment on I took notes. lol

    I found the entire bottle of scotch from Russo so funny. I chuckle even thinking about it. I mean how many times do you ever read the big baddy apologizes and sends a peace offering. lol But putting it in plastic and storing it in the safe, priceless.

    Forewarned is forearmed. Yep Christian you are bait. Get prepared and stay vigilant but under no circumstance go back to Detroit. I don’t think I/we could handle another trip. weak smile

    This chapter just gave me so many facets of Christians character. I’ve fallen love with him all over again. sigh Cwiss your gentle and considerate handling of Marlow was a hug to my heart. Thank you for being you. What a mentor you have turned out to be.

    It’s nice to know Christian and I both agree Smalls is just taking too damn long to get this job done. gees man. grin Hurry up already. I want to do my own inventory. lol

    I’m kind of of the opinion this entire family of men could benefit from some group counseling and NO not Ana. The cars were such a yummy delicious treat and the idea of giving the tricked out Thunderbird to Burtie is brilliant. Take that Freeman you smuck you. It doesn’t make up for the beatdown at the airport of your own son but it certainly thumbs there noses at you you pompous ass.

    Will you gift us with a picture of Myrick on Pinterest? I’m curious to see who you choose for us to throw daggers at. grin

    The whole idea of Christian wanting Ana to redo his home office is such a good idea imo. Making a wonderful working nest for him will force them together and what better way to work there way back to one another than striving towards a particular goal. They are going to have to talk and this is a good neutral topic. Good good good idea Goddess. giggle

    And lastly, I know you can’t wait for me to hush up, Roger Freaking Roger! You low life parasite. Someone give him a severe beatdown SEVERE. Alex, Chuck, Jason, SOMEONE! heavy sigh. But as to the family invading the house and stripping it of it’s valuables; yeah no I see this as an easy thing to prevent. giggle It’s called Christians security team and maybe a set of new locks. lol I think they will swoop in expecting little ole Harmony to be all alone and yeah that’s not going to happen. You expect one little lady and the door opens and there’s Windsor and assorted big beefy security in your face. What are you going to do? evil grin I dare you I just dare you. lol

    This chapter was so very satisfying. Thank you darlin Goddess.

    Peace, Falala

    • Junebride says:

      Congrats, Goddess, on your 5th anniversary with WordPress!!

      Late commenting. I must agree again with Falala and Ash. This chapter was sooo good! Waiting for the next update. This is getting better and better. Oh, someone is going to be pissed… he’s getting no car!!! We are going to drive you crazy, Goddess.

      You are the best!!
      XXXX

      • falalalynx says:

        If we are going to ‘drive’ the Goddess crazy then I choose the Coup with Carrick. giggle It will make the most noise. I think we should do donuts in the cars around Freeman’s house maybe or drag race up and down his street. grin Everyone ready your single digit salutes. This ones for you Freem, you stupid smuckhead. lol

      • Falala always startin’ trouble, lol.

      • falalalynx says:

        Why whatever do you mean? giggle

        I think a slow roll parade might be a better idea. So he can see who all’s driving. But it will have to take place at Carrick’s Grey Compound when Freem comes storming into enemy territory, you know at the bbg Herman and Carrick throw when Burtie and Stan all meet up for the family car rally in honor of Pops. Oh I can see it now Herman and Luma with the little girls decked out like little princess’es sitting up in the back seat of the square boat of the Fairlane waving madly at everyone, Stan in that tin can of a Mustang revving the rpm’s with his family, lmao Carrick growling along in the Coup with Grace laughing with joy and Finally Burtie and his boyfriend with Lanie and her millionaire husband in the back seat of the crazy lit T-bird. Mia can do the decorating. lol It will be epic. Oh and all the ladies can be decked out in vintage clothes found in one of Ruby’s trunks. smug smile These people need to have some fun.

        OOORRRRR that could go BIG and make it a charity event and hold it at the country club with all the proceeds going to Helping Hands. Other people can show there cars too. Car people are usually loaded. rotflmao Now this is me stirring up trouble. xoxoxoxo Peace, Falala

        Oops the Falala brain train is running without brakes. giggle

      • I love the concept of the parade LOL

      • falalalynx says:

        My bad. There is no backseat in the T-bird. Lanie has to find her own ride. lol Her hubby can buy her whatever her little heart desires. grin

      • falalalynx says:

        Good morning,

        I don’t know if it’s because we live in such a car oriented society but I dreamed so many different stories in this story line last night. My mind truly has gone off the rails with this. Oh hell no maybe I got off the train in Crazytown and I’m being stalked by this guy with creepy small hands. Eeeek! Where’s my ride? Maybe I should hitch hike. Yeah that dude with the hockey mask doesn’t scare me nearly as much as that dude with the orange hair. Oh what to do? Where’s my ride? Where’s my ride? lol

        xoxoxo Have a good day. giggle xoxoxoxo

        Peace, Falala

      • Falala, you are DEFINITELY having a moment, lol

      • falalalynx says:

        silly grin, I have at least three more scenarios. lol I credit JJ. She started this roll. We’re all motorheads of one degree or another. giggle

      • falalalynx says:

        Oh geez I was even wrong in my correction. grin I was checking out your pinterest page with the pictures of the cars and the T-bird does have a back seat. So Lanie’s back in the car. lol

        I don’t know what I’m more impatient excited for, Freeman finding out about the cars and causing trouble or the tv special about Ana and Christian airing. I had this odd deja vu moment the other night as I watched the CNN movie about RBG. There were so many similarities, her at work, her at home with her granddaughter, her working out. All these little personal scenarios just like the Christian and Ana interview. Ana kinds of reminds me of her. That was a complement btw. grin

        So it seems the rumor got out about a potential Grey family car rally parade event and Alex asked Jason on behalf of the motorheads on the security team if they could guard/participate using there tricked out cars rather than the usual Audi fleet. Alex also suggested that it would be great bait dangle for Myrick. What a lure right? evil grin Everyone looks relax but they are actually on high alert. lol And there’s more security in the crowd than you would be expecting. Myrick is going down. Down I say. I want this demon put to rest forever and ever amen. smug smile

        And then the ex-SEALS in the team with motorcycles didn’t want to be left out and after mentioning it to the chopper pilots at the air field those guys want to escort the parade at least across the floating bridge from Bellvue to the GEH building. lmao Well hell now it’s the Grey Army Air Force and Marines. You might as well add those boats/ships and you can cover the Grey Navy. lol No maybe that should be a different event, a regatta another event another time. lol And ‘if’ the press gets wind of all this there could be even more choppers over the water. lol Could be a huge money maker for Helping Hands, Faces of Abuse, Wounded Warriors, etc if handled by some brilliant PR person, cough Vee cough with Mia’s help of course. rotflol. Good gravy this just morphed from a family bbq to a tail gate party road rally ending in the parking garage at GEH with entrants paying $10,000 each to participate. Ah money! lol I crack myself up.

        Wait no maybe those last two paragraphs were just my dream. giggle I’m just trying to entertain you Butterfly Goddess. You are always entertaining me. giggle

        Actually I’m dodging going to bed. I was making my bed this morning and and and oh it was awful a SPIDER came crawling across my pillow right towards me. MY PILLOW I lay my face on. I may never sleep again. How’s your weekend going?

        Peace, Falala

      • Okay, so now, not only does Falala have our entire fleet out for this parade, but now we’ve got news helicopters, Hells Angels, and all branches of the military (we’ll throw the Navy in there with the boats) tagging along, too. Maybe you should try your hand at writing, my friend. 😉

      • falalalynx says:

        Oh no Honey. I’m not a writer. I’m a Dreamer. If you want me to shut up I will. I was just having some fun. grin btw they aren’t Hells Angels they are Rolling Warriors, X military who enjoy motorcycles. lol
        xoxoxoxo Peace, Falala

      • No! By all means, don’t shut up!!! I was just saying that you have a creative mind and you might want to try your hand at it, that’s all.

  12. jjgoldmann says:

    Mafia Etiquette 101 and needing to watch gangster films. 🙂 I wonder if he ever will open that bottle of whiskey? I mean that has to be hard to come by after all. I think we all will be happy the day they take down Myrick. I’m curious if the bastard has been hiding right under noses or not?

    Those cars were gorgeous and I’m glad that they all got the one they wanted but the best was living the car that would have been Freemans to his son. Loved that one. I feel so sorry for poor Carrick, he really didn’t have a whole lot of time with his father and so wanted more and he misses him so much. Christian being there for him while he breaks down crying is good for both of them. Wow Christian really did some heavy thinking there when explaining how tired he was. It must be exhausting for him, it was just reading it.

    I’m glad that Ana is taking charge and is going to start journaling again and talking instead of bottling everything up. Love that Christian so wants to help in that process and hopefully she lets him.

    Christian loved how her office turned out at the Crossings to the point he wants Ana to redo his office at GEH. WOW Love how Ana told him he still has to let her know his dislikes before she touches that office.

    Marilyn is back and she still hasn’t check her pregnancy status! At least she apologized to Ana because yes, she was being a bitch. Plus, she saw that Ana won’t totally fall apart without her. Job security be damned. 🙂

  13. Connie gould says:

    Congratulations goddess on your 5 year anniversary and thank you for sharing your wonderful talent and sorry with us I can’t wait for the next great chapter I hope you never stop writing this story I love it thanks again for another wonderful chapter

  14. 1962 says:

    Beautiful chapter It just seems like yesterday that we left FB and continued your fantastic story here! Congratulations Sweetie!

  15. LisaKabb says:

    As always fantastic. You have no idea the delight I feel each week as I read a new installment as it were. Your characters are so rich and real. Simply fantastic and enjoyable.

  16. S. Hodgson says:

    Loved it!!! Lots of steps forward which is good.

  17. Lori says:

    I love how they shared the cars and gave the T-bird to Burtie, perfect! Very nice to see a quiet family day with the twins after all the craziness.
    It’s been a wonderful 5 years, thank you so much. Your stories have brought me so much enjoyment!

  18. Camille Henley says:

    Thanks Goddess for another amazing chapter. More importantly congratulations five years. Bronze you have given us so much and I personally need to say thank you for all that you have given us. I also agree that sometimes I need your story just to get away from real life. Good luck on publishing. We all know that you have an amazing gifts that most of us have witnessed for five years….I think Ana and Christian like always will find their way back to each other and they will be AnaChrist again..

  19. valentinesgenie says:

    As always your work is the best another amazing chapter see you next time take care…

  20. Fingdelicious says:

    Congrats on 5 years on WP, Bronzie. You have a true gift and we’re very lucky you choose to share it with us.

    On another note, OMG, I love that TBird!! Not sure what that means about needing to compensate for something, but I wouldn’t even care. Gimme!!!

    I remember back in the day my grandpa had an eggplant TBird with white leather seats, convertible. That was an awesome car. We loved riding around with him in it, and making him put the top up and down. My parents always had boring sedans, so that car was the coolest to us.

  21. Carol Forbes says:

    Hey
    How do I get the other chapters to raising grey, this story is absolutely fabulous, awesome and I need more please.
    Thanks Caz

  22. Carol Forbes says:

    Oops my bad, Happy 5 years Anniversary BG.
    Love All Your Stories xx

  23. Junebride says:

    Falala, just a note: You are too much!!! (big grin). Always enjoy your comments. Love ya! Keep them coming!!

    Goddess, being here in Goddessland is a lifesaver for me. Once again, thank you for all you do; never stop writing, please.
    XXX

    • falalalynx says:

      You! It was you. I made yet another mistake. grin I’m good at that. But I do always try and own up to it. It was you and not JJgoldman who said you would ‘drive’ our Goddess crazy. So I have to give you the credit for all the car insanity. I read it and away my mind went. giggle on a road trip. lol I want to make our Goddess laugh. And making anyone else is my bonus. I think I might have stepped over the line this week. But it was a topic that just lent itself to my insanity.

      Oh hey Goddess I figured out a way to get the Coast Guard involved in my craziness. lol They are responsible for patrolling all the waterways and so ‘of course’ they will be involved with the Grey Navy regatta. I didn’t want to leave any branch of the armed services out. Must embrace all the branches. grin Someone has to make sure everyone is wearing there floaties. giggle

      I feel the same way Junebride about this place. I love it here. I have some of the best conversations with the people. The Goddess draws the best of the best as her audience. Did I just compliment myself? Wait, sigh oh well. grin I keep hoping our Goddess will write me into the story but so far no go. giggle

      Lovely to see you again.

      Peace, Falala

  24. falalalynx says:

    Good morning Lovelies,

    I was sitting here this morning watching it rain and listening to the weather channel peeps doing there reports from NC as hurricane Florence batters them all about and rereading the chapter. grin Nothing like a good reread imo. And I was caught by the section where Ana is talking about new positions at Helping Hands and getting rid of the old cleaning crew and perhaps hiring a full time handyman. grin And Jimmy popped into my head. Would he be a good fit for the position of handyman? He needs more money. He’s healthy again right? He works construction doesn’t he? You can never find more loyal and dedicated employees than the ones you have shown compassion for. And Christian has a way of bringing people under his wing. How is this little family doing btw? I remember how I cried my heart out when she fled to Helping Hands with little Jimmy wrapped in a towel. Talk about dramatic, some of your finest work Goddess. hhmmm This rain seems to be making just a bit melancholy. I’m worrying about imaginary babies. weak smile

    I hope you aren’t working yourself to hard my Goddess. I miss you but I want you healthy more importantly. Would love a heads up from you just letting us know you are okay just busy. A quick one liner would suffice. I can be patient. Well I can try and be patient. grin Just thinking about you. xoxoxo

    Peace, Falala

  25. irene brown says:

    Loving the stories cant wait for next chapter keep up the great writin

  26. Diana says:

    Hey Goddess! Is everything ok with you? I am desperate here waiting for the next chapter and i just want to make sure you are fine before doing this….
    Pleaseeeee!!!! (Begging on my knees) i think i die a little whenever i open the site and see no updates… 😩

  27. falalalynx says:

    I regret to inform you that Falala has been placed in a medically induced coma due to her Goddess withdrawls. She went under singing. “I can’t liveeeee, if living is without you. Can’t live. Can’t live anymore.” We’ll have updates when they become available.

  28. Mariposa says:

    Thanks for the entertainment as always Lynn. I am glad that they were able to talk about her PTSD and how to deal with it. I can’t wait for Harmony to get some closure. I wonder if Tina will press charges against Roger for embezzling her money.

  29. salleri2000 says:

    Damn it’s really been five years!?!

  30. Debbie says:

    Wow, BG. 5 yrs. I think I ‘ve been with you almost 3 of those. I read about a year before I started commenting on your story at WordPress. Congratulations on a great run. 👏👏 You have a wonderful future ahead. 📚 Wishing you all things great, healthy and prosperous.🔮 Look out E.L.J. Competition here.
    Fantastic chapter, by the way. On to the next.
    🍃🍁🌞

  31. Waleska says:

    Ellos se repartieron los autos, pero creí entender que eran la herencia de Rick de parte del papá.

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