Raising Grey: Chapter 70—The Women

Hello my friends,

One of my readers and Facebook friends Charlette Bishop has lost her son and is unable to properly lay him to rest. As many of us are parents, I’m certain that we can empathize with the unimaginable pain of possibly losing a child. Couple that with the distress of being unable to provide that child with a proper burial, and the situation becomes utterly unthinkable. I’m asking anyone who can to please follow the red link below and donate to the family’s efforts to bury their loved one. There’s strength in numbers, y’all, and I can guarantee you that ANY AMOUNT will be appreciated. Please help if you can.

Help A Family Bury A Beloved Son

I know every week, it seems like it’s something else, but you can’t time when these things are going to happen. Please, PLEASE help if you can. Thank you in advance.

GOLDEN—I’m getting a lot of inquiries about her. I haven’t abandoned the story, but I have to follow the Muse. I’ve been battling (and I do mean BATTLING) with a particular storyline for Raising and if I break off of it, I’m going to lose it. 

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 70—The Women

ANASTASIA

“All the Grey women have gone on shopping sprees for our weddings,” Mia begins.

“I didn’t!” Val protests.

“Well, then, we rectify that now—for you and for Luma,” Mia protests.

“But I don’t need anything, child,” Luma says sweetly. “Herman gives me everything I need and more. I don’t even have to work if I don’t want to.”

“There’s not one little thing that you can think of that you may want for yourself?” I ask. “That’s the whole idea of the Black Friday shopping spree. I can almost guarantee that none of us actually needs anything. I’ll probably be loaded down with baby gear—since Harry is quickly introducing my son to the joys of walking. Val, I know you’re going to be on the lookout for cute maternity clothes and stuff for the baby’s room. This is the time to not think about prices and do the impulse shopping thing. Hell, I hate shopping, but I look forward to this every year.”

“Don’t worry, Luma,” Grace says, hooking arms with her. “I’ll show you how it’s done.”

By the time we’re getting ready to head to Miana’s, Luma has shed her timidity of shopping and has purchased some beautiful new pieces. She admits that she could use a color and trim but won’t go overboard at the salon. As usual, Sophie sticks close to me in this setting, but doesn’t say too much. I guess it’s up to me.

“So,” I say as we’re getting our pedicures. “Thanksgiving.” She twists her lips.

“Yeah—food, fun, family, yippee,” she says with little enthusiasm.

“You’re beginning to sound like a surly teenager,” I say, raising my brow. She sighs.

“Usually, it’s just me and Mags, talking about… whatever, and Mariah and Celida and let’s face it. They’ve been through some crappy stuff losing their mom and their dad, but they’re basically the same person and they’re both… so young. At first, hanging around them was kinda fun. Now, it’s more like babysitting.” She looks down at her toes as the technician trims her nails.

“And Marlow?” I ask. She twists her lips again but doesn’t make eye-contact with me.

“What about him?” she says, trying to be impassive.

“He was pretty upset when he left yesterday,” I inform her.

“Hmmm,” she says, unmoved.

“Why do you think that was?”

“Because his girlfriend was mad,” she informs me matter-of-factly.

“So, what was her problem?” I ask.

“She can’t take a joke, I guess,” Sophie mumbles.

“Is that what happened?” I press. “You were joking?” She looks up at me and her expression says that she’s aware that I already know what happened.

“I wasn’t talking about her,” Sophie fibs. “Maggie doesn’t like her—I don’t know why. She’s says Britney’s a phony and that she’s anorexic because she so skinny.” I nod.

“I see. So… you didn’t say anything about Britney needing a gravy sandwich.” Sophie twists her lips and looks back down at her toes.

“That’s what I thought,” I say.

“That’s not what I said,” she mumbles.

“Well, what did you say?”

“I said she should have some more gravy. That’s all,” she says petulantly.

“And of course, that had nothing to do with her being skinny, right?”

Maggie said she was skinny, not me!” she defends.

“But did the gravy suggestion follow Maggie’s comment?” I accuse, and my little friend is quiet again. I’m a shrink, kid. Don’t try to pull anything past me.

“Listen, Sophie, I’m not really sure what the issue is with you and Marlow’s… dates, but this sparring really needs to stop. It’s only going to piss him off, and it’s only going to make him—and you—feel uncomfortable at family gatherings. Since we consider you both part of our family, that would certainly be a less-than-ideal development. From what I gather, what you said about Britney hurt her. Now, I know that twit Maya was a real piece of work, but did Britney do anything to bring that on?” She twists her lips again. She twists her lips a lot. I think that’s her tell.

“No,” she admits, looking back at her toes again.

“Listen,” I say turning to her, “you know that if anybody does anything unfair to you or treats you badly, I’ve got your back. But I can’t defend you when you’re deliberately mean to people for no reason. You wouldn’t want anyone to treat you that way, would you?” She nervously starts to twitch and fiddle her fingers. “Is something going on? Do you want to talk?”

She raises beseeching eyes to me as if she’s begging me to understand how she’s feeling and just as I swear she’s about to open up and talk to me, Mia and Val gleefully burst into the room to get their pedicures. She looks at them and clams up again, shaking her head that she has nothing to say.

And the moment is lost.

I reach over and take her hand, causing her to bring her eyes to mine again.

“Anytime, Sophia,” I promise her. “You can talk to me about anything, anytime.” She drops her eyes and nods again, but says nothing else. How long is this poor girl going to carry this torch and bear this burden by herself? She either needs to say something about it or get over it and move on.

When we arrive at Grey Manor after the shopping and the primping, Marlow’s car is visibly one of the vehicles in the circular drive and Sophie suddenly has the look that she would rather be anywhere but here. She looks like a caged rabbit, like if I open the door and let her out, she’s going to run into the woods and disappear.

“Chuck, Keri, can you take Minnie inside and start unloading the bags? I need to speak to Sophie.”

Chuck looks at me for an instant, then nods and exits the car. Keri quickly leans into the back where Sophie and I are sitting and removes Minnie from her car seat, leaving me and Sophie alone in the car.

“Okay, Sophie, the last time you looked that green was at Mia’s reception. Shortly thereafter, you had one of the guards take you home. There’s nowhere to run. What’s going on?”

She gives me that same look again and I’m just waiting for someone to come knocking on the window or throw the car door open to ruin the moment once again. Thank God no one does.

“You have to swear to me that you’ll never tell anybody—nobody, ever—or I’ll never speak to you again!” she vows.

“I’ll never tell anybody anything that you tell me unless I feel like you’re in danger,” I promise. She sighs and looks down at her lap.

“I like Marlow,” she says, her voice small, “a lot. I know he doesn’t like me like that. I know I don’t stand a chance. I know I’m too young. I know this will never happen, but it doesn’t make me stop liking him. I look forward to family gatherings and holidays because I’ll get to see him—and then he shows up with some twit or some scarecrow. Last year at Thanksgiving, we had a great time! We talked, and he didn’t make me feel like a kid. We could always talk. At Christmas, and New Year’s… and then at Aunt Val and Uncle Elliot’s wedding, he danced with me. It was…” She trails off, looking straight ahead out the windshield. “… Really nice. And then, the girls started coming around and… he stopped talking to me.”

Her gaze drops back to her lap as she tries to find her words.

“It was just like one day, I didn’t exist anymore,” she says, her voice cracking. “He used to ask me about school and talk to me about what he wanted to do, where he wanted to go to college. Now, he doesn’t even speak to me when he comes into the room! I’m not stupid! He’ll be graduating soon and I’m not even in high school yet. He’s way out of my league. Geez, I don’t even have a league, but did he have to start treating me like I’m nobody? Like he doesn’t even know I’m alive? What does it matter what I say about his scarecrow, vomit-dress-wearing girlfriends if he doesn’t even know that I’m alive?” she wails.

She buries her face in her hands and begins to sob. I put my arms around her and let her cry. I can’t offer her any comfort. She’s right. Crushes are painful, and she’s got a crush on someone that she can’t have. They might as well be on two different planets for the chance that she has to be with him—at all. It’s good that she understands that, but it’s bad, too. There’s no hope for them, yet she has to see him at every. Family. Outing. And he’s not going to stop bringing his girlfriends around. Now is not the time for me to tell her to buck up and get over it. It’s just going to make it worse, so I just let her cry.

Her crying doesn’t subside, and she eventually lays in my lap and continues to weep. After she’s been there for a few moments, Marlow comes out of the house. He looks left to right as if he’s looking for someone, then he quickly strides to his car. I realize that Sophie and I are the only ones who haven’t come into the house, and he’s looking for us… or at least he’s looking to avoid us.

Don’t worry, Marlow, the coast is clear. She doesn’t want to see you right now any more than you want to see her.

After belting himself into the seat, he starts the car and drives off, unknowingly leaving Sophie in a puddle of her own tears.

*-*

I didn’t realize that I had completely skipped my session with Ace until Christian asked me about it at brunch the next day. I don’t even know if Ace expected me to keep a session on Black Friday. Nonetheless, I didn’t hear from him and he didn’t hear from me, so…

It’s time for the Greater Seattle Adopt-A-Family Reunion and I’m ready to see the families that we’ve helped throughout the years. Granted, Helping Hands isn’t the only charity that takes part in this occasion, but I’m still anxious to see the families that we’ve helped thus far. Last year, I was elegant in maternity green, but this year, I’m fierce in an elegant black halter gown with a beaded back and a pair of crystal-encrusted Circonvolu Strass Christian Louboutin stiletto strappy sandals. So that I don’t freeze my ass off, but I’m still able to showcase my gown, I’m wearing a burgundy custom-made full-length maxi coat that only buttons to the waist then flares out like a cape.

The rest of the ladies are equally elegant in their jewel-toned gowns and fancy footwear—Mia in rich magenta, Val and Mandy in brilliant blues, Luma in yellow topaz, and Grace in a deep, cheery pink. Our gentlemen all accompany us in sleek Brioni, Tom Ford, and Cesare Paciotti. Even my dad dons Armani for the occasion.

The initial portion of the evening has been changed from the usual cocktail hour to a more family-friendly meet-and-greet as some of the older children of the adopted families were invited to join us tonight. This, of course, means that Marlow is in attendance. I don’t know why I was fretting him bringing a date with him, but my concerns are unfounded as he accompanies his mother instead.

I can’t help but stare in wonder at the changes I see in them both since that day that we met. He was so angry, and she was so… small. She’s still a petite woman, of course, especially next to her very tall son, but back then, she was… emotionally miniscule. Her abusive husband had beaten all the life and energy out of her, and she was just here. Today, she looks vibrant and beautiful, refreshed. She’s telling me about her new beau, Zack—well, maybe not so new, she’s been seeing him for a few months now, but she won’t allow anything to become too serious too quickly. That’s the reason we haven’t met him yet.

We talk for a moment about Maggie and Marlow and the strides they’ve made in the last two years. She mentions that Maggie sometimes asks what happened to her father. She’s gotten older and understands the world a little better, but still doesn’t know the whole story. Marcia just glosses over it when the topic arises.

“It may be time to tell her the truth,” I counsel Marcia. “She’s old enough to understand and whatever hypotheses she formulates, you want them to be based on facts.”

I shouldn’t be surprised that I have to don the Dr. Steele-Grey hat tonight. I don’t mind, though. The families have all come a long way.

We’re seated for dinner and we enjoy a delicious rack of lamb with trimmings while we congregate and share stories. As usual, a slideshow comprised of pictures of the families and various happenings with the supporting charities follows dinner, I get a kick out of hearing the various exclamations of recognition when people see their family or their organization on the screen. When the slideshow is over, I begin to make my way around the room to do the necessary networking required to make connections and keep the donations rolling in. While I’m mingling, I scan the room hoping to see the one person that I haven’t talked to in eons.

“Thelma!” I say once I finally spot her. She’s wearing a beautiful evening gown, silver with a hint of blue, lace back and crisscross scooped front with a special extra feature.

“I see congratulations are in order,” I add, taking a seat next to her once we greet one another. “When are you due?”

“This little bundle is due in March,” she says, rubbing her belly, “but if he’s anything like little Jimmy, he’ll be here by Valentine’s Day.”

“Couldn’t wait to meet Mommy and Daddy, huh?” I ask. Thelma smiles.

“No,” she laughs. “He was in quite the hurry.”

“How are things going?” I ask.

“Oh, Ana,” she says. “Things couldn’t be better. Jimmy fought to shake that infection at first, but he never took time off—that’s why it wouldn’t leave completely. I fussed a little, but you know my Jimmy… he’s hard-headed. Once he was finally well, though, he put some healthy weight back on, and he was feeling like himself again and…” She points at her stomach with both index fingers and smiles.

“I can’t remember a time we’ve been happier except when we first got married. His bosses saw how serious he is about his job and how well he works, and they made him a supervisor—a raise, better benefits… I’m able to put money away for a rainy day now. It’s been so wonderful. I’ve been meaning to call you and catch you up on things, but it’s kind of hard to do these days,” she laughs.

“I can imagine,” I say.

“It was wonderful to get the invite to the gala,” she says. “I couldn’t wait to see you and tell you turned our lives around. I can’t begin to thank you…”

“Ana!”

I’m caught off guard by a man’s voice exclaiming my name. I turn around and see a very stocky James coming towards us carrying two large glasses of what looks like orange juice.

“James, hi,” I say, rising from my seat. He places the glasses on the table.

“Oh, I was so hoping I would see you,” he says wrapping me in a warm embrace.

“I’m glad to see you, too, James,” I say, returning his embrace.

“Please, call me Jimmy,” he says, releasing me with a smile. “Bella only calls me James when she’s mad at me.” I raise my brow.

“I’m Bella,” Thelma says, raising her hand, and I nod. Jimmy turns to his wife.

“Isn’t she glorious?” he says, looking lovingly at Thelma before kneeling down to her.

“Stop it, now,” she says, playfully swatting his shoulder. He gently kisses her cheek and takes her hand.

“Do you need anything else?” he asks. “Are your feet okay?”

“My feet are fine, Jimmy,” she says cupping his cheek. “And you can have one glass of champagne if you want…”

“Oh, no,” he says. “I’m not taking any chances. It’s orange juice for us both tonight. I have to get my packages home safe and sound.” He smiles at her before turning to me. “Is Christian here?”

“Right behind you.” I turn to see Christian approaching us with a half-smile. “I saw some man wrapped around my wife and figured I better come and investigate.” Jimmy laughs heartily as he stands.

“Well, you have no worries here,” Jimmy says giving Christian’s hand a firm shake. “I only have eyes for that beauty right there,” he adds, gesturing to his wife.

“How have you been, man?” Christian asks. “Things been okay?”

“More than okay,” Jimmy emphasizes. “I can’t begin to thank you for everything you’ve done for us. You saved my life, man.”

“Think nothing of it,” Christian says. “It was the right thing to do.”

“No, really,” he says, gesturing for Christian to take a seat. Christian holds my chair out and I sit while James continues to make his point as both gentlemen take their seat.

“I was living in a death trap. I foolishly had my family there. I don’t know what would have happened if you two hadn’t come along. Ana gave my family a safe place to be while I was going through my insanity—and Christian, what you did for me…” His voice cracks a bit while he’s trying to speak. “Just… thank you, man… thank you the whole world.” Jimmy quickly wipes away a tear.

“You’re thanking me by living a good life and taking care of your family,” Christian encourages, “which I see is growing! Congratulations.”

“Thank you,” Thelma says with her full-beam glowing pregnancy smile. Jimmy’s right—she really is beautiful. She wears maternity quite well. As Christian and Jimmy discuss due dates and daddy duty, I catch Val’s attention in the crowd and gesture for her to join us.

“I miss champagne,” she says playfully as she comes over to the table.

“Thelma, this is my sister, Valerie,” I introduce. Thelma takes her hand.

“It’s nice to meet you,” Thelma greets. “How did I not know that you had a sister?”

“Well, we’re not blood sisters,” Val says, “we’re sisters-in-love, in a lot of ways. We’ve been friends for years and we happen to marry brothers.”

“Well, sisters-in-love are the best kind,” Thelma says. “Please join us…”

Very soon, the women are chatting away about babies and marriage and what have you. Val shares her experience with Meg while Thelma talks about how we met and how our family helped her family. After a long conversation, Christian, Val, and I excuse ourselves and head back to our table.

“I’m going to desert you guys for a moment,” Val says. “Nature calls.”

“By all means,” I say as Christian and I head back to our table.

“Well that’s a success story if I ever heard one,” Christian says pushing in my chair for me.

“I’ll say. I barely recognized Thelma. She looks so healthy and happy. She was barely holding on when I last saw her. She was doing better, but you could tell that being without Jimmy was taking its toll on her.”

“I kinda get it,” he says. “Think about how well we did when we were apart.” I can only assume that he’s talking about me trying to take a nosedive off a cliff when he went to Madrid and him turning into Death when I went to Montana.

“Yeah, not the best times of our lives,” I say, trying to brush away the memories. I glad to hear a soft voice over my shoulder at just that moment.

“Ana, I’m sorry, I don’t mean to intrude… may I please speak to you for a moment?” Addie comes over to our table. She’s frowning, but not angry. Her face is… troubled.

“Sure, Addie. Do you want to go somewhere more private?” Addie seems rudderless. Christian stands and pulls a chair out for her.

“Please, Adelaide, sit,” he gestures. “I’ll go and refresh my drink.” Adelaide looks at him and nods before taking the seat he’s holding for her. He touches my shoulder gently and heads to the bar.

“What’s wrong, Addie?” I ask. “Are you okay?” She clears her throat.

“The Center,” she says. “It seems to be doing very well.”

“It is,” I say cautiously. “Once we got over our last speedbump for accreditation, things began to move very quickly. We can barely keep up.” She nods.

“I barely recognize the place from the pictures,” she says. “Grace had been working on it for so long. I’m ashamed to say I hadn’t taken much interest in it as a project until you brought it to my attention.”

Oh, hell. Is she about to tell me that she wants to become involved in Helping Hands? I can’t turn her down, but…

“Unless it’s true what they say and you’ve found my granddaughter’s physical twin, is it safe to assume that the woman in the apron that looked like her was indeed Courtney?”

I’m caught off guard by the question. I thought I took special care not to use Courtney in any of the pictures to protect her anonymity from her grandparents.

“Yes, Addie… it’s Courtney,” I confess.

“I see. How long has she been here?” she asks.

“She never left,” I inform her. Addie nods and twists her lips.

“So much for teaching her a lesson,” she laments. I shake my head.

“Oh, Addie,” I say, “you have no idea. Courtney learned that lesson and more.” I turn towards her in my seat. “She made me swear not to tell you that she was still here. She feels like she’s hurt you and Fred enough and your words cut her to the quick.” Addie raises her head and her gaze meets mine.

“Am I supposed to feel guilty about what I said… after how she treated me?” she asks, appalled. I shake my head.

“You had every right to say what you were feeling after what you had been put through,” I reply, neither condoning or condemning her choice of words. “I’m only stating that they had the desired effect. Courtney feels that you two are better off without each other because of the way she treated you and because of your words to her. She was at Mia’s wedding reception.” Addie’s eyes widen.

“Mia’s…” Her words trail off. “They’re friends again?”

“I wouldn’t go that far,” I admit, “but they’re cordial enough where Mia was okay for her to come to the wedding. It didn’t come easily.”

“I can bet,” Addie says. I catch her meaning, but I don’t bother trying to smooth it over. Apparently, Courtney was right. That bridge is too badly burned for them to walk back across it.

“I discovered her in a homeless shelter right before I had the twins,” I tell her. “She had asked me for help, but I turned her down. Like you, I felt she was a lost cause. Our security had been keeping an eye on her because she threatened me, and they informed me that she was at the shelter. I found her going through the classifieds looking for a job.

“Grace put her up at the shelter at Helping Hands and gave her a part-time job there. She moved to subsidized housing and she lived there for quite some time—in a terrible part of town—but she was grateful as she said anything was better than going back to Putchatoowak or whatever that place is called.” Addie turns her head to me, and I just keep talking.

“She enrolled in school.” That piques her attention. “I got her a laptop as she was in no position to buy one herself. However, she took the bus to and from school and got back to that horrible little apartment after dark. She said that she wasn’t afraid because the neighborhood guys looked out for her, but she was a young girl living alone going to and from school and work leaving in the early morning and returning after dark. I couldn’t in good conscience leave her in that position.

“I offered her my condo. She refused. I convinced her that it was an investment and begged her to take it. The place where she was living was roach-infested and unsafe. It was deplorable. We worked out rent that she could afford and she moved in, a condition of her stay being that she get good grades, she continues to work with Helping Hands, and she becomes an asset to us upon graduation.”

What is she studying?” Addie asks in disbelief.

“Social work.” She frowns.

“You’re kidding.” I shake my head.

“I’m not,” I tell her. “She wants to work with children. More than one abused or troubled teenager has come through the Center and Courtney has brought them out of their shell or made them feel safe. That’s what made her choose social work. You know that she had no skills and no direction before. Now she does.

“I’ve asked her several times to allow me to contact you and tell you about the change in her life—in her attitude and her outlook. She refused. She begged me not to tell you. She spotted you at Mia’s reception and made a hasty retreat before you spotted her.”

“No, she didn’t,” Addie says, now looking at the table. She didn’t what?

“She didn’t get away before I saw her,” Addie says as if I had verbalized my question. “I did see her. She was… beautiful… and I didn’t recognize her. I assumed that my eyes were playing tricks on me, not only because I had sent her back to Chuktapaw nearly a year ago, but also because I thought there was no way in hell that Mia would allow her to come to the wedding. So, I blew it off. I figured if I didn’t hear from her after what happened this summer, I wouldn’t hear from her at all.” I frown.

“What happened?” I ask. Addie raises her eyes to mine.

“Her mother died,” she says. “I was listed as next of kin and when they contacted me, I didn’t even ask about Courtney. Her father had disappeared years before apparently and nobody was there to claim the body. I had her cremated and interred in the family tomb. There was nothing much else to do.”

Shit. Courtney’s mother is dead. I’m sure she doesn’t know. Should I tell her… or just let sleeping dogs lie? Jesus, what a conundrum.

“Then, when I saw her in the picture—smiling and wearing an apron… and serving fruit bowls to children…” She trails off again.

“Well, she’s here,” I say, crossing my legs. “She’s living in my condo, she attends Seattle Central and she’s at Helping Hands every day.” Addie raises a brow at me.

“Are you trying to arrange a meeting?” she asks. I sigh. I can’t believe I’m about to say this.

“No, Adelaide. I’m trying to avoid one.” Her eyes widen.

“How is telling me where she’s going to be every second of the day considered a diversion tactic from a meeting?”

“Because the way that I’m understanding what you’re saying and how you’re feeling, if anything happened to Courtney, assuming you could get to her, you’d cremate her, inter her remains in the family tomb, call it a day and forget she ever existed—assuming you don’t opt to donate her body to science for spare parts.”

Addie glares at me. Yes, Adelaide, she told me what you said.

“You’re our friend,” I continue. “Your daughter died this summer and there was no funeral—no mourning of the loss of your child that we knew of. We didn’t get the chance to comfort you, to give you condolences… you sent your respects when Burton Grey died, and we don’t even know your daughter’s name. Either you’re the coldest woman in existence—and I don’t believe that for a second—or this candle has been burned from both ends and is completely destroyed.

“I know beyond the shadow of a doubt that Courtney is a changed person. I’ve watched the transformation myself for an entire year. She has a meaningful relationship—someone in her life who loves her very much. She’s got direction, drive, determination, but her wicks have disintegrated, too. She turned into a stuttering mess when she saw you at the reception and she got out of there as quickly as she could. She acknowledges what she did to you and how she treated you and for that reason, she doesn’t want to trouble you anymore, but she’s hurt, too.

“You wanted to hurt her, and you did,” I continue. “You wanted your words to cause her pain, and it worked. That knife cut through the bone. Nobody’s putting you in judgement because you were responding to an equally deep cut, if not a deeper one. But you can’t get offended because someone acknowledges the fact that what you said hurt her. It’s what you wanted, and you succeeded. Judging by how you feel about your daughter’s death and the fact that her passing gave you no concern for her daughter shows me that your pain and wounds are beyond the point of healing to the degree that you couldn’t even have a constructive conversation with Courtney.

“On the other side of that coin, Courtney’s in some place of martyrdom where she feels she needs to pay penance for what she’s done… not just to you, to everybody she’s ever hurt. In the process, she’s dealing with the gaping wound that your words left. So, the thought of even seeing you causes her anguish let alone speaking to you, not only because of what she did to you, but also because of what you said to her. To that end, it would be totally counterproductive on both ends for you two to see each other.

“If there are arrangements that need to be made in case of Courtney’s demise, let me know what you would like to do, and I’ll be the liaison to tell you that she has passed away should something happen to her. I won’t say anything about her mother unless she specifically asks. I think it’s better that she doesn’t know since there’s nothing that she can do about it.”

Addie shivers a bit, looking down at her frail, wrinkled hands.

“Thank you for being honest with me, Ana,” she says, her voice shaking, “though I wish you had told me this sooner.”

“I couldn’t,” I tell her. “I was sworn to secrecy, but I can’t avoid you seeing her on the screen. I wish I had been more careful about the pictures that we sent to the Greater Seatt…” Who sent the pictures? Who okayed pictures of Courtney? I wouldn’t have done that.

“Ana?” Addie says, bringing me back from my musings. I shake my head.

“I’m sorry,” she says. “I just couldn’t tell you. She asked me not to and I had to respect her wishes. Had you not seen her in the presentation, she would still be somebody you thought you saw at Mia’s reception.” She nods.

“I’m going to find Fred,” she says. “I think I’d like to go home, now.” Without another word, she rises from her seat and walks off in the direction she came. I pop my neck like I’ve just finished a prize fight.

“Well, she didn’t look happy.” Christian is back by my side the moment Addie leaves.

“Where’s Grace?” I snap, and he immediately jumps back.

“Um, I don’t know,” he says a bit defensively. I begin to scan the room for her, and I see her in a conversation with some other guests. Ignoring my husband, I rise from my chair and stride over to her.

“I’m sorry, I don’t mean to interrupt,” I interject. “Grace, can I speak to you for a minute?”

“Of course, dear,” she says. “Excuse me, ladies.” I walk out into the hallway, not sure if Grace is following me. When I turn around, Christian and Grace are bringing up my rear.

“Ana, what is it?” she asks.

“Grace, I didn’t okay the pictures for the slideshow. Did you?”

“Yes,” she says, “I picked them all.”

“Including the one with Courtney in it?” I ask. She straightens her stance.

“Yes,” she says unapologetically.

“Knowing that Fred and Addie would be here?” Realization dawns on Christian’s face.

“Yes,” she replies finitely.

“Why would you do that?” I ask. “She has feverishly asked that we don’t tell her grandparents that she’s still here.”

“Because this is her family,” she says firmly. “Family needs to stick together, and you never know when you’re going to lose someone.”

“That’s not your place, Grace,” I say flustered. “You can’t push somebody’s hand until they’re ready!”

“And what if they’re never ready?” she retorts. “One of them will be looking down in a casket at the other and have nothing but regrets!”

“Then they’re never ready!” I say louder than I intended. “God, Grace, you may have caused more harm than good!”

“Then I’ll take that responsibility!” she snaps. “That girl is out on a limb doing everything she can to make something of herself and her life and she’s estranged from the only family that means anything to her. Her mother certainly doesn’t care…”

“Her mother’s dead,” I deadpan. Grace freezes.

“What?” she says.

“Addie’s daughter died this summer. I don’t even know what killed her. Addie never said a word. She retrieved the body, cremated it, interred it in the family tomb, and washed her hands. Courtney’s transformation is balancing on the head of a pin at any moment. I don’t have to tell you that—you’ve seen it. Yet, you think it’s a good idea to shove reconciliation down their throats that neither of them is ready for and probably don’t want because you feel like they should be speaking. How much sense does that make to you, Grace?” She’s struggling a bit for her words.

“You’ve proven my point,” she says. “She hasn’t seen her daughter in many years and when she does, she’s dead. She could have seen her before this, made amends before it was too late.”

“She hadn’t seen her daughter in years and when she did retrieve her body, she felt nothing,” I retort. “I would most likely do the same thing with my mother right now. She didn’t want to make amends! Unfortunately, Grace, some hurts don’t heal. So, while you’re trying to force a meeting that you think should happen, you might want to leave the psychoanalysis to the professionals!”

Grace gasps as I march away, and I hear Christian’s scolding tone behind me. I don’t care. She was wrong and it’s that simple. I head back into the ballroom and straight for the bar. I get a full glass of Cabernet Sauvignon. I can’t drink any hard liquor since I’m still here representing Helping Hands.

“Anastasia!” Christian hisses quietly, joining me at the bar. “That was totally unnecessary! You had no right to speak to my mother that way!”

“That’s where you’re wrong, Christian,” I say, taking my cabernet and moving away from the bar. “I didn’t speak to your mother that way. I spoke to a coworker—the director of Helping Hands—who used a charity function with our organization’s name on it to engineer a possible reunion that had nothing to do with her! She used her position to meddle in someone else’s affairs, a situation directly related to the Center no less. So, no, I wasn’t yelling at your mother and this has nothing to do with you!”

Christian’s face becomes stone and he pulls up to his full height.

“Very well, then,” he says. “The director of Helping Hands asked me to tell you that you can represent the Center tonight as she’s going home before she has one of her episodes.”

“Hmph,” I say, sipping my wine. “Her episodes. Didn’t her doctor warn us about her conveniently-placed episodes?”

Christian’s eyes become a metallic gray and he looks like he’s going to explode.

“Conveniently-placed or not,” he nearly hisses, “you yelled at my mother and she’s going home. Now, if you’ll excuse me…” He turns around and strolls coolly away from me as if we were just talking about the weather.

And that’s the last thing he says to me all night. It’s a fucking repeat of Val’s housewarming.

I try to keep up appearances, that London is not burning in the Grey camp, but everyone in our family can clearly see that Grace and Carrick have left and that Christian is avoiding me. Just when I’m sure that I’ve had just about enough of Christian hobnobbing with everyone else at the affair but me, I realize that he’s not quite finished making me feel shitty.

“You yelled at Mom?”

I turn around and find Elliot confronting me about mine and Grace’s altercation. I know that my mouth is hanging open, but I have no idea what my face is saying, because Elliot’s expression is clearly saying, “Oh, shit, what the fuck did I just do?”

I quickly scan the room for my husband. When I see him, he makes eye-contact with me almost immediately, then turns away and continues his conversation.

Welp, that’s enough for me.

I grab my clutch and wordlessly walk away from my brother-in-law. I retrieve my coat from the coat check and go out front to one of the waiting taxis.

Jesus, that’ll add fuel to the fire.

I say a prayer for my safety and get into one of the taxis, giving the driver my address and promising a huge tip if he gets me there quickly and in one piece.

He does.

“Mrs. Grey!” the guard says when I get to the gate. “What… where’s your detail?”

“Please open the gate,” I say, emotionally exhausted. The cabbie drops me at the portico, and I give him a hundred-dollar bill.

“Thank you, ma’am!” he says, awestruck.

“Thank you for getting me home safely,” I tell him. “You have a good night.”

When I walk into the grand entry, Windsor is rushing over to me. He has a puzzled look in his eye, no doubt wondering where everyone else is.

“Windsor, do you ever sleep?” I ask handing him my coat. He smiles.

“Yes, ma’am, I do.” I just nod and climb the spiral staircase. I look at my bedroom door, then I look at the nursery door. I opt for the nursery. I check on my children, and Mikey is sound asleep with his two middle fingers in his mouth. I check on Minnie and she’s silently looking up at me. No fussing, no fidgeting, just looking at me.

“Were you waiting up for me, Minnie Mouse?” I say to her sweet little face. I take her out of the crib and lay her on my shoulder, gently patting her back. She’s bringing me comfort, not judging me for how I spoke to her grandmother or for being Mrs. Grey or not saying something I should have or…

I sit there silently for a long time with my daughter, drawing on her unconditional love to give me some strength. It seems like I have to be strong for a lot of people, and lately I don’t have time for myself anymore. That can actually be a good thing, since it means that I don’t focus on my PTSD so much. I twist my lips and think about how I feel the need to journal right now. Then I remember Jason’s advice:

Talk to anyone who will listen.

Minnie will listen. She may not be able to respond or give me advice, but she’ll listen.

Then, I have visions of her subliminally absorbing what I’m saying and having nightmares about whatever incarnations of the Boogeyman that a baby’s brain can conjure.

That’ll never do… so I come up with another idea.

“Once upon a time, there was a girl named Cinderella,” I begin, sitting in the rocker with my daughter. “She lived in this great apartment and she had great friends and a great life. She didn’t have a boyfriend or anything besides this one psycho guy who thought they were meant to be together but that’s a different story.

“One day, she met this really beautiful prince with a really bad attitude. She just wanted to get away from him, but no matter what she did, she couldn’t escape. She fell in love with him and her whole life changed. People thought she didn’t have a right to be the princess. They called her names and talked about her being a bad person and only wanting the prince’s money and castle, but she loved him anyway. So, she ignored what the people said and stuck by her prince.

“As fairytales go, they got married in a beautiful castle and drove away in a classic chariot and flew away on a magic carpet to a faraway land to spend time together. Now, you would think that they lived happily ever after, but that’s not what happened.

“They had to come back to the real world from their faraway land, and terrible things happened, too many things to tell you, but Cinderella no longer felt like she lived in a castle with her prince. She felt like she was running from demons and devils and monsters all the time. People were always making her account for her thoughts and deepest feelings even when they were scary. People were sometimes trying to hurt her or even kill her…”

Too graphic.

“She longed for the days when the members of the court had nothing to do with her life, when it was just talking to the Mad Hatters all day and drinking wine and spending time with her friends all night.

“She misses quiet nights on the balcony and driving down the coast to nowhere, letting the sea breeze wash away her troubles.

“She misses unassuming daydreams about what her future holds—the things she could see and what she could become.

“She misses not being expected to be perfect because she’s married to the prince.

“She despises what people think they know about her and how they expect her to behave and their preconceived notions and theories about who she really is.

“She misses the simple, unassuming life that she once led…”

I sigh as I hold my daughter, now sound asleep on my chest.

“I don’t like being Cinderella,” I whisper matter-of-factly.

I sit with my sleeping baby for several more minutes, until I actually drift off myself in the rocker. When I wake, I put her back in her crib and slide out of my sleek silver strappy stiletto sandals. When I look out the door, the hallway is quiet. I don’t know how long I’ve been asleep, but it appears that no one’s home yet. I quietly close the door to the nursery and look at the door to our owner’s suite.

Cinderella’s room.

I don’t want to go in there.

I try to remember which room isn’t taken, assuming anyone wants to come back to my house tonight, the wicked old Cinderella who yelled at the queen.

I go into guestroom three and drop my shoes on the floor. I lie on top of the blankets fully dressed and fall asleep.

*-*

I’m disoriented when I awake. I don’t know where I am and for a brief moment, I forgot what happened the night before. I stretch and I feel an arm around my waist. I know how my husband feels so I don’t need to turn around. He’s coiled around me like he normally is and he, too, is fully dressed—well, at least shirt sleeves and pants that I can see. I need to get up. I slept like the dead and didn’t empty my breast all night. If I don’t relieve them soon, I’m going to ruin a perfectly good gown. I move a bit to wake Christian, but he shifts and pulls me closer to him. Well, that didn’t help. I sigh, thinking that I’ll have to jolt him from his sleep in order to get away.

“I heard you tell Minnie that you don’t like being Cinderella.”

I freeze. Shit, he heard my conversation with my daughter? I fucking hate that shit. I’ve done my fair share of eavesdropping, but I hate that he heard that—for many reasons. I was emotional when I said it; it was a private moment with my little girl; and it sounds really bad.

“You don’t like your life as it is?” he asks when I say nothing. I think about my response.

“I don’t like what’s expected of me simply because of who I am,” I reply honestly. “I have to behave a certain way, do all the right things, say all the right things, make all the right decisions and if I don’t, there’s hell to pay.”

“But, baby, that’s part of being an adult.” I wrench out of his grasp and sit up.

“No, Christian, that’s part of being Anastasia Grey,” I say, turning to face him. “I was an adult before I was Anastasia Grey, and I wasn’t under scrutiny for everything I said and did. Anastasia Steele came and went as she pleased. There was no one looking over her shoulder, no security details, nobody watching her every move. She was an adult, too, and she was not under the microscope. No one accused her of being a gold-digger. Nobody turned their noses up to her because of who she was or what she had. She only had to prove who she was, prove she was worthy, when she met you. Anastasia Steele became Cinderella and suddenly, her entire life—the good, the bad, and the ugly—are on display for everybody to see, and no matter what happens, Cinderella has to keep smiling. Cinderella has to keep representing the castle. Cinderella’s not allowed to hurt in public or fall apart in public and heaven forbid if Cinderella has a human moment at all. Le gasp, call the congeniality police! We have a major violation here! So, yes, there are many times when I don’t like being Cinderella!”

I rise from the bed and leave the guest room. I need to get to my breast pump or the shower before Niagara Falls releases from my boobs.

CHRISTIAN


“She’s not in the ladies’ room, Christian,” Val informs me after I’ve combed nearly every inch of this place looking for my wife. At first, I thought she was just being childish. Now, I’m scared shitless because I don’t know where she is. Bad things happen when my wife disappears.

“Sir,” Jason darts over to me and puts his hand on my arm. “I’ve tracked her phone. She’s at the Crossing.” I frown.

“How did she get all the way to Mercer and we didn’t know she was gone?” I bark.

“Because Chuck’s not here and she’s not wearing a tether, sir, except for her phone,” he retorts. “Remember tonight’s protocol? Chuck’s leaving town, we’re around family and friends, no need for extra security…”

He’s right. I agreed to lighter security tonight. Chuck has to be in South Dakota for his and his mother’s case against their brother. I can’t blame anyone for this one except myself…

And my careless wife.

She probably didn’t want to face me because of how she treated Mom.

“Let’s go,” I growl, heading for the door.

Everyone thought it best to head to their own abodes instead of coming to Grey Crossing, anticipating a showdown between me and my wife. The house is a tomb when I enter, only Windsor stirring to greet me.

“Mrs. Grey?” I hiss.

“She’s upstairs, sir,” he responds. “Will anyone else be coming tonight?”

“No,” I say, loosening my tie and taking the stairs two at a time. I head straight for the closed doors of our suite, but then I hear her voice to the right of me…

“Once upon a time, there was a girl named Cinderella…”

It’s coming from the cracked door of our babies’ nursery. Well, isn’t that adorable, I think angrily to myself. I’m tearing up a banquet hall looking for her and she’s here reading bedtime stories. I’m particularly livid after discovering that she took a goddamn taxi home!

“One day, she met this really beautiful prince with a really bad attitude. She just wanted to get away from him, but no matter what she did, she couldn’t escape. She fell in love with him and her whole life changed. People thought she didn’t have a right to be the princess. They called her names and talked about her being a bad person and only wanting the prince’s money and castle, but she loved him anyway. So, she ignored what the people said and stuck by her prince.”

Wait a minute. I’m new to this Disney thing, but even I know that’s not how that story goes. I lean against the wall next to the door and listen to her describe Cinderella’s life after she married the prince—the scrutiny, her fears, the dangers that followed her. I sigh heavily listening to her talk about how she misses how simple her life was before she met the “prince.”

“I don’t like being Cinderella…”

And it didn’t take a rocket scientist or even that statement to know that she was talking about us.

This conversation—this altercation or whatever it was that happened with her and Mom and more importantly, her leaving in a damn taxi without security—it needs to be addressed, but not tonight. She sounds raw and a bit vulnerable and this is not the time.

I go to our room and remove my jacket, tossing it and my tie onto the bed. I want a drink but think better of it. Instead, I’ll just sit here and wait.

And wait…

And wait…

And wait.

My mind replays the conversation she had with my mom. From what I understand, Mom was trying to orchestrate a possible meeting between Adelaide and her granddaughter and apparently, Butterfly and Courtney knew nothing about it. I don’t have all of the details, but she was pretty hard on my mom and I really thought that was very unnecessary. Mom left shortly after Adelaide did and… to be honest, I’m pretty gray—pun intended—on what happened after that.

My wife and I had some words, they weren’t kind, and I refused to argue with her in public. According to Mom, she would have to represent Helping Hands for the rest of the evening, and I was doing my best not to hinder that, but when Elliot asked me where Mom was, I told him the truth. The last time I saw her, she was glaring at me and Elliot was glaring at her, so I assumed he had asked about the altercation. I turned my head for a second, and when I looked back, she was gone.

I didn’t think anything of it. I thought she had taken Elliot aside to tell him her side of the story, but when a while later I saw Elliot and no Butterfly, I thought she had explained things, and everything was okay…

Until…

“Man, if looks could maim, I’d be castrated by now,” Elliot says. “All I could think was ‘back away slowly’ which is what I was trying to do, but then she just whirled around and took off out the door.” I frown deeply.

“Out the door?” I ask. “Where did she go?” Elliot shrinks a bit.

“I assumed she went to the ladies’ room,” he says. I look at my watch.

“Elliot, that was over half an hour ago. Nobody has seen her since!” I announce.

“Hey,” Val says, interrupting our conversation, on purpose no doubt. “Why so serious?”

“Val, would you mind terribly checking out the ladies’ rooms and seeing if my wife is hiding out in one of them?” I ask. She raises her brow knowingly to me then looks at Elliot.

“Mom and Montana had words,” he tells his wife. “It hasn’t been a good night.”

Grace and Ana,” she says, a statement, not a question.

“And me,” I admit, “but we didn’t fight. I was just not happy about her yelling at my mom.” Val twists her lips and rolls her eyes.

“I’ll be back,” she says as she heads off to the restrooms.

And now, I’m here, waiting and waiting for her to finish her remix of Cinderella with whatever child has her attention now. After waiting for I don’t even know how long, I toe out of my shoes and go back to the hallway. The nursery door is closed now, so I peek inside.

She’s not there.

I go down to the kitchen to see if she’s gone in search of a snack or a drink. She’s not there either. She’s not in the family room, the entertainment room, the movie room, her parlor, the office, or the gym.

Where the fuck is she now?

I’m almost tempted to activate the two-way but decide against it this late at night. I go back up to the second floor and begin to check the guest rooms. I would have thought not, but with the whole hating Cinderella thing…

Sure enough, I find her in the last guest room, curled up on the bed in her evening gown fast asleep.

And we’re sleeping in our clothes again.

I crawl in bed behind her and spoon her, falling asleep almost instantly.

*-*

“I had no idea that being married to me was such a goddamn trial,” I say to Jason while running on the treadmill the next day.

“You’re kidding, right?” Jason says. I look at him bemused. “No offense, sir, but working for you is a trial. I can only imagine what being married to you is like.” I frown.

“Don’t try to be cute,” I hiss. “It doesn’t suit you.”

“I’m not!” he snaps back. “That woman has been in your life for two and a half years. I know it’s not all bad, but I haven’t seen anybody go through the trials and tribulations that woman has been through just being married to you. Everybody’s watching her, people are gunning for her, she’s got to prove herself all the damn time… She can’t step wrong, she can’t be unhappy, she can’t be human. It’s a miracle she hasn’t had a nervous breakdown by now.”

“But she couldn’t have expected it to be easy when she agreed to marry me,” I protest. “Look at my life! She knew what she was signing up for.”

“Yeah,” he says, and nothing else. There’s something else behind that.

“Yeah, what?” I ask. He looks over at me without losing his stride.

“She’s still human, boss,” he says with a running shrug. “Whether you know what you’re signing up for or not doesn’t necessarily mean that you take it all in stride when it comes at you. And last night’s episode had nothing to do with being married to Christian Grey…”

“I didn’t say that! She did!” I protest.

“You didn’t let me finish,” he says. “It had nothing to do with being married to you, but it had everything to do with her version of Cinderella. She’s got responsibilities to people. One of those responsibilities was exploited last night and she was supposed to be okay with it—plaster a smile on her face and keep the night going. Nobody acknowledged her point of view last night. Whether it was right or wrong, nobody bothered to say, ‘I get it.’ Mrs. Wilson wanted to know why no one told her the truth about her granddaughter and she left upset. Dr. Grey was dug in that Mrs. Wilson had a right to know that her granddaughter was still here no matter what the consequences and she left upset.

“You heard your wife yelling at your mother and your mother left upset and that made you upset and you cut her off. Granted, you did it to prevent a public spectacle—which was smart—but she still got cut off. Then, whatever you told Elliot, he confronted her, and she was already burning the wick at both ends.” He does that imitation of an explosion with his hands and mouth. “We’re lucky she didn’t check into a hotel somewhere and turn her phone off. We were downtown after all.”

“God,” I sigh. “Our marriage isn’t going to survive this constant up and down.” Jason slows his treadmill down.

“Yes, it will,” he says, catching his breath. “This is marriage. It’s a constant up and down until you die, and you haven’t even hit your highest ups or your lowest downs. Why do you think they say love is a roller coaster? You didn’t expect it to be easy, did you?”

Yeah, I kinda did. My mistake.


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

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.

There has been yet another development where if you feel the need to talk to fellow readers about personal issues, you need a sounding board, you want to vent about something in your life, please feel free to visit the link on the left in the menu entitled “Do You Need To Talk.” No subject is taboo. I just ask that you approach the link with respect for those who have concerns as well as those who respond. You can also get to the link by clicking 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

 

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91 thoughts on “Raising Grey: Chapter 70—The Women

  1. naturallyblonde1221 says:

    great chapter

  2. Darla says:

    Great chapter

  3. Valarie says:

    Well, that was an interesting chapter. The truth can set you free. Just creating your child and putting her in the vault, without looking back. WOW! That was cold. Poor Courtney. I am looking forward to the conversation between C&A about Cinderella. Grace needs to get over it and own it. Elliot was funny when he was talking to Christian. Lol. Another Awesome chapter Goddesses ❤

  4. valentinesgenie says:

    I liked all of it I’m just hoping Ana and Christian fixes it talks it out and move on but it’s marriage a real life roller coaster great work see you next time take care…

  5. Tina says:

    Thanks I have been in that situation and have sympathy with her. I was not as high up like they were but I was made to toe the line and behave where my husband could do anything. Thanks for the very good read and I will look forward to the next installment and link.

  6. Ann Shearer says:

    Great chapter sweetheart love it, its so sad to here your friend lost her child, its such an awful thing to go through, my thoughts are with her and prayers, of course i will donate what i can, so he can be laid to rest, hope all is well with you take care love ann xxx

  7. falalalynx says:

    Good morning,

    I thought ‘love is a battlefield’. I am so glad for Jason. He gets Ana and all she is going through. And I personally agree with Ana on all these things. Tread carefully Christian. This is what I would call the marital mine field. Ana is not just Grey arm candy or an extension of you. She is a fully form individual who you love. Remember that. Don’t pacify her. Recognize her as the butterfly who is your heart and the brilliant woman she is.

    Lovely Sophie/Ana moment. Growing up is hard and then you add emotions to the mix and things get damn near opaque. Sophie wants her friend Marlow back.

    Thelma and Jimmy, wow what a delightful update. I am so happy for them.

    Peace, Falala

    • Junebride says:

      Hope you are doing better, friend!

      Right you are, Falala. Christian needs to be careful. I hope he carefully considers what you’ve written.

      Thinking of you.
      xxxxx

  8. Messy Bronze Hair says:

    As much as I love this story I feel like I can’t keep up anymore. I feel like I have forgotten why I even started reading this story cause everything is everywhere. If I have to be honest Ana and Christians life are revolving around everyone other then them (other when they are fighting, which they always do). There are so many people making an appearance in the story and it’s so difficult to remember everyone. Through the latest part of the story everything is either about Carricks father or Harmony and her meltdowns. Can we just let them go and try to focus as much we can on Ana and Christian. To be honest it’s getting quite old having to read about their bickering. So can they just solve their problems before moving on to everyone else’s?!

    Hope you’ll update soon, cause I will be waiting!

    Love,
    Messy Bronze Hair

    • falalalynx says:

      This is the equivalent of a mental smoke bomb. What the hey?

    • Long story short, not everybody’s life fits in a box. As such, this story won’t fit in a box.

      I have been writing this story for five years, and this story has evolved and included other people over the course of those five years, like life does. For all of the time that I continue to write this story, there will be more people introduced into the story, and they’ll have, cause, and be problems, too… like people in life do.

      If you’re solely looking for a story where you’re only going to see Christian and Ana and just their tale, you’ve got the wrong story, because you’re going to see a whole lot more than that. Quite frankly, I’d be very bored just writing that story, and it would have been over by now.

      • Junebride says:

        Amen to that, BG. We don’t want it to be over, you are doing a magnificent job! Carry on, please.
        xxxx

      • Messy Bronze Hair says:

        Of course. Your story should be written the way you want it. Was just sharing my thoughts. 😉

  9. Teri says:

    as always, a great chapter, Bronze. This chapter will resonate for a while.

  10. DEBORAH HALLOWELL says:

    Awesome chapters again, but they always are. Keep up the great work. If people don’t like what you deem to write about, they should quit reading. Thanks again and I look forward to your next update. Have a great week.

  11. Sherree says:

    Great chapter, Ana’s one busy woman. The title BTW was very appropriate. When is Christian going to stop being an ass? Looking forward to their confrontation or conversation. God bless Taylor, maybe he just defused the situation.

  12. S. Hodgson says:

    Taylor to the rescue!!! That man if worth his weight in gold that’s a damn fact. I also love the fact that he’s the voice of rationality in all the chaos. Forget Christian Grey I want me a Jason Taylor 😉

  13. Junebride says:

    Dear Goddess, thank you for the update. Kind of a cliffhanger… (grin)

    Sorry about your friend, my thoughts and prayers go to her and her family. It is hard to lose a family member, can’t imagine losing a child.

    Today’s chapter was semi-sweet. Sophie has a crush on Marlow, but he won’t look at her that way and is parading his girlfriends. The age difference now is monumental. Only you and the Muse know what is store for them in the future. Furthermore, she misses talking to him.

    Good to hear that Thelma and Jimmy are expecting and doing so well. Adelaide is a different story–heartless and very cold person. What can Harmony expect from her if she treated her own daughter that way. Grace really stuck her foot into it!! She should have stayed out of it, even ask Ana about it. Hope Christian and Ana can come out of that mess sooner than later. And Ace is still MIA, Ana needs him. She can’t carry everyone’s problems. Loved the Cinderella story, hope Christian has a little bit more understanding after talking to Taylor, their godsend. I think Christian will have to do some groveling for his behavior. Hope he understands his mom was in the wrong and supports Ana in this (and is more sympathetic to her in the future). She has given up a lot for him.

    And please don’t worry about people who are complaining about your beautiful story, they don’t have to read it and spoil it for the rest of us. Sometimes my mind is elsewhere and I forget passages of the story. That’s why I mentioned before that I am going to start to read the story again. I love it!!! It takes me into outer space and I forget about everything else. Your storytelling/ writing is so emotional, interesting, and mind blowing!! You are the best!! Can’t say it enough!

    Hope the Muse feels better, we need her to be at her best. Tell her we love her.

    Thanks for giving us a little piece of your wonderful imagination.
    xxxxx

    • Junebride says:

      Oh, forgot… (grin) If I were Ana, I would resign my position at Helping Hands and all these other activities she is into. Maybe start one of her own. Sorry, I am rambling… Just get frustrated with Grace and all these ungrateful people… (lol)
      xxxx

    • I have to disagree that Adelaide is heartless. Adelaide is hurt, and hurt people hurt people. It may not be right, but it’s still a reality. Even though you or I would have reacted differently about the death of a daughter, if Adelaide was cold and heartless, she wouldn’t have even claimed the remains—I’ve seen that happen more than once, and not even by heartless people… just by people who’ve reach the end of their rope or just couldn’t afford to bury a “long lost” family member.

      Thanks for the kind words. I’m somewhat beyond really caring about people who don’t like where the story is going. The way I feel about it, stop reading and write one yourself.

      • falalalynx says:

        Hey Goddess,

        You may be “somewhat beyond really caring” but I am NOT. Over and over it goes on and on. One would think after all this time they would get the message. And then after the whole yammer on about this and that being all wrong they have the gall to demand more and hurry it up too.

        So I can’t help myself. If they are going to throw this crap at you you can bet I’m going to pick it up and throw it right back at them.

        You know what I think it is with this person? They only want your stellar written erotica. They don’t want a story. They want a scene. There wildest dreams can’t even come close to your vivid imagination. They don’t want any of the trappings a couple might have in there life, no work drama, no friends in need, no family to care about, even no conflict between the couple. So what’s left? Your wowchickawowwow. lol Oh boy I made myself laugh

        Peace, Falala

      • Junebride says:

        Thanks for setting me straight, Goddess. I understand your point of view now. I am so used to my grandparents IRIP) and my parents towards my kids that that was the way I saw her. I got it now!
        xxxxxx

  14. Junebride says:

    Ooopps, went overboard again…! (lol)

    • falalalynx says:

      Junie,

      You are too cute sometimes. giggle I don’t think you went overboard. You’re not complaining or trying to rewrite the story really. You just get wrapped up in the power of the narrative and off you go. Hey I should know. I’m so guilty of this. Remember I ‘wrote’ an entire parade. grin Goddess is smart enough to know the difference.

      Oh do enjoy your reread of this epic tale. I’ve read it thru three times. grin I pick up new stuff each time I roam through it. Of course after I did it in just a little over a week I couldn’t see straight for days. grin But it was so worth it.

      I don’t think Ana should quit Helping Hands. It’s a job she’s well suited for. She volunteered for it. And Grace, I suspect she is just use to making unilateral decision and didn’t think it was a big deal. She should have. After all she’s the one who implored Ana to give Courtney another chance and take her on in the first place. Adelaide’s blood chilling attitude makes me wonder just how warm and fuzzy a grandmother she actually was. Courtney straightened herself out. Maybe Addy can too. Oh yeah btw you got Harmony and Courtney’s names mixed up in your post. grin I have soo often wished for an edit button. I think mistake is my middle name. No Falala it’s Jean Marie. Oh yeah right right.

      I’m getting better. I think. It comes and goes. I’m still sleeping more than I should. To much lying around is really hard on my joints.

      It’s lovely to see you again.

      Peace, Falala

      • Junebride says:

        Oops, I sure did mix them up!! (lol) I just thought if she leaves and starts her own, Queen Grace (grin) would have carte blanche for whatever she wants to do and Ana wouldn’t be so frustrated with the whole thing. She’d be more at ease. I get you, though.

        I hope Addy comes around, for Courtney’s sake and her own, too. I don’t think “mistake” is your middle name, you speak your mind and know that I agree about 99.99% of the times (lol)

        Ana has so many things on her shoulders… I hope Christian understands and stands by her–his mother or not, she was wrong this time. Paging Dr. Ace, where are you? Just kidding However, could you imagine Ana going to a hotel and turning off her phone? All hell would break loose. Oh, boy, Christian would panic as well as get pissed off… Let’s see what the Muse and BG come up with. Like I said, a mini-cliffhanger… (grin)

        Oh, and I loved your “wowchickawowwow.” This is Goddess’ story, either you like it or don’t. If you don’t, you are free to look for something more that fits your taste.

        I am right behind you about sleeping more, don’t really want to get up sometimes, but you gotta…

        Always love hearing from you, I think I read sometime ago BG saying she “maps” (not the word she used) her stories so she can keep them straight. I need to do this, sounds good to me.

        Thank you for your kind words, Falala. Drop by anytime you feel like talking or venting out. I do love to talk to you and BG can join us, too. Sorry you are all getting an earful… (grin)
        xxxxx

        PS It’s late for me. So sorry if you find any mistakes…. lol

      • Junebride says:

        Goddess, I think Falala means I used Harmony instead of Courtney… Didn’t mean to cause any confusion… (grin)
        xxxxx

      • @Junebride–You were saying that you went overboard and I was saying no, you didn’t. I love in-depth analysis of the story. It means I made you think. 😀

      • falalalynx says:

        Giggle girl, Junie!! I think our Goddess meant you did not go overboard with your comments, not about the name switch.. Laughing first thing in the morning can’t be beat. Good morning everyone. Peace, Falala

  15. Lori says:

    I have to agree with your response to the critique of your story. You have kept this story fresh and engaging over the past 5 years with your many characters and dramatic storylines! Those of us that have enjoyed this wild ride are truly appreciative of your talent and effort to bring us this gem of a story. I can’t thank you enough!
    I loved the Cinderella story as Ana is clearly emotionally articulating everything that has happened to her. A brilliant way to vent her feelings! Thank you!

  16. bichonmomma says:

    Loved the chapter. Boy they really have had a hard time during their relationship. Can’t say I blame Ana. Her Cinderella story is all chocolates and roses despite the money she has with Christian. So true marriage is a constant up and down. Pull and push. Great update.

  17. Stuart says:

    Sometimes, I don’t like being Cinderella too. Not that I’m married to a Christian Grey or anything but I don’t always like being in a position where I’m supposed to understand and empathise with the whole world when they’re being unreasonable but heaven forbid I have a human moment.. Its exactly like what Ana said! Le Gasp and bring out the judges who’ll dissect my every move and every word and bring out meanings out of it, which I would never have imagined could be interpreted like that.

    Adulting is one thing. This judgmental holier-than-thou entitled behavior gets to my nerves. And that is exactly how I’m looking at Grace and Christian right now.

    Hell, Adelaide was ok with not meeting her grand-daughter; her grand-daughter does NOT want to meet her grand-mother. And what a chaos it has managed to create for people who should’ve been having a wonderful evening together.

    Maybe I’m reading too much into it because of what I’m going through too but I’m not liking Grace right now. I’m sure she’ll come around, she always does. But the tremors she creates nonetheless – like the one she created over Ana & Christian’s wedding invitee list, when Christian wanted Pops at his place (when she wasn’t going through her own problems) just shows her entitled behavior. And combining with this episode, I don’t like it.

    Although, Ana’s breakdown would have more to do with Christian’s behavior rather than Grace’s. I’m often at her place and the only thing I expect out my husband is to at least be fair and think through before instantly judging, but it doesn’t always happen and I end up thinking about all the times he’s left me feeling cold like that and I just feel like running away from all of it, him especially.

    Well.. Whoever invented “And they lived happily ever after” never bothered to look beyond the day the Princess wedded the Prince. Marriage is a LOT of work. And sadly, the judgment and expectation dished out for the womenfolk is so much more nowadays. Its almost like we’re expected to be literally programmed the way the world wants!!

    I think I should stop now before this rant goes haywire and I leave people more confused than I am on what to do with situations like these!!

    Thanks BG. You’re doing a wonderful job. I know it mustn’t be easy adulting for yourself and doing it for Ana, Christian and their families too on top of it. Hats off to you!

    • Jesus! You reached into my head and verbalized everything I was thinking and so much more. Hopefully something that you see in the next few chapters somewhere helps with that Cinderella thing you’re feeling because nobody can be everything to anyone all the time.

      PS–Sadly, there is no happily ever after, because we all have to die and Cinderella never died in the fairytale.

      • Stuart says:

        “Nobody can be everything to anyone all the time” is perfect!

        You know, on a completely different note, I think a little psychology should be taught to kids in school.. Just so that they know “empathy”, putting yourself in someone’s place, etc. These gems have disappeared. This world needs some EMPATHY!!

        “No happily ever after, because death” – yeah .. you speak true words!

      • Hmmm… empathy in school… that;s an AWESOME idea!

      • falalalynx says:

        Stuart! my Sweetie Pie,

        How wonderful to read you. grin Looking good and you sound in fine form. People are reading each others minds. lol This is perfect, two brilliant women on the same wave length. Watch out world. grin xoxoxo
        Peace, Falala

      • Stuart says:

        Falala I’m so happy to hear from you! After all, its you who’s brought me around to talking my mind. I don’t feel that shy speaking my mind anymore! xoxoxo

        And it sure feels good to be validated and to know that I’m not an idiot for thinking like this!! Lots of love!

      • falalalynx says:

        Stuart! You have a Beautiful mind. I am so happy every time I see your name. You will always be my wonderful sweetie pie. giggle xoxoxoxo

        Peace, Falala

  18. jjgoldmann says:

    I glad that although Luma was reluctant at first she had a great time shopping.

    Poor Sophie, Ana is right her first crush is not going the way she wants it to and maybe never will?

    So glad that things are going well for Thelma and Jimmy and that they are expecting again. Jimmy even got a promotion and a raise That’s wonderful.

    I understand why Ana was upset with Grace but the way Ana explained it to Grace and the way she explained it to Christian were a bit different. Grace needs to understand that if Courtney didn’t want her grandmother to know where she was and should have at least asked Courtney for her permission, not just make the decision for her. Then Ana told Addie pretty much everything that has been going on in Courtney’s life.

    Ana taking a cab home was a bit reckless but she made it home safely none-the-less.

    The Cinderella story Ana told to Minnie, while Christian was listening was sad. Christian needs to listen to what Jason said because Jason was right, marriage has many, many, many ups and downs. But if they love each other enough they should be able to survive anything.

    I know that Christian is upset for the way Ana spoke to his mother but hopefully he listens to everything that Ana and Jason have said. Ana has to work this out with Grace and with Courtney. Hopefully Grace and Ana will make amends fast?

    How is that court case going to go down with Chuck’s brother?

    Thank you again for another amazing chapter.

    • Grace understood the situation more that Christian did because Christian was on the outside looking in while Grace has been around Courtney the entire time this was going on. And at this point, Ana couldn’t lie to Addie.

      We’ll see about Chuck’s brother… he’s already on his way.

    • falalalynx says:

      Hey, Falala waving like she’s trying to take flight.

      It is really dangerous to take a cab? I mean in general not just for Ana? I can’t remember the last time I took one so I don’t know what the situation with security is. I was just curious. Peace, Falala

  19. seralynsmom says:

    Where to even start, boy. Ana is right. Grace had no RIGHT to do that. NONE. And she might have just caused more damage than she fixed. What if Addie confronts Courtney? What if there are more words said that shouldn’t be? Neither woman is truly over the hurt they caused one another, they may never be, and Grace needs to learn that sometimes—that’s ok. I did terrible things as a teen. When I tried to reconcile with my mom, trying to bring her into my life and her grandaughter’s life, I thought we would fix things. That was nearly 7 years ago. She hasn’t seen to or spoken to my child since she was 2, maybe 3. The last straw for me was last year when Hurricane Irma came through Florida. My grands live right where she was heading and I was worried for them. So I messaged my aunt onFB to see if they’d heard anything. My grandma called me, letting me know that were up in PA with my aunt and her family, having evacuated and they were fine.

    My mother, she sat right next to them. Knew exactly who they were talking to, but yet *I* had to ask to speak with *her*. My own mother. And when I did, she didn’t ask about my husband and daughter not once. I know things go both ways, but that hurt more than anyone can imagine and I just can’t continue to try to fix things. I’ve been trying since I was 19 years old, I’m 34 now. It’s time to stop. I can’t allow her into my daughter’s life if she’s going to be that way. No matter how much it hurts. So yeah, Grace had no right. No right! And she deserved that set down. And Christian needs to get over it. Ana wasn’t yelling and mama grey. She was yelling at director Grey. She just put a member of their staff at risk and that is unacceptable.

    Then he goes off and yet again shuts her out. How is she to know he’s just giving her space to be there for HH? He didn’t say that, he just bitched at her about yelling at Grace and upsetting her and got offended when she set him down too. Too bad, so sad Christian. I want to slap him tbh, and I’m usually on his side. Tonight was not ok. Then he had the audacity to get upset she left, to be upset over what she said when he wasn’t even supposed to hear it.

    Sorry, but this time it’s up to him to take a step back and truly think about what comes next because this time, he was wrong. It’s like he forgets that she’s also in a fragile mental state herself and one wrong thing could send her back over that edge. People with ptsd don’t need to be mollycoddled, but you still need to watch what you say and do sometimes and he didn’t—again. Like Ana said, it’s like Val and Elliot’s housewarming all over again. Only this time she refused to stay and put up with it.

    I think they need to leave. They need a nice long vacation somewhere with the twins. No family, no paps, barebones security. Somewhere no one knows them and they can just be…or Ana is going to have a meltdown. She can’t keep taking on everyone else’s issues anymore. It’s time for some people to get back on their own two feet and allow her to just be Ana.

    I mean Jesus: the grey family and pops, Harmony and the siblings, pussy dj, green valley is still on the cards it’s just background, Chuck and his brother, Val and her tumor, Gary and Whatshertits (omg I’m having a brain fart!! I know it’s an M!!), Marlow and Sophie. It’s just too much. Her little story broke my heart because I knew, KNEW, if CG heard it he’d assume the worst and he did.

    I feel for Sophie, I do, and I get it’s hard for a kid to let out their feelings, especially to the object, but she needs to tell Marlow that. Because I’m betting it’s not intentional, he’s just a guy thinking with his dick and busy with his school work, which is very important at that moment. Senior year is rough, never lets you rest.

    As for Addie, I think it’s best she just take it to heart that Courtney is doing good and let that bridge be burnt for now. It’s clear from her comments she’s still too hurt to keep from snide comments and further hurting her granddaughter. I don’t think she’s heartless, just hurting and wary.

    At least Elliot was smart and backed away. Lmao.

    And thank goodness for Jason Taylor, though I think he needs a raise for putting up with all their bullshit. 😂😂

    • seralynsmom says:

      I almost forgot!! So glad to see Jimmy and Thelma so happy!!! I wouldn’t have minded seeing what happened to Jack and his son, now that the behemoth is out of the picture. But oh well, beggars can’t be choosers and they weren’t part of the adopt a family thing.

    • Stuart says:

      Have you been reading my thoughts? 🙂

    • falalalynx says:

      Hey Ash! How are you sweetie?

      I’m under the impression that Christian just had a knee jerk reaction to Ana having words with Grace. You argued with my MOM? Nobody gets away with upsetting my MOM. She’s my MOM. She saved me. She’s my saving Grace. grin Let’s remember Christian’s emotional learning curve. grin I think most men eventually transfer this to there wives. Christian is a continual work in progress. This was just the automatic response of a loving son. A mistake? You bet. A moment to learn? Absolutely! Ana I’m sorry. I over reacted. She’s my Mom. Nobody messes with my Mom. I didn’t have the full story. I hope you can forgive me. I love you. Again I apologize. giggle I love putting words in his mouth. Well I simply love his mouth hmmm yeah just every thing.

      How’s your new year going? Are you snowed in yet again? sheesh it looks brutal to me. warm hug honey.

      Peace, Falala

      • seralynsmom says:

        Nope, no snow. We aren’t supposed to get any this week, except over the weekend I think? Just cold.

        As for Mr. man. He can have a knee jerk reaction, that’s fine. But he took that crap home and was ready to go to war with it until he heard her little fairytale. Now he’s all, “she hates her life with me…” and making it all about him. Nope, Ashley is not happy with Christian Grey at this moment. If anything, he should have been Switzerland and tried to diffuse tensions and learn what the issue was, which wasn’t hard seeing as how Ana told Grace exactly what the issue was and then she told him exactly what the issue was when he was all hissing like a cat, acting like an ass. Maybe it’s just my relationship with my mom, but I’d still try to find out what the issue is before I’d take sides, but he didn’t. He took Grace’s side simply because she mentioned having an “episode”.

      • falalalynx says:

        Uoooowwww! Ashley’s miffed at Christian. grin Yep yep the man has lots to learn.

        Right there with you sweetie with being invisible to the parental units. I just took it until one day I went home to visit with my youngest and he and I were in the room we were staying in at the family home and he asked me why my mother hated me so much. She was being her ‘normal’ self to me and I was so use to her abuse I just carried on. But I realized in that moment what a freaking bad example I was being as a parent and I packed us up and we went to stay in a hotel. And I also stood in the doorway as we were leaving and told them it was over. That I would never again subject myself to there attitude ever again. My mother was gobsmacked and my father at least had the wherewithal to realized what he had done. He even tried to get us to stay. My mother tried to poo poo it away saying I was too sensitive. sigh The hotel was more fun. grin It had a pool. lol I would adore giving your daughter all kinds of grandma hugs. xoxoxo Can I be her honorary grandmother?
        Peace, Falala

      • seralynsmom says:

        I don’t mind. She loves people. Lol.

        Yeah, it sucks when you see all these people who have such great relationships with their parents and you wonder what is wrong with you that you don’t have one with yours. I love my dad, we have a good relationship, but the things I did as a teen weren’t so bad that my mom should continue to resent me for them.

      • falalalynx says:

        Sweet friend of mine,

        There is NOTHING not a damn thing wrong with you. Gees louise! So what you were a freaking child and you did dumb stuff. It’s called growing up people. Clearly your mother never did. XOXOXOXOXOXO

        I think I just remembered I’m already her fairy godmother aren’t I? lol I’ll be both. There’s always room for more love. Peace, Falala

      • seralynsmom says:

        I know that now, but then I didn’t. An already anxiety ridden depressed teen who just needed her mom and didn’t have that…it was rough. Now I just remember that it isn’t my hangups, it’s hers, and it isn’t my problem anymore. If she can’t forgive and forget then that’s her issue and she’s just going to live a lonely life.

        And yeah, always room for more love. 🙂

      • falalalynx says:

        Today is a day of degrees by Falala.

        I hereby degree that Falala has officially adopted one sweet Ashley.

        I’ve always wanted a daughter. Yea! I finally have my dream come true.

        Oh happy day! And they celebrate throughout Goddess land. Crank the music and let the festivities begin. Party!!!!

        Celebrate good times! Come on! Celebrate!!

        grin Peace, Falala

      • seralynsmom says:

        You wouldn’t be the first mom that’s taken me in and made me their own so why not. Lol.

    • Fingdelicious says:

      Whatshertits! *snort* Good one.

  20. lovesfiftyshades says:

    Lawd have mercy I love this story…and this couple…and all their family and friends! As I take a step back and look at my own life, there is some level of drama almost daily! I know people who robotically go through life, never a ripple, all is black and white, no gray areas (pun intended)…and not only are they boring to be around but deep down I think they are bored with themselves. I love the kaleidoscope and technicolor life of the Greys. While not similar in the specifics, sometimes my own life goes in a mind warp of ups downs, right turns left turns, people here, people there; do this don’t do that…whew! I’m with Ana…it’s hard keeping my tierra straight and my glass slippers from getting cracks and sometimes I just have to sling them both against the wall! BG, girl, I’ve said it before and I’ll say it until I read the dreaded words…~The End~…this is the best story I have ever read, your imagination knows no bounds and I can’t imagine what it would be like not having your updates to look forward to. You’ll never know the times you’ve made me laugh when I was down, found peace in turmoil I thought would never end, and let me breathe when I thought I couldn’t inhale. Your story has saved me hundreds of dollars In therapy, because at just the right time, I see you post another chapter. I hope I speak for the silent majority…keep up the amazing work and thank you for sharing your time and talent with us! ❤️❤️❤️

  21. Junebride says:

    Standing ovation to all of you who took the time to do your honest and wonderful write ups/comments. Goddess has taken us far away into space and made us forget our troubles. Don’t know how she does it.

    God bless you, Goddess. May He shower you with health, love, and all the good things you deserve. I guess I am going to speak for our group here and say: “We love you” LOTS!!! Keep up the good work you are doing and “thank you for giving us the ride of our lives.” Like “lovefiftyshades” says, you are our therapist. May you keep this story going for many years to come.

    I know it’s not easy to come up with these chapters and take care of things at home and work, but is it therapeutical for you, too? (Hope I wrote that correctly)

    And with all due respect, if you don’t like how this story is going, remember the door is always open (sorry BG if I was blunt).

    OK, I’ll let you all go now…. about time…. lol Sweet dreams or a wonderful day, depending where you are…

    • Oh, God, yes–it’s SO therapeutic for me! I get to escape into the story and go places with my characters… I go on all the roller coaster rides that they do. This storyline that I’m working on right now is such a ride–there’s fun, there’s epiphanies, there’s a tear here and there… It’s like I said, I can’t fit this story in s pretty little box with a pretty little bow, nor will I ever try. Think of it this way–if you were watching a television series and the same thing happened every week, would you keep watching it?

      • Junebride says:

        Definitely NO!! You are doing your thing and we are enjoying it. We can get mad at the characters, laugh/cry with them, etc., but please know we do love your creative writing and appreciate it.

        We always wait patiently (well, most of the time except when you leave us in a cliffhanger–lol) to find out what happens next. Don’t mind the “unhappy” ones.

        I am glad it is therapeutic for you too! You have no idea how it keeps me going…
        xxxxx

  22. Camille Henley says:

    Thanks Goddess for an amazing update. First to the complainer! “Please go away if you’re unhappy with the story” As you can see we ” the fans” are loyal and protected of our Author”. As was once said to me there are other stories that you’re welcome to read. Just don’t come for our Author of this beautiful story.

    I honestly don’t think Grace was trying to do anything other then attempt to connect a family that was so broken family. (Courtney and Addie).Ana initially wanted the same for Courtney and Addie without knowing the back story of the family dynamics. I initially thought Addie would have been so happy that Courtney had turned her life around and was doing really great things. But to here her story of the daughter passing and the cremating of the body. She lost me. I now agree with Ana. This situation should be left alone for now anyway. Both Courtney and the grandmother has to deal with the unspoken pains that they’re experiencing.

    I really wish we all could have a friend/employee like Jason…. Jason was spot on. What’s even better Christian listened and respects Jason views on his personal and business life. Ana and Christian will always works out their differences.

    I love Sophie and Marlow.. I really hope that they get the opportunity to talk so that their friendship will last a lifetime. Who knows what will happens five or six years later.

    I’m so excited for the newcomer for Elliott and Valerie.Not sure what Elliott said to Ana but I know that they will work it out. I was so upset that Ana left in a cab. It was such a risk Ana….Never leave yourself unguarded. You said yourself you have haters and they just appears out the wood works at times. You have your family and they needs you.

    Bronze thanks for all you do for us and thanks to your family who allows you to grace us with this wonderful story….

    I haven’t been reviewing much lately. Major pains in my right shoulder. Needs surgery just can’t make up my mind to have it done. It’s such a long healing process….

    • Gosh, that’s a hard decision… to deal with the pain of the shoulder or the length of the healing process. I’ll keep you in my thoughts and thanks for the kind words and for defending our story. ❤

  23. falalalynx says:

    Woohoo! The gangs on there feet and we are taking NOOOO prisoners. lol I hereby designate every MONDAY Monday monday to be Goddess appreciation day, for ALL she has given us and what she continues to do for us. You my Goddess are OUR treasure. I love you. I love all the friends I’ve made through your story. I love knowing I’m not alone in my understanding of all things in Goddess world. I love the love and comfort I have been given by so many souls. We are family. I got all my sisters with me. giggle FALALA stop that. No lyrics. grin I can’t help myself. Sometimes I just break out in song. So just know whomever you are out there that if you darken our Goddess’ space you will not get by without a verbal take down. You don’t like her story yet you demand more and make it quick. pfft! Bad manners are not acceptable here. Interfering with the Goddess’ flow is not acceptable. Demanding the direction of the story, nope! Move on move on.

    The word of the day RESPECT!

    Love love love all you need is love love love. Falala! yeah yeah no lyrics.

    Have a good day. xoxoxoxoxoxo to you all.

    Peace, Falala

  24. Fingdelicious says:

    Yay, so glad to find a new chapter here! Really enjoyed this one, could relate to all the feels: Sophie, pining and feeling jealous over something that’s not likely to happen, Ana, tired of trying to be perfect and live up to expectations, Christian, hearing his partner hurting and realizing he contributed. Been there!

    As for hearing from characters who haven’t made an appearance in a while, I just kept plowing through until the context reminded me of who they were. No problem! And even better, the idea of another trip through the saga to refresh my memory – brilliant!

  25. Sweetpegsie says:

    Wonderful chapter, as always. I find that I am actually enjoying the comments more and more…except for THAT one. She left me with a bunch of ??#@$^&$????? twirling around my head before I was able to verbalize the word WHAT?
    Camille, my love. Do the surgery. Did my foot after putting it off for 3 years in December because the pain was unbearable. I’ll be back to work next week. So, as a patient and a therapist. Just. Do. It. You’ll be glad you did.
    Once again, thanks BG.

    • “??#@$^&$?????”

      I kinda had that going on, too. I didn’t want to seem like I was being too sensitive, but the way that everyone else responded, I realize that I wasn’t.

      • falalalynx says:

        Sensitive? TOO sensitive? Hardly! The first time I read it the hair on my hair lifted as if to say DANGER INTRUDER! Your instincts were spot on.
        Good morning my Goddess. I have a question about this site. Is there a way to send a private message? Good morning all.
        Peace, Falala

      • Only to me and only through the “Contact me” link. It goes to my email. Unfortunately, not to each other.

  26. falalalynx says:

    Good morning Goddesszens,

    TGIF! What a freaking week. Falala has gone off the rails. I found her writing a story. OMG! noooo. Yes I’m afraid so. I ‘think’ I have convinced her to let it go, I told her it was more than likely libelist but she keeps mumbling about “hatchet job” and taking down “MBH”. I have no idea what she’s talking about. Now she claims she’s going to do a deep dive and uncover the ‘truth’. It’s titled “Everybody’s Life Fits in a Box”. Do you have any idea what’s she’s talking about? I might have gotten her memory stick mixed up with another one. grin Oh no! and dropped in the toilet as I flushed it. Someone has to be the responsible one. I can’t even repeat what she said MBH stood for. Is this a new character in your story Goddess? Another evil villain? She can be very zealous in her defense of someone she cares for. We all are. grin Oh yes, who is Big Bertha and why would Falala want her to ‘handle’ MBH?

    Peace, Falala too

    • I’m going to honest and tell you that I’m THRILLED at the concept of you writing a story! The idea of reading a Falala production just has me all giddy inside!

      • falalalynx says:

        Goddess!!!! said with a whine

        M MY
        B BELLY
        H HURTS

        Here I was just riffing along down the silly stream when SPLASH! you went and threw a huge boulder in and created all these ripples. You do know that just about every other sentence I write is sarcastic right? I was trying to get a laugh out of you. I almost had a panic attack when I read your reply. I will disappoint my Goddess. I am no writer. omg! I need to regroup. I am doomed to fail my Goddess. regroup regroup retreat what to do what to do system failure powering down

      • Contrary to your belief, you are a writer. You write some of the funniest stuff I’ve ever seen. And if your talents are going to only be shared in our little circle of comments, that’s fine by me, but I’m still THRILLED at the concept. 😉

      • PS… sorry about the boulder, lol…

  27. Looneytoons says:

    Great chapter even tho I was banging my head and shouting at Christian to SHUT UP!!!!. Amazing as always can’t wait to see what happens

  28. VRBMariposa says:

    Wow Grace! I am glad that Addie knows that Courtney is still in Seattle; can’t wait to see what happens next though. Thanks for the entertainment 🙂

  29. Waleska says:

    Cuando C dejará de irse en contra de Ana por los demás. Nunca escucha o realmente apoya a Ana cuando se da este tipo de conflictos. O la apoyas y luego analizas di estuvo bien o no. Pero no la confrontado delante de todos y menos en su centro de trabajo. Grace no estuvo bien en inmiscuirse y no discutir el asunto de Courtney antes con Ana, sabiendo que es su Doctora. El dice que es su vida, pero en las cosas simples no piensa realmente en ella primero.

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