Happy Mother’s Day!
So, I simply delete smart-ass, snarky-ass, or disrespectful comments. I was addressing them at first, but with all that has gone on in my real life and the people I’ve lost—particularly as of late—and the things that I’ve gone through, this place over here is going to be completely drama-free for me. So, if I read the first three words, the first sentence, or whatever place where your comment looks like it’s going downhill, I stop reading and delete it. So, if you want to write an insult or something horrible or harmful just to see that shit on your own screen because you’re going to be the only one who sees it, then be my guest, because it’s immediate trash to me. I don’t read them anymore. The only drama on this page will be between the characters. Have a nice day! 😀
Falala will like this chapter. 😉
Danger—Aussie accent ahead. Turn away now.
All other previous disclaimers still apply.
Chapter 81—More Melbourne Mischief
After we spend a good two hours or more in the aquarium, my husband has the great idea to go to an indoor market for lunch and to look around. He knows that I hate shopping and if I’m aching for an indoor market, I have the Marketplace on Pike Street. Another market in Australia isn’t going to impress me.
Oh, dear God, was I wrong!
Now, I’m not besmirching my beloved Pike Place, but when you see wares from different places that aren’t what you’re accustomed to, you can’t help but get lost in the splendor.
Although I skip past the sport shops and vitamin stores, I wander into this clothing and accessory shop called Pussycat Black. They have a lot of wonderful handmade and local wares, most of it with a vintage flare. I’m not sure what the concept is in the store, but a lot of the items appear to be grossly overpriced. Now, apparently, these prices shouldn’t mean anything to me because I have money to burn. However, just because I can burn it doesn’t mean that I want to. Nonetheless, I wander around with my husband and my bodyguard in tow, seeing if there’s anything that catches my eye to entice me to part with my money.
I see this one dress on the wall that I think is really cute. When I approach to get a closer look at it, I see a picture of the dress on a model and the damn thing is horrendous.
I find a couple of pairs of handmade resin earrings and a bracelet that I like, and I decide to get them even though they’re overpriced, too. I decide that there’s nothing else in the store that I want and head for the cashier to pay for my earrings.
“That’s all you’re getting?” Christian asks. “I would have thought this would definitely be your type of store.” I shake my head.
“They have some very quaint items in here—things I might even be tempted to wear, but there’s no way in hell you’re going to get me to pay $129 for a striped T-shirt.” I point to the white T-shirt with horizontal stripes. “Who came up with that idea?” He raises a brow.
“Well, maybe they’re catering to a certain type of clientele, baby,” he says.
“Yes, I can see that,” I say, “the type of clientele who just spend money for the sake of spending it.” He shrugs and I turn to the cashier who’s looking at me a bit distastefully. I can’t be angry with her. I am talking about her job after all.
“That’ll be $167,” she says a bit impatiently. Christian frowns.
“I thought you just got earrings and a bracelet,” he says.
“I did,” I say, twisting my lips at him before turning back to the cashier. I pull out my Amex Black and hand it to her with a smile. Her expression is originally a bit put off… until I hand her the card. They never see the name on the card, they just see the card. Black has a name all its own.
Yeah, bitch, I can buy your entire inventory. I just don’t want it.
“Thank you, ma’am. Have a good day,” she says, handing me my card and my wares once they’ve been paid for and bagged.
“Thank you—you, too,” I reply with no malice before leaving.
A short while later, I’m in this trading post called Acanthus and it’s reminding me of that simpler time again, when I had just signed the papers on my condo and the kitchen was in the process of being redone. I only had the quirky, mismatched dishes from my college years and planned for the time when I would buy all new kitchenware, flatware, glassware, and cooking utensils and pans for my new gourmet kitchen. I see beautiful ceramic chargers and vintage glassware and hurricanes from Portugal, jewelry from Spain and Italy. However, the thing that has me spellbound with nostalgia is a set of ceramic dishes in a watermelon motif. They are the gaudiest things I’ve ever seen, and I buy the whole set—two platters, two bowls, three pitchers, everything… the entire awful thing.
As the vendor wraps my dishes and puts them in shopping bags for Ben to carry, I spot Christian coming out of a bookstore, but not just any bookstore… a cookbook store! I can’t help but wonder what the hell made him go in there. Then I remember that lovely dinner he made for me. I’m sure he had help, but all parties involved swear he did all the work. It doesn’t matter, though—the thought and the effort were delightful, and the dinner was delicious.
“What did you get?” I say, walking over to him and his shopping bag. He shamelessly reaches into his bag.
“They had a copy of the original Joy of Cooking from the 50’s. I thought Gail would get a real kick out of trying to teach me some of these,” he says with a laugh. “And I got these so that I wouldn’t be a total failure in the kitchen.” He shows me another book called Quick Easy Recipes Cookbook and a third one, Cooking Basic for Dummies. He’s really serious about this cooking thing.
“I could show you a recipe or two,” I offer coyly with a small shrug, “if you like.” He smiles.
“I think I’d like that a lot,” he says sincerely before planting a tender kiss on my forehead and taking my hand.
We walk by a shop called Lollie Lovers and I’m almost tempted to go inside—candy as far as the eye can see! Then, I suddenly have another flashback…
The Great Candy Caper of Anguilla.
Needless to say, I decide against going into Lollie Lovers.
Further into the marketplace, we stumble on a shop called Pompous Paws. It’s full of the cutest outfits for pets and I suddenly get the strangest urge.
“I want a pet, Christian,” I say, still looking inside the store, “besides the fish.”
“A pet?” he says in horror. “You want a pet? You mean something that has to be cleaned and chased and shits all over the house?” I turn and look at him.
“Yes,” I say firmly. “I want a pet. It’ll be good for the kids, too. We don’t have to decide on anything immediately, but keep it in mind—I want a pet.”
I walk ahead and look at the other shops. I’ve planted the seed, Mr. Grey, I’m not going to change my mind. The only questions to be answered here are what and when.
After I locate three lovely V-neck sweaters for Christian in The Cozy Possum, I realize that my wares will soon be more than I can carry, and I pop into a little store called By Avalon and purchase two shopping bags that serendipitously read, “Hooray!!! I remembered to bring my shopping bag.” I can’t decide if I like the black canvas with the white writing or the gray canvas with the black writing, so I buy one of each and continue with my shopping.
Apparently, they tease you with the shops near the door and their “quirky” resin jewelry and $130 T-shirts when the real gold mine is clearly further inside the marketplace. Allepo Style and Fabric Fever have silk and cashmere scarves and soft and luxurious textiles that go on and on for miles and will have me in beautiful wraps, wraparounds, and custom-made genie pants for a year! I’m trying not to go overboard as I choose meter after meter of gorgeous fabric and scarves and then wonder how I’m going to get it back… to wherever we’re going to take it. Just as I’m pondering my dilemma, I see Jason walking in my direction, but no Christian.
“Where’s Christian?” I ask when he closes the space between us.
“He’s in one of the shops over there,” he says. “Do… you need me to take something?”
“Yes, but where the hell are you going to take it?” I point to the pile of fabric building up at the cash register along with the scarves, sweaters, and dishes in poor Ben’s arms.
“Whoa,” Jason says under his voice. “Wait here… and carry on.”
Carry on what? I’ve got enough fabric here to—ooo, that’s pretty…!
A few minutes… and several more meters of fabric later, Jason and Christian return, each with a piece of rolling luggage.
“Jesus, what did you buy?” I ask. Christian holds up his shopping bag from the bookstore and one other shopping bag almost the same size, but I can’t tell what’s in it. I frown.
“Why the luggage, then?” I ask.
“These are for you,” he says.
“Oh, you’re not serious!” I say, affronted. “Are you being sarcastic right now?”
“Really?” Christian says in disbelief. “Let me think.” He pretends to ponder the situation, then points to the mountain of fabrics—that has actually grown since I spoke to Jason.
“Yeah, no,” he says firmly. I twist my lips at him.
“Asshole,” I say, turning away from him.
“Have you paid for these yet?” Jason asks, looking at the stack of fabrics.
“No,” I reply petulantly.
“Give her your card,” Christian says. I glare at him. Reading my expression appropriately, he adds, “I didn’t say you had to stop shopping. I said, ‘give her your card.’” I twist my lips again and hand the cashier my card who smiles at me accommodating. I think I’ve bought enough anyway.
“So, you’re just going to drag all this stuff around?” I ask as the cashier begins the tedious process of ringing me up and folding the fabric.
“No,” Jason says, “As soon as the boss told me where you were, I secured a car.” Okay, now I am perturbed.
“So, you were just so positive that I would go overboard?” All three men raise bemused glares to me. Jason grabs the first stack of folded fabrics.
“Was I wrong?” he asks with sarcastic blinks.
He’s got me fucking dead to rights and I hate it! I’m standing there pouting for a while until my eyes catch the most beautiful and brilliant flashes of blue. It’s almost as if the world falls away and I’m floating across the marketplace to the magnificent creations that make these really cute and expensive resin pieces that I bought earlier look like cheap pieces of plastic.
This ungodly beautiful creation called opals.
Dear God, I’ve died and gone to jewelry heaven. I don’t remember seeing anything this exquisite since I first saw the Chanel collection. How much of this will Christian let me buy?
I have no idea how long I’m in this booth talking to this vendor about the different kinds of opals—black opals, white opals, fire opals, boulder opals, crystal opals; solid opals vs doublets or triplets. Before the conversation is over, I’ve fallen in love with three sets of earrings, six pendants, four rings, and a bracelet… but I’m a bit stunned that everything is labelled “simple and classic,” yet priced upwards of $3,200 each!
Christian and Jason have taken the luggage with my latest acquisitions out to the car while Ben stands nearby as I shop. Christian most likely has my Amex and I’m going to have to justify this purchase when he gets back. The stones are all the same, but different, and I don’t know which ones I want. The thought of putting any of them back is sheer torment!
I’m trying to make my choices before the men come back to the booth, but it’s agonizing. The opal ring with the red in it is the hardest to find and most sought-after, but the cuts that have the combination deep-blue with iridescent green stones are so stunning. And the pendant with the sunshine yellow burst—I haven’t seen another piece like that in the entire booth! Then I have so many rings and earrings… one bracelet, I think, so I can probably keep that one. I’m toiling over which ones to reject when I see my husband’s arm extending over my shoulder handing a credit card to the vendor.
“Which ones, sir?” the vendor asks.
“All of them,” he says without flinching. I’m certain that I’m standing there with the deer-caught-in-headlights look right now. Christian turns his attention to me.
“You were right about the resin jewelry and the T-shirt. This?” he says, gesturing to the exquisitely beautiful array of jewelry laid out over the counter. “You want this.” He turns back to the vendor.
“Ring ‘em up. Nice boxes, too, please,” he says.
“Yes, sir, of course,” the vendor says gladly. Christian turns back to me.
“Sometimes, you remember who we are, and sometimes I think you forget,” he says. “There’s nothing that you want that you can’t have as long as we don’t have to kill someone or overthrow governments to get it… even stinky pets.”
At first, I feel very contrite, and then I feel warm all over.
“How do I say, ‘thank you’ without turning into a sappy, overexuberant pile of goo?” I ask.
“You just did,” he smiles before leaning down and placing a soft kiss on my lips. “Now, we’ve got a choice. We can go down to that last street down there and see what other things we can spend our money on, or I’ve just learned that there’s a food tour that’s about to begin. I’ve bribed one of the guides to let us slip in and tastes the sensations of the Market, or there’s probably a café or something…”
“Food tour!” I exclaim before he finishes his sentence. He laughs and leads me over to the food area… one of them anyway.
Where to begin?
The booths in the food court and meat alley are so unassuming, but dear God—so much food and the majority of it is produced locally! Let’s start with what I call the “Pesto Bar…” Every variety of olive—pitted, sliced or stuffed—in creation and “pestos” of any kind that you can imagine and even some that you can’t!
Beetroot, tzatziki, olive and eggplant, smoked salmon, something with feta, regular hummus, spinach and pine nuts…
Some of the combinations are like, “why would you do this?” But they were delicious!
We pass by a tea hut and the fragrances are divine. The tea is sold in bulk and I see apple pie tea, Eva’s organic yummy-tummy tea, velvety vanilla chai tea, sleepy slumber tea, and cold and flu tea—complete with a warning to seek medical advice for colds. I take notes as we were passing the bulk spices to see which ones may be available at the Marketplace in Seattle and which ones I may want to have imported. I’m thinking that I might want to start doing some cooking again. I’m missing F&L Ana and I need to get her back.
This of course has me looking at the various fancy cookware available, but I won’t look to that until I know exactly what we have at the Crossing first.
Over to Dianne’s Delights we wander and the apparent “queen” of the antipasto. Oh, dear Lord, the taste sensations here! More marinated olives, fresh falafel and tabouli, Tasmanian smoked salmon, marinated bocconcini, and peppers and deli meats stuffed with the creamiest and most delicious cheeses.
Next, we have a lobster ravioli tasting at the Pasta Shop, then on to the French Shop for tastings of exotic cheeses, including Saint Angel Triple Cream and Truffle Brie.
Truffle Brie… $120 per kilogram! Who the fuck are they feeding???
Nonetheless, I get to taste this heavenly cow’s milk from the gods during the tour along with divine marinated artichokes and amaretto figs before we head over to the Polish Deli for more delicious deli meats coupled with some French Ciabatta from Andrew’s Specialty Gourmet Breads. Now, I don’t know who my husband bribed, but I get the feeling that we’re getting a bit more than what’s normally on the tour because I’m getting healthy pieces of meat and large chunks of bread, and I didn’t see anybody else get any of that truffle Brie.
But who am I to complain?
We make our way down the meat and fish hall where all the fresh food is butchered. I could have gone my whole life without seeing the giant head of a raw salmon freshly butchered. While I appreciate the work that goes into providing these fresh foods from local growers and farms, I’m not that keen on seeing the preparation process in that much detail. It’s a good thing I’m not particularly squeamish, a point that was put to the test when I saw the fresh lamb brains.
Once we get past the indoor slaughterhouse… okay, I’m being dramatic, but still… we get to chomp on some fresh fruits and nuts.
Outside, we get fresh, hot doughnuts from the doughnut truck before we all sit down to a lovely board of fresh cut cheese, exotic fruits, and delicious wine at the outdoor picnic area where the organic fruits are sold. And thus ends our tour.
“That was utterly delightful,” I say as I finish my wine. I lean in to my husband. “I’m not crazy, am I?” I say. “We got a little extra on this tour, didn’t we?” He does that back-and-forth kind of nod.
“The coordinator might have recognized me,” he admits. I frown.
“American?” I ask. He shakes his head.
“Australian, but he knows who I am.” He finishes his wine. I sit for a moment and enjoy the sunshine, doing a little people watching. When I look back at Christian, he’s staring at me… maybe through me, I’m not sure. His mind is definitely somewhere else.
“Christian?” I say his name trying to get his attention. A slight eye movement indicates that I’ve broken his daydream.
“Are you having a good time?” he asks. That’s a strange question to come out of nowhere.
“Yes,” I say. “I went a little crazy in the marketplace, but yes, I’m enjoying myself immensely.”
“A little crazy?” he chuckles. “I can’t wait to see what you’re going to do with all those fabrics.”
“Fabrics,” I say incredulously as if testing the word.
“Yes, fabrics,” he repeats. “When Jason pointed you out and I saw the stack before you were even half-done, I knew that we’d be checking some more luggage.”
“Fabrics!” I repeat. “I easily bought nearly $50,000 in opals and you’re more impressed by the fabrics?” He twists his lips.
“We spent more than that on one piece at Chanel in Paris,” he points out. “You could’ve bought the whole damn store for all I was concerned.”
“Wow,” I say, shaking my head. “More money than sense.”
“It had nothing to do with the money,” he says, moving closer to me and putting his arm around my waist so that no one can hear our conversation. “It’s your eyes.” I examine him curiously.
“My eyes?” I question. He nods.
“When you were paying for your fabrics, you completely floated over to that booth and forgot all about your current purchase and your card—don’t do that again, by the way.”
What was the harm? I knew he and Jason were still there putting the fabrics and scarves in the suitcases, and the cashier wasn’t going to let them walk away without ringing me up. It was a simultaneous process, and he would have to sign the receipt, so I knew he would see the card. Nonetheless…
“Then, I was walking over to you at the booth, you were looking at those pieces with a longing and admiration that I can’t explain, and I knew that you were trying to decide which ones you were going to put back. But most of all…”
He slides over so that our hips are touching, and I suddenly feel very warm… again.
“Those stones were stunning,” he says, his mouth so close to my face that I can feel his warm breath on my neck and the shell of my ear. “The blues in some of those pieces… they’re perfect! Like your eyes… right at that moment…”
His lips gently brush the skin of my neck before his tongue burns a trail up to my ear. I shiver as he licks around the shell of my ear, then whimper at the feeling of his mouth closing gently over my lobe. A jolt shoots through me when he sucks it into his mouth and gives it a sensual nip.
“Stop,” I whisper helplessly. I don’t have a spare pair of panties with me, Mr. Grey.
“I will,” he says, giving my earlobe one final suck and kiss, “for now, but tonight… you’re all mine!”
I take in a deep breath and release, his promise hanging in the air between us.
“Now, Mrs. Grey,” he says, putting only a little space between us. “What would you like to do next?”
“Well, I know Jaxon and the girl at the market both said something about ‘Fed Square,’ so let’s give that a shot.” He nods and stands from the table.
“Fed Square it is,” he says, taking my hand and helping me up from my seat. The parking lot isn’t very far away, and Jason leads us to a black Cadillac SRX parked there.
Well, that’s not pretentious at all.
Anyway, we climb inside and about 15 minutes later, he drops us at Federation Square. When I step out of the SUV, I’m captivated by a beautiful church literally right across the street.
“Is that St. Paul’s Cathedral?” I ask, pointing at the church.
“Yeh, sheila,” a passerby says without stopping.
“We may not have enough time to do both,” Christian warns. “Our flight to Adelaide leaves in a few hours.” Hmm…
“If we only have time for one, I think I’d rather see the cathedral,” I tell him. I can imagine just more shopping, photo ops, and site-seeing in Fed Square. I’d rather have the photo ops in St. Paul’s.
There are no services going on right now, so the photo ops are endless. There are people just chilling outside on the balustrades like college kids milling around the student center having lunch. Even though I’m about to enter what is clearly a very majestic temple, you know that you’re visiting a place that truly belongs to the citizens of the city.
The plaque just outside the door proudly boasts that the stonework of the church was restored between 1963 and 1967 and the undertaking was made possible by “gifts of the churchpeople and other citizens.” Yeah, it belongs to the people.
So, let’s start with the 15-foot-tall stained-glass doors. Honestly, I don’t know how tall they are, but the guy standing in front of the door wasn’t even half as tall as the door and he’s an easy six feet. You can easily make out the depiction of the four books of the Gospel in the beautiful stained glass, which casts a welcome light into the large sanctuary.
There are all kinds of historical bits and pieces to be seen here and heard there, but with a limited amount of time ahead of me, I’m more interested in the features and the stunning architecture.
There are amazing stained-glass windows throughout with intricate dedication plaques detailing to whom the windows are dedicated. There are numerous other plaques commemorating the lives and contributions of several other citizens, not only to the church, but to the commonwealth as well, including but not limited to the lives lost in wars throughout the years. One such plaque honors the shipmates of the H.M.A.S Australia who were killed in action during World War II, all of the plaques marked with the profound words, “Lest we forget.”
The detail in the architecture is a thing of wonder—the stories in the glass windows and the Narthex screen; the eight-point Persian tile that boasts eight titles for the Messiah; the majestic columns of the nave and the intricate carvings in the pulpit and the archbishop’s throne. The floors are made of imported granite, marble, and alabaster tiles and the lectern at the altar is an impressive brass eagle that holds a large bible on its back. Even the large baptism immersion font off to the right is a sunken pool of luxurious marble.
The Chapel of the Ascension is marked for quiet prayer and spiritual meditation. As I enter this seemingly sacred space, I can’t help but think of that scene from that movie from the 50’s with Deborah Kerr and Cary Grant in An Affair to Remember, when he visits his grandmother and Kerr’s character takes a moment to pray in the chapel.
I finally tire of looking at the collection of plates and cushions utilized by different Australian dignitaries and decide to take a seat in the main sanctuary to rest my feet. The pews are much more comfortable than I expected them to be.
Ben informs us that Jason has procured something for them to eat since they didn’t partake in the foodie tour with us and asked if we were going to be leaving the sanctuary anytime soon. Christian assures him that we will stay here and rest until they have finished their meal, which they will be eating just outside the door on the balustrades where I noticed others sitting when we entered. We won’t have enough time to see Federation Square before we have to go to the airport, so we just relax here in the sanctuary.
My mind wanders to the conversations that Laura and I had and the many things I want to change when I get home—my way of thinking and handling things; the press and all the horrible things they say about me and my family; all the preconceived notions which, contrary to what we had hoped, had truly not been dispelled by the exposé we did a while back.
We put our children and our lives in the spotlight for nothing as far as I’m concerned. Yes, a few people have called and requested to become part of the complaint and investigation that I hope to lodge on the licensing board, and I don’t know the extent of the donations and such that can measurably be attributed to the interview, but overall, it seems to just have brought more vermin out of the woodwork. I’ll have to do what I can to combat its effects while trying to decide what other steps I need to take in my screwed-up life. It all seems pretty clear now—the path and steps that I need to take—when just a few days before, it seemed so mottled…
“There’s a reason why Jason has to be so detached when we’re out of the country.”
Whe… wha… huh? Where did that come from?
I look over at my husband who’s gazing ahead at the altar… at least I think he’s looking at the altar.
“What?” I ask bemused.
“There’s a reason why Jason has to be so detached when we’re out of the country,” he repeats. “You never know what’s lurking around the corner, especially when you’re in a foreign country. When you start exchanging the type of money that I do, you’re either very talented or you’re corrupt. I’ve run into both—the latter more than I’d like to admit.”
I don’t say anything. It’s not like I really know how to respond to that.
“I sprung it on him last minute… going to Madrid. He had no time to prepare. I don’t even know how he was able to get the plane cleared and in the air so quickly for an overseas flight.”
I’m not sure I want to hear this right now, but for some reason, he needs to tell me.
“We didn’t know what we were walking into, and I didn’t care. I was reckless and foolhardy, feeling the old Christian Grey that didn’t need anything or anybody—at least that’s what I was trying to get myself to believe. It’s very hard to explain what was going through my mind… or wasn’t going through my mind. Thoughts of my life in Seattle, my babies, you… they were physically painful, so I just… didn’t.”
I fight the tears burning in my eyes. I’ve cried enough over this situation, and I’m resolved not to cry over it anymore.
“I was so hard and cold, I didn’t recognize myself, but I focused on that feeling, that demeanor, and it turned out that I needed it. Capito is a crook, and I may have found it out eventually, but I certainly wouldn’t have found it out had I not surprised him in Madrid.”
So… what’s the thrust—I’m supposed to be grateful that you ran out on your family, your wife and children, because it saved you from a bad business deal?
“I requested to see the factory that he was holding out on. He took us on a wild goose chase to keep us from getting to the factory. He was leading us outside of the cellular signal area and we had to think fast or possibly end up out in the fields somewhere cut off from civilization.”
Uh-oh… I’m not liking the sound of that.
“Jason’s fast thinking and incredible bluffing skills got us out of that situation, but we still weren’t out of the woods yet…”
He stares straight ahead the entire time he tells me about the trip to the tiny little sweat shop this guy Capito took him to and I’m still waiting for the reason Jason couldn’t at least let me in on where they were and that everything was okay…
And that’s because everything was not okay.
“We’re on our way back to the hotel when Jason notices that we’re being followed. Once again, he has to think quickly to keep us from ending up in a ditch somewhere…”
A ditch somewhere…?
“We had no backup, it was just me and Jason as backup was at the factory waiting for us to arrive, which we never did. It was like something out of a spy movie. We’re flying down these narrow streets, swerving and curving at breakneck speeds, coming up with an immediate plan while flying through the streets of Madrid. We didn’t know who was in that car and we didn’t know what they wanted. We only knew that they didn’t care that we were aware that they were following us. We put enough distance between ourselves and the car to dash into an alley and jump out, armed with our Glocks…”
Oh, dear God!
“We had seconds to duck into a couple of nearby doorways before they were right behind us jumping out of their car. I was trying to remember everything Ray taught me in a split second because it was coming down to this moment.”
Even though it’s in the past and he’s alright, sitting here in front of me whole and well, my heart is racing as I anxiously await the outcome of the confrontation.
“I wasn’t taking any chances,” he says. “The guy on my side the of alley saw my Glock before he saw me. I had the fu—…” He pauses, no doubt remembering that he’s in a church. “I had that thing aimed right between his eyes. He could probably look down the barrel and tell you the brand name of the bullet in the chamber. Had he sneezed wrong, his brains would have been splattered all over that alley.”
I’m trying so hard not to lose my cool as he recounts this story to me. He’s right—this is one really bad cops-and-robbers tale.
His eyes are still transfixed in front of him as he recalls that day in Madrid.
“I guess the other guy was too focused on me because Jason had time to come out of his hiding place and plant his Glock right in the guy’s skull. It turns out that they weren’t armed, thank God, or if they were, they never had time to pull their weapons.
“Jason speaks Spanish and he said something to the other guy—I have no idea what. The only word I recognized was amigo. The guy says something about Capito wanted them to make sure that we got to our hotel. Of course, he did. He didn’t want us to take any detours because we knew where the real factory was. We just didn’t know what the real factory was.”
I already know this is bad news.
“Once we ‘convinced’ our escorts that we were okay to find our way back on our own, we made plans to meet Cox and Williams at the factory that night. When we got there…”
He stops talking and I turn to him, waiting for him to continue the tale. He doesn’t.
“What, Christian?” I ask, urging him to finish the story.
“I’d like to know why nearly every major operation or successful venture that I’ve seen over the past couple of years has some kind of ties to human cargo,” he says, his voice low. Oh, dear God, what did he see?
“Young girls,” he says. “They were loading young girls into trucks. The building was outfitted just for this. When we saw the plans, we thought they were barracks for sleeping between shifts. They were dorms… storage dorms…” He trails off again.
“Oh, my God,” I breathe. He swallows hard.
“There were four of us, each with a Glock. There were at least four guys on that loading dock. We’re certain there were more in the truck and definitely more inside the warehouse for the number of girls they were moving. Best case scenario, we’re outnumbered, and we get into a shoot-out with several guys who have guns just like ours and we all end up dead. Worst case scenario, they have semi-automatic assault rifles and we all end up dead along with several young girls. There was nothing we could do.”
He shakes his head and continues the story without turning left or right.
“We hauled ass out of there before we were discovered, and I helplessly turned the information over to Alex to contact the proper authorities. I thought about the families of these poor girls and just for a brief moment…”
He pauses again.
“That was the first time I thought of you, even for a second… but I was an asshole, and it was only for a second. I refocused back on the situation at hand—on Capito and the hotel and what was right in front of me right at the moment… as did Jason. Our sanctuary was that hotel suite. That’s when he could talk to his wife and his daughter, let his guard down and find out what was going on back home… back home…”
His voice trails off for a moment, then he clears his throat.
“I detached,” he admits. “I couldn’t feel or think about feeling while I was there. There was too much anger—too much rage, and even though I didn’t know it at the time, so much danger. I didn’t really feel anything else until my mother called wanting to know what was going on and told me about your fall. That’s when I demanded that Jason tell me everything.
“And he did.
“He knew every single detail from your first, teary-eyed phone call to the hours you spent in the window seat in the twins’ room to the very moment you moved to the guest room. He knew that I left, but he never knew why. He managed to compartmentalize all this information, but still stayed laser-focused to keep me safe as I went blindly chasing after danger. He knew everything that was going on with you every second from the other side of the world and when I asked for it, he gave me every detail. He’s a professional. He had to remain professional. He had to keep his mind clear, or any one of those situations could have very well ended in our demise.
“I just wanted you to know that he wasn’t ignoring you,” he continues. “He didn’t disregard your feelings or what you were going through back in Seattle. He had to protect me—really protect me, and his task required incredible focus and skill. Under the circumstances, he had to trust the staff in Seattle to take care of you and the twins. He couldn’t protect us both, or I may not have come back alive.” He turns to look at me for the first time in the entire conversation. “I just wanted you to know.”
I swallow hard at the thought that Jason had to be Christian’s veritable eyes and ears in an unknown situation that turned out to be quite dangerous and could have been worse had he stumbled into that warehouse.
“Thank you for telling me,” I say, my voice cracking. He entwines his fingers with mine and kisses the back of my hand. I quickly wipe a tear from my cheek with the other one.
Butterfly and I have been sitting in silence in the sanctuary of St. Paul’s Cathedral for quite some time now—I’m not really sure how long. She didn’t ask me any questions about the details of Madrid. She never has, really, and this time was no different. I have no idea why I told her this story, especially after Laura explained her version of the Boogeyman to me. God, I hope I haven’t inadvertently opened a proverbial can of worms.
I look over my shoulder and see Jason and Lawrence standing a few pews behind us in the middle aisle of the church—close enough for us to hear them, but far enough to give us some privacy.
“I’m sorry to interrupt, sir, but we really should be getting to the airport,” he says. I nod and look over at Butterfly, who’s staring ahead at the same altar I used to give me strength to tell her that terrible story.
“Are you okay?” I ask. She takes a shuddering breath and releases it before she nods and stands. She put her bag on her shoulder and proceeds a few steps down the aisle until she’s face-to-face with Jason. Looking up into his eyes, she stands on her toes and plants a kiss on his cheek. My friend and head of security is quite nonplussed as his brow furrows and he looks over at me.
“Just say ‘thank you,’” I instruct him. Jason touches his cheek and raises one brow.
“Thank you,” he says to Butterfly, his voice rising at the end as if he’s asking a question.
“Thank you,” she says softly, wrapping her arms around his waist and pulling him close to her. He looks at me puzzled and I simply gesture to him to return the hug. He shrugs and returns the hug.
“Whatever it is, you’re welcome, Your Highness.”
We land in Adelaide at just before 10pm. We didn’t bother eating on the plane because I have plans for us when we get to the hotel.
We check into the penthouse suites of the Peppers Waymouth Hotel with our weekend luggage and the items that I retrieved from the shops in Melbourne. Butterfly is a bit more introspective than I like and I’m hoping I haven’t completely soured her mood with my tale of the events of Madrid.
I dismiss Jason and Lawrence to their suite and head to the bathroom. It’s too late to call Seattle and talk to the twins, so I call down to the front desk to prepare the meal I ordered for our arrival and begin to set up the en suite.
I begin a bath in the large sunken tub with essential lemongrass oil and chamomile bubble bath I acquired from the Marketplace. I set various candles on the ridge of the tub and once the water begins to rise and the aroma fills the bathroom, I raise the shade that separates the bedroom from the bathtub to reveal the ambient light through the glass between the rooms. Butterfly stands frozen gazing through the glass at me as I finish the preparations in the en suite. I watch her sit on the bed facing the glass and place her hands daintily in her lap. When the steam from the bath causes the window to fog, I lean forward and wipe the condensation from the glass and smile at her. She graces me with a coy smile of her own.
I leave the bathroom and as I’m about to proceed to her, the bell rings for the door.
“Stay put,” I say. She smiles and I leave the bedroom, go through the living room and answer the front door. The bellhop brings in a chilled local champagne with strawberries and two glasses and informs me that our special meal will be ready in about twenty minutes. That’s plenty of time to bathe my Butterfly and set up the bedroom.
Leaving the champagne on the dining table, I go back to the bedroom and help my Butterfly off the bed.
“How do you feel?” I ask. She nods.
“I feel fine,” she says softly. I nod back. Hopefully, her melancholy has passed, but I’m going to do my best to make her feel good.
I unzip her dress and allow it to drop down her hips. She pushes it off and it falls to the floor. I pick it up and lay it across the chair, then turn my attention to her strapless bra. The pads are a bit moist inside when I undo it, so I know that her breasts are heavy with milk and need to be relieved. I instruct her to walk to the en suite, which she does, still clad in her blue denim wedges and a pair of white, lacy French cut panties. I watch her walk for a few steps, then follow her into the bathroom.
“Have a seat,” I instruct, and she sits on the side of the bathtub. I crouch down and undo her shoes, removing them one by one. She doesn’t take her eyes off me and her lips part as her breath quickens and her hair falls over her shoulders. I don’t want it to get wet, so I reach into my bag of wares from the Marketplace and pull out an expandable butterfly clip. It wasn’t what I had in mind when I asked the cashier for a butterfly clip, but she assured me that with the length of Butterfly’s hair, this one would work better.
She was right.
I fashion my wife’s hair into a simple bun like the cashier told me and gently secure the teeth of one comb on each side of the bundled mass of hair, capturing the bun in the elastic bands between each comb. I’m proud of my accomplishment, especially since this is my first time doing it.
“Come,” I beckon, and she stands for me. I push her tiny panties down her legs and take her hand as she steps into the bath.
“Too hot?” I ask as she appears to flinch when her feet touch the water. She shakes her head.
“No,” she purrs, “it’s perfect.” She takes the sides of the tub and slides that luscious body down into the water, moaning the entire time, and I have to coax my cock to behave. I didn’t think to get any kind of bath pillow for her, so I roll one of the bath towels into a bolster and position it behind her head.
“Comfortable?” I ask. She nods.
“Yes, but my milk is going to start expressing on its own in a minute…”
“That’s okay,” I tell her. “It’s good for the bath and I’m sure you need relief.” Not that I’m complaining, but her breasts literally spilled from that bra when I released them. She nods.
“I do,” she concurs, sinking into the tub. I smile.
“I’ll be right back.” I leave the room and go to the dining room. I retrieve the champagne and glasses first, taking them to the en suite before going back for the strawberries. I pour a glass for my lady and proceed to feed her a few strawberries while she relaxes in the tub. With my free hand, I gently stroke each of her breasts, allowing the tender caress and the hot water to coax the milk from her heavy glands. The bubbles dissipate a little as they mix with the milk, but Butterfly doesn’t seem to mind. I know I don’t.
After a few minutes of fondling my wife’s breasts and feeding her strawberries, I refill her champagne glass and take to the task of cleaning that beautiful body. I remove my pants and shirt, but remain in my boxer briefs and sit on the edge of the tub, my feet in the water with her. I start with her feet and begin to scrub the grit of the day away with a bath sponge. I move up her legs to her calves, her knees, her thighs. I skip to her shoulders, her arms, her chest and breasts, her back…
Once she has finished her second glass of champagne, I help her stand and gently scrub the rest of her back, her beautiful ass, that luscious peach at the junction of her thighs. She’s thoroughly aroused as I use the sponge to rinse her clean, squeezing the water over her skin to rinse away the rest of the bubbles. I step out of the tub first, then help her out and wrap her in a bath blanket, pleased that I managed not to get her hair wet.
“Do you need your breast pump, or are you okay?” I ask as I dry her body. She reaches up and takes one of her breasts in her hand and gives it a gentle squeeze. A few drops of milk gather on the nipple and drip down to the floor…
And my mouth waters.
I can’t help but lean down and take the soft, pink thing in my mouth, licking the sweet nectar from her skin. She moans involuntarily and I realize that I don’t want to take her all the way to the edge just yet. I pop her nipple out of my mouth and kiss it gently before bringing my eyes to hers.
“Breast pump, I think,” she breathes, “just for a bit, they’re… kind of light… just not empty.”
Okay… I have to get this woman set up on her breast pump right this second or my plans for seduction are going to be shot down the tubes by the instant need to fuck! I instruct her to have a seat on the banquette bench and I help her get the breast pump attached before I kiss her and leave the en suite. I take a deep breath to compose myself once I’m on the other side of the door, then I proceed to the closet with the extra linens to get another bath blanket.
It’s a good thing, too, because while I’m standing there, the doorbell to the suite rings again. It’s most likely our dinner and I’m standing here in my skivvies. I reach into the linen closet to get a towel and find a terrycloth robe folded in there.
I retrieve another bath blanket before donning the robe and answering the door.
“Your meal, sir,” the bellhop says, standing at the door and awaiting instructions. “Where would you like it?”
“You can just bring it inside,” I say, walking away from the door and going to the bedroom to retrieve my wallet. I get a glance of my wife through the glass in the bathroom. She has switched the breast pump to the other breast.
Don’t stand here too long, Grey. There’s a hot meal waiting in the next room…
The other hot meal… in the other next room.
I pull the door shut and return to the living room.
“Thanks,” I say, handing him a bill out of my wallet.
“Thank you, sir!” he says, happily, and I assume I gave him a hundred. Once he’s gone, I put the bath blanket on the rolling table carrying the food and roll it into the bedroom.
Let’s see if we can catch lightning in a bottle twice.
I lay the bath blanket over the bed and place my other essential oils on the nightstand— muscle and joint oil for her shoulders, back, and feet; unscented body and massage oil for those delicate places; and jasmine for some aroma therapy. I go to the bathroom to retrieve her and she’s just rinsing her breast pump.
“There wasn’t much milk in them, but I just wanted to be sure not to make a mess,” she says. I take her face in my hands.
“It’s never a mess, baby,” I say. “You nourish our children with those two miracles, and when we’re alone, I think it’s very sexy.” I kiss her gently and pick up her champagne glass. “Your glass is empty,” I say filling it again.
“Are you trying to get me drunk, Mr. Grey?” she says.
“No, just relaxed,” I say, taking her hand and leading her to the bedroom. If I can get her into half the amorous state she was in when we were in Napa, I will have achieved my goal. Here’s hoping.
I sit her down on the bed and retrieve the candles from the bathroom, placing them strategically around the bedroom before lighting two sticks of lotus incense in burners. When I look over at her, she has finished what’s left of her champagne and the candlelight flickers off her face while casting yet another ambient glow around the room. She looks ethereal, but this time, I’m going to feed her before I ravish her. I remove my robe and join her on the bed.
I uncover the plates and trays for dinner and I’m very pleased with what I find—cracked lobster claws and split lobster tails with mushroom quinoa risotto, prosciutto-wrapped green beans, Brussels sprouts tossed with pomegranate, and fresh herb Italian bread with sweet cream butter, all accompanied by a local Moet. I pour her a glass of Moet and hand it to her. Then, I begin feeding us both from the healthily-stacked plates of lobster.
“Mmm,” she purrs, “That’s superb.”
“I’m very glad you like it,” I reply. I taste the lobster myself and I must agree, it’s very good. “I hope the day was enjoyable for you.”
“It was,” she agrees. “I had a wonderful time at the aquarium and tasting the food in the Marketplace was a real treat.” I feed her more of the lobster and Brussels sprouts with pomegranate. “I never would have thought to combine those two, but that’s a very tasty combination,” she declares. I taste the combination.
“Hmm,” I say, “I’m not really a pomegranate man, but the way they seasoned and combined it, it’s really delicious.”
I continue to feed her and myself from all the dishes as we talk about everything and nothing. Some of our topics are humorous while others lean to the serious side. Nothing has soured my lady’s mood, thank God. We finish dinner and the bottle of Moet and move on to dessert. I chose two local favorites each for a separate taste sensation. First, we indulge in a tipsy cake, a pudding-like scone topped with caramelized fruit and brandy sauce and accompanied by a slice of roasted pineapple. In the words of my Butterfly, it’s divine.
The second confection—or combination of confections—is called sticks and stones. It consists of a mixture of chocolate bark, charcoal passionfruit pebbles, chocolate “soil,” crunchy chocolate twigs, and hazelnut custard.
“Lie down,” I instruct once we’ve finished our desserts. I help her get comfortable on her stomach and remove the butterfly clip from her hair, fanning it over the pillow and away from her body.
To my delight, there are more adult toy stores around Queen Victoria Market than I ever would have known. I didn’t find any in the market, but there were a couple that were just a few blocks away, so I was able to procure a few items to assist with tonight’s activities. I retrieve my goody bag from its hiding place along with a couple of hand towels from the en suite and remove the blindfold inside. We really didn’t need a blindfold—we could use just about anything, but I wanted one anyway… blue, like her eyes. I slide it over her head and adjust it on her eyes, telling her to relax.
Of course, we can’t have a massage without music, but I didn’t think about that until this moment. I retrieve my phone and open Pandora and type in the words “baby making music.” Some kid starts singing about his girl going to the club and I’m not sure that’s what I want until I listen for a minute and the song slows down talking about dancing in slow motion.
New music—hmm. I need to plan better next time, but I’ll just let this station play and hope for the best. I swear to God, I’ll throw that damn phone against the wall if it fucks up our mood.
I won’t deny myself the pleasure of feeling her hot soft skin against my cock, so I quickly remove my boxer briefs before I straddle her thighs.
I rub a mixture of the joint oil and the jasmine oil between my hands and begin a deep soothing massage on her shoulders and back. She moans her approval as I work my way down her spine to the small of her back, outlining little flowers and shapes on her tattoo while gently kneading and massaging away any lingering stresses from the day.
I masterfully use my fingertips and knuckles up and down the muscles of her back until she’s putty and mush on top of the bath blanket. I re-oil my hands and bring them down to her ass cheeks, massaging and kneading and coating her glorious derrière in the lightly scented oil. My God, her ass looks heavenly. I spread the oil into the crease and between her cheeks. I stay away from her core—for now—as I don’t want the scented oil to irritate that luscious pearl, but I thoroughly anoint her inner cheeks and rosette and watch her lick her lips as I stimulate the bundle of nerves.
I move off her thighs and kneel next to her, spreading the oil over her legs and thighs moving quickly to her feet. She sounds almost orgasmic as I apply pressure to the balls and heels, then sensually run my nail up the arch. She nearly leaps off the bed with that move.
So far, the music is cooperating with me as another sultrier tune begins and I strategically travel back up her legs, kneading and massaging the oil into the front and backs of her calves, then just the backs of her knees and the backs and insides of her thighs, paying a little extra attention to that one spot behind her knee that’s attached to her pleasure center. I push her legs apart just a bit, just enough, then continue my massage up the back of her thighs, cupping the crease right under her cheeks for my own enjoyment before teasing the top of her ass crack once more.
Once I’m satisfied that the oil is massaged well enough into her skin, I retrieve more items from the goodie bag—intimate wipes to clean my hands and to clean the items I want to use. I retrieve the next surprise from my goodie bag, clean it with the wipes and dry my hands, anointing both with the unscented oil before I move back to that beautiful ass.
I open her ass cheeks and circle her rosette with my oily finger. She gasps and it clenches ever so slightly, so I massage it again in sensual circles. Her hands clench on the pillows, then release as her back arches and her ass rises only slightly toward me.
Fuck, I’m getting hard.
As her ass rises towards me, I slide my hand between her legs so that my oily fingers run across her clit. She gasps loudly and mewls as I tease her gently, long slides with my oily hand. I feel her clit hardening and I don’t want her to come yet, so I slow my strokes and soften the pressure. I move my hand to her inner thigh so that my oily fingertips gently massage the aroused skin of her clit. Her breath is heavy and so sensual. I see gooseflesh rise on her back when I press my thumb between her cheeks and breach the opening of her rosette.
She moans quick and quietly, and I know that she’s enjoying herself. I am, too… watching her beautiful body respond to my ministrations and massages. I press my oily thumb a little deeper into her asshole and move my fingertips to the opening of her core. My fingers circle at both openings, preparing them for what I have planned next, and she squirms with pleasure, trying to control herself at the same time.
No need to control yourself, baby. I’m going to make you come—several times.
When her breathing has become panting, I take the oiled butt plug lying next to us and gently begin to push it inside of her. She takes a deep breath and I pause with the entry, pushing my middle fingers deeper into her pussy while massaging her clit with my index finger.
“You okay?” I breathe, almost unable to control myself.
“Yes!” she pants. “Keep going.”
Music to my ears.
I push the butt plug in a little further, and a little further, and a little further still, until her sexy ass swallows it and the blue jewel sits out over her rosette.
Fuck, I’m going to make you come so hard.
I push my whole hand between her legs from behind so that the middle finger runs back and forth over her clit while the index and third fingers massage her lips and the sides of her clit. She’s writhing and moaning in so much pleasure and her skin begins to flush. Too soon, but I continue the stroke bringing her right to the edge before I stop the stimulation.
“Please,” she mewls.
“Ssshhh,” I soothe, rubbing her inner thighs. “Don’t worry, baby… I’ll take care of you.” She takes a deep breath and relaxes into the bed. She was so close, it was cruel to pull her back like that. I’ll give her the first orgasm.
I open her legs a little more and straddle one of her legs so that she can’t close them, and it gives me such a beautiful bird’s eye view of her oily and wet, hot pink and ready pussy. I stick my hand into that hot, delicious mess and plunge my thumb into her core.
“Ah! Oh, God!” she cries out as she nearly leaps off the bed. The fingers of that same hand focus on that hot clit, around and around, over and under, massaging ever surface and side of the sensitive skin. Her panting is feverish as she raises her ass to me, affording me full and unfettered access to her pulsing core.
Her ass… mmmm…
I turn the butt plug in her ass, and she cries out again, unable to control her screams. Fuck, that shit is hot! I continue finger-fucking her, massaging that clit, and I gently start to pull the butt plug from her ass—not all the way, just enough to apply pressure to the rosette.
“Christian!” she pants. “God!”
I know, baby. Give it to me.
I pull the butt plug a little more, continue fucking with my thumb, and massaging with my fingers, over and over…
When I see the sheen through the oil and feel her body stiffening, her clit becoming firm, and her leg starts to tremble, I push the butt plug back into her ass hard…
And she detonates.
“Christian!” she screams as her body begins to convulse and her leg shakes uncontrollably. I keep massaging until she stops shaking, stops pulsing, and begs me to stop.
“Please… pleeeeaase…” she’s beseeching me, and I pause.
A/N: Every time Falala said, “Opals! Opals!” I was like, “Falala, wait, it’s coming!” LOL.
Trey Songz—Slow Motion
Trey Songz—Love Faces
August Alsina—Kissin’ On My Tattoos
Bando Jonez—Sex You
Drake—Hold On, We’re Going Home
Jeremih—I Like ft. Ludacris
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