This is a work of creativity. As such, you may see words, concepts, scenes, actions, behaviors, pictures, implements, and people that may or may not be socially acceptable and/or offensive. If you are sensitive to adverse and alternative subject matter of any kind, please do not proceed, because I guarantee you’ll find it here. You have been warned. Read at your own risk.
Explicit details of sex and BDSM scenes from here on out. Some may be hot while others may not be to your taste… and not necessary CG with Ana together. Proceed at your own discretion, but don’t say that I didn’t warn you.
This ain’t your everyday Christian and Ana story. Don’t expect anything. Just read it as it goes along or go away. 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 new saga continues…
The latest development in the Lincoln saga is that Linc has been detained as the primary suspect in the attack on his wife. Once the police finally decided to do their jobs instead of chasing the wrong big fish, all the evidence pointed to Linc—concrete and circumstantial. Of course, he denied it… until he heard that his DNA matched the bloody remnants under her nails. However, here’s where the story takes a turn.
Linc isn’t denying battering his wife. He is, however, claiming that she attacked him first. So, his attack was supposedly in the form of self-defense. With Elena’s history of violence after she threw that cement pot at me, it’s not completely off the mark that he could have been defending himself against her as far as the police can see. With a lawsuit pending from me for wrongful arrest, they can’t afford to get these facts wrong or overlook any details. So, now, the question is who’s actually going to be charged with what?
Facing possible charges for filing a false report and as a jointly and severally liable party in my lawsuit, Elena immediately claimed some form of diminished capacity, stating that she was completely delusional after the attack and currently has no recollection whatsoever of who she fingered as her assailant. Kirkland’s finest isn’t going to let her get away with that. If they’re going down, she’s going down, too. I was nearly accosted by a couple of reporters trying to get a response from me about a statement that she had made once Linc was indicted.
“Have you seen Mrs. Lincoln’s statement?” some guy says as I’m trying to get into Grey House.
“What statement?” Like magic, and in response to my question, he produces a tablet cued up at Lincoln standing at what looks like a podium in her yard. She looks like the damn President about to address the press in the Rose Garden.
“My doctor has confirmed that I was most likely suffering from trauma-induced delirium when I initially attempted to identify my attacker,” she says. “I didn’t know until several days later that I had accused the wrong person. In fact, I was unaware that I had accused anyone at all. Although the details of the attack are slowly coming back to me, the moments following the attack are still a bit of a blur. My only explanation for my original identification is that Christian Grey and I were once very close, and in my distress, I may have digressed to that time and called on my friend. I have no other explanation or recollection of why I indicated that Christian had attacked me. I can only hope that one day, he can forgive this horrible misstep on my part. There’s bad blood between us, yes, but nothing that would prompt me to cause him deliberate discomfort for something that I think he didn’t do.”
“That’s interesting, Mrs. Lincoln, considering the bad blood between you right now is mainly because you broke his arm with a cement pot. Aiming to cause that deliberate discomfort, were you?” One reporter asks.
“I choose not to address that issue as it is separate from this one and part of a currently open case.”
“Oh, this is a currently open case as well, yet you had no trouble addressing it since you were exposed to have lied… er, I mean was mistaken about who attacked you,” he retorts. “Nonetheless, I do have a copy of your statement to the police here. Your accusations sound nothing like a woman blabbering in delirium. In fact, your statements are quite succinct in accusing Christian Grey of ‘doing this to you.’ Care to elaborate, Mrs. Lincoln? I can read the statement for you if you like—just to refresh your memory.” She sneers at the reporter.
“I don’t need you to read the statement,” she hisses. “Like I said, my doctor indicates that I might have regressed to a different time. It was Mr. Grey who started the rumors that destroyed my business! So, I may have been thinking of that when I identified my attacker,” she seethes.
“Well, that’s interesting,” the reporter says. “You never made any indication in public before now that it was Mr. Grey that was the cause of the demise of your salons. Are you sure you want to make that declaration, Mrs. Lincoln? It’s my understanding that Christian Grey is already pursuing a case for defamation of character against you as well as anything that can be linked to his wrongful arrest. Are you sure you want to give him additional ammunition for slander?” Elena’s face pales, then reddens, and just as she’s about to formulate an answer, her attorney steps in.
“Okay, that’s enough,” he says. “My client is very emotional about this entire situation. She only agreed to this release so that she could tell the truth and explain what she thinks happened during her trauma and you’re exploiting her and the situation. This conversation is over.”
“We’re just trying to report the news, Mr. Mason,” the reporter shoots, as several others shove mics in his face. “She was in the hospital for several days and never once retracted her comments about Christian Grey, even after it was publicly revealed that he had an alibi for the time during her attack. She’s a Chatty Cathy when she’s the victim, but the moment she’s in the hotseat, she loses her memory. Then of course, there’s the fact that Caldwell Lincoln has been extradited back to the States accompanied by photographs that look like he was in a gang fight after disappearing the very night his wife was brutally attacked, and suddenly Mrs. Lincoln may have been mistaken about her attacker. Don’t you think that’s a bit convenient?”
“I said this conversation is over!” Mason hisses and shuffles an angry Elena off the platform.
“So, what do you have to say about that, Mr. Grey?” the reporter asks.
“What do you expect me to say?” I counter.
“She asked for your forgiveness. Do you forgive her, Mr. Grey?” the guy asks. “Can you forgive her?” I pause as if I’m pondering the situation.
“She’s right about one thing,” I begin. “We were friends once, but that woman is toxic. She put me in a situation that could have very well cost my life, so I ended our friendship. Shortly thereafter, her salons came under investigation for unclean business practices. Now, I don’t know if those circumstances were true or not, but she blamed me for that. She apparently blames me for every bad thing that happens to her. I wasn’t even near her!” I wave my hands and shake my head. “I have things to do…”
“But can you ever forgive her?” another reporter asks before I clear the door to my building. I turn to face the few reporters who have gathered for a statement.
“That woman aimed a dangerous projectile object at my head. Had I not had the wherewithal to sacrifice my arm by blocking my face with it, I might not be standing here talking to you today. She follows that attack with a fabricated accusation that I brutally and deliberately assaulted her, resulting in my wrongful arrest and detainment by the police department, harassment by one officer who would not leave me alone even after I was cleared of any wrongdoing, and possibly irreparable damage to my name and reputation. And even after she’s called out for the liar and the brutally violent woman that she is, she still manages to falsely accuse me on live television of something that she has absolutely no proof that I had any hand in. So, to answer your question, no—I don’t forgive her. It would do me well to never see her again and if I had my way, all the lawsuits and all the charges would just go away if she would just go away, but I know that’s not going to happen. So, I’m just going to let justice take its course. Now, if you’ll excuse me, gentlemen, I have a business to run.”
In related news, Linc posted his insane bail, but his passport has been confiscated and he’s currently on a temporary “Do Not Fly” list. I know this is a bit extreme for mere accusations of spousal abuse, but I have a sneaking suspicion that all these extra measures are because of me. Additionally, he’s not allowed to return to his own home.
In the meantime, I’m gobbling up lumber interests like Pac Man, having secured two of Linc’s five largest suppliers as well as several of the independents. Once the news officially spread that GEH was entering the lumber business, prospects started flocking to me like flies to shit. Either they have huge bones to pick with Caldwell Lincoln and Lincoln Timber or, like Spires said, they don’t want to be on the losing end when the dust clears.
Stuver and Warner are still barking about the dangers of “strange bedfellows,” but those old farts don’t have enough pull on their own to dissuade members of the industry from getting on board with me. That’s fine. Let them sink with the Lincoln ship as far as I care. I don’t know if Linc is playing it smart or stupid by remaining mute throughout this endeavor, but I’m keeping my eye on him… or I should say that Wester is keeping an eye on him. This man has proven to be worth his weight in platinum when it comes to getting information for me. As it turns out, my mugshots remain property of the police department, innocent or not. However, Weston is taking special pains to make sure that they don’t end up on the internet, which is all I really care about.
Now about that other situation…
I sit at the desk in my study staring at the box that was delivered last week sitting on the credenza across the room. I haven’t opened it because, of course, I know what’s in it. She didn’t return the vodka, but she returned the sculpture. Now, she won’t respond to my texts or phone calls. What’s the meaning of this?
I’ve tried to keep myself occupied with other things going on in my life, but no matter how I try, this situation keeps coming front and center. I swipe my screen and look at the message that arrived the day before the lips were delivered to my doorstep:
**The kiss was a mistake. It won’t happen again. **
So… what? Was the whole damn thing a mistake? Is that why she won’t speak to me now? Not even a message to tell me that she’s busy? A “fuck you go away?” Nothing?
I know we’re not in a relationship, but I really thought we were at least more than this.
I don’t know why I try to play this game with Golden. This is what she does. This is who she is. She’s so much better at it than I am. I’m a master at business. I can bust anybody’s balls in the boardroom… but this shit? These body and mind games? I don’t do this. That’s not me. When it comes to a woman’s body, I get what I want, I give them what they want, and I’m done. I don’t do this cat-and-mouse, Jedi-mind-trick, Vulcan-mind-control bullshit. Why do I even try with this woman?
After signing more contracts for more lumber interests and discussing the final steps involved to round out GEH’s up and coming lumber division, I decide to go for a walk on a sunny Friday afternoon to try to clear my head of all things Golden. When is the last time I went for a fucking walk? As of late, I’m usually mobbed by reporters wanting a statement or reaction to the latest development in the Lincoln case or trying to get information about my lumber takeover or some other bit of minutia.
Jason hovers nearby as I sit at a picnic table after having finished a delicious corned beef on rye with a kosher pickle. Surprisingly, the walk has helped to clear my mind a bit. It’s just another female, right? I mean, granted, I want to fuck this female so badly that I dream about the shit, but in the end, that’s all it really is, isn’t it? It’s not like my life’s dream is getting away from me. It still pisses me off that she won’t even return my calls or respond to my texts, though. Since when is it okay to treat people that way when you have an intimate relationship with them?
“Good afternoon. Do you mind if I sit here?”
I’m jolted from my thoughts by a woman’s voice. I don’t know her—business skirt suit and pumps, brownish-blonde curls, beautiful.
“It’s a free country,” I reply. She smiles and sits on the bench next to me.
“It’s really a pretty day,” she says, opening her sandwich and taking a bite from it. “It’s nice to see spring coming in so nicely,” she continues after she swallows. I said you could sit. I didn’t say I wanted to talk. I look over at Jason and I can see his brows raise under his sunglasses. Part of me wants to know why he didn’t move in when this woman approached me. The other part knows that he can’t very well bumrush the woman for asking to sit down.
“I suppose,” I say, disinterested. I can see her looking at me out of the corner of my eye.
“You look like you’re having a bad day,” she says, still trying to strike up conversation. I look over at her, then turn my gaze back in front of me.
“Oh.” She rewraps her sandwich and puts it back in her bag. “You’re one of those,” she says, dismissively. My brow furrows.
“One of what?” I inquire.
“Beautiful men who think any woman who shows you the slightest bit of attention is trying to hook up or something. It was just a ‘good afternoon,’ handsome. Have a good day.” She stands with her bag and begins to walk away. Well, damn…
“Wait,” I say, halting her progress. She stops and turns around, but doesn’t walk back to me. I stand and walk over to her.
“It’s not you and I didn’t mean to be rude,” I say apologetically. “I’m just distracted.”
“Over a girl?” she asks.
“Over life,” I correct, not wanting to admit that it is over a girl. “Come, sit down and finish your lunch.” She pauses for a moment, then goes back to the bench with me.
“So, should I ask what has you distracted, or should I just eat my lunch and be on my way?” she asks as she takes another bite of her sandwich.
“Well,” I begin, “I barely know you. In fact, I don’t know you at all, so it might not be a good idea to spill my guts to you.”
“Oh, I completely disagree,” she says. “Spilling your guts to a stranger is better than spilling your guts to your friends. There’s no judgement.”
Well, I don’t have any friends to speak of… people that I know, but not any real friends, so that’s a moot point.
“I’m just a man with a lot of irons on the fire, lady,” I say. “Stranger or not, spilling my guts isn’t going to help any of them.”
“I see,” she says. “Well, you never know. I might be able to help. Your boss taking a bite out of your ass for something? You lose the big account?” Is she serious?
“Um, no. Trying to land the big account is more like it, and I am the boss.” She twists her lips.
“Okay. So, what do you do?” This lady is not for real.
“You know what I do,” I say in disbelief. She raises her brow at me.
“You’re a suit in the middle of downtown on a park bench. You’re a businessman, I know that much, but am I supposed to be psychic?” She takes another bite of her sandwich. I look at her incredulously.
“You really don’t know who I am?” I say, furrowing my brow. She cocks her head and twists her lips.
“I’ve seen the face somewhere, but, sorry… nothing’s coming to me right now,” she says somewhat apologetically. I scoff a short laugh. “That’s funny?”
“Maybe a little,” I say. “Actually, it’s quite refreshing.”
“Uh, why? Are you a celebrity or something?” she asks. I stifle a scoff and extend my hand to her.
“Christian Grey,” I say, introducing myself.
“Veronica Beal,” she says, shaking my hand. “I do know that name and I know that I should know who you are.” I raise a brow and point to the big glass building off in the distance prominently displaying the words Grey House.
“Oh,” she says, realization dawning. “Well, that explains it.”
“Your meaning?” I ask.
“The aloof, standoffish attitude. I bet you get approached by women all the time. How many marriage proposals have you gotten today?” I laugh. It feels good.
“None today,” I say with mirth, “but it’s early yet.”
Veronica tells me that she’s an accountant at Lakeland and Moor down the street from Grey House, and she only came over to talk to me because she lunches here often when the weather is good and she has never seen me here, not to mention I looked like someone had just shot my puppy. Jesus, does Golden have me that fucked up? I listen to her talk about herself, giving her little to no information about me. I know better than that.
“Well, that’s my time,” she says, standing and straightening her clothes. “I’m not the boss and I have to get back to work.”
“It was nice talking to you,” I say. She smiles.
“You mean listening to me,” she says. “See ya ‘round, handsome.” She gathers her wrappers and bags, throws them in a nearby trash receptacle, and walks away down the lane.
And I’m left here still thinking of Golden.
It’s probably not a good idea to be here, especially since there’s a late model Grand Cherokee parked in front of me. The last thing I want to wander in on is another client being serviced, but she pushed me to this. She won’t talk to me or return my calls. She hasn’t given me any reason—she’s just not talking to me. Desperate times…
Am I desperate? Fuck it.
I ring the bell and wait for Belvedere to answer the door, which he does.
“Mr. Grey,” he says in a heavy Spanish accent. “What can I do for you?”
“Is she here?” I ask. I never know what to call her in his presence.
“Is she expecting you?” he asks.
“No… she’s not…” and don’t bother telling me to leave because I’m not fucking going anywhere. He stands there for a moment, then steps aside to allow me in.
“Please wait here,” he says after closing the door behind me, and heads to the parlor. There’s no Tupac playing, so I know that she’s not rejuvenating from a scene. However, when Belvedere opens the door and enters, I can see past him.
I can see her on her sofa. She’s not dressed in any of her welcoming Golden garb. She’s wearing a white shirt and black skirt—like she’s just got in from work, only her hair is terribly mussed… and she’s not alone.
She’s in some guy’s arms, a black guy. They look very cozy. Just as Belvedere fully opens the door, I hear, “I’m a big boy, Ana. This changes nothing between us… unless you can’t deal with it.”
Can’t deal with it… can’t deal with what? And he calls her Ana? Who is this guy?
They have a few more words of exchange before Belvedere announces that Mistress has another visitor. So, this guy knows who she is. She leans her head to the side and makes direct eye-contact with me. She turns and says something to her companion to which he replies, “Is he the kiss?”
She’s been talking about me? What the fuck?
She stands and releases her bun. Her brown hair falls over her shoulders in full waves. She apologizes to Kevin about dinner and asks Blake to show him out and to show me in. He gazes at her for a few more moments before he walks to the parlor door with Blake. He stops at the door and glares at me, sharp black eyes glaring at me issuing a challenge… or a warning.
“Mistress will see you now, sir,” Blake says, breaking our glaring contest. I turn and look at Golden, now standing in the middle of the room, two top buttons undone with black stilettos now donning her feet that were stockinged only moments ago.
“I don’t recall inviting you,” she says, still standing in the middle of the room.
“No, I don’t believe you would,” I reply coolly. “You seemed a bit preoccupied.” She raises a brow at me. I’ll give you a fucking Mistress when I feel like it.
“I see someone is feeling a bit obstinate today,” she chides.
“Whatever do you mean… Mistress?” I ask emphasizing the word.
“That’s more like it,” she gloats.
“At least one of us is being treated with some modicum of decorum,” I retort. She’s taken aback, but she tries not to show it. “You talk about me to others?” I accuse sharply.
“He’s a friend, not that I owe you that explanation, and I only mentioned a kiss to him… not who. He wouldn’t have known anything about you had you not shown up uninvited,” she shoots.
“I wouldn’t have shown up uninvited had you returned my calls or texts,” I reply, calming a bit. “If the kiss unnerved you, why did you do it?”
“Who said it unnerved me?” she replies, folding her arms.
“You’re talking to friends about it,” I shoot back. “Do you talk to your friends about all of your dungeon encounters?” She sighs heavily and I know she’s looking for a comeback.
“That’s hardly any of your business…”
“It is when it applies to me,” I say cutting her off. “I am extremely discreet about my BDSM activities. I never speak to anyone outside of the lifestyle about my encounters and I don’t appreciate being cocktail discussion for you and your friends.”
“Don’t you dare try to demean me that way,” she says, her voice low, cool, and controlled. “I don’t have cocktail discussions about anything I do! With anyone! Like I said, I mentioned. A. Kiss. If he has any idea who you are, it’s only because you came barging into my home.” Mistress is definitely here now.
“You had to talk to someone about the kiss,” I accuse, changing tact, “but you couldn’t talk to me. I sent you a full-sized statue of your naked body and you kept that, but you couldn’t keep a pair of lips. You kissed me. I didn’t kiss you—you kissed me. And while I’m left to wonder what the meaning of it is and why you sent my tribute back to me, you’re talking to Kevin about our kiss.” She rolls her eyes.
“Stop talking about it like it’s something that we shared,” she says, her voice dripping with disgust. “It was something that happened, and that’s all. It was a mistake, and like I said, it won’t happen again.”
What the fuck was I thinking? Why the hell did I even come here? It was obviously a mistake—she made that clear in more ways than one. What was I expecting to hear? Jesus, I’m acting like a fucking puppy. Yes, I love her whip, but not enough to allow her to humiliate me this way.
I’ve heard enough. She can talk about me to her friends, but she can’t talk to me? Friends… like hell he’s a friend. It’s one thing when she’s mindlessly tormenting strangers and making them come. This is more than that. I already have to contend with this manservant fucker lurking around her 25/8. Now, I show up after she hasn’t returned my calls and she’s all cozy with this asshole who’s giving me the evil eye. I really don’t need this shit. Mistress won’t give me the time of day, but when I try to get answers, she shuts me down and she’s snuggled up with this fucker. Time to get the hell out of here.
“Goodnight, Mistress,” I say, turning away and heading toward the door.
“I haven’t dismissed you yet, Trey,” she says, emphasizing my name like I emphasized hers. She’s kidding, right? I turn around just as I reach the door.
“With all due respect, Mistress,” I say with less venom, “we aren’t in the dungeon, and even then, you said it yourself—I’m not a submissive…” meaning I don’t need you to dismiss me. I see the flicker in her eye and I’m certain that she wants to give me a comeback, but she doesn’t have one.
I open the parlor door and Belvedere is right there looking at me. I square off with him for a moment before I walk to the front door and leave.
I’m more conflicted right now than I can even explain. I’m left with nothing but questions and no answers. What exactly did that kiss mean? I know why I was so perplexed by it, but why is she? I couldn’t understand why my Mistress who is so blatantly unemotional with me suddenly felt the need to kiss me. It left an impression on me and I wanted her to know that, but when I did, she clammed up and acted like I had broken some unwritten rule. She’s the one who crossed the line with no explanation, not me. When I send her tribute, she sends it back and when I look for an explanation, she shuts me down.
And when I come to see her, she’s cozied up with someone else, being all friendly and vulnerable with him when she made it clear that this was something that she didn’t want with anybody.
Why am I so fucking pissed about this? We’re not exclusive. We don’t even fuck!
I punch the gas and head back to my side of the bridge.
How dare he walk out of here like that! I’m the one in control here and he doesn’t have the right…!
The right to what? The right to do what?
It doesn’t matter. I’m fucking pissed now and the next time he comes crawling to me for a scene—and he will—I’m going to teach him a lesson he’ll never forget.
I take a deep breath and try to regain my composure. I’m so pissed off that I can barely breathe. First, this bastard fucker comes to my house demanding his share of my dead father’s money—money that doesn’t even exist, to my knowledge—after this balding bitch boy leads him right to my door, and then Trey has the audacity to show up right behind him without an invitation, and goes marching out of here like he owns the place.
It’s too late to get a client now, but fuck if I don’t need one.
I pour and throw back three shots of vodka in quick succession—not his—before I take to my room and a hot bath.
I wake the next morning after B.O.B. induced three brain-shattering orgasms, loose as a noodle and ready to take on the world. I gave Blake instructions to find what information he could on Reynard Stamper and his mother before I fell into a feverish session of self-love. By noon, which is when I decide to roll out of bed, he has more information on Stamper than he gave me on Trey.
Reynard Stamper, 35 years old…
Address: 1417 S 10th Ave, Yakima…
Yakima??? Seriously? That’s like 150 miles away! He came 150 miles to harass me for money he thought my father had? After all this time?
Apparently, he has only lived in two places. This address for most of his life, then another address for a few years and then back to this address. My guess is that this is probably a family home.
Education: High school diploma…
What exactly is a merchandiser?
Marital status: Divorced; three children.
Relationship status: Single
No criminal offender profile and no hit on the sex offender registry. His employment history is unremarkable and his credit sucks.
Mother, Heather Stamper-Watson. Recently deceased.
Hmm, could that be why he’s suddenly on the hunt for my father? His mother died?
“Blake,” I call out and he leans into my study.
“Did you get any information on who owns that house this asshole is living in?” I ask. “I’m just curious.”
“I did not, but I’ll see what I can find out before Monday.”
“See if you can find out who has the lien,” I say. “And I need a copy of his birth certificate.”
“It’s in the file,” he says. I thumb through the file and locate a photocopy of Reynard’s birth certificate—minus my daddy’s name.
“Thanks,” I tell him. “I’ll look through the file before I ask for any more information.” Blake smiles and leaves the room and I begin to take notes.
How and when did his mother die?
Does he have any siblings?
How old are his children?
Are they still in Washington?
What makes him think Daddy is his father?
As I proceed through the file, I find a possible answer to my last question.
There are a few color copies of pictures of my daddy, very young, with a pretty young black woman. They’re date-stamped nearly 40 years ago and one of them have “Heather and Ray” written on the margin. It’s obvious that Daddy knew this woman. He, also, most likely, had a relationship with her, but there’s no proof that he’s Reynard Stampers father. If Heather was so sure of her son’s paternity, why didn’t she name him Steele? What were the circumstances of their breakup? Did Daddy really know that he had a son—if this guy really is his son?
I know my father. The man that welcomed me into his heart and gave me his name, planned on having another child with my mother would not have walked away from a son that he knew existed. I’m certain that no matter the circumstances of their split, my father would have owned up to his responsibilities had he known he had a son out there. He’s not around to defend himself and Heather isn’t around to explain herself, but nothing anyone can say about him would ever make me feel otherwise.
He was a good man. He had a heart of gold. He would have helped anyone who needed him. There’s no way that he would have turned his back on his own flesh and blood.
I flip through the file and find more information—nothing of any real substance. School pictures, report cards, shot records… I take a critical lawyer’s look at the pictures of young Reynard, in grade school, middle school, prom, high school graduation, his wedding. I look with a lawyer’s eye, not the eye of a young girl unwilling to admit that the horrible stranger that darkened her door last night may, in fact, be her adopted brother. I compare pictures of Reynard throughout the years with the early pictures of my father in the file, with the pictures of my father from his grave, with the images of him forever stamped in my memory. I look hard to see the facial structure of the man that I’ll always love as my Daddy in the smiles and expressions of the younger man claiming to be his son.
I see no resemblance whatsoever.
I could still be blinded by my hope and wish that he’s not Daddy’s son, but truthfully, I don’t see it at all. I would be willing to painfully accept that this man might be my father’s child if I could see any resemblance whatsoever. As much as I hate to admit it, I would somewhat welcome seeing a live version of my father—a small piece of him still here on earth—just to have the chance to look into his eyes again. I would even give him some of my own money if he needed it. But unfortunately, that asshole Richard looks more like my father than this bastard ever will. I’m certain of it.
Having laid my doubt to rest, I give my other questions to Blake to get answers for me, mainly in a bid to have some ammo should this imposter show up again. Then, I go about the business of proceeding with my day.
I want to do some yoga today, but I really don’t want to see Kevin today, not after last night’s display and his declaration that his “hat is in the ring.” I just don’t want to deal with it, so I opt to do Ashtanga on my patio instead. It’s a nice enough day, if I dress a little warmly. After I torment with body with grueling stretches and extensions, I shower and go to the kitchen to cook the meal that I intended to cook last night. As I’m mincing fresh garlic, my mind immediately drifts to the day that I cook dinner for Trey.
Dammit, I didn’t cook dinner for him. He was just there on a night that I decided to cook. It wasn’t for him…
“Dammit!” I exclaim as I nip my finger with the knife. “Sonofabitch!”
“What is it, Mistress?” Blake is by my side in moments.
“Oh, nothing. Just an absent-minded mishap,” I say, running my hand under cold water. “Can you get me a band-aid, please?”
“You’re sure?” he says, coming into the kitchen to examine my wound.
“Yes, I’m sure,” I say, shoving the finger with the nick in his face so that he can see that I haven’t maimed myself. “See? Now, may I please have a band-aid?” he looks at me skeptically as he goes to fetch a band-aid. Gees, Blake, it’s just a little cut.
You would have thought my house submissive was performing surgery.
Peroxide to clean the wound…
A small sterile pad to dry the peroxide…
Antibiotic ointment to cover the cut…
And finally, a band-aid to protect my boo-boo…
I mean seriously. This was so much prompt and circumstance for a cut no bigger than my fingernail.
“Thank you, Blake,” I say, accommodating.
“You’re distracted,” he accuses. I glare at him, ready to take a bite out of him for misspeaking, but when I look at him, his eyes are gentle and filled with concern. How and why do you chastise someone for that.
“Wouldn’t you be?” I cede. “This man shows up at my door and pretty much disrupts my life. Jesus, what a card!”
“Mr. Grey does have a presence that won’t be denied, Mistress,” he says softly. And now, he misspeaks.
“I was talking about Reynard Stamper,” I say, raising my brow at him. He raises a knowing brow to me then drops his arms to his side and his gaze to the floor.
“My apologies, Mistress,” he says. “I will leave you now.” And he walks out without another word. He didn’t need to say another word. He called me on my bullshit without calling me on my bullshit. I want to be angry, but how can I? Blake knows me better than I know myself sometimes.
I finish my meal and, too ashamed to even look Blake in the eye right now, I sit down and eat alone.
Monday morning comes in like a lion! The first visitor to my office is an attorney—Canciana’s divorce attorney, to be exact. This guy is the epitome of the slimy lawyer, complete with the dark, slicked back hair.
“Greg Beasley,” he says, handing me a business card, “representing Canciana Haviland.” I take his card.
“Did I forget our appointment, Mr. Beasley?” I say, unimpressed while looking at his card.
“No, please forgive me for taking liberties,” he says, clearly insincere. “I was in the neighborhood and thought I would drop by to see if we could discuss the case involving our mutual clients,” he says.
“There’s nothing to discuss,” I say, handing his card to Chanelle. “Our clients have a prenuptial agreement. There’s really no need for either of us to even get involved, but I’m sure that—like me—you’re just trying to protect your client’s interest,” I add, equally as insincere. He smiles an unnerving smile.
“Yes, this is true, but I have some… information that I really think might be relevant to the case,” he baits.
“I would much rather have this discussion with my client present,” I retort.
“I won’t take much of your time,” he continues. “This information is quick and I’m certain that you can share with your client at your leisure.”
I hate playing into someone’s hands, but he’s clearly unaware that he’s playing with a homerun hitter, especially since I don’t do many divorces. To that end, I let him think he has the upper hand. I turn wordlessly and walk into my office, allowing Jesse to escort him in.
“We… don’t need an audience, Ms. Olivet,” he says of Jesse when he sees that he’s coming into the office with us.
“This is my bodyguard, Mr. Beasley,” I reply. “I go nowhere without him except the restroom. Please, state your business or you can make an appointment with my receptionist—at which meeting, he’ll still be in the room. Or I can see you in court,” I end with a shrug. You got past the threshold, asshole, you’re not going to run the meeting.
He looks at Jesse again, then opens his briefcase. Jesse steps menacingly close to him and he stops moving, then slowly pulls out a file.
“I just thought you might want to see this,” he says, handing it to me. I take the file from him and open it. Inside, there are pictures of Blake arriving at my home, leaving my home, greeting me at the door, unloading things from my Range Rover. There are also pictures of me coming and going, and of Jesse. This asshole knew who Jesse was when he made the prior statement.
“In the interest of full disclosure, divorce cases can get very ugly, especially when there are undisclosed assets involved,” he oozes. “To that end, Mrs. Haviland had employed a private investigator in an attempt to shed light on the dark patches of the case. As you already know, your client is trying to offer only the house, car, and the money in the prenup. We’re certain that a judge would be sympathetic to Mrs. Haviland’s plight, having already lost her only child in an accident caused by your client, coupled with seeing these photographs.”
“These pictures show a man coming and going from a residence,” I say. “Nothing more.”
“Oh, but they imply quite a bit,” he says victoriously, thinking he has me on the ropes. “With the right spin and, like I said, a sympathetic judge, we may be able to turn the tables in our favor.”
He knows damn well that he can’t turn anything in his favor because we have a prenup in place. He’s trying to influence me because I’m the attorney and I’m in those pictures. If he puts enough heat on me, he thinks I’ll pressure Blake into giving his whore of a client more money. Alright, Beasley. I thought this would be fairly easy, but I haven’t had a good chess game in a while.
“In light of this new information, I’ll need to discuss some things with my client,” I say. He smiles and crosses his legs.
“Excellent. I’ll wait,” he says. Good grief, this guy is a real piece of work. I don’t think so, you scumbag. I open the desk drawer, drop the file in, and close it before folding my arms.
“I will discuss this with my client, and I’ll get back to you. Jesse?” Jesse stands and moves next to Mr. Beasley. He looks at Jesse and then back at me.
“You do that,” he says somewhat menacingly while standing. “You have my card.”
“Good day, Mr. Beasley,” I say, never standing from my seat.
“Sir,” Jesse says when Beasley doesn’t move fast enough. He glares at me for another moment before leaving the room. I sigh a frustrated sigh and look at the pictures again—absolutely nothing incriminating, but I don’t want some fucker poking around my house and my private life trying to get some information on Blake. I’ll have to talk to him, but we’re not giving in to this asshole. There’s always another way.
My second visitor shows up after lunch, in the form of one on-the-mend Elena Lincoln. I’ve told her more than once not to come to my office or darken my door, and yet here she is.
“I don’t see your attorney, so we really don’t have anything to discuss,” I say when she bypasses Chanelle and barges into my office.
“You can’t be blind,” she says, a bit frantically. “Don’t you see what I’ve been through? What I’m going through? I’ll probably end up in jail after all of this—Christian and Linc, and now the Kirkland Police are after me, too. You can make this lawsuit go away; I know you can! What do I have to do?”
“You have to get in touch with your attorney and let him know that you would like to offer a settlement and how much that settlement will be. He will let me know and I will confer with my clients to see if the settlement is acceptable. That’s what you have to do. Otherwise, we go to court and let them decide.”
“You know that’s not what I meant!” she says, sounding more and more unstable. “I know you’re responsible for this! These women didn’t just appear on your doorstep looking for a lawsuit. You went in search of someone who was willing to take part in this fucking farce just to get back at me. Admit it!” Okay, she’s losing it.
“I’m not admitting anything, and you’re coming unglued again. You’ve screwed over so many people that you have no idea how many people you’ve screwed over. You just throw a stone and pick someone to blame for your latest conspiracy theory. Just that I know of, Elvin is still pissed at you; some girl that you slapped and left her scarred is still pissed at you; and yes, Trey is pissed at you. Those are just the ones that I know. Who else have you pissed off that I don’t even know about?”
“Don’t play that game with me,” she fumes. “I don’t care if I pissed off the goddamn queen of England—you’re behind this and we both know it! What did you do—go around to salons to see who might want to join you in this farce?”
To be honest, that’s exactly what I did, but hell if I’m telling her that.
“If you want to know how I was connected with the women who felt they were wronged by you, I’ll tell you,” I say, folding my arms. “In case you have forgotten, I was one of your clients, too. I stopped frequenting your establishment well before any of this shit started because I didn’t fucking trust you! You were trying so hard to shove Trey down my throat and I didn’t know what your real intentions were, and I didn’t want to trust my beauty care to you at all. With the timing of my departure, I guess you could safely assume that it was me, but bitch, I’m telling you that it wasn’t me.
“I went to another shop—like all of your fucking other clients—since no one had done my hair or nails since you! And as much as you may hate it, you are still fodder for conversation. So, guess what? They were talking… and so was I! I have no loyalty to you! I don’t know for certain that you didn’t have bedbugs in your shops. All I know is what I’ve heard on the news and through the grapevine, which is the same thing everyone else has heard.
“You paid to have someone’s house fumigated, for Christ’s sake! What innocent person would do that? If there was never a threat, why would you fumigate against a threat that was never there? You set the precedent for this lawsuit, Elena, not me. So, stop walking around looking for another goddamn scapegoat. You fucked up—plain and simple! Deal with it!”
She looks like her head is about to explode. Her fists are clenched and so are her teeth. It’s a good thing I don’t have any potted plants in my office, but I have other things that can be hurled at an individual.
“Elena,” I say calmly, but firmly, “I know you have the tendency to react unscrupulously when you’re upset, but I’m going to attempt to appeal to your sense of reason… assuming you have one. If you act as irrationally in my office as you did at Trey’s, you’ll leave here in a body bag. Are we clear?” Her knuckles whiten.
“Your threats don’t scare me, you little bitch!” she seethes.
“Well, they should, you old bat!” I retort. “I swear to God, I will have no mercy on your ass if you raise a hand or anything else to me.”
“What are you going to do?” she hisses. “Get a restraining order like that little bitch submissive of yours?” I raise my brow at her.
“Oh, he’ll love to hear your sentiment,” I taunt. “And no, I’m not going to get a restraining order against you, Elena. I want you to come within a thousand feet of me! I want you to press your luck with me so that you can see your life flash before your eyes, you washed-up old cunt! Ever since I found out that you set that man loose on me like a housecat chasing a common rodent, I’ve dreamed of torturing you until you didn’t know your fucking name. You won that round and you don’t even know it. Only victory isn’t so sweet because it didn’t turn out like you thought it would.”
“I could squash you like a fucking bug, then claim that you attacked me because I fingered your little pet!” she threatens.
“I have two witnesses that you came storming in here acting irrationally and that I feel threatened. Do you really want to have this fight? Don’t forget, I get off on inflicting pain.”
“So, do I, little miss!” she hisses.
“Balls in your court, Blondie!” I challenge. She looks over at Jesse.
“Jesse, block the door so that this bitch doesn’t throw something at me and try to run, and don’t move a fucking inch, unless she pulls a weapon,” I order.
“Yes, ma’am,” he says hesitantly and moves to the door.
“Your move, Blondie,” I say, and coining Jesse’s phrase I add, “nothing between us but air and opportunity.”
She lunges at me before the words are even out of my mouth. She has two handfuls of my hair and is bending me backwards over my desk shrieking a horrible war cry. I’m at a huge disadvantage like this—bent over backwards and I can’t really strike, and she has quickly undone my bun and is now using my hair against me. I return the favor, grab a handful of her hair and pull like hell. She screams and releases one hand from my hair and moves to grab her own.
An opening! That’s all I need!
I place my thumb over her eye and push in, hard enough to cause pain but no permanent damage. Good Lord can that woman yowl! Her big mouth is enough to win the fight all by itself if you allow her to catch you off guard.
The good news is that you can’t very well hold someone down on a desk while they’re trying to push your eyeball into your skull.
I ignore the ache in my back from being pressed against the hard edge of my desk, and Carla the scrapper comes out. I’m not one of those macho-body-blow-upper-cut fighters. I’m sure that there was some of that fancy, descriptive hitting going on somewhere, but I will just hit you anywhere I can—anywhere there’s an opening. And every time I see your face, I’m going to hit it. It’s one of the most vulnerable spots on the body with the exception of the breasts of a woman, the balls of a man, and the kidney area on both.
I don’t have time to strategize. I hit fast and I hit hard. We’re both swinging like wildcats and she gets a couple of solid hits on my face, only because I let my guard down to hit her body. That’s okay, though, because after about six good minutes of a solid girl fight, she’s on the ground.
There’s nowhere to roll in my office. So, she’s on the floor, taking a terrible beating and kicking from my stilettos. When she rolls into a ball and begins to cough and cry, Jesse pulls me away from her.
“That’s it. That’s it, Ana, she’s had enough.” I look on the floor at my nemesis who is holding her stomach and crying, her hair a matted mess sticking to her face. I’m breathing like a bear, having been stopped abruptly in the middle of a massive workout with no cooldown whatsoever. Fighting to catch my breath, I go over to my desk and type in my password, then activate the monitor in the corner.
“Look up, you psychopathic bitch,” I declare, wiping the blood from my lip. She weakly raises her head to me, still sobbing, and I point to the monitor. She looks over to see the three of us and the office on the monitor.
“I don’t really give a fuck what you tell people happened to your goddamn face this time, but know that if you try to say that I attacked you, I have this, and you came at me first. Yeah, I taunted you, but you came here looking for a fight and you got one.”
She glares at the screen, drooling blood on the floor from her newly split lip, then back at me. Whimpering and crying, she slowly drags her battered ass off the floor. She’s only wearing one shoe, and that one has a broken heel. She looks like she’s gone a few rounds with someone who knows what the hell they were doing, but I took a few hits, too.
“Now, get your shit and get the hell out of my office!” I hiss. “I don’t want to see you again ever, even with your attorney, unless I see your wretched ass in court!” I spit blood and saliva into the trash can and turn a menacing glare back to her. She stumbles and limps over to her bag. She retrieves it along with her other shoe and hobbles her weeping ass out of my office. I wait until we hear the elevator before I release my breath. It hurts.
“Shit, are you okay?” he says coming over to me. My legs feel like rubber. “You were recording?” Jesse asks. I shake my head.
“I have a camera in here,” I tell him, a little wobbly from the hair-pulling and the sucker-punch to my lip. “I record depositions. It wasn’t on, but she doesn’t know that.” He sighs and Chanelle comes rushing into the room moments later.
“Shit!” she says. Hell, am I all bruised up? I must look like a fucking wild-woman. “You drew first blood?” she asks. I shake my head.
“No, she attacked me. She just got more than she bargained for,” I replied.
“Yeah,” Chanelle concurs. “You’ve got a busted lip. She looks like total shit.”
“Get me some ice and some water—separately, please,” I say. She nods and leaves.
The look of death is in Blake’s eyes when I arrive home and Jesse enters behind me.
“I just wanted to make sure you got in safely,” Jesse says.
“Mistress! What happened?” Blake says, looking from me to Jesse and back.
“I got into a little scuffle with Mrs. Lincoln,” I say, falling into a nearby chair. My head still hurts.
“With all due respect, Mistress,” he says sharply before turning his glare to Jesse, “where was your security? That is why you hired him after all.”
“With all due respect,” Jesse speaks without cowering, “Mistress ordered me to stay back while she handled the situation, which she did.”
“I was speaking to my Mistress,” Blake warns.
“But you were looking at me,” Jesse retorts menacingly. “And in the future, Jeeves, don’t question how I do my job and I won’t question how you do yours.”
“Okay, boys, that’s enough,” I say, waving my hand at them both. “Jesse, I’ll call you in the morning to tell you how I’m feeling and if I’ll be needing you tomorrow. I may just take some time to regroup.
He’s still glaring at Blake when he says, “I’ll be waiting for your call.” He turns and exits the front door, closing it behind him. Blake turns his gaze back to me.
“I think your security is a bit sensitive… and disrespectful,” he says, turning his attention to my face.
“That was a clear sign of aggression, Blake, and you know it,” I chide. “Did you expect the man to back down from you because you were angry? Like he said, he was doing what he was told… and I kicked that bitch’s ass. I swear, I’ll kill her if she comes near me again.”
“Does she know that?” he asks, his voice menacing. I know he’ll take matters into his own hands. He recorded himself breaking into her home for Christ’s sake. I’m just glad that he was smart enough not to leave any DNA behind during his visit.
“I think she’s well aware,” I assure him. “She thinks I have a recording of the fight—and of her starting it—and I’ve warned her not to darken my door again.”
“You warned her before,” he points out.
“Exactly… before I beat the hell out of her, then threatened to show the footage to the police. She’s got enough problems on her plate and today’s visit was just her trying to make one of those problems go away. Instead, she compounded it, and if you think I look bad, you should see her. She’ll probably go into hiding for a while because she has no way of explaining her new wounds without incriminating herself.” I groan a bit. I feel like shit.
“What can I do for you, Mistress?” Blake says, crouching down to me. He cares for me so much and I can tell that my discomfort pains him. I gently touch his face.
“You’re a good man,” I say, looking into soft brown, nearly hazel eyes. “I know you feel guilty and tormented about the past events in your life and that’s okay. You’re human. You made a terrible mistake, but you didn’t run from it. You didn’t hide from it and you didn’t compound it by continuing to exhibit destructive behavior. I just need you to know that you are a good man… a very good man. Do you understand that?”
His face changes from concern to soft acceptance, his puppy-dog eyes gazing at me as if to say, “I hear you child, but…”
“I just want you to know that,” I say. “I just want you to know that an educated and intelligent woman who knows your past still thinks that in here, you’re a good man.” I gently touch his chest while still holding his cheek without breaking eye-contact with him. He sighs and does that tragic half-smirk that he often does, placing his hand on his chest over mine.
“Thank you, Mistress,” he breathes. I gaze at him for a few more moments, then kiss him on his forehead. He closes his eyes for a moment and when he opens them, his smirk is more of a smile.
“Now,” he says, closing his hand gently over mine, “what can I do for you, Mistress?”
“Come with me to the parlor,” I say. He helps me out of the chair and into the parlor. I think that bitch may have pulled out some of my hair because my head still hasn’t stopped hurting. My lip is busted on the inside and a handprint on my face is slowly fading. That’s the extent of my visible bruising. Blake helps me to the sofa, fluffs a pillow behind me and removes my shoes.
“Drink?” he asks. I nod.
“Double shot, neat,” I say as I relax into the sofa. He quickly pours my drink and brings it back to me. I throw back half of it almost immediately.
“Sit with me,” I tell him. “We need to discuss your case.” Blake frowns.
“We can discuss work anytime, Mistress,” he protests. “You need to rest now.”
“No, we actually need to discuss it now,” I insist gently. “It involves me now.” His frown deepens.
“You?” he asks, bemused. “How?” I throw back the other shot and hand him the empty glass for a refill. He pours another double shot and hands it back.
“Canciana’s attorney visited me today,” I begin. “He wants me to try to convince you to give her more in the settlement. He has information…”
“About you?” Blake interrupts. I twist my lips.
“Somewhat,” I reply. “They hired a private eye to follow you. He’s been following you here, watching you… and me.” His expression falls flat, impassive. “They have nothing more than coming and going, but it’s clear in the pictures that our relationship is… close. It can be construed any way they twist it. I’m not concerned about the intel that they already have. I just don’t want them poking around anymore in my life.” He sighs.
“Should I give her what she wants?” he asks. “She can take half if it means that she’ll go away.”
“Hell, no!” I say, taking another swallow of my drink. “There’s more than one way to skin this cat. She’s been unfaithful for years. All we have to do is hire our own private eye to get some good, solid info on her. It shouldn’t be hard.”
“It won’t be hard at all,” he responds. “I don’t need a private eye, Mistress. I have surveillance… in my home.”
I nearly gasp at this revelation. I don’t usually stoop to these kinds of tactics, but if this asshole watches my home much longer, he’s going to get too much information on me, and I can’t have that.
“You have surveillance?” I ask, surprised. “What kind of surveillance?”
“Everything,” he says. “I don’t know how discreet she was in public, but she was downright scandalous in my home. I’ve been reviewing and compiling information ever since I walked in on one of her trysts and filed for divorce.”
I roll my eyes. What kind of skanky, treacherous woman would have extramarital relations in the same bed she once slept in with her husband? Even if the marriage is over, don’t do that shit in your matrimonial bed… in the home where you once built a family. Geez!
“I need some specific footage from that surveillance, Blake….”
He tells me about the footage. As it turns out, Blake has watched or scanned every bit of surveillance from his home when he’s not there. He has all of her escapades categorized by date, time, and partner. He even has records of her purchases for her lovers. That would come in handy if they try to establish that he and I have an intimate relationship, but the footage is much more useful. I need this shit to go away—and fast!
I awake still lying on the sofa. I feel a warm hand on my head and look down to see blue pinstriped slacks as my pillow. I’ve fallen asleep on Blake’s lap.
This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it’s a sign to me that no matter how much I fight it, I’m changing.
A/N: The Pinterest board for this story can be found at https://www.pinterest.com/ladeeceo/fifty-shades-golden/.
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