Two more chapters after this…
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…
I didn’t get the whole lowdown on sexual activity once I’m released from the hospital, so I’m pretty sure that I’m just going to take it easy until I’m cleared by the doctor. In light of that, I have one last hurrah on Sunday night. I do every freaky thing in the book—anal, deep throat, titty fucks, you name it…
And I don’t come once.
I know it’s a combination of being worried about the surgery—if Mia will be okay, if there’ll be any complications for either of us—and the fact that I still have residual thoughts of Golden.
She let me call her Ana while we were maki… having sex. I don’t refer to her as that anymore.
I let Ronnie know that I’m going to be unreachable for about a month and a half so that she doesn’t think I’ve dropped off the face of the earth. I told her to call me if she needs me, but that I’m really going to be tied up in a very important project. Of course, she gave me a hard time about the pun. I’m really glad that we’re still friends.
I’ve already packed my bag and I’m heading out of the penthouse with Jason when I look back at Mrs. Jones standing in the kitchen. Her hands are clasped together, and her expression is unreadable. She’s clearly concerned. I hand my bag to Jason, walk over to her, and I take her clasped hands in mine.
“I’ll be fine,” I tell her with more conviction than I feel. “People do this all the time.” She nods quickly and looks at the floor.
“Yes, sir,” she whispers.
“I’ll need lots of your soup,” I say, trying to lighten the situation. She scoffs a chuckle-sob.
“Yes, sir,” she says again. I kiss her hands and she never raises her gaze to me. I quickly walk out the door with Jason before I get all emotional and lose my nerve.
When I get to the hospital on Monday morning, I have Jason wait in Admitting while I go see Mia. I’ve been here just about every other day to make sure that she’s okay. At first, she was surprised. Now, she’s accepting of it even though I think she may be kind of cautious. I still haven’t told anybody that I’m going to be her donor. Like Ronnie, I tell them that I had some important business that couldn’t be rescheduled.
“Wow, Christian,” Elliot jibes. “You couldn’t put your business on hold for even a minute to make sure your sister is going to be okay?” I ignore him. I could blow his entire world with three sentences right now…
“Why yes, brother, I did in fact put my business on hold to make sure that my sister is going to be okay. I’m her donor since you are somehow physically unfit to donate your kidney. Why don’t you tell us how that came about?”
That’s not the priority right now, however. Mom has that same question in her eyes as I move next to Mia’s bed.
“Hey, Pest,” I say, taking her hand.
“Hey, Lucifer,” she replies with a smile. She’s scared. I can tell.
“You ready?” I ask, sitting on her bed next to her. She shrugs.
“I really don’t have a choice, do I?” she laments.
“We talked about this,” I remind her. “You’re going to come through this okay, and you’re going to take better care of yourself, right?” She nods quickly.
“Right,” she whispers.
“Aw, isn’t this sweet?” Elliot chimes in. “Hell has officially frozen over. Lady Capulet and Lord Montague are playing nice and all we needed was a life-threatening emergency. Go figure.”
“Elliot, stop being such an asshole,” Mia says without looking over at Mom, which she usually does when she curses. I think we all know that she gets a few “gimmes” today.
“So, look, I really have to get going, but I know you’re gonna knock this thing outta the park. Just give it as much hell as you’ve given me.” She smiles weakly.
“Get better,” I say, trying to make a hasty getaway. She raises sad eyes to me.
“Come on,” she begins. “Admit it. Your life would be a whole lot simpler without me.” Her voice is maudlin with a touch of that sarcasm I know so well.
“Of course, it would,” I reply with a half-smile, “but I don’t want you to die… because it would also be quite boring.” I fight the urge to hug her. I’m sure that I’ll spill my guts if I do. “I gotta go, Pest. I gotta see a man about a dog.”
“Of course, you do,” she says, her sarcasm returning. She drops her head again and I can’t resist. If this doesn’t work out right, I may not see her alive again. I lean down and kiss her on the cheek. She raises surprised eyes to me that quickly soften when we make eye-contact.
Yeah, sis, I may not like you that much, but I do love you.
“What’s your hurry, bro?” Elliot taunts. “What could possibly be more important than your sister’s health?” I turn a hateful glare to him. I could destroy him in front of everybody right now with the information that the doctor insinuated and come out the hero for giving up a perfectly functioning piece of my body to a woman who obviously hates me… well, hated me, but I don’t do that.
I don’t know how long I stand there glaring at him, but I watch as his expression changes under my cold stare. I don’t have time to play this game with him. I have to go and get checked in myself.
“Nothing,” I nearly growl in response, and I’m about to prove it when you can’t, you asshole. I leave the eerily silent room and, as usual, Elliot has to have the last word. He just wasn’t brave enough to say it in my face.
“Then, why are you leaving?” he yells out of the room. “She could die, you know!” I hear my mother scolding him.
“I’m aware of that, Asswipe,” I say lowly to no one. “That’s what I’m trying to prevent.”
I walk slowly down the hall and press the elevator button to head to admissions, pretending that this isn’t the scariest thing I’ve ever done in my life.
You get this drunk, hungover feeling without the headache when you wake up from anesthesia. My mouth feels like cotton and my throat stings a bit.
“Mr. Grey, you’re awake,” some nurse says. “That’s good. Let me get some readings from you and the doctor will be in shortly.” I smack my chops trying to create some saliva in my arid mouth.
“Dry mouth?” she asks. I nod. “We’ll get you some water for that.” She marks something on her chart and leaves the room. I look around and see that I’m in what looks like a common recovery room. Well, I don’t like that.
“Sir?” I slowly turn my head and Taylor is walking into the recovery room. “Just checking on you, sir.” I gesture my hand around the room. “They’re going to be moving you to a private room soon, sir.”
Yeah, soon. The last thing I want is for my parents—or heaven forbid—Elliot or Mia to see me in here.
My facial expression must have given it away.
“No one knows we’re here, sir,” he says, “so I haven’t been able to get any information on your sister.” I lay my head back on the pillow. I don’t even want to open my mouth.
“Mr. Grey, how do you feel?” The next voice I hear is a large black man in scrubs—our doctor. I open my mouth and point inside.
“You’re hungry?” he asks. “That’s new.” I make a gesture like I’m drinking something.
“Oh, you’re thirsty,” he says. “Well, that’s good. We’ll get you some water.” Like an angel from heaven, the nurse comes back with a picture of ice water and looks at the doctor for approval. He nods and she hands me the small picture.
“Small sips, Mr. Grey,” she says while helping me raise my head. My tongue and throat are saying, “That’s not gonna happen,” but when I get the straw to my mouth, my strength says, “Small sips.”
“Your stats are looking really good, Mr. Grey,” the doctor says. He shines that infernal light in my eyes, and I blink and glare at him. He does a couple of other things to test my reflexes and such. When my throat feels better and my head is slightly clearer, I’m able to form a word.
“Mia,” I say, my voice rough. The doctor looks up at me and raises his brow.
“It looks really good, Mr. Grey,” he says. “She’s tired as you would expect. Her resistance and immune system aren’t as strong as yours with the dialysis, but she’s looking good.”
I nod. The last thing I want is for her to go downhill, especially since part of me is inside her now.
A while later, I’m hungry and cantankerous, and I want to go to a private room. I’m tired of laying in this bed and I want some food. I’m wearing a catheter and I fucking hate it. After enough bellyaching, either they finally got my room ready or the squeaky wheel got the oil.
I’m in a wheelchair and Taylor is rolling me down the hall with the nurse walking close by—not my nurse, but a nurse. The minute we exit the recovery unit, I hear it before I see it. It’s the unmistakable raucous of the press. What the hell are they doing inside the hospital? The moment we round the corner, I see them, a cluster of them trying to get into one of the rooms. I’m only glad the poor bastard in the room ain’t me. I make to hide my face until I see something that causes me to cringe.
“What are you doing here? Get away! This patient has had major surgery and is trying to recover. What’s wrong with you people? How did you even get in here?”
That’s my doctor demanding that these vultures cease and desist. My doctor… Wait a minute! Does that mean…? He turns around and sees me in the wheelchair about 50 feet from him and his brown skin turns white. His expression tells me everything I need to know.
That’s Mia’s room.
And suddenly, I feel no pain… just pure rage.
I’m up out of that chair and storming down the hall before anybody can stop me. The catheter bag is dragging on the floor behind me and I don’t know what disconnected. Somewhere along the way I get my hands on a crutch from God only knows where and bellow at these fuckers as loud as I can… which turns out to be pretty loud for a guy who just gave up a kidney.
“Move the fuck outta my way!”
My voice carries over the clamor of the reporters and they all stop. A nurse rushes down the hall and moves to assist me.
“Get your hands off me!” I demand, and she nearly leaps away from me, startled. “How the fuck did they get in here?” I roar. “This is a goddamn hospital! Why the fuck are they here?”
“I… I don’t know, sir…”
“Get security and the police on the phone and do something!” I turn back to the press. “Get the fuck away from her room or I’ll start swinging crutches and anything I can get my hands on.”
“And we’ll sue you for everything you have, billionaire boy,” one of the reporters says.
“Good luck convincing a judge about a man in the hospital in a gown hours after giving his sister a kidney!” I raise the crutch and they begin to back away, enough for me to get into Mia’s room.
I walk in and there’s a nurse smiling for the cameras over a sleeping Mia.
“You!” I bark, and another nurse nearly jumps out of her skin. I read her badge and commit her name to memory. “I’m going to have your fucking life in the palm of my hands. Kiss your career goodbye!” With the crutch at the ready, I start swinging. Fuck a warning—I’ll blame the meds.
“Get the fuck outta my sister’s room!” I demand. The crutch cuts through the air and the crowd leaps back, Dammit, I missed every one of them. Now, I want blood. I swing again, but these bastards are fast.
“If I see one picture of me or my sister in the press, you will all sorely regret it! I promise you that!” I swing again and connect with a wall. Pain rings through my hand and wrist and shoots up my arm… the bad arm. Fuck, I forgot about that thing.
The crack of the metal crutch against the wall was enough to clear the room, except for the petrified nurse.
“You inconsiderate, hateful, selfish, heartless bitch!” I seethe. She takes a step back as I walk toward her. “How could you? How could you violate her privacy that way? She’s unconscious! Totally indisposed! What the fuck is wrong with you?” I’m angrily pointing at Mia to illustrate her helpless condition and when I throw a glance at her, she’s looking at me. I’m shocked to see her eyes open.
“Mia?” I squeak, caught off guard by her gazing at me.
“Chr… Christian…” she says weakly. “Wh… what are you… doing here?”
That’s right. She doesn’t know that I’m the one who gave her the kidney.
“I…” As soon as I try to formulate the words, something happens. My head gets fuzzy and starts to spin and I feel weakness in my body. I think I say something, I don’t know, but suddenly, all I see is darkness.
When I open my eyes, my head feels like lead. I can feel that irritating oxygen tube in my nose and I can’t move a muscle. My body weighs a ton. I’m trying to focus—it looks like I’m in a different room—more machines, more IV bags, more fucking tubes. Whatever happened, I ain’t gettin’ up no time soon.
I turn my head and try to focus on the form sitting next to my bed, but I can’t make it out for shit. Nobody but Taylor should know that I’m here, so maybe it’s a nurse.
Mia knows I’m here now. She probably knows that I’m the one who gave her a kidney. So, there’s no telling who this is by my bed. I try to focus my eyes a little more, but it’s hard as hell. I can tell by the fuzziness that they’ve got me on some drugs. I fight harder to focus, and the blob begins to take form. These must be some really good drugs because that woman looks like Golden.
This is so unfair. When I’m at my weakest and can’t clear my mind enough to fend off thoughts of her, she haunts me in my drug-induced haze.
“Go away,” I manage. Maybe if I can fully wake up, I can make the apparition disappear.
“What?” Oh, dear Lord, and it speaks, too.
“Go away!” I say again. Haven’t you hurt me enough?
“I hurt you?” it asks. Did I say that aloud? Of course, I didn’t. Hallucinations are all in your head, so of course they can read your mind. I close my eyes and try to make her disappear. “I warned you not to fall in love with me, Chopper.”
Chopper. Fuck. I forgot all about that name.
“And as far as I knew, I didn’t,” I retort weakly, “but I like you enough to be confused. Now go away and stop haunting me.”
“Haunting you?” it asks. “What do you mean haunting you?”
Oh, for fuck’s sake! I swat at the apparition, hoping it will dissipate and leave me the hell alone. A manicured hand reaches up and catches my wrist, stopping it cold before it gets anywhere near the apparition.
The apparition… what the fuck?
I glare at the hand, then into the face of one very angry madam.
Oh, hell, the haze is clearing up now!
I have no idea what expression is on my face, but whatever it is, hers morphs from anger to sheer confusion to questioning uncertainty. I, on the other hand, haven’t cleared the haze enough to know where or when I am, but I know one damn thing for sure.
So, from what I can see, Linc is the primary suspect in his wife’s murder and the prosecutor’s office is looking for an indictment. This is a high-profile case, and they’re pressed to solve it.
The coroner’s report was gruesome. Elena died from blunt force trauma. The thing is… she didn’t just get cracked over the head and die. Somebody beat the hell out of her—brutally. The medical examiner is a friend of mine from college, and she gave me all the gory details.
Blondie was beaten and kicked and strangled mercilessly. Her body was bludgeoned so badly from head to toe that some of the strikes actually broke the skin on her body. Her face was so swollen that she was nearly unrecognizable. Although she was identified at the crime scene, her identity had to be officially confirmed by fingerprints and dental records.
After all of that, she took 15 blows and kicks directly to her head. That’s what killed her. The bleach was a means to clean the body of DNA and evidence. So far, it’s been pretty effective. However, since they discovered that Linc had motive, they’ve been on his ass, combing his financials, tracing his every step to pin it on him. His passport has been revoked—not seized, revoked. He can’t even go to Canada or Mexico. He even tried to move back into his house, but the police have it sealed off as a crime scene… even after all these months.
I really hope he did it—not because I’m that macabre or because I want to see him go down, but because they’re combing the very hairs in his asshole to find evidence against him. If they find out that he’s guilty, then he deserves it. If they don’t find anything or it turns out that someone else did it, he’ll be the victim of the biggest and worst persecution campaign I’ve ever seen in my life.
While spending the holiday with my father’s family—my family—I discovered that Reynard approached them first. I knew he had approached Richard, but I didn’t know he had approached the entire family. He displayed about the same amount of grace, poise, and tact with them as he did with me. Except for that empty shit he said leaving my house, he hasn’t made any real threats. Nonetheless, even though the Blondie threat is no longer an issue, I still keep Jesse around.
I come home one day after another big win and a heavy fee being transferred to my account to Blake preparing a delicious dinner.
“Well, this is wonderful,” I say.
“I’m sure you closed Hamilton and Ryers successfully, Mistress,” he says matter-of-factly.
“I did,” I say, trying to see what he’s preparing.
“Make yourself at home, Mistress. I will set the table.”
I change into jeans and a sweater and I return to the dining room. We have a delicious meal of gazpacho with pa amb tomàquet, paella, empanadas, and homemade churros for dessert. He tells me about his day while we eat, that his whore ex-wife has finally sold the house to a nice family, which means that the home will be used as it was intended at last. I tell him about the cocky male corporate lawyers who underestimated me once again. We’re toasting to my success when he rolls his eyes and reaches for his phone.
“I apologize, Mistress,” he says. “It’s incessant.” I try not to be irritated as he pulls out the phone and looks at it. He frowns, looks at me, then back at his phone.
“What?” I say.
“It’s nothing, Mistress,” he says, and puts his phone on the table. He begins to clear the dishes from the table, and his phone buzzes again… and again… and again.
“Blake, what is it?” I ask again.
“It’s nothing,” he says, putting his phone back in his pocket without looking at it.
“It’s clearly something. Your phone is buzzing like a ticking timebomb, now what is it?” His expression is a combination of melancholy, regretful, and angry… which is some fucking combination.
“What do you hear of Christian Grey these days?” he asks, and I’m totally taken aback to the degree that I jerk like someone just hit me.
“Are you telling me that your phone is going batshit because of Christian Grey?” I ask, nearly in horror. Blake doesn’t respond. “Who in the fuck is texting you like a goddamn crackhead over Christian Grey?” I ask sincerely irritated.
“They’re not texts, Mistress,” he confesses. “They’re more like… notifications.”
Notifications? What the… Never mind.
“I hear nothing of Christian Grey these days,” I say, pretending that I’m not fucking dying to know what those damn notifications are all about. “And I really don’t want to,” I add for effect.
“Mistress,” he sighs, “there’s something you should know.”
“What?” I ask, impatiently.
“It’s about Mr. Grey.” I roll my eyes.
“Look,” I begin. “I thought we had this conversation. Trey is no more. He doesn’t exist to me and I really don’t want to hear about him. What is your obsession with this man?”
“Permission to speak frankly, Mistress,” Blake says coolly.
“Not if you’re going to disrespect me,” I retort.
“I would never do that, Mistress, but I am going to say something that you may not want to hear.” I cross my arms. Fine, fire away.
“Permission granted,” I say firmly.
“He does exist,” Blake says. “He’s a walking, breathing person right here in the county where you live. He has affected you and although you may deny his existence, he’s alive and kicking and still on this side of eternity. He has permeated that shell that you’ve erected for everyone else that doesn’t work with me. I know you care for him and that he has affected you and you think of him often because you’ve changed—not enough for anyone else to see, but enough for me.”
I’ve changed alright. I’ve changed back to who and what I was before I met Trey—to that sadistic, hedonistic goddess that has my clients clamoring for me. There’s not a damn thing wrong with that.
“Are you finished?” I shoot.
“Not quite,” he says softly. “You’re right. I am obsessed with Christian Grey—the same way that I’m obsessed with Caldwell Lincoln, Reynard Stamper, Kevin Sheardon, and the same way that I was obsessed with the late Richard Steele and Elena Lincoln. I’m obsessed with these people only to the degree that they affect you. And he affects you, so I just keep tabs on him from time to time.”
“Well, there’s no need,” I say flatly. “I’m fully aware of Christian Grey’s new love interest and it doesn’t affect me,” I say with more conviction than I feel.
“Well, that’s good to hear, but you may be interested in knowing that he’s not with his new love interest anymore. The relationship didn’t last three weeks. They’re good friends now, but not lovers.”
Are you kidding? I don’t talk to the man for months and he hooks up with someone for three weeks—three fucking weeks—and I see them during that damn three weeks? That shit knocked me completely off my square, made me totally doubt everything I was and everything I felt, and they weren’t together for three fucking weeks. This is why I don’t get attached. That shit is too damn messy.
“Well, I’m sorry for him that his relationship didn’t work out. This has nothing to do with me, and I’m weary of this conversation.” I turn to leave.
“One more thing before we conclude… please, Mistress.” I roll my eyes and turn back to my errant submissive. If it were the nature of our relationship, I would chain him to the ceiling and lash him until he wept.
“Yes?” I seethe.
“Are you at all familiar with the term nephrectomy?” I frown.
“No,” I reply, waiting for him to get to the point.
“It’s the procedure where one of your kidneys is removed.” My eyes widen.
“What?” I say just above a whisper. “Are you trying to tell me that Christian has renal failure?”
“No, but his sister does, so he donated one of his kidneys to her.” He pauses. “I’m still a little gray on the details—no pun intended—but something happened, and he’s had some complications. He’s not doing well.”
I suddenly feel my throat constrict. Something’s happening in my chest and I feel a bit lightheaded. My arms fall to my side as I attempt to appear unaffected.
“What hospital is he in?” I ask.
“Seattle General,” Blake informs me. I take a deep breath and purse my lips.
“Send some flowers,” I say before turning and leaving the room.
“Yes, Mistress,” I hear from the room I just left. I ascend the stairs, go into my bedroom and close my door. I almost can’t breathe. Christian is in the hospital, he’s short one kidney, and he’s having complications. What kind of complications? Why didn’t I ask that question before I left the room? What if he doesn’t make it? Will I be okay? I said that he didn’t exist to me, but is that what I really want? What if he really didn’t make it? What if he dies?
What was that you said about not getting attached?
I close my eyes, take a deep breath, and grab my car keys.
“He hasn’t had any visitors,” the nurse says. She didn’t want to give me any information, but I effectively convinced her that I’m close friends with him and just wanted to make sure that he was okay. “He didn’t list anyone as next of kin except his bodyguard, Jason Taylor. His sister didn’t even know that he gave her a kidney until the anesthesia wore off and she’s been in no condition to come and see him, so…” She trails off. Even though she didn’t give me everything, she may have still given me too much information.
“I’ll make sure that his family knows,” I tell her. She raises a brow at me.
“You’re associated with the family?” she asks. I nod.
“I know his father very well,” I tell her. “We’re colleagues.” She looks at me skeptically.
“The judge?” she questions.
“Yes,” I say, reaching into my purse and giving her a business card. “Like I said, we’re colleagues.” Her expression softens as she reads my business card.
“Oh,” she says. I’m startled by a somewhat familiar voice down the hall.
“Ms. Olivet?” I turn to see that a confused Taylor is coming down the hall with two coffees in his hand. I turn to the nurse.
“Thank you,” I say with a nod.
“You’re welcome,” she says softly. I walk towards Taylor.
“How is he?” I ask when I close the space between us. At first, he doesn’t answer. “Taylor? How is he?”
“He…” he begins. Then he breezes past me to a door where another guy is standing. He hands him one of the coffees, then peeks into the room. Expressionless, he comes back over to me and gestures me to a community waiting area.
“Have you seen him?” he asks.
“No,” I reply. “What’s happening? I know that he gave a kidney to his sister.” He looks at me in surprise. This must have been the world’s best kept secret if his family didn’t know—not even the sister who received the kidney. Taylor is looking at me now no doubt wondering how I found out. Don’t look at me; I’m trying to figure out how Blake found out.
“Taylor, please tell me before my imagination starts running away with me,” I beg, trying not to sound too desperate.
“He had some trauma only hours after he left surgery,” he begins. “Right before they were to remove the catheter, he discovered that the press was in his sister’s room. An unscrupulous guard apparently colluded with an equally unscrupulous nurse and… the rest is history. Mr. Grey physically kicked them out of Mia’s room and collapsed shortly thereafter. Apparently, once his adrenaline dropped, he succumbed to his condition. There was some tearing, some internal bleeding, something about a fistula or something… They had to take him back to surgery. He… he’s been out for three days. He’s not comatose, but he should be awake by now.”
“And you haven’t called his family, Taylor?” I scold. “Really?” He avoids my gaze. “I know Carrick Grey,” I tell him, and his eyes rise to mine.
“For God’s sake, Taylor, he may not wake up! If you don’t tell his family what’s going on with him, goddammit, I will. And I think they would rather hear this from someone that they’re somewhat familiar with than a total stranger, but if you can’t do it, I guarantee you that I can have Carrick Grey’s home number in twenty minutes.” I sit there folding my arms. He rolls his eyes.
“I’ll call his mother,” he cedes.
“You better,” I warn. “I’ll put my guy on getting that number just in case.”
“I’ll call her,” he says like an errant child, and I believe him. I nod.
“Can I go in and see him… or should I just leave?” He twists his lips and shakes his head.
“I really don’t know,” he says. “He’s… different lately… even before the surgery.” He pulls his phone out of his pocket. “Go,” he says, scrolling through his phone. “Go in before I lose my nerve to make this call.” He puts the phone to his ear, and I walk to the door that I assume is Christian’s. “Ms. Olivet?” I turn back to him.
“If I find myself unemployed, I’ll be knocking at your door for a job.” I have to suppress a smile as he turns back to his call. “Mrs. Grey?… Hello, ma’am, this is Jason Taylor… Yes, Christian’s security…” I leave him to his call and make eye contact with the guy standing at the door before I go inside.
I’m not prepared for the sight that greets me. He looks weaker and more helpless than I’ve ever seen him. There’s a tube down his throat helping him breathe and he’s attached to more machines than I’ve ever seen on one person. Jesus, is he dying?
I sit next to his bed and say nothing. What can I say?
Hiya Chopper, remember me? I was your Domme once, but we had sex and it blew my mind. I didn’t know how to handle it or you, so I cut you off, but now that I think you might be dying, I’m back. So, how the hell are ya?
I sit there for several minutes, listening to the rhythm of his heartbeat on the monitor. It’s comforting… somewhat. At least he’s still here.
He’s still here…
“He does exist. He’s a walking, breathing person right here in the county where you live. He has affected you and although you may deny his existence, he’s alive and kicking and still on this side of eternity. He has permeated that shell that you’ve erected for everyone else…”
How do I deal with this? I’m not satisfied anymore with this life. I want… something else. But this? Can I give up who I am for this? Do I want that? Does he even want that?
My thoughts are interrupted by the door opening, followed by the ceremonious entering of what looks like doctors and nurses.
“His numbers look better and his saturation… Who are you?” I stand from my seat.
“I’m… a friend,” I reply.
“Mr. Grey asked not to have any visitors,” the doctor says firmly.
“It’s okay,” Taylor says coming into the room behind the doctors and nurses. “Ms. Olivet, if you’ll come with me, the staff need to do some things for Mr. Grey.” He holds his hand out to me. I look back at Christian and weave through the inquisitive faces with an “excuse me” or two before joining Taylor.
“What’s going on? Can you tell me?” I ask as we walk toward the community area again.
“Well, the good news is that his stats are looking better,” Taylor says, guiding me past the community area and to the elevator. Is he kicking me out? “They want to remove his catheter and his breathing tube.”
I sigh and try to appear unaffected… again. The elevator rings and he gestures for me to get inside. I want to say something like, “Tell him I was here,” or “Don’t tell him I was here.” Instead, I just step inside. To my surprise, he steps inside with me.
What does he think? That I’m going to troll around the hospital or something? He presses the button for the first floor and continues what he was saying.
“The bleeding has stopped from what they can see, but there were some other complications that went way over my head. It was touch and go for a while, but any improvement is better than unconscious for three days.”
The elevator rings on the first floor and he gestures for me to exit. I leave and turn towards the outside doors.
“Wrong way, Ms. Olivet,” he says. When I turn around, he’s standing at the elevator gesturing in the opposite direction. I don’t question. I follow him and he leads me to the cafeteria as he continues to apprise me of Christian’s condition.
“Would you like something?” he asks. “Some food or some juice or coffee?” He gets two more coffees and I frown.
“You guys drink a lot of coffee,” I say. “Didn’t you just bring coffee a couple of minutes ago?” He frowns.
“No, I got coffee for us when you went in to see Mr. Grey,” he says, bemused.
“That’s what I said,” I reply, equally bemused. He pauses.
“Do you know how long you’ve been in there?” he asks. I shrug. I don’t even remember what time I got here. His expression softens.
“Would you like a muffin… or a Danish? Something else?” he asks. “A bagel, maybe?”
“Taylor, how long have I been in that room?” I ask him.
“About three hours,” he says matter-of-factly. “There are salads and sandwiches on the other side, or maybe you’d like something hot?”
What the fuck?!?
“Three hours?” I say horrified. “You gotta be kidding!”
“No, ma’am, and I’m certain that very soon, his parents are going to be here.” I roll my eyes and rub my neck.
Don’t get attached. Yeah, sure.
“Do they have corned beef?”
“Taylor, how long has he been like that?”
An older, beautiful blonde woman is grilling Taylor about Christian’s condition. She looks terribly worried and I deduce that this must be Christian’s mother.
“About three days, ma’am,” Taylor replies. “He’s doing much better than he was.”
“Much better?” the woman exclaims. “He was worse? He looks like he’s dying!” My sentiments exactly.
“Please, Mrs. Grey, let me take you to talk to the doctor. I’m certain that he’ll put your fears to rest.” Taylor begins to lead Mrs. Grey away just as the elevator rings.
“Grace!” I hear a familiar voice call.
“Cary,” her voice cracks. I drop my head so that my hair falls over my face and watch through my tresses as Carrick Grey opens his arms to accept his wife in a warm embrace. She weeps gently on his shoulder as he rubs her back and comforts her. The inner me rolls my eyes at the display. The outer me can’t help but gaze at them in awe of their love and care for each other and wonder what it must be like to have that. After more than three decades on earth, I’ve never had that.
Judge Grey puts his arm around his wife, and they follow Taylor down the hall. Goddammit, these feelings! I don’t want these fucking feelings! Why the hell can’t they just leave me alone?
It would be so easy to just stand up, go downstairs, walk the hell out of here and don’t look back. So, why can’t I just fucking do it?
Taylor is rousing me from my sleep. My head feels like a rock and there’s a crick in my neck. I fell asleep in the chair in the waiting room.
“What time is it?” I ask.
“It’s just after 2am,” he says. “My replacements are here and I’m about to call it a night. Why don’t you go home and get some rest now?”
I stretch and look around. The staff appears to have changed and there’s no one in the waiting room.
“Are his parents still in there?” I ask. He shakes his head.
“They’ve gone to see Mia. Then, they’re going home for the night.” I nod.
“I’m confused,” I say. “Why didn’t his sister tell his parents what he did and that he was here?” He shakes his head and sighs.
“They’re a strange family, Ms. Olivet,” he replies. “I couldn’t answer that question for you because I don’t know.” I nod again.
“Maybe I’ll just go in and say goodnight,” I say, standing and cracking my stiff joints. Taylor nods and walks with me to the door. He holds it open and I go inside. Christian looks a lot better now. That tube is gone, and he has the small oxygen tube in his nose. He looks like he’s sleeping now as opposed to dead.
I sit in the chair and gaze at him again. He’s such a handsome man. He looks so peaceful, but still very weak and vulnerable. I’m just feeling sympathy for him, that’s all. It’s nothing more than that. I don’t want him to die and I’m concerned about him. That’s all this is…
“Go away…” I hear a frail voice say. I slip out of my daydream and focus on wet, gray eyes groggily gazing at me.
“What?” I ask. I’ve been here for hours worrying about your ass, afraid that you were going to die, sleeping in a very uncomfortable waiting-room chair and your first words to me are go away, you ungrateful asshole?
“Go away!” he repeats. “Haven’t you hurt me enough?”
Are you kidding? Is he serious? He knew what this was.
“I hurt you?” I ask incredulously. He doesn’t reply. He just closes his eyes tight, like he’s trying to wish me away. “I warned you not to fall in love with me, Chopper.”
“And as far as I knew, I didn’t, but I like you enough to be confused. Now go away and stop haunting me.” His voice is barely above a whisper.
“Haunting you?” What the fuck? “What do you mean haunting you?”
He raises his hand and swats at me like he’s trying to swat away a fly. You disrespectful… I grab his flailing wrist and hold on tight. You better put that thing away. You’re short one vital organ. You want to be short a limb, too?
He stares at my hand grasping his wrist in disbelief, then up at me—and I am pissed. How dare you fucking swing at me, you insolent…
But his face… he’s horrified. It’s like he’s seeing a ghost, or death itself has walked into the room. He’s silent for several moments before he breathes, “Mi… Mistress?”
Oh, shit. How did that happen? Does he regularly talk to manifestations of me? Should I be afraid? Instead, I just sigh and shake my head.
“I’m not your Mistress anymore, Chopper… Trey,” I say, placing his arm gently back on the bed. I only ever really called him Chopper during a scene—maybe a few other times.
“I know… I mean…” His voice is still weak. “What are you doing here?”
“I heard you weren’t well,” I say, crossing my legs and girding up my armor, “or I should say I heard that you weren’t doing well.”
“How did you hear that?” he asks. “Are you having me followed?”
“Don’t flatter yourself,” I reply. “I know people who know people…”
“But no people knew I was in here, so how did you know? My parents don’t even know.”
“Somebody knew,” I tell him, “and your parents know now.”
“What?” he shoots, and his monitors spike. I stand and put my hands on his chest.
“You need to calm down,” I tell him. “You became upset and from what I understand, you may have attacked some reporters. You ripped your sutures—inside and out—and you put yourself at risk. A lot of people thought you may not make it. You’ve been out for nearly four days. I know your father—he’s presided over a lot of my cases. I threatened Taylor that if he didn’t call him, I would. Taylor and I both agreed that it would be better that they hear this news from someone that they know as opposed to hearing it from a stranger.”
“Let’s see if he still feels that way when I fire his ass,” he croaks.
“Then, he’ll just come and work for me,” I say, and Christian glares at me. “If I was a mother, I would very much rather come and see my very alive son who may not be doing well than to come to the hospital and identify his remains when I didn’t even know that he was sick, much less that he gave my daughter a kidney.”
“You know too damn much,” he squeaks. You’re right. I do.
“Are you in pain? Do you need any pain meds?”
“Yes, and yes,” he says, laying his head back on the bed. I press the button for the nurse. He tries to adjust himself in the bed, but he can’t move. A few moments later, a petite nurse enters the room.
“Mr. Grey,” she says, her voice bubbly. “Ma’am,” she nods at me and I nod back before she comes to the side of the bed. “You’ve decided to join us. How do you feel?” She looks at his chart and some of the machines.
“In pain… and I’m thirsty,” he croaks. She nods.
“Let me get the doctor and we’ll see what we can get you, okay?” She proceeds to check his pulse and blood pressure, looks at his IV bag and checks some other stats.
“Glad to see you’re awake, Mr. Grey. Your vitals look good and I’ll be right back with the doctor.” She smiles and nods at me again before leaving the room.
Christian and I are completely silent for several minutes. Neither of us knows what to say to each other. When I thought he was dying, I could think of nothing but getting to him, being by his side. Now that I know he’ll be fine, I just want to get the hell away from him—put as much distance between us as possible.
“Mr. Grey, hello. We must stop meeting like this…” The doctor comes into the room and starts talking to Christian, and I take this moment to make my getaway.
“Mi… Go… Ana!” He’s coherent enough to go through all of my names before I make it to the door. He’s still weak and fragile, but his eyes are beseeching. I give him a weak smile.
“I’ll check on you,” I say softly. I turn away and walk out before I lose my nerve and stay. I look at the guard at the door—some guy I don’t know—and he gives me a nod. I turn away and walk to the elevator.
What was the purpose of this exercise? I keep asking myself that question during the entire ride home. I went running to this man’s beside like… like… like he meant something to me. Why the hell did I do that? The minute I saw that he was going to be okay, I couldn’t get out of there fast enough. So, why did I go in the first place?
I sit in front of my house for several minutes when I get home. I’m seeing Judge and Mrs. Grey, holding each other warmly in the hospital hallway when they didn’t know what was going on with Christian. It was very tender and loving, and you could tell that they cared for each other very deeply. I don’t want that. I don’t want to be dependent on anybody and I don’t want anybody to be dependent on me… do I? I look at my front door and see Blake there waiting for me to come in. I sigh heavily, open the door and step out of the truck. I close and lock the door behind me and proceed towards the only man in the world who can see right through me.
I should have known. I don’t know why I was surprised. Day one and day two, I watched that door. I asked Taylor if he had heard anything from her or seen her, or even if she asked if I were dead or alive. Nothing. Nothing at all. Day three, I have a lovely showdown with my family… in a fucking hospital bed.
“Christian,” Mom says, her voice pained, “why didn’t you tell us? They just told us that they had found a donor. They didn’t tell us that it was you.” I can’t come up with an answer for her.
“I asked you,” she accuses. “You lied to me.”
“I didn’t lie to you, Mom, I avoided the truth,” I defend.
“It’s the same thing, Christian!” she says, fighting back her tears. “I could’ve lost two of my children and I wouldn’t have known until they were gone!” She covers her mouth and turns away. Dad raises his eyes to me.
“This was an incredibly selfless thing that you did, son,” he says, sounding more fatherly than I’ve heard him sound in decades, “and very foolish to do on your own. Your mother needs to know… and I need to know… why?” I sigh and try to rely on divine intervention to give me an answer, but I realize that nothing is going to suffice but the truth.
“I don’t know why Mia hates me,” I begin, “but she does, or at least she did. It can’t just be Harvard. It can’t. There has to be something else. I’ll never find out what that is, but she hated me. If she knew that she was getting my kidney, she might’ve said ‘no’ just to spite me. She would’ve thought I would try to use it to hold over her head, like she would be indebted to me for the rest of her life! And she would’ve said ‘no.’ Then what? She goes back to the end of the list and hopes for another kidney because she turned down a perfectly good one. And then we hope that she finds one before she dies? I couldn’t take that chance. We couldn’t afford for that to happen!”
“Is that what you thought?”
I hear Mia’s voice and look over at the door. She’s sitting in a wheelchair just outside the threshold.
“You thought I hated you so much that I wouldn’t take your kidney?” I sigh. Jesus, she wasn’t supposed to hear that.
“Shouldn’t you be in bed?” I scold.
“No,” she retorts. “I’m doing a hell of a lot better than you because I wasn’t swinging crutches at people three hours after surgery.” Oh, shit, she saw that. “You really thought that, Christian? That I wouldn’t accept your kidney?”
“And once again, the golden boy has to take the spotlight,” Elliot jeers. “You weren’t the only kidney, Mr. Perfect. Did you forget I was a match, too?” God, did he have to use that word? I’m still not 100% sure her visit wasn’t a figment of my imagination.
“Then why didn’t you give your kidney?” I ask. I won’t out him, but if he keeps it up…
“Oh, because billionaire boy beat me to it!” he snaps.
“How was that possible when they tested you first?” I ask. “The doctor told me that I was the perfect match—the perfect choice to save Mia and to extend her life. Now, why would they even need to test me if they had already found a match with you?” Drop it, Elliot.
“Most likely because of his cocaine use,” Dad blurts out. Elliot’s head whips over to Dad and my eyes transform to the size of saucers.
“Dad? Seriously?” Elliot accuses.
“Yes, seriously!” Dad retorts. “I’ve had enough of you walking around here like you’re so goddamn high and mighty. This isn’t about you!”
“Dear God, Elliot! Cocaine?” Mom exclaims horrified. “How long? Never mind! Never mind! I don’t want to know.” Elliot smiles nervously.
“Chill out, Mom,” he says in that slimy voice that he uses to make your skin crawl. “It’s not the end of the world. It’s just a little nose candy.”
“I’m not hearing this!” Mom says, throwing her hands up. “I am not hearing this.” She turns to Dad. “Carrick? You knew?” Dad sighs.
“Unfortunately, I did,” he says to her before turning to me. “How did you know?”
“I didn’t!” I reply, awestruck. “The doctor wouldn’t tell me, but he was adamant that I was Mia’s best chance of survival even though we were both a match.” Elliot is clearly floundering, so instead of walking that plank that he was standing on and taking his medicine like a man, he decides to shoot a hole in the bottom of the boat.
“Well, since we’re telling secrets,” he says with a devious smile, “I suppose you already know that Christian is into that same shit Dad was into.”
You can actually hear the skin ripping as his knife sinks into the bodies of nearly every person in the room and drags down their torsos, spilling fresh blood onto a sterile floor.
“Wha…?” Mom shrieks. Dad and I quickly look at each other and have a silent conversation about what really needs to be said here. Elliot is looking to drag everybody down with him, even if it destroys Mom in the process.
“Christian, is this true?” Mom shrieks. I screw up my courage and spit it out.
“Yes, Mom, it’s true,” I say impassively, “but Mom, you can’t be angry with me. I’m a consenting adult. This was after Juliet—I wasn’t in a committed relationship, so nobody was hurt. I shielded you, the family, and everybody from it, and if it wasn’t for Chicken Little over there, you still wouldn’t know.”
“How did Chicken Little know?” Dad asks.
“I heard the two of you talking,” Elliot says victoriously, and Mom turns her horrified glare to Dad. Oh, great.
“I asked questions, Mom,” I clarify. “It was no secret that he was familiar with the lifestyle and I was curious. I didn’t want to go wandering off into some crazy cult shit… so I asked.”
Mom looks back and forth between me and Dad, not sure which of us to be angry with more, no doubt, but Elliot’s not done yet.
“Yeah, Dad has dirt on everybody. He’s been holding us hostage for years. So, since my secret is out, let’s lay everybody’s dirty laundry on the table. So, what about the Little Princess over there—Little Miss Throw-Everybody-In Judgment? What’s the dirt on Mia?” Elliot says snidely.
“You just saw the dirt on Mia,” Dad hisses without looking at him, then turns to Mom.
“Mia’s been on dialysis for the last seven years. You’d already been through so much we didn’t want to tell you. Of course, it got to the point where we couldn’t keep it a secret anymore.”
Seven years… dear God. Even I didn’t know that. It wasn’t that she wasn’t taking care of herself. It was just that… she was waiting. It was time.
“Secrets,” my mother chokes through her tears. “Secrets and lies! That’s all this family is built on—secrets and lies!” She runs out of the room in tears. Dad sighs mournfully and looks down at Mia.
“Are you okay?” he says softly. She shrugs.
“Yeah,” she says. “I’m glad it’s out. We’ll work on the rest later.” Dad takes her hand and looks over at me. I give him a half shrug to indicate that I’m indifferent about the whole thing, but there are really no hard feelings. He raises angry eyes to Elliot but says nothing. Then he leans down to kiss Mia’s cheek, releases her hand, and leaves the room, most likely to go find Mom. I turn to Elliot.
“Well, congratulations,” he sneers. “You’re the golden boy once again.” And there’s that word. I glare at him.
“You thought I was leaving her hanging for a business trip, and I was shit. You find out that I gave her a goddamn kidney, and I’m still shit.” I just look at him and shake my head.
“Get the fuck outta my room, Elliot,” I say with no emotion. I’m totally done with my brother, and I have nothing else to say on the matter. He gazes at me for a moment, then at Mia who has her back to him and hasn’t raised her head, and wordlessly leaves the room. Mia wheels over to me.
“It’s Harvard, Christian,” she says, placing her hand on the bed on top of mine but still not raising her eyes. “It’s always been Harvard. I resent you… resented you because I didn’t get a chance to go. Everything fell apart between Mom and Dad right after you dropped out, and I didn’t get a chance to go. It was my dream to go to Harvard, and I felt like you took it away from me. I resented you, but I don’t hate you. I never hated you.” She sniffles.
“When I saw you in that room with that crutch, swinging it at strangers and cursing out some nurse with your ass hanging out…” I try not to laugh. That’ll be in somebody’s paper if it’s not already. “… All I could think was, ‘What the hell is he doing here?’ When I finally shook the anesthesia, the doctor told me that you had given me your kidney and that you weren’t doing too well.” Her voice cracks on the last words. I swallow hard.
“You looked so weak every time I came to see you,” she squeaked. “I kept thinking, ‘He gave me the kidney to make up for stealing my chance to go to Harvard.’ I just wanted you to wake up, so I could say ‘thank you’ and ask you why you didn’t want me to know… but when I came in and heard the real reason…” She trails off and begins to weep. I turn my hand over and grasp hers in mine. She’s been crying a lot these days, and I don’t know if I can get used to it. She’s always been outspoken, and she can be a real pill, but I’ve never seen soft Mia.
“I’m sorry,” she sobs. “I’m so sorry. How can I ever make this up to you?” I squeeze her hand.
“By taking care of your body and living a good life… and agreeing to stop all this bickering. I think we’ve both seen that life is too short for this shit.” She nods through her tears.
“And Mia?” She raises her gaze to me.
“You’re smart, you’re resourceful, and you do a good thing. I’m proud of you for chasing the bad guys… but I’m not one of them.” She nods again.
“I know,” she says, still in tears. “I wanted to make you the bad guy, and I found a way through the whole ‘capitalist’ thing, but… I’ve always known.” I nod.
“So… you’ll give your brother a break?”
“This one,” she says, wiping her eyes and I deflate a bit.
“You’re going after Elliot?” I ask, knowing how this will affect our already upset Mom.
“No,” she says. “There’s nothing to go after. I don’t know what he does, and I don’t have the will or energy to chase him down. I’ve always known he was a creep and now—today—I know he’s a drug addict. I don’t see any redeeming qualities and until he shows me some, I have to let that go. Besides,” she strokes my hand gently, “I’ve got some serious bridges to mend on this side of the water.”
I don’t tell her that she never really hurt me; she was just a pain in my ass, but she needs to work through how she’s feeling, and I’ll be there to help her. I’m glad to have my little sister back.
“We’ll get through it,” I say softly, twisting my lips to avoid that twinge in my chest that’s making me feel a bit sappy.
“Christian,” she says just above a whisper, “thank you.” I squeeze her hand again.
Day four, Mia is my only visitor, and we spend the entire day together, including meals. Day five, we both get to go home. Elliot is M.I.A. as expected. Mom and Dad come to get Mia and Taylor comes to retrieve me. My mother doesn’t speak to me and that smarts. It’s a double-edged sword along with the cat-and-mouse game that Golden keeps playing with me. I get in the car after hoping—futilely—that my mother would at least acknowledge my presence. And suddenly, I’m weak again. I’m weak and I’m tired and even though I spent a week in bed, I just want to get back in bed again.
“Taylor, I need a little help,” I say when we get back to the penthouse. I feel like all the energy has been sapped out of me just by leaving the hospital and getting in the car.
“Do you need a doctor, sir?” he asks. “Should we go back to the hospital?
“No, the doctor said this might happen…” Sudden drains of energy, feelings of emptiness, loss, and depression. I just have a feeling that this isn’t just from the nephrectomy, that it’s quite possibly more emotional than physical.
“Can you just help me get to bed please?”
I put my arm over his shoulder, and he helps me to the elevator.
I spend the rest of that day as well as the next several in my bed. Mrs. Jones brings me meals and Taylor checks on me regularly. I shower each morning and change my pajamas, just to get back into bed and lay there or watch TV or talk to Mia or Ronnie—who reams me a new one once I tell her what really happened.
I deserved that… and she comes to check on me when she can.
The rest of the time, I think about Mom… and her.
Until day ten… when she shows up at my penthouse. She’s like a ray of sunshine showing up in my room and my spirits suddenly soar.
“I… said I would check on you,” she says almost timidly.
“That was more than a week ago,” I reply. “I could’ve been dead.”
“But you aren’t,” she says.
“What took so long?” I ask, really needing to know why she made me wait for ten days.
“I… I was busy,” she says, and I immediately see her whipping some poor, fortunate soul chained to the ceiling in her dungeon.
Cat-and-mouse. She’s playing with me again.
I told you not to fall for me, Chopper.
I’m not your Mistress anymore, Chopper.
Indeed, you aren’t, and suddenly, I’m weary again.
“I need you to leave,” I say, quietly. She’s silent for several moments.
“What?” she asks.
“You can’t fathom the concept that someone wants you to go away, can you?” I ask, wearily. “I said the same thing to you at the hospital—basically the same thing—when I didn’t know it was actually you sitting there, and your reaction was exactly the same. You said, ‘What,’ like you couldn’t comprehend the words that were coming out of my mouth. So, I’ll say them again so that you’ll know that I’m not under the influence of any drugs. I need you to leave,” I repeat, shaking my head and barely believing that I’m hearing myself say it.
“You play with me,” I continue, “I’m one of your toys. You’re a true sadist—you said it yourself. You win—I’m in agony; I can’t take this anymore. You make me want you, but then you say I can’t have you. Then you go away, but you make me want you again. I can’t get you out of my mind. You’re in my blood. I’m pussy-whipped, and it’s not because you fucked me. I was pussy-whipped long before that. I had dreams about you; I saw you in other women before and after you cut me off. It’s always been you and as far as I know, it’ll probably always be you. Fuck, I almost took a damn bullet for this shit!
“You got what you wanted!” I say with clenched fists. “You broke me down after I swore that another woman wouldn’t do that to me. I’m your ultimate trophy! Or maybe not—maybe I’m just another notch in your belt. But congratulations! You win. You really are a sadist—a divine, magnificent, beautiful, horribly cruel sadist. Whoever fucked you up, you got them back in spades—with me! Now, please, just leave before I make a bigger fool of myself than I already have.”
I grit my teeth to keep from saying what I really want to say; to keep from begging her to stay with me if only for tonight. I can’t take this anymore. My emotions are way more involved than I ever intended and it’s just too damn much.
“For God’s sake, just go!” I yell. Her soft, concerned voice is like nails on the chalkboard of my soul—literally. And hearing her say my name smarts even more.
“Please, just go, Ana,” I say softly. “Just go…” I shut her down. I can’t hear her anymore. I don’t know how long I sit there in my bed with my head down, but the next voice I hear…
“Can I get you something, sir?” Taylor says. “Or I can have Mrs. Jones make something for you…” I sigh heavily.
“Something to drink, please,” I say, my voice barely audible. “Maybe some soup, too. My throat hurts.”
A/N: This was one of the chapters that I wrote near the middle of the book when I decided how to expand on the family dynamic. It was very hard to write.
We’re really closing in on the finale. So, remembering the warnings I’ve been spouting all through the story, any predictions at this point on how the story will end?
Will it be a “Your girl is lovely, Hubbell” ending like in The Way We Were?
Will it be the moment when Sayuri finally wins the affections of the Chairman in Memoirs of a Geisha?
Or will it be some calm (or wild) variance in between—The Secretary? Wild Orchid? The Story of O?
Two more chapters to find out…
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