No email this time. Still training for my promotion. I’ll post as often as I can.
This is a work of creativity. As such, you may see words, concepts, scenes, actions, behaviors, pictures, implements, and people that may or may not be socially acceptable and/or offensive. If you are sensitive to adverse and alternative subject matter of any kind, please do not proceed, because I guarantee you’ll find it here. You have been warned. Read at your own risk.
I do not own Fifty Shades Trilogy, or the characters. They belong to E. L. James. I am only exercising my right to exploit, abuse, and mangle the characters to MY discretion in MY story in MY interpretation as a fan. If something that I say displeases you, please, just leave. If you don’t like this story or me, please don’t spoil this experience for everyone. Just go away. For the rest of you, the saga continues…
Season 5 Episode 6
It’s my babies’ first birthday!
I’m walking on sunshine making mental plans for their first birthday party tomorrow. I’ve counted the guests and I’m going through my phases of Better Homes and Gardens again, only this time, it’s the birthday edition—if there is such a thing—and I’m not depressed or running from dread. I’m so filled with glee that I could just burst. There’s no GEH or Helping Hands today as I have to be sure that everything is just right for Minnie and Mikey’s birthday.
My guest list is all set—small but large for a birthday for a couple of one-year-olds, but who cares? Nothing could ruin my mood today, but surprisingly, something pretty damn morbid made it a whole lot better. The television is playing in the family room and I’m listening to the local news channel. I’m sitting at the breakfast bar working on the menu for tomorrow’s party when something on the news catches my attention.
“Within the last hour, we’ve learned that Washington State Penitentiary inmate and former Seattle socialite Elena Lincoln has suffered a massive stroke…”
I rubberneck to the television and feel my body floating into the family room. I don’t even remember getting out of my seat. I watch as a picture of an extremely much older-looking Elena Lincoln flashes across the screen. She didn’t look like that when she went in. I know she didn’t. Her natural hair had grown out, and it was brown. This woman, though she looks much older, has blonde hair… and she’s smiling… and she’s outside! And she looks like she’s wearing makeup! Where did this picture come from?
I’m pondering what the fuck is really going on in that goddamn prison when this bitch is supposed to be in maximum security and she’s able to get her hands on hair dye and makeup… and she’s fucking outside! I can’t see the surroundings behind her or if she’s wearing prison garb, so she could be in the exercise yard for all I know, but hair dye? And makeup? Tupac couldn’t even get a decent haircut when he was in jail!
I’ve missed the entire newscast lost in my wondering, and I scramble for the remote to rewind live TV. I’d die of suspense waiting for the story to come back on.
“Ana, what is it? You look like you’ve seen a ghost!”
I hear Gail’s voice, but I’m too focused on getting back to the story that I don’t even respond to her. I get back to the point where I see She-Thing’s picture on the screen and stop the rewind just before the story begins. I listen to the last bits of a story about the homeless people under the viaduct before the story begins to play again.
“Within the last hour, we’ve learned that Washington State Penitentiary inmate and former Seattle socialite Elena Lincoln has suffered a massive stroke. Lincoln was administered a routine flu shot when shortly thereafter, she began to show symptoms of a stroke. Prison officials indicate that Lincoln complained that she was dizzy, so she was instructed to lie down. Her symptoms became increasingly worse until she became unresponsive…”
“Is she dead?” I ask aloud. The words shocked me coming out of my mouth, but I don’t regret it. I want to know if the Pedo-Bitch is dead!
“Lincoln appears to have been in a coma since Wednesday, but has regained consciousness a short while ago…”
The Bitch is stomping her feet like Rumpelstiltskin while I attempt to appear unaffected.
“Although she is awake, Lincoln appears to have suffered extreme paralysis as a symptom of the stroke. At this time, she is unable to walk, move, or speak. There is currently no information on if the condition is permanent.”
Well, that’s something. The Bitch settles a bit.
“Questions arose as to whether Lincoln could have had an adverse reaction to the flu shot. Toxicology reports tested for the flu vaccine and revealed that she was given the same strain of the virus given to all the inmates and staff of the prison. Reports indicate that there was no way the flu shot could’ve caused a stroke.
“Lincoln will be moved to a minimum-security prison where a special team will oversee her care in hopes of a recovery.”
“She had a stroke from a flu shot?” I ask aloud.
“That’s impossible,” Grace says, and I forget that she was in the room. I look over at her.
“Not that I really care what happens to the bitch,” I tell her. “To be honest, it would have been good news had they said she was dead, but a stroke from a flu shot? I’ve never heard of such a thing.”
“Well, they clearly said it couldn’t have been caused by the flu shot,” she replies. “It has to be coincidence. Maybe she got some really bad news, or she had high blood pressure or something. There has to be an explanation.” She shrugs.
It suddenly dawns on me—my husband’s words a few days ago when I asked how things went with Greta Ellison.
“Nobody’s dead… except the book, and it won’t be back.”
Nobody’s dead except the book, and it won’t be back. That is so ominous, but I guess he’s right. The book, indeed, will not be back.
“Damn,” I say, gazing at the television, the news moving on to another story. “Karma’s a real bitch.”
“You look relieved,” Gail says, her brow raised when I turn to look at her.
“I am,” I reply. “There’s no use in lying. That woman is pure evil, and I’m surprised that it hasn’t consumed her from the inside out well before now.” Gail twists her lips.
“You’ll get no argument from me,” she says matter-of-factly, “the bitch shot my husband.”
Once I get over the initial shock of Elena’s fate, I walk around for the rest of the day on a damn cloud. I consider whatever happened to that bitch a necessary evil. She’s one miserable person who was hell-bent on destroying the lives of potentially dozens of families. I wholeheartedly believe that the world would be a better place without her, and I don’t regret those feelings. I only regret that the stroke didn’t finish her off.
Second only to my two darling bundles of joy, it’s the best present I’ve gotten in a year.
My husband didn’t seem surprised.
“Did you hear about She-Thing?” I ask when he gets home.
“I sure did,” he says, coming into the family room as I’m decorating for the birthday party. “I wish the bitch had died.”
“I said the same thing,” I reply. “Maybe we should ease up on that before we bring some bad Karma onto ourselves. “
“No problem. I don’t want to talk about her anyway. So, a month ago, Santa Claus shit all over the house. Now, we’ve got Minnie and Mickey Mouse droppings.” I glare at him.
“First of all, you better be glad my children aren’t down here to hear you cursing or I’d find some way to make you pay for it, and I don’t mean a swear jar. Second, I’m having a great time, so don’t you come raining on my parade, Christian Grey!” I’m pointing at him with a Minnie Mouse wand made of a black glitter Minnie head with a pink glitter bow on it attached to a wooden dowel.
“Careful where you shake that thing!” he warns. “I don’t want fairy dust all over me!”
“Fuck you, Dr. Killjoy,” I declare.
“Oooh! Who needs the swear jar now?” he teases, capturing me in his arms and tickling me, his fingers madly manipulating my ribs.
“Christian, stop!” I giggle helplessly.
“What? What was that? I don’t think I heard you…”
“Stop or I’ll pee myself!” I warn. He stops tickling me and pulls me into his arms.
“Well, we don’t want that,” he says, kissing me softly.
“You seem in a better mood today,” I observe, closing my eyes as he peppers gentle kisses on my lips, my neck, and my jaw.
“It was a better day,” he says between kisses. “Somebody came in there and put the fear of God into my staff and they’ve been getting their shit together.”
“Mmm… have they now?” I say, still absorbing his tender kisses.
“Mmm-hmm,” he says, gently tasting my skin.
“Sheesh, get a room,” Jason says, coming from the mudroom and through the family room.
“We don’t need a room. We have a house,” Christian retorts, “and you’re in it.”
“Along with a very impressionable teenager,” he remarks. Oops, he’s right. Sophie should be around any minute to help me with the hors d’oeuvres and sandwich fixings for tomorrow.
“Look who’s talking,” I say as Christian releases his embrace. “You come in kissing Gail every day.” He pauses as he reaches his wife to do just that.
“I kiss her,” he concurs, “I don’t maul her in the middle of the family room. We’re not making out amongst the Disney paraphernalia. Hello, Love,” he says, turning to his wife and kissing her sweetly.
“Yeah, yeah, whatever,” Christian says, forcefully pulling me back into his arms. “I’ll maul my wife whenever and wherever I damn well please… but I will be mindful of the teenager.” He looks at me again and pops a fast, hard kiss on my lips eliciting a giggle from me.
“So, what’s going on at the Ivory Palace?” I ask my husband. “Finney and Ros finally get their asses in gear?”
“Among other things,” he says. “Everybody’s waiting for the Queen of Hearts to come breezing into the office… ‘Off with their heads!’” he jests, still holding me close to him while ceasing his kissing. “It’s one thing to have one hardnosed boss, but two… and then whatever gets pass me or—heaven forbid—you, is now being picked up by the executive team who are also afraid of having their craniums severed.” He raises a brow.
“Aha! Now we’re getting somewhere!” I declare. “That’s all we needed in the first place. Why the fuck did I have to come down there and put some fire under these assholes? And what’s with the Queen of Hearts analogy? That woman was insane. I’m not that bad.”
“Well, get used to it because that’s what the ‘peasants’ are calling you,” he says. “And the Queen of Hearts may have been insane, but she was powerful. Insane or not, if she said a head came off, a head came off, and you proved that by sending Mosele home for a short ‘vacation’ to ponder his position. And let’s not forget the fact that you came breezing in there that Monday morning in this fierce red dress daring someone to test you. And those who did were made quick examples—not down the line, but in that same meeting. I think these people know who their dealing with.”
“Must we refer to them as peasants?” I ask. It sounds so unpleasant and elitist.
“If they can call you ‘Queen of Hearts,’ I can call them ‘peasants.’ And trust me, they have a plethora of unsightly names for me, so I’m being kind.”
Jesus, I would prefer not to have the company have the us/them mentality, but unfortunately, it looks like it may be what we need to get things done.
“Speaking of the executive team, how’s Ros doing with her dilemma?” I ask.
“I have no idea,” he tells me. “I don’t want to be in her personal life that way. While I truly do sympathize with her familial woes, I’m sure that I would prefer not to be in her proverbial bedroom that way. I can’t empathize with her at all because she made a vow to one woman when her heart was with someone else. I can’t speak to what she should have done or what she should do now. I can only say that it’s not my arena.”
I try not to frown. Ros is his second in command, so he very well should be concerned about her familial woes. However, I guess as the psychiatrist between us, I’m going to have to keep an eye on the situation myself. However, his reaction—though very calm and PC—is not getting past me.
“What?” he asks, obviously noting my contemplation.
“You have some very distinct opinions about this,” I say. He raises a brow. “I live with you. I’m married to you. I fuck you. I can read between the lines,” I say, answering his unasked question. He adjusts his posture, about to make a point.
“I can clearly say that’s something that I would never do,” he says. “When I asked you to marry me, that’s where I wanted to be. I had the choice to stay in my lifestyle and be with whomever I chose whenever I chose—that’s not what I wanted. I wanted you. I want you. So, the concept of wanting someone else after I said that I wanted you is something I can’t fathom. But you…”
He pauses. What the fuck? What about me?
“I’m with you. I love you. I know you well enough to know that this is where you want to be. That whole Westwood bullshit was a blip in the radar for a few different reasons, but I know this is where you want to be. The thought that you would marry me while you still had unclear feelings for someone else only to have those feelings resurface years after we said our vows—I would be murderous. I wouldn’t even know how to handle that.
“So, right now, while I am concerned about Ros, I have to compartmentalize this whole thing. What she did was selfish and cruel, and now she’s trying to find the easiest way out of the situation she created. She totally created this monsoon, and now she’s trying to get out of it without getting wet. And where the fuck does that leave Gwen?”
He’s beginning to get angry, but I can see him visibly trying to shake off his anger with Ros.
“I see,” I say, calmly. “So, your empathy strikes again, but this time, it’s striking with Gwen. How does that feel?”
He raises his gaze to me and I’m looking at him with soft but inquisitive eyes, nothing confrontational. He couldn’t empathize with Ros because he would never do that. The only thing that he could do is put himself in Gwen’s shoes, and it’s infuriating him.
“Pretty pissed off,” he says, his voice calmer, “which is why I can’t talk to her about it. When her personal shit interfered with her job, I got involved. Where it doesn’t interfere with her job, I’m out of it.” He shakes his head. I nod and put my hand on his cheek.
“I think that’s best,” I tell him. “I’ll handle it. Like you said, as long as she does her job, right?” He closes his eyes and nods, leaning into my hand.
“Thank you for not getting mad,” he says. I scoff a laugh.
“You almost had me for a minute there, Grey, but luckily, I learned to listen,” I say with a wink and a smile. We hear the clearing of someone’s throat, and we turn to see Marilyn standing there.
“Um, I hope I’m not disturbing you,” she says. Christian laughs. I turn to him.
“What?” I ask.
“She just did a ‘Jason,’” he says with mirth. My brow furrows.
“A ‘Jason?’” I ask. Christian cocks his head at me.
“If we’re in the midst of a conversation—or anything else—when Jason walks into the room, what does he do to get my attention?” I roll my eyes.
“You mean besides tell us to get a room?” I say, turning to Marilyn. “You’re not interrupting, Mare, what’s up?”
“I got a call from Alex. He said he tried to call you twice but no luck.” I begin looking around for my phone. Where is my phone?
“Hell, I don’t know where my phone is. Is everything okay?”
“Yeah. He said that you were looking for a final background check on Jade Goldwin. He emailed it to you,” she says. Oh, yeah, her.
“Thanks, Mare. Did he say that there was anything to be concerned about?”
“Not to me,” she says with a shrug. “I would think if there was cause for concern, he’d ask me to get you to the phone, so I would say not.” I nod.
“I agree, but I’ll look at it anyway,” I say. She nods and smiles before heading back off towards the elevator.
“Jesus, has she lost more weight?” I was hoping he wouldn’t notice that, but she has. My silence is enough for him. “Butterfly, this is not good. She’s really going to hurt herself if she doesn’t stop this!”
“I know, I know,” I lament. “I’m the doctor, remember?” He gazes at me for a moment.
“Her parents aren’t here,” he says, firmly. “She doesn’t have a significant other anymore. I hate to do this, but it’s you, baby. It’s all you.” I roll my eyes.
“I know, Christian, I’m just trying not to ambush the girl right now…”
“You may not have a choice. She’s slowly killing herself!”
“She just got back…” I excuse.
“Nearly three weeks ago!” he counters. I deflate. He’s right. She needs to eat.
“I’ll talk to her,” I say.
“You may need to do more than that,” he cautions.
“Like what?” I recounter.
“I don’t know, but you may need to do more than that! This is serious! She’s really hurting herself right now.”
“Okay, okay, I get it,” I say, hoping to halt the conversation. Jesus, I’m not the one starving myself for crying out loud. I just have to figure out what to do.
“So…” he says, stalling, “what’s with this Jade Goldwin?” Holy cow, that’s the way to change gears.
“She’s coming to the party,” I tell him. “She’s in Maxie and Mindy’s Mommy and Me class, and she has a son the same age as Mindy. I just wanted to vet her before she came to my house and head her off if necessary.”
“Oh? How did you meet her?” he asks. Now he’s interested. Good grief.
“Maxie and I were shopping, and we bumped into her at the Marketplace.” He nods. I know he wants more information. I roll my eyes for the umpteenth time. Where the hell is my phone?
“Keep doing that and they might get stuck that way,” he says, swiping his phone and touching the screen. I’m about to roll my eyes at him again when I hear the muffled sound of our song playing. I look around and back at him, and he’s holding his phone up, showing me that he’s calling me. Where the fuck is my phone?
It goes to voicemail and he calls it again… and again. It took four times for me to find the damn thing between the sofa cushions. How the hell did it get there?
I swipe the screen and the battery is nearly dead. It’s a good thing I found it, or I may have never found it.
“Don’t you have a case or a clip or something for that?” he asks.
“No, Mr. Grey, I keep it in my purse, and I didn’t go anywhere today!” I snap.
“Touchy,” he teases.
“Annoying,” I counter in the same sing-songy voice. I open my email and click on the pdf attached.
“Yeah, she’s Jane Q. Housewife,” I say, scrolling through the document. “Twenty-nine, married, four boys just like Maxie said.”
“And her husband?” Christian asks.
“Sells insurance for a local company,” I tell him. “Small beans.” He nods.
“Who’s coming?” he asks.
“Just Jade and her youngest,” I say, closing my phone. “Maxie vouches for her, so she can’t be all bad.”
“Who all is coming?” he asks.
“All the grandparents, the godparents—Mia bowed out this time, the Scooby Gang… except for Gary, Luma and Herman and the girls, Marlow’s bringing Maggie and probably a date…” Sophie will love that, “… and our newest guest Jade and her little boy, English.”
“English?” Christian says in horror.
“I didn’t name the kid,” I say, with a shrug.
“Dear Lord,” Christian says. “That poor kid is going to be teased incessantly.”
“You don’t know that, Christian,” I scold.
“Baby, I’ve traveled the world and I’ve never met anybody anywhere named English,” he points out.
“Okay, so he has a unique name,” I argue, “It’s not wild or crazy, like Fallopion or something. It’s just different.”
“You’re so sweet,” he says, stroking my cheek. “He’s going to get teased. Whoever came up with that name, that’s grounds for divorce.” I gape at him.
“You’re kidding, right?” I ask in horror. He raises a brow.
“Am I?” he asks, impassively.
“You’re saying that when we have another kid, if for some reason you’re indisposed and I come up with a name that you don’t like, you’ll divorce me?” My voice rises to a squeak on the last two words and I think hearing it come out of my mouth makes him realize just how ridiculous he sounds.
“Well, no, but you wouldn’t name our child something ridiculous like English!” he quips.
“And what if I did?” I say, putting my hands on my hips.
“Then there would definitely be some papers filed somewhere,” he says, “maybe not for divorce, but we would be changing that kid’s name. And anyway, it’s a moot point because we sat down and picked our children’s names together, months before they were born. So, why are we arguing about a kid who isn’t even ours?”
I twist my lips and fold my arms. The argument does seem a tad ridiculous.
“You were the one who started talking about divorce,” I pout.
“Yeah, and you were the one to actually take it literally,” he retorts. “Divorce you? Over a name, even? Seriously?” Asshole.
“Be useful and grab that garland,” I pout.
“Hey, wait, I’m not getting roped into decorating,” he protests.
“Oh, yes, you are!” I whirl around on him. “You came in here pissing on my happy place then we’re talking about everything from Elena to Queen of Hearts to Ros to Westwood to Marilyn to some random kid named English to divorce and dammit I want my happy place back!” I say the entire sentence without breathing and he just gazes at me.
“I got your happy place right here,” he remarks, matter-of-factly and I roll my eyes for the 101st time today.
“Grab the damn garland, Christian.”
It’s Saturday, the day that we meet with Artemis and Savvina, but that’s not until much later. Right now, Minnie and Mickey Mouse decorations are exploding all over my dining room and family room much like yuletide exploded all over my house for Christmas. I’m definitely in the mood to celebrate.
There are two giant Number One balloons to greet you at the door. One has a Mickey Mouse head and the other, a Minnie Mouse head. There’s also a Minnie and Mickey sign that reads, “Welcome to the birthday clubhouse.” Once they don their Minnie or Mickey Mouse party hats, the kids get to munch on “Daisy’s garden vegetables,” “Goofy grapes,” or various melons cut in the shape of Mickey’s head and garnished with blueberries and pineapple. There’s always a way to get kids to eat healthy if you make it fun.
They also get to build ham and turkey sandwiches out of bread, turkey, ham, and cheese all cut in the shape of Mickey’s head with choices of lettuce, tomato, pickles, and condiments as well—or they can choose to have Mickey shaped chicken nuggets or a hot dog from the “Hot Diggity Dog” bar. There are games and bubbles and prizes to keep them occupied, but let’s face it—who’s not going to have fun in Mickey Mouse land?
I was smart enough to know that “Hot Diggity” dogs and chicken nuggets wouldn’t cut it for the parents. So, we have the option of what I call “Chicken Bacon Crack Pinwheels,” Rueben pinwheels, quinoa salad, and seven-layer dip, along with the aforementioned fruits and vegetables. The drinks were either “Pirate Punch” or “Sea Water” from the Pirate Mickey drink bar, and various Mickey and Minnie Mouse cupcakes are spread around the house, along with the Mickey/Minnie birthday cake on the kitchen counter.
Sophie has help me with most of the same-day preparation, like she always does. She wants to be a chef or a caterer, and she loves preparing the food and decorating the house. She’s so grown up for her age that I’m a little afraid that she might be missing her childhood. With a mother like Shalane, though, she’s probably already missed it. She’s seen too much for her age, and once you see certain things, you just can’t unsee them.
Sophie shed her purple tresses shortly after her last altercation with Marlow’s most recent date on Christmas, and after a visit to Miana’s, Jason is glad to see her enter with shiny, beautiful, billowing blonde waves. She actually looks a little older, but it’s most likely because that purple hair made her look so much younger to me.
She gleefully helps me finish setting up for the twins’ party which, as we all know, is really a celebration for the parents, but I don’t care. My little brother will be here. Max is bringing Mindy and I even told her that she was clear to bring Jade to the party since they’re such good friends. I should definitely get to know her if they’re that close.
Celida and Mariah will be here. At the tender age of 6 and 8, they love parties for whatever reason. Maggie’s coming, too. I don’t know if Marlow will be bringing a date this time, but I almost wish that he wouldn’t. It usually ends miserably for him and for Sophie. Until she gets over this crush that she has on him, she’s not going to behave. She’s a woman scorned at 13, and most women scorned don’t even know how to behave as adults!
Mia has decided to sit this one out, but the grandparents and godparents will be here, and of course, our resident waif, Marilyn. I hope I can get her to eat some cake or something before Christian declares martial fucking law!
The guests are now arriving and surprisingly, Maxie, Phil, and Jade arrive before Al.
“Forgive me,” Jade begins, “if I seem a little out of place today. I can’t believe I’m here—this place is absolutely astonishing. And the decorations—dear God! Did you do this all yourself or did you have help?”
“Well, both, actually. I did it myself, but I had a little help, too. My biggest helper was this young lady right here…” I snag Sophie as she’s walking by. “This is my resident party helper, Sophia. Sophie, this is Jade, and you know Maxie and Phil.”
Sophie smiles and waves shyly.
“Hi,” she says sweetly.
“Hi, Sophia,” Jade says, “or do you prefer Sophie?”
“Sophie’s fine,” she says. Jade smiles.
“This is my son, English,” she says. English is older than the twins, but he manages a smile and a wave from his mother’s arms.
“English,” Sophie says, as if testing the word, “I’ve never heard of that as a name before.”
“He’s named after his paternal grandfather,” she says. “My husband insisted.”
“Oh,” I say, “so it’s a family name.” She nods.
“I would have chosen something normal, like Chad, or Blake, or Worcestershire,” she says, rolling her eyes, and I know the last one was a joke, but with a name like English, you can’t be too sure.
“It’s unusual,” I say, “but it’s nice.”
“Thank you,” she says. “It does sound distinguished at the very least.” I see my husband and decide to poke a little fun at him.
“Christian, come, meet our guest,” I say loudly so that he can’t ignore me or try to get away. He raises his brow at me because he knows what I’m doing, but I don’t care.
“This was my other helper,” I say to Jade when he comes over to us. “He hung a piece of garland or three.”
“A piece of…” My husband trails off in mock horror and I pretend to ignore him.
“Christian, this is Jade and her son, English,” I say, introducing them.
“It’s very nice to meet you,” he says with a nod of his head.
“Likewise. Thank you for having me,” Jade replies cordially.
“English is an unusual name, isn’t it, Christian?” My husband throws a side gaze at me. “It’s a family name,” I tell him. “He’s named after his grandfather.” Still grounds for a divorce, Sir?
“Is that so?” Christian says. “Tell me, what is the origin of that name.”
“I have no idea,” Jade says. “As ridiculous as it sounds, I’m assuming it’s English! I can’t even derive a nickname from that, so I just call him Eddie.”
My knees buckle and I’m literally choking on nothing. Christian catches me as I’m going down and makes an excuse to get me away from Jade. He takes me over to the pirate bar and I sit down.
“I’m fine. I’m fine. I just wasn’t ready. It caught me off guard,” I excuse.
“Okay, so you can just sit here until you’re back on guard,” he says, kneeling in front of me.
“Really, Christian, I’m fine,” I assure him. “That’s just the last name I expected to hear at my children’s birthday party.”
“Well, maybe Maxine should tell her friends to do some homework before she brings them around,” he states.
“Oh, please,” I lament, “aren’t I considered enough of a prima donna to the public without people having to know my life history before they visit me? Besides, what would we do, tell her to change her son’s nickname because of my ex-boyfriend? Just let it go.”
I raise my head just in time to see Maggie giggling with Sophie, and a few moments later, Marlow enters… with a date, and not the girl from Christmas. Jesus, what was that, a month ago?
“You may need to talk to him,” I say to Christian while gesturing to Marlow. He looks over his shoulder at Marlow, then back at me.
“What?” he asks
“The girls,” I whisper harshly. “He brings a different girl to every event.”
“He’s young, Butterfly,” he excuses. “He’s not attached to anybody and I know he practices safe sex.” I know that too, but…
“He brought one girl to Mia’s wedding in September; another one to Thanksgiving; another one to Christmas; and now another one to the twins’ birthday. That’s four girls in five months! You don’t see anything wrong with that?” Besides the fact that it’s totally tormenting Sophie, it just doesn’t look good… and it’s not smart!
“He’s a young boy sowing his oats like young boys do. He’s no dummy. He won’t get caught up in a bad situation. I don’t see the problem.” I cock my head at him.
“Oh? So, if Michael brings a string of girls home from the ages of 15 to 18, you wouldn’t have a problem with that?” I ask.
“No,” he says matter-of-factly. Is that so, Mr. Grey? I fold my arms and square off.
“And if Mackenzie brings home a string of boyfriends?” I say, and just let the words hang in the air. His face blanches and he begins to look a little ill.
Mm-hmm, that’s what I thought. What’s good for the goose is going to be good for the gander in this house, Grey. So, if you don’t want to see your little princess doing it, don’t think I’m going to allow little Master Grey to get away with it either.
“Talk to him,” I say, firmly before rising from the breakfast bar and going back to the dining room.
I greet my guests and assure everyone that I’m okay, chalking my coughing spell up to an unexpected bout with my own saliva. Marlow introduces me to his date—Tasha, I think her name is. It doesn’t matter. I’m sure that I won’t see her again after today.
Sophie and Maggie have taken to getting the children situated and playing “Pin the bow on Minnie” when Al finally decides to grace us with his presence.
“Sorry we’re late,” he says, and that’s all he gives me by way of an explanation, not that I need one. He and James are both as loose as a noodle and look like fresh, new daisies. I’m sure sex was involved.
“You nearly missed your godchildren’s party, you sex fiend,” I say, my voice low.
“Don’t be so dramatic,” he says waving me off. “You haven’t even opened presents yet.” I roll my eyes. “Who’s the bird with Maxie?”
“That’s Jade,” I tell him. “She’s in a Mommy and Me class with Maxie, which they probably had to miss to come to this party.” He looks at me.
“You sound a little snippy,” he observes. I glare at him.
“Jealous,” I say, honestly. “Maxie got married before me; had her baby before me; and now she’s moving on to new friends without me. Yeah, I’d say I’m just a little snippy.” I look over at Jade and Maxie having a conversation with Val.
“Jade calls her Max,” I say with disdain. “Her son’s name is English.” Al frowns.
“English? That’s his name?” he asks. I nod. “That’s odd. Where did that come from?”
“Apparently, it’s a family name. And get this, his nickname is Eddie.” Al literally winces at the mention of the name. “Yeah, my sentiments exactly, only a little more graphic.”
“Well, she seems like a nice enough person,” he says.
“She is,” I admit. “I just resent the fact that she’s apparently taking my place.” Al scoffs.
“Darling Jewel, she may be friends with our Maxine, but trust me—nobody can replace you.” He puts his hand on my shoulder.
“You’re sweet,” I tell him as we go to join the party.
Everything is going well, and the children are having a really good time playing games, opening prizes, and blowing bubbles. I’m with Minnie most of the day, standing her on her feet and coaxing her to walk with me, which she does. She’s doing very well keeping her balance and standing for several moments until she realizes that she’s standing, or she moves too fast to get to some new toy or adventure. Then she’s back on her hands and knees again. I think it’s adorable and, sure enough, after a few hours of guidance, she’s toddling around more than she’s crawling. Christian gets a few videos on his phone since I’m detained with entertaining. We’re just finishing singing “Happy Birthday” to the twins and I’m cutting and serving cake when I hear it.
“Is constantly twirling your hair an art form or can anybody do it?”
Oh, dear God. I raise my gaze to see Sophie, once again, facing off with Marlow and his date. Tasha looks at Sophie, appalled.
“Is this little brat talking to me?” she asks Marlow while pointing at Sophie. Marlow appears to be trying to smooth things over while Sophie stands there looking like she had nothing to do with Tasha’s current mood.
“No, Marlow! Does she speak to any other adult in this room that way?” Tasha shoots. I know what that means. Marlow is 17, so this girl is probably 18, and by pointing out that she’s an adult, she most likely just turned 18 and she’s smelling her adultness. I sigh.
“Nice one, Sophie,” I lament quietly.
“I don’t care,” I hear Tasha say. “In our house, children know to stay in a child’s place. Someone apparently forgot to teach her that!” She is furious. She throws a murderous look at Sophie and walks away.
“Seriously, Sophie?” Marlow hisses. “Jesus Christ, what’s going on with you?” and now, he’s livid, too as he goes after Tasha. I take this opportunity to make my way over to Sophie.
“Sophia!” I say quietly, “seriously, you’re going to have to stop this. Marlow is going to despise you if you keep this up.”
“I wasn’t trying to tease her,” she excuses, “it just slipped out. She stood there the entire time twirling her hair around her finger. Jesus, is she that flighty or is it a nervous tick?”
“And if it wasn’t her hair, it would be her shoes, or her dress, or her voice. This is getting out of hand!”
“What does it matter what I say?” she says. “He still going to do her.”
“Sophie!” I exclaim appalled.
“They’re so obvious! How can he not see it?” My question is how can you see it so clearly? “How can he even like these girls? They’re scatterbrains. They have the attention span of a goldfish. None of them even show up again after the first time!”
That’s what I said, but that could have a lot to do with you.
“Well, for whatever reason he likes them, he likes them, and you’re going to have to stop being rude to them. For one thing, it’s not very ladylike at all. And for another thing, I defended you when that girl passively aggressively insulted you at Mia’s wedding. It didn’t take a rocket scientist to see how she made you feel although Marlow was clueless. What ground do I have to stand on right now when you’re behaving the same way she did? And third, and most important…” I put my hand on her shoulder and hold her gaze.
“I’m very fond of you, Sophie,” I say. “I consider us good friends, but I don’t like for anyone to insult the guests that come to my home and you do that repeatedly with Marlow’s dates. If they lash out at you first, I completely understand your need to defend yourself. But when you say disparaging things against them for no reason, that’s unacceptable behavior, Sophie.”
This is the first time that I’ve had to scold Sophie and I really don’t like it, but it’s necessary. She shrinks a bit as my words sink in.
“I really didn’t think about it that way,” she says. “I still think they’re flighty little thots, but I don’t want to make you guys look bad. I’m sorry, Ana.” I nod.
“You might want to apologize to Marlow and his date,” I tell her. She grimaces.
“I can’t do that,” she squeals quietly. “He already hates me, and I couldn’t face him right now… or her. Please don’t make me do that I’ll die!” She says the last part all in one breath, and I really believe she would just keel over and die if she had to face Marlow right now.
“Well, I can’t and won’t force you to do anything, Sophie, but you might want to think about your behavior and what damage has already been done.” She sighs heavily as if I’ve just pardoned her from the death penalty.
I discover that I may have spoken too soon. Gail’s voice interrupts our conversation and she is none too happy as she comes marching over to us.
“Sophia, is it true that you said something unkind to Marlow’s date?” Gail accuses. Sophie’s mouth falls open and she looks in horror over at Marlow. When I glance at him, he and his date are looking in our direction like they’re waiting for the ax to fall. Oh, this is just great.
“I can’t believe it,” Sophie says incredulously, her voice three octaves higher than normal. “He snitched on me?”
“So, that means that it’s true,” Gail accuses, a statement not a question.
“I was just kidding around, Momma Gail,” Sophie excuses. “It’s not my fault she can’t take a joke.”
“That’s because she didn’t find it funny,” Gail says. “You can’t say mean things about people and think it’s okay. It’s very unbecoming, and you owe them an apology. You march over there right now and apologize.”
As if Sophie’s face could show any more horror, she glares over at Marlow and his date then turns her gaze back to Gail.
“No,” she says, calmly, her voice resolute. You could knock Gail over with a feather right now.
“Excuse me, young lady?” Gail says in disbelief.
“I’m sorry, Momma Gail, but I’m not going to apologize. He already won. He snitched on me for hurting his girlfriend’s feelings, and now they’re staring at me waiting to see what kind of trouble I’m going to get in. So, he won. I’m in trouble, I already know it, but I’m not going to apologize.”
Sophie stands firm on that sinking boat that she’s not going to apologize. To already be convicted of the crime, she pled her case very well for a 13-year-old kid. Right now, Sophie would rather run naked down the I-5 than to go over there and apologize to Marlow and that girl. Gail looks at her stepdaughter and knows that it’s a lost cause to try to make her apologize.
“The party is over for you, young lady,” Gail says firmly. “Go to your apartment. You’re grounded for the rest of the weekend.” Shit, there goes my helper.
“Yes, ma’am,” Sophie says dutifully, and marches past Gail without looking back at me or at Marlow and his date. I roll my eyes before Gail turns around to look at me.
“What?” she says. “She was wrong. She’s going to turn out to be a bully if we don’t nip this in the bud.”
“I highly doubt that,” I say, “but don’t be too hard on her. You know, teenage angst, sibling rivalry… She was probably just giving her ‘brother’s’ date a hard time, nothing more.” I do the finger quotes around the word brother knowing damn well that it’s more than that, but she’s not a bully. She’s lashing out because she’s jealous.
“I don’t know,” Gail sighs. “I hope you’re right.” She walks over to Marlow and his date and says something to them. I turn away and head over to the food table. I can’t help but empathize with Sophie again. Even though she was clearly wrong, he told Mommy on her. There’s no better or more thorough way to drive home the fact that he looks at her as nothing more than a child than to tell Mommy that she said something wrong. There’s no way in hell Sophie was going to apologize after that. She’ll most likely gladly take the grounding and hide under her bed for the next two days.
“Trouble in the happiest place on earth?” My husband’s voice breaks me out of my thought process as I fill my plate with a few pinwheels.
“I just lost my party helper,” I say, taking another pinwheel. “Sophie was poking fun at Marlow’s date, something about twirling her hair on her fingers, and Marlow didn’t like it. Apparently, he told Gail and now Sophie’s grounded.” Christian frowns.
“He snitched on her?” he says. I raise a shocked gaze at him.
“That’s exactly what she said!” I say, surprised.
“Well, yeah, me and Mia used to do shit like that to each other all the time—me and Elliot, too—but we didn’t snitch on each other.” I smile and shake my head.
“I think it might be a different dynamic here, Christian,” I say before I realize that I’m saying too much.
“How so?” he asks, and before I get the chance to trip over my tongue, he continues. “He considers her a little sister and that’s just how she’s acting, like a bratty little sister trying to embarrass him in front of a girl. But hell, he snitched. He broke the sibling code.” I frown.
“There’s a sibling code?” I ask incredulously.
“Well, apparently not with him,” Christian says. “I know there are some siblings who’ll squeal if you left the top off the mustard, but in our family, Vegas rules applied—what happened outside of Mom and Dad’s knowledge stayed outside of Mom and Dad’s knowledge.”
Well, that’s scary. Stuff was going on right under their nose and they didn’t know it. That’s probably why Pedo-Bitch could so easily get to Christian and almost to Elliot. Everything was so hush-hush.
At this point, I don’t know who’s side I’m on.
“Yeah, well, I’d say the lines are drawn in the sand now,” I say, eating a pinwheel.
“I’d say you’re right,” my husband concurs.
“When you are in a submissive role, your duty is to serve. However, it cannot only be your duty. It must be your desire. You cannot force this relationship–it has to be something that you want… crave or desire, even. Some soumises are born, some are cultivated. Either is fine, but this must be something that you want to do for yourself, or you’re wasting your time.”
Pussycat and I are sitting in our mentors’ den. The sessions with them and our attendance at the Munches have been highly rewarding and very informative. Pussycat has done lots of research on her own along with several assignments given to her from Savvina. She has brought several questions to our sessions, and today’s question has to do with tasks.
Tasks are generally set in a 24/7 D/s relationship, which ours is not. However, Pussycat points out that she can see how having a task or even several tasks would help her to maintain a submissive mindset. It doesn’t mean that she is releasing any of her independence. It just means that she’s acknowledging that I’m her Dominus and she, my soumise—and that in that role, she has the attitude of service, which is why Savvina is speaking on the duty of a soumise to serve.
“Service is a relative term,” Savvina continues. “It may mean that you perform direct duties required by your Dominus or it may not. It may also mean that you make yourself available for what he needs, or that you assist him with a skill or ability that he may not have. The possibilities are endless, and the two of you will set the guidelines for how you will serve him or what your specific tasks will be, if any.” Pussycat looks at me.
“Are there any specific tasks that come to mind that you think you may require of me?” she inquires. I ponder for a moment.
“None come to mind immediately,” I admit, “but I’m certain that we’ll come up with something.”
As we’re speaking, the coffee service arrives and is placed on the table in front of us. Savvina dutifully prepares two cups of coffee—one for Artemis, and then one for herself. She prepares Artemis’s cup with cream and sugar, and then her own before she sits back to enjoy the coffee. Pussycat’s and my cup remain empty.
I immediately see this as a test from our mentor if Pussycat is willing to serve—literally, although I’m not sure this is what she meant when she asked about tasks and service.
Noting that Savvina didn’t pour any coffee for us, Pussycat pauses only for a moment before retrieving the silver coffee pot and pouring a small amount into her cup. She replaces the coffee pot and takes a sip of the coffee. Then she retrieves the coffee pot again and fills my cup nearly to the brim. She adds a bit of cream and sugar before stirring it and handing me the cup and saucer, which I graciously accept. She then prepares her own cup and relaxes in her seat to enjoy her coffee.
“Why did you pour your cup first?” Savvina asks.
“I didn’t pour my ‘cup’ first. I poured a tasting in my cup,” Pussycat responds.
“And why would you do that?” Savvina asks. “Why would you pour coffee for yourself before pouring coffee for your Dominus?”
“Because I didn’t make the coffee, and it wasn’t made in my home,” she says. “How he takes his coffee is dependent on the brew, so I had to taste it to know what to put in it.” Savvina raises a brow and looks at me.
“Does she normally serve your coffee at home?” Savvina asks.
“Never,” I reply. “As of late, I’ve been leaving the house very early–before she wakes. It’s not something that I require her to do. Our staff makes sure that the coffee is prepared before either of us wakes. I sometimes leave so early that I just get coffee at the office.”
“How do you know how he takes his coffee if he’s never home or you’re not awake when he drinks it?” Savvina asks Pussycat, and she’s at a loss for words. If I didn’t know better, I would swear that she was affronted.
“If you are serving your Dominus, you should never drink or eat before he does,” Savvina says, and crosses her legs definitively. Pussycat is silent for a moment, her brow furrowed, and just as Savvina begins to speak again, she interjects.
“I disagree,” she says, crossing her legs as well. Savvina’s brow rises again.
“And why is that?” she prompts Pussycat.
“If I make my own coffee, then I want it strong and black. If he drinks my coffee, he wants it black, too. It’s been that way since the first cup of coffee he drank at my apartment more than two years ago. Coffee in restaurants or at the office are a good, robust blend, but not as strong as mine—as is the coffee made by my staff at home. In that case, he’ll take a little creamer, but not sugar. Designer coffees usually have a flavor of their own, so he won’t take anything in those either, unless he opts for a shot of espresso. If coffee is particularly weak, it’s nothing but English tea to his palette. So, he takes it with cream and sugar. So, I beg to differ with you, because if it’s coming from a strange pot, unless he’s pouring his own coffee, I don’t know what’s in the pot. So, I have to taste it before I serve him.”
“Well,” Savvina says, “The teacher has been duly chastised.” She takes a sip of her coffee. “This is a perfect example of service being a relative term and the two of you setting your own guidelines for your definition of service. You came to me with a question about tasks and service, and you ended up educating me on one of the most important aspect of the D/s relationship—that it’s totally a la carte, and that each couple writes their own rules and guidelines for their relationship.” She turns to me. “You should be proud.”
I look at Pussycat, who’s unsuccessfully resisting the urge to smile. I reach over, take her free hand, and kiss it gently.
I am, very proud.
“I’m going to stop breastfeeding.”
I’m shocked to hear this announcement come from my wife as we’re riding into GEH on Monday morning. She lives to breastfeed our children and now she wants to stop?
“May I ask why?” I probe. She drops her gaze.
“There are so many reasons to stop,” she admits. “I’m more active outside of the home, with GEH and all, and even without GEH, I’m going to be more active with Helping Hands. We’re going to Vegas in a week and we don’t know how long we’re going to be there. I can’t go to the bathroom and pump every few hours and I don’t want to risk leaking all over my clothes. Most importantly, our children are drinking out of sippy cups and eating solid food. They just turned a year old. It’s time.” I twist my lips.
“You don’t seem too happy about it,” I tell her. She sighs. Breast-feeding was how and when she bonded most with the children. Now, she’s not going to be doing it anymore.
“We all have to be weened in one way or another,” she says with a shrug. “We might as well start doing it now before I start suffering from separation anxiety.” I take her hand and kiss it gently.
“I’ll be here for you,” I say. “And if I’m honest, I’m being a little selfish, too. Watching that nectar drip from your breast when you’re full and you come is very sexy.” That elicits a giggle from her.
“I know. I guess we’ll just have to ween you, too.”
I try not to stare at Marilyn throughout the morning, but she’s getting thinner and thinner and it’s not looking good on her. When she catches me staring at her, I ask her for a moment of her time.
“You’re going to Las Vegas with us, right?” I ask.
“That’s my understanding,” she replies.
“You know Las Vegas has some of the best cuisine in the country,” I inform her. “World-renowned chefs have restaurants there in some of the casinos and hotels. Have you possibly thought about which ones you may want to visit?” She sighs and rolls her eyes.
“I hadn’t given it any thought,” she says, her voice a bit perturbed, but I don’t allow it to sway me.
“Butterfly and I are hoping to go to Americana one night while we’re there. You’re welcome to come. I hear the food is exquisite…”
“I know what you’re doing, Christian,” she says. “You haven’t talked about any of the shows, none of the sights, not the nightlife or even the spas. You’re only talking about the food.” I purse my lips.
“I’ve known you as long as I’ve known my wife,” I say. “I’ve never seen you this thin… and you’ve gotten thinner just over the last couple of weeks. You barely touch your food at dinner if you eat anything at all and I have no idea what you’re eating throughout the day. You’re fading away in front of us…”
Marilyn hugs her iPad to her body like a shy schoolgirl as I drone on about eating and meals, and I get the feeling that I’ve lost her, so I stop talking.
“I’m not trying to preach to you,” I say, softening my voice. “That’s the very last thing I’m trying to do. I just don’t want to see you cause undue harm to yourself.”
She nods, and a single tear falls down her cheek. Shit.
“I’m sorry if I spoke out of place or if anything I said offended you,” I add.
She nods again, but doesn’t raise her head.
“Can I get you anything?” I ask.
“I just need to go to the restroom,” she says, her voice small.
“Yes, of course, by all means…”
She’s out of the office before the words are out of my mouth. My en suite would’ve given her more privacy, but I get the feeling that she wants to be as far away from me as possible. She brushes past the reception desk and nearly runs into Butterfly on her way to… the restroom.
“Mare?” Butterfly calls after her, but she continues her bolt down the hallway. Butterfly turns to me and storms into my office.
“What did you say to her?” she demands, Momma-Bear loins girded for battle. I roll my eyes and thrust my hands into my hair.
“I didn’t say anything wrong,” I say, my voice squeaky as I explain myself to Mistress. “I just informed her that Vegas has a lot of good cuisine and world-renowned chefs and that she was free to try any of them. I just thought that something may awaken her palette again and encourage her to eat.” Mistress deflates immediately.
“Oh… that,” she says, her voice somewhat small as she falls onto my sofa. “I don’t know what to do, Christian. I know this isn’t good for her. I can’t force feed her, but she’s got to stop this.”
“At the risk of sounding insensitive,” I say, sitting down next to my wife, “she’s going to have to address this before she gets on that plane. She’s going on this trip in an official capacity. She’s flying on a GEH jet, and she’s staying on a GEH dime. There’s all kinds of liability involved if something happens to her while she’s on this trip. Though it was small, she had a medical procedure two months ago and she’s not looking well at all. She needs to be medically cleared to travel, not to mention her doctor needs to see what’s become of her.”
“Don’t you think that may be a bit drastic?” she replies. I can’t even find the words to respond to that. My face must display utter horror as I scoff and gesture wordlessly to the door that Marilyn just hastily exited.
“Alright, alright,” she says, raising her hands in surrender. “You’re right. I’ll talk to her. I’ll get it done.” I lean over and kiss her.
“It’s for her own good, Butterfly,” I say. She drops her head and worries her scar.
“I know,” she says, her voice full of defeat.
Son of a bitch, where the hell is Garrett? The girl could die, and he wouldn’t even know. Would he even care? He’s a real fucking prince among men, I swear!
A/N: Pictures of places, cars, fashion, etc., can be found at https://www.pinterest.com/ladeeceo/grey-continued-misadventuresseason-v/
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