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 16
“Shit! Are you serious?” I hear my husband bark into the phone. “She drove off? It wasn’t an accident?” He’s silent for a moment. Who drove off what? What the hell is he talking about?
“Is she dead?” he asks a few moments later and I really want to know what the hell is going on now.
“Fuck. Fuck, fuck, fuck! What the fuck else can happen? I’ve got to tell Butterfly…”
“Tell. Me. What?” I say, and a horrified gaze turns to me. That’s when I realize that he forgot I was in the room.
“Get the car ready,” he says into the phone. “Tell all the details we’ll meet everybody at SeaTac.” He swipes his phone and puts it back in his pocket. “Baby,” he says, taking my hands and leading me to the bed to sit me down. “There’s been an accident… we don’t really know if it’s an accident…”
“Who, Christian?” I ask. I know it’s a she, I just need to know who.
“Carla,” he says quickly. My brow furrows.
“Carla?” I ask. “Carla drove off of something?” “An overpass,” he says. “She’s on her way to the hospital. It doesn’t look good.”
It doesn’t look good. How do I feel about that? She’s my mother… I never said that I wanted her to die, but I was prepared not to see her again until I was burying her. How do I feel about this?
“Butterfly?” Christian asks, squeezing my hands. “Are you alright?” I shake my head.
“Yeah,” I say, still shaking my head. “Yeah, we gotta go. Let’s go.” I heard him tell Jason to get the car ready. We should really get moving. I stand and Christian stands with me. We move to the door and the moment we open it, Marilyn is standing there about to knock. I look at the solemn look on her face and she no doubt examines the solemn look on ours, or at least on Christian’s.
“You know,” she says.
“How do you know?” Christian asks.
“Christian,” she shows us her phone. “It’s on the news.”
“Fuuuuuuuck!” he yells, thrusting his hands into his hair. “Couldn’t they give her daughter a chance to be notified before the fuckers zeroed in for the kill?”
“They’re reporting that your security team contacted the police, so they’re probably assuming that she already knows.”
I’m eerily calm while my husband is pulling his hair out, putting his hand in the smalls of both our backs and guiding us quickly towards the stairs. I don’t really hear anything around me. I’m trying to process the information that I just got.
Carla threw her car over an overpass… at least they think she did, they’re not sure. She could have lost control of the car, or fell asleep at the wheel or…
Christian and Mare both call my name at the same time, bringing me back from my mental wanderings.
“Do you have everything you need?” Christian asks. “Your purse, your phone…?”
“Oh,” I say, coming back to the here and now and thinking to retrieve the things that I need before I leave. I go back upstairs and grab my essentials, then take a detour to the twins’ room. Mikey is sleeping in his crib, but Minnie’s not there.
“I love you so much, little prince,” I say, brushing his hair with my fingers. “You’ll never, ever know the feeling of thinking that Mommy doesn’t love you… ever.”
I kiss my fingertips and touch his head before going in search of my daughter. I find her in the family room with Keri. When I hold my hands out to her, she reaches out to me in a gesture that warms my aching and confused heart.
“I love you, Minnie Mouse,” I say, hugging her close to my body. “You’re going to grow up to be a beautiful woman and Mommy will be there every step of the way.”
I kiss her little chubby cheeks and she pats mine in return, blissfully oblivious to the fact that I’m telling her that I’ll never put her through what Carla put me through. I quickly hand her back to Keri and fight the tears that are threatening to fall. I go back to the grand entry and Marilyn is standing there with Windsor. She’s buttoning her coat and Windsor is holding mine.
“Mrs. Grey?” he says as he holds my coat open. I allow him to help me into it and note that Christian has disappeared. As I’m tying my belt, I see him at the top of the stairs coming from the direction of our bedroom and the nursery and I realize that he was saying his goodbyes to Mikey. As he’s descending the stairs, Jason comes bursting into the front door and catches my gaze. His eyes are immediately sympathetic, and I think he’s about to tell me that my mother is dead.
“Any more news?” I ask as flatly as I can, my voice still cracking from saying goodbye to my daughter.
“No, Ana,” he says, softly. “No news yet.” I nod and put my gloves on. I want to yell that I’m not at the brink of tears because of Carla, but I just skip it and head out to the car.
I have no idea how quiet, loud, bumpy, harrowing, or otherwise uncomfortable or distracting that three-hour flight was because I spend the entire thing lost in thought. Flashbacks of my childhood play in my mind over and over again like a movie, as clear as if it all happened yesterday…
Daddy and Mommy dancing in the living room…
German chocolate cake for my fifth birthday… and sixth… and seventh… and eighth…
My books and all the many places I traveled to, telling Mommy and Daddy about the adventures when I returned…
The things me and Mommy used to make—crafts and dresses and maps to go on the walls…
Dancing with Daddy in the living room and getting to love the Motown sound…
We’re all back at the Waldorf Astoria and back in the rooms that we kept reserved for the trial. Christian wants to eat first, but I have no appetite. I really want to get to the hospital and see the extent of the damage. Christian instead gives the task to Jason to find us something to eat, which he no doubt delegates to someone else since he’s going to be driving us to Summerlin Hospital where my mother has currently been admitted.
“I’ll be here for you for as long as I can, Sunflower,” Daddy tells me, “but I’m not going to the hospital. I’m sure you can understand why.”
“I understand, Daddy,” I tell him, returning his embrace as he hugs me. “I’ve got a feeling this is something I’m going to need to do alone anyway.” I don’t look at Christian when I say that because I can feel the hey-what-about-me gaze boring into my back.
Twenty minutes later, we’re at the administration desk trying to get information on Carla. My name is Grey, previously Steele, and my mother’s name is Morton. So, trying to prove that I’m next of kin is like pulling teeth. They finally locate my mother’s medical records and see that Anastasia Steele is listed as next of kin, and I’m able to go to the intensive care unit to see my mother.
Dear God, she looks awful.
She’s in a private room, which is some comfort since I didn’t want to deal with anyone taking pictures or anything. It was hard enough to get in with the paparazzi newly fired up and trying to get a story. Christian is right, those people are vultures. Had I discovered that my mother was dead and had to come and identify the body, some asshole would be outside shoving a mic in my face asking, “How do you feel about that?”
No sooner I get into the room and ascertain that it actually is my mother lying in the bed post-op, her surgeon comes into the room with her chart.
“Mrs. Grey, hello,” he says, “I’m Dr. Lei Jianhong…”
“Just call me Dr. Lee. It makes life easier for all parties involved.” I nod and turn my gaze back to my mother.
“I won’t lie to you, Mrs. Grey. There’s a lot going on here. Mrs. Morton’s vehicle had airbags, which offered her some protection, but she wasn’t wearing her seatbelt. As a result, she was ejected from the car during the accident. Now, that’s an awful thing when you consider a vehicle going over a bridge onto the road below and into oncoming traffic. However, it turned out to probably be a blessing in disguise—as much as a nearly fatal car accident can be considered a blessing—since your mother’s car exploded on impact and she was ejected from the car most likely as part of the explosion. However, the airbags didn’t prevent her from being ejected when the car hit the ground below.”
Was anyone else hurt?” I ask, noting that he mentioned the car possibly falling into oncoming traffic.
“Thankfully, no,” Dr. Lee says. “No other vehicles were involved in the accident, even on impact with the road below.”
In short, I listen to Dr. Lee tell me that my mother was thrown around like a rag doll—battered to and fro by the air bags, violently ejected from the car on impact or when it exploded, jettisoned into the air God only knows how far, then took one of the worst tumble-and-rolls the human body could have possibly taken before her body finally came to rest several hundred feet away basically at the bottom of a concrete basin.
She has two broken legs, a fractured skull, several broken ribs, a broken neck, a severe pelvic fracture and internal bleeding that required surgery, multiple contusions—obviously—both of her lungs are collapsed, and she’s currently in a coma. It’s a wonder she’s alive.
Oh, and she’s most likely paralyzed.
“Your mother has visibly suffered a spinal injury, most likely a form of anterior cord syndrome. Without all the complicated doctor speak, it means that she’s probably going to be paralyzed from the waist down.”
Great. Fucking great. So, if she does wake up from this, she won’t be able to walk.
“Is the condition permanent?” I ask flatly, still looking at my mother.
“There’s no way to tell right now,” the doctor says, and I continue to stare silently at Carla.
“Mrs. Grey?” I turn my gaze to him. “It’s been my experience that coma patients can sometimes hear what you say, feel the energy that you’re giving them… and that if she wakes up, her recovery can depend totally on her support system.”
In a nanosecond, in my peripheral I see my husband loading the rounds about to fire with both barrels. I put my hand up to silence him without taking my eyes off the doctor.
“Dr. Lee, do you know who I am?” I ask. “Do you know my story at all?” He purses his lips.
“I’m afraid I don’t,” he says. “I’ve heard some murmurings around the hospital, but I’m afraid I don’t.” Okay, so that means he gets the short version.
“My full name is Dr. Anastasia Rose Steele-Grey,” I tell him, my voice even and controlled. “So, had you decided to use that ‘complicated doctor speak’ that you referred to earlier, my husband wouldn’t have been able to follow you, but I probably would.
“I don’t live here, Dr. Lee. I live in Seattle, WA. I’m only here because the verdict in my case will be read tomorrow—the case in Green Valley where the teenager was branded and beaten. I was that teenager. I spent three weeks in a coma at the age of 15 as a result of that beating, not to mention the coma that I experienced 1 ½ years ago that lasted 12 days and resulted in temporary short-term amnesia. Long story short, I’m fully aware of the dynamics and the aftermath of a coma—medically and personally.”
“Dr. Grey, I’m sorry, I didn’t…”
“But most of all,” I interrupt, my voice still controlled, “you should know that my relationship with this woman is hostile at best, nonexistent in most cases. When I was in that coma for three weeks at 15, she wouldn’t stay in the hospital with me because of what people were saying about us. I could’ve died and she may not have even known. She was aloof and detached from the entire situation. My mending and recovery had absolutely nothing at all to do with her. It was my father and my sheer will and determination to survive.
“I don’t know what’s going to happen with my mother when and if she wakes up from this, but I’m going to thank you in advance not to judge me or lecture me on my reactions or my behavior, because any care and concern that I choose to extend to this woman, I will be doing it out of the kindness of my heart and because my conscience has led me to do so, not because she deserves it from me at all.”
I stop talking and allow the words—and the silence—to settle in the room for a while.
“I understand, Dr. Grey,” he says. I nod.
“Good. Now, does my mother have health insurance?” I ask.
“Is it the good kind?” I ask. “Will it cover everything that she needs?”
“It’s adequate,” he responds.
“Adequate isn’t good enough,” I say, reaching into my purse and retrieving my Amex Black. “Any human being deserves the best care that you can give them. You make sure this woman gets just that.” I hand him my Amex Black.
“Um, I wouldn’t handle that, Dr. Grey,” he says, refusing the card. “You would handle that with administration.” I look over at Christian and he leaves the room without a word.
“Whatever she needs,” I tell him. “The best possible care. If it’s not covered, that Amex will be on file. If it needs approval, I’m sure my husband will make sure our contact numbers are available.”
“We’ll make sure she gets the best care, Dr. Grey,” he assures me.
“Good. Now, if you don’t mind, I’d like some privacy, please.” I turn back to Carla and Dr. Lee leaves, closing the door behind him.
“Well, well, well,” I say, putting my hands on my hips, “would you lookie here. My, how the tables have turned.” I shake my head at her frail body, tubes and IV’s everywhere, those awful compression stockings on her legs.
“I wonder if you can hear me,” I continue. “Did you do this on purpose? Was this a call for attention? Because you got it, but at what cost?
“It would serve you right if I just let you lay here and die,” I say, “if I just walked away and didn’t look back until they called me and told me that you had taken your last breath. But I won’t do that, Mother, because I’m a better human being than that. I’m going to give you what you didn’t give me. I’m going to give you the best care and I’m going to make sure that you’re comfortable. I’ll contact your job and let them know what happened to you. I’ll make sure that all of your affairs are in order, because that’s what family is supposed to do. They’re supposed to take care of you. But, hear this, Mother, and hear it good.
“This changes nothing. Beyond the concern and sympathy that I would feel for any human being in this situation, I feel absolutely nothing for you, and I’m not ashamed of it. You caused me so much suffering and so much pain, and it took me years to get over it, but I did. I got past it and healed, and I learned not to let it run my life, but it was hard. It was almost impossible. When I finally let you go, you found a way to keep poking your head into my life. I thought I would never be rid of you.
“Now, here you are, completely helpless. You need me and I know you do, but I can’t even find it in my heart to care. And I hate you for doing that to me. I hate you for ripping my mommy away from me and replacing her with this cold, unfeeling, unkind, horrible human being that watched me suffer—that contributed to that suffering. It’s an awful, gut-wrenching, agonizing feeling to let go of your mommy, but I did. And now, I don’t have anything left for you.
“So, don’t worry, Mother. I won’t let you die, and I do feel bad for you that this happened. I’ll make sure that you get the best care, and hopefully, you’ll make a full recovery, but that’s all I’ve got for you.”
I twist my lips and take another look at her before I leave her room to go find some coffee and some food.
“Canyon Meadows rehabilitation, this is Lana, how can I help you?”
“Yes, I need to speak to someone about one of your employees,” I reply
“Well, you would most likely want human resources, but they’re not open right now. Will this person not be able to make it to work? Were you looking to report an absence?” Lana asks.
“Well, yes, but… it’s going to be more than just an absence.” There’s a momentary pause.
“Is this about Carla?” she asks. I’m a bit stunned, more stunned that she knew about my mother by name.
“Yes… yes, it is,” I reply.
“Oh, God… she’s not…” Lana trails off.
“No, no, she’s still alive,” I say. “I just wanted to touch bases with her job to let you know that she’s severely incapacitated at the time.”
“Yes, we know,” Lana says. “We saw it on the news. May I ask to whom I’m speaking?”
“This is Anastasia Grey.” The line is silent.
“Ana… her daughter?” she asks. I nod as if she can see me.
“Yes,” I say. Of course, she’s been talking about me.
“May I ask what hospital she’s in, Mrs. Grey,” Lana asks.
“She’s at Summerlin Medical Center,” I reply.
“I’m so sorry about this, Mrs. Grey,” she says. “I’m certain that you have this under control, but if there’s anything that we can do… anything, please let us know.”
“I will, thank you,” I tell her.
“Carla is a vital member of our staff and she’s very important to us,” she continues. “The patients love her and… we all love her…” Her voice is cracking a bit. I have to fight to keep from saying the incredulous, “Really?” When I don’t respond, she adds, “Just know that we’re praying for her. Please, tell her that we’re praying for her.” I purse my lips before answering.
“I will,” I respond. “Thank you again, Lana.”
I end the call and look over at my mother. To say that I’m at a loss for words would be an understatement. I don’t know what to make of this at all. I know that my mother has had the capacity for kindness in her life. She was the best mom in the world when I was a kid, before she decided that our life with Daddy wasn’t enough for her. I don’t know what happened, what snapped in her mind to make her the heartless, selfish bitch she became when she got with Stephen, but I know that she was once a very loving and caring human being. It appears that person has resurfaced, only… not for me… too late for me…
“Your coworkers are praying for you,” I tell her. “Lana sounds pretty broken up about your accident, so if you did this on purpose, it was a selfish thing to do since it appears that there are people who really care about you. So, you need to hurry up and wake up and get better so that you can get back to those people.”
Why am I so detached from this? I feel like I’m talking to a stranger, not the woman who birthed me into the world. I’m taking about as much responsibility and concern for her as I would a stray cat that I discovered was hit by a car and took it to the hospital. Hell, I’d probably have more concern for the cat.
“Hey,” I hear my husband enter the room. “You haven’t eaten much. Do you need anything?” I sigh.
“Yes,” I say. “I need to get out of here. There’s nothing more I can do right now, and I really want a bath. Were you able to get everything squared away with the hospital and her care?
“As much as I could,” he says. “Your mother has advanced directives.” My brow furrows.
“Advan… why didn’t the doctor tell me that? What kind of advanced directives?” I ask appalled.
“I don’t know, they wouldn’t tell me, but they’ll probably tell you…” I’m out of the room and headed for the nurses’ station before the words are out of his mouth.
“Excuse me,” I get the nurse’s attention at the desk.
“Yes, ma’am?” she replies.
“I’m Anastasia Grey. Carla Morton is my mother. I was just told that she has advanced directives, and nobody told me. What are they?”
The nurse’s eyebrows rise in surprise and she immediately picks up the phone in front of her.
“I’m paging Dr. Lee right now, Mrs. Grey,” she says.
“Would it be in her chart?” I ask.
“Yes, but Dr. Lee most likely has it. The chart on her bed only has her vitals.” I nod and I suddenly feel helpless. The phone at the nurses’ station rings and she answers it. She explains that I’m standing at the station and I have questions about my mother.
“He’ll be right up, ma’am,” she says, and I nod again, deflating a bit. I take a seat in the waiting area just beyond the nurses’ station and wait for Dr. Lee. Christian sits next to me and takes my hand in his. I’m pretty certain that he thinks I’m broken up about my mother, but I’m not. I somewhat resent the thought that people think I should be… if that’s what he’s thinking. I just want to get the hell out of here and get into a bath!
“Dr. Grey…” I hear Dr. Lee off to my right. I’m on my feet walking towards him in moments.
“My mother has advanced directives?” I ask without greeting him.
“Yes,” he says, his brow furrowed.
“Why didn’t you tell me?” I inquire. He pauses.
“I’m sorry… Dr. Grey, you are her next of kin. I thought you knew,” he excuses. I’m frustrated now. He’s right. He had every reason to believe that I would be aware of my mother’s wishes. I put my hand on my forehead.
“Can you tell me what they are, please?” I ask. He opens the only chart that he has in his hand.
“It’s simple,” he says. “Do not resuscitate if her heart stops and 30 days assisted if she’s comatose.” I roll my eyes and drop my head. If she had the wherewithal to plan and sign a DNR, she’s going to have a cow if she wakes up from this thing and she can’t walk.
“Is there anything else I may need to know?” I ask calmly. He shakes his head.
“No,” he says. “Her prognosis is the same as it was when she arrived… not really good, I’m afraid.” I nod.
“I’ve got a really rough day ahead of me tomorrow, so I’m going to go back to my hotel. Please call me if anything changes,” I say.
“I will, Dr. Grey.”
“Thank you for everything, Dr. Lee,” I say before heading down the hall towards the elevator.
I’m not necessarily dressed for court this morning. I’m deliberately garbed in a violet silk pants suit with flashy buttons, a matching belt, and a black bustier with my signature black sky-high stilettos. Am I making a statement?
I’m not hiding anymore, and I don’t mind being seen. I don’t care what these assholes in this town think about me anymore. No matter what I do, they’re going to find something wrong, so fuck ‘em. Chew on this for a while.
Whatever the verdict, I’m going to strut out of here with my head held high, because if 18 people can look at what happened to me—repeatedly, I’m told—and find this man not guilty, then the justice system is shit, and I’ll find my own fucking justice.
The jury is led into the courtroom once again after the judge has taken his seat. I have to admit that of all the defendants in the cases I’ve been a part of—and there’s only been two others—Vincent Sullivan looks the most solemn. There’s no cockiness in him at all. He’s clearly terrified because he doesn’t know what’s about to happen to him.
“Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, have you reached verdicts?” the judge asks.
“Yes, your honor, we have,” the foreperson replies.
“Bailiff, would you please retrieve the verdicts from the foreperson.”
The bailiff retrieves a stack of papers from the foreperson and hands them to the judge, who reviews them for several moments, and there’s a long silence in the courtroom before he speaks again.
“So, the verdicts appear to be in proper order. This is in the Las Vegas Justice Court, Clark county, state of Nevada, case number 807154C-0404, the State of Nevada vs. Vincent Sullivan. The jury having reached verdicts, Mr. Sullivan and your counsel, would you please stand?”
There’s no hope in Vincent Sullivan’s face whatsoever and when the judge tells him to stand, he almost can’t raise his head. The judge begins to read the verdicts.
“We the jury duly impaneled and sworn in the above entitled action upon our oath, do unanimously find the following verdicts in the counts as charged in the indictments.
“Count one, assault accompanied with acts of extreme cruelty and substantial bodily harm, we find the defendant guilty as charged in the indictments.
“Count two, battery with a deadly weapon with substantial bodily harm, we find the defendant guilty as charged in the indictments.
“Count three, battery without a weapon with substantial bodily harm, we find the defendant guilty as charged in the indictments.
“Count four, conspiracy to kidnap in the first degree, we find the defendant not guilty.
“Count five, kidnapping in the first degree, we find the defendant not guilty.
“Count six, manslaughter for fetal homicide, we find the defendant guilty as charged in the indictments.
“Count seven, attempted murder, we find the defendant guilty as charged in the indictments.”
Five out of seven—excellent!
“Is this your true verdict, so say you one and all?” The judge asks and the jury concurs. The judge then instructs the jury that they will each be questioned concerning the verdict.
“Juror number one, is this your true verdict…?”
Vincent Sullivan sits with his head face down on the table, his body shaking with sobs as each juror is surveyed for their verdict, and they each answer in the affirmative. I always wonder what’s going through a defendant’s head as they sit there crying once convicted for something they actually did. I can fully understand someone crying if they’re wrongly accused and wrongly convicted of a crime, but I was there for this one, and I’ve got the scars to prove it. So, while he sits there racked with grief and distress, all I can think is, “What the fuck are you crying for?”
The verdicts are so entered into the record, and sentencing is set for March 4th. That’s like two and a half weeks that I’m still tethered to this place. As Vincent Sullivan is lead weeping from the courtroom, the judge gives the jury some additional instructions and after what seems like an eternity later, court is adjourned. I realize that the verdict isn’t the only reason I’ll be here in Las Vegas. I would be somewhat stuck here anyway because of Carla. A 30-day directive… one way or another, I’ll know what’s going on with her by mid-March.
I don’t have to wonder why she decided to have a DNR. She works with hospice patients. She has probably watched people helpless, suffering, and dying slowly and decided that she didn’t want that for herself. I always thought a DNR meant no heroic measures at all, but apparently, there are different degrees of it.
Larson makes a B-line to us once the court is dismissed. I think I hear him saying something about justice, and I vaguely hear him say that I’ll be able to speak at the sentencing, which I already knew. I don’t really care right now. I still think that ambush that he pulled with Whitshit was pretty fucked up and he’s not my favorite person at the moment. I stand from my seat and don my Jackie O’s before leaving the courtroom.
“Annie, are you okay with that?” Daddy asks. I look up at him.
“I’m fine with that, Daddy,” I tell him. “Somebody else finally got to see what these people did to me, and they said it was wrong. That’s what I needed. I didn’t need to watch them copping pleas and getting lighter sentences for squealing on each other. I needed somebody to see it. It’s been buried all these years, and somebody finally saw it. Whatever they decide to do to him, they saw it, and they can’t unsee it. That’s what matters.”
The verdict made it outside before we did, if that’s even possible. It’s a tad chilly in just my silk suit, but I still stroll leisurely down the stairs of the court as I put my black leather gloves on and head to the car. The press is still clamoring for a statement, and Vee didn’t return with us this time.
“Anastasia, how do you feel about the verdict?” one of the reporters calls out. I stop on the stairs and turn to the flashing and live cameras.
“I feel that the jury did the best they could do under the circumstances, and I’m satisfied with that,” I reply.
“What about the fact that they came back ‘not guilty’ on the kidnapping charges?” another one asks.
“You can’t win ‘em all,” I say with a slight shrug, then I turn and proceed down the stairs to the car.
“You’re sure she drove her car off that overpass?” I ask Jason.
“No, sir, I’m not,” he says, “but there were two witnesses driving behind her who pulled over when her car went through the guardrail. They called the police—not the security detail—and according to Alex, they have somewhat conflicting accounts of the accident, but both descriptions indicate that she drove off that overpass.”
“Is there any other possible explanation for this?” I press. Jason shrugs.
“There could be,” he says. “She could’ve fallen asleep at the wheel or lost control of the car…”
“Or someone could have hit her… one of the cars that stopped,” I say.
“It’s not impossible, but why would they stop?” he asks.
“To make sure the job was done,” I reply.
“Then why call the police?” he asks. “They were on the freeway. They could have just kept going.”
“They had already stopped. No doubt, the fire and two cars stopped on the freeway drew attention. Once they were in it, there was no backing out.”
“I don’t know, boss,” he says. “It sounds a little far-fetched to me. If other cars were stopping, let someone else call the police. Why put their name on the report?”
“The car’s on fire on the road underneath an underpass. There goes any evidence. The body is lying there in a concrete basin. The victim most likely didn’t see it coming. They could make up any story they want,” I say.
“Are you smelling something, boss?” he asks, “Or are you exercising your Constitutional right to create conspiracy theories?”
“I’m always smelling something, Jason,” I reply. “Ever since I realized I’m not untouchable, there’s always something on the grill.”
“Well, that’s a healthy dose of realism,” he counters, “but I have to say, I still think it’s a bit far-fetched.”
“Well, we won’t know until she’s awake,” I say. “You’ve checked her financials?” he nods.
“She’s got a couple of bank accounts. She’s got one account, though, that verifies what she said in court.” I frown.
“Remind me,” I say.
“That the money that she got from Anastasia has been put into a separate account and she hasn’t touched it. It started at about 90 grand a couple of years ago. It’s back up to just over a hundred now.”
“She sold a house in Green Valley,” I remind him. “That could have come from that.”
“It could,” he says, “but you should know that property values are about the same in Summerlin as they are in Henderson. Her everyday accounts have some padding that would account for selling her four-bedroom, two-and-a-half story, 3500-square-foot house in Henderson, paying off the remaining mortgage and property taxes, and purchasing a two-bedroom, two-bath, 1200-square-foot house in Summerlin with no mortgage.”
I twist my lips. I can’t help but smell a rat when it comes down to this woman. She just testified in a case where one of Henderson’s wonderful citizens was convicted on five of seven counts and will most likely be in jail for a really long time… although her car went over the bridge before we got the verdict.
“Make sure we have as detailed a breakdown as possible of her income, assets, and expenses,” I say. “Butterfly may need that information. Have we heard anything from Alex about this Drake fucker? I want his head on a platter and it’s never taken Alex this long to get me the information I need.”
“He’s still looking,” Jason says. “From what he’s found so far, the guy is clean. He’s looking for other creative ways that you can possibly get to him.”
“I don’t care if the guy is clean or not. I want his ass for what he tried to do to Butterfly,” I say.
“In his defense…”
“Defense?” I interrupt him. “You’re really going to defend this guy?”
“In this case, yes,” Jason says. “And I need you to hear me out.”
“I don’t want to hear anything that’s going to defend the man that tried to turn the 15-year-old version of my wife into a gold-digging little bitch trying to get her big come-up when she was branded like a fucking animal!” I bark.
“Well, this time, you’re going to have to listen to me, Boss, because any other time when somebody has done some shady shit, I’m right there with you. This time, you’re about to punish a guy just for doing his job.”
I’m ready to deck him. I’m fucking ready to deck my head of security and best friend.
“What did Drake do that Lincoln’s lawyer didn’t do? That David’s lawyer didn’t do?” he asks. “Right or wrong, whether their defenses were half-cocked—like Lincoln’s—or totally founded, they were just doing their jobs. They were defending their clients. You can’t expect them to come to court and do any less. Now, I don’t know what unicorn birdie from another planet made Lincoln’s lawyer believe that they could get away with that cock-and-bull defense, but hate it or love it, Boss, David’s defense and Sullivan’s defense had grounds.”
“You’re bullshitting me, aren’t you?” I ask flatly.
“You can’t see it,” he continues. “You’re too close and this is your Butterfly. We all know what that guy said about her was bullshit, but the jury didn’t. The only way to save his client was to take Her Highness out of the victim’s seat and put his client in it. If he could paint your wife as the wanton slut and these other vicious teenagers as people who would stop at nothing to make her pay for her heinous behavior, well then, it’s easier to paint Sullivan as a victim afraid for his life.
“You may not like it, but that’s what the defense saw when it came to Her Highness. That’s what her attackers saw. You heard yourself that Whitmore is either in complete denial that he raped her or he’s a really good fucking actor. So, if all parties involved are going by his word, what the hell do you think they’re going to believe?
“Then we find out that Sullivan is really in love with the guy, so if Larson’s theory is correct and he’s just a spurned lover, then we’re back to the impression of Anastasia—that she’s a gold-digging bitch, according to the man he loved, and she got to Whitmore before Sullivan did. Either way, it’s all open for interpretation from the outside looking in, and the job of the defense is to make sure that the jury interprets it his way.
“I’m not saying that you don’t have a right to be upset about what he said. Fuck, we’re all upset about the shit he said. I am saying that you’re trying to destroy a man for just doing his job. It’s like trying to get a cop fired for pulling you over for speeding, and the radar says that you really were speeding. I want you to think about that as you go after this guy.”
In reality, he’s right, but I don’t want to hear his logic right now. I want the man to suffer that caused my wife this undue pain. I’m not trying to do the right thing, dammit. I just fucking want somebody to suffer!
And going after his ass wouldn’t make me any better than the fuckers who branded my wife… because somebody had to suffer…
“Get out,” I say defeated, turning away from Jason.
“Call me when you need me,” he says behind me.
“Yeah, yeah, yeah…”
I now have to kybosh my thoughts of seeing Drake on a stake, which ain’t gonna be easy, so I turn my attention back to the time we have to be in Vegas and how to handle it. At least now, we have a somewhat definite time span of when we’re going to be leaving this place. Sentencing in Vincent Sullivan’s case will be on March 4th, and by the 15th or 16th, we’ll know what’s going to happen with Carla Morton.
So, how do I make this place bearable for my wife until then?
“I want to stand by Jewel in this,” Allen says when I approach him for assistance, “but as far as I’m concerned, that woman doesn’t deserve an ounce of sympathy. All I think about when I think about this entire situation is that I could have lost my best friend, and that fucking cunt didn’t care one little bit, not one little bit. I’m full of concern for the human condition, but that woman… she could die tomorrow and the only thing I would be concerned about is how it’s affecting Jewel.”
“And in the meantime, Jewel is in this hellhole trying to figure out what needs to be done for her,” I remind him. “What are you going to do if she comes to you for advice?”
“Tell her to pull the plug,” he says flatly.
“I’m serious,” I tell him.
“I am, too,” he replies. I look at him and realize…
“You are serious!” I say.
“Yes, I am,” he says flatly. “If Carla Morton has a DNR, she clearly doesn’t want to live in a vegetative state. Right now, that’s exactly where she is. The machines aren’t keeping her heart beating, but they are keeping her functioning, and when she comes out of that coma—assuming she can even remember who she is—she’s not going to be able to walk. Jewel now not only has to break that to her, but if she lives, Jewel has to be attached to her some kind of way for the rest of her fucking life when all she’s been trying to do since she was 15 years old was get the fuck away from her.
“Legally, she can pull the plug on that woman, and the fact that she has a DNR totally suggests if she knew that she would wake up in the state she’s in now, she’d probably want it that way. And we’re not going to mention the thing that no one seems to want to say out loud—that maybe Carla Morton really did drive off that overpass, that she really did try to kill herself, which is a whole new set of problems that Jewel doesn’t need.
“All the evidence suggests that Carla Morton did not want to live and does not want to live this way. If she wakes up from this, she’s going to require 24-hour surveillance not to do this again. Based on her DNR alone, Jewel could pull the plug and she would be within her legal rights. So, if she asks me, know in advance that that’s going to be my legal advice.”
“Allen,” I say, calmly. “We need another plan of action. You and I both know that Butterfly won’t be able to live with that.”
“Then she better not ask me,” he says. I roll my eyes.
“She’s here,” I say again. “We’re here, and we have to be here for a while. Besides pulling the plug on her mother, what can we do to make this pill easier to swallow?” Allen thinks for a minute.
“Bring her babies,” he replies. I turn a horrified gaze to him.
“What?” I ask, aghast.
“Bring the twins,” he repeats. “That would make this pill much easier for her to swallow.”
“She’s not going to let me bring the twins down here!” I say finitely. “The last thing she wants to do is expose her children to this place. And besides, there’s nothing for them to do down here.”
“There’s plenty for them to do down here,” he counters. “And all you have to do is get in touch with the concierge you’ve got in your pocket that can pull Cirque de Soleil tickets out of his ass and he’ll turn one of these suites into Disneyland, and you know it.”
Well, he’s right about that. I just don’t know how I feel about the twins being here. They’re safe in Seattle. They have a whole fleet of people looking after them there…
“Hey, you asked, that’s what I think,” he says. He’s not really the fountain of knowledge right now telling me that he’s going to tell my wife to pull the plug on her mother.
“I’ll think about it,” I say.
“Think about what?”
Our conversation is interrupted by Butterfly. She’s been at the hospital all afternoon since we left the courthouse and she’s just getting back to the hotel.
“Well, you’re a surprise,” I say calmly, willing Allen not to mention the conversation that we were just having. “How’s Carla?”
“The same,” she says as she gets a bottle of water from the minibar. “Her room is full of flowers.” I turn a surprised furrowed brow to my wife.
“What?” I exclaim as she cracks the seal on the top and takes a healthy drink of water.
“Her room is full of flowers,” she repeats. “When I say full, Christian, I mean bursting out the fucking door.” I look over at Allen and raise a brow at him.
“Why would you do something like that?” Allen asks.
“I didn’t. None of those flowers are from me,” she says, coolly, coming back into the living room and taking a seat in one of the large chairs facing me and Allen. “From what I can tell from the ones that had cards, they’re from her job, from coworkers, and from patients. As I was leaving, more were coming from places like Three Square, Goodwill, Catholic Charities of Southern Nevada. There’s even a teddy bear there from the family of an 8-year-old girl who died of Leukemia. I found out that my mother did hospice care for her out of her home.” Allen twists his lips.
“How does that make you feel, Jewel, about your mother?” he asks. Jewel rolls her eyes.
“A whole lotta fucked up,” she admits. “Here’s this woman who was everything in the world to me until I was about 13 years old. Then, I slowly cease to exist to her except as a tool to hurt my father. I have what still is to this day the worst experience of my entire fucking life, and she left me alone and wrote me off through the entire fucking thing. Even then, I was nothing more to her than a fucking payoff.
“She pops up after I’m kidnapped, pretending that she cares when the entire time, I know she was just trying to get back in my good graces so that she could get some money. Even her pickled husband was playing ambulance chaser—for lack of a better term—trying to get security to beat him up so that he could get a lawsuit.
“She starts talking shit about me when she finds out that Christian and I are getting married—more press time, woo woo!” She twirls one finger in the air, and I can tell she’s getting angrier and angrier by the second.
“When I bring her to Seattle to find out where the fuck her mind really is, and she shows me, I give her what she wants and send her on her way. Then, she shows up at my home the next day acting all reformed and remorseful and shit, trying to give the money back and putting on this huge fucking performance about how she just wants me in her life and she doesn’t need the money and wah, wah, wah…”
Her voice mimics a crying woman when she discusses Carla’s performance.
“For four years, that woman and her husband were the very bane of my existence. And to a teenager, four years is a lifetime, especially when you spent a portion of one of those years in a coma and recovering from a beating that most people wouldn’t have survived, and one person didn’t!”
Oh, yeah, she’s mad.
“Why did she testify?” she demands. “What did her testimony do? Why did we even need it? The only thing I could see was another opportunity for her to get into the limelight. It didn’t help the case at all!”
“It corroborated the story that Whitmore’s father paid them off,” I say.
“He wasn’t on trial here,” Butterfly retorts. “He’ll never be on trial. He took a plea; he can’t even appeal. Her testimony was useless. The only thing it corroborated was how horrible a mother she was. Why would anybody want to announce that?”
As much as I don’t want to admit it, I now believe it was her final attempt to show Butterfly that she had changed her ways. When the only response she got from it was me and Jason showing up on her doorstep telling her to leave Anastasia the hell alone, that may have been the final blow for her. Jason told me that many of the following nights were spent with her on her patio drinking something out of a cup and crying. Maybe she really did throw her car off that overpass.
“Butterfly, did I ever tell you that I went to see your mother the night before she left Seattle?” I ask. She raises her gaze to me. “We had a very harsh heart-to-heart, if you can call it that. I believe that’s why she came to see you the next morning to really try to make amends. It’s possible that she was telling the truth—that our conversation sunk in and she saw the err of her ways.”
“I don’t remember if you told me or not, but it doesn’t matter Christian,” she replies, flatly. “Either you love somebody, or you don’t. Either you’re concerned about them or you’re not. She didn’t care about me. She didn’t love me. What you said to her shouldn’t have made a difference to her at all. Those feelings that she was professing, that conviction that she was feeling, she should have felt that all on her own the minute I brought her to Seattle. This changes nothing.
“And now, she has a room full of flowers like she’s Mother fucking Theresa!” she says, launching herself from her seat and pacing the floor. “And the cards… they love her. She’s a wonderful human being. She’s the most valuable employee they’ve ever had. She’s a devoted volunteer or a treasured friend. She’s all these wonderful fucking things that she couldn’t be for me!
“I’m her flesh and blood,” she cries, angry tears burning a trek down her face. “She birthed me into this world. I have children now—I know what that’s like. Carrying life in your body for nearly a year, nurturing and loving them inside of you and never knowing that you could love someone so much that you’ve never met until they put that baby in your arms. How can you even allow a speck of dust to fall on their little heads let alone behave stoically while a group of vicious people beat them damn near to death?”
Is she talking about herself or the twins?
“We were happy!” she wails. “We were happy and then suddenly… she wasn’t! She turned everybody’s life upside down. She destroyed our happiness, our love, our lives, our contentment… because suddenly, she wasn’t happy! She wasn’t happy, so we all deserved not to be happy.
“Sometimes, my daddy wanted to kill himself!” she sobs. “Many times, I just wished I was dead! She didn’t care! She didn’t care at all! And now, she’s a fucking guardian angel! She’s the end-all-be-all wrapped up in human form! She’s all that and a bag of chips to a bunch of fucking strangers and she couldn’t be that to me! I needed her! I needed her more than anything in the world! I needed her love and care and concern, and she could give it to me! God, what did I do to deserve that?”
She’s screaming now, having a full-on meltdown. I want to grab her, to hold her and tell her that it’s not her fault that Carla was a horrible woman and mother when she needed her, but she has turned her back to me and is now facing the darkness out the window and the lights of the strip.
There’s a knock at the door of the suite and I look at Allen. He leaves the room to answer it and Butterfly doesn’t even respond. She’s standing at the window sobbing, still spewing all the ways that Carla neglected her and allowed Stephen to emotionally abuse her. Even now, I want to dig that fucker up, beat his ass and kill him again for what he put her through. Thank God, he didn’t procreate.
“I can hear her down the hall! What’s going on?” I hear Ray’s voice from the foyer. Allen is trying to explain what’s happening, but Ray comes barreling into the living room with Allen and Jason on his tail. He stops in the doorway and examines the situation. I’m near the entrance, looking at Butterfly who is across the room looking out the window, sobbing, and still berating her comatose mother.
Ray and Jason just stand there in awe and confusion.
“I don’t get it!” she wails. “I don’t get it! Why couldn’t I just stay with Daddy? We were happy! We would have lost her, but I still would have been better off! She hated me before we left Seattle, I knew it! I knew it in the way that she treated me! I knew it before we even got to Nevada! She fucking hated me! How can you hate your child? How can you put your body through those changes and agony and mental and physical trials and bring a life into this world only to hate it? How is that possible?”
She sobs some more and now there are four men in the room who have no idea how to handle what’s going on with her. We’re all looking at each other and back to Butterfly in befuddled helplessness.
“I would have sent her the money,” she says, and I’m wondering what the hell she’s talking about. What money?
“I would have gotten a job after school, or Daddy would have sent it. I know he would have. Had we known any of this would happen, any of it at all, we would have done everything in our power so that I wouldn’t have to go with that woman!”
“Butterfly, what are you talking about?” I finally ask. What money—the $750,000 they got from Whitmore? Ray didn’t have that kind of money and even she knows she wouldn’t have been able to make that with an after-school job.
“She called me a tax deduction!” she screams. What? What did she say?
“I asked her… w… why,” she sobs. “I asked h… her why… she didn’t… let me stay… with Daddy. She said because he would get the tax deduction!” She spit the last part out. “It’s always been about money with her! That’s all it’s ever been! I’m her daughter! I suffered! And she called me a tax deduc…”
She whirls around to see a group of men standing there, stunned and helpless. She takes note of the looks on our faces and her gaze rests on Ray’s. I turn to look at him and he looks totally broken and sad, like there’s something he could have done to prevent what happened to her. He has to know that he did everything in his power and that there was nothing else that he could do.
Butterfly can’t face any of us right now. She breaks down in mournful sobs and runs to the bedroom, slamming the door behind her.
We all just stand there looking at each other for a moment.
“I’ll… I’ll call and check on her later,” Ray says, his eyes glassy and red with unshed tears. “Call me if she needs me.”
“I will, Ray,” I say, sympathetically. He’s the first to leave.
Jason just looks at me, his expression unreadable. It looks like a combination of questioning and that helplessness that we all feel right now. Finally, no doubt feeling like there’s nothing else that he can do at the moment, he leaves the suite behind Ray. I look over at Allen and he’s looking at the door that Butterfly slammed behind her. You can hear her weeping.
“She wasn’t talking about herself, Chris,” he says before turning his gaze to me. “She was talking about her children. The circumstances may have been about her, but the anger, the hurt, and the disbelief that anyone could be this cruel to their own child, that’s about the twins.”
I know this. I know what he’s saying is true, and yet…
“Bring her babies,” Allen reiterates. “They won’t only brighten her days and make this easier to bear, but she needs them. Get them here as soon as possible.”
“Allen…” I try to protest.
A/N: It’s funny that Darcy’s comments at the end of episode 13 suggested that we bring the kids to Vegas and I had written this episode in the previous weeks and had just finished writing the following episodes when I posted episode 13.
I know I threw you all a curve ball… so far. The comments from the last chapter were saying things like, “Ding, dong, the witch is dead,” and “OMG, Carla killed herself,” and all I could say while I was reading them was, “But is Carla dead… yet?”
Pictures of places, cars, fashion, etc., can be found at https://www.pinterest.com/ladeeceo/grey-continued-misadventuresseason-v/
Pictures from the trip to Las Vegas can be found at https://www.pinterest.com/ladeeceo/grey-continued-las-vegas/
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