Becoming Dr. Grey: Chapter 66—Still Releasing Steam

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…

Chapter 66—Still Releasing Steam

ANASTASIA

I ache in all the right places. There’s the most delicious aching throbbing in my lady parts the reminds me that my husband filled me to capacity last night for what seemed like hours. Several explosive orgasms that started with him slapping my asshole while his tongue mercilessly lapped at my clit. That was new, and I get shivers just thinking about it. I’d never felt anything like it!

He moans next to me, his hand wandering up to my full breasts. It’s like he can smell or feel my thoughts in his sleep. I stretch languidly, unintentionally pushing my swollen breasts into his hands and I actually purr.

“That kind of thing can get you in trouble, Mrs. Grey,” he says, sleepily.

“I don’t consider it trouble,” I coo, relishing the feel of his hand massaging my breast. His touch is firm and erotic, and although it shouldn’t have this effect… “You’re going to make my milk flow.” He raises sleepy, sexy eyes to me.

“Well, we can’t have that,” he says. He rises from the bed and walks over to my side. Effortlessly, he lifts me from the bed and carries me to the bathroom… and the shower.

*-*

An orgasm would have tired us both and we expressed a desire to go to the gym this morning. So, after relieving my heavy, swollen breasts with gentle strokes under flowing warm water, he pays delicious attention to cleaning and caressing my body. We’re both very tingly from last night’s escapes, having cum and sweat so hard that we stripped the bedding off the bed to leave for room service. I love my man’s body. He’s so chiseled and cut and beautiful. I take my time cleaning every muscle and sinew of his sculpted form, thinking to myself that now that the children are born, I’ll get my body fit again so that I can look good for him. Yes, it will of course be for me, but when I admire this body—this work of art straight from the hands of God—I take pride in knowing that it will be for him, too.

There’s a full-service gym within walking distance of the resort called the Sisters Athletic Club where guests can work out for free. I decide that it’s probably not a good idea to wear one of my flimsy workout short suits, so I didn’t even pack them. Instead, I wear some yoga pants and a cropped athletic top.

When we get to the gym, it’s filled with women. Although I’m not a paranoid wife, I’m certain that a hush falls over that goddamn place when my husband walks in. There’s a man here and there, but mostly, it’s women. I sigh and shake my head. Time to get this body sculpted.

“I’m going to go claim a locker and then I’ll be in the weight room,” I tell him. He nods.

“I’ll do the same and I’ll be at the stair climber.” I nod and we split up. I go to the locker room and put my outside clothes and duffel bag away. As I’m changing from boots to sneakers, three or four women enter cooing about the “hot piece of sex” on the stair climber. I pause for a moment, irritated at their mindless ogling and insensitive overt sexual comments about my husband.

“I bet he’s a real wildcat.”
“He’s fucking gorgeous.”
“You can tell his dick is big by the way it hangs in his shorts.”

I’m getting angrier and angrier at these women. Didn’t they see him walk in with someone? Instead of engaging these bitches in a conversation about how classless it is to talk about a man with his wife standing nearby—which I would normally do—I stand to my feet and slam my locker hard enough to shake the entire bank of lockers that it’s attached to. The locker room falls silent and can feel eyes boring holes into my back. Without making eye contact with these women, I conspicuously twist the wedding and engagement rings on my left hand. I want to tear into them. Instead, I pick up my towel and walk out of the now utterly silent locker room.

The weight room is fairly empty, maybe two or three guys in there, spread out on different machines. I begin with stretches in the mirror in the open floor part of the room. I’m beginning to wish that we hadn’t come to the gym after all. I just want to get back to the room and enjoy time with my husband. Everywhere we go, I have to deal with bitches in heat or some coven of fangirls vying for his attention. It’s getting to be exhausting. I’m going to have to develop a thicker skin because I can’t keep reacting this way.

It’s not his fault. Well, maybe to some degree, it is. He did focus his attention on becoming “walking sex,” and good God, did he succeed. Women lose their minds over him. Both of us nearly lost our lives because of it. I remember that submissive hopeful… what was her name? Greta, I think. She was ready to fuck him right there with the fresh fruit in the Marketplace if he let her. She didn’t even care about me—didn’t give me a second thought. None of them ever do. If they can attract his attention, what does a girlfriend mean to them?

Or a fiancée?

Or a wife?

I finish my warm-up exercises and just as I stand upright and look out to the area of the exercise machines, I see the hated trio—now dressed in street clothes—standing a few feet from the stair climbers gawking at my man. One of them is licking her lips hungrily, while another bites her finger. The third is clearly undressing him with her eyes. He’s plugged into his earbuds with his back to them, completely oblivious to their tactless gawking. Rage boils up in me and I close my eyes and turn away from them. Trying to control the fury rising in me, I see my saving grace hanging in the corner.

A heavy bag.

My mouth actually waters when I see the damn thing. It’s hanging there all alone, emitting an ethereal glow… okay, that part could just be me.

Hello, old friend…

It’s a 100-pound bag, attached to the floor and the ceiling. That means that I can wail on it like hell and it won’t come back and knock me down. I put in my earbuds and put my iPod on my favorite independent-woman-mad-girl mix, quickly procure a pair of sparring gloves, and commence to go to town on this thing.

The first song the kicks in is “Sisters Are Doin’ It for Themselves,” a great beat to match and the perfect words. As soon as I match my flow to the rhythm of the music, it’s like riding a bike. My muscles and movements flow into place like I’ve been doing this every day and I’m able to zone out everything and everybody and focus on the bag and my punches.

Oh, this feels great! I haven’t been able to just let loose in months! On anything! Yeah, my arms are a little flabby, but a few weeks of training will get those back in shape. My strikes are still fairly hard as I hear each punch reverberate off the walls of the fairly empty room. The sound is empowering! Take that! And that! And that and that! Oh, this is fantastic! I raise my foot to the heavy bag and give it a kick.

Off center and not hard enough.
I try again.
Still not right. Goddammit! Remember your training!

I step back and focus. Stepping forward, I extend my leg high and connect my calf with the heavy bag and snatch back quickly, executing a near-perfect front round kick.

Better. Again.

I focus and step into the kick again, a near flawless execution. Extending the other leg, I perform the full round kick where I complete the circle, step back from the opponent, and end up in the facing position again.

It’s all coming back to me.

By now, Destiny’s Child has pumped me through “Independent Woman” and is encouraging me with “Survivor” as I transition into back kicks and side kicks, my legs extending to the heavy bag and snapping back like a rubber bands. This song makes me think about Edward and the Green Valley gang… my mother and Stephen Morton… Elena Lincoln and every other person who has ever thought they would hold me back or bring me down—wished for my failure, but are now gagging at my success.

Whitney Houston hails me for being “Every Woman” and “Queen of the Night” while Katy Perry tells me to “Roar” and before I know it, I’ve thrown in slapping kicks, pushing front kicks, and alternating jabs and hooks until my workout becomes a seemingly choreographed series of blows intent on the annihilation of my opponent. My muscles begin that familiar breakdown and burn and my breathing regulates as I punish the heavy bag without mercy. Yes, in my mind’s eye, I visualize various people who have pissed me off, including the sisters Grimm out there gawking at my husband’s buns of steel. By the time, Janet Jacket declares my “Control,” the sweat of released tension gathers on and rolls off my back while breaths of frustration puff out of my chest with every blow, every kick…

My brutal ballet and workout are distracted by my sweaty husband leaning into view in front of the heavy bag. He’s clearly a safe distance in front of the bag even though it’s bolted to the floor and can’t attack him like the heavy bag at my apartment complex a couple of years ago. I dance around on my feet crossing my hands over my head several times as if I was doing jumping jacks. He’s got this questioning look on his face as if to say, “What in the world?” I pause my workout and remove my earbuds.

“You okay?” he asks, his voice a mix of caution and confusion.

“Yeah,” I answer breathlessly, still bouncing about so as not to crash from stopping too quickly. “That was great!” I pant. “I haven’t… done that in… a long time.”

“I see,” he replies. “You got a bit carried away.”

“Maybe just a bit,” I confess.

“You’ve got an audience,” he says. I don’t turn to see who’s watching. I’m sure his fan club is close by.

“I want to do a few reps of floor exercises and then I’ll be ready to go,” I tell him. He examines me.

“You’ve seen them, haven’t you?” he asks.

“Seen who?” I say, impassively. I might have gotten away with it if I had only coupled that Oscar winning question with a curious glance around the room. He twists his lips and raises his eyebrows at me.

“Don’t overdo it, okay?” he warns. “I’ll be over here with the weight machines.”

“Okay. I’ll be over there near the free weights,” I say, turning my back once again no doubt to his fan club. I have a purpose for being here and when my purpose is concluded, I’ll be going. I love Christian dearly and I know he loves this ass, but I’m the one that has to live with it. If I don’t shave at least an inch off of it, I’ll have to walk around disproportionately shaped for the rest of my life and have my clothes tailor-made… or risk every goddamn thing I wear looking like the Kardashian girl and that’s not something I want. That look has its place, but not every day.

Unfortunately for me, the free weights are surrounded by mirrors and I get a glimpse of Christian’s fan club behind me. Incredibly, they’re all standing there waiting to see what I’m going to do next—and they have company. At least four to five guys have joined them, all apparently captivated by my workout. I plug myself back into my earbuds and for the next several minutes, Queen Latifah, Mary J. Blige, Salt-n-Pepa and a few other old school hip-hop favorites lay soundtrack to my task. I laser focus my sights onto my own reflection and begin a grueling series of glut and ass exercises that I discovered before I left home.

I had never had cause to focus on my ass before now, so I had to do a little research on the best exercises to yield maximum results. Some of them I had never seen before, but I quickly learn that they will certainly cause a burn, like the single leg squat where I put one foot on a towel and push it straight out to the side of me while squatting on the other leg. I only did a few reps of 30 seconds per leg of that and my quads and glutes were killing me.

I ignore the pain and continue with toe taps, single-leg front raises, hip-lift progressions, squats with kick-backs, and for some reason at this particular moment, I start thinking about Christian’s prior subs. Why the fuck did that come to mind? The only logical reason I can come up with is that I’m watching my muscles flex in the mirror and thinking of the strenuous activities of the playroom—not the sex, just the strenuous activities—coupled with the fact that we hadn’t been here 30 seconds and he already acquired a fan club. The thought only makes me want to burn more calories.

My husband is an exceptional lover and a magnificent Dom. I haven’t even seen the extent of his abilities in the playroom—I know he’s been easy on me because of my inexperience as a submissive. So, I can’t even imagine the intensity of the connection his submissives had with him when he went full throttle with them. He’s never made me feel like I had to compete with them, but I’ve always wondered if he missed that life… the no-holds-barred aspect of it, that is.

I carefully observed the items that he chose for the playroom as he chose them. Three of those all-purpose platforms for easy transition when one holds every piece of equipment the damn thing has—and there are rings on the floor to bolt you down. A bed with stocks in it… and a queening seat! A massive frame with an intricate swinging apparatus. To call it a sex swing doesn’t quite cut it; there was way more than that going on with that thing! The 360-degree adjustable bondage apparatus. Oh! And items that I’m not allowed to see until they arrive!

Fucking hell!

“That’s enough.”

His soft, deep voice breaks my train of thought and pierces through the women singing in my ear when he pulls one of the earbuds out. I don’t know how I don’t see him come up behind me in the mirror. He dwarfs me by at least a foot! I’m shocked and panting as his hands gently clasp my sweating waist, making eye-contact with me in the mirror. He looks delicious in a gray sweat-drenched tank top and gym shorts, his hair curly and spiky, his muscles defined and shiny from his own workout.

He knows that something’s not quite right, but he does call me on it. He just extends his hands to mine and holds them there with the weights. Bending, he brings them slowly to my sides and lifts them again in a straight “T,” like I had them before. He repeats the process again… and again… seven more times. He’s helping me cool down. On the last lift, he takes the weights from my hands and puts them back on the rack. Returning to my outstretched arms, he gently pushes them up above my head by my biceps. Holding my hands there, he counts softly to ten and brings them back down.

He continues with a series of cool down exercises and stretches, bending his body to accommodate mine. When I’ve finally caught my breath and calmed a bit, he brings my arms around my body and wraps them around me in his arms, cradling his chin in my neck and examining my face in the mirror.

“Okay?” he says, softly. I nod.

“Okay,” I breathe. He kisses my bare shoulder.

“Let’s shower and go back.” I nod again.

“Okay.” He takes my hand and leads me from the weight room. It’s only now that I see that the Sisters Grimm have been joined by a couple of other women… and several men! Not everyone in the club, but quite a few people. I don’t afford any of them more than a fleeting glance before following Christian back towards the locker rooms.

cat2007_05_16After my shower, I slip into some jeans that I bought on my shopping trip last week, a T-shirt, a large pullover sweater and some Timberland boots. I use one of the blow dryers attached to the wall in the bathroom and dry my hair so that I don’t catch a death of cold. Then I tie my hair in a knot, no longer concerned about my “bald spot” as it is now covered with a full, thick coating of soft, brown hair—somewhat like cat’s fur.
I toss my wet gym clothes in a plastic bag and load everything into my duffel before going out to meet Christian.

He’s standing against the wall across from the ladies’ locker room door with his arms folded and his legs crossed at the ankles, gazing adoringly at me when I exit. He’s almost my twin in jeans and a cable-knit sweater the same color as mine. His hiking boots are brown while my Timberlands are black. His hair is blow-dried and neat, not like I’m accustomed to seeing it and I don’t particularly care for it, but he still looks like six feet two inches of sex on a goddamn stick. I can’t really be mad at the poor women who nearly swoon at his feet and forget themselves in his presence, even this scantily clad gym bunny who strolls in front of him, smiling, and saying something so low that only he can hear it.

“Excuse me, miss,” he says, his voice low and soft, never taking his eyes off mine, “but could you please step aside? You’re blocking my view of my wife.”

Well done, Mr. Grey!

She casts a glance over her shoulder and I’m positive she didn’t even know I was standing at the locker room door. She looks back at Christian, but still doesn’t step aside, so he sidesteps her and stalks over to me instead.

“Hello, Beautiful,” he says, softly.

“Hello, yourself,” I reply with a sweet smile, gazing into his gorgeous gray eyes. I resist the urge to climb him like a tree right now and feast on his lips, but gently put both of my hands in his hair and muss it—thoroughly, but seductively. He closes his eyes while I do it, and when he opens them, they are slate fire.

“There,” I breathe, satisfied with the outcome, “that’s much better.” He takes a deep breath through his nose and breathes out through his mouth.

“Mrs. Grey, that is so dangerous right now after watching you sweat in that room that way,” he warns. I lean into him.

“You can make me sweat even more,” I say before standing on my toes and closing my lips over his. The kiss is slow, but short, ending with a short tug of his bottom lip through my teeth. He moans quietly and puts one hand on my hip.

“Excuse me!”

Christian and I are both drawn to the irritated voice of the gym bunny that was previously unsuccessful in garnering his attention. Apparently, now she’s anxious to get into the locker room and wants us to move. I look up at my husband.

“Do you mind terribly if we just find something to eat and forego snowmobiling? Something quiet, intimate… I just want to be with you.” My voice is a bit pleading and people are starting to irritate me.

“Of course, Butterfly. Let’s see if we can scare up some brunch.” We turn around to the gym bunny. I glare at her and she glares right back.

“Well, I can’t get by you,” I point out as politely as I can, “and you can’t by get me. So, one of us is going to have to back up, and I have no intention of going back into the locker room.” There’s no malice in my voice, it’s just a statement of fact. She stares at me for a few seconds longer as neither of us moves.

“I’ve got a better idea,” Christian says, rudely stepping in front of her and scoping me up into his arms. I burst into a fit of giggles as I am literally swept off my feet and my boots accidentally hit her in her bunny boobs. She gasps, grasping the two mounds of silicon dramatically.

“Oh, I’m so sorry!” Christian says, feigning sincerity, and drawing attention to us. “My wife couldn’t get by, so I had to assist her. Are you okay? You weren’t hurt, were you?” By now, her hated glare is turned to Christian. I think she’s quite displeased that he came to my rescue. She brushes past us with a huff and charges angrily into the locker room.

“I think she’s angry,” I say with a shrug.

“I think she is,” Christian says, heading towards the door with me still in his arms.

“You can put me down, now, Christian. I can walk,” I say, my voice full of mirth.

“Where’s the fun in that?” he asks. He turns his back to the door to push it open and we realize that just about every eye in the gym is on us. Christian just stands there for a moment, then says, “You folks have a good day, now,” before backing out of the building with me in his arms.


CHRISTIAN

“Are you going to carry me all the way back to the cabin?” she asks, once we clear the main lodge.

“That’s the plan,” I reply.

“That’s a long way, baby. Put me down. I’ll walk.”

“Sssshh!” I scold. “It’s a couple hundred feet and you’re light as a feather.”

“And you’re a liar,” she laughs. I raise an eyebrow at her.

“Did you forget that I used to carry you when you were carrying two other people?”

“No, I didn’t forget, but that was like out the door and to the car, not across the parking lot, around the building, and down a country road.”

“Be quiet and enjoy the fresh air.”

She behaves and silences, lying genteelly on my shoulder. She’s changed a bit. I know she saw those women well before I did. I hadn’t even paid attention to them until my round on the stair climber was complete. I had zoned out everything and everybody trying to get in a good workout since I had neglected the task for the last few days. When I turned around and saw the Terrible Three staring at me—one of them obviously gawking at my ass—I knew I had to find Butterfly.

I found her alright, unleashing hell on that poor heavy bag! All I could think at the time was, “Damn! What the fuck did that bag do to her?” Since her back was to the room with the machines, I thought she may not have seen the spectacle. Then that very weak denial of hers let me know that she had in fact seen it or had some sort of run in with these ladies, and that poor heavy bag was paying the price. Normally, she’s more aggressive towards women who show a blatant disrespect for her position as my wife. Today, she just chose to annihilate the heavy bag.

When I decided to stay in the weight room with her so that I could keep an eye on her, I couldn’t even finish my workout. I started with my reps of bench presses, then moved on to chest strengthening. When I was about to go to dead lifts, I turned around to see her doing some of the most grueling fucking as exercises I’ve ever seen in my life! She was doing some type of hip lifts and thrusts that had her legs extended and pelvis suspended for long periods of time. Then she was doing some move where her foot slid out on the floor on a towel and she had to control the squat with her other leg. I can’t even imagine the quad strength it takes to do some shit like that!

A small, yet quiet crowd gathered, including the three women who appeared to have nothing better to do with their time. Don’t women understand how uncomfortable it makes you feel for them to just stand there endlessly gawking at you that way? Seriously, if I haven’t shown any interest in you, why would you continue to do that? Even in my dominance, I’ve never objectified a woman that way… unless she belonged to me; then she expected it.

Hello? Mr. Mogul? Have you forgotten the very unsuccessful stare campaign that almost landed you in jail at the community center when you first met this tender little morsel?

That was different. I was doing that deliberately to make her uncomfortable, not because she was attractive and I just wanted to gawk at her. Although she was attractive and I did want to gawk at her, that wasn’t why I was doing it. Maybe I’m paying for past sins… and whose fucking voice was that??

My inner musings were interrupted when a masculine voice cursed behind me, commenting on the “Coca Cola bottle” doing the workout in the mirror. Without turning around, I examined the crowd in the reflection in front of Butterfly and noticed that several men had abandoned their workouts to watch my wife. That shit didn’t make me happy at all. She’s in those hot ass yoga pants and a cropped athletic shirt that crisscrosses over her back and she’s dominating these floor exercises that look like they would have the average person crying.

Sweat was gleaming off her body as she executed flawless explosive lunges where she started in a standard lunge position with her arms bent and fist clenched in front of her. Then she leapt gracefully off the floor switching legs in midair at the same time before landing with the alternate leg in a deep lunge position. As she repeated this exercise several times, all I could think to myself is “There goes my ass.”

I, along with several other admirers and Nosey Nancies watched as she shifted to yet another exercise—dumbbell squats. She did about 10 reps of the dumbbell squats, then proceeded into straight arm lifts with her arms straight out like a “T.” That form was flawless and beautiful, but she was unnecessarily pushing herself with the promise of pain later if she didn’t stop. She was totally in the zone as there was no other reason why she wouldn’t have seen the reflection of a group of people gathered behind her in the mirror in front of her. The mere fact that I was in that group would have caused her to stop. I don’t know why she was pushing herself that way, but she had done enough for the day.

I stood behind her and halted her reps, telling her just that.

She was surprised to see me, but melted into my hands as I led her through cool-down exercises and sent her to the locker room before going to shower and change myself. I never got the chance to finish my own workout, so carrying her now poses no hardship. Plus, I needed to let the gawking fuckers in there know that the “Coca Cola bottle” was taken… and the bitches in heat know that I was.

“I asked you not to overdo it,” I scold as we approach the cabin.

“I didn’t,” she says. “I’m fine.” I twist my lips.

“Yeah, until your muscles start locking up,” I chide as I place her on the small porch of our cabin so that I can unlock the door. “What was that all about, baby?” She shrugs as she walks to the bedroom and tosses her duffel bag on the floor.

“I don’t know. I guess I was just anxious to get back into the swing of things.” I examine her as she drops onto the bed.

“That’s bullshit,” I tell her softly and her eyes pierce at me. “It is, and you know it. You’ve been doing your yoga, wearing you belly binding, and eating right. I understand that you want to tone other parts of your body, but that shape defies nature. You have the waistline of a teenager, six weeks after the natural delivery of twins. One of the reasons I went all Umgawa when we left the gym is because of some asshole’s comment about the insane workout that the ‘Coca Cola bottle’ was doing. Now tell me what’s going on.” She tries and fails to hold back a snicker.

Umgawa?” she repeats through her laughter.

“Yes, Umgawa!” I repeat shamelessly. “Me Tarzan, you incredibly hot wife. Now don’t change the subject. What’s going on?” She sighs and falls back on the bed, staring up at the ceiling.

“I really don’t know, Christian,” she says. “Everybody keeps telling me that my body looks great for me to have just had twins, but look at my butt and hips. My boobs are huge. All I keep seeing when I look in the mirror is Kim Kardashian and I hate the way she looks! Then we go to the gym and I have to keep from going nuclear in the locker room because these women come in and all they keep talking about is you being sex on a stick and the size of your dick and I’m standing right there! I wanted to take a bite out of them so badly…”

“Then, why didn’t you?” I ask.

“Because I can’t keep doing that!” she replies, frustrated. “I can’t keep popping off on every woman who shows you attention. Pretty soon, I’ll be popping off on every woman in America. You’re a beautiful man. You’re attractive, strong, rich, and you exude power. Women are going to be falling at your feet all the time, some more aggressively than others. Nobody can fight that all the time. You just have to let it be.”

“Okay, I can see your frustration, but the same thing was going on with you at the gym. Men were physically and verbally ogling you, and I had no problem marking my territory,” I say proudly.

“They just see a big ass they want to fuck,” she says dismissively. I frown.

“Is that supposed to make me feel better?” I ask. “And I thought we established that you don’t look like Kim Kardashian. Her body doesn’t fit her body, and we’ve come to expect her to look that way. To me, she looks freakish and unattractive, and that is definitely not you.” She sighs.

“If you say so,” she says without lifting her head. I crawl on the bed, hovering over her and look into her eyes.

“I want you to talk to Ace about this,” I tell her. “I think you have a distorted negative body image.” Her mouth falls open.

“I do not!” she snaps.

“Yes, doctor, you do,” I retort. “No matter how many people confirm that you have a beautiful body, you still see yourself as grossly misshapen and I just don’t get it.” Her hands are already conveniently lying on the bed on either side of her head, so I take one in each of mine, planting soft, yearning, promising kisses on her lips. “No matter how many times I tell you that you’re beautiful, you don’t believe me,” I say against her mouth. “Why don’t you believe me?” I close my eyes and kiss the corner of her mouth, down her cheek to the soft spot behind her ear.

“Ha!” she gasps, when I lick that sweet spot. “Because… you’re biased…” she pants. “You thought I was… beautiful when… I weighed 500 pounds!”

“That was a different kind of beautiful,” I say, bringing my eyes back to hers. “That was the Mother-Earth-pregnancy-glow-swollen-with-my-babies-I-can’t-believe-I’m-so-goddamn-lucky beautiful.” I cross her lips with my tongue and kiss them gently, but hungrily again. “This is the fucking-hell-this-body-is-insanely-gorgeous-and-she’s-driving-me-out-of-my-fucking-mind beautiful.” I breathe into her neck and she shivers.

“Do you mean it, Christian?” she breathes. “You’re not just saying that to make me feel better? Please don’t lie to me…” I straighten my legs so that my body lies flat on her and push my growing, stiffening erection into her core. “Aah!” she gasps.

“You tell me,” I breathe into her ear, softly sucking her earlobe before gently sinking my teeth into the skin of her neck. “But baby, you have to know you’re beautiful for yourself, not just because other people tell you so, and not just because I can’t keep my hands off of you.” Sad blue eyes look up at mine before she sighs heavily.

“Okay,” she concedes. “I’ll talk to Ace.” I smile encouragingly at her.

“That’s my girl,” I say sweetly. “Now, about not being able to keep my hands off you…” I shift and push one of my legs between both of hers and push her sweater and tank top up over her stomach. Her waist and abdomen are a true act of God. I’ve never seen a woman shrink this quickly after having a baby. However, I have to admit that I don’t have much experience with women and babies. I place open-mouthed kisses on her stomach, dipping my tongue into her navel.

“Christian,” she moans, gently thrusting her hands into my hair. “We have to eat.”

“Okay,” I tell her, traveling across her stomach to her side and back to the other with my mouth, “but we’re not leaving this cabin. I want you to myself for the rest of our time here, which isn’t much.” I push her shirts further up her body and start to rain kisses and licks all over her torso. “I don’t want to share you with anyone else and I would venture to say that you feel the same way about me.” She pushes her body up into mine as I travel up her torso. “Last night was good—extremely good—but I plan to sex you senseless for the rest of the day.”

Pushing my hands further under her shirt, I get to her breasts and squeeze gently. She moans, a soft, sensual, quiet purr as I tease her nipples through the material of her bra. I feel wetness start to seep through the cloth and for some reason, it turns me on. My incredible, beautiful wife… literally the fountain of life for my two children, bursting with a spring of sweet nectar that keeps them alive. I push the sweater and T-shirt above her breasts and marvel at the plump mounds, moist and soft and full of “life.”

“Your breasts are leaking,” I say before placing open-mouthed licks and kisses on the tender flesh. She stiffens a bit.

“They… they are?” she says, somewhat alarmed, but completely aroused.

“Ssshh,” I soothe, still molding the meat with both hands while gently licking her skin, taking mouthfuls of tender tit into my mouth as I work my way to the covered, leaking nipple. Her bra is getting wetter and wetter and her nipple is straining against the fabric. I know it’ll be sensitive behind the constriction of the bra. I sink my teeth into the protrusion through the soft cotton, teasing it briefly with my tongue before drawing on it firmly. I feel the warmth of the milk releasing into her bra with the suction and I lick the protrusion again.

“Oh God, Christian,” she moans, pushing her breasts into my hands—and mouth—and tightening her fingers in my hair. Oh, yes, for the rest of the fucking day…

Just as I’m planning my next “attack,” her phone buzzes from the place where we left it charging this morning. We both freeze and look at it, no doubt both immediately thinking of the babies. I look up at her and she nods silently, confirming my thoughts, so I reach for her phone and hand it to her. Still lying on her back, she swipes the screen and touches it a few times… then grimaces.

“Oh, what the fuck?” she says in a low, frustrated voice. She makes to sit up, so I rise off her and pull her shirts down. The bra and T-shirt will hold the leaking milk for now.

“What is it?” I ask as she sits up and taps her screen a few times.

“I just got a text from Maxie. All it says is ‘No shit, you really need to see this,’ and there’s a link.” Oh, fuck. What fresh new hell has followed us to our cozy, cabin weekend getaway? A few seconds later, my wife gasps loudly and her hand flies to her gaping mouth. Still glaring at her phone, her eyes have easily expanded to the size of silver dollars, bigger than I’ve ever seen them before, and she twitches a bit.

“Butterfly, what’s wrong?” I ask, my voice panicked. She raises incredulous eyes to me as my phone starts to buzz in my pocket. Not now! “Baby, please, tell me what’s wrong!” I want to snatch the phone from her hand, but at this moment, I get the feeling that’s not the right thing to do. My phone buzzes again with a reminder of the text. I’m at first annoyed, then I think that maybe whatever is on Butterfly’s phone is on mine, too. I fish it out of my pocket and find and text from Al. No prelim, just a link. Butterfly just got a link from Maxie. That’s when it dawns on me…

Contingency.

I quickly click the link and almost imitate Butterfly’s expression when I see the headline of the article that flashes across the screen. I immediately search for the remote to the plasma television mounted above the fireplace. Relieved to see the smart TV controls on the remote, I turn it on and activate the “send to TV” function. On my phone, I activate the same function and beam the article to the television through Bluetooth.

“This?” I say to her. She turns to the television, drops her phone, and nods. I move back to the bed, not knowing how to take her reaction, but just wanting to be there for her right now. I put my arms around her and pull her into my embrace, her back to my front, as we both read the headline of the article on the screen in silence:

 Seattle Man Serving 28-Year Sentence on Kidnapping and Assault Charges Found Hanging in His Cell

293-franco-mugshot-lr-120409A mugshot of a familiar face appears next on the screen. I give the remote to Butterfly so that she can scroll through the article at her pace. We both continue to read in silence: 

At 2 a.m. Friday morning, prison officials in Walla Walla, WA, airlifted a long-term inmate to a trauma center after finding him hanging in his cell.

Officials identified the man as 29-year-old Edward David, a Seattle resident at the beginning of a 28-year sentence.

According to Ronald Holstein, superintendent of the Washington State Penitentiary, prison staff found David hanging in his cell from torn sheets at 1:46 a.m. during regular rounds on the cellblock. The staff cut the torn sheets and immediately began to administer CPR, said Holstein. Walla Walla Fire and Rescue took David to Walla Walla General Hospital. From there, Life Flight transported him to Sacred Heart in Spokane, per Holstein.

David’s condition deteriorated quickly after being admitted to Sacred Heart. While attempting to contact his family, hospital officials determined late Friday night that David’s brain activity was continuing to decrease and just past midnight on Saturday morning, he was declared brain dead. While attempts continued to get responses from his family, David defied life support efforts in an unprecedented event. Though he remained on life support, a few hours after there was no brain activity, David somehow passed away even while on life support. An investigation will ensue, though several staff members—both doctors and nurses—attest to having been present when David flatlined, though there is no explanation for the occurrence as the machines were all still operational.

At 8:19 a.m. Saturday morning, Edward David was pronounced dead, seemingly from lack of oxygen due to hanging. An autopsy will follow to corroborate cause of death.

After a very public trial, David was convicted of kidnapping and assaulting Anastasia Grey—Anastasia Steele at that time—wife of Seattle businessman and entrepreneur Christian Grey. She and Grey were dating at the time.

On July 23, 2012, in a joint operation by King County Sheriffs, the Seattle Police Department, and Grey’s security team, David was apprehended on Vashon Island where he and an accomplice, Robert Harris, had held Ms. Steele hostage for four days. Harris was a disgruntled ex-employee of Grey Enterprises Holdings, Inc., of which Christian Grey is the owner and Chief Operating Officer. Ms. Steele was found handcuffed to a bed, badly beaten, undernourished, and dehydrated. She was airlifted to Seattle General Hospital to be treated for her injuries while David was taken into custody and booked into the King County Jail. Harris was killed in a shootout with police.

David was charged with and later convicted of several counts, including unlawful imprisonment, robbery, and first degree assault with a weapon. Once the consecutive sentences were tallied, he stood to serve time until 2040, with a possible hope of parole in 2029.

In a related civil trial against David, Mrs. Grey was awarded nearly $5 million, requiring the turnover of David’s remaining assets to cover the settlement. However, sources have indicated that although Mrs. Grey was briefly the owner of Edwise Hardware and Software, she has since turned the business over to federal authorities for investigation of possible criminal activity from prior to her obtaining the company.

The family has still not responded for comments.

We sit in silence for several minutes after I know we’ve both finished the article.

“Talk to me, Butterfly,” I say softly, looking for some hint as to what she’s feeling right now. She says nothing. Her arms still over mine around her waist, she squeezes them tighter around her, burrowing backwards into my torso, seemingly seeking much needed warmth. I gladly oblige, pulling her as close to me as two bodies can get and holding her safely against my chest. She sighs deeply, still looking at the screen displaying David’s mugshot and the article describing his death. My emotions are conflicted right now, but I just hold her and kiss her hair.

Almost an eternity later, she speaks.

“Do you think he killed himself?” she asks softly. Do I fucking care?

“It… looks that way,” I reply, trying to be comforting. She sighs again.

“My prediction came true,” she said. I frown, a bit horrified.

“You predicted that he was going to kill himself?” I ask. She shakes her head.

“No, I quoted Danielle D’Barbarac, a character from the movie Ever After…” She recites the quote to me and I nod.

“Well, you were right. He did think of you every day for the rest of his life,” I say, gently stroking her cheek. “Are you okay?” I ask. She did love him once, and now he’s dead. I’m not one to be so cold as to think that she may feel nothing at all about this. That’s probably the reason for her current introspection. She surprises me when she pulls away and sits up, turning around to face me.

“You’re going to think I’m horrible,” she begins, “but want champagne.”

I try not to react. Champagne?! How macabre!

“I’m not toasting his death,” she says. “Well, in a way, I am… but honestly, I want to celebrate. One of the worst chapters in my life is finally closed! For good! I’ll never have to look back on this again unless I choose to. He left this world with me having no unfinished business—not one unsaid word! This is the most closure that I’ve ever felt in my life so far. I didn’t feel this much closure when I came to grips with the virtual loss of my mother. And you can best believe that if Cody Whitmore dies, I’ll be throwing a goddamn party. So, yes, I want champagne.” Without pausing, I pick up my cell and dial a number.

“Yes, sir?” Chuck answers.

“I need two bottles of Bollinger, right now. Whatever you can find on short notice,” I reply.

“Yes, sir.” I end the call. She frowns.

“He even died on life support… that’s the strangest thing I’ve ever heard,” she says. “How does that happen? Physically, that should be impossible. If every bodily function breaks down and stops completely—like when you’re brain dead—the machines should still keep you alive. It’s not a theory; it’s a fact.” I shrug.

“I have no explanation, Butterfly,” I tell her,

“Somebody had to turn those machines off… although that doesn’t make sense either. By law, brain dead is legally and clinically dead. The hospital is not required to keep him alive. All that was needed was the declaration of brain death and the order to turn off the machines. But no one will admit to turning off the machines.”

“Maybe they don’t want any backlash from his family,” I say. She shakes her head.

“That article mentioned contacting his family three times—the first one indicated they were trying to contact them. The second and third said they were waiting for responses. They’re not going to respond. They didn’t help him when he got arrested; they didn’t come to his trial. The only person that responded was Camilla Johannson. She was still in Cedar Rapids and she heard about it, so they knew. Cedar Rapids knew and they didn’t come. He’s either going to be buried in a pauper’s grave or donated to science.” She shakes her head again. “I guess Beelzebub wanted his soul back and wouldn’t take ‘no’ for an answer.”

I almost laugh at her analogy, but realize that it’s not really meant to be a joke. She gets on her knees and crawls over to me. She moves quickly straddling my lap and taking my face in her hands. She places a deep, heartfelt kiss on my lips and I sink into it immediately. All the fire that I was feeling before she got that text was reignited. I squeeze her hips as she deepens the kiss. Fuck, she turns me on so much!

“You’re good for me,” she says, when she breaks the kiss. “You’re so good for me.”

“You’re good for me, too,” I breathe, my lips begging for hers again, and she grants my request. I squeeze that voluptuous ass through those painted-on jeans and she grinds against me, keening as she kisses me and pulls my hair. Shit, her slightest touch makes me hard! But I must stop her, because there are things that we must do. I reluctantly pull my mouth back from hers and eye her swollen lips. It makes me growl audibly in my chest.

“It’s well into the afternoon, Mrs. Grey, and we haven’t eaten. We need sustenance for our prior exercise and for future… exertions,” I say suggestively. She nuzzles my nose.

“Yes, you’re right,” she says. “There’s a sunken Jacuzzi tub over there that’s begging to be put to use and I guess I don’t want to be all worn out when we do.”

“Indeed,” I say, giving her ass another squeeze. She smiles and looks down at her sweater.

“I may have to get used to showering three times a day when the soccer players aren’t around,” she says. “I’m starting to soak through my clothes.”

“I can always help relieve you,” I say, taking a bite of her breast through her sweater, eliciting a playful giggle from her.

“I sure you can… and will,” she says. “In the meantime, I’ll go clean up then… I think I just want to do nothing for a little while.”

“Except eat,” I remind her. She nods.

“Except eat,” she says. She kisses me on the lips, then crawls off my lap, grabs the duffel with the breast pump in it and goes into the restroom. The first thing I need to do is secure the food. I had planned for us to go to brunch and then snowmobiling for the afternoon, then spend a quiet evening in the cabin. Dinner will be elaborate, with more champagne and truffles and that lovely sunken hot tub, and so, so much more. But now, with the afternoon half gone, I have a quick change of plans. I know I sent Chuck on a search for Bollinger a few minutes ago, but now I have to impress upon him for lunch. I call him again.

“Yes, sir,” he answers on the first ring.

“I hate to make you run around like this…”

“No problem. The hotel caterer had Bollinger in the wine cellar, so I didn’t have to go far. Chance is on call at the cabin if you have emergencies. Did you need something else?”

“Yeah. We were going to go snowmobiling, but Butterfly decided against it. We’ve had an… interesting day, to say the least, and she really doesn’t want to be around people now. So, I’m going to need you to get us some lunch—something kind of light. You know what dinner’s going to look like.” He’s silent for a moment.

“Hmmm…” I can see the wheels turning. “Mexican maybe? There’s a Mexican joint right on site. The parking lot was full both days. Good smells coming from the place…” I nod.

“One second…” I pull the phone from my ear. “Butterfly, how do you feel about Mexican?”

“Ooo, yummy! Sounds good!” she calls back. “See if they have ceviche… and I’d love some nachos!” I smile to myself and get back on the phone.

“I think we have a winner,” I tell him. “Get a variety. Make sure you get some ceviche and nachos.”

“Sure thing… um, Christian, have you heard the news?” I frown.

“What news are you referring to?”

“About Edward David.” I purse my lips.

“How did you find out?”

“Jason has security on alert,” he says. “The way he died in the hospital is suspicious, to say the least.”

“Yeah, my next call is to Al. He sent me the link. I’ll probably be calling Alex next.”

“I’ll be at Rio. I’ll get some ice and flutes and bring the champagne after I get the food.”

“Okay.” I end the call and dial Al.

“Hey,” he answers.

“Give it to me straight. Do we think this was an accident? I’m not putting my wife on any kind of alert if this fucker just kicked the bucket.”

“How is she taking it?” I sigh.

“She was introspective for a moment. Then she asked for champagne.” Al scoffed a laugh.

“That’s Jewel,” he said.

“And you haven’t answered my question.”

“I don’t know, Chris,” he says. “It could be just that this fucker didn’t want to face the music. He was already facing damn near a lifetime in jail—no release until he’s 58; a possible hope at 47, and then this. You ever see that movie Shawshank Redemption?”

“Yeah,” I say.

“Ending up like Brooks was his only hope… hang in the cell or hang in a halfway house thirty years later if he ever had a possibility of parole. Then here comes this little ball of light to tell him that any little bit of hope that he had left was now about to be snatched out from under him because of his countless violations of the RICO act. He was never going to see the outside of a prison again and he knew it. So, he could have just given up.”

I know Al. I’ve worked closely with him for almost as long as I’ve known my wife. I know a pregnant pause when I hear one. He taught me how to spot it.

“There’s a ‘but,’” I say. He sighs.

“To find him hanging in a cell isn’t too questionable, especially after that visit and the fact that he didn’t have a cellmate. But the way he finally kicked it? That shit doesn’t happen, man. Granted, he was already dead for all intent and purposes, and had he just stayed on life support until somebody unplugged him—on the record—then there wouldn’t have been any more question about it. But Chris, I personally know people who have been on life support for years because the family refuses to pull the plug. You just die? While the machines are still operational? I’m telling you that shit doesn’t happen a few hours after your brain activity stops. Somebody wanted to make sure that motherfucker didn’t wake up. He was already dead. Legally and physically, he was gone—he wasn’t coming back. That was it. The phantom flatline was overkill.”

“Should I tell Butterfly that? She’s having some questions, too, and I do not want to ruin our weekend.”

“I don’t see what good it would do,” Al says. “It won’t bring him back—not like any of us wants that. Far as I can tell, if somebody did him in, whoever it was did the world and the taxpayers of the great state of Washington a favor.”

“Yeah, but what if it was one of his dirty business associates? And what if they come looking for Butterfly?” He’s silent again.

“That’s a waiting game, Chris,” he says. “If that’s the case, the double-dicker was an easy target. Jewel, not so much, and they know that. They’re going to want to know what she knows before they target her. Focus on that, but don’t alarm her for no reason. Like I said, the fucker could have just done himself in and we’re all jumping the gun for no reason. I honestly think that’s the way to go, especially since the hospital is saying that they have witnesses that he just slipped away.” I nod.

“I’ll see what Alex thinks. Thanks for letting me know.”

“Kiss Jewel for me,” he says.

“Oh, I’ll be kissing her alright, but not for you.” He laughs.

“Yeah, scratch that,” he adds before we end the call.

“Will you be much longer?” I call into the bathroom.

“Just a few more minutes,” she calls back. Perfect.

“Okay.” I call Alex. “What’s your take on the David situation?” I ask when he answers the phone.

“Inside job,” he says immediately. “The hanging is clean. It doesn’t arouse suspicion, but the guards found him too soon. He was able to be physically resuscitated, but his brain was already corked. A professional would know that the job was over, but somebody panicked and sent in a cleanup to finish what was started. I don’t know how the dude ended up flatlining in front of a room full of people, but that shit had nothing to do with life support. We’ll just have to wait and see.”

“What should we do in the meantime?” I ask.

“Same thing we’ve been doing,” he says. “Let me assure you that it’s easy as hell to get to somebody in the Pen. You don’t even need special privileges for that. All you need is a little cash and an inside line. Hospitals are even easier. He had a guard at the door, but all you need there is a room number and a lab coat. These fuckers are sloppy. Whoever they are, we’ll spot ‘em a mile away if they try to come near you and they know it. They will try to find out if she knows something, though.”

“So, don’t panic,” I confirm.

“Don’t panic unless you see or hear something suspicious, then let me know, but just to be safe, we’re ramping up covert surveillance.”

“Good man. Thanks.” I end the call. Butterfly still hasn’t come out of the bathroom, so I strip out of my clothes and put on some sweatpants. I figure she’ll just want to veg out in front of the television when she gets out of the bathroom, so I disable the connection from my phone and scroll through the channels in an attempt to find something to watch. While I’m waiting for Butterfly to immerge, there’s a knock at the door. I don my robe and open the door for Chuck.

“You can just put it over there,” I tell him, gesturing to the desk against the wall. I take the ice bucket and with the two bottles of champagne and the flutes and put them on the nightstand while he empties the bags of food.

“The dining room sent real dishes,” he said. “I told them you were celebrating the birth of your twins and they were happy to oblige.”

“Thanks. I think Butterfly will appreciate not having to use plastic forks and eat from carryout containers.”

“Hi, Chuck.” Butterfly finally emerges from the bathroom in a terrycloth robe, her hair still wet. She jumps on the bed and picks up her phone.

“Hey, Ana,” he replies. “Well, I’ll leave you guys to your meal. Call me if you need me.” They share a wave and we nod at each other before he leaves and I lock the door behind him. When I turn back to Butterfly, she’s tapping on her phone, then places it on the bed while she begins to brush the tangles from her incredibly long hair. A phone is ringing and I realize that she’s on the speaker phone. I kneel behind her and take the brush from her hand just as her party answers.

“So, you’ve come up for air, have you?” Gail’s voice springs through the phone.

“That we have… and food!” Butterfly confirms. “How are my babies?”

“Being little angels as usual,” Gail confirms. “Minnie had a bit of trouble settling last night, but she did fine after a while.”

“And Luma? Are she and the girls okay?”

“Oh, they’re just fine. It’s something about little girls and babies. They just turn into balls of mush…”

She and Gail continue to talk about the twins while I gently comb the tangles out of her long, mahogany hair. Once I’m done, I braid it in one long braid down her back and fasten it with the ponytail holder that she conveniently had wrapped around the end of the brush. She mouths “thank you” to me as she continues her conversation with Gail. I pop the cork on one of the bottles of Bollinger while she finishes her call. I hand her a glass.

“Would you like to eat in bed or in the chairs with the ottomans in front of the television?” I ask. She ponders the idea.

“I think I’d like to eat in the chairs,” she says, taking a sip of the Bollinger. “That’s delicious.” I smile.

“Bollinger always is.” I gesture to the desk and the spread of food there—ceviche and loaded nachos, just as she requested; chicken and steak fajitas, pork enchiladas, carne asada tacos and fresh guacamole. We load our plates and take them over to the seats in front of the television. I start the fireplace and we begin to enjoy our meal and champagne. The room is now quite cozy and we watch as the snow starts to fall just outside the French doors. We sit in contented silence and watch the snow as we enjoy our lunch and champagne. When we’ve finished, I take our dishes back to the desk and refill our glasses, bringing the unopened bottle to sit on the table between our chairs. I take my wife’s hand a pull her from her seat. After sitting in my seat, I situate her comfortably on my lap.

“There, that’s much better,” I say, taking her lips with mine. “Any idea what you would like to watch?”

“A love story,” she says sweetly. I raise my eyebrows.

“That sounds promising,” I smile. “Any suggestions?”

Ever After,” she says. I gaze at her.

“I thought you said that was the movie you quoted to David,” I say.

“It was, but it’s still a love story.”

“Not from the sound of that quote,” I protest.

“Trust me, it is,” she says. “It’s the story of Cinderella.” I raise my eyebrows.

“Aaah,” I say in realization, “the girl gets her prince, the prince gets his love, and they live happily ever after… but who gets the quote?” She smiles.

“The stepmother.” I return her smile.

“Yes, let’s watch that.” I search the different on-demand options and finally find Ever After. Settling in with my girl on my lap, we watch as two storytellers sit a captive audience while the real Cinderella tells her tale…


A/N: “Umgawa” came from the old Tarzan movies, and besides that shrilling yell that he did, it was just a general call to action. Christian was using it to talk about his caveman/Neanderthal behavior when he carried her out of the gym.

The laws vary from state to state as to whether health care officials are required to maintain a brain-dead person on life support or not. The consensus is that it is not necessary for the reason that Ana stated. However, I couldn’t locate specific laws or guidelines for the State of Washington. If you know the answer, don’t shoot me. I took creative license here.

Pictures of places, cars, fashion, etc., can be found at  https://www.pinterest.com/ladeeceo/becoming-dr-grey/

You can join my mailing list on the “Contact Me” page. Just click the link and it will lead you to a form to join the list.

Love and handcuffs  
Lynn X

Becoming Dr. Grey: Chapter 64—Take Deep Breaths…

Stayed home to regroup today, so here’s a bonus chapter because I love you guys!

So, I know there will be a lot of people who will read this and say, “Damn, she’s either been through or had a friend whose been through every damn thing…”

Um… yeah. Damn near fifty years old and if I wrote a true exposé memoir of my life, it would be several volumes long and it would curl your hair, make your head spin, and have you running away screaming. But yes, the Sophie portion of the story is based on real life events.

REEEEEEEEEEEEEALLY long author’s note at the end, if you care to read it, about a few things in this chapter.

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…

Chapter 64—Take Deep Breaths…

ANASTASIA

It took a while for Jason and Christian to return, so I had time to feed the Minnie before they returned as Mikey hadn’t stirred yet… but when they returned…

“Six days! Six days, Shalane! Do you know what the fuck can happen in six days? Process servers, certified letters, Child Services, the police… we had to damn near send out the national guard to find you to tell you that her daughter is safe with her father. She could have run away or been kidnapped, being held hostage somewhere and you wouldn’t have even known! You would have been knocking on my door just like you are right now asking me where’s my child?” He mocks her voice on the last words.

Jason is livid as he confronts his ex-wife about her whereabouts for the last week. She and Christian had a bit of a showdown just before he arrived and Al had to direct the boys in blue to check their paperwork and they would see that we had already reported this issue to the police three days ago. The trip went from a matter of investigating possible kidnapping allegations to retrieving a child and returning her to the custodial parent.

Jason is trying to get answers while impressing upon the officers what a mistake it would be to return Sophie to Shalane without said answers, but Shalane knows her rights. She won’t engage Jason in any kind of confrontation and won’t give him the satisfaction of an explanation of her whereabouts or absence for the last several days. Just like the case worker said, she could walk right in here and take Sophie back if she corroborated Sophie’s story which, obviously, she did, to someone.

“Give me my child, Jason,” is all she says to him in front of the police.

“And then what?” he barks. “Where have you been for the last six days? She doesn’t even have a working telephone to call someone in case of emergency! Do you know that some sleaze kept coming to the house looking for you and he scared her and that’s why she left? She’s twelve years old! She’s not even old enough to babysit and you leave her alone for six days? What the hell is wrong with you?”

Shalane’s glare is steely. She’s not giving him any answers. She only has one thing to say.

“Give. Me. My. Child.”

Jason looks from her to the police and back to her.

“You’re honestly going to allow her to take this child after she didn’t know where Sophie was for six days?” he says to the officers. One of them swallows and the other sighs

“We’ve contacted Child Services, Mr. Taylor, and according to them, she has every right to take Sophia home. I’m sorry,” one of the officers tells him. He’s breathing fire.

“This is not over,” he says to Shalane between his teeth.

“Did you hear that, officers?” she says in a soft voice without moving her glare from Jason. “If my daughter comes up missing, you know where to look.”

“Oh, don’t you worry,” he says coolly. “You should be getting served any day now, so make sure all your little duckies are all in a roll.” Shalane folds her arms.

“Give it your best shot, big boy,” she says with a knowing smirk. Jason narrows his eyes and turns on his heels.

“Mr. Taylor?” one of the officers calls to him.

“I’m going to get her child,” he says without turning around or stopping. Shalane falls in step behind him and I step in front of her.

“Uh-uh,” I say, squaring off against her. “He can go. If one of the officers need to go, they can go. You stay here.” Cross me if you want to; I’ll drop you in front of these blues.

“That won’t be necessary, Mrs. Grey,” the officer says. “We’ll all wait.” I glare at Shalane through narrowed eyes before I go to the apartment behind Jason, leaving Christian with our company.

“Don’t let her know that you have this,” Jason tells Sophie as he puts a new iPhone in her backpack. “Don’t give anybody this number; this is just for me and you. I’ll get you another phone for show in case she wants to see that one, but this one is just for emergencies. This is for emergencies, too.” He puts a credit card in her backpack, too. “The pin is our secret place.” She nods.

“I’m not moving away, Daddy,” she says softly. “I’ll be in the same place.” He sighs.

“Sophie, after this, I’ll be lucky if your mom lets me see you before you’re fifteen,” he says. Sophie looks at him with apologetic eyes and he reads them immediately. “This isn’t your fault, Baby Boo,” he says. “We’ll work it out somehow.” She nods again.

“Wait a minute.” She pulls the phone and the credit card out of her backpack. She removes her coat and unzips a secret pocket sewn into the back of it. After stuffing the phone and card into the pocket, she zips it and puts her coat back on.

“Mom checks my bags and backpack every time I leave here, to see if you’ve given me something new or some money, so you might want to give me something that she can see. She hasn’t found my secret pocket yet.” Jason is seething as he pulls out a few twenties and hands them to her, which she sticks in her backpack. “Thanks, Dad. If she doesn’t confiscate it for back child support, I’ll put it in my bank.”

“Back chi…?” Jason stops himself mid-sentence and breathes in deeply.

“I know, Dad,” Sophie says, and Jason calms immediately.

“I’m fighting her, Sophie,” he tells her. “I’m fighting for custody.” She shrugs.

“I appreciate it, but I’ll probably be an adult by the time it gets out of court and I can leave on my own,” she says with no mirth. He closes his eyes again; a pained expression comes over his face before he brings his gaze back to his daughter.

“I need you to call me… at least once a day. I need to know you’re okay. No more not being in touch, okay?”

“Okay, Dad,” she says, smiling at her father. She turns to me. “Thank you, Ms. Ana,” she says hugging me warmly.

“Anytime, Sophie… and I mean it. Anytime.” I tell her. She nods and turns to Gail.

“Momma Gail,” she says sweetly. Gail’s blue eyes suddenly become very glassy. She hugs Sophie like a mother sending her child on a long trip and kisses her on the hair.

“Pumpkin,” she whispers, unsuccessfully fighting her tears. Sophie turns to her father. He stoops down and she bolts to his arms. He hugs her very tight.

“It’s not over, Baby Boo,” he says, his voice cracking. “I love you, Sophia.”

“I love you, too, Daddy,” she says, her own tears flowing freely now. I rub my arms for the sudden chill that I feel. This is not going to go well; I just know it. As Jason leads Sophie out of the apartment, I catch a collapsing Gail and we sink to the sofa as she succumbs to her sobs.


CHRISTIAN

“Jason, how far as you from the Crossing?” I’m in the car with Williams having run out of the office and given Ros instructions on what needs to be done for the rest of the projects on my desk. The one day I decide to come to work… the one day!

“About twenty or twenty-five minutes out, what’s wrong?”

“Your ex-wife is at my house,” I tell him. “She has pissed Butterfly off and I don’t know what condition we’re going to find that place in when we get there.”

“Shit!” he hisses loudly. “Sorry, Baby Boo,” he says to his daughter. “I’ll get there as soon as I can.” I end the call and try to relax for the ride home that will take almost as long as Jason’s. I can just imagine Butterfly sitting in the living room in handcuffs—or worse yet, the back of a police car—after lunging at this sorry excuse of a woman for saying the wrong thing. With any luck, or lack thereof, she’ll end up in front of Judge Hammer-Ass.

“Hurry up,” I tell Williams. Fuck the speed limit; I need to get home.

There’s only one police car and a late model red Dodge Charger in front of the house. Funny, I somewhat expected there to be more than that.

I walk into the front door and my eyes fall immediately on Sophie’s mother. I don’t know the woman, but I don’t need to know her to tell that she looks worn—old and emaciated. What the hell happened to her since Thanksgiving? She’s wearing make-up but it’s doing more harm than good, I think. If what’s under the make-up looks worse than what I’m seeing now, she looks like she’s aged ten years in three months! She’s simpering the moment she sees me and it’s making me physically ill. I roll my eyes and walk past her and the police.

“Where’s my wife?” I say to Windsor, who stands in quiet attendance of the two cops and this… woman.

“She went to tend to the children, sir,” he says.

“Children?” Ms. Deleroy says snidely in a low voice. “Did she kidnap somebody else’s baby, too?”

I snap a glare over to this shrew standing in my house insulting my wife and then to the cops standing there next to her. One of them turns his gaze to the ground while the other does a somewhat helpless shrugging gesture with his hands. Yeah, I know. You can only enforce the law and keep the peace. You can’t arrest someone for being a crass and classless bitch. Without removing my coat, I go in search of the landline in the vestibule near the back stairs and dial the code to activate the intercom.

“Nursery,” I say into the phone. A few moments later, my wife’s voice softly answers.

“Ana.” I can tell by her tone that she’s still perturbed, but that at least one of the babies is asleep.

“I’m here, Butterfly.”

“Is Jason with you?” she asks.

“Not yet, but he’ll be here any minute. Al is here, though.” I hear a sigh.

“Minnie’s just about settled. I’ll be right down.”

“Okay.” I hang up the phone and take a deep breath. When I join the party in the grand entrance, Al has come in and is giving Windsor his coat. That’s when I realize that I’m still wearing mine.

“Officers,” I greet them finally after I’ve spoken to my wife. “I’m Christian Grey.” I proffer my hand to the first officer and he accepts the shake.

“Mr. Grey,” he nods. “I’m Officer Lamar and this is my partner, Officer Odell.” I extend my hand to Officer Odell and he accepts the shake.

“This is our attorney, Allen Forsythe.”

Allen starts talking to the officers while I hand my coat to Windsor. I catch a glimpse of this unpleasant female in my peripheral and she’s melting over my suited form.

Oh, good God, I’m going to hurl.

I raise my eyes to the second-floor landing and see my wife emerge. Thank God! She descends the stairs like the angel that she is, wearing a pair of brightly colored satin or silk genie pants with a white wrap-around top and all-white belly bind covering her midsection and hips. A pair of white ballet shoes allow her to gracefully float towards me, rescuing me from the possible clutches of this witch standing behind me. For a moment, I forget where I am and focus only on her. She’s so beautiful. I greet her with a chase kiss when she gets to the bottom of the stairs.

“Hey,” I say softly in her ear.

“Hey,” she responds. “I’m glad you’re here.” We quickly break our gaze from one another and turn our attention to Al, who is talking to the police.

“Mr. Taylor is on his way,” I tell the officers. “He should be here any minute.”

“Mr. Grey, would you mind telling us exactly how Sophia Taylor came to be here at your home? Because it is your home, we would like to have a statement on file.” I look from them to Butterfly. She just gestures to them.

“Didn’t my wife tell you?” I ask.

“We started,” he says, “but the conversation was somewhat interrupted by… a difference of opinion.”

“You mean, by her saying I kidnapped her daughter and by my subsequent crying babies,” Butterfly hisses, more to Deleroy than to the officers. I put my arm around her waist and kiss her temple gently to calm her. Why does holding her around this belly wrap turn me on?

“So she knows that we have crying babies upstairs,” I say.

“Yes,” Butterfly confirms.

“So that statement she made when I came in about you kidnapping someone else’s baby was just her being a bitch, right?” I turn back to the bitch and glare at her. She has the decencyor the fearto shrink a bit.

“I guess so,” Butterfly confirms. “Wouldn’t be too much of a stretch.”

I look at Al for guidance and he gives me a nod. I know he’ll stop me if I need to shut up.

“Members of my security team and I were having a debriefing after a very trying day on Monday evening. We were nearly done when Mr. Taylor basically leapt out of his seat and attempted to leave the meeting. I asked what the problem was and he just said that he would be right back and left.”

“So Mr. Taylor was still at Grey House with you?” Lamar asks.

“No, we were all here,” I tell him. “My wife and I have been working from home since the twins were born…”

“Twins!” I hear Deleroy say under her breath. Yes, twins! Where the hell have you been, on a desert island somewhere? Has whatever you’re using fried the best of your brain cells? Butterfly looks at her in horror.

“I told her that not half an hour ago,” she says, horrified. “Did she forget that fast?” I shake my head and turn back to the officers and continue.

“Mr. Taylor and I were debriefing my wife’s security team at the end of the day,” I say continuing the story. “I was still meeting with the team when I received a text from Mr. Taylor asking me to meet him downstairs in his and Mrs. Taylor’s quarters.”

“So your head of security and his wife have quarters in your home?” Odell asks.

“Yes,” I reply. “They met and married while in my employ. My security is 24/7 and Mrs. Taylor is our house manager and part-time nanny.” Odell nods and scribbles in his notebook.

“When my wife and I get to their quarters, Sophia is there.”

“You see?” Deleroy says. “It was Monday that he kidnapped my Sophie.”

“I beg your pardon, Madam, but first it was my wife that kidnapped your child and now it’s Jason?” I say folding my arms, and she falls silent. “No one kidnapped Sophia Taylor; she got here on her own.” She scoffs.

“Sophie’s only twelve years old. She can’t make that trip all by herself!” Deleroy accuses. What the hell?

“Oh, are you saying that she’s too young to catch a bus on her own but it’s perfectly okay for you to leave her in the house for three days unsupervised?” I retort. That’s when she decides to make an enemy of me.

“Of course, he’s going to say whatever Jason wants him to say! They’re friends!” I’m immediately angered.

“Madam,” I begin, “I don’t know how things work where you come from, but I have too much money to lie. I can pay people to do that for me!”

The words are so blatantly and brutally honest that the cop next to her just scoffs a laugh while Ms. Deleroy glares at me, and I glare right back.

“You were saying, Mr. Grey?” The other cop says.

“I was saying,” I bite out, never breaking my glare with the bitch who wants to play stare with me, “that my head of security was in a debriefing with me and three other people when he received a text that pulled him out of our meeting. I later discovered that text was from our security station at the front gate indicating that your daughter…” I startle the shit out of her and ultimately “win” the stare game by emphasizing the last two words and leaning in her face at the same time. She gasps and squeals a bit, jumping back into the hands of one of the officers, breathing heavily. I pause for a moment, still glaring at her while the officer holds her like the scared rabbit that she now truly is.

“… Was at the security station after catching two buses and a taxi across town by herself because she had been left home for three days alone with no contact from you and no idea where you were. According to her, a man came looking for you twice and she no longer wanted to be there by herself.” I narrow my eyes at her, waiting for her to respond and daring her to give me that insolent fucking glare that she was giving me before.

“I’m sure that if you check the taxi companies from the day in question, you’ll most likely be able to find the fare,” I say to the officers. “I highly doubt that a well-paid security officer with covert abilities who lives in a veritable fortress and has an airtight alibi, a fleet of automobiles and other covert operatives at his disposal would employ public transportation and a taxi to kidnap his daughter! But then again, that’s just my opinion. Like I said, too much money to lie.” I throw that last statement at the shivering Ms. Deleroy.

“Didn’t anybody ever tell you not to glare at a bear? They tend to attack,” I say through my teeth, using my Dom voice. She visibly shivers. I feel Butterfly’s hands on my arm and gently stroking my back and the effect is immediate. A warming, then cooling sensation shoots through my body like a shocking drug and I actually flinch at how quickly it calms me before taking a deep breath and settling into the calm. I raise my eye in time to see the officers share a knowing look before one of them mumbles, “bear elixir.”

Damn straight.

I throw a glance over my shoulder at my wife and even though it’s not appropriate, I so want to fuck her right now.

Luckily, only a few more minutes pass and Jason comes storming in through the back way, still in his coat as well. He has come through the garage and the mudroom and has, no doubt, dropped Sophie off to go and get her things from the downstairs apartment. He and Deleroy have a nasty war of words which was pretty much him chewing her a new one for leaving Sophie and her demanding the return of her child. Defeated and with no ground to stand on, he goes down to the apartment to fetch Sophia. Deleroy tries to follow him, but Butterfly squares off with her and I’m only too certain that if these officers can’t put this dog on a leash very soon, we’re going to have a repeat of the cat fight between Butterfly and the Pedophile that I caught on video in my penthouse apartment two years ago. Butterfly gives Deleroy a hateful glare and causes her to freeze right where she stands before Butterfly walks off behind Jason.

They’ve been gone for about five minutes before I turn to Al and conspicuously ask, “Mr. Forsythe, have you filed those documents with the family court yet?”

“Yes,” he says, “they were filed the very next day. There should be documents served very soon.” I nod.

“This is good news,” I say. “The sooner we can put this thing to bed, the better.”

All parties in the room know to what I’m referring, and Deleroy decides to poke the bear again.

“You’re probably pretty accustomed to putting things to bed, aren’t you, Mr. Grey?” she says in a seductive voice that makes my skin crawl.

“What gave it away?” I ask, turning to face her. “My hot, sexy wife or our newborn twins?” She’s taken aback and silent for a moment. “Nothing in the world like a woman that makes you come so hard that you blow two kids at once.” Lamar coughs audibly and either he’s stifling a laugh or empathizing with the feeling.

“If you have any other questions or comments, madam, you can direct them to my attorney.” I turn my back on her.

“Okay, attorney,” she says indignantly. “What was that comment about family court referring to, because I know that was for me?”

“Oh, don’t worry. You’ll find out,” he says.

“Another smart ass,” she says.

“You’re damn right, and apparently a hell of a lot smarter than you,” Al retorts. “You don’t want to get into a war of words with me, ‘Little Debbie.’ I will suck out your cream filling and leave your carcass on the floor for dead.”

And with those words coupled with a few well-placed hand gestures, a little of the gay Al comes out. Deleroy doesn’t know how to take this, but readies herself anyway for a retort. What do you say to something like that?

“Ms. Deleroy,” Odell interrupts her. “Mr. Taylor has gone to get your daughter as requested. Maybe you should just let us handle this from here on out.” You can tell that she wants to say something else, but she’s interrupted by Jason and Sophie coming into the grand entry.

“Sophia, baby!” she coos as if she’s been without her daughter for a long time—which she has—and has come to rescue her. “Are you alright?”

Sophia looks at her mother for several moments then turns around and hugs Jason tight.

“I love you, Daddy,” she says, clearly, holding him for long moments. Jason is taken aback for a moment, but closes his arms around his daughter. I immediately pick up that they were most likely not allowed to show affection around Shalane.

“I love you, too, Baby Boo,” he says, closing his eyes and holding her close. When they finally break, Sophie turns and walks to her mother.

“Mom,” she says, her voice questioning, “have you lost more weight?”

Al and I look at each other, because that question speaks volumes.

“Come on, Sophia, let’s go.” Deleroy says nervously, holding her hand out to Sophie and expecting her to fall in line. Sophie chooses this moment to make an announcement.

“You’re not going to keep me from my dad anymore, Mom,” she says clearly in front of all the parties in the room.

“Come on, Sophia, we’ll talk about this later.” Deleroy latches on to Sophie’s arm. Sophie snatches her arm from her mother’s grasp.

“You’re not going to keep me from my dad anymore!” Sophie repeats and waits for her mother’s response. A knowing look passes between them and I’m certain that we haven’t seen the last of this… or Sophie.

“Fine,” she says, finally, taking Sophie’s hand and dragging her from the house. The officers excuse themselves and follow Sophie and Ms. Deleroy out the front door. Jason wordlessly turns around and walks back towards his apartment.

“Al,” I get his attention as I walk towards the back of the house. He falls in step behind me, as I ask, “Sophia saw a change in her mother in a week. Even I can tell that she’s emaciated and I’ve never committed her form to memory. What could make her deteriorate that quickly?”

“Unless she’s on chemo for cancer, that’s crystal meth,” he says. I shake my head.

“Another drugged-out mother,” I think to myself. “I’m going to order surveillance… immediately. I don’t trust her and I don’t know what’s going on with Sophie. Another child will not fall to this stigma, not under my watch.

*-*

I need relief in the worst way. The night was tension-filled and even after talking to Jason this morning and informing him that I’ve arranged for 24-hour surveillance for Sophie as well as Shalane since we’re going to need ammunition to take to family court, he’s still tense as a rubber band and angry as a bear. Butterfly and I spend the rest of the week trying to keep Gail and Jason from committing Hara-kiri, but in the meantime, we’re neglecting each other. Saturday morning, I’m happy to see a familiar face show up at the front door.

“Artemis, it’s good to see you.” I shake hands with him as Windsor takes his coat.

“It is good to see you, too, Christian,” he says with a heavy Greek accent. “It has been a long time.”

“Yes, it has. Of course, you know why I’ve called you. I’m in need of your special skills.” Artemis smiles.

“Indeed. I thought I may never see you again after that unfortunate business with…” He trails off.

“Yes, well, life goes on. Let me show you the space and what I have in mind…”

“Blue!” Artemis says once I’ve led him through the secret passages through my dressing room. “A regal color, yes, but… hardly the color for a dungeon.”

“I don’t do dungeons, Artemis. I thought we established that,” I say. He raises his hands in surrender.

“Apologies,” he says. “Old habits die hard. But even a playroom…”

“This room will be different,” I tell him. “There will be instances of punishment and pain, but this room will mostly be about passion and pleasure; exploring limits and very, very intense orgasms. So a lot of the items I have in my playroom at the penthouse will not be needed, but I will need quite a few custom pieces in here. I expect that my wife will have some requests as well, but for right now, I need to get the audio and visual operational.”

“Of course. There will be many deliveries today… and my staff…”

“Coordinate with my butler, Windsor. Whatever you need. I’m going to prepare my wife for the onslaught and… possibly get some ideas from her. She wants an electric fireplace in the room—only the light source as the ventilation, we’ve discovered, will have to provide the heat and cooling that we need.” He raises an eyebrow at me.

“You do not want a playroom; you want a playpen,” he says. I frown. I don’t think I like his implication. He raises his hand. “Do not be offended, my friend. It is only what I call the room for couples who refrain from the sadomasochism portion of the BDSM lifestyle. I understand that many couples still want the adventure—the passion, the control and submission, the dominance—without the humiliation and intense pain. Only enough to titillate or to punish if necessary. It is just a trend that I notice—more of the power exchange and less of the degradation. That is all.”

I can’t argue with the man. All of the pain and the pleasure in my and Butterfly’s playtime has to do with power exchange. Even the chastity cage was an exercise in domination and punishment when before, it was simply humiliation and pain.

“I think you understand,” I tell him. He nods.

“Now, tell me Christian. Where will the bed be?”

*-*

“Ana.”

“Where are you, love?” I say into the two-way system.

“Yoga.”

“Can I see you in my den when you’re finished?” There’s a pause.

“Is everything alright?”

“Yes, love. Everything’s fine.”

“But something’s up,” she deduces.

“What makes you think something’s up?” I ask, trying not to give anything away.

“Because you’re calling me ‘love.’” She’s got me.

“Yes, something’s up, but nothing bad. Just come and see me in my den when you’re done.”

“I’m on my way. End-two way communications.” I shake my head and chuckle to myself.

“If you don’t mind me asking, most women would adore a pet name. Do you only use it when you are in trouble or you want something?” Artemis asks.

“No, I use one every day, just not that one.” He frowns.

“What do you normally use, if you don’t mind?”

“Butterfly.” Artemis laughs deep in his chest.

“Playpen,” he reinforces. I resist the urge to roll my eyes at him. We have samples, pictures, my laptop and Artemis’ tablets and laptop strewn all over the tables, floor, and my piano. Today, we assemble our playroom—or as Artemis refers to it—our playpen. It most likely won’t be ready by the time Butterfly is cleared by Dr. Culley, but that’s not what I want our first after-delivery experience to be, anyway. Nonetheless, looking at the equipment and planning the room has me amorous in the worst way, a situation that I plan to rectify with my Butterfly later. In the meantime, we need to make some of these decisions together.

Artemis and I are going over the specifications of a custom attachment that I want added to what would normally be a padded spanking bench when Butterfly finally comes into the den. She’s clutching both ends of a work-out towel that she has draped around her neck. She’s wearing some sexy ass yoga pants showcasing her fabulous new curves. Her running jacket is open in the front, teasing you with a peek at a sports bra barely holding in her size D tits and an exercise belt that allows you to see a bit of sweaty skin on her torso between the bra and the belt. The sweat is that fine midst that coats her body right before she comes… well, maybe it’s not, but that’s what I see.

“Christian… why didn’t you tell me that we have company.” she scolds slightly, zipping her jacket and subconsciously checking the spot on her head where her hair is shorter.

“You look beautiful. Don’t worry,” I tell her, meeting her at the door and kissing her temple while guiding her into the room. My observation is further confirmed by Artemis’ expression and his inability to control his ogling eyes at my wife’s approaching form. I think he’s forgotten where he is because he actually parts his lips conspicuously and his tongue is running along the inside of his bottom lip, like he can actually taste what he’s looking at—only he happens to be looking at my wife! I feel dirty just looking at him!

“Artemis!” I say, drawing his attention back to me. He stops licking his lips, but he doesn’t even flinch.

“Forgive me,” he says, his voice low, “It is rare that I see such true natural beauty.”

Knock it off, Artie! You better be glad you’re good at what you do!

“Put a leash on it,” I say, my voice lower than his. “This is my wife, not some random submissive.” Butterfly’s eyes shoot to my face and she gasps.

“Christian!” she breathes horrified.

“Artemis is the contractor and designer of the Escala Playroom,” I tell her, and she relaxes immediately. “He’s going to help us build ours here.” She looks at me again.

“Here? Now?” she says, somewhat surprised.

“Yes, now,” I say, giving her a gaze that relays that I would fuck her right now if I could. Her reaction is immediate. I need some way to channel this sexual energy or I’m going to explode on the spot and if I get a hold of her now, I’m going to fuck her even though we’re not supposed to. So I need to let the Dom loose, even if I can only vicariously imagine what will happen when the room is finished, then we satisfy each other later.

Her lips part just like Artemis’ did a moment ago and she makes the same movements with her tongue. Watching her and trying with all my might to talk my dick down, I almost feel sorry for poor Artie. That reaction is knee-jerk, subconscious—she doesn’t know she’s doing it. Most likely, neither did he.

“Tristan and Isolde,” Artemis says, so low that you can barely hear it, but I did.

“No,” I say, never taking my eyes off my enchanting wife. “Helen of Troy. There is no King Mark in our story. Yet, I don’t know if I’m Paris or Menelaus. However, she has already launched a thousand ships; there’s already been an epic battle for her heart; and empires can, do, and will fall at her whim.” My voice is steady as I relay an accurate historical account of the power that my love and Butterfly wields over men, but graces upon only me.

“A tragic ending, Helen,” Artemis adds. I reach down and take her left hand, stretching her arm in front of both our bodies and curling it into my left hand.

“Not my Helen,” I say, trailing three kisses from her wedding and engagement rings down her finger and ending at the back of her hand. “My Helen will ascend to Mount Olympus as Euripides recounted, but I would be most blessed and satisfied to die at her feet.” I turn her palm to my lips and kiss it softly. She shivers at my words.

“Don’t say that!” she whispers, anxiously, almost helpless, her eyes beseeching. Her free hand extends to my face and caresses my cheek and I’m lost in her gaze.

“She loves you, Christian,” Artemis says, “very much.”

“And I her,” I confirm, turning my lips to her hand that caresses my cheek.

“The blue!” he says as a revelation. “Her eyes…”

“Yes,” I confirm, taking both of my wife’s dainty hands in mine.

“It is too dark,” he says. I shake my head.

“No, it’s not,” and that’s the only explanation I offer. I lead her to one of the sofas and begin to show her some of my ideas.

“The audio/visual equipment has already been installed, and we’ve discovered that one of the walls has the plumbing behind it to add a small en suite—for clean-up purposes, only.” She raises her eyes to me.

“Who’s going to build it?” she asks.

“Elliot, who else?” she frowns.

“Do we really want him having that much information?”

“Did you forget that disastrous meeting at my parents’ house where it was already announced?” Realization dawns and she nods.

“For a moment, I did. Duly noted.” She looks back down at the displays on the tablet and laptop. “What’s that?” she points to a pentagon-shaped apparatus that sits on the floor.

“This is a base-plate. It’s extremely versatile and there are several different accessories that can be added to it. For example,” I point out each of the accessories, “the spanking horse, the V-seat slave chair, the bench set, the bondage frame, the crossbars, the steel winch, the parrot sticks, the chains, pulleys, straps, and recessed bondage rings… and, of course, the ankle and wrist restraints. The spanking horse can even be used separately, like this.” I show her a picture of the spanking horse on the floor with a model bound to it with leather cuffs.

“Dungeon-in-a-box,” she says, raising her eyebrows. “That’s very nice in terms of versatility. However, during playtime, one would not want to be assembling and disassembling the furniture they choose to use.”

“If I may,” Artemis interjects. I nod to him. “Mrs. Grey…”

“Ana,” she says. I prefer Mrs. Grey, but okay. Artemis nods.

“Ana, in such a situation, you would have more than one base. I suggest three. Normally, during your playtime, you may move from apparatus to apparatus, no?”

“Yes,” she says softly.

“Well, this piece eliminates some of the movement. If you are transitioning between two drastically different positions, then you will undoubtedly need more than one base set up for those positions. However, say that the Dominant is transferring the submissive from a paddle-spanking position to a flogging or caning position. In such a case, it is as simple as releasing the restraints from the spanking horse here…” He points out where the model is cuffed to the head of the spanking horse. “… And attaching them to the frame here.” He points to the chains and D-hooks in the top of the frame attachment. “The submissive could either stay on the horse, or the horse could be collapsed and the submissive bound to the base via the recessed bondage rings and ankle restraints. Imagine how much subspace time you can utilize by not having to disturb your submissive to move them to another apparatus.” Butterfly raises an eyebrow.

“He really knows his stuff,” she says, quietly.

“Why do you think he’s here?” I reply. She raises her eyes to me, then turns back to Artemis.

“I want a St. Andrews,” she says, her voice sultry. “Big enough for him.” I raise an eyebrow at her and Artemis is intrigued. “And a crop… like the Chanel crop, only I want a ‘B.’” I take in a quick gasp of air, lick my lips, and let it out. She’s driving me crazy and I think she’s doing it on purpose.

“Careful, Mrs. Grey,” I say in a controlled Dom voice. She looks over at me and her pupils dilate slightly.

“Why?” she says, employing her own delicate Domme voice and it shoots straight to my dick. “Careful yourself.” I run my tongue over my teeth.

“A St. Andrews is visibly pleasing, but tends to lack complete functionality,” Artemis says. “May I suggest instead the SM Wallsystem Base.” He picks up a nearby tablet, swipes a few times, then hands Butterfly the tablet. “This one is fully adjustable… wrist and ankle restraints, two spreader bars, vertical pole for torso bondage. While it does mount to the wall, you will see that the mounting equipment allows 360-degree access to the submissive.”

“Much more suitable to our… tastes,” I say in a low voice. “Imagine the possibilities.” She cocks her head at the picture and the various ways the models display its usefulness.

“Yes,” she says, “not as pretty as the St. Andrews, but much more functional.” Her voice betrays her arousal and she’s in the room with two seasoned Doms. Artemis has to control his breathing every time she says something. “Since space is a premium, I can definitely understand why these pieces will be ideal. What else do you have in mind?” She gives me the “come hither” look and I know that discussing these items is making her as hot as it is making me hard.

“The multi-bondage bank.” It looks a bit like a workout bench, but it’s pretty much an all-in-one bondage bench for quick sessions.

“The bed,” I tell her, my voice deep with promise. “The baroque four-poster won’t really fit ideally in that room, so I had this in mind as a substitute.” I show her a wrought-iron bed that—once fully assembled—becomes a bondage and suspension frame with a swing.

“Remember the corset?” I breathe in her ear. “We were trying to find a better way to use it. Here’s the better way.” I touch her skin and actually feel her pulse quicken. This is torment for both of us, because we can’t have sex for another week.

“The bed also has built-in stocks in the footboard and a queening seat in the headboard,” I add. Her hand caresses the skin on her chest just below her neck.

“A queening seat,” she says wistfully. “Is that what it sounds like?”

“If it sounds like I get to bind your hands and feet to four corners and sit you in an open seat, leaving your pussy fully exposed so that I can lick you and eat you until you scream, then yes—it is what it sounds like.” She takes a deep breath.

“Ho-kay!” she breathes out, so aroused that she can’t hide it anymore.

“I’m particularly interested in testing these lower stocks,” I tell her, showing her the lower openings in the headboard. “It not only leaves you completely helpless while I fuck you from behind, but it also puts your head at the perfect height for me to fuck your mouth.”

Her pupils dilate as I describe the different ways that I plan to use this bed. I show her how the stocks can be used to restrain me in a face-up position so that she can sit on my face; how the leather sling can be used with chains and restraints to bind either of us for oral or sexual torment; and how footboard can even be collapsed to lie on the bed and create another whipping bench.”

“Good grief, all this multifunctional furniture,” she breathes. “How will we use it all?”

“Oh, we’ll use it, but that ain’t all, Baby.”

“Wha…?” She seems a bit intimidated.

“The bed has a swing, but it’s not the swing… this is.” The large framed sex swing that I show her actually has a video demonstration. It comes with a fucking stool and even though the models are clothed—as much as a BDSM model can be—she gets the full idea of the things that can be done with this magnificent piece of machinery. She’s completely hot now and I hear poor Artemis breathing very deeply to control his Dominant nature. Poor sucker, I forgot he was in the room. It doesn’t help much that the female model has beautiful long hair just like my wife—though he ass ain’t nothing like Butterfly’s.

“Is there… any more?” she says, obviously trying to prepare herself for whatever may come next.

“Artemis, do we have those items on order from Czech and Korea?”

“We do,” he says, the picture of professionalism.

“Okay, what exactly do we need from Czech and Korea?” she asks.

“It’s going to be a surprise… one I’m sure that you’ll love.”

“And you’re not going to tell me?” she says coquettishly while drawing circles on my chest with her fingertips. Shit! Fire! “Not even a little hint?”

“You’ll have to wait, Mrs. Grey,” I reply, unable to hide my arousal. She smiles coyly.

“Keep your secrets, then, Mr. Grey,” she says, her voice sultry. “But I have ways of making you talk.”

“Do your worst,” I nearly growl and she bites her lip. Oh, fuck, my dick is going to explode from these goddamn jeans. Artemis clears his throat from across the room. I think our play is getting to be too much for him.

“Besides my surprises,” I begin, composing myself and reigning in my thumping libido, “I’ve order another chesterfield sofa and chair for our playroom.”

“Blue?” she asks, raising her eyebrow. I shake my head.

“Black,” I clarify.

“Better,” she confirms.

“All that remains now is to order our toys and accessories,” I say, so ready to wrap this up that I can barely see straight. “You mentioned a designer crop? ‘B’ for Butterfly?”

Once we have gone through the crops, whips, canes, paddles, cuffs, blindfolds, and numerous other items that we want for our playroom, I’m reminded to order two tall boys for the playroom or our toys will have no home. Artemis offers to place the order for me as well as procure the electric fireplace that I requested.

“Artemis, do you have a card?” Butterfly asks. He looks to me. I frown, but nod that he can give her his card.

“Why do you need his card?” I ask as he gathers his samples, tablet, and laptop.

“You never know, Mr. Grey. I just might have a surprise in store for you,” she replies. Oh shit. Artemis, it’s time for you to leave!

“I will call you when the deliveries begin and let you know when I and my staff will need access to the room.” I nod and he extends a hand to me. I shake it and he turns and extends a hand to my wife.

“Mrs. Grey, Ana, it has been a pleasure,” he says with a polite partial bow.

“Thank you, Artemis, the pleasure was mine. I’ll be in touch.” She slides the card in her pocket. Artemis smiles at me and leaves. I inconspicuously lock the door once he leaves and turn to my wife.

“What made you decide to work on the playroom today?” she asks.

“Playpen,” I say, stalking her. She frowns.

“What?”

“Artemis calls it a playpen. It’s a room that strays from the extreme pain and wanders closer to the extreme pleasure.” I’m closing in on her and she’s backing away from me.

“I like that,” she breathes.

“I thought you would,” I say as her back meets the only wall with bookshelves in my den. I lean down and take her lips and tongue hungrily with mine. When she moans into my mouth, I’m undone. I need to be inside of her now! But I know that I can’t. I hoist her up onto the ledge that runs through the middle of the room. The books behind her protest as I push her hard against them. I steady myself with one hand on one of the walls of the bookshelf, the other stretches her arm up to hold the other wall. One of her legs is wrapped around my hip, the other around my thigh, her free hand clasping the nape of my neck.

I release her other arm and she obediently holds on to the bookshelf wall. I open her running jacket and kiss and bite the skin of her neck, shoulders, and breasts. She moans in my ear and I can feel the heat of her core through her pants… even through my jeans. I release my dick from my jeans but leave it sheathed in my boxer briefs. I nestle myself between her legs, pushing and grinding, gyrating my hips until I feel her lips part beneath her clothes. She gasps when I meet my mark.

That’s it.

I grind into her, feeling her as close to my dick as I can without being tempted to slip inside of her and fuck her. Oh, but this is fucking… the hungry kisses, the animalistic sounds, the grinding of our sex chasing our orgasms. We may not be penetrating, but we are certainly fucking!

I grab her hips and push her into me, the warmth of her core burning against my dick. I keep the pressure, the rhythm going, digging into her and between her lips. She feels so good… so fucking good… Just before I come, I stop myself, wanting to wait until tonight for what I have planned for her.

“No!” I groan, hearing the torment in my own voice, my pelvis actually cramping from aching to come.

“Christian…” she breathes between pants, desperate, grabbing my hair, “Please!”

I realize I’m not the only one on the edge and I never leave her this way. I groan deeply and start the gyrations again and almost immediately, she shamelessly moans her release. Her tortured sex cries set me off and I rub it out between her legs, my orgasm burning through my penis and emptying into my boxer briefs.

We stay there for a moment, trying to catch our breath. Once we do, I kiss her fiercely then pull away from her.

“Tonight,” I threaten, zipping my pants. “We won’t fuck, but I have plans for you. Be ready.” I release her and set her back onto the floor before going to clean the mess that I’ve made in my underwear.

*-*

A cold shower doesn’t help much. That orgasm was magnificent, but I’m still hot for my wife. I clean myself up and change into fresh clothes before I go in search of my phone. When I get down to my den, I find that I’ve left it on the piano. I swipe the screen and call Elliot.

“Hey Bro,” he says. “What’s up?”

“Hey. Do you remember that room off of my dressing room?” He’s silent for a moment.

“There are two rooms back there. Which one?”

“The one further back, the bigger room.”

“Yeah, what about it?” he asks.

“Didn’t you tell me that there was plumbing behind one of those walls that would allow for installation of a bathroom?”

“It… depends on how big you want it,” he says.

“A water closet is fine,” I tell him. “Just a working toilet and sink and a medicine cabinet.”

“Dude, you’ve got like seven or eight bedrooms in that house. Why are you building a bathroom in a room behind a wall?”

“You already know why,” I say with no further explanation. He chuckles into the phone.

“Dude, you and my sister-in-law are freaks,” Elliot says. “You workin’ on that next kid already?” I shake my head.

“No,” I say with mirth. “We haven’t even reached six weeks yet.”

“Not yet?” he questions. “I thought it was six weeks by now.”

“January 23rd, this is the last week.”

“Well, don’t kill her, Bro, but it’s going to take at least that long to get that bathroom installed. It won’t be ready by the time you are.”

“That’s fine,” I concede. “As long as it’s ready within two weeks. The furniture will be coming then.”

“Okay. I’ll get my NDA crew working on it on Monday.” I frown.

“You’re not doing it?” He sighs.

“Not if you want it done in two weeks. I’ve got something I need to do.” I pause.

“Why does that sound so ominous?” I ask him.

“Because… me and Val might be breaking up.” I can’t say that I didn’t see this coming. She’s unbearable just during the time I’m in her presence. I can’t imagine being around her 24/7.

“What, in particular, brought this on?” I ask.

“She’s unbearable, man,” he confesses, repeating my sentiment. “These crazy ass mood swings; she’s pissing everybody off. I’m isolated because nobody wants to be bothered with her! Not my friends, not her friends, not my family, nobody. She’s on a leave of absence from her job right now because they told her to get her shit together or get the fuck out. Nobody hates Ana, man. How the hell do you hate Ana? Nobody hates Ana but that Creep of the Week pedophile and her crazy ass ex-boyfriend. She’s becoming a pestilence and she’s eating away at me.”

“Okay, I can’t argue with you there, but at the risk of sounding insensitive, what does that have to do with building my bathroom.”

“She’s going to the doctor on Monday, and I’m going with her,” he says. “I think she’s pregnant or something. She swears that she’s not, but something is wrong and I need to know what it is. If it turns out that she’s pregnant, we’ll deal with it, but I have to know what the hell is going on. Living with her is a goddamn nightmare and I can’t take it anymore! She’ll pop off at me at any given moment, and sex… oh my God, sex! We’ll be hot and heavy, deep into it and the next thing you know, she’s crying! Or worse yet, she’s angry. All it takes is a weepy, sopping woman to make your Buffalo soldier lose all his valor at that crucial moment!”

Did he say Buffalo soldier?

“I haven’t had a decent nut in months! Either she flips on me and the party is over or I’m fucking rushing to come before Dr. Jekyll becomes Ms. Fucking Hyde! I gave her a goddamn ultimatum. I’ve never given a woman an ultimatum, not even Kate, but Val is going to drive me to an early fucking grave. I told her to go find out what the fuck is wrong with her or I am done!”

“Well, why won’t you just let her go to the doctor and tell you what’s up? Don’t get me wrong—I accept that you won’t be doing the bathroom, but why do you have to go with her? If she’s pissing you off that much, why don’t you let her go by herself?”

“Because I don’t fucking trust her!” He says. “I fully expect her to go to the doctor on Monday and the shrink on Tuesday and say that there’s nothing wrong and try to act normal. She hasn’t been doing well, mentally or physically, that’s why I think she’s pregnant. She’s got an appointment on Monday to see medical doctor and an appointment on Tuesday to see the shrink. If they tell me that nothing is wrong with her and I just have to deal with this, on Wednesday, I’m moving out and I’m letting her have the house!”

“Why would you do that?” I ask, appalled.

“Because it’s easier than trying to get her to move out,” he says. “I’m done with this. I’ve been abused and mistreated long enough. I can’t take this shit no more.” Well, I guess that’s that.

“You’ll tell me how it turns out?” I say.

“Oh, trust me. You’ll know, but I mean it. If she just turns out to be a raving lunatic like Kate, I’m swearing off women.” I roll my eyes.

“No, you’re not.”

“Watch me.” I think he’s serious. He’ll swear them off for a while, but he’ll be back. Pussy is too damn good to just abandon ship… although he did swear off alcohol, but alcohol ain’t pussy.

“Well, keep me posted. I’m here for you, Bro.” He sighs.

“Yeah, I know…” We say our goodbyes and end the call.

I pull up a page on my laptop and look at the “surprises” that I have in store for the playroom and for Butterfly. A sex sofa will be delivered from Czech. It has very special features for my lady’s pleasure and I can see it driving her wild in the playroom while I choose to watch or participate. It will come with a very special custom attachment that is sure to blow her mind and I will have such amazing and unbelievable fun re-introducing it to her.

The second item is a luxury sex chair, also with some custom attachments. This chair is exclusive and already comes equipped with most of the attachments, but I’ve added just a couple more—drawers in the bottom pedestal of the chair and vertical hand grips at the end of the arm rests. There are so many things that can be done with those handgrips. One of the best things about the sex chair is that it’s unisex. It can be for her pleasure as well as for mine.

I tighten up a few loose ends with items that I want to order without Butterfly’s advance knowledge—more surprises, you could say. She took Artemis’ business card. I wonder what that little vixen has up her sleeve? The sun has long since gone down, and it’s time for dinner. Once we’ve fed ourselves and fed our children, I have some serious plans for Mrs. Grey’s body.


A/N: Some of you are going to have a huge problem with how the Sophie section is going. All I can say is if you’ve never experienced this personally, don’t go there. And even if you have experienced this, still don’t go there, because every situation is not the same.

Unfortunately, I’ve had more experience with this particular topic than I care to elaborate on—up to and including the death of children. No, I’m not going to kill Sophie off, but that’s all I’m revealing right now.

I had an entire diatribe ready for people who would disparage the direction of this storyline, but I’ve changed my mind. The storyline is painful enough without me having to defend it. Moving on…

Christian (and Brian) constantly makes reference to Ana being “Helen of Troy”—the face that launched a thousand ships,” “the Trojan Horse,” “the most beautiful woman in the world,” you know the deal.

Depending on which version of the story you follow, Helen was either stolen from King Menelaus by Paris or she ran away with Paris because she fell in love. Either way, the Trojan war was launched to get her back. Here are Christian’s references:

“The face that launched a thousand ships…”—Of course, this refers to the Trojan War, where Menelaus and his army sailed to Troy to retrieve Helen. Maybe not “a thousand ships” in Ana’s case, but police cars and helicopters were “launched” to Vashon Island to get her back from David and Harris. People were shot and one was killed in the process.

“There’s already been an epic battle for her heart.”—Once again, referencing the Trojan War. In Ana’s case, the battle was epic enough for three people to end up in the hospital because of it…” Christian, Brian, AND Ana—five, if you include the in vitro twins. A years-long, lasting friendship may have fallen as a result of the battle as well (Ray and Brian).

“Empires can, do, and will fall at her whim.” —The Trojan War went on for ten years while the Greeks tried to get Helen back. In the end, the Trojan Horse sealed the final battle, and Troy and Paris fell to the Greeks. In our story, Fairlane LTD had a small hope of remaining intact until Christian discovered how the women treated his wife. Now Fairlane has no legacy whatsoever, not even his name (Finish him!), and his son has been reduced to less than nothing (Flawless execution!). Forgive the Mortal Combat references.

Artemis comments how Helen met a tragic end. He’s Greek, and in many Greek recounts, she did meet a tragic end. One account had her hanged by handmaidens in Rhodes. Another had her returned to Greece, where a death sentence awaited her. Christian refers to Euripides recount where, just after Menelaus’ return, Helen ascends back to Mount Olympus with her father Zeus and no mortal harm comes to her.

Of course, Paris dies in the battle. Hence, Christian’s declaration that he “would be most blessed and satisfied to die at her feet.”

Artemis also makes a reference to Tristan and Isolde, a 12th Century couple who ingested a love potion that made them fall hopelessly and madly in love with each other. Whether the ingestion was a setup or accidental, or whether the effects lasted for three years or a lifetime, depends on which version of the story you’re reading. Isolde is intended for Tristan’s uncle, King Mark. She marries Mark, but the relationship between the three become like that of Lancelot, Guinevere, and Arthur, where Mark loves them both and is kind to Isolde, but Tristan and Isolde can’t deny their affection for one another.

Of course, Mark finds out and sentences them both to death, but they escape to the woods. Mark finds them and makes peace with them, and Isolde is returned back to him. Tristan leaves and marries another Isolde in another land (yes, same name—Isolde/Iseult of the White Hands). Tristan is later wounded in battle and sends for the original Isolde to heal him because his current wife cannot (or will not). The ship is instructed to return with white sails if they were able to get Isolde to return and black sails if they were not. Tristan is too weak to sit up and see the sails, so he asks his current wife to tell him what color the sails are and the jealous bitch tells him that the sails are black.

Tristan falls into grief, thinking that Isolde has denied him, and dies. When Isolde gets there and finds Tristan already gone, she falls over in grief and dies, too. They are buried together in Cornwall. A rose tree grew from Isolde’s grave and a thick bramble briar (those crisscross vines with the thorns that you can never seem to get rid of) grew from Tristan’s grave, wrapped itself around the rose tree, formed a bower around the base, and took root in Isolde’s grave. King Mark had the vine cut down several times. Yet, every time the vine was cut, it just grew back again. This became a sign that no matter what happened, the two lovers couldn’t even be parted in death.

Again, it depends on what version you read. Another version has King Mark killing Tristan while he sings a love song to Isolde and the romantic “tree and vine” story never occurs.

There are several references to Helen of Troy online (and several different interpretations) as well as Tristan and Isolde (Iseult), but here’s one of each if you would like the basics:

http://ancienthistory.about.com/cs/troyilium/a/helenoftroybasc.htm
http://www.mythencyclopedia.com/Tr-Wa/Tristan-and-Isolde.html

Pictures of places, cars, fashion, etc., can be found at  https://www.pinterest.com/ladeeceo/becoming-dr-grey/

The Playpen toys can be found at https://www.pinterest.com/ladeeceo/the-playroomplaypen/

You can join my mailing list on the “Contact Me” page. Just click the link and it will lead you to a form to join the list.

Love and handcuffs  
Lynn X

Becoming Dr. Grey: Chapter 63—Reinforcing the Family Dynamic

So, I’m in the process of moving my mailing list over to a new mailing service and I noticed that quite a few people have email addresses that have bounced. I’ve tried to send emails manually to you all who have bounced email and thus far, only one person has responded. So… if you do not receive an email directly from my mailing list for this chapter, please let me know. We may need to update your email address.

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…

Chapter 63—Reinforcing the Family Dynamic

CHRISTIAN

“I would never want to be caught in negotiations with that woman,” Chuck tells me during debriefing. “She is vicious, cold, calculating—she can be manipulative, and when she goes in for the kill…” He whistles and shakes his head. He describes the meeting to me, how Butterfly used her feminine wiles to torment David, took every opportunity to exploit and expose his intentions, then dropped his position in his lap and left him sitting in his own squalor.

“Her mind works like a computer if she’s opposed to you,” Chuck continues. “She’s throwing the facts at him and as she’s talking to him, shit’s just dropping…” He’s snapping his fingers repeatedly to indicate how quickly the transactions and conversation are occurring.

“She’s reading his reactions and every time he reacts to something, more shit drops and she just throws it back at him. Just from reading his reactions, she discovered more shit that the Feds are going to find,” he says. I frown.

“Such as?” I inquire.

“Most likely, Edwise doesn’t have much income that can be traced to its actual business functions. From day one, it was probably just a storefront.” My eyes widen.

“Shit! Really?”

“Really. This is probably the reason why they quickly cleared Ana of any charges. If he’s been in business for just about five years or so and she just took custody about three months ago, ran an internal audit, then replaced any money she took out of it, there’s no way she could have been aware of what was going on. It was a simple matter of process of elimination on her part. But just sitting there, she figured out that he expected to drop the apple in her lap and for her to take the fall.”

“He couldn’t have, it’s an LLC,” I point out. Chuck shrugs.

“Yeah! Duh! We don’t know how he didn’t know this could happen. But I swear, she handled that shit like a mob boss. Who set up that meeting? Did you?” I shake my head.

“Nope. She did. She got on the phone first thing this morning as soon as she got that report. I don’t know who she talked to, but she was getting dressed before she even knew the meeting was approved. I cleared the information with Welch, had a couple of security precautions in place of my own, just for my own peace of mind, and that was it. For the most part, she did this all by herself.”

I could have protested, but I knew it wouldn’t have done any good. She needed closure. However, listening to Chuck talk about how she handled this asshole—her quick thinking and ability to read signals and exploit opportunities—is making me give some serious thought to any reservations I might have been feeling about her having to make any emergency decisions in terms of GEH. Not that I didn’t think she could do it, it’s just that GEH is in fact my baby, but I really can’t think of anyone else that I would trust in a time of turmoil if immediate decisions had to be made and I was incapacitated. I know that she would consult with the appropriate people for guidance on any matters with which she would be unfamiliar and I sincerely trust that she would make solid decisions to protect our legacy. I suddenly feel very foolish for my initial hesitation.

I didn’t even see her when she got home earlier. I had to find her and when I did, she was squirreled away in the nursery looking into Minnie’s crib. I approached quietly and found her so lost in thought that she didn’t even know that I had entered the room. She was still in that sexy white tuxedo that fell provocatively over her ass and I had to stop myself from grabbing it. I was going to say something, but I heard her murmuring to Minnie’s sleeping form and thought better of it:

“I’ll make sure you know how important you are; how special you are. The wolves won’t get to you—not because I’ll keep you sheltered, but because I’ll make you strong.”

I just backed away and out of the room and let her have that much-needed moment with her daughter. Now that I hear about the details of her meeting with David, I see why she needed to reinforce this fact with Mackenzie. It’s going to be an adventure raising a daughter with Lady Anastasia in the house. I turn my attention back to Chuck.

“What about David? What do you think we should be doing now? How did you two feel when you left that meeting?” I turn to Lawrence.

“He was decimated, sir,” Lawrence says. “He was face down on that table like a chastised little boy. He never even opened the envelope by the time we left, but I’m sure he already knew what was in it. I would say that we should probably know what kind of connections he has in prison, if any, because if he does, that’s who he’s going to be reaching out to, now. He’s not going to be able to do anything in terms of outside communication without the Feds knowing unless he has connections.”

“As far as I know, he doesn’t have any connections. I’ve got Welch looking into it,” I say. “As far as any connections that he has with his business, well, they’ve been laying pretty low. They let him ride out that fucked-up trial all by himself and now, like you said, the Feds are crawling up his ass. If they have any good sense, they’re all burning and burying paper trails right now, disavowing all knowledge of that fucker, but you never know. So, we’ll just keep our eyes open.” I steeple my fingers in front of my lips. “Decimated, huh?”

“Destroyed!” Chuck reinforces. I look over at Lawrence who splays out both hands and makes the noise like a building exploding. I smile inwardly. Don’t fuck with Madame Butterfly.

“Well, gentlemen, I think this operation was a success. We’ll keep our eye on Walla Walla, Washington and await word from the federal government on progress about Mrs. Grey’s company. My only regret is that I wasn’t there to see my wife in action.” Chuck laughs.

“I think you would have rather not seen it, sir,” he says. “There was a moment or two when she taunted that poor sucker and I thought he was going to crawl across the table at her.”

“Is that so?” I say, raising an eyebrow. He nods.

“Unfortunately, yes,” he says. “My only regret is that she only allowed me to hit him three times, and not the way I wanted to… well, once. I got a good gut shot.”

“Oh, now I’m jealous.” I say, eliciting a chuckle from the other men in the room. “I still would have liked to see her bring him to his proverbial knees. From the sound of it, he was primordial ooze by the time you all left.”

“Worse,” Lawrence says. “Primordial ooze would have been an improvement. That man was really in bad shape.” I look over at Chuck who nods. Well, think about his position. He’s lost all of his worldly goods. He has no connections. The Feds are coming after him. He’s already in jail for nearly 30 years and by the time the Feds are done, he’ll most likely be in there for life unless they show some mercy and let him serve his sentences concurrently, which isn’t likely with all the charges he’s going to accumulate. He’s going to run up a shitload of fines that he won’t be able to pay. His partners are probably going to come after him. And all of this was orchestrated by a woman that he claimed to love with all his heart whom he tried to destroy. She showed up at the prison, looking like the several billion dollars that she’s worth, dropped the bomb on him and left.

Yeah, I’d say he’s less than primordial ooze, because primordial ooze had the beginning cells of life in it. He doesn’t even have that right now. I’m just about to change the direction of the conversation when Jason bolts out of his seat standing straight up, glaring at his phone. Without a word and with no regard for anyone in the room, he makes a beeline for the door.

“Jason?” I catch his attention before he makes it to the door. I haven’t dismissed the debriefing yet. Where the hell is he going? He actually turns and gazes at me like I’m interrupting him. “Where’s the fire?”

“I… um… it… I’m sorry sir I’ll be right back.” He says it all in one breath and he’s gone, obviously with no intention of stopping or explaining. That’s enough to make your hair stand on end, but it can’t be a security emergency or he would have told everyone in the room. I will definitely need to have a private word with Mr. Taylor. Seeing as to how my head of private security has bolted out of the debriefing, I decide to dismiss the meeting.

“Chuck…” I hold him back once everyone has left. “How did it feel getting back in the game?”

“Pretty good,” he said nodding. “I was itching to get my hands on that fucker almost since day one, so it felt good to be able to slap him around a little bit.”

“I wasn’t too keen on Butterfly going up there before she was cleared by the doctor, but I knew there was no stopping her once she got that report. I appreciate you keeping her safe from that fucker. I know there wasn’t much that he could do to her under the circumstances, but… well, you know how I am.”

“Yeah, I know,” he concurs. There’s a pause before I ask, “Talk to Keri lately?” He sighs.

“Every day… I think she’s got a cold or something. She hasn’t been well for the last couple of days.”

“Has she been to the doctor?” I ask.

“Nobody goes to the doctor for a cold, Christian,” he says. I raise my eyebrows at him. “And before you ask, no, she’s not pregnant. I already asked.”

“You’re sure about that?”

She is,” he says. “She got her period, so no, that’s not it. She’s just under the weather. Think about it. It’s 35 in Seattle and 80 in Anguilla.”

“Okay, but I’ve never heard of anybody getting a cold from going from cold weather to hot… just the other way around.”

“Well, I have,” he says, “and I’m worried about her. She’s a nurturer. She doesn’t tend to allow others to take care of her.”

“If it’s just a cold, what are you worried about?”

“It’s just a cold now. If she doesn’t take care of herself, you know it can get worse.” He rubs his hand over his neck.

“How are you holding up?” I ask. He shakes his head.

“Don’t ask me that,” he says, lowly. “I can’t even say.”

“But if you hold it in, it only makes it worse,” I warn. “I don’t know your personal business, but I know enough to know that you don’t have a therapist. I know that you may talk to your sponsor when you want to take a drink, but you don’t vent to anyone and Keri’s been gone for nearly three weeks after being by your side for three months. So again, I ask, how are you holding up?” His shoulders fall.

“Not good,” he admits. “Day by day, that’s all I can do. I feel like I can’t breathe without her. No one has ever affected me this way. So, all I can do is work… concentrate on my job. Keep busy. Protect Ana, protect the twins. Protect myself. Stay clean. Do everything I promised her that I would do. One day at a time… that’s all I can do.” I nod. How is it that I can empathize so well with these men who have been without their women?

“I don’t know that I could have did what you did,” I tell him. “Let her go, I mean. It took guts for you to know that your life was here and to let her go to hers, but I just don’t know that I could have done it. Wild dogs couldn’t have kept me away from Butterfly.”

“That’s so different, man,” Chuck laments.

“Yes, and no,” I tell him. “Ana might as well have been on a different planet when we first met and I loved her almost from the very beginning. You were there, you saw it!”

“Yeah, I did see it,” he says, “I thought she was going to have to get a restraining order against you, and you had me watching her!” I gesture to him as if to say, “See?”

“I know a thing or three about not being able to stay away,” I say. “That night you led us to Canlis and we dismissed you… man, I crashed a date. I’ve never crashed a date! My women were mine! I didn’t take them from anybody. If I had to take them, they weren’t mine. I’m ashamed to say this, but that woman could have had a ring on her finger and I don’t think I would have pursued her any less fervently.” Chuck frowns.

“Dude, not cool.”

Dude, didn’t matter. I loved her too much to be without her. She threatened to put me in jail and had every intention of doing so and I still had to be with her! What does that say?”

“Why was she going to put you in jail?” he asks surprised. “How??” That’s when I realized that we never told him that part of the story.

“Remember that Spyder I used to own?” He nods. “Remember it got totaled?” He nods again. “I decked the guy who hit it… in front of a cop. He was drunk driving when he rear-ended me, turned my car into a tuna can, then when he realized that it was me that he hit, he said that I slammed on the brakes and caused the accident. I was in cuffs before he hit the ground. This I Don’t Go Easy On The Rich Judge Hammerfuck wanted to make an example out of me because he was vying for his seat on the bench that year and wanted to throw the book at me. He wanted to put me in jail, but it was my first offense and he couldn’t do it, so guess who got community service and group counseling… and guess who was the facilitator?”

“Whoa!” he exclaims. “Ana was your shrink?”

“No!” I snap, feeling a bit sensitive, I don’t not why. He looks at me with mirth. “She was the facilitator of the group counseling that I was forced to attend at the community center for anger management.”

“Bullshit you had anger management!?” he says it all in one breath before he caught himself. “Sorry, sir,” he said a little sheepishly. I roll my eyes at him, but laugh inwardly.

“I know, right?” I say to lighten the mood a bit. “I bought my way out of the community service, but you know that shit wasn’t working with Butterfly. She busted my balls from day one—hated the fucking ground I walked on; walked up the front of me and down the back of me. I couldn’t understand why she felt so goddamn high and mighty and why my charm didn’t work on her, but it pissed me the fuck off… and turned me the fuck on like nothing else in the world. I was gone almost immediately, but I refused to admit it. I tried everything—charm, intimidation, domination, bribery—nothing worked. It just got worse and worse.”

“I still don’t get how this situation is the same as mine, Christian,” he says, bringing the conversation full circle.

“Tell me which is worse… loving someone and wanting to be with them so much that you can think of little else and having them an arm’s reach away, but you can’t have them because they hate you… or having an ocean between you.”

He honestly has to ponder that thought. He’s hurting because Keri is so far away and he can’t be with her, but no doubt the thought of having her near him and he couldn’t have her because she hates him would be just as agonizing if not more.

“I tried to express how I felt about her—twice—and she ran both times. The first time, she bolted. The second, she called me everything including the spawn of Satan and then she bolted.”

“That’s when you sent me to watch her?” he asks.

“No, I sent you to watch her after the first time,” I correct him. He whistles.

“You had it bad.”

Real bad… still do. I hate to say that Elena was right, but she put a spell on me. I’m lost without her…”

“I know how you feel,” he says just above a whisper. I put my hand on his shoulder.

“I’m not saying that you’ve done anything wrong or that you’re a lesser man than I am for letting her go. I’m just saying that for weeks, I was in the same position that you are right now… sick and lost because she wasn’t there. And let’s not forget that time she went to Montana and turned my entire world upside down.” Chuck winces.

“Ew! Yeah! Forgot about that,” he frowns with empathy.

“Man, I thought my life was over, I really did… not in the sense that I was going to do myself in—although had I not had my company, I have no doubt that I would have—but in the sense that I didn’t want anything or anybody near me. I didn’t want friends; I didn’t want family; I didn’t want love; I didn’t want kindness; I didn’t want light; I didn’t want anything. All I wanted to do was run my company 24-7. I was having a sleeping quarters built in my office, which is still unfinished, and it would have been useless because I don’t remember sleeping. I wanted to surround myself with business and numbers and darkness and not think about what I had lost. Every room I entered had to have as little light as possible because light meant illumination and color and I couldn’t deal with it.” Chuck looks at me almost sympathetically.

“Dude, you were worse off than I am. I don’t feel like that,” he declares. “When I think of her, I think of light, love, and good things. I’m hurting because she’s not here and she’s not with me and I want her back. That’s the only darkness… the darkness that she’s not here and I try to chase that away, not run to it. I guess the difference is that I know I’ll see her again. I don’t know exactly when, but I know we’ll be together again.”

“Well, that’s a healthy attitude,” I tell him. “And the fact that you talk every day, that’s good, too. Those are things that I didn’t have.  But you can see how I felt the loss, can’t you?” He nods.

“Yeah,” he says, “I can. It was always hard to see you as human, but then again, you wanted it that way…” My phone buzzes in my pocket and I put my finger up to pull it out.

“Excuse me,” I say as I pull it out and swipe the screen. It’s a text from Jason.

**Will you please meet me in my apartment in ten minutes? **

I frown. In his apartment? This is personal and probably not good. Has something happened? Is someone hurt?

“Is everything okay?” Chuck asks, examining my expression. He didn’t get a text, so I assume this is quite personal and I can’t betray Jason’s confidence.

“I’m… not sure, but I’ll let you know,” I say before sending a text back to Jason.

**Sure. **

I talk to Chuck a few minutes more before taking the hallway from Security Central past mine and Butterfly’s office and down the corridor towards the lower level living quarters. I’m surprised to run into Butterfly in the community sitting room, still in her tuxedo pants and a sexy black sleeveless shirt and high heels, also headed in the same direction.

“Well, don’t you look scrumptious,” I say, halting her progress. She turns around, a bit startled like she didn’t expect to see me there.

“Hey,” she says, taking the few steps to meet me. I take her in my arms an inhale her scent, kissing her gently on the lips, then the neck, indulging for a moment in the opening in her blouse and the full mounds exposed there before coming back to her lips.

You put a spell on me…

“You get a text, too?” I ask breathily. Her brow furrows slightly.

“What do you think it is?” she says softly.

“I don’t know. Let’s go find out.” I take her hand and lead her to the living quarters.

When we get there, a somewhat frightened little girl sits in the living room in the large leather chair with her legs folded under her. Gail looks at us from the kitchen and Jason is standing after letting us in. I can tell that he’s been standing the entire time.

“Sophie?” Butterfly says in a soft tone. Sophie’s blue eyes tentatively turn to Butterfly, then soften slightly.

“You’re not pregnant anymore,” she says in a small voice. Butterfly looks at Jason, who nods once at her. She steps inside and stoops in front of Sophie.

“No, I’m not,” she says softly. “I had twins, a boy and a girl.” She smiles widely.

“Really?” Sophie says. “What are their names?”

“Michael Allen and Mackenzie Anastasia.” Sophie smiles.

“I like that,” she says. “They have regular names. I’ve heard some really weird names like Lamoria and no offense, but what kid wants to go through life with a name like Andromeda? We call her Drome!” she exclaims. Butterfly laughs.

“That’s not very nice,” she giggles.

“She told us to!” Sophie retorts. “You see how weird it is? Mackenzie’ll be Kay or Kenzie or Mac—that’ll be cool… or even Ana. Michael… he’ll be Mike… or Al. Nothing weird there.” Ana nods.

“This is true. I didn’t think of that. We just liked the names. I guess we made good choices…” The two-way communications system beeps before Butterfly finishes her sentence, but nothing happens. There’s four people in this room that this thing could be summoning, but my wife springs into action first.

“Ana.”

The response is the gentle hungry cooing of one of our children.

“Well, that’s my cue,” she says, standing to her feet. “Would you like to come and meet the twins?” she says to Sophie, “if Jason and Gail say it’s okay, that is.” Jason nods and Gail comes from around the bar in the kitchen. Sophie’s face lights up as she leaps from the seat.

“Yeah!” she says, unable to hide her glee. Butterfly smiles at her. “Um, but my hands are dirty and I’m all dusty and stuff from outside.”

“Don’t worry about it,” Butterfly says. “We’ll stop by my room, get you a fresh T-shirt, and there’s hand sanitizer everywhere!” She holds out her hand and Sophie quickly takes it. “End two-way communications.” The intercom disconnects, and the cooing of my child silences. “Um… Gail, why don’t you come, too and we’ll let the gentlemen talk and… we’ll come back?”

“Good idea,” she says, taking Sophie’s other hand. The youngster is now in Seventh Heaven, forgetting whatever trouble has brought her here as she trots off with Butterfly and Gail to tend to the twins. Jason closes the door behind them, then stands for a moment with his back to me.

“I’m off duty, sir, I’m going to fix myself a drink,” he says.

“Go ahead,” I reply. He goes to the kitchen cupboard and pulls down a bottle of some dark amber liquid. He pours two fingers of the fluid into a glass and quickly throws it back, bottoming out the glass. He replaces the bottle, rinses and replaces the glass, and joins me in the living room. He’s nothing else if not efficient.

“When I left the debriefing so quickly, I got a text from Bird at the front booth that a taxi was here looking to be paid, and my daughter was inside. Of course, I told him to pay the man and got up there as quickly as I could. As you can see, she’s not hurt or traumatized, just a little scared maybe. She’s been at that goddamn house for three days—alone! She hasn’t heard from her mother. She has no fucking idea where she is. Her cell phone is disconnected. There’s no way to get in touch with her. Some fucker has been coming to the house looking for her, scaring the shit outta Sophie.

“I don’t have custody of Sophie, just visitation that this bitch barely honors. I’m paying her a goddamn mint in child support. Why is her phone disconnected? Where the hell is she and why does my daughter look like she’s wearing hand-me-downs? And what the fuck do I do now? I can’t file a missing person’s report on this bitch. I’m not her next of kin.”

“No, Sophie is. What about her parents? Siblings?”

“Her mother’s dead. Never knew her father. I know she’s got a sister somewhere in… Colorado, I think. I don’t remember.” He thrusts his hands in his hair. “What should I do? I don’t know what to do.”

“Well, you can’t send Sophie back to that house alone,” I say, stating the obvious.

“Well, fucking duh!” he shoots. Okay, I had that coming.

“Let’s call Al,” I say. He nods frantically.

“Yeah! Yeah, that’s a good idea.”

“Can I ever ask for a simple day in my life with you guys?” Al laments on the speaker phone in my office. “Does this woman have a job?”

“You mean besides full-time pain in the ass?” Jason says. “No. She gets a shit-ton of child support from me and she was getting alimony before she married Deleroy. She kept that marriage from me for a year and had to pay back the alimony I paid her. I just made her put it in a trust fund for Sophie that can’t be touched until Sophie’s twenty-one, and even then, only by Sophie. I don’t know what Deleroy’s paying her, if anything.”

“Okay, so that eliminates trying to reach her at her job. You have to notify her that you have Sophie. Send a certified letter. Leave a letter at the house. Notify the school. Notify the authorities. If there’s no word after thirty days, file for custody of your daughter. I’ll have a process server try to reach her for the next few days. It might be a good idea to have Alex try to find her.”

“Yeah, as much as I would love to see her crawl under a rock and die—and no, I’m not taking it back—you might be right about Alex finding her,” Jason says.

“Should we actually file a missing person’s report, Al, or should we just notify the authorities that we have the child because she hasn’t been seen for three days?” I ask.

“Notify Child Services. They’ll notify the police so that they’ll have location of the child. Sophie can do a missing person’s report if she wants.” I look at Jason and he shrugs.

“I’ll give her the option. She doesn’t seem too shook up that her mother is missing, just afraid to be home alone. I’ll talk to her.”

“Yes, do that. You might have a bigger problem on your hands if this is a regular occurrence.”

“Only if I can prove it,” Jason says, running his hands through his hair.

“As Sophie’s father, you may not have a choice!” Al says emphatically. There’s silence for a moment.

“I’ll talk to Sophie,” Jason says.

After clearing it with Jason, I send an email to Andrea to draft a letter to Shalane Deleroy and send it via certified mail first thing in the morning notifying her of Sophie’s whereabouts and to cc a copy to Al in legal so that he can get it to a process server to try to have it served manually. Jason simultaneously contacts Alex and gives him Ms. Deleroy’s information and description and puts him on her trail in an attempt to locate her. He’s still talking to Alex when the two-way communications come to life and we both answer simultaneously.

“We were just trying to find out where you boys are,” Butterfly’s voice wafts over the intercom.

“We’re in my office, Butterfly.” I then hear Sophie say, “Oh, my God, ‘Butterfly,’ that’s so ca-yuuute!” Butterfly giggles and softly replies, “I think so, too.”

“You’re still on speaker, my love,” I inform her.

“I know this, my dear,” she responds. “Should we join you or wait for you here?”

“Join us here, please.” Once we get things cleared with Jason and his family, there a little talk I should have with Butterfly.

“On our way.”

“Who should we call at Child Services? Are they still open?” Jason asks, looking at his watch. It’s now well into the evening and we should be eating dinner soon.

“We’ll ask Butterfly. She’ll know what to do.” A few minutes later, Butterfly, Gail, and Sophie come into my office. Butterfly has changed out of her tuxedo pants and black shirt into one of her sexy wrap skirts and a wrap shirt and belly-wrap—all wrapped up like a present—and Sophie has borrowed a gray T-shirt with burgundy writing that reads “Vegan Zombies” with stick figures walking around in search of “grains” instead of “brains.” Clever. I can’t help but wonder where she got it and how long she’s had it… she’s not a vegan.

“Oh, my gosh, Dad, the twins are adorable,” Sophie says. “Miss Ana and Miss Gail let me hold them while I was sitting in the rocking chair. They’re sooooo tiny and pink. I don’t think I’ve ever seen babies that little before.” She looks around the large room with the dark furnishings. “Your office is kind of gloomy, Mr. Christian,” she says. We all smile at her innocence and marvel. Jason stands and offers his seat to his daughter. Gail takes the seat next to her and Butterfly hoists herself up onto my desk. God, she looks so sexy up there. Jason stoops in front of Sophie.

“Listen, Baby Boo, your mom has custody of you. I only have visitation. So, there’s a few things that we need to straighten out before we can continue.”

“You’re sending me back, aren’t you?” Sophie asks flatly. He shakes his head.

“Not… by yourself, no.” he says. “We just want to make sure that we cover all of our bases so that we don’t get into any trouble, okay?”

“Okay,” Sophie says, still unsure.

“I need to ask you some questions. You don’t really seem upset about your mom being gone, just that you were in the house alone. Why is that?”

“Well, she always comes back,” Sophie says.

“Always comes back?” Butterfly exclaims horrified before she could catch herself, then quickly covers her mouth. “Oops, I’m sorry,” she says.

“No,” Jason says, looking up at her. “It’s okay. I need your help.” Butterfly nods. She climbs all the way up onto my desk and crosses her legs lotus style before she turns back to Sophie. I imagine she does this so that she appears less intimidating.

“Sophie, how often does your mom leave… like… this?” she asks.

“You mean how often does she leave for days?” Sophie says, wise beyond her years. “She didn’t used to do this. Lately, it’s more frequent. I’m almost 13. I’m okay at home alone, it’s just…” she trails off.

“Just what?” Jason asks.

“This latest guy she’s seeing. He’s creepy. He came to the house and she wasn’t there. I don’t like him and I really don’t trust him. I didn’t want to be there alone if he came again.” Jason’s jaw gets tight. Butterfly brings the conversation back around.

“You said lately it’s more frequent. How frequent and how lately?” Butterfly asks. Sophie shrugs.

“Maybe once or twice a month for the last…” Sophie squints her eyes like she’s trying to think.

“Has it been months? Years?” Jason coaxes.

“It’s been months,” Sophie says.

“Since she divorced Deleroy?” Jason asks. Sophie shakes her head.

“Before that,” she says. “Maybe just about a year. A little less, maybe.”

“Just about a year, Sophia?” Jason says. “You were 11 a year ago, not nearly 13.”

“I know, Dad, but I’m okay. Nothing happened to me. God, you’re so overprotective.”

“I’m not overprotective!” Jason shoots. “You’re here at my house and you had to take two buses and a cab to get here at night! Why didn’t you call me?”

“Because my phone is off, too,” she says softly. Jason’s frown deepens.

“What!?” he nearly shouts.

“Jason…” Butterfly cautions. He looks up at her and she shakes her head. “You’re losing you temper at the wrong person.” Jason takes a deep breath and looks at the floor.

“She barely lets me see you; barely lets me talk to you. Who do you call in case of emergency?”

“You,” Sophie says, her voice small.

“You haven’t called me, though,” he says, his voice controlled, and not raising his head. “You said she does this twice a month. Who have you called before?”

“Nobody.”

“So, if you have no phone, how do you make a call in case of an emergency?”

“I try to go to a neighbor, or to Louie’s.”

“Who’s Louie?” Butterfly asks.

“The store… down the street.” Jason throws his hands ups, turns away and starts to pace. His ex-wife has all the original earmarks of a drug addict, although Sophie doesn’t look abused or neglected, thank God. It’s beginning, though… left home alone, strange men coming to the house. She basically has to fend for herself—I could see that on Thanksgiving. I’m dying to know why Sophie couldn’t spend Christmas with her father.

“Sophie, can I ask you a personal question?” Butterfly says and Sophie nods. “Have you ever been approached or… touched by one of your mother’s boyfriends?” Sophie shakes her head.

“I haven’t been abused, Miss Ana,” Sophie says softly, but matter-of-factly. “If I had, I would tell Dad… it just… I feel like she doesn’t know I’m alive. She doesn’t pay me any attention until I’ve done something wrong or she thinks I’ve done something wrong or I have to do something for her or help her look good in front of her friends. She’s never there when I get home from school and if she is, she’s never awake… or she’s shut in her room with one of her boyfriends.”

“One of her boyfriends?” Jason asks. “How many does she have?”

“Jason,” Gail interjects, “Shalane’s love life is really none of our business.”

“It is if she’s constantly traipsing strange men around my daughter!” he retorts, and I concur. It’s never good to have strange men around a young girl, but Sophie is at a delicate age right now and very pretty—pubescent and ripe for a pedophile.

“Really, Dad, they don’t pay any attention to me and I don’t pay any attention to them,” Sophie says. “It’s not like, ten, or anything like that, but I don’t keep track. I barely see them, if ever, and when I do, they completely ignore me. Except today…” She trails off again.

“What happened today, Sophie?” my wife asks.

“Well, that’s why I came over here. This guy Reggie came looking for her yesterday and she wasn’t there. I’ve never seen him before yesterday, but when I told him that she wasn’t there, he just kind of looked at me. It made me feel creepy. Then he left. He came back today and she’s still not there. He hung around for a bit and I just wanted him to leave. He really made me feel creepy. I was gonna call Dad, so I left the house to head for Louie’s, but then I just didn’t want to be there. I didn’t want him to come back and I was there by myself. So, I came here instead.” Jason’s lips form a thin line.

“Listen, Baby Boo. Do you want to file a missing person’s report on your mom?” he asks, his voice soft. She shakes her head.

“No, she’ll be back, but you know when she finds out I not there, she’s going to come looking for me.”

“Yeah, I know,” he says. “We’re working on that. Have you eaten anything?” Sophie shakes her head. “Well, you’ve come just in time for dinner, so we’re going to eat and we’re going to talk and figure out what our next move is, okay?”

“Okay, Dad,” Sophie says.

“So why don’t you go up with Gail and I’m going to talk to Ana and Christian for a moment.” She stands and gives her father a hug and a kiss, then walks away with Gail, headed for the kitchen. “Thank you both for your help in this situation.”

“So, what do you want to do now?” I ask him. He sighs heavily.

“I want custody of my daughter,” he says. “It sounds like her mother is going on drug binges and she’s leaving her there alone! She apparently has no way to get money to get a cab to safety, and her closest hope is Louie’s? Whatever and wherever the fuck that is.” He runs his hand through his hair again. “I hope this doesn’t mean that I have to quit, but if it does…”

“Use Al,” I tell him before he finishes the sentence. “She can stay as long as you like. If and when your apartment gets too small, you can use the guestrooms… or the boathouse… whatever will make your family comfortable. Have you talked to Gail already?” He shakes his head.

“No, but it’s something I have to do no matter what. If something happens to Sophie and I haven’t done everything I can…”

“Say no more,” I tell him. “You know we’ve already got that process underway.” He nods and turns to Butterfly.

“Child services,” he says. “Al says we have to notify them because I don’t have legal custody of Sophie. Who do I call?”

“I’ll take care of it,” she says. “Go spend time with your family. We’ll be up shortly.”

“Thank you again,” he says before turning to leave. Butterfly jumps off the desks.

“So, you know this means that we’ll have another child in the house… probably indefinitely,” she says.

“Yes, I do,” I say.

“Are you okay with that?”

“I’m fine with it. Are you?” she nods.

“Yes, it’s fine by me,” she replies. “If Shalane is on drugs, she sure hid it well at Thanksgiving.” I shrug.

“We weren’t looking for it. We were just trying to get her out of the house,” I say, pinching the bridge of my nose. “If she’s been doing this for a year… Jesus.”

“I’m going call Children’s Services,” she says, moving to leave. I grab her arm and stop her.

“Do you have to call them this second?” Her brow furrows.

“Uh… no, I can call them anytime. They have a 24-hour emergency hotline to report the whereabouts of a child.” I gesture for her to sit.

“I need to talk to you for a minute.” She pauses for a moment, then sits in one of the chairs facing each other in front of my desk. “I have to talk to you about your share of ownership of GEH.” She sighs heavily.

“Okay.”

“I don’t want you as partial owner of GEH.” She swallows and steels herself. She squares her shoulders and her eyes sharpen before she nods her consent.

“Okay.”

“I need you there.” It takes her a moment to register what I’ve said, then her brow furrows.

“What?”

“I need to know that if something happens and I’m unable to make decisions that someone that I trust with good common sense, scruples, critical thinking skills, the ability and knowledge to ask for help when they need it, a sense of commitment to our legacy, and the ability to command respect from others is going to be at the helm of my baby. I don’t trust anyone else but you. It has to be you. You will protect my baby like it was your own because it is your own, so I need you there.” She silently stares at me for a long time before a lone tear slides down her cheek.

“Are you sure?” she says, just above a whisper.

“The only thing I’ve ever been more certain about was marrying you,” I respond. She launches herself into my arms and plants a stinging kiss on my lips. Our bodies are melding into each other, kneading, yearning, unable to separate as the kiss burns us into one being.


ANASTASIA

I can hardly believe it. I didn’t know how much it meant to me that Christian really did want me to be partial owner of GEH until I thought he was telling me that it wasn’t what he wanted. I had convinced myself that I would be okay with the decision when he finally made it, whatever the outcome. After all, I’ve only dabbled in finances; he’s the real businessman. He built Grey Enterprises from the ground up with the first acquisition, and even though he had Pedo-bitch’s financial backing, he still did all the work to make the company great. I couldn’t be mad if he decided that he didn’t want to share the company with me even if he may have initially thought that it was what he wanted.

Now, not only does he want me to be part owner of his “baby,” but he’s made it clear that I’m the only person that he would trust to make sound decisions for our mutual interest if, for any reason, he couldn’t do it. That was a really huge concession for my billionaire master and all I wanted to do was kiss him. My heart was so overwhelmed by his unquestionable faith and trust in me that I knew—as I always did—that together, there was nothing that we couldn’t do. I was completely unable to speak, kissing him repeatedly until his massive body engulfed my small frame, kissing and gnawing at me hungrily—a warning to control myself lest we break down and fuck right here on his office floor…

And of course, that couldn’t happen… yet.

Once I had completed my wordless, emotional thank you, we tear ourselves away from each other to deal with the situation at hand—young Sophie. Where was her mother that Sophie had not seen her in three days? How often does this happen? Home alone, no cell phone, no house phone, barely communicates with the neighbors, no emergency plan, only twelve years old… granted, she’s somewhat mature for her age and I would imagine that she would have to be. It appears that she’s had to fend for herself more often than not, but she’s still only twelve—not even a teenager, yet. Is Shalane Deleroy strung out on drugs and leaving Sophie for three-day drug binges to fend for herself?

Child Services came out to the house the next day to talk to Sophie, Jason, and Gail. Sophie was pretty tight-lipped when they got there, like she had been coached for just such an emergency. She’s cool and calm when she speaks to the social worker, giving nothing away but that she and her mother often pass each other and don’t speak, so it’s not unusual for them not to see each other for days. Having not seen or heard from her mother for three days this time, she sought out her dad. It all sounds pretty harmless per se as Sophie wasn’t in any real danger, except that she was home alone with no real means of outside communication except Louie’s. I’m sure this is how Shalane had intended it.

Satisfied that Sophie was safe, the social worker left after giving Jason her business card. He informed her of his intention to immediately file for custody of Sophie, which he did that same day. The worker let him know that it may still be an uphill battle as this is the first situation that has come to light about Shalane’s behavior. Without Sophie’s cooperation, which is not totally forthcoming at present, Shalane could very well corroborate Sophie’s story that they were just passing and she never knew that Sophie wasn’t in the house. That speaks to the fact that she should be a more attentive mother, but it doesn’t make her abusive. If the home is well-kept, stocked with food, warm, and adequate for a twelve-year-old child, Shalane could walk away from this with a few parenting classes on the whole emergency plan thing and knowing where your children are… and Sophie… and child support.

“Her lawyer argued that my lifestyle and the fact that no one would be home with Sophie made giving me custody of Sophie a bad idea, and the judge agreed. Seeing how I live now—married with a wife who works from home, in a mansion, with a staff—you’re telling me that I’m going to possibly have trouble getting custody of my child from a woman who has left her home alone for four days now?” Jason asks incredulously. “What the hell is wrong with this system?”

“I understand your frustration, Mr. Taylor,” the worker says, “but I’m only stating the facts as they are now. Ms. Deleroy has legal custody of Sophie. She shows no signs of abuse and has indicated that it’s not uncommon for her and her mother not to see each other due to opposing schedules or what have you. It’s not an ideal situation for Sophie to be home alone with no telephone, but it’s not abuse. As this is the first that Child Services as heard of this, we will reach out to Ms. Deleroy and get to the bottom this to make sure that Sophie is not living in an unsafe situation. However, as it turns out right now, this is just not an ideal situation. It’s not yet cause to remove the child from the home. We have to talk to Ms. Deleroy first and see the condition of the home. However, as it stands, if she shows up with the police, she has legal custody of Sophie. She can take her home until and unless it’s determined that home is an unsafe environment for her. Having said that, without any further evidence, you’re going to be fighting on a level playing field attempting to get custody of your daughter. I wish I had better news for you, but I just want you to know the truth of what you’re dealing with.”

So, that’s that. Shalane can just go on a drug binge for however many days and just come back whenever and claim that she didn’t know Sophie wasn’t home. Never mind the fact that two of the days that Sophie was left alone was a weekend.

By Wednesday afternoon, Gail comes to me and informs me that Sophie is withdrawn and won’t leave their apartment. I noticed that Jason wasn’t at dinner after the discussion with the social worker yesterday and neither was Sophie. Gail left midway through to see what was going on with her family and didn’t return. She asks if I could talk to Sophie as she doesn’t know what to say to her right now.

When I get to the Taylor’s guest apartment, Sophie is sitting on the floor in the living room watching television.

“Hey,” I say when I see her. “Whatcha watchin’?”

“Spongebob,” she replies. She’s not sullen or moody or detached that I can see; just a kid watching cartoons.

“Can we talk?” I ask, sitting on the floor next to her. She mutes the television and turns her attention to me. “Gail is a little concerned that you won’t leave the apartment. Are you… upset with us?” She frowns.

“No,” she says, surprised. “It’s just… there’s no other kids here besides the twins and I didn’t think you guys would want me running around the house getting in the way.” I nod. That makes sense.

“It’s been five days now,” I say. “Have you ever not heard from you mom for this long?” She wraps her arms around her knees.

“I think the longest has been four days, but she always comes back,” she says. So, her binges are getting longer.

“You don’t think that something might be wrong with her?” I ask. “That she may be hurt or sick somewhere?” Sophie shakes her head.

“No,” she says. “She’s just hanging out with her friends somewhere, probably spending the nights over at one of their houses like she normally does.” I nod.

“I don’t know, I never had a real relationship with my mother, so I don’t know what it’s supposed to be like. We had one early on when I was really little. For what it was, it ended when I was about your age, but later, when it counted…” I shake my head. “So, if she had disappeared for a few days, I wouldn’t know what the hell to do because I didn’t know how to care.” She furrows her brow.

“You hated your mom that much?” she asks.

“I think she hated me,” I tell her. “We don’t even speak right now.”

“Yeah, that sucks,” she says, and it sounds like the speaks from experience. I sigh.

“It was a tormented, rocky relationship, the details of which I think you’re too young to be exposed to, no matter how mature I think you are.” I catch a glimpse of her out of my peripheral and I can see her smiling.

“You think I’m mature?” she asks. I nod.

“For a lot of reasons,” I tell her. “You knew to come and look for your father when you felt uncomfortable. Even the first time I met you, if there was the even the slightest crush on Marlow, you told your father to chill because Marlow was older than you and wouldn’t be interested, and you did so in front of a room full of people without flinching.” She shrugs.

“It’s the truth,” she says, noncommittal. “He’s in high school. What in the world would he want with a seventh grader? If anything, he’s got his hopes set on juniors and seniors!” Her speech shows once again that she’s wise beyond her years, probably from being exposed to way too many adults and not enough children her age.

“It makes me wonder why you defended your mom’s absence today,” I say. “Not that I blame you,” I add when I see her tense up. “If that’s what you really believe, that’s fine, but don’t you think it’s wrong for her to leave you for so many days without any contact?”

“She’s just being Mom,” Sophie excuses. “Mom does what she wants. She makes sure that I have what I need, but then she just goes about her business. It’s better than those parties she used to throw.” Parties? Unless they were quiet dinner parties, they couldn’t be something appropriate for a preteenager. Was she even that old when Shalane was throwing these parties?

“Everybody likes a party,” I say, treading carefully. “How can you not like a party? Music and food and dancing…”

“No kids, no music I like, half the time her friends were drunk and cursing all the time. One time, Ms. Fatima got so drunk that she got sick and threw up all over Mom’s white sofa… and all over some other lady.” She laughs heartily at the memory. I’m sickened by the idea that Shalane would think it’s okay to expose her young daughter to this, but I laugh, too, to keep the connection we’re building.

“Yeah, that would have pissed me off,” I say laughing with her.

“No kidding. The sofa was destroyed. Mom tried to get it clean, but it was useless. I don’t know about the lady.” Okay, that was funny.

“So… Jason is working in some way with Christian all day, and you know that Gail works here, too, so why do you stay locked in the apartment all day?” I ask.

“Well, like I said, there aren’t any kids here, either, and I don’t want to get in anybody’s way.” I nod.

“I can understand that,” I tell her. “I guess we need to make the house a bit more kid friendly, especially since I have two kids, now… but it’s got to be boring down here all by yourself.” She shrugs.

“I’m used to being alone. I find ways to entertain myself.” That’ll never do.

“Well, let me show you one of the ways that I entertain myself,” I tell her. “Come with me.”

We leave the apartment and walk through the community area. On the other side, I show her Atlantis.

“I’ve seen this,” she says. “The fish are really pretty. I’d like to learn what they are.”

“Watch this.” I tap on glass a few times—not too hard as it’s usually kind of bothersome to the other fish—and, just like always, my fish gracefully swims to the front. “That’s Marty. She’s a butterfly fish. I saw a fish like her on a scuba diving adventure in Anguilla and fell in love. So, when we bought this house, we had this aquarium built and filled it with fish from that trip. To my delight, Marty took an immediate liking to me.”

“So, that’s a butterfly fish?” she asks, her attention now attuned to Marty.

“One of them,” I say. “I’m told there are others.” She looks at me and frowns.

“Who told you?” she says with a little mirth in her voice. “Are you part of a fish society or something?” My turn to laugh.

“I’ve picked up bits and pieces of information here and there,” I tell her. “I’ve learned that while goldfish have a memory that spans for a few seconds, some fish have a memory that spans for up to twelve days. That would stand to reason that maybe Marty here would fall somewhere in between. However, a NatGeo article I read indicates that there are 114 species of butterfly fish and that many of them travel in schools while others are solitary until they find a partner and mate for life. If a butterfly fish mates for life, doesn’t it stand to reason that its memory span is more than twelve days? I mean, what happens… at day twelve, he looks over and sees this fish and goes ‘Oh, hello,’ and they just keep swimming?”

Sophie laughs at my analysis and I’m glad to see her loosen up.

“I guess I say that to say this. I chose Marty when I saw the fish in the reef and decided that it was my favorite, so Christian got one for my aquarium, but after that, Marty chose me. No matter how long I stay away, she… or he… swims to the window when I show up. She does tricks while I’m watching, but always stays near the front until I leave. I would say that means that her memory probably lasts more than twelve days.”

“You’re probably right,” she says, looking at Marty. “Are they trying to get you to talk to me… to get me to talk?” Hmm, she’s not a tough nut to crack.

“Yes and no,” I tell her. “Gail’s a little concerned about you not coming out of the apartment, not even for dinner. I asked if I could talk to you to make sure that you were alright. Even though Christian and I are at home for now, Jason still has his hands full with security and Gail helps me with the twins as well as runs the house for me.” She frowns at me.

“What do you do all day?” she asks.

“You promise you won’t laugh?” I ask and she nods. “I’m a shrink.” She screws up her face.

“A head doctor?” she asks. I nod. “For kids?” I shrug.

“Not necessarily,” I tell her. “I’ve worked with some kids, but I mainly just help whoever needs it. I have an office downtown, but I don’t see patients anymore. I’m assistant director at a help center now for displaced and abused families.”

“Oh,” she says. “When do you do that?”

“Not until the doctor clears me to go back to work. The twins are only four weeks old, nearly five now. I’ll be back to work in a week or so.”

“Then Miss Gail will take care of the twins?” she asks. I shake my head.

“Not all the time,” I tell her. “She’ll help a lot, but they’re my babies. Don’t you think I should take care of them?” She nods and turns back to look at Marty.

“How long… will you take care of them, I mean?” She asks. I frown.

“I don’t know what you mean,” I say.

“Is there a time when you’re supposed to stop taking care of them?” She looks up at me with inquisitive blue eyes. I sigh.

“Well,” I begin, “I guess it depends. When they’re babies and even as they grow older, they’re going to depend on me… and Christian… for everything. The older they get, the more they’ll be able to do for themselves, so they won’t need me as much for the smaller things. But they’ll still need me for other things. Like when they learn to go to the bathroom, I won’t need to change their diapers.

“But when they get older, Mackenzie is going to need my advice on boys… and school… and how to wear make-up and Mikey is going to need Christian to help him learn to be a man. Then, one day, she’ll want to go to college and I’ll help her pick a school; she’ll want to go on a date and I’ll help her get ready; she’ll want to get married and I’ll help her pick a dress. She’ll have kids of her own and I’ll have to share the stories about how she kept me up in the middle of the night.”

I frown a bit as I listen to myself going through the life of my daughter before she’s even out of the crib.

“I assume Michael is going to have those things happen, too, and Christian is going to have to help him through those stages in his life. So… I guess the answer is… no, there’s never a time when I’m supposed to stop taking care of them. I can’t see a time ever when my children would come to me for something and I wouldn’t be there for them, so… no.” I look down into her knowing eyes before she turns her gaze back to Marty.

“That’s what I thought, too,” she says.

*-*

I’m able to coax Sophie out of the apartment for the rest of the afternoon and evening. We watch two of the High School Musical movies and she has dinner in the dining room. After helping me and Gail with the twins, it’s time for her to turn in. I never let on that I knew what she meant when she responded to my answer about always taking care of my children. That little girl may not be abused, but she’s certainly neglected and she knows it. She protects her mom, because in spite of what everyone else sees, she loves her mother. There are obvious moments where she may not like her very much, but she truly loves her. This custody thing is going to be an uphill battle and very painful for all parties involved.

The next day, we get our first taste of just how painful the battle is going to be. I’m in my office with Marilyn working on some plans for the ultimate layout of the daycare area of the center and on what will be the casting call—so to speak—for the initial teachers in the center as accreditation, as well as my imminent return to work, are just around the corner. We’re deep in when the two-way communications come to life. Noting that it’s about time for the twins to be feed I acknowledge the system. Expecting to hear my cooing or complaining children, I’m more than surprised to hear Windsor’s voice over the intercom.

“Mrs. Grey, the police are in the grand entry with a Ms. Deleroy. They say that need to speak to you and Mr. Grey on an urgent matter.”

By the tone of his voice, I can tell that he has most likely gone to the small vestibule beyond the formal living room and is speaking to me from the landline there.

“They haven’t asked for Mr. or Mrs. Taylor?” I ask, surprised.

“No ma’am. They’ve asked for you and Mr. Grey.” I sigh.

“I’m on my way. End two-way communications.” I remove my glasses and pinch my bridge, trying to ignore the throbbing that’s beginning in my scar.

“Are you going to get Gail?” Marilyn asks.

“Not yet. They’ve asked for me. I’ll see what’s going on. Come with me; I may need moral support.”

I’m not in the grand entrance three minutes and I have been thoroughly insulted in my own home. The two officers—I don’t even bother to remember their names—have absolutely no control over this fucking harpy. She’s standing in my house, the epitome of the tacky ex-wife, in a rabbit fur coat, stretch pants, and thigh-high black stiletto boots. Her hair looks stringy and oily like it hasn’t been washed in three days and she has make-up caked haphazardly on her face that’s unable to hide her sunken cheeks and dark circles as she didn’t take the time to groom herself that she took on Thanksgiving. Her clothes look like they’re a size too small, including her thigh-high boots, and I would have guessed that she just rolled out of bed after a hard night of partying and two hours of sleep and showed up at my door. I’m appalled that she didn’t have the good sense to make a better presentation after not having seen her child for so long.

“Sophie hasn’t seen you in nearly a week and you step in my house accusing me of kidnapping??” I ask, horrified. “Have you even checked with the police to know that we’ve made a report that Sophie was here? Do you know that we’ve contacted child services? Where the hell have you been? She’s twelve years old!”

“This is not a good look on you, Mrs. Grey!” she says with contempt. “I don’t know what Jason has told you, but it’s really not nice to attempt to kidnap someone else’s child. I realize that Mrs. Taylor is barren, but I didn’t know that you were just as desperate to hear the pitter-patter of little feet!” My mouth falls open and I gasp audibly, pointing at her.

“Is she serious?” I say, looking from Marilyn to Windsor to each of the cops. “Is she fucking serious? I’m all over the fucking news, for Christ’s sake! Has she been living under a goddamn rock? Was she fucking high the last time she was at my house?”

“Ana…” Marilyn tries to calm me.

“Mrs. Grey, there’s really no need for that language,” one of the officers says. I turn and glare at him. He’s basically allowed her to say anything she wants since she walked into my house, including insulting me in my own home, and now you’re going to try to check me about my language?

“Fuck fuck fuckity fuck fucker motherfucker fuck fucker fuck this is my goddamn house!” I say all in one breath before I can catch myself. I’m losing it. I’m losing it faster than I can maintain myself. I turn to Marilyn. “Do you have your phone? I left mine downstairs.” She nods and pulls out her phone.

“Christian! Christian!” I’m doing this frantic clamping, grabbing thing with my fingers. She has that phone unlock, Christian’s number dialed, and is handing me the phone in less than five seconds. He had to go into Grey House today for business that needed his immediate attention and I’m about to interrupt his day.

“Grey,” he says as the line connects.

“Where’s Jason?” He pauses for a moment before he recognizes my voice.

“He’s gone to pick up Sophie from school.”

“Is he bringing her back here?” My voice is short and clipped. I’m barely keeping a rein on my anger.

“That’s the plan.”

“You may want to get someone to bring you back before he gets here.” There’s silence on the line.

“What’s wrong, Butterfly?” I speak loud enough for the officers—and Shalane—to hear me.

“Apparently, Ms. Deleroy has emerged from her bong, needle, or pipe long enough to come to my home and create a scene. She’s standing here accusing us—me in particular—of kidnapping and harboring her child when we have already notified all of the proper authorities, including her, that Sophie was here after she left her abandoned in that house for three days!”

I’m so angry I’ve started shaking while I’m glaring at Shalane. She knows that I’ve hit the nail and she can’t even deny it, so I know that I’m right about her being on drugs. She says nothing, but stands there with narrowed eyes examining me.

“Then she had the nerve to make some snide comment about me and Gail trying to steal her daughter because we can’t have children of our own. I guess that she was so busy trying to ride your dick at Thanksgiving that she forgot that I was standing right next to you at the time very heavy laden with child!” I growl the last words.

“She’s right in front of you, isn’t she?”

“Looking down my throat, flanked by two cops, and if she says another word to me, I going to catch a case!”

“I’m on my way,” he says.

“Bring Al,” I conclude before hanging up the phone. Simultaneously, the two-way communication system comes to life. Coupled with the knowledge that my twins are now awake and my rising anger and blood pressure, I feel my milk burst forth and begin to seep from my breast. Shamelessly, I stand and turn to leave.

“Um… Mrs. Grey, we do have a few questions,” the officer says.

“Windsor!” I call, unceremoniously and he appears almost instantaneously. I turn around to face the trio, my milk now leaking through my blouse. “Ana!” I call out to the two-way, and the room is filled with the sound of cooing babies. “Feel free to wait here. My husband informs me that he and our attorney are on their way and that Mr. Taylor and Sophia will be here any moment. I’ll notify Mrs. Taylor that you’re here and to meet you when Mr. Taylor, his daughter, and our attorney have arrived. My butler will be happy to get you refreshments in the interim. However, I am unable to entertain you anymore at the moment. As you can hear, I must attend to my children and as you can see, my milk is leaking!” They all fall silent and the men momentarily glare at my ample leaking breasts while Shalane glares at me and I glare right back at her. “End two-way communications!” I hiss, and the gentle cooing sounds of my children cease. I turn around on my heels and march out of the room.


A/N: So, as you can see, Shalane has caused a shitstorm in more ways than one. Any  guesses what’s going to happen when Jason returns and Gail emerges?

Pictures of places, cars, fashion, etc., can be found at  https://www.pinterest.com/ladeeceo/becoming-dr-grey/

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Love and handcuffs 🙂 
Lynn X

 

Becoming Dr. Grey: Chapter 61—How To Handle Frustration

Well, we had a little excitement this week, but hopefully, that’s gone now…

 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…

Chapter 61—How To Handle Frustration

ANASTASIA

I feel so guilty. Saturday night before dinner, I could tell that Christian was aroused. The way that he looked at me, the things he said, and that semi-boner that he was sporting when he sat down at the table was a dead giveaway. I planned to give him a hand job or a head job or something to relieve him before he went to bed, but he and Jason stayed up talking and by the time I knew anything, it was time to feed the babies. Once that task was complete, I was too tired to do anything, let alone perform a blowjob. Yet, when he woke the next morning, he seemed bright as a bunny and in a good mood, so I guess no harm, no foul.

I have to say that I really love my post-partum choice of earthy wardrobe, though it doesn’t come off as earthy. I won’t be able to wear these things outside of the house—not until spring, anyway, and some of the ensembles I’ve chosen are pretty revealing, so I’m sure that Christian won’t allow them past the threshold or beyond the pool area. For instance, I’m very comfortable in genie pants and sarongs with wrap crop tops… the genie pants and sarongs because they can drop below my hips and allow for unhindered application of the belly binding, also an advantage of the crop tops. The wrap-around factor along with some of the best-constructed nursing bras known to woman allow for easy access to feed my children.

However, some of the genie pants are mere sheer covers with matching underpants, for lack of a better word. They’re actually spanky pants and perfectly appropriate for summertime romping or around the house, but they certainly won’t see the light of day outside of the Crossing as the size of my butt and hips make the spanky pants look very sexy underneath their sheer overlays. Sunday’s sunshine yellow pair was coupled with a tank crop top of the same color and a brightly multi-colored belly wrap after my mid-day yoga and dance.

I spend most of the day trying to catch up on my sleeping, but unable capture more than an hour’s rest because Minnie appears to be very demanding. Although I have Gail to help, I feel that as their mother, I should be the first point of contact for the twins—especially right now at the very beginning of their lives. So, when at the near end of the day, Christian finally gets a good look at me in the sunshine yellow genie pants and asks with dilated pupils if I had been dressed this way all day, I can do little more than nod and pass out on the nearest surface. Minnie had worn me out and we hadn’t even gotten to the 2:30am feeding.

By Monday, I’m wound up tighter than a two-dollar watch, not necessarily stressed out from work though my schedule seems full with planning appearances after the doctor clears me to go back to work and liaising with Grace and members of the licensing board to make sure that the learning and day care centers are up to par when the accreditations come through. No, this stress I can tell is coming from the lack of sleep and the lack of adult companionship, coupled with the lack of sex.

We are nearing the middle of week four post-baby and I haven’t had a single orgasm. It just hasn’t come to the forefront for me before now. The first week, I was totally out of commission, but we were having these major connections for the first two weeks and I was totally emotionally and physically satisfied. Over the last week or so, I’ve been distracted with David’s company and a concentrated involvement with my children as well as the aforementioned issues with scheduling and Helping Hands. So today, I think my sexual frustration has subconsciously manifested itself in yet another sexy ensemble—a black pair of sexy ass genie pants that is best reserved for a risqué trip to a night club or even a BDSM club. The pants are connected only at the hip and the ankle and they fall apart in provocative slits down both legs. The black, sleeveless, mock-turtleneck crop top is a simple pullover and showcases my newly-flattened stomach. I’m wearing a pair of strappy sandals, even though I don’t need them, and I don’t even bother with a belly binding.

I’m amazed by the condition of my belly, as is everyone else that sees me that day. I admire myself in the mirror and see that the combination of the moderate to medium exercise along with the belly binding and breastfeeding has caused me to almost regain my pre-baby belly back in a matter of four short weeks, the only exception being the obvious lack of my pre-baby abs—which I can’t really work on until I get clearance from Dr. Culley.

So now, I’ve got this tiny little waist and these really round hips and this really voluptuous ass. I almost look like Kim Kardashian—not that my boobs, hips, and ass are that big, but that my waist became really small really quickly and I look a little disproportionate in my eyes. I’ll be glad when Dr. Culley says I can really work out, because the body sculpting will be insane.

When I hear the chime from the two-way system, I respond “Ana,” fully expecting to hear one of my babies fussing in the background. I have the two-way in the nursery set as a 24-hour baby monitoring system to alert me before anyone else when the babies stir and I’m already on my feet when I hear the chime.

“Hey, where are you?” His smooth baritone voice caresses me like caramel.

“Just wandering around,” I tell him. “Maxie’s coming over.”

“Oh. Well, I just opened today’s mail to find something of interest to us both.” Now, my curiosity is piqued.

“Really? And what is that?”

“A summons.” A summons? For both of us?

“For what?” David’s case couldn’t have gone to court that quickly.

“Elena’s attempted murder trial.” Oh, fuck! I had all but forgotten about that, and not because of the accident and memory loss. It seems like forever ago and after everything, I can’t believe she’s still going to take this thing to trial.

“When?” I breathe loudly, exasperated.

“Tentative date is March 10.” Good God, could they have cut that any closer?

“That’s when I was supposed to return to work,” I protest.

“There’s one down here for you, too,” he says.

“And why is it tentative?” I ask.

“You know how they keep changing dates,” he says. “Remember David waiting right until the middle of our honeymoon to demand a speedy trial? Now you’ve just had a baby. I’m sure that if she could have gotten it before the doctor was set to clear you, she would have. She may still be trying.”

“Well, I hate to disappoint her, but even though I may not be clear for other physical exertions, Dr. Culley would clear me at any point from now for that trial. Where are you?”

“In my office.”

“I’m on my way.”

“I thought you said Maxine was on her way,” he protests.

“She is. I’m just coming to look at the summons.”

“Okay,” he says before we end two-way communications.

I’m more than a bit perturbed when I step off the elevator on the lower level. Yeah, I knew it was coming, I got too comfortable in my new life with my new husband and my new babies and my new house. We had to put this monkey to rest sooner or later. Even if they let her walk on the murder charges, she still won’t see this side of jail after her sentence for molestation.

“Okay, let me see it,” I say as I stroll across Christian’s office, putting my glasses on to see what will most likely be the smallest print of the biggest crock of bullshit I’ve ever seen in my life. Christian’s office looks slightly different than it did when we moved in. He has switched out the classic writer’s desks for larger, more imposing, enclosed oak Princeton executive desk. It fits the room better. The other desk, though it served the purposes, seemed somewhat dwarfed in this space. He hands me the envelope without raising his head and I tear it open. The document is a fictional novel. I start pacing the floor, reading her ridiculous claims of a diminished mental capacity.

“Fuck!” I hear Christian exclaim as I’m turning around to pace back towards his desk, still reading the document.

“How can they even entertain a fucking trial for this woman?” I huff. “They have her on video trying to kill you and shooting Ja—” My words are snatched out of my mouth as I walk right into my husband’s rock hard body. He snatches me flush against him with one arm and his free hand briefly grazes the bare skin of my stomach, then quickly travels up to firmly cup my breast.

Holy…

Fucking hell! There’s a fire down below.

“You’ve been walking around all day like this?” he hisses through his teeth, pulling me harder against him so that I can feel him growing quickly in his jeans. “Then you come down to my office, that ass swaying all in my face, and wearing those goddamn glasses!” He tilts his head and plants a deep, bruising kiss on my lips. My nipples harden immediately and my clit begins to throb. His hand around my back travels to my ass and he clenches it firmly, pressing my pelvis against his erection. Wasn’t there something in my hand…?

Fuck, I need more!

I push against him and he loses his balance a bit, stumbling back until he’s leaning against the desk. I can’t get the angle I want. I’m trying, but my spanks have no give in them. The next thing I know, Christian has slipped his hands inside the slit of my pants and grabbed both ass cheeks with a deep moan, lifting slightly and causing my legs to part. I groan as I feel the slight burn and spark of his erection against my core. We’re still kissing ferociously, devouring each other’s lips and tongue and the need to feel his erection against my clit is almost unbearable.

I lift my leg and wrap it around his hip, attempting to open myself up to him, grinding rhythmically against him in a circle of my own.

“Yes!” he hisses into my mouth. “Fuck, yes.”

His fingers dig into the tender meat of my ass, and he grabs the thigh of the leg that’s not wrapped around him, holding it open and trying to get some control over his quickly rising passion. Mine is going insane as I grind and roll and gyrate, looking for that perfect rhythm but not quite finding it. I’m holding on to Christian’s neck and hair, rolling into him and driving him higher and higher, causing him to exclaim various profanities and dig painfully into my skin while calling out my name between hot, muffled kisses… while I only get enough vibration to spark, ignite, and burn, but not to explode.

It would be criminal to leave him like this even though it’s obvious I won’t get mine today without direct stimulation. Maxie’s warning chooses now to come blaring back to me loud and clear…

“… By all means, don’t engage the enemy for help! I can guarantee you that no matter how much will power you have, you’re going to fail, fuck him, and end up with babies born ten months apart. You’re going to smell him, see him hard, feel him rubbing up against you and you’re gonna fuck. So just don’t do it.”

Well, it’s a little late for that, but I won’t leave him like this.

I climb a little higher and with my knee on his desk and the other leg still held captive in his hand, I ride him, hard and deep.

“Oh, shit, baby!” he groans. His words and tortured voice are too much for me, making me hornier, making me want him more. I capture his mouth with mine again, probing and tasting, determined not to let him up for air until he comes. My hands hold his head captive, my fingers in his hair, and I fuck him hard with our clothes on, writhing hard in the direction his erection is pointing in his jeans so that the head can get the proper stimulation to force his ejaculation. He groans hard and deep, trying to talk under the kisses, but realizing it’s a futile exercise. He flexes his hips against mine as much as he can since he’s sitting on the desk supporting us both right on his pelvis.

His grip tightens and even his tongue stiffens and I can tell that he’s losing control of his basic muscles, so the orgasm is on its way. He groans several times into my mouth, surrendering his kisses to me and allowing me to take control of this hot moment as his body starts to tremble from the pleasure and from holding me up.

Come on, Christian, let it go.

“Aaaawwww!” he groans loudly into my mouth. “Aaaaww fuck!” he bites out as he grips my ass brutally, grinding me hard into his erection. Although I can’t feel the semen through his jeans, I can feel the violent pulsing of his penis and I know that he’s coming. I gyrate my hips hard into him, grinding my pelvis deeply as he groans in his chest, jerking and riding out the last of his orgasm. I’m kissing him deeply, fingers thrust in his hair and holding his head so that his mouth is at my mercy. My tongue is lapping feverishly into his orifice as his muscles finally begin to relax. I’m on fire—hot and pulsing—rubbing gently against him now and he slowly meets my grind, finishing the last of his satisfaction, but the indirect stimuli was not enough to get though my spanks.

“Oh, goddammit,” he breathes between kisses. “I can’t fucking wait until you’re cleared. I’m going to fuck you senseless.”

I’m breathing heavily, trying to talk myself down since I know that if Maxie isn’t already here, she’ll be here any minute.

“You didn’t come,” he observes, still trying to control his breathing

“It’s okay,” I lie. “No time. It was hot… next time.” I smile.

And this is why you don’t engage the enemy.

*-*

“You engaged the enemy!” Maxie says the moment I walk into the parlor. It’s only a few feet away from Christian’s office and I really didn’t have time to compose myself before I got the notice over the two-way that she had arrived.

“What?” I say. Surely, she can’t be reading my reactions that incorrectly.

“You engaged. You’re all flustered and flushed like you just had sex.” Close, but no cigar.

“No, I’m all flustered and flushed like I wish I just had sex!” I retort sharply. I’m wound tighter now than I was before! The platinum ring was waved in my face and snatched away before I could get it!

“Well, why are you walking around dressed like that?” she accuses. “Are you trying to tempt the hands of fate? And you bitch! What have you been doing? You look like a size four in just as many weeks after delivery.” I put both hands over my stomach.

“You’re sweet, but no,” I say, retrieving my shawl from the coat tree before sitting next to her on the sofa. I’m glad that someone had the foresight to light the fireplace in here. “Where’s Mindy?”

“Still at daycare. I left the office early to run a few errands. Don’t change the subject.” She gestures at my body. “What gives?” I shrug.

“Nothing really,” I tell her. “It’s just the breastfeeding, the belly-binding and the beginning core yoga…”

“Well, it must be the yoga,” she says, “unless it’s the belly-binding. I never really got into that.”

“I’m telling you, it’s a combination of everything,” I tell her. “I started with the post-partum belly belt right after I delivered and went straight to the belly-binding with the essential oils as soon as I got home. I waited two weeks before I started core yoga, which is nothing more than the breathing and the combination of the tightening and loosening of the diaphragm and Kegels, pulling everything in towards your chest and spine and releasing it. I’ll give you a website so that you can start doing that. If you don’t already have abs of steel, it’s a great place to start. I hate to tell you, but I’ve got a real advantage over you with the breastfeeding.” She frowns.

“How so?” she asks, accusingly. I raise my eyebrows at her.

“Geez, doctor, really? Food factory for two babies?” I reply, pointing to myself and stating the obvious.

“Oh, yeah, that,” she says. “I thought you had some other secret I wasn’t aware of.”

“Unfortunately, none of those things are doing much for the boobs and the ass. The belly-wrap helps with my hips a bit, but they’re still pretty round to accommodate the butt.”

“I’d kill for that shape,” she confesses. “I know you’re accustomed to being more compact, but right now, you look like a MILF.”

“Oh, stop it,” I say, waving her off in disbelief. “And just so that you know, you’re not completely wrong. I did engage the enemy, but we were both completely dressed and it wasn’t even planned. He called me down to his office to talk to him about something—which, come to think of it, we didn’t even talk about—and he attacked on sight. There was a lot of kissing and heavy petty and I didn’t want to leave him like that, so I finished him off and that was it.”

“You finished him off?” she asks.

“Yes.”

“He didn’t finish you off?”

“No.”

“Well, why the hell not?” she asks. What?

“You’re fucking crazy; you know that?” I accuse. “A minute ago, you were spouting ‘don’t engage the enemy,’ and now you’re asking why I didn’t let him finish me off?”

“Well, you had already engaged and you guys were fully clothed, so there was no danger. So why didn’t he finish you off?” I sigh heavily at her, exasperated.

“Well, gee, coach,” I say sarcastically, “you sent me into the game with one command—do not engage the enemy. When I realized that the only way for me to get off would require partially disrobing, said command came back to me, so I disengaged.”

“You’re damn-near naked already!” she says, gesturing to my very revealing genie pants. “What was the big deal?”

“I’m wearing spanks!” I declare. Her face changes.

“Oh! Okay. Yeah, those things are like Fort Knox—nothing in, nothing out.”

“Tell me about it!” Not even a dry-fuck orgasm! After a few moments of silence for the one that got away, she changes the subject again.

“Valerie came to see me yesterday.” Oh, great.

“Professionally?” Why did I ask the question?

“I wouldn’t be telling you if she had.”

“I know,” I say, “I don’t know why I asked that. Lack of sex, I think.”

“You are at least getting off, aren’t you?” she asks. I shake my head. She glares at me. I shake my head again. “Why not?”

“I don’t have the time,” I tell her. “Just because I’m at home doesn’t mean I’m not busy. I’m swamped with things to do. I fall asleep everywhere. I could sleep standing up. I could fall asleep right now.”

“Since before you had the babies?” I nod. “Are you insane? You’re going to lose your fucking mind! Get in bed and pop one off—soon! I’m not kidding, Ana. This is for your health, mental and physical. Do it!”

“Okay! Okay!” I feel vehemently uncomfortable with my friend encouraging me—no, more like ordering me to masturbate. “I’ll wiggle the bean. Now get back to Val.” She rolls her eyes at me.

“She was talking about you… and the babies.”

“What brought that up?” I ask.

“She saw in the paper… or on the internet or something,” she says. “You and your PA were at Marshall Fields on Wednesday?” I think back for a minute.

“Oooh, yeah. So, it was a ‘bash Ana’ session. How did that go?” I ask, unassuming.

“Not so much… well, not at first,” she says. “She was talking about how good you looked to have just had twins and that people were going to start talking about you like Beyoncé when she had Blue Ivy…”

“And the fact that nobody thought she carried Blue Ivy,” I say. I saw that as another Valerie dig.

“Right. She was talking about still wanting to be Mackenzie’s godmother. She didn’t say anything about Michael. It was like she didn’t know Michael existed.” That’s odd. She’s picking and choosing between children that she’ll probably never get within ten feet of.

“She says you hate her.” I don’t respond. I heard that from Christian, too. Part of me does, I think, for taking away one of my best friends. “The way she says it, she thinks you hate her through no fault of her own.”

“What?” I say, my face no doubt distorted beyond recognition.

“To hear her tell it, she sees herself as the victim, that you’ve changed so drastically that you don’t want her around anymore.” I am so fucking confused now.

“So, let me see if I understand this correctly. Just out of nowhere, I turned into this rich, socialite bitch who just started hating her and treating her like shit and that’s why she’s treating me like shit now?” I ask incredulously.

“Yeah, pretty much. She can’t quite grasp the fact that we’ve all been there for the entire breakdown. She didn’t even address the fact that nobody else really speaks to her and anytime anybody brings it to her attention, she turns into a cat. She was acting all bruised and broken hearted that you would turn on her like this.” Am I in the Twilight Zone?

“Should I call her?” I ask, already knowing the answer, but hopeful nonetheless.

“I wouldn’t,” Maxie says. “By the end of the conversation, you were back to being a selfish cow bitch who obviously had someone else carry your babies and probably faked your accident for attention.” I roll my eyes.

“Oy vey,” I lament, shaking my head.

“It was crazy,” Maxie continues, “it was like talking to two completely different people in a matter of fifteen minutes. I told her that I think she’s bipolar and I think she needs to talk to someone professional, maybe even medically.”

“Whoa! How did that go over?” I ask.

“Now, she’s not talking to me either,” Maxie says, sitting back on the sofa.

“You’re kidding.”

“You know me,” she says, “I was willing to go toe to toe with Christian and your father when your health was at stake. You all may have felt that I went about it the wrong way, but still would have done it. I don’t pull punches and I don’t mince words and you know that I don’t, but I’m not her doctor. I can’t force her to do anything; I can only make a suggestion. My suggestion is that whatever’s going on in her life, whatever has happened in her mind, she needs help. She needs medication or something, but she needs to talk to a doctor. The way that she’s thinking is not healthy, it’s not logical, and she needs to talk to a doctor.” I sigh.

“Christian said that he had that talk with Elliot but nobody can make her do anything.”

“Well, let’s just hope it doesn’t get to a point where someone has to make that decision for her.”

*-*

I’m so tired. I fell asleep in the recliner again and I’ve finally dragged my ass up to bed. I have just enough time to get a couple more hours of sleep before the twins are due to wake. I slide out of my sandals and genie pants when I hear the shower running. I was so sleepy that I didn’t even notice that Christian was already here. I go to his en suite as I’m pulling my crop top off—a dangerous situation, I know, but I’ll just say goodnight since I can barely keep my eyes open.

When I pull my top over my head, I’m greeted by a sight that stops me dead in my tracks. The bathroom is full of steam. My husband is in his shower, gloriously naked and hot. This was a bad idea, but I didn’t know how bad it was just yet.

Christian is standing there, wet and glistening from head to toe. Water is beading off of his skin and muscles are protruding and contracting all over his body. His hand is against the glass to steady him, somehow clinging to it and one leg is bent, his foot up on the ledge that spans around the floor of the shower. His head is down, his eyes are closed, and his hair is wet—dark and falling in curly tendrils over his face. God, he looks magnificent, like the beautiful bronze statues of the National Archeological Museum in Greece.

I move closer to him and discover that he’s fisting his erection, white-knuckled and hard, moaning in his chest and slightly trembling with each pull. I’m instantly hot as I move to the front of him, watching him meticulously gripping his dick, pleasuring himself inside some kind of white film thing that stretches over his shaft with each pull down to the base and draws out an intense moan with each push back up to his, no doubt, swollen and sensitive head.

I put my hand against the glass against his, remembering how I felt when he fucked me from behind in Paris, telling me to grab the grates of the Eiffel Tower. I swallow hard and part my lips, taking deep breaths as I watch my man masturbate—shivering with pleasure as the water ripples off his body. I don’t know how long I stand there, but he never opens his eyes, lost in the feeling of ecstasy wrapped around his dick. The closer he gets to exploding, the hotter I get watching him, until he finally calls out an expletive and comes violently inside of the… thing, whatever it is.

Suddenly, while he’s breathing heavily and shivering in the shower, I feel like a voyeur. As ice water flows through my libido, I feel hotly jealous of this thing in his hand wrapped around his dick swallowing his cum while I stand idly by and watch. Would I have felt better to have participated, even though he couldn’t come inside me? Couldn’t thrust inside me? I don’t know, but suddenly, I need to be anywhere but here.

I remove my hand from the glass and slowly back away, careful not to disturb anything on my way out. I bend down and pick up my crop top, managing to escape the en suite undetected. My throat is dry, like needles prickling in the back of my throat. I can’t be here when he comes out. I have no idea what to say to him if I saw him right now. I’m not angry, I just feel empty not being able to have him inside me and downright stupid for being jealous of some little masturbating toy thingy that brought my husband to a shivering orgasm right before my eyes.

But yes, I’m jealous.

I gather my clothes and shoes and toss them in hamper in my dressing room, shoes and all. I quickly step out of the cursed spanks and put on an oversized U-Dub jersey and a pair of biker shorts. When I come out of the dressing room, I still hear the shower going. Yes, he usually needs two, and I don’t know if that was his first or his second. Unable to shake my feeling of dejection, I wipe away a tear that has fallen and leave our bedroom and close the door behind me, resolved to sleep in the recliner until the children awaken.

*-*

Even I have to admit that I’ve been a force not to be reckoned with over the next two days. I’m wound up and tense, angry and snapping at people for no reason all day Tuesday. I actually hear Gail say that I was worse that Christian used to be. I couldn’t be angry with them. Nothing I do is helping—not dancing, not yoga, not even Atlantis. And I stay away from Christian. I don’t have the nerve to look him in the eyes after watching him garner such pleasure from the magic toy the other night and I don’t know how to confront how inadequate it makes me feel right now. Maxie had said something before she left on Monday that stuck with me:

“You should have let him get you off. He can fuck a hole in a donut right now; it’s not like you can ride B.O.B. and get the same stimulation.”

It appears that’s exactly what he did. Well, not a hole in a donut, but a hole in something. I’m not upset with him for doing that; I’m just feeling inadequate because it wasn’t me.

By Wednesday, nobody wants to be around me because I’m downright unbearable. I stay to myself most of the day. I even only talk to Marilyn by email and text and hide out in the twins’ nursery for most of the time, actually taking naps in the rocking chairs. I was actually able to do that for the entire day and night. I’ve become such a disagreeable bitch that no one wants to deal with me.

When Gail comes to help me with the babies for the 9:30 feeding that night, I apologize to her for my behavior, telling her that I’m under a lot of stress and very tense right now. I promise to try to get it under control in the days to come. She nods her understanding and smiles. We feed the children and she seems completely wiped out. Mikey goes right back to sleep, so I send her to bed while I tend to Minnie. Always the fussy one, it takes twenty more minutes to get her settled, but she finally yawns and closes her sleepy little eyes. I put Minnie down and check on Mikey. They’re both fast asleep, fed and content for the moment, thank God.

I go to our bedroom and the bed is still empty. He’s not in the sitting room either. I check both en suites and they’re both empty. I don’t know why I breathe a sigh of relief. I’m going to have to face him sooner or later. I brush my teeth and my hair, put on a nightshirt and climb into bed. I just sit there for a moment, flustered and confused and anxious as fuck. I don’t know what’s wrong with me, why I feel this way about seeing my husband pleasure himself, but I know I can’t take feeling like this anymore.

I throw the covers off of me and lie flat on the bed. I take a few deep breaths and try to relax. The flannel nightshirt is not helping and the nursing bra is very uncomfortable on my dry, sore nipples right now. I opt to sleep without one tonight, going back to the bathroom to get the olive oil to soothe the dryness. I put my shirt back on, but apply a little oil to each nipple and massage them through my open shirt.

The relief is immediate. I bring the olive oil into the bedroom and place it by the nightstand to put a little more on my aching areola and nipples. Once the oil gets into the skin and soothes the ache, the feeling soon turns to arousal. I stop, feeling a little guilty for touching myself, but aching for the small amount of relief it brought just for that moment… just a moment of not feeling flustered or confused or anxious or wound so tight that I can’t even think straight.

I have to admit that in addition to immense jealousy and little humiliation that he wasn’t playing with me instead of that goddamn toy, I was highly aroused watching him get off in his shower, so lost in his passion that he could barely stand and he didn’t even notice I was there.

I lie back on the bed and pinch my nipple again, surprised at how good it feels. I close my eyes and pinch them both, rolling them between an oily fingers and thumbs, like Christian would.

Yes… like Christian would…

I find myself arching into my own hands, cupping my own breasts, kneading and pinching, imagining that my hands are my husband’s hands. I moan in my chest at his touch. I close my eyes and slide my oiled hand down to my hot, aching clit. One stroke is like fire. I bite my lip to keep from crying out. Another stroke has me squirming in the bed, opening my legs wide and exposing myself to my hand…

His hand…

“Yes…”

I need him. I need him to touch me… just like this…

I roll my oily fingers over my clit again and again and again, working myself into that frenzy that I need to release this tension that I’ve been holding for… how long? I don’t know. We’ve never not made love… well, we have but… oh, don’t think about that now.

“Mmm…”

It feels so good. I need it so bad. I imagine him over me, kissing me, sucking my nipple, rubbing my clit, worshipping my body like only he does.

“Ooooo…”

I’m envisioning all of the hot things that have ignited me…

Christian grabbing my ass through those genie pants and grinding me against him…
Those hot orgasms during the babymoon…
Riding him hard while his hands were tied to the bed…
Sitting on his lap and him fucking me from behind while he pinches my tender nipples…
His beautiful body all wet and strained right before he came in the shower…

“Aahh!”

Almost there, I’m almost there. My Adonis. No one has ever loved me like my Adonis. He makes my body sing in ways I never thought possible. I miss his touch so much. I ache for him, yearn for him, my body calls for him, comes only for him…

I have crazy flashes of hundreds of positions and orgasms with my sex god husband, and just as I’m about to come, I breathe the litany that is sure to tip me over the edge.

“Christian…”

Just then, a heavy hand stops my ministrations and I’m jolted from my orgasmic ascent back to the real world. His gray eyes are right in my face, glaring at me, accusing, I think, as he hovers over me and stills my hand. Why did he make me stop? I was almost there! My heart is aching as is my body, and I can only release a shuddering breath as he glares at me with what looks like pure hatred and anger in his eyes.

He can’t be mad at me! How can he be mad at me?

I don’t know what to say… or do. He’s looking at me like I’ve betrayed him,  making me feel like I’ve cheated on him, but I know I haven’t. I’ve watched him jacking off, lost in pure agonized ecstasy just a few days ago. Yet, I feel like I’ve done something wrong, and that’s how he’s looking at me right now. I just lie there in carnal conviction, trying and failing to keep my bottom lip from trembling. Disappointment and heartache flood over me as my long-awaited orgasm sinks back into my core, away from my reach. Satisfaction ebbs into darkness and my inner bitch falls to her knees, naked, with her arms wrapped around herself, wailing mourning sobs at its departure… sobs that I hear echoing in my ears.

His face changes immediately; it morphs into something else… something softer. I don’t know. Maybe I’m seeing things because my eyes are clouded by tears. His fingers gently push mine aside, and my breath is snatched away by his probing hands expertly massaging my clit. I vaguely hear something in the back of my head about engaging the enemy, but I don’t care. My hands fall helplessly to my sides and I push my body back into the bed as the pleasure is much deeper than I was bringing to myself. His eyes never leave mine and he never says a word as two fingers masterfully rub my clit in an upward and circular motion, causing me to sob in my chest from the pleasure and the rush of emotion that I can’t control. It feels so good that it would completely break me if he doesn’t let me come. I might run from the house screaming in my nightshirt and bare feet if he were to deny me now.

He’s relentless with his stroke, bringing his face closer to mine as I rise higher and higher, sobbing deeper and harder as he brings me closer and closer to my release. I clench my fists beside me and prepare for the ultimate denial as the burn becomes so intense that it’s almost painful. Just as I reach that precipice, Christian’s free hand grabs my nape and he quickly lifts my head so that my lips fall open to him, allowing him to kiss me—hotly and passionately, his tongue filling my mouth roaming every crevice as his fingers continue to work my burning, aching clit.

I explode in several directions, shrieking and crying into his mouth and jerking violently, reaching for anything that will ground me from the burning, searing flames between my legs. I can’t stand it! It’s too intense! Over and over, it rings from my chest, through my stomach, through that sensitive bundle of nerves that ached and ached and ached for release; and the kiss that essentially gagged me from crying out keeps the explosion internal, combustible, and nearly caused me to go insane.

An eternity later, my throat hurts. I can barely breathe. I’m panting and wheezing like a wounded animal. I’m drenched in my own sweat and tears and I can’t move. I feel him hovering over me, but I can’t open my eyes. His hand strokes the hair stuck to my face and I hear a soothing “Ssshhhh.” My body shudders from the aftershocks of my orgasms, from weeping, from not being able to cry out. He wraps his arms around me, cuddling me to his body, calming my tremors and stroking my hair and face, kissing my tears away until I fall asleep.


CHRISTIAN

I can hardly believe what I’m seeing! I come to my bedroom after I’ve been toiling over a solution to her issue with GEH ownership and find her writhing in bed fucking herself thinking of God only knows what! God only knows who! I was right downstairs! We’re suffering from the same fucking frustration! I’ve been trying to spare her because I want to explode from the need to be inside her! If it weren’t for those goddamn eggs, I think my head would pop off!

But now, here I stand watching her in the throes of passion in our bed just about to reach her climax while I’m downstairs pulling my goddamn hair out! She breathes something and my eyes narrow. I’m furious! I move over to her and still her hand, just like I would one of my naughty subs when I found them pleasuring themselves without my permission. I know the ache is infernal. The pain is physical and the frustration is unbearable—I could see it in the surprise in her eyes. My hand is firm on hers and I glare at her, hard. I’m seething! I was right downstairs! Are you enjoying yourself?!

But what I see in her face at that moment causes me to freeze… and what I hear… and what I heard. She’s… crying… no… sobbing… anguished. Her chest heaves heavily and she looks… God, she almost looks like she’s mourning. I don’t recognize her. I’ve seen something like this before… haven’t I? No, I don’t think I have. She lay still, looking at me, her eyes filling with tears, her hand still covering her sex and my hand covering hers. Her chest is heaving and the sounds coming from her are pained… aching… begging. The most sorrowful sounds… God, they tear right through me… just like her sad, broken, glassy blue eyes.

Why didn’t she just come to me? Why didn’t she just tell me that she needed me? I need her, too.

Then, my brain drifts back to what I heard when I came into the room, right before I stopped her hand. I sift through the red fury in my head and eyes and focus on the gentle sound that wafted to my ears…

“Christian…”

She did. She did come to me. Maybe not physically, but in her head and her heart, she came to me. I gaze into her heart, my poor broken Butterfly, what I’ve reduced her to—trying to spare her by fucking those goddamn eggs, I’ve denied her, and now she’s aching and wanting… and I’ve denied her again. No, this time, I’ve forbidden her. And she’s completely broken.

My poor, beautiful Butterfly.

Her chest is still heaving when I push her hand aside. I recognize the oil immediately as the olive oil that she uses for her tender breasts. I know then that this wasn’t planned. It just happened, fueled by immediate need and yearning, and I’ve just made it worse.

Don’t worry, Baby… I’ll take care of you.

Using the generous amount of oil already on her clit, I begin to massage with three of my fingers. One won’t be enough. I’ve treated her like a sub, and now, I need to pull on some of my old knowledge… of when I denied them orgasms for weeks as a punishment, bringing them to the brink of sanity, then sending them away frustrated only to continue the game week after week. The longest I played that game was six weekends before that submissive safeworded, and I let her come.

Six weeks… how ironic.

Her orgasm was explosive. She was chained to the ceiling in my playroom and wailed her safeword as her body trembled. I stopped stimulation immediately and she wept, much like Butterfly is weeping now, but I felt nothing for her then. I told her that she could come, finished her off with a wand, and left her hanging there for a while.

But not my Butterfly.

I feel everything right now, raw and wanting and aching—pleasure and pain concentrated in this tight bundle of nerves as she whimpers helplessly under my intense ministrations. I maintain her gaze as she heaves and sobs, her clit hot and sharp like a thousand tiny little knives. I only change my stroke enough to gather a bit of her arousal from her opening and spread it around her inner lips, never stopping the pressure on her clit. It doesn’t take long for her to rise; she was already there, but I know it’s not the same. It’s not the same pressure—her doing it herself—as when I do it.

That’s it, baby… I’ve got you.

Her sobs sink into her chest—deep, mournful cries that beseech, coming from the deepest part of her soul, wringing anguish and pleasure at the same time.

Don’t stop, Grey. No matter what happens, don’t stop.

I move closer to her. I can’t see her eyes through her tears, but I maintain eye-contact as I continue to stimulate the pebbling ball of flesh, so hard and throbbing. Her groans are short and clipped, matching her sobbing breaths. Her hands are fisted at her sides. Her orgasm has already started and I don’t even think she knows it; her eyes haven’t changed yet, but the muscles in her pelvis, at her mans right at the top of her pussy, are hard as a rock—pulsing hard against my palm. I’ll have to restrain her, to gag her somehow or her cries will wake the dead.

I don’t stop the steady stimulation of her clit—deep and searing, like I’m working the pain out of a sore muscle. This is not tender. It can’t be. It has to be firm, to pull out the days and weeks of denial and the frustration that I imposed upon her just moments ago. And now, the second phase of her orgasm has begun, as her sobs become guttural and her body starts to jerk. Her weeps almost sound like wailing now and she still doesn’t take her eyes off mine. That small bundle of nerves has now become one hard block under my fingers and I continue kneading the knot as she stiffens. She’s going to come so hard…

When the first unstoppable wave begins and I see the blue change in her eyes, I lift her head at the back of her neck to immobilize her and cover her mouth with mine, creating a seal so that no sound escapes, but also sucking to pull in her cries as they release. God, she’s feral… primitive… it’s so goddamn hot! I thrust my tongue deep into her mouth, not only to act as a gag, but also to taste the secretions from her cheeks—the sweet juice that releases when she comes. God, she’s irresistible. I moan along with her as I hold her captive, gobbling her shamelessly, my tongue roaming and tasting and fueling my own desire for her. She tastes divine. I continue firmly and relentlessly massaging her clit as it pounds against my fingers; I won’t stop until it stops stabbing against me, and I know that she’s experiencing wave after agonizing wave of orgasm.

Oh, yes, Butterfly… release it all to me.

She’s wailing and sobbing and mourning through her repeated orgasms and I know what she’s feeling. I’ve seen it many times after a sub released after being denied for so long, but never held them… never loved them… never kissed them… never felt their euphoric pain and made sure to see the pleasure through to the very end. I only made them come, then left them there, wherever they were. Not this time. This time, it has to be complete, down to her soul and her very being. Her pelvis throbs hard in my hand as her primitive weeping cries wane in my mouth and I don’t stop until the stabbing stops against the pads of my fingers. My dick is aching, hard, painful, and tight in my boxers imagining the spongy inside of her vibrating, clenching, pulsing pussy right now. I have to breathe through my erection, it hurts so bad. I gather my love against me and take a deep breath, breathing her in, soothing her while I let her fragrance soothe me.

Don’t cry, I will her as I cuddle her close to me, kissing her face over and over and stroking her hair. Please, don’t cry…

I wrap my legs and a blanket around her trembling, wrung body, hold her close to me, and rock her to sleep.

*-*

She still hasn’t stirred when I return to bed after Gail and I have tended to the twins and gotten them settled back in their cribs… and I still haven’t slept. Part of me thinks it’s because I’m yet unsatisfied, having spent every night for the past five nights with a Tenga egg. The other part of me needs to keep watch over my wife, hoping that I haven’t caused damage to her delicate psyche after my silent accusation. No words passed between us when I came into the bedroom this evening, but I don’t need anyone to tell me that I’m an extremely intense man. I’ve used that intensity more than once to cause seasoned businessmen to break into cold sweats in the boardroom, and this evening, it brought my fragile wife and the mother of my children to heart-wrenching sobs that didn’t cease even through what I know were soul-shattering orgasms.

Her angelic face is in a contented, restful state as she sleeps and I wonder if she’s dreaming. What’s going on behind those eyelids right now? Is she running through meadows with our children—advanced to toddlers in her dreams? Maybe she’s floating on the water somewhere, blissfully tranquil without a care in the world. Or maybe she’s just resting in silent solace, no pictures disturbing her slumber whatsoever.

Almost on cue, her breathing changes and she whimpers a bit. Sighs, maybe? I don’t know. I can’t tell. Her head turns on my arm and after a beat, her eyes blink open. She looks at me as if she doesn’t remember where she is. Her gaze doesn’t change, and I think she still doesn’t remember. Probably still caught on the remnants of her dream, still drifting on an ocean somewhere…

I slide my arm from under her head until my hand rests at her nape again. Gently cupping her neck there, I press kisses on both of her eyelids. A soft, shuddering breath reminds me of the sobs from earlier this evening, and my chest aches. My lips move to her cheeks, down her jawbone, and finally to her mouth, pressing a soft, searing, yearning kiss there, prodding and massaging until another whimper escapes her throat.

Oh… she’s scrumptious.

I allow my tongue to lap in her flavor a few more times before I slowly pull my lips from hers, just barely. Only breaths away from her mouth and never taking my eyes from her swollen lips, I whisper,

“Touch me.”

Her small hands immediately move to rummage through my hair. Perfect. I take her mouth again, one last soft but searing kiss before my lips move to her jaw, then her neck. She sighs her protest at the parting of our lips, but is soon panting when my teeth nip the tender meat of her neck and my tongue lines the skin along her clavicle. A harsh intake of breath signals her arousal as my lips travel down her chest to her swollen heavy breasts. Without breaking contact with the soft, supple mounds, I reach to the night stand for the olive oil left there from earlier in the evening and apply liberal amounts to my fingers. I seek out her nipples and gently massage the oil onto the tender tips while I kiss and nip the plump, round glands.

“Christian!” My name is a breathy gasp. I hardly recognize it. She’s on fire, igniting and burning with sensual need all over again like I hadn’t driven her to the brink of emotional and sexual insanity just hours ago, but she needed this. More than anything at this moment, she needed this.

I move my mouth to one nipple, then the other, giving each a long lick then a gentle suck. She arches her back, offering herself to me like a sexy little nymph… and it drives me wild. It makes me want her, but not to fuck her. It makes me want to satisfy her, to make her come, to make her writhe in pleasure and pulsate in ecstasy until her body is sated beyond measure, and all unpleasant memories of last night are totally erased. I suck her tender nipple again and she sighs and moans, grasping my head and spurring me on. One tiny drop of her milk releases and I can’t resist licking it from her nipple.

It’s sweet. Somehow, I knew it would be.

Still cupping and massaging her full, tender breasts, I begin my trek down her body, raining kisses down her torso, her abdomen, to her pubic hairline.

Her pubic hairline… this is new.

Butterfly is normally always waxed or shaven. Earlier, I hadn’t noticed that a bit of hair had grown over her pussy—soft and silky with only the slightest curl. I run my tongue along the top of the hairline, then bury my nose in it, taking a deep breath.

“Oh, God,” I moan into her pussy. Her musky smell sends a jolt of fire right to my dick. Fuck, it aches so bad and it’s hard as a goddamn rock! I stiffen my tongue and tease the top opening of her lips. She tries to control her breathing. She knows what’s coming. Using the stiffness of my tongue to part the soft hairs and her hot lips, I lick slowly, moving further into her wetness with each lick. She keeps her hips still to absorb the sensation, delicate whimpers escaping her throat and open mouth with each pass.

Oh, baby, I’m not sure I can take much more of this.

The next two passes bring my tongue to the hood of her clit and I taste the olive oil from earlier mixed with a slight hint of her previous arousal spread there by my fingers. I can’t resist softening my tongue and lapping the delicious flavor, completely forgetting my intention of a slow descent to her pleasure center. She cries out in unrestrained ecstasy and Greystone peeks shamelessly out of the waistband of my boxer briefs, seeking his counterpart and weeping precum as he knows he won’t be able to indulge. The elastic rubs against the tender rim of my head and I have to remain still to keep it from burning.

I dive hungrily into her sex, alternating between gentle licks and flicks to devouring suckles of the pebbling, throbbing clit. I’m voracious and she’s shamelessly wanton. Between the two of us, we are filling insatiable appetites desperate to be curbed. I haven’t tasted her pussy in weeks… weeks! A delicacy I have needlessly denied myself in a misguided attempt to allow her respite and peace from caring for newborn twins on a crazy schedule. In return, she hasn’t received the mind-blowing orgasms that I know my skills can render upon her. As a result, we’ve both been in a state of confusion, madness, and frustration.

Her first orgasm ripples through her with the soft, coaxing licks and I taste the slight slide of her juices on my tongue. It only fuels the fire and I have to have more of her. My dick now bangs mercilessly against my stomach and I ignore the chaffing feeling of the elastic against the tender head. My aching balls are taking precedent, anyway and I have to open my legs and press them against the mattress for relief. I ignore her cries to stop and clamp down hard on her pebbled clit, calling louder to me than her mouth. She grasps my hair hard, begging, nearly crying, then almost seconds later, pushing her pussy into my suckling lips. I wrap my arms around her hips, now rising off the bed with no help from me, and rest my hands back on her deliciously plump breasts.

God, she is delicious and she feels magnificent! My mouth is open, wide open over her pussy, devouring her clit and core with no mercy and sucking dry every bit of juice that escapes and trust me, she is pouring! The flow of her sweet, creamy arousal is intoxicating and endless, and I have hit a spot and an angle that just keeps it coming. My God, at this rate, I’m sure to dry her out, but I dare not stop. She’s so turned on, she’s saying such deliciously nasty things to me:

“Eat me, baby…”
“Fuck me…”
“Yes… right there…”
“Don’t stop…”
“Eat it… Eat it deep…”
“Imma come so hard… Fuck!”

Her voice is a harsh, sensuous whisper and her body is stroking into me deliciously and rhythmically. I have to move my body to match her stroke for stroke and we are fucking, madly! She feels so fucking good and tastes so fucking good…. We are locked together, synchronized in our movements. I feel her body start to stiffen and her tone gets higher as she coaches me not to stop.

Not on your life.

“That’s it… right there… right there… harder… harder… don’t stop… don’t stop… don’t… don’t…”

A shrill cry rips from her body as her creamy arousal coats my tongue, not a squirt, but a thick, delicious cream almost like a small ejaculation and I gobble it up while keeping the motion we had set before her body stiffened in orgasm. She cries again in pleasure, begging me not to relent as she rides out this roller coaster. Her breasts are seeping milk over my hands and her body’s euphoric release and my constant motion to keep her orgasm going causes me to forget—or not realize—something else.

“Mmmmmmmmmmmmmmm! Mmmmm! Mmmmmm! Mmmm! Mmmm! Mmmmmmm!”

Hot shots of semen drench my boxer briefs as I come violently all over myself, muffling my moans in her vagina. My dick and balls are pulsing madly between me and the mattress as my mindless movements to satisfy my wife masturbated my dick between my body and the mattress. Butterfly’s explosion into my mouth was that last erotic push that I needed to tip me over the edge and now, I am deliciously and happily sated from both ends as I push into the mattress and eek out the rest of the orgasm while I lap deliciously at the remaining juices from my wife’s tender, pulsing pussy.

*-*

“You were aching,” I tell her. She’s lying on her stomach, hugging the pillow while I caress her back. I’ve removed my T-shirt and cum-soaked boxer briefs and lay next to her. Finally sated and relaxed, she opens her eyes and looks at me questioning.

“Hmm?” she asks as we lay naked next to one another.

“You were aching,” I repeat, stroking her spine. “Your body was aching. I could see it in your face. It wasn’t just that I stopped you from touching yourself. You were walking around looking like a sexpot for several days and then, today—well, yesterday—I didn’t see you at all, not once the whole day. I knew that you were here because the staff prepared to part like the Red Sea when I entered the room and they thought I was you.”

Her face betrays her conviction. She was irritated and she was avoiding me… and she was clearly aching for me. But why?

“Why didn’t you come for me?” I ask her. “Why did you suffer through the whole day and then decide to masturbate instead of coming to get me?”

Her face falls. It’s almost like she’s embarrassed. I stroke her hair, pushing it behind her ear in a gentle gesture, coaxing her to talk to me… to tell me why she would allow herself to suffer instead of coming to get me. Since she had the babies, she had gotten me off twice, and she hadn’t come once. Four weeks and not once! I’ve been coming into those damn eggs to keep from attacking her, and she hadn’t come once. I can tell.

“I… wanted to,” she said, her breath soft. “I wanted to touch you… to have you touch me, but I wanted you so much… want you so much, I knew I would fuck you. I wouldn’t be able to stop myself…”

“I would’ve stopped you,” I tell her.

“Why tempt the hands of fate?” she says sadly with a shrug. I stroke her hair again. “Even now, if you cover me with your body, I won’t be able to stop you. I crave you—your touch, your smell, to feel you inside of me—I crave you, so much that it’s painful sometimes, and if you tried to love me right now, I would welcome it, and I wouldn’t stop you.”

Her words go right to my heart, and if I’m honest, my dick, too. But I can control this. I have to be strong for both of us.

“I saw you.”

I raised my eyes to her. Saw me what?

“Huh?”

“I saw you… in the shower a couple of days ago…”

In the shower? She saw me in the shower? Oh, shit. She saw me in the shower! That means she saw me masturbating and didn’t say anything, and I was just asking her why she didn’t come to me.

“You were so beautiful,” she says, dreamily, almost whispering. “Your body was hard and your dick was hard and you had completely lost control. You looked so good, so hot. When I was masturbating, that’s one of the things I was thinking of… the pleasure and abandon that was on your face; every muscle in your body taut with pleasure and the water dripping in streams and rolling off your body, touching where I couldn’t touch at that moment or it would ruin the orgasm… an orgasm that I wasn’t bringing to you.”

I frown deeply. She… what? She can’t be!

tenga“Baby,” I say incredulously. “Tell me that you’re not telling me that you avoided me for an entire day because you were jealous… of a Tenga egg.”

“Is that what it was?” she says, softly. “All I know is that it was bringing you amazing pleasure—shivering pleasure—and it wasn’t me,” she adds shyly.

“Butterfly,” I say, sliding closer to her. “It does feel amazing, I’ll admit that, but it’s just a temporary substitute and a poor one at that. Nothing in this world feels like the inside of you. Even if I just hold you and kiss you and grind against you, a Tenga egg can’t do that. A Tenga egg gives me temporary physical pleasure, but it can’t make me feel the fire that you do! How could you possibly be jealous of that… thing?”

“How did you feel when you stilled my hand?” she asks. “How did you feel when you came to the bedroom and I was masturbating without you?”

Ow, that stings. Duly noted.

“We have to stop doing this to each other,” I say, bringing my lips gently to hers. “Your pleasure belongs to me, and mine belongs to you. We won’t do this again.” I kiss her temple and play in the garden. “I know we’ll want to pleasure ourselves, and that’s okay, but we won’t deny one another again. I’ll take care of you and you take care of me.”

“But,” her voice is breathy, aroused, “what if I want to fuck you? I want to fuck you right now…”

“Then you’ll trust me,” I tell her. “You’ll trust me to have the will power for both of us. Just two more weeks, baby, then we can fuck each other into the next dimension. Until then, you trust me to make sure that you’re thoroughly satisfied. No more of this aching and yearning, and I’ll come to you before I reach for Tenga, or if you like, we can play with Tenga together.” She closes her eyes as I brush her lips with mine.

“That sounds promising,” she whispers, and I take her mouth with mine, moving her pillow to eliminate the space between us and give attention to the body once again aching for my touch.


A/N: So, for those of you aching for Ana to catch him, she caught him. What do you think of that? It’s strange, too, because I wouldn’t want my husband to catch me masturbating either, although in the past, he has caught me… and then, like Christian, he took over. What about you?

Pictures of places, cars, fashion, etc., can be found at  https://www.pinterest.com/ladeeceo/becoming-dr-grey/

You can join my mailing list on the “Contact Me” page. Just click the link and it will lead you to a form to join the list.

Love and handcuffs 🙂 
Lynn X

Becoming Dr. Grey: Chapter 59—It Is What It Is

vip-mehta

In memory of Vip. We’ll miss you, Buddy. RIP…

It is with a very heavy heart that I dedicate this chapter to one of the very first people who followed my story when I posted it on Fanfiction in 2013. He was one of my first friends and followers on my author’s page on Facebook, and he stayed until his last. I discovered that Vip Mehta passed away a week ago and even though we never met in person, it’s hard to say goodbye to one of your “day ones.” Please keep his wife and son in your prayers. I couldn’t imagine this kind of loss in my life.

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…

Chapter 59—It Is What It Is

CHRISTIAN

I’ve just opened an email from Broadmoor that has been copied to me from Marilyn that they have narrowed the choices down to two couples that would like to sponsor us, asking if we have any objections. That, I have to say, was a tense conversation, too. Not the country club—we’d settled and agreed on that already, but Marilyn. Watching her in action, I see why Bronson couldn’t keep up with her. After talking to her, I’m surprised that Garrett could tame her at all.

“I realize that it was a tense situation when Anastasia was in labor,” I say to her the first opportunity I get to speak to her after the twins are born, “but I will thank you not to take that tone with me that you did over the phone while my wife was being transported to the hospital.”

I had caught her on the lower level of the Crossing headed towards Butterfly’s office. She raised her head from her tablet to hear what I had to say, but swiped the tablet to closed its contents and concentrate on our conversation once I had stated my piece.

“Duly noted,” she says, squaring off with me, “And I will thank you to do the same.” I raise a shocked eyebrow at her.

“Excuse me?” I say, taken aback by her brazenness. She folds her arms defiantly and her brow furrows slightly.

“Did I stutter?” she asks, clearly. “Did you not comprehend the words of your own request?”

“It was not a request,” I say.

“Good. We understand each other, because neither was mine,” she retorts. I’m completely appalled by her reaction. The only other person who has ever squared off with me like this is Anastasia, and I fell in love with her. As I have no intention of falling in love with this woman, she needs to recognize exactly who the fuck she’s dealing with.

“Ms. Caldwell, you seem to forget that you are currently in my home where you are employed and enjoy a very generous salary, I might add. In fact, I purchased the vehicle that you currently drive and I pay the bill attached to the expense account of the credit card that you use so liberally. One could say that the fact that you take these liberties in speaking to me this way could place you in a very precarious position.” She doesn’t take down to the veiled threat. She doesn’t even flinch.

“And make no mistake, Mr. Grey, you can have that card and that vehicle back anytime you like if you think it gives you purchase to treat me like one of your peons.” Her eyes are sharp as she speaks to me and I can hardly believe she’s taking this tone with me. “I’ve worked for Ana for several years and in that time, she has never barked at me. I will not extend that privilege to you, either, especially since my boss assures me that I don’t work for you.” She turns to face me head on and closes the large gap between us to about two feet.

“I don’t want to have a showdown with you,” she says, impassively. “I don’t have a problem with you. I never have. I see no reason to start now, but I won’t be treated like some subservient nobody because you think I’m one of those people who should bow down to you. Ana never treated me like that, which is why I’ve stayed with her for so long. I don’t work for you, I work for her and if that situation is going to change, I will tender my resignation and I’ve already made that clear.”

I’m shocked to hear that revelation. She would rather quit than work for me, go figure.

“I will treat you with the respect that I would treat any other human being and my boss’s husband, the same as I always have. Nothing has ever changed between us; anytime you’ve ever tried to bully me, I gave it right back to you, even when Ana left and went to Montana. Don’t expect it to change because her last name is Grey, or because I have an office in your home, a car that you purchased, and card that you pay for. I didn’t ask for any of those things, and I can give them all back.”

I’m at a crossroads here. I want her to show me the respect that any other employee would show me, but she’s right. She’s not my employee. And who am I kidding? I don’t want respect; I want reverence—that level of regard that has a small sprinkle of fear in it—and she doesn’t have that for me. In fact, the respect that she has for me only extends as far as it does for Butterfly. It has nothing to do with who I am or my station in life. I could be Ray for all she’s concerned, and she probably has more respect for him than she does for me.

“It appears that we’ve come to an impasse, Ms. Caldwell,” I say, flatly.

“It appears so,” she responds. “So how do you suggest we handle it?”

We stand there momentarily squaring off with one another, staring at each other. Of course, she blinks first, and I take a victory thinking this is the end of the game, until she says, “Well?”

Hmm… no reverence.

The last thing I want is for Butterfly’s long-time personal assistant to quit because of a disagreement with me. Priming a personal assistant is very difficult. It takes a long time for them to learn your schedules, your personal preferences, your idiosyncrasies. Now is definitely not the time to upset that delicate balance. I would be pissed to beat the damn if Andrea quit because of a disagreement with Butterfly.

I’ve noticed that during this conversation, we’ve reverted to calling each other by last names when we had long since dispensed with that formality, especially since Marilyn often attends social functions with us in a friendly capacity. I’m certain she took her cue from me, when I began calling her Ms. Caldwell. Now, she stands there, defiant, with her arms folded and we focus on each other, waiting for a response, neither of us noticing that Butterfly had joined us in the hallway until she speaks.

“Is everything okay?” she says, looking from Marilyn to me and back at Marilyn, cradling one of our children in her arms, I don’t know which one.

“Well, I don’t know,” Marilyn says, briefly turning her gaze to Butterfly and then back to me. “Is it?”

I note from her stance and from something she said earlier that she has already had this conversation with Butterfly. I don’t know how that ended, but I’m certain that Butterfly made it clear that she doesn’t work for me. I can’t be angry at that because it’s true, and right now, I need to remember that. Though I may want it, the whole world doesn’t bow down to Christian Grey, even though I might think they should. There is a level of respect that I should expect from the people around me, and I can admit that Marilyn has shown me that respect, only swaying from that program when I snapped at her or attempted to belittle her. The world may be my oyster, but not all of its inhabitants are at my beck and call.

“Yes,” I say impassively. “Marilyn and I were just coming to an understanding.” My use of her first name is clearly an olive branch that she recognizes immediately and accepts with a curt nod of her head.

“Thank you, Christian,” she says, professionally. “I’m glad we had this talk.”

“As am I,” I say with a nod before walking back to my office.

That conversation was last week and we have since declared a truce. As I read the email she sent to me, I see that it was originally sent to Butterfly’s email. Apparently, some of her emails are routed to Marilyn for handling, which is a good thing since we’ve got our hands full with the babies. I’ve seen the background checks on these choices. I’m impressed with them. I respond to Butterfly that if she has a preference, I will agree to either couple.

I’ve also sent pictures of the twins to Gada with scanned, signed copies of the releases from Butterfly and me to use our pictures in her ads. I don’t expect to see us on billboards anywhere, but I suspect a picture or two will show up on her website or in a display at another babymoon. Neither of us have a problem with that.

The birth announcements hit the circuit last week and the requests for interviews and exclusives have been pouring in. Mac is screening the requests and deciding if Butterfly should do some appearances on her own or if we should do one or two together. We haven’t approached her with the idea yet. Quite frankly, we don’t really know how. I made such a big deal about not wanting her to be prey for reporters and people wanting to get to me through her that I don’t know how to explain my complete 180 on this matter. I figure I would let Mac explain it to her—that I was pretty much bludgeoned with reason until I gave in, but for some reason, I just don’t think that will go over well since she tried to explain this to me herself and I refused to give in to the degree that she had to come up with another way to get exposure for herself.

So… I plan on being in the doghouse once we explain this to her.

I’m hoping that my presentation of her push gifts may help me stay out of the bow-wow residence, though. I will shamelessly use the gifts to soften her up, then tell her about the plan to shove her in front of the cameras myself, taking full responsibility for the decision. No use in making Mac the fall guy… er, girl.

I hear the clicking of her heels on the marble as we speak. Might as well get it over with.

I stand from my desk and meet her in her office. It’s been two weeks since she delivered and she couldn’t wait to get back into high heels, but she compromised to not wear sky highs until after her six-week check-up just to keep my heart rate under 150 beats per minute. When I get to her office, she had just sat down at her desk and she looks worn. I know that she’s just finished a task none of us were looking forward to, but it had to be done and she was the person of choice to assist with it.

“Hey,” I say, walking into her office as she removes her gloves.

“Hey,” she says, her voice low and soft, sad.

“How’d it go?” I ask, as I stand next to her desk.

“Not good at all,” she says. “They were both just crushed. I don’t know how he’s going to deal with this. He didn’t say a word on the whole ride home. I think he’s on autopilot, but I don’t know how healthy that is. You should have seen him, Christian. It would have broken your heart.”

“I can’t even imagine,” I say, taking her hand in mind and kissing the back of it. I sit on her desk and she tells me the story of Chuck taking his beloved Keri to the airport to catch her flight back to Anguilla. She stayed as long as she could. Her visa expires tomorrow. She has to stop herself from crying several times as she tells me how Keri wept getting on the plane and Chuck stood at the window until well after the plane was out of sight. Even I have to admit that the tale was pretty heart-wrenching.

“Did the twins behave while I was gone?” she asks. I nod.

“About as well as two-week-old twins can,” I tell her. “Gail and I handled it okay. They should be waking soon, though. They had bottles a couple of hours ago and have been asleep ever since. We’ll handle it if you’re too wiped out.” She shakes her head.

“No, I could use some snuggle-time after the day I’ve had.” I sigh.

“Well, after hearing that, I’m a bit remiss to say what I have to say,” I comment. Her brow furrows.

“What?” I don’t want to wait. No use in having her get happy, then be mad again. Just rip the Band-Aid off…

“You know Mac agrees with you that we should control how information is released to the public about us and about our lives,” I begin.

“Yes?” she says expecting.

“Well, she also agrees with you that you should do some appearances on some local radio and talk shows to help keep the vultures at bay… hopefully put some of these rumors to rest…”

“And you still don’t agree,” she says impassively.

“Well… actually…” I rub the back of my neck.

“You agree with her?” she asks incredulously. Oh, boy… Alpo, here I come.

“Um, yeah?” I comes out like a question.

“Why?” she squeaks.

“Well, she battered me with facts, pummeled me with reason, and ran me over with logic! I didn’t stand a chance!” It sounds like a reasonable explanation to me until it comes out of my mouth. The look on Butterfly’s face can’t be explained. It’s some terrifying mixture of horror and disbelief and incredulity and something else.

“I did the same thing! Why couldn’t you believe me when I was doing that?” she accuses, her voice still incredulous.

“Because you’re my wife!” I defend, my voice as high as hers. “I can’t hear that shit when you’re saying it! All pregnant and needful and swollen and helpless and… stuff!” This argument is not working! She’s looking more and more horrified with every word coming out of my mouth.

“Helpl…” I think she’s stunned. Oh shit. What do I do? The next thing I know, she scoffs out an incredulous laugh. “You stupid boy!” she exclaims. “That’s the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever heard! Go to the corner!”

I’m honestly stunned by her command so… I go stand in the corner.

After a beat, I hear, “You idiot! Get your ass over here!” I walk over to her like a child going to the principal’s office. “Do you realize all this shit was for nothing?” she scolds. “Goddamn Courtney and these fucking country clubs…?”

“Well, actually, it sounds like Courtney made a turnaround and Mac said the country club was a good idea.”

“In what way?” she accuses.

“She’s says it makes us more approachable,” I say. “Well… I haven’t been approachable, you know that.”

“No shit!” she says, walking around her desk. “God, Christian. Things could be so much easier if you would just listen to me. It’s like we went all around the mulberry bush to get to the same point we could have gotten to months ago.”

“I know, I know,” I lament, knowing that this was coming before I started this conversation. At least she’s not moping over Chuck’s situation for the time being.

“Yeah, of course you know, after Vee tells you. What’s so different about what she said and what I said?” I sigh.

“Nothing,” I say, feeling like a scolded child.

“Yeah. Yeah, nothing,” she says, frustration lacing her voice. Not anger, just frustration. She makes to move around me, and my defense mechanism kicks in. She’s not really mad. She’s frustrated with me. I can understand that… but don’t let her get to “mad.”

I snatch her hard against me and take her mouth with mine, my tongue lapping slow and languidly inside her mouth, caressing hers. She moans one long, guttural sound that stirs deep within me while her arms hang to her side. Don’t let her get to “mad.” I’m an idiot. I know I’m an idiot… a stupid boy, just don’t be mad. She’s loopy when our lips part.

“I’m still mad at you,” she breathes heavily, her lids barely open. No you’re not, but I accept the challenge.

“Then I’m not doing this right.” With one hand splayed across her back and the other firmly grasping her nape, I bend my knees and crouch down so that I’m eye-level with her. Grinding our torsos together, I hungrily take her mouth again, pressing her hard against me with each lap of my tongue. She meets my hunger, grasping my biceps and feverishly returning my kiss, groaning deep and primal in her chest.

“Still mad?” I growl against her lips.

“Li’l bit,” she chokes. I wrap her hair around my hand and pull hard, exposing her neck to me. She gasps at the force and I feast on her neck, tasting her and bruising her, lifting her off the ground so that she has to wrap her legs around me. I have to fight the urge to grind my pelvis into her, but our bodies are as close as they can be as I endlessly lick, bite, and kiss the skin of her neck and chest and she thrusts her hands into my hair. As I slow my assault, tenderly kissing my way back to her jaw and cheek, she’s breathless… and seems to be tamed.

“How about now?” I breathe in the corner of her mouth.

“No,” she pants softly, “not now,” and my lips cover hers again.


ANASTASIA

He looks like a damn zombie. He’s white as a ghost, and I do mean white as a ghost! All of the color is gone from his face. He stood at that window for so long, I thought he was going to jump out of it.

He hasn’t said a word. I don’t even know how he can see to drive. Even behind those sunglasses, I can see that the tears haven’t stopped falling. He’s in serious pain and he won’t let it out. Well, I guess he’s letting it out the only way he knows how.

“Do you want to talk about it?” I ask him. He just shakes his head. “You know I’m available if you ever do, right?” He nods, but still says nothing. For the entire thirty-minute ride back to the Crossing, he doesn’t say a word. He’s clearly tormented. I want to ask him why they didn’t just get married. They clearly love each other too much to be apart, but I figure that it’s none of my business and I would just be twisting the knife since she’s already gone.

When we get back to the house, he lets me out at the front door and takes the car to the garage without a word. I wonder when he plans on moving back to his place in Bainbridge? I really don’t want him to be alone like this right now.

On another note, I’m glad that I’m starting to feel a little like my old self again. I still get a bit of a flutter in my stomach and I still miss having my babies there from time to time, but the belly wrap, essential oils, and breastfeeding are really working wonders on my stomach in just two weeks. The belly wrap is also helping me with my posture. It was a bit skewed while carrying the babies, but now, I’m able to walk a bit straighter than before. I catch a glimpse of my reflection in Atlantis after I get off the elevator and I still have my round hips and these huge tits. I wonder how much of these I’m going to keep after I start yoga and Krav Maga again.

I’m melancholy all back over again as I pass the guest quarters and remember that there’s no Keri there. I’m going to miss her colorful conversation and personality, and Chuck is going to be tormented without her love.

Just as I’m trying to digest how to ease my friend’s heartache, my bonehead husband tells me that he has finally come to the same conclusion that I did nearly three months, several fights, and a whole lot of unnecessary security measures later! I feel like I’m walking through the goddamn Twilight Zone! And how did he come to these conclusions? Because Vee told him!

Vee told him!

I literally wanted to pop him upside his head like a twelve-year-old and leave, so instead, I just decided to leave… or I tried to…

My God, that man kissed me until I thought my thighs would explode! Jesus, I don’t know what’s going on between us lately, but the energy and the electricity are brutal! Our connections are almost scary and he can almost make me come with just his voice. We end every night sucking face… every night! We get up at 2 or 3am like clockwork to feed the twins, then go back to bed by 4:30 or 5 every morning sucking face again! I made him come that one night and there hasn’t been an ejaculation since, but there have been intense connections and kissing… lots and lots of kissing!

The bleeding from childbirth has almost stopped and I would venture to say that, by this weekend, it’s going to be gone. I agreed not to wear sky-highs until the six-week check-up, but I plan on bringing out the four inches when the bleeding stops!

So now, I guess we decide what public appearances I’m going to be doing and when. God, he’s such an arse! Why did he have to make everything so fucking difficult? He better start listening to me and I’m going to start being more firm about what I know or feel is right because I was too much of a damn pushover for this one. I know that Christian was and is a high-profile businessman and that puts our family in a precarious position, but I told him then and I’ll tell him again. He doesn’t give me enough credit! I’m not some flighty piece of arm candy that doesn’t know what I’m doing. I’m smart, dammit, and he’s going to make me have to prove it to him just to spite him!

“Butterfly?”

Christian garners my attention by calling my name when he’s walking into my office. I’m sitting at my desk, doing nothing in particular, just marveling over the fact that I can cross my legs again. His face is troubled and I frown deeply when I see it.

“What is it?” I ask.

“Al and James are on their way over along with Gasko and Bianchi,” he says. I frown. Gasko and Bianchi, should I know who these people are?  Noting my questioning look, he continues, “Alon Gasko is from Accounting and Hagen Bianchi is from Finance and Budgeting. The audit on Edwise has been completed.” His expression is still dark.

“So…” I say expecting.

“So, we’re going to have a meeting about it… tonight.”

“Tonight?” I reply. “Can’t it wait until tomorrow? We can meet at GEH, can’t we? We’re almost about to have dinner!”

“Apparently the findings are so delicate the we can’t wait until tomorrow. We’re going to have to act on them now.” I sigh and sink back into my seat.

“That can’t be good,” I lament.

“Uh, no I don’t think it is.” I throw my hands up.

“This man will never stop being a fucking ache in my ass, will he?” I say, rising from my chair. “I swear, I broke up with him years ago and all I wanted him to do is just go away and he keeps coming back like a bad fucking rash!” I lean against my desk, frustrated.

“Let’s just see what they have to say before we jump the gun,” he says, walking over to me stroking my arms. I look up at him skeptically.

“They’re on their way to our house, Christian,” I remind him. “It’s nearly dinnertime on a Thursday night. That gun has fired and the other horses have already started around the track!” His shoulders fall.

“I know, I know. I’m just trying to keep my wits about me here. If this fucker causes us one more goddamn moment of grief…” He trails off.

“Well, whatever was about to trip off your tongue, get ready to enforce it because here it comes,” I tell him. “Activate two-way communications… Where will the meeting be?”

“In my den, I think,” he says.

“Connect to main kitchen,” I say.

Yes?” Ms. Solomon’s voice comes across the intercom.

“Ms. Solomon, please prepare a coffee service for eight and bring it to Christian’s den in the lower level… and some dinner pastries or coffee cakes if we have them.”

“Yes, ma’am,” she says. Geez, I hate that ma’am shit. I know it’s necessary sometimes, but I still don’t have to like it. “End two way communications,” I say grumpily. “What do you know?” I ask him, putting my sweater back on over my ensemble—hip hugger skinny jeans and a soft white blouse with another colorful belly wrap and sweater that incorporated the same colors as the wrap. This was my first time out of the house since the twins were born and I tested my “heel” feet in a pair of black suede booties with a nearly three-inch pump heel. They feel great and I feel great in them. I know that Christian is watching my ass while I’m walking away from him and down the hall to his den. “Come on, Grey, out with it. What do you know?” he sighs.

“Not much,” he says, snapping out of his ass-induced haze. “Just that whatever they’ve found is going to require swift action which is why they don’t want to wait to give us the results.”

“I just bet,” I hiss, walking into the den.

*-*

“He what?” I say in disbelief, my coffee cup suspended in disbelief, trembling as Christian’s accountant, Alon Gasko, relays the ugly truth of Edward’s business dealings to me, now my inherited mess.

“I would venture to say that Edwise has tentacles in all 35 of the listed racketeering crimes of the RICO act,” he says after he had just begun to name only a few of the illegal activities uncovered by the internal audit.

“Was he going for a goddamn record?” I ask as Christian stills my cup, removing it from my hands and placing it on the table between the sofas that the seven of us occupy, Jason having joined the meeting as well.

“Keeping his options open,” Al says, sarcastically. “You know how he loves his options.” I roll my eyes at him.

“This is big, Mrs. Grey,” Hagen Bianchi from Finance says. “With this many branches on this tree, he has to have a network.”

“Which means if the vermin haven’t started crawling out of the woodwork already…” James begins.

“We should start seeing them any minute now,” I finish, bitterly.

“Like hell, we are!” Christian declares, standing swiftly to his feet. “We just had newborn twins. My wife is about to be more in the public eye than she ever was before. The fuck if I’m going to have some back-alley businessman or some low-life dirty-dealing conman show up now trying to give us the fucking shakedown because this asshole handed her this bullshit in a settlement. He wants to play games; he’s fucking with the right sonofabitch!”

“Christian,” Al warns, “you have to be careful with this. We have no idea who we’re dealing with.”

“That’s exactly why we have to jump on this shit now. We can’t afford to lose nerve—and contrary to current popular vote, Mr. Forsythe, they don’t know who they’re fucking dealing with!” He pulls out his blackberry and dials. “We need to be in touch with the United States Attorney General tomorrow morning,” he barks into the phone. “Yes, we need to turn over everything that we have on this fucker’s company as quickly as we can… No, let them see to that… Let me know as soon as it’s set up.” He ends the call.

“Christian, slow down,” I say, rubbing my scar.

“We can’t slow down, Anastasia,” he says. “The sooner we get this ticking time bomb out of our hands, the better! We show that we want nothing to do with it, we replace all of the assets and give it to the proper authorities to do what needs to be done. There’s nothing else to say about it!”

Okay, that’s enough of this shit. I won’t have him dismiss me like this. This is the same thing he tried to do with the radio and television spots only to piss me off and come to the same conclusions that I did three months later.

“Yes, I’m not arguing with that point, but you can’t make that decision,” I say sharply. He glares at me.

“Our family may be in potential danger!” he snaps. “What the fuck do you mean I can’t make that decision?” Oh no the hell he didn’t!

“Because it’s not your fucking company!” I retort, my eyes sharp and my voice just as loud, my hand pressed hard against my now throbbing scar. All of the men in the room fall silent. “Do I get to speak now?” I ask.

“Yes,” Christian says impassively, meeting my gaze. I take a deep breath and let it out.

“I agree with you,” I begin, “that the money taken from the company needs to be replaced, that we need to restore the business to its original state before the audit and turn it over to the US Attorney General exactly as we found it. Let them see to investigating and disposing of the company and the assets. But you are failing to recognize two very key points. First—which should be second—do not make these blanket decisions without so much as even throwing a glance in my direction to consult me for my opinion or my permission on what should happen to my company.” I stand in silence and wait for his acknowledgement.

“Duly noted,” he says in a clipped business tone. “My apologies.”

“Second—which should be first—you can’t turn this company over to the AG. I have to.” His face distorts and he’s about to protest. “This business was never absorbed into GEH!” I say firmly. “I allowed you to oversee the audit because it was easier. You have the more seasoned business mind, but you don’t have the authority to turn this company over. It’s not yours. I know it may feel like it is, but it’s not yours. It’s mine. If you report it, you’ll be turning me in!”

His face turns white as he realizes the implications of what I just said. He won’t be the person turning over the information for the company to the proper authorities so that they can take the ball and handle the situation from there—that would be me. He would just be a whistle-blower.

“Shit!” he runs his hand through his hair. “Well, that was almost a major fuck-up,” he says. I look at the room full of men who were just about to let him go quietly into that good night and shake my head.

“I assume that was Alex that you were talking to,” I say, folding my arms, now feeling like I’m regaining a bit of control over the situation. He nods.

“Yeah, he’s, um… going to get in touch with his contact at the AG’s office, but he won’t be able to do it until tomorrow.”

“I figured as much. We need a few copies of the results of that internal audit. We need to know if we’ve shaken any hornets’ nests. I may not know a whole lot about the ins and outs of this thing, but I know how people work, gentlemen. David most likely was one man in a network of many, but he didn’t have any real power because if he did, we would have known it by now. He certainly wouldn’t have had that bad comedian of an attorney representing him in his criminal and civil trials. He would have settled this issue out of court without the fanfare and I would’ve gotten a cashier’s check from some benefactor or some offshore account somewhere. He definitely wouldn’t have let his cash cow fall into the hands of a woman scorned. This company has been in my hands now for about a month and a half and nobody has contacted us about a sudden hiccup in cash flow or any convenient ‘business arrangements.’ Based on our original calculations of his net worth, what does it look like he laundered through the business in cash only—maybe seven or eight million or so?”

“At least,” Gasko says, a bit taken aback.

“So you know that the actual cash flow through the business had to be exponentially higher than that. I take it that if we’re talking RICO, we’re covering gambling, extortion, bribery, corruption, maybe even to low-man Mafia just to scratch the surface, right?”

Six men stand there staring at me like an alien just walked through the room. I’m beginning to become highly perturbed.

“Keep up! Keep up!” I shoot, snapping my fingers. “Can somebody answer me?”

“Um… uh… yeah,” Bianchi chimes in, opening a portfolio he’s carrying. “At least that—securities fraud, embezzlement, evidence of possible counterfeiting… We haven’t traced any other sources, but there are enough red flags to trigger an investigation.”

“That’s all we need,” I say, standing from the sofa and walking over to Christian’s piano, leaning back against it. “Don’t ruffle any more feathers. Close up shop tomorrow. Pad lock those doors—I don’t want anybody in or out of that building, including Edwise Security. Whoever is in there tonight, get them out. Christian, can you please get one of GEH’s security teams in there to secure the premises within the hour?” Christian is still glaring at me like he doesn’t know who I am. “Christian?” I say sharply.

“Um, uh…” He’s dumfounded. I turn to my back-up.

“Jason?” I ask.

“I’m on it,” he says, and gets on his phone.

“While you’re at it, call Alex and tell him that I need him to report to me about the AG, and I need him to call the IRS, too. I’ll need to make appointments to meet with someone from both offices hopefully as soon as tomorrow.” Christian makes to protest. “And before my husband has a fit about me just delivering babies two weeks ago, please find out if there’s any way that we can video conference or if it’s not too much trouble, a representative can meet us here, but if not, I will go to a local office. This is just that important.” I turn my gaze back to Christian as if to say, “Fair enough?” He does a slight nod in agreement. I turn back to the group of stunned gentlemen and glare at Al.

“You, of all people, shouldn’t be surprised,” I say, pointing to him. “I have a Ph.D. and while I wandered aimlessly looking for a major, you know I minored in busianess and finance.” Al puts his hands up defensively.

“I didn’t say a word,” Al says.

“How did I not know that?” Christian nearly squeals.

“I’m a shrink and my husband is a brilliant businessman. When have I ever needed it?” I ask. The room falls silent again. Even Jason is silent on the phone for a moment before he continues his conversation. “Moving on, whatever we’ve uncovered so far hasn’t ruffled any feathers. Let’s keep it that way. We have no contacts and no information. We seal the books; we close the reports; we turn the whole thing over to the proper authorities, including the employees. We don’t know who knows what or who is or was involved up to what level. Our story is the plain and simple truth. I inherited the company as a settlement in a lawsuit. Before we merged the company into our major corporation, we performed an internal audit to determine its financial soundness. The audit revealed money trails and income streams that had questionable beginnings and endings, setting off major alarms and throwing up several red flags. Rather than delve deeper into a situation with which we are unfamiliar, we sealed the books immediately and now are turning the entire company over to the proper authorities. Al, you have the list of assets that you liquidated to generate the cash that we donated to Helping Hands, right?” Al nods.

“I do, it’s in the audit report.”

“Good. Did the cost and expense of the audit exceed that amount?” I ask. He shakes his head.

“No,” he says. I nod.

“So I take it that his dirty dealings haven’t brought in any cashflow since we took over the company.”

“If they have,” Bianchi interjects, “the amounts have been nominal. But David’s not there to oversee it, so we don’t know what they are.”

“So, if GEH had absorbed the company, we would’ve had to pay for the internal audit anyway, since the company appears to not even be making enough honest money to sustain itself,” I conclude.

“It would appear so,” Gasko says.

“Having said that, we’ll deduct the cost and expense of the internal audit from the amount that we donated to Helping Hands and infuse the difference back into the company as owner equity—no gain, no loss. Put a little bow on this mess and hand it right to the AG and the IRS exactly how we found it. Let them sort it out.” The men begin to nod.

“That appears to be the best course of action,” Bianchi says.

“Um, there’s going to be another issue,” James says, after having been quiet for a while. All attention turns to him. “You’ve already mentioned fraud, but those servers have a lot of evidence of long-term identity theft… mostly of the elderly and deceased, but if you can believe it, even of some children.” I laugh loud and incredulously.

“This fucker is some piece of work,” I say. “This is what comes from being rotten to the core and going unchecked throughout the entire course of your life. He has committed some horrendously heinous acts in his life that have gone unpunished and for that reason, he lived his entire life thinking he was untouchable. He’s committed more crimes and unconscionable acts before he turned thirty than some career criminals have done in their entire lives. Whatever time he doesn’t spend in a Washington correctional facility, he’s going to spend in a federal prison. Jason, include the FBI in that list of people that we need to contact. James, can you generate some kind of report on the identity theft information?”

“I already have,” he says. “The original files have to remain unaltered, but I’ve saved the information on a few flash drives for you. I can have them here tomorrow.”

“Thank you. Early, please. As soon as possible. I’d like to see the information before the FBI does.” He nods.

“You’ve got it.”

“He’s an idiot for not incorporating. He might have gotten some small amount of protection from the corporate umbrella.” I say, shaking my head.

“Maybe not,” Christian says, “he might have had to deal with the SEC.”

“Only if he took the company public,” I say. “And from what they said earlier, he might have to deal with them anyway. He better hope not a penny of his laundering leads to terrorist activities, because he’ll be looking at violations of the PATROIT Act with that one.”

“Eeeeww,” Al exclaims. “I forgot about that.” I rub my hands vigorously through my hair.

“Well, gentlemen, I think we’ve handled all the government agencies that we can handle in one night. If you’ll excuse us, I need to speak to my husband.”

The only person that makes a move is James. Everyone else looks at Christian as if I’m speaking some foreign language. I’m still scratching my head and haven’t noticed that everyone’s feet stay firmly planted until I raise my head. I look over at Christian who also looks at me like I’ve grown two heads and I immediately catch the drift.

“I see,” I say frostily. “Well, when you boys are done with your meeting, I’ll be in my office.” I throw an ice cold glare at Christian before I stand tall and walk out of his den.

Sitting at my desk, I immediately start going through my emails. Almighty Mr. Grey has responded to Marilyn’s copy of the email that Broadmoor has narrowed down our sponsorship choices to two—the Mallorys and the Kennedys. I type in the names of each person into Google, individually and as a couple. I want to see who has a stronger internet presence and involvement in the community. By far, the winners are the Kennedys. Josephine Kennedy is highly active in children’s charities while the couple together are avid supporters of medical research, having lost a child to leukemia. They are extremely active in the community in terms of volunteer work and fundraisers, and not just red carpet events, although there are more than a few pictures of them at black tie affairs. Given the choice, I would say that the Greys would much rather be attached to the community active Kennedys than the seemingly dormant Mallorys. I compose a quick response to Ilene Claiborne at Broadmoor informing her as such before I move on to compose an email to Marilyn.

To: Marilyn Caldwell

Subject: Get Ready to Cram, The Shit’s Hit the Fan

Date: Thursday, February 6, 2014 18:18:09

From: Anastasia Grey

Well, I hope you’ve had time to rest, because it’s about to get crazy in your life.

Yes, I know that I said I would be taking it easy until the doctor cleared me to go back to work after my six-week check-up, but we’ve got some major shit about to hit the horizon. Grey Almighty somehow finally agrees with me that I should be doing some public appearances since Vee has become our publicist instead of just GEH public relations. We will discuss how many ways that has pissed me off at a later date. However, that means that you will have to start coordinating very closely with Vee for dates and times, all of which will be approved by me, not the almighty Mr. Grey. Again, another issue we will address at a later date. So you know your calendar is going to be full.

In addition to that, you are going to be manning some pretty hefty calls over the next few days or weeks or whatever (I don’t know). Most likely, three to five government agencies will be blowing up my phone in the days to come so I will need you to be on your toes. Mr. David has handed me a hot mess that appears to be steeped in illegal activities and I’m turning the whole thing over to the proper authorities, hopefully as soon as tomorrow. So as you can see, we’re going to have our hands full. I need you here bright and early so that we can get the ball rolling on these things. I’ll see you in the morning, Wonder Woman.

Dr. Anastasia Steele-Grey
Assistant Director, Helping Hands

I’m just finishing typing the email to Marilyn and moving on to my next task going over what my calendar would look like under normal circumstances when Christian comes forcefully into my office—not loud, just a little more boisterous than usual, just as I expected he would.

“Would you like to tell me what that was all about?” he says, a bit demanding.

“Yes,” I say, raising my head to him. “I want you to get Allen or legal or whomever you need to do it to draw up an amendment to our prenuptial agreement removing me as part owner of GEH.”


CHRISTIAN

What the fuck kind of bug crawled up her ass and died?

I look around the room at the five other men who each stares at my wife as she saunters out of the den, Gasko and Bianchi no doubt examining that voluptuous ass as it disappears behind the door before turning back to me and donning confused masks.

“Your wife was a business major?” Gasko inquires, surprised.

“Minor,” Al corrects him. “She graduated premed with a minor in business and finance since she had already taken so many classes.” Gasko raises an eyebrow at him.

“How do you know so much about Mrs. Grey?” he says, suspiciously. Al glares at him, then turns a questioning glance to me, pointing at Gasko as if to say “Don’t he know?”

“Allen and my wife have been best friends for nearly fifteen years,” I say dismissively, watching the mask of realization come over Gasko’s face. “Business and Finance?” I say to Al in disbelief. He sighs.

“Ah, yes, one of the many hidden faces of Jewel,” he replies.

“Jewel,” I hear Gasko say under his breath to Bianchi with a chuckle and Al just rolls his eyes.

“He calls her ‘Jewel’ because he’s been calling her that since she was fourteen, before I was even around. You do not get that privilege. Are we clear, Mr. Gasko?” I nearly hiss at him. Gasko suddenly becomes uncomfortable and sits up straight in his seat on the sofa.

“Yes, sir, Mr. Grey,” he responds. I turn back to Al.

“These many face of Ana,” I say to him, “I’m not going to wake up and find that Serial Killer Ana or Lorena Bobbitt Ana is lying next to me, am I?” James scoffs a laugh. He’s the only one in the room brave enough to do so, besides Al.

“Not that I know of,” Al says, a bit sarcastically.

“So who the hell just left the room?” I ask.

“Oh, that was just Pissed Off Ana—no mystery there. You’ll have to go find out what’s wrong. Before you do, you might want to go over what happened immediately before she left.” I look at him confused.

“What happened?” I ask. He shrugs.

“She basically asked us to leave and nobody moved,” Jason chimes in.

“I moved,” James says with a shrug. I scratch my head.

“I don’t know. I’ll go talk to her,” I say. “I guess you all should be prepared to be here tomorrow just in case. At the very least, plan to be on call. James, I know you have a job you have to attend and you can’t be at my beck and call, but if you could make yourself as available as possible, I’ll forever be in your debt.”

“Will do,” he says with a nod. The gentlemen all exchange pleasantries and make their way to the door.

“Alex will contact all the necessary agencies first thing in the morning and correspond with Her Highness as soon as he gets feedback. I told him to keep you in the loop as well.”

“Good man. Now let’s go see what has Her Highness off her perch…”

*-*

“What?” I say incredulously as I examine my wife’s impassive face. She must be kidding. “What are you talking about?” She walks around her desk and leans on it, facing me.

“I’m saying that I don’t want to be part owner of your company if it means that I’m going to be treated like the ‘little woman,’” she says flatly, her arms folded. I frown.

“Where is this coming from?” I ask her. “Are you having another fit of hormones or something?” She laughs, but her smile doesn’t reach her eyes.

“Well, you know how hormonal we little women can be. In the meantime, have the papers drawn up and I’ll sign them whenever they’re finished.” She moves to walk back to her seat. There’s no malice in her voice. It’s eerily calm and matter-of-fact.

“You’re serious.”

Yes, I am,” she says flatly. “I’m clearly just a figurehead, if that. I’m only a partial owner in word, not in deed. The only way that I could get you to back off from my company was to get you to realize that actions on your part would be to my detriment. The fact that the company is legally mine wasn’t enough for you to just back off and let me handle it. After I made that clear and handled the situation with skills that you didn’t even know I possessed, you still acted like you didn’t want to give me credit for knowing what I was talking about. Likewise, I gave an order to people who are supposed to be under my employ as much as they are under yours considering that we were talking about my business, not yours. When we concluded talking about my business, I adjourned the meeting with people that I also thought were supposed to be under my employ as much as yours, and they all looked at me like I was some strange, exotic bird. When I looked to you for support, you had the same look in your eyes like ‘Who the hell is she?’

“I could tolerate that from them, because maybe they haven’t been informed yet, but I can’t tolerate that from you. You treated me just like the little woman in front of the Big Boys Club like I needed to go run off and do my knitting or clip recipes or coupons or something while the ‘menfolk’ run the business. I felt like the girl standing on stage in her underwear in the auditorium full of teenage kids and I couldn’t get out of that room fast enough. You disparaged me and belittled me in front of those men…”

“I didn’t say anything!” I defend.

“That’s what did it!” she confirms. “They were waiting for you, and you said nothing! I can’t walk into GEH and start throwing around orders without anyone knowing what my authority is; you have to tell them. You invited them into our home to discuss my company, but didn’t see fit to tell anyone that I had any authority! We’ve been married for nearly eight months, Christian… nearly eight months! I’ve been part owner of GEH for that long and nobody knows?”

Boy, when she says it like that, it sounds pretty bad.

“The fact that you haven’t seen fit to make any kind of announcement about this before now speaks volumes—nothing in the staff meetings or department head meetings, a company conference, a luncheon, a memo, an email, nothing! Half of the employees at GEH don’t even know who I am! I don’t expect to come in and start running things, but I do expect to say something to someone and they do what I ask. The fact that no one knows—not even a few key people in management positions—indicates that you are clearly not ready to release the reins of your baby in any way, shape, or form, but I’m not going to have you demean me while you come to grips with that.”

Well, I feel like shit now. She’s absolutely right. What’s worse is that this immediate catastrophe could have easily been avoided had I just given a quick nod to the men in the den before Butterfly raised her head. The meeting would have been adjourned, everyone would have been dismissed, and Butterfly wouldn’t have been the wiser. Then I could have fixed it later, notifying everyone that Butterfly is part owner of the company and that her instructions must be followed as if they were mine. Instead, I stood there glaring at her like someone was taking my favorite toy from me while everyone in the room except James was waiting to take their cues from me—hence, the “you boys” comment.

“I’m…” I run my hands through my hair. “I’m sorry. You’re right. I should have handled this better.”

“Don’t be sorry, Christian,” she says, without malice. “Think about what this really means. I don’t want you to appease me. I never asked for part ownership of GEH. I told you that you were crazy in the first place, but I thought you were doing it because you wanted us to be a team, because you wanted me to be… involved in some kind of way.” She actually had to search for the word. “Now, I see that you were just doing it as some kind of grand gesture. I don’t want that. I never wanted that. It was never about your money or what you could give me and if that was what this was about…”

“Of course, that wasn’t what this was about!” I hiss. “How could you think that?”

“What am I supposed to think?” she asks. “GEH is partially mine in word, but not in deed? I’m an owner when it suits you, like when you need me front and center for Fairlane, but not when it’s time to make a decision, like now, or heaven forbid I want to give someone an order. No doubt, Alex has been instructed to cc you on everything that happens with the IRS, FBI, and the AG, right? Don’t bother responding. I already know the answer.”

I think I’m more bothered by the fact that she’s so cool and impassive with this discussion than I am that the fucking nickels keep dropping.

“Ana, give me a break here,” I say, a bit defeated. “I’ve been a one-man band for years, here, and I’m trying to get this right…”

“I’m giving you more than a break, Christian. I’m giving you an out. No hard feelings.”

“Don’t you see I don’t want that!” I say, quickly closing the space between us and clutching her arms. “I don’t want an out! I didn’t make you part owner of GEH as some sort of grand gesture or to just put you in front of people like a trophy. I did it because I want the company to be a joint accomplishment from now on. I don’t want it to be about you and me—I want it to be about us!”

I don’t know if I’m saying this right, but I feel such frustration rising up in me that I just release her arms and turn away from her, thrusting both hands in my hair. She’s right, GEH is my baby, my life’s work. I’ve never trusted her in the hands of anyone without my scrutiny, and now, I have to take a chance on Butterfly. True, she won’t be doing anything or making any decisions without me—not that I would worry even if she had to—but I’ve never placed my life in anyone else’s hands, not since I was four years old. I always kept the smallest part of myself tucked away, hidden just for me. Now I realize that this is the last little piece of me, my ultimate baby, that I want to share with her. Even the twins are a joint collaboration. But GEH… she’s mine.

And she doesn’t want it.

“I won’t take this if you can’t give it to me freely,” she says, almost as if she’s reading my mind and trepidations. “I don’t care what you think you want or what statement you’re think you’re trying to make. It’s just stuff to me if your heart isn’t in it, and I don’t need it. You need to think about that for a while. Take as long as you need, but until you’re sure, I’ll use the resources only to the degree that I’m getting this Edwise shit taken care of and that the company is responsible for our security, but that’s it. I refuse to go through the motions. I don’t need to be in the loop anymore unless our peace and safety is in danger like it was with Robin Myrick. I don’t need any additional information that you don’t need to give me.” I turn around to face her.

“Ana…” She holds up her hand to silence me.

“It’s insulting, Christian,” she says calmly. “You’ve placated me and I don’t want that anymore. I’m not angry. I’m just disappointed, and I don’t want that anymore. So please, just decide what you want and do what you’re going to do. Now, I don’t want to talk about this anymore because there’s really nothing else to say and if we keep talking about it, it’s going to become a fight. I’m hungry and I want to eat dinner now. I’m going to check on the children and I’ll meet you upstairs.”

She walks past me and out the door, leaving me in a somewhat stunned silence standing in her office. I’ve just had my ass handed to me in the politest way possible. She read me completely right and she was spot on in everything that she said. I feel like I’m losing a grip here. I’m just not sure on what. There’s no great catastrophe happening. The world is not slipping into the ocean before my very eyes; no volcanoes erupting around me or earthquakes causing buildings to crumble to the ground, but there’s a sinking feeling of doom inside of me that I can’t seem to place and it’s scaring the shit out of me.

The good news is that she’s not mad. She hasn’t dismissed me or shut me down. That shit is for the birds and I just wasn’t having that. Her words replay profoundly in my ears, though…

Just decide what you want and do what you’re going to do.

She’s resigned. It is what it is. My wife has never been a weak woman, but I have viewed her as fragile in the last several months. Lately, I’m seeing more and more of the woman I used to know—the woman I met in the community center. She’s coming back into her own, that pre-pregnancy, pre-accident tigress full of fire and strength, and I have to re-adapt. I’ve become so accustomed to being her shield and protector. To some degree, I know that’s still my role, but Ana has never been helpless. For months, I’ve seen her body and delicate condition and I’ve known that she needed protection, but she never saw it. She was still the same Ana, just in a different body and was never truly able to see her limitations. For months, she’s been trying to spread her wings and stretch her legs—even when she pistol-whipped Monster Bitch.

Now, that physical limitation is gone, and she’s healing.

She’s seeing her opportunities to fly and run now—with the public appearances I previously forbade, the country club membership and its possibility of connections, and exposing Edward David’s corruption. She’s on a roll, and nothing I can do or say will stop her, not that I want to. She’ll roll me over and leave me where I stand, just like she was willing to do with Judge HammerAss a couple of years ago, and she’s proven it by handing my Jewel back to me with no malice.

“Here. Take your ball and go home. If you don’t want me to play with it freely, then I don’t want to play with it at all.”

… Which is right, because if I really don’t want to give it to her without condition or doubt, I’ll only end up resenting the decision later. I love her dearly, but I hate it when she’s this right.

I smooth my crazed hair and head for the elevator to join my wife for dinner.


A/N: In 1993, Lorena Bobbitt became famous for cutting off her husband’s penis while he slept. There are two versions of the story. One says that she discovered that John Bobbitt, her husband, was cheating on her and she came home and “dismembered” him.  In another version, she claimed that she was a victim of domestic abuse for quite some time and that she just snapped when she lopped off his little soldier. Both versions indicate that domestic abuse was at the “base” of the attack. Either way, she took off with his dismembered member in the car with her and threw it in a field. After realizing what she had done, she called 911. They found the dislodged dick in a field and reattached it to his body. She ended up being acquitted and he went on to be a porn star. 

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Love and handcuffs 🙂 
Lynn X