Raising Grey: Chapter 18—I Can See Clearly 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 18—I Can See Clearly Now…

CHRISTIAN

“I’m sorry, Marilyn, but I’m not waking her. Anastasia had a rough night last night, and I don’t expect for her to wake for at least another three hours.”

“I’m sorry, Christian, but this is really important,” Marilyn presses. “There are two shows vying for her attention and she’s been trying to get both spots for weeks! If she doesn’t make a decision today—like now, they’re going to give these spots to someone else!”

“Then, make the decision,” I say calmly. “That’s why she hired you.”

“I wouldn’t dare make this decision without her input!” she retorts. “She’d have my head on a platter.”

“Well, you’re going to have to make it today,” I say calmly. “Listen… I swear I’m not being difficult. She had a bad night, a very. Bad. Night. Unless you tell me that you see Armageddon coming over Lake Washington, I’m not waking her.”

Butterfly has been asleep for maybe two and a half hours after staying awake all night keeping an eye on me. Unless she comes down those stairs on her own, I’m not disturbing her for at least another three hours. Even my mother has called about some letter she wrote to the licensing board and I refuse to disturb her right now.

“I’ll take whatever fallout you would take for this, but I’m not waking her. She needs to rest.” I hear Marilyn sigh on the other end.

“She’s going to have my neck,” she says defeated.

“Did you do anything wrong?” I ask.

“No, but she gave me specific instructions that the moment either of these GM’s called to find her wherever she is.” I lean back in my chair and sigh.

“Okay, let’s talk,” I say. The line gets quiet.

“What?”

“Let’s talk. What’s going on with these two GM’s?”

“Well, they both need somebody to fill their Monday morning spot,” she says.

“And this same thing happened last weekend,” I tell her. “What is it? Do they all wait until Sunday afternoon to fill their Monday morning spots?” I’m serious with this question. I recall that Butterfly wasn’t happy when the radio station called eighteen hours before show time to move her mid-morning interview to 5am.

“I don’t know,” she says. “I think they sometimes just have a change in programming.”

“So, let me tell you what’s happening,” I say crossing my legs and getting comfortable. “Butterfly had a somewhat volatile interview last Monday, after which she dropped a little fire on the press on the sidewalk when she left. I breezed through and threw a little gasoline on that fire so that when she had her Wednesday and Thursday interviews, they were pretty tame for the most part… but the fires were already burning. Are you following me so far?”

“Um, yeah,” she says with a little uncertainty.

“Now, there are a few unanswered questions as well as some fuses that can be lit for the first show that can get her on the hot seat, which is what they’re trying to do now—not necessarily trying to back her into a corner, but trying to pin her down to information before she gives it to anyone else. Have you seen today’s society page?” The line is silent again.

“Since when do you read the society page?” she asks.

“Since my wife started doing radio interviews,” I tell her, “and since a boater somewhere captured pictures of us making out on my private yacht! You wanna know why both of those stations are burning up your phone right now? Because we’re in the news today… not only because we were stealing kisses while sharing an ice cream cone at the zoo yesterday, but also because that asshole disk-jockey Judd whatever the fuck his last name is, was making noise at a bar last night after having too much to drink about recently being placed on administrative suspension after five women from the radio station accused him of sexual harassment. This after my wife made it very clear that he behaved inappropriately towards her on the air. You wanna know why they’re chomping at the bit to get her to commit to them before the sun goes down? Because they know that Butterfly is prone to do any impromptu interview if you shove a mic in her face and they’re trying to avoid that. They want an exclusive.

“Let them know that she’s not available right now and that when she is, she will discuss with them when and if she can make an appearance. Be firm, Marilyn. Let them know that as important as her cause is to her, she will not be pressured into committing to a Monday morning live spot less than 24 hours before the red light comes on. No matter who it is that’s asking for the interview, it’s unrealistic, and it’s not going to happen. You know it and I know it and if she were standing here, she’d tell you the same thing. She’d say that she needed to think about it and to try to come up with an alternative. So, give them that choice—to come up with a reasonable alternative and I’ll bet you that if they want her bad enough and they’re not up to anything sneaky, they will.” She’s silent for a few moments.

“Yeah… that makes sense,” she says, uncertainly.

“Of course, it makes sense,” I tell her. “They’re not calling the shots, she is. I know my Butterfly. She doesn’t want to come off as a diva and she doesn’t want to be difficult, but she won’t be ‘pushed over’ either and they need to know that. KNTZ tried that shit and totally lost the interview. They wanted the Senator in her spot and they got it. It was a good gamble, but in the process, they lost Butterfly. I can guarantee you that somebody somewhere is banging their head against a wall wondering if there’s some way that they could have secured both of those interviews without trying to stick her in a spot when the roosters crowed. Because that’s what cost them the interview—it wasn’t that they wanted to move her. It’s where they wanted to move her to. Think like they are and negotiate slots. She depends on you to tell her what her schedule is. You are Ana when she’s not there. You represent my wife to the public before they see her. You’re as important as she is, if not more, because you’re the gatekeeper. They can’t both have the same slot. Negotiate the space—it’s as simple as that. One of those spots is more attractive than the other and you know it is. You just have to think outside the box to figure out which one it is.” There’s another pause.

“Thank you, Christian,” she says. “You’ve helped me a lot… but please tell Ana to call me as soon as she wakes, okay? Maybe by then, I will have smoothed out an interview schedule for tomorrow.”

“Good deal,” I say before exchanging pleasantries and ending the call. Just as I’m picking up the paper again, Jason taps on my office door. I raise my head as he walks in.

“You look somber,” I say. He sighs heavily.

“I’m trying to get myself ready,” he says. I nod. He and Sophie have to be in court tomorrow for the custody case. They usually don’t move this quickly, but Shalane Deleroy is looking at jail time… plus, I know a few influential people and I wasn’t going to chance that crazy bitch getting “cleaned up” and taking Sophie away from Jason. So, as long as we could get the case in front of a judge while she’s still awaiting trial, it’s cut and dried.

“Are you ready?” I ask.

“Oh, I’m more than ready for the trial,” he says, “but this bitch is coming over here today.” I sit up in my seat.

“Today?” I bark. “Why?”

“She wants to see Sophie,” he says. I roll my eyes. He has to make Sophie available for reasonable visitation. It’s likely that he’ll have to do that even if Shalane has to do time. I shake my head.

“Don’t leave her alone with that bitch,” I say. “Make her come inside.” Jason furrows his brows.

“You want her in the house?” he asks, surprised.

“No, I don’t want her in the house,” I say, “but she can’t be outside of this house with Sophia. She tried to sell her to a drug dealer, for God’s sake. Why does she want to see her now?” I shake my head. “No, I don’t trust that bitch for shit. They can bring her through the mud room and around the back. She can talk to Sophie in the community room, in her apartment, or on the back patio, but she can’t leave the grounds with her.”

Jason examines me for a moment, then his eyes soften.

“You would think Sophie was your daughter,” he says, trying to hide a smirk.

“Well, she’s my honorary niece and I feel responsible for her,” I retort. He smiles widely.

“Thanks, Boss,” he says sincerely, “I thought we’d have to go to a park again. The paps were getting wise to that routine and Shalane likes an audience.”

“Don’t mention it,” I tell him. “When can we expect the witch?” He looks at his watch.

“In about an hour,” he laments.

“Why is she coming to see Sophie the day before she’s supposed to go to court?”

“Probably to guilt trip her into saying something nice about her tomorrow. She doesn’t understand that it won’t matter. The judge wants to hear what Sophie has to say, but with what Shalane is charged with, it won’t make a bit of difference in the decision.”

“You should be able to keep her from influencing Sophie that way, or at least trying to,” I protest.

“I don’t want anything to get in the way of tomorrow,” he says.

“Trust me, that bitch tried to sell your daughter. Nothing’s getting in the way of tomorrow.”

*-*

My wife awoke rested and feeling much better a few hours later. Chuck and I are treated to a show of our women doing yoga in the backyard near the pool. Chuck has that faraway look in his eyes when he watches her and we talk for a while about their future and when he plans to propose to her again. He insists that he doesn’t want to rush it, but that he’d marry her on a moment’s notice if she said, “Yes.” Jason comes out to the patio to sit with us, joking that it’s a good thing that his and Gail’s apartment is in the middle between Chuck’s apartment and Sophie’s or Chuck would need soundproof walls. Chuck apologizes and promises to keep it down to muffled screams of passion from now on. Just as we comment that Shalane is two and a half hours late for this oh-so-important visit with Sophie, Jason gets a call that the witch has arrived. He goes off to get Sophie just as my hot wife and our nanny finish their session.

“Did you enjoy the show?” she asks, toweling off the sweat from her body.

“Bring that body over here and I’ll show you how much I enjoyed the show,” I say, wagging my eyebrows. She walks closer to me, still drying her body.

“God, you’re insatiable, Mr. Grey, and I’m all sweaty,” she protests. I grab her wrist and pull her quickly into my lap, eliciting a fit of giggles that I love to hear from her so much.

“And you point is?” I say, situating her firmly on my lap. “I love the way you smell,” I confess, kissing her sweaty neck.

“Behave, now,” I say. “We have others around.” At that moment, I look over at our “others” and Chuck has a handful of Keri’s ass, proclaiming what a “fine piece of meat” she is.

“I don’t think they care,” I say, nuzzling back into my wife neck and licking the salty sweat from her skin. She giggles again and I hear someone clear their throat behind me. We all turn our gaze to see Lawrence and Shalane Deleroy standing on the patio just this side of the French doors. Deleroy looks nervous, but not nervous enough to put a leash on her tongue as she distastefully observes the PDAs she’s witnessing while Lawrence’s gaze seems to be transfixed on… Keri.

“Well,” Deleroy says indignantly, “so much for decorum.” My wife is rising off my lap and talking at the same time.

“Bitch, you are all the way in my house now and I have no love lost for your ass. Keep talking shit in my house and I will happily slap your ass back across the bridge!” I catch my wife’s wrist just as she gets to Deleroy, who is now cowering behind Lawrence.

“Whoa, settle, tiger,” I say softly. “That’s not your fight.”

“It is when she walks in my house talking shit,” she hisses before turning back to Deleroy and pointing a finely manicured finger at her. “One more word,” Butterfly threatens, “Just one more word out-of-line…”

“Making friends as usual, I see,” Jason says as he, Sophie, and Gail all come from the direction of the apartments.

“Sophie! Baby, I’ve missed you!” Deleroy says a little too enthusiastically as she holds her arms open for Sophie, who doesn’t move towards her mother.

“What do you want, Mom?” Sophie says softly. Deleroy drops her arms.

“I see he’s turned you against me,” Deleroy says. Sophie turns to leave. “Sophia!” she calls, and her voice sounds a little desperate. Sophie stops and comes back to Jason’s side.

“I already told you, Mom, I’m not going to let you talk badly about Dad anymore. If that’s why you came, then you can leave.”

This girl is way too wise and has seen way too much to be so young. She’s gaining some of her childhood years back being here with us and being around the babies, and around Luma’s girls when they come over. Even her apartment, though fully functional, is decked out with things that a little girl her age should have. She’s been much more rounded since she been here than I remember when she first got here. She’s more outspoken and she seems to have more fun. She’s relaxed… until her mother comes around.

“Let’s go, Sophie. I’d like for us to have a talk,” Deleroy say.

“In light of the circumstances and the case tomorrow, your visit with Sophia will take place on the grounds today,” Jason says, firmly. Deleroy looks horrified by this revelation.

“You’re saying that I can’t even be alone with my child anymore?” she asks in dismay.

“Of course, you can. You just can’t leave the grounds,” Jason says, before turning to Sophie. “Sophie, where would you like to visit with your mother?”

“She can come to my apartment,” Sophie says, her voice none too pleased.

“Your apartment?” Deleroy exclaims. “These people have you living alone and you’re only twelve?”

“There’s the word!” I have to catch my wife around her waist to prevent her from lunging at Deleroy, who turns white as a ghost at the gesture. Sophie, however, is not one to let the comment drop so easily.

“No, Mom, I’m not alone here! I’m never alone here. There are people here with me all the time—Momma Gail, Daddy, Mr. Christian, Ms. Ana, Chuck, Keri—and when they’re not here, there’s always somebody else. What you did—leaving me in that house with no food and no phone for three days while your creepy drug dealer kept coming by looking for you right before you tried to trade me off for drugs—that was alone. This is not alone. I’m not alone here. I’m never, ever alone!”

The patio is silent while Sophie faces off with her obviously delusional mother.

“And I realize that I’m not a priority in your life and I don’t think I ever was, but try to keep up, Mom. I’m thirteen.” Though her voice was shrill and angry moments ago, Sophie’s voice is low and cool when she delivers this bit of information. Then, she drops the final bomb on her mother. “Your visit was at twelve. It’s two thirty. You’re late and I don’t want to see you. You can leave now.”

Sophie turns and walks back towards the apartments.

“Sophie!” Deleroy calls after her, but she doesn’t stop walking. “Sophia!” Still no response as Sophie disappears into the jungle patio. “Go get her!” she hisses at Jason. “The court says I still have visitation!”

“Yes,” Jason agrees, “supervised visitation at an agreed time. Your visitation was at noon. You missed it.” Deleroy wrings her hands, looking past Jason as if she’s desperate for Sophie to return.

“I was detained,” she says, her voice shaking.

“I know,” Jason says calmly. “You’re tweeking.”

So, that’s why she’s shaky and nervous. Damn, it’s so fucking obvious, I wasn’t even paying attention. Deleroy narrows her eyes and lashes out on Jason, ignoring his last comment.

“You are not better than me, Jason!” she yells. “I’ve had bad luck and that’s all. I’ve made mistakes, but you can’t hold them over my head for the rest of my life! You move her into this fortress and I can’t even get to her! You and that cow and this prima donna are filling her head with bullshit…”

Butterfly almost got to her with that last statement, but I was fast enough to pull her back… and now she’s furious.

“Goddammit if you’re not gonna let me beat ‘er ass get ‘er the fuck outta my house!” She screams it all in one breath—and I do mean screams.

“You need to leave before my wife kills you!” I exclaim, because I’m a strong man, but holding back a flailing, snarling, scratching, angry cat is not an easy task. I hear some word fly back and forth, but I’m too busy trying to keep my wife from committing a felony. When things seem like they’re going completely out of control, a shrill voice brings everybody to a screeching halt.

“Go! Mom! You’re high!”

Butterfly stops flailing in my arms and all eyes are on Sophie.

“Sophie… baby…” Deleroy squeaks.

“I will. Not. See you. When you’re high! Go. Now!” Sophie’s fists are clenched and I think everyone knows to let her handle this.

“Sophie, I’m not…”

“Oh, my Goooo-ooo-ooodah!” Sophie says in pure frustration. “You’re so full of shit!” she screams. Jason’s head jerks back, but there’s nobody on this patio but Sophia Taylor and Shalane Deleroy.

“I never mattered to you!” she screams. “Even before the drugs, I never mattered! I was a way to piss Dad off, or a way to get more money from him, or in the end, a trade-off for a quick fix! I was a kid, Mom, not fucking blind!”

Gail’s eyes are large and she hisses at nearly every word that comes out of Sophie’s mouth.

“Get out! Get! Out!” Sophie’s screaming, but nobody moves. She looks at all the adults, her eyes glassy and full of fury.

“Do I live here or not??” she screams at whomever will answer. Everybody’s too stunned to reply, so I do.

“Yes, Sophie. You live here.”

“Then, get her out of here!” She’s pointing at Shalane and screaming at Lawrence. “Get her out!” I throw a quick look at Lawrence who immediately turns on Shalane.

“Ma’am,” he says, giving her an opportunity to leave on her own. She looks at him with disdain.

“You can’t make me…”

“Two of the occupants of this residence has requested your departure. You are now trespassing, which is a crime in Seattle. You can walk, or I can remove you. You have ten seconds to decide.”

Shalane looks wide-eyed at Lawrence, then at Sophie, who looks like she will beat Deleroy back across the bridge. With probably one second to spare, she decides that she would rather walk, turns indignantly, and leaves with Lawrence right on her heels. A few seconds after her departure, Sophie breaks down. Butterfly wiggles from my grasp and goes to her, wrapping her arms around Sophie as she sobs. Jason runs his hand through his hair, obviously trying not to hit something.

“I’m… sorry…” Sophie chokes through her tears as every woman on the patio cocoons protectively around her.

*-*

Butterfly and I go to court with Jason and Gail the next afternoon as moral support and witnesses for Jason. Al tried to prepare us, but we don’t know what to expect. Shalane is present with her attorney and she has brought a few witnesses with her as well. We don’t know any of these people, but of course, they all sing praises about how good a mother Shalane is and how well she takes care of Sophie. When they are examined by Al about Shalane’s drug use and attempt to trade Sophie for methamphetamines, they suddenly get the stammers and complete amnesia about these particular incidents. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see through the theatrics and determine that these are not credible or believable witnesses.

Standing against a gainfully-employed father who unwittingly supported this woman’s drug habit through generous amounts of continued child support for several years, a billionaire businessman and entrepreneur, a respected psychiatrist and member of the community who donates her time and professional services to a local community center whose mission and vision is to assist battered and unfortunate families to be self-sufficient and safe—oh, and a police officer armed with an arrest report that this strung-out mother was apprehended in a drug raid with said child in attendance, possibly with intent to trade said child for a fix—yeah… not much ground to stand on, Deleroy.

But our presence wasn’t the poison pill.

Sophie wasn’t allowed to be present during the presentation of the custody case. However, her deposition was taken in chambers with both attorneys present. The judge felt that she needed to be free to express her true feelings. Had they seen this young lady on my patio yesterday, they would have known that this wouldn’t be an issue. The video of Sophie’s deposition is played for us just before the judge renders his decision.

“How old are you, Sophie?” the judge asks.

“I’m thirteen,” she replies.

“And you know why you’re here, right?” she nods.

“You’re trying to decide if I live with my mom or my dad,” she says. The judge nods.

“What kind of grades do you get in school?” he asks.

“I get A’s and B’s mostly,” she says. “I got a ‘C’ in gym though.”

“Why did you get a ‘C’ in gym?” he asks.

“I was losing points because I kept coming to class with the wrong color shorts on,” she says.

“Why did you do that?”

“I needed yellow, green, or gray. I didn’t have any of those colors, so I wore what I had. I told my mom that I needed yellow, green, or gray and she said she would get them, but she never did. So, I got a ‘C’ in gym.” She shrugs.

“You don’t seem to care too much about that ‘C’ in gym,” the judge says.

“Worse things happen,” she says with a shrug.

“Worse things like what?”

“Like not seeing your mom at all for weeks at a time,” she says. “I mean, she was there, I just never saw her. She was asleep when I came home from school, or she was in the room with one of her boyfriends. I had to cook for myself… when there was food in the house…”

“There were times when there was no food in the house?” he asks. She nods.

“Near the end, yeah,” she says. “At first, it was just Mom wasn’t around, I didn’t have her breathing down my neck all the time, great. Then, these guys started coming around and I never saw her. Then, she would be gone for days and I knew she wasn’t there. Then, we started running out of food and I had to make what I could… Is my Dad going to see this?”

Jason sits up straight in his seat and listens carefully to what she says.

“You’re saying that you don’t want your dad to see this?” the judge asks. Sophie shakes her head. “Why not?”

“Because he’s gonna be mad at me,” she says.

“Why do you think your father is going to be mad at you?” She rolls her eyes.

“Because one day a while ago, there wasn’t any food in the house and I was hungry and I went to school and I ate out of the garbage.” Jason’s hand flies to his mouth. He closes his eyes and his head drops.

“Why do you think he would be angry with you for that?”

“Because I never told him,” she says with a sigh. “I was trying to protect my mother.”

“Why would you want to protect her from something like that?” the judge asks. “You were hungry…”

“Because she’s my mom,” Sophie says, like the answer was obvious. “She’s done some really messed-up things, but she’s still my mom.”

Now Deleroy’s head falls. She covers her face and cries.

“So, you still love her,” the judge asks.

“Of course, I love her!” Sophie nearly shrieks. “She’s just… not a good mom anymore.”

Deleroy chokes back a sob. Even for a strung-out, soulless, cold-hearted bitch who tried to sell her 12-year-old daughter, this must be hard to hear.

“Was she ever a good mom?” the judge asks.

“That’s hard to say,” Sophie replies soberly. “I think she was. I didn’t have anything to compare it to until I saw Ms. Ana with the twins…”

Butterfly covers her mouth and gasps. I reach over and grasp her hand.

“Those are babies, though. Everybody likes babies.” Sophie smiles playfully. “But when she thinks nobody’s looking, she smiles at them and she kisses them. She tells them that she loves them and I know they don’t know what she’s saying. You just… know that she would do anything for those babies…” Sophie trails off.

“You didn’t feel like that with your mother?” Sophie shrugs again and looks like she’s searching for her words.

“I’m a little older now than I was when I was living with Mom, and…” she trails off again, sighs, and starts to fidget with her fingers. “Do you know that Momma Gail calls me ‘Pumpkin?’” she says, smiling. “Daddy calls me ‘Baby Boo.’ Mom calls me ‘Sophie’ or ‘Sophia.’ Everybody calls me that. Ms. Ana and Mr. Christian call the twins ‘Minnie and Mikey.’ Isn’t that cute?” she nearly squeals.

“Yes, it is,” the judge agrees, lightheartedly.

“Mr. Christian… he calls Ms. Ana ‘Butterfly,’ and when they don’t think I can hear them, Daddy calls Momma Gail ‘Love’ and Keri calls Chuck ‘Choonks,’” she giggles.

We have to be careful around this little girl. She sees and hears everything.

“I even heard one girl’s mom at school calls her ‘Nooka.’ I don’t even know what that means, but her name is ‘Ember,’ so I know it’s a nickname.” She drops her head sadly.

“What does that mean to you?” the judge asks.

“It means that these people love each other,” she says, sadly. “Mom never had a nickname for me. As far back as I can remember, Daddy called me ‘Baby Boo,’ but Mom never had a nickname for me. Just… Sophie… Everybody calls me ‘Sophie…’” she sounds as if she’s going to cry.

“You don’t like ‘Sophie?’”

“It’s okay, it’s my name… but shouldn’t your mom have a different name for you? I mean, something that nobody else calls you? Like everybody calls ‘Minnie and Mikey’ ‘Minnie and Mikey.’ But Mr. Christian and Ms. Ana might call ‘em ‘Mouse,’ or ‘Little Man,’ or ‘Big Man,’ or something like that… I know I’m not making sense…” she says.

“No, you’re making perfect sense,” the judge says, “but just because your mom didn’t have a special nickname for you didn’t make her a bad mom, did it?”

“No, I guess not,” Sophie says, and now she’s mum on the subject.

“Why don’t we get to the important stuff—why we’re here… where you want to live,” the judge says. “Your opinion is important here.” Sophie sighs.

“Are you going to listen to me or are you going to throw out what I’m saying because I’m a kid?” she asks.

Jason looks back at me and I swear we must be sharing the same look of awe.

“I’m going to listen to you, Sophia,” the judge says. Sophie obviously looks at Allen and Deleroy’s attorney before looking at the judge, then back at her hands.

“My mom has a problem,” she says, her voice cracking. “She didn’t always have this problem, but she has it now. She wasn’t always a bad mom… she really wasn’t. She kept me away from my dad, and that hurt, but she still wasn’t a bad mom…”

Deleroy is weeping now.

“But when she started that stuff, she changed. Everything changed. I was… ten or eleven, maybe… but I could tell things were different. She lost weight, she didn’t wash, she looks old… her teeth in the back are rotting away. She smells different, she acts different… Daddy was sending a lot of money for child support. I know he was, but there still wasn’t enough! Things just got bad and then they got worse and now… Mom might go to jail. What’s going to happen to me then?

“I spent a lot of time with my mom and I was barely ever able to see my dad. I wanna live with my dad,” she says without raising her head.

“Is that the only reason you want to live with your dad?” the judge asks.

“Mom’s not a good mom anymore… I wanna live with my dad,” she says again. “She never let me see him,” Sophie says, raising her head. “When I asked to call him or go see him, she always said he was too busy. For a long time, I thought my dad didn’t want me and she let me keep thinking that. Who does that?” She drops her head again.

“Even after everything that’s happened, Dad’ll still let me see Mom any time I ask him. He’s never kept me away from her… I just can’t be alone with her because she’s on that stuff. And I want her to get better, I really do, but I can’t live with her. I was hungry and unhappy and lonely… I don’t want to live with her…”

“What if she gets better, though?” the judge asks. “What if she goes into rehab and she’s not using anymore? We can make it so that you live with your father for a little while and then go back and live with your mother once she’s all better.”

Jason visibly tenses, but relaxes again when he sees Sophie shaking her head.

“I don’t want to go back and live with my mother,” she says, tears streaming down her face. “I only have a few more years and then I’ll be a grown up. Momma Gail likes me, Ms. Ana likes me, I get to play with the twins; I don’t have to be all by myself all the time. Nobody messes with my stuff. I get to go on field trips at school… and now, I know my dad wants me. I always knew that everything she was telling me about him wasn’t true, but now, I get to see it for myself. He spends time with me and tells me about when he was a kid… even about when him and Mom were married, before they started fighting. I talk to Ms. Ana about everything! She’s smart and she wears great clothes!”

I try not to laugh at her comment, but the rest of the courtroom is not so successful.

“And she gets me. I don’t know how, but she gets me. And Momma Gail… if something makes me sad or I don’t feel good, she’s always there. She has all these different home remedies for stuff and I think she could heal anything!”

Again, we laugh.

“I wanna stay with my dad,” she says her voice breaking and becoming somber. “I wanna stay with Mr. Christian and Chuck and Ben and Keri and… I feel like I got a real family now. I don’t wanna be alone anymore. If you send me to live with my mom, I’m gonna be alone again. I don’t wanna be alone.”

There’s a long moment of silence before the judge speaks.

“Thank you, Sophia,” he says. “Any questions from counsel?” the judge asks.

“No questions, Your Honor,” I hear Allen say.

“No questions,” the other attorney says, and the screen goes black. Deleroy hits her attorney on the arm and gestures to the front of the court as if to ask why he didn’t examine Sophie. He never even looks at her.

“It’s a difficult decision to tear a child from either parent, especially in a situation like this. I know to the layman, this may seem like a cut-and-dried case. The mother is quite possibly facing jail time for being caught in a drug raid. She’s obviously battling an addiction, which always stands to destroy the family and, most of all, the life of the child. There is some question about the intention of the mother to trade the child for drugs on the night of the raid. However, without concrete evidence or an outstanding charge, this accusation is speculation and perception and could just be the interpretation of a very frightened child of the night’s events. In a case like this, I’m driven to consider giving second chances to parents who are on the track of redemption. However, I must also consider the best interests of the child.

“In speaking to Sophia Taylor, I feel that she’s a very rounded, very wise teenager. I’m certain that she’s not easily coerced and I can see right through a child who has been coached. Sophia is craving real love and attention—a healthy home life and familial relationship. Not only does it appear that she has been deprived of this in recent years, but she’s also been deprived of basic companionship and guidance in her life. Her wisdom—such as it is—has been acquired from observing situations outside of hers; from watching the children at school interact with their parents even before she saw the interactions of the Taylors and the Greys. You only saw portions of the conversation that Sophia and I had and the parts that you didn’t see revealed that Jason Taylor went a long way to teach his daughter valuable life lessons and to be an active part of her life long before she came to live with him in March.

“In weighing the parental impact on Sophia of the time that she has lived with her mother and the impact of the time that she has lived with her father and in light of the current circumstances, the pending criminal trial, the mother’s current dependency, and the testimony of the child in question, I believe it to be in the best interest of the child to grant permanent primary custody of the minor child, Sophia Loren Taylor, to the father, Jason Taylor.”

I do my best not to stand and cheer while Deleroy gasps and cries out, “No!” in one of the most dramatic and theatrical displays I’ve ever seen. The judge continues by revoking the current child support order and asking if Jason requires child support from Deleroy. He declines, citing that his suspicion is that his child support was her only source of income, so there’s not much that she can give him. The judge informs him that he is free to revisit the child support order at a later date.

“Mrs. Deleroy, I don’t think you’re completely beyond redemption,” the judge continues. “Take this time for reflection and rehabilitation. Whatever the outcome of the criminal case against you, there’s always hope for recovery, and that’s what you need to strive for. Mr. Taylor, it’s the order of this court that you must make Sophia available for reasonable visitation with Ms. Deleroy. Supervised visitation is allowable and advisable until such time as Ms. Deleroy has successfully completed a medical drug rehabilitation program. In the meantime, I wish you all luck. Court is adjourned.” And the gavel falls.

“All rise.” We all rise except for Deleroy who is crumpled in a mound on the table, weeping bitterly. When the judge leaves the courtroom, she turns and lets loose on Jason.

“You bastard!” she cries. “You took my daughter, you son of a bitch! Are you happy now?”

Jason just looks at her and without a word, exits the courtroom while she’s still screaming profanities.

A few feet down the hallway, Sophie is sitting on a bench with a social worker awaiting the outcome of the trial. When she sees her father, she leaps to her feet, her eyes wide.

“Daddy?” she says, her eyes hopeful. A smile spreads across Jason’s face.

“We’re going home, Baby Boo,” he says as he opens his arms wide. Sophie squeals with delight and runs down the courthouse hallway, launching herself into her father’s arms.


ANASTASIA

“So, Judd Rossiter…”

After I woke from a very peaceful rest yesterday and right before my outside yoga session with Keri, Christian informed me to call a very frantic Marilyn who had called earlier that morning with two shows that wanted me to appear the next day. What the fuck? When I talked to Marilyn, it was Good Morning Seattle and Prominent Pacific, two of the shows that I had been targeting ever since I decided that I wanted to do radio interviews.

Fuck!
Fuck!
Fuck!

“What’s happened?” I had asked Christian. I knew something had to happen for them to suddenly be chomping at the bit to get me when they kept telling me, “We’ll be in touch,” before.

“You mean besides the fact that you’re becoming famous in your own right?” he said. “Somebody turned in another impromptu picture of us at the zoo cuddling under that umbrella.”

“That’s not news,” I told him.

“Oh, and Judd Rossiter is going down for sexual harassment of five women on his job—after you made a stink about that clit tattoo.”

So, that’s it. Juicy gossip about a local radio personality with a pussy on his arm. None of my causes were worth radio time, but the great Christian Grey takes down a disc jockey for flashing cooch at his wife, now that’s news! Okay… I’ll play your game, but you’re not going to like it…

So, Marilyn booked Seattle for Monday morning at 10am and Pacific for Tuesday at the same time. And now, here I sit with Sandra Price on Good Morning Seattle with her trying to get some gossip out of me. I told her when I sat down that I wanted to talk about my causes, and she went straight in to Rossiter.

“What about him?” I ask innocently.

“Give us the scoop. What’s the deal?” she says, leaning in for the kill.

“I don’t know what you want to hear,” I say shrugging. “You know as much as I do about the situation.” She glares at me a bit.

“Oh, come on, Ana. Inquiring minds want the deets. We hear that he’s being sued for sexual harassment by five women at the station.”

“Well, there you have it. What do you need me for?” I ask. “Was this a lead-in for how this relates to my treatment by the licensing board for those fabricated sexual misconduct accusations? Because if it was, we can skip the lead-in and go right to the story.” Sandra glares at me for about four seconds and I smile at her. “Sandra, I think this is what they call ‘dead air.’” She snaps out of her trance and tries to get back on track with the interview.

“I was just trying to get your side of the story, but if you don’t want to tell it…” she taunts.

“I’ve already told it, Sandra. I realize that you’re probably not supposed to listen to the competition, but if you want to stay on top of what’s going on in Seattle, you probably want to listen to that interview.” Tired of beating around the bush and trying to get information from me about the story, she starts asking direct questions.

“Is it true that Christian went down to the station all He-Man and demanded that Rossiter be fired?” she asks. I shrug.

“You have to ask Christian that question,” I say, knowing that an answer in the affirmative or the negative would both be a confirmation.

“Surely, you know if your husband came down to the radio station,” she prods further.

“I didn’t see him,” I answer honestly, and leave it at that.

“Don’t be coy, Ana, it’s not cute,” she quips, still trying to get me off my game.

“Don’t be deceptive, Sandra, it’s not professional,” I retort, and her eyes narrow again. “I love good gossip as much as the next person, but I only talk about what I know. I know that this topic was exposed on another radio station last week and that if you would like the ‘deets’ of that occurrence, you should probably get a sound bite from the radio station like everybody else did. I also know that your people called my people on a Sunday morning to book me for this slot today, at which time, you were informed that I would talk about my treatment by the licensing board after being falsely accused of sexual harassment charges as well as the work that I and my mother-in-law are doing at Helping Hands. Yet, when I get here, you’re asking about something completely unrelated—something that I was not and am not prepared to talk about, and I wonder if you ambush all of your live guests this way.”

Sandra’s mouth flies open. We’re live—she can’t stop me. She was hoping to catch me up in the Judd story, and now I’ve turned the tables.

“’Ambush’ is a pretty harsh word, don’t you think?” she says, in the most non-threatening tone she can muster.

“Oh,” I say, with the same pretentious softness, “I’m so sorry if I misspoke. What exactly are we doing?” Sandra’s eyes cut to something behind me and I look over my shoulder. In the control booth behind me is another woman in a red blazer with her arms folded. She’s glaring at Sandra with a look of death and there’s a man beside her with a large white dry-erase board with instructions in big bold black letters.

ASK ABOUT THE LICENSING BOARD

I turn back to Sandra, who’s still looking over my shoulder. I clear my throat and get her attention. When she turns her glare to me, I point to her microphone.

“Dead air,” I say. She looks down at her card.

“Of course,” she says, “just trying to brighten our dull little lives with a little juicy stuff. You know how that is.” She flashes a phony smile. I retort with the phoniest laugh I can muster to be blasted across the airways. Before we have a chance to start the interview back up again, Sandra’s recorded voice comes over the sound system with,

“We’ll be right back after these messages.”

“Clear,” I hear from the control booth and Sandra suddenly pales. In two seconds, the red blazer storms into the room and gets in Sandra’s face.

“Stick to the goddamn script and cut the ratings whore shit unless you want to end up back on the 4am weather report tomorrow.” Red Blazer says the entire thing through her teeth and Sandra doesn’t respond. She quietly picks up her index cards and stacks them without a word. Red Blazer doesn’t even acknowledge me. She breezes right back out of the booth and Sandra and I sit there for two minutes of total silence. When the control booth calls out “We’re on in five,” I’m almost relieved to hear the intro music start up again.

“And welcome back to Good Morning Seattle. Our interview continues with Dr. Anastasia Steele-Grey, psychiatrist and assistant director of Helping Hands…”

And just like that, we did the interview that I agreed to. The person who conducted this interview was nothing like the “ratings whore” sitting in the room two minutes ago. It’s like the body snatchers came into the room and took the first bitch away, replacing her with this professional woman asking relevant questions about my issues.

As it turns out, this had nothing to do with me. Good Morning Seattle really did want to get me into a morning slot because of the exposure that I’ve been getting lately, and they were totally fine with me discussing the licensing board and Helping Hands. It was Sandra Anchorbitch who, like Judd Loser, was trying to get a few minutes of more fame with her “ratings whore shit,” as Red Blazer put it. Honestly, there’s always one. That’s how the sacrificial lamb was born in the first place. They’re not on every show and hopefully, there won’t be one on Prominent Pacific, but we’ll just have to see.

The afternoon is much better than the morning, although I must admit that I didn’t know what to expect at Sophie’s custody hearing. Courtrooms and I haven’t been the best of friends, and I didn’t relish the idea of having to be in one again, much less having to take the stand. The case is very volatile and I have no idea what’s going to come out in the examinations, especially since Sophie will be living in our house if… when the judge grants Jason full custody. People tend to villainize me and Christian at every turn and I expect for this situation to be no different.

I had no idea how wrong I would be.

I don’t know where Shalane found this attorney, but she should have kept searching. If I didn’t know better, I would swear that Jason hired the guy! He made Jason’s point for us more times than not. Shalane’s character witnesses were unreliable at best. I wouldn’t say that they were shady, but they didn’t help her case any. The attorney’s cross examination did nothing to pick apart our testimony. His questions basically only clarified what we had already said.

The most agonizing part of the entire case was listening to Sophie talk about how she didn’t really feel motherly love. She went on and on about nicknames and I don’t know if that meant anything to the case, but it meant everything to me as a psychiatrist. She never felt the special love that a child should feel from a mother than turns your heart to mush… the love that make my voice turn into Alvin and the Chipmunks when I see “Mommy’s little man” or “Mommy’s Minnie Mouse.” She clearly missed out on that from her mother, and although she had a hard time verbalizing it, she did so perfectly.

Shalane can’t see past her own loss. She’s so busy blaming Jason for her problems that she can’t see her own mistakes. When Jason walks out of the courtroom without a word with my husband on his heels, I just watch and listen as Shalane spews profanities at him. There’s no mention whatsoever of being a better parent or taking care of her child, just what he took from her. I stay behind for a moment and watch the temper tantrum. Jason doesn’t even react. He just leaves the courtroom while she’s screaming at him. She finally turns her gaze to me, still sniffling and slobbering.

“What?” she weeps. “You wanna kick my ass now?” she says, recalling our near-encounter yesterday. No, Shalane, you’re doing a good enough job of that all on your own.

“Stop. Thinking. About. Yourself,” I say coolly. Shalane’s anger falls and her face turns to stone. “You are her mother. No one will ever take your place. She loves you. Nothing will ever change that. Get yourself together! She needs you! She will always. Need you!”

I don’t know if I got through to her, but she didn’t rebut. I can only see Carla and how everything was always about her. It wasn’t always that way, but it was that way when it counted. I moved past it, but I’ll never get over it. I’ll never get over not being important enough to my mommy. I don’t want that fate for Sophie.

I glance over at her attorney who gives me a nearly infinitesimal nod. It turns out that he really is one of the good guys.

When I leave the courtroom, an elated Sophie is wrapped around her father and they’re both laughing like they’re at Disneyland. When he walks out hand in hand with his little girl, we’re met by a few paparazzi on the stairs, always looking for a story. The little lady handled like a pro.

“I’m going home with my daddy. That’s all.”

And that was all.

*-*

“Listen, Ana,” Shelby Fisher says as I sit in the preshow briefing, “I want to hear about Judd Rossiter, too. I heard the radio show. I heard what you said to him. The world knows that Christian Grey went down to that radio station, although nobody really knows what happened because the station is mute about it. Judd is talking about it on every slime show he can do and freedom of speech says that he can do that. I’d like to get some inside on it, but I won’t if you say ‘no.’”

I sigh. So, Judd is mud-slinging. It’s not just bar talk; it’s more than that. I nod.

“How much time before we go on the air?” I ask.

“About fifteen minutes,” she says. I nod again.

“Let me talk to my publicist really quickly and I’ll get back to you on that, okay?” She nods.

“That’s fair,” she says. I pull Marilyn into one of the nearby conference rooms and lock the door. I hope nobody was using this room right away.

“Google Judd Rossiter,” I tell her as I dial Grey House.

“Elva McIntyre.”

“Vee, it’s Ana. Listen, Judd Rossiter is apparently running off at the mouth about his stroke of bad luck with the ladies at his job. Do you know what he’s saying?” I can hear her typing away at her keyboard.

“I know he was yapping about it, but so far nothing’s come up about you or Christian. Just sour grapes about the women who are accusing him…”

“Oh, shit,” Marilyn’s voice breaks through Vee’s explanation.

“What?” I ask.

“Seattle Nooz’ live webcast this morning has him portraying you as a prude that needs a good fucking and Christian as the billionaire messenger boy that you’ve got by the balls. He’s basically saying that Christian came into the station after you called him and that because of that visit, the girls making the accusations were planted… and the Nooz is running with that.” I sigh and roll my eyes. This shit happens all the time, but I just don’t need it when I have two major causes that require the spotlight.

“I heard,” Vee says, “and I see. You can’t avoid it. Address it, but don’t focus on it. Don’t stoop to his level. Do it like Ana. Handle it… don’t feed it.” I nod. I know what to do.

“Tell Christian,” I say. “He doesn’t need to be blindsided by this. I’ll be at Grey House this afternoon before I go to the Center.”

“You got this, Ana,” she says before she ends the call.

“Yeah, I got this,” I mumble, before turning to Marilyn. “You’re coming into the booth with me. Find as much as you can…”

“So, what’s the verdict?” Shelby asks. I sigh.

“I appreciate you letting me know that you want to address the issue. Because you asked instead of ambushing me, we’ll devote no more than ten minutes to that discussion, but we must remain professional. I reserve the right not to address something, but I’ll try to answer your questions.” She nods.

“That’s all I can ask,” she says. Three minutes later, we’re on the air. She begins by asking for a short recap of what’s going on.

“I really hate to focus on this situation when there are so many other important topics to discuss, but I realize that it can’t be ignored,” I begin. “Long story short, I brought to light how his behavior was inappropriate. I also mentioned that it probably made other women in the workplace uncomfortable to have to look at that. What happened after that, I can only speculate, but I’m sure that you can relate to the concept of several people speaking up after one speaks up? I can only guess that after I spoke up about the inappropriate tattoo that other women may have found the courage to speak up about their experiences with him as well.”

“He’s painting it as a big set-up from an uptight woman with an ax to grind,” she says. “I have to admit that you have never struck me as ‘uptight,’ so what’s that all about?”

“The entire time I sat in that booth with female anatomy staring at me, I took every measure to remain professional—even in expressing my distaste with his offensive tattoo and suggestive attire, I remained tactful and diplomatic. Maybe he’s not accustomed to that type of response and that’s why he calls me ‘uptight.’ I can actually understand that. If the only thing you’re used to is women diverting their gaze or gasping in horror, I would imagine that you wouldn’t know how to properly describe someone confronting you on the vulgarity of your personal representation in the workplace.” Shelby’s brow rises.

“Wow. Nice,” she says with a chuckle. “What about his comment about your husband? We all know that Christian Grey can make things happen.”

“Well, I’ll say this,” I say. “I know that my husband is very protective of me and for good reason. I’m the mother of his children; I’m the wife of a billionaire, and let’s face it—I haven’t had the best of luck, right?” I say with a shrug. “I’ll repeat what I said on Monday. I didn’t see him at the station, but if he did show up, what husband in his right mind would have the power to speak up about his wife being disrespected and not do it?

“We ask for the manager in a restaurant when the service is bad—not millionaires and billionaires and power players, just regular people who expect to be respected. Yet, my husband is being portrayed as henpecked because he may or may not have defended me against someone’s inappropriate and predatory behavior.  Maybe chivalry is dead where that guy came from, but all the upstanding men in my life defend their women—their wives, daughters, and mothers. So, I don’t really know what else to say about that.” Shelby does a small fist pump in the air and we share a silent giggle.

“What about…” She pauses for effect and to let me know that a big one is coming. “… the claims that the women that are making the accusations against him are planted?” I literally laugh out loud.

“That’s just ridiculous!” I exclaim shamelessly. “I can’t even begin to speculate what kind of planning has to go into executing something so ludicrous! You would have had to know exactly when I was going to be on the show then plant people months in advance as employees to be ready for when I showed up! What’s more, you would have had to know that he would have flashed this thing at me! Do you see how ridiculous that really is?” I say, my voice high.

“Clearly,” Shelby agrees.

“I would really like to know how those women feel about that accusation,” I say, matter-of-factly. “I’d be interested in knowing what the station has to say about it. This is an open investigation on his professional behavior. Seriously, if these women are traumatized enough by this, it could lead to workplace lawsuits and he’s just talking about it everywhere like it’s the weather. He’s got a bone to pick with me because he’s got an open vajayjay in my face and he’s not even thinking about these other women. Then again, he wasn’t thinking about them in the first place, now was he?”

Shelby shakes her fists and looks to the heavens mouthing, “Gold!”

“Oh, my God, vajayjay!” she says, through her laughter, and I just realized I let that out of my mouth. Oh, well… she loved it.

“I’m not going to have a sparring match with this man,” I begin after our laughter subsides. “There’s a character flaw at play when you think it’s okay to display a tattoo like that to women with whom you do not have intimate relationships. It’s that simple. It’s offensive. It’s suggestive. It’s vulgar, and somebody spoke up about it. When that one person spoke up about it, all of the people who felt that his behavior—whatever his behavior may have been—was offensive, suggestive, or vulgar all spoke up about it. When you make a decision to go against the grain, you have to live with the consequences. I’m all for self-expression, but he can’t show up with an exposed naked woman on his arm in the workplace any more than I can show up naked to my job at the help center.” Shelby makes that shrug face.

“I… think that says it all,” she says with a nod. “Thank you so much for addressing that and so eloquently. Now, let’s get to the real reason for your visit. I know you normally talk about the licensing board first, but I’d like to switch it up and talk about Helping Hands. Apparently, your mother-in-law, Dr. Grace Trevelyan Grey is a successful pediatrician here in Seattle and she’s been the director of this organization for many years. I hear that you guys have been doing some great things for the community down there…”

Best interview I’ve had yet. I got to address that asshole, Judd, without going into the gutter and Shelby had really done her research. She painted Helping Hands in the best possible light with statistics and testimonials, even bringing to light the span of services that we’ll be able to provide once the accreditation is complete. I’m thoroughly pleased with the outcome of this appearance and Shelby has asked me to come back for an update after the accreditation goes through.

“You. Are. Phenomenal!” Vee says when I call to check in with her after we leave the station. “You’re going to put me out of a fucking job, you know that?”

“Not a chance,” I tell her. “We need you. As you can see, I need you.”

“He needs you,” she says quietly. “Don’t ever repeat this, but he’s been such a better man since you’ve come along. His image was taking a silent hit that year you showed up—stoic, cold ass businessman with no heart and he was fine with that. Now that you’re here… he just a better man.” I smile.

“Thanks, Vee,” I say sincerely. “Tell that better man that I’m on my way there.”


A/N: Pictures of places, cars, fashion, etc., can be found at https://www.pinterest.com/ladeeceo/raising-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

 

Raising Grey: Chapter 13—We Are Family

Okay, so far in the casting for Ana in “Golden,” Jessica Parker Kennedy is getting dusted. Brianna Evigan is in first place and Mila Kunis is a very close second. So, I think it’s safe to say that our choices will be between Brianna Evigan and Mila Kunis. Stay tuned!

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 13—We Are Family

CHRISTIAN

That was torture.

Pure, unmitigated, undiluted torture.

That woman’s ass is kryptonite and I could barely get inside before I was pulsing and pounding and ready to come and what do I do? I ask her not to come so that I can make love to her for the rest of the night. I regretted it the moment I suggested it, because I knew the process would be damn near unbearable. The thought nearly brought tears to my eyes. Not only was my inner horndog Rumpelstiltskin-stomping-mad, but Greystone was already promising to make me pay dearly for that request.

And make me pay, he did.

Butterfly’s ass is a thing of beauty and a wonder to behold, but when I get to sex it…

God, she was so tight and ready. Thrusting into her ass while holding her close to me, kissing her and gazing into her tormented eyes, I didn’t have the heart to tell her that I had come several times in her ass—tiny, involuntary orgasms and seepages of semen that I had absolutely no control over, and Greystone didn’t wane. This wasn’t Dom Dick; this was something else, something that enjoyed the tiny releases, but threatened a deadly detonation when the act was finally complete; something that knew that I had to keep my stamina until the bastard that was currently sharing our bed was gone forever.

Rubbing that ass and pushing her down onto me…
Grabbing that waist and those hips and guiding her to grind into me…
Throwing her leg over my hips, kissing those breasts and lips while I massaged her clit and penetrated her core while still loving her ass…
Holding her hard against me and gently squeezing her neck while I pump repeatedly into her…

The small bursts were more torment than pleasure as the big explosion loomed dangerously in my balls and back. It was agony—sweet fucking agony—to keep from blowing wildly inside of her as I took her ass and loved her for hours from every possible angle. I made sure that sweet, hot pussy didn’t get neglected, but my dick stayed in that ass for the rest of the night.

And her orgasm was the longest she had ever had. When it started, it hung there for a minute, not coming to full climax for quite some time. I was inside of her holding back this crippling explosion when she first stiffened, so it seemed like for-fucking-ever before she finally hit her pinnacle, but if I’m honestly estimating, it was only about two minutes. But, shit, two minutes is a long fucking time to hold back a climax. We’re talking like 26 in orgasm years!

“Oh, God. Oh, my God, you feel so good. So good… it feels so good… so good…”

I was in her ear encouraging her to let go and come. No matter how hard she fought it, she wouldn’t return from this one. Tears were streaming down her face and her breaths were heaving and tortured as I held her close to me and continued to drive slow and deep into her, sensually rubbing her breasts and her body while licking and tasting her skin. A when she finally came…

God, when she finally came…

A mournful sob wrenched from her tortured soul and could feel her ascending, slipping away from me… so I held on. I held on and buried my body into hers as the atomic explosion in my balls blasted brutally through my dick and flooded us both with so much cum, we should have drowned. Holding her tight against me was as much to keep her from floating away into the heavens as it was to still her violent gyrations on my expanding, pulsing dick. When I say that my dick was popping, I mean that it was thumping and bumping and pulsing and popping and aching and not only was her tight anus flexing and tightening and squeezing every bit of seed from me, but her round, luscious, slippery ass cheeks were rubbing against me, massaging and tormenting me into one of the deadliest nuclear blast I’d ever felt in my life! Skyrockets and firecrackers can’t even begin to describe what was going on and I can only imagine that a camera shot down there would have captured a scene of such immense pulsing, vibrating, expanding, and throbbing of my dick and balls that it most likely imitated my shaft still fucking and thrusting into her ass on its own!

David had to be exorcised.

We had done it once, but this time, he made it in through her insecurities. I saw it in her eyes even though she said nothing. He was in her soul and her mind and our bed and he had to be purged.

So, I did.

I kissed her and loved her and touched, rubbed, and sexed every inch of her body until she knew that she belonged to me and I belonged to her. Nothing and no one would ever cause me to stray and she had to know that my body and soul are unequivocally and irrevocably hers.

Hopefully, she knows that now.

I knew she was unconscious before my dick stopped pulsing in her ass, but I couldn’t move. Even after the orgasm waned, there was still unbelievable pulsing in my dick inside of her ass that made it impossible for me to pull out, impossible for me to move, so I pulled her tighter against me and stayed buried inside of her, kissing her shoulders, skin, neck and hands gently until her breathing regulated and I knew she had moved from unconsciousness to sleep. I wasn’t worried. I know that it happens sometimes with real intense orgasms, but I couldn’t rest until I knew she had transitioned from one state to the other.

I fell asleep with my dick still pulsing in her ass.

Now, I find myself with morning wood buried deep inside of her, trying to find a way to pull out that will cause the least discomfort. Rip the Band-Aid off, I guess.

So, I did…

And while my Butterfly only whimpers in her exhausted slumber, I actually come again, squirting small amounts of semen on her beautiful ass. Kryptonite, I tell you. Fucking Kryptonite…

I grab a cup of coffee and go down to my office to check my emails. The house is alive with activity and Marlow has stopped by to help Taylor with some project in Sophie’s apartment. She’s all giggly and girly, something that appears to be flying right over Marlow’s head, but doesn’t get by Taylor in the least. I shake my head and dread the moment that Minnie Mouse gets that look in her eye about some young… guy. I move on to my office and fire up my computer. I normally don’t look at alerts with my name on them unless they say something about the business world, but this one caught my eye immediately.

Papa Bear Grey Goes Ballistic

What the fuck? Was somebody in that club last night? This can’t be good, and I was a lot of things with that bitch at that table last night, but Papa Bear is not one of the terms that I would use to describe it. I click on the link and realize that the headline has nothing at all to do with Greta Ellison or that club. A still of a surveillance photo appears on my screen—surveillance from my goddamn office! I’m sitting at my desk and Mac is standing in front of it.

What the ever-loving fuck!! Not again! Not fucking again! Barney assured me that we were safe! What the fucking fuck!!

I already know what conversation this is. This is when she cautioned me about threatening the press and, of course, the article describes me as the great protector, ready to throw myself in front of the oncoming train to keep my family out of the limelight during their suffering. That’s all well, fine, and good—Mr. Hero—but right now, I only have one question burning in my head.

Who the fuck am I firing today?

I call Barney’s cell first.

“Sir?” his voice is surprised, no doubt wondering why I’m calling him on a Sunday.

“I’m looking at surveillance from my office on the internet right now. It makes for a very interesting story. Can you tell me how this happened when you assured me that we’re airtight?” There’s silence for a moment.

“What?” he asks bemused. “That’s impossible! Security cameras are on their own servers all by themselves. They’re not even on the same mainframe. When I tell you that surveillance is unhackable, I mean it’s totally unhackable! It would be like hacking someone’s pedometer. It’s so a network all its own, even the most skilled computer technologists would have no fucking idea how to get in there.” My eyes narrow.

“If it’s so damn unhackable, why isn’t the entire mainframe on the same network? And how did someone upload private surveillance to the internet?” I seethe.

“Imagine trying to put your entire mainframe on a pedometer,” he says matter-of-factly. “You may want to call Alex on this one.”

“Don’t make plans for the day,” I growl. “I’ll be in touch.” I end the call and dial Alex.

“Sir,” he answers.

“Can you tell me why the hell I’m looking at surveillance from my office on the goddamn internet right now?” The line is quiet.

“You don’t know?” he says hesitantly.

“I. Don’t. Know. What?” I ask as patiently as I can. Another pause.

“Oh, fuck, I’m not taking the fall for this!” Alex bellows into the phone.

“I think you better tell me what the fuck is going on!” I bellow right back. “Who the fuck is responsible for this shit?”

“That would be me.”

A confident, casually-dressed Mac strolls into my office, folding her arms when she gets to the front of my desk.

“Her!” Alex says into the phone. “When she’s done explaining what’s going on, call me if you have questions, but know that as your publicist, she has almost as high a level of security clearance as I do. Can I go now?” I narrow my eyes at Mac.

“I’ll be in touch,” I say before ending the call. “I’m waiting.”

“It’s perfect PR,” she says, closing the rest of the space between her and my desk. “The phones have been ringing all morning. It’s brilliant! Take me, but leave my family alone. You can’t write this stuff. It’s media gold.”

“I’m still not feeling the love,” I hiss, “and I fail to see how this is media gold, as you put it.”

“They need to see you as a person, Christian,” Mac says, “a man, with real feelings, instead of this robot who walks around mindlessly destroying people if they don’t bend to his will. There’s no use in pretending that you don’t have weaknesses—they already know you do. Your wife and children are all over the news and now, your mourning family. You don’t know how to use candid moments to your advantage. You had to be convinced that Ana was media gold even though you’d seen it for yourself. Or have you conveniently forgotten the very first time a camera was shoved in her face and a very unfortunate reporter named Cheryl Deems who couldn’t get anybody to hire her after she became Ana’s first sacrificial lamb?”

“That wasn’t the first time a camera was shoved in her face,” I correct her, while simultaneously making her point. “I don’t like surprises, Mac. I wake to this on a Sunday morning with no warning whatsoever.”

“Would you have let me do it if I told you?” she says, taking her stance once more. I don’t respond. I really don’t need to. “I’m totally responsible for your public image now and you have to trust me to know what I’m doing.”

“I don’t see where this was necessary at all,” I continue to protest. “It’s like you said, everybody already knows that I would give anything and do anything for my family. What good did this do?” Mac sighs.

“When the story broke with you threatening the press at your grandfather’s funeral, you came off as a hothead. It didn’t matter that your family was grieving over the loss of its patriarch. You’re news; anything that happens to you is news, no matter how tragic. And all these people were trying to do was their jobs and report the news, and you issued a personal threat to the entire crowd that made the news for several days thereafter. My guess is that after today, you won’t hear another word about the hothead who threatened the press, but you will hear a whole lot about Papa Bear Grey.

“You can’t buy this type of publicity, Christian, and if you must be in the public eye, have them on your side as a defender and protector and not the haughty asshole who thinks he can do whatever he wants whenever he wants to whomever he wants, even if it may be true.”

I sigh and fall back into my seat. I would prefer no publicity at all and I’m certain that given a few days or so, the threats to the press would have been yesterday’s news. I would rather the splendor of it would wear off like it does with every other hot news bit that has occurred so far. No one even talks about the Pedophile or Edward David anymore—even though he unwelcomely crept into our bedroom last night, so to speak—neither of them are news anymore. Even the Green Valley case has gone somewhat quiet in the past few months. The Pedophile’s accusations against Butterfly never went public, so yes, the media is chomping at the bit for AnaChris news and the most exciting thing they’ve gotten is dinner and a nightclub. But if they think that exploiting my grandfather’s death and my family’s suffering is going to be the way to get their headline, they’re sorely mistaken and I’m just the one to show them.

So, I guess the whole Papa Bear thing isn’t such a bad idea after all.

“Mac,” I sigh, “you and I are going to have to do something about our communication. This is completely unacceptable… and you get to apologize to Barney and Alex for the reaming I gave them this morning, and I expect you to do just that.” She nods. “So, what now? I thought ‘leak’ and the rest of the world is going to think ‘plant,’ which is what it is.”

“Let them think what they want,” Mac replies. “We’ll be mum on it for the first few days and see where the monster goes on its own. Something like this is always a calculated risk, which is why you play it carefully. Whichever way it goes, we let it go.” I frown.

“So, if the public believes that this is a plant, we let them believe that?” She nods and I frown deeper. “I don’t see where that’s a good idea.”

“The more you deny, the more it makes something true,” Mac retorts. “If they really believe it’s planted information, big deal—people plant information all the time, but your reaction was real. And planted or not, they’ll be able to see that. You were primal in your rage when you talked about your family and how the press never gives you peace. Yeah, they may believe that the footage was deliberately given to the press, but they sure as hell won’t mistake your reaction for acting. Josh and I were a bit terrified by you.” I roll my eyes.

“And if they think it was leaked?” I ask.

“We go with it,” she replies. We’ll tell them that a disgruntled now-ex-employee leaked the footage and we keep the comments to a minimum—possible legal action, punitive damages, gag order, blah, blah, blah. You get the idea.” I’m still not certain about her tactic, but she’s right. I can only trust her at this point. I shake my head and turn to my computer screen.

“So,” she says, sitting in the seat in front of my desk. “Rollins?” I look at her briefly, then back to the computer screen.

“He disobeyed a direct order from my wife that directly had to do with GEH. He had to go.” She nods again.

“I know, but did you have to make such an example of him?”

“Yes, I did,” I reply. “These people have to know how serious I am about my wife being half owner of my business. Do you know how smart my wife is? Have you really sat down and talked to her? She minored in finance in college and while I’m sitting here chatting with her about one of the mergers we’re doing as a distraction from my grandfather’s death, she immediately spots skewed results in the statistical data.

“I can see it in your eyes, Mac, that wasn’t a setup,” I say, calling her out on her obvious suspicions. “She saw the error, she went to quality, and she told him to build the prototype and try to mimic the results. It had nothing to do with me until that asshole had spent the entire day sitting on his fucking hands before he came to me to nix the whole idea and handle things with the little wifey. I expect for people to jump when she’s says jump just like they do when I say jump. I know they may not respect her like me, but they very well better start!” She nods again and smirks.

“It appears she’s full of surprises,” she says knowingly. “Remember this conversation the next time you try to argue with me about what she can and can’t do.” She winks and heads for the door. “Can I go now?” I wave my hand for her to leave and look back at my emails. I swear to God the women in my life will one day be the death of me.


ANASTASIA

Pool party!

It’s the middle of July and I have this beautiful pool that I have not yet used. So, just before lunchtime, I activate the contingency and let everyone know that there will be Food and Libations all afternoon poolside at Grey Crossing. Be there or be square.

Be there or be square… good grief.

I found an adorable wraparound swimsuit just before Pops fell ill and never got a chance to wear it under the circumstances. Today is the day—a multicolored bandage high-waisted bikini that accentuates my new body perfectly.

When I go in search of my husband, Gail tells me that he’s down in his office with Mac, and I’m certain that I don’t want to know what fire requires her presence at our home on a Sunday morning unless he chooses to share it with me.

“I need a summer poolside feast for the afternoon,” I tell her. She raises her eyebrows at me like I’ve lost my mind.

“It’s… already afternoon,” she says, a little dismayed.

“Yes, and there’s a lot of afternoon left,” I inform her. I smile playfully. “I should have been more specific,” I say. “I want to spend the afternoon poolside with my friends and whoever wants to join us. Since we’ll be poolside, we’re talking things like fresh fruits, kabobs, chicken salad, finger sandwiches… that kind of thing.” Her eyebrows rise in acknowledgement.

“Oh,” she says, her voice lighter, “you had me scared for a minute. That, I can do.” I nod.

“I’m sorry,” I say mirthfully. “I know Sophie’s doing some remodeling today and you have your hands full with the regular duties. I can try to order something if it’s too much.”

“Nonsense!” Ms. Solomon’s voice says from the pantry. “You have a staff! That’s why we’re here. Let us earn our paychecks!” Gail smiles and shrugs one shoulder.

“What she said,” she replies. I return her smile and go to prepare my babies for a day at the pool. Christian and I agreed that we wanted to keep our relationship with the newer staff at a strictly professional level, but we both must admit that it’s been hard to do that with Windsor and Ms. Solomon, and especially with Keri. Speaking of which…

When I get back to the nursery, my two little bundles are already dressed and ready for a day at the pool. Keri is wearing a beautiful tropical wraparound maxi dress and she’s cooing at Mikey while Minnie enjoys tummy time in her crib. My little darlings are two delicious in their matching Mickey and Minnie Mouse swim suits.

a9d4f1d6357e101d717559bb21a44f7e“Oh, don’t you just look scrumptious!” I say to Minnie. She pushes up onto her knees and rocks feverishly, smiling widely at the sound of my voice. Her two little front teeth have cut in and she’s happier and more sociable now that she’s not in constant discomfort. She’s babbling these days and as far as we can tell, she’s forming some word close to “bottle” or “boob.” We just know that it’s a bah-bah-bah sound and usually comes around feeding time. Mikey is a little slower with his development and I would be remiss to say that I’m not more than a little worried. However, Dr. Nahabedian has told us not to worry; that boys are generally slower to develop than girls. Still, I’m a bit anxious.

“How is Mommy’s little Minnie Mouse?” I coo as I lift her from her crib in her black suit with a red frilly skirt with polka dots and white ruffle-butt bloomer. She smacks my cheeks softly while giggling profusely as I make the “brrrr” noise with my lips. I carry her over to her brother’s crib where Keri is having similar interactions with Mikey.

“Have you already put sunscreen on them or do we need to do it now?” I ask Keri. She nods.

“Yes, I’ve already done it,” she says, still smiling at Mikey.

“Where would I be without you?” I say, sincerely.

“Lost,” she says, sweetly, “just like I would be without you.” She winks at me and I know she’s referring to us giving her a job as our au pair.

“You know you’re helping us just as much as we’re helping you, right?” I ask.

“I find that hard to believe, but thank you… for everything.”

We gather my children and their diaper bags and head for the elevator to go to the pool. When we arrive, the baby tent is already set up with the Pack-n-Play’s nearby. Keri gets the twins set up inside with their toys while I inflate their floaties for when we’re ready to take them into the water.

653d170e88444f26a95956b1b1102b8dSlowly, but surely, my friends begin to show up and the food is brought out to the outdoor dining room. The staff has managed everything I recommended and included guacamole and chips, sunny orange-lemonade, refreshing flash-frozen fruit chunks, and a plethora of other summertime goodies as well and my usual favorites—pinwheels and bruschetta. Christian has even fired up the grill and is cooking hot dogs, bratwurst, and hamburgers… under Jason’s watchful eye and tutelage, and Chuck has set up as bartender in the outdoor dining room for mixed cocktails and Mojito slushies made to order, and he can also watch Keri with the twins in her hot little two-piece with the black wrap-bra and tiny bottoms with the Aztec designs.

 

Of course, Al is the first to show up. He saunters over to where I’m enjoying a cocktail and

Keri is nearby, splashing her feet in the pool while keeping an eye on the twins in the baby tent.

“Damn, diva! You are rocking that suit!” Al says, as he joins me on a chaise near the pool.

“Thank you, Mr. Fleming-Forsythe,” I reply, “You’re looking rather spiffy yourself,” I comment about his electric blue swim trunks with black stripes. “But tell me… is it safe to let your man out the house looking like 150 pounds of ripped chocolate in a black and white nylon wrapper?” Al’s mouth falls open.

“You’re one to talk!” he accuses quietly. “You got Diamond Dick over there with his jewels barely tucked and stuffed into a navy-blue holster! If he sneezes, I’ll get a good look at cut and clarity!”

I was just taking a sip of a Cosmo at that moment. He’s lucky he’s not wearing it.

“Damn, Allen, seriously?” I say, choking down the alcohol.

“Hey, you started it,” he says as he lays out on the chaise. “I need to cook a bit, my love. My skin is a bit too alabaster.”

“I know what you mean,” I say, examining the total lack of pigment in my own complexion. “I’m feeling a little lily-white myself these days.” I begin to put suntan lotion on my skin.

“Did you see the news about your husband this morning?” Al says as he dons his shades and gets comfortable. I sigh.

“No, but I knew something was up when Gail told me that Mac was down in his study with him this morning.” I finish my arms and grab a towel. “Can you untie me please?” Al sits up and glares at me.

“You’re going topless?” he gasps, dismayed. “With that rack? You might make my husband go straight!” I laugh out loud.

“Not completely, silly,” I chuckle, “but I can’t tan right with the wraparound because the straps are too wide. Now, untie me… and do my back while you’re at it.” Al unties my wraparound bikini top while I cover my breasts with the towel.

“Well,” he says as he applies a generous portion of suntan lotion to my back, “the day of the funeral, you saw that the paparazzi were present en masse…”

“Fucking vultures,” I say before I know it. Those fuckers are worse than that church that camps out at the funerals of fallen soldiers and homosexuals to protest the service and harass the family of the deceased.

“Well, your husband felt the same way, so much so that he had his security team taking pictures of the photographers and issued personal threats to each one of them.” I spun around in my seat and looked at him.

Personal threats?” I ask. Al nods. “To each of them?” He nods again. “Oh, fuck.”

“Mac shared your sentiment,” he continues. “She confronted him about the appropriateness of his actions on Thursday when he got back to the office, well after one of the reporters had aired his threats. He went nuclear on her—told her that he didn’t care if they came after him; that he wanted them to come after him; that if they ruined him, then maybe he wouldn’t be news anymore and they would leave his fucking family alone. He was totally willing to sacrifice himself if they left his family alone. He didn’t apologize for his actions and he vowed that he meant every word. He was like a lion standing on his hind feet to protect the pride.” He does the gesture for me to turn around.

“Okay, so, what happened? Why is this news again if it broke on Thursday?” I ask, turning my back to him so that he can finish with the suntan lotion. I have to admit that I hadn’t seen or heard anything about the threats until just now and I was at Grey House on Friday.

“She had this conversation with him in his office, which is always under security surveillance. The surveillance went viral this morning.” I spin around to face him again. “Dammit, Jewel! Be surprised while you’re facing the other direction, please!”

“You just told me that private surveillance from my husband’s office just went viral! Do we have another hacker?” My mind immediately goes to all the times we fucked in that office.

“It was Mac! Now turn around!” he barks.

“Mac was the hacker?” I ask horrified.

“No! She got the footage from Alex and leaked it on purpose—to make Chris look more human for threatening the press. Now, turn around!” I narrow my eyes at him.

“You could have led with that, you cow,” I say begrudgingly turning around so that he can finish my back.

“Shut up and listen, heifer,” he retorts. “We’re waiting to see where the media is going with it. Our response right now is silence. No one’s giving them anything. But you’ll probably notice that you haven’t seen any paparazzi hiding in bushes or around corners all week.” Come to think of it, I haven’t. “They’re taking him at his word, seeing if he’ll do what he said. My guess is that a few heads are going to roll, even though no pictures of your family from the funeral ended up in the media… only the footage of him threatening the press and the subsequent surveillance footage. They’re calling him Papa Bear Grey.

“Papa Bear Grey?” I nearly cackle. “You can’t be serious.”

“Totally,” he says. “Nobody would dare fuck with him or any of you right now.” I shake my head.

“I take it he didn’t know about this. Otherwise, there would be no reason for Mac to be here on a Sunday morning.”

“I’m not sure, but I don’t think he did. Now that he does, he’s just waiting like the rest of us… silently.” He finishes my back and closes the suntan lotion. “All done, my dear.”

I situate myself on the chaise and cover my boobs with the towel, folding it so that it only covers my mounds and not the rest of me.

“I can’t wait to see how this ends up,” I say, facetiously.

Al and I sunbathe for a while as I tell him about the night Christian and I had confronting Greta Ellison. I leave out the part where we fuck all night because seeing him charm Greta gave me flashbacks of the dirty, lying cheater with two first names. I finish my Cosmo and listen to my babies cooing behind me as my skin tans to a lovely shade. Al is still talking about… something… as I feel myself drifting off to sleep…

“Hot damn, that’s a sight,” I hear my husband’s voice say. I open my eyes to see him standing over me, playfully licking his bottom lip and smiling at me. He looks hot as fuck with windblown hair and sunglasses, gazing down at me with the sun shining behind him. I know I’ve fallen asleep, but I don’t know for how long. I’m not burned, so it must’ve only been a few minutes.

“Cut and clarity,” Al says from the chaise next to me. I throw a horrified look at him.

“Allen!” I hiss as quietly as I can.

“What?” Christian asks, curiously.

“Just Allen being an ass,” I say through my teeth. I hold my towel against my breasts as I sit up to greet my husband. “What brings you over here? You wanted to get a better look?” I ask, raising my eyebrow. He smiles and sits on my chaise.

“No, but that’s a good reason to stay,” he says playfully. “How are you?” I know what he’s talking about. Last night was an intense night, emotionally and physically. I couldn’t find the words to tell him what I was feeling. I knew that the insecurity that I was feeling about his interaction with Greta Ellison was unwarranted, but when you get into a certain state of mind—particularly one that you’re already familiar with—it’s hard to get out of it.

“I’m fine,” I tell him. “You did a good job of reassuring me,” I add with a smile.

“It was my pleasure… literally,” he says, closing in on me.

“Too much information!” I hear from the peanut gallery to my left.

“Then stop listening!” I hiss at my best friend.

“Kind of hard to miss it,” he says, still lying on his back and soaking up the sun.

“Roll over or you’ll burn, Snow White!” I bark, hoping that giving him a task will distract him from our conversation.

“Take your own advice, Fairest of the Fair,” he says, shifting position onto his stomach.

“He’s right, you know,” Christian says, gently rubbing my skin. “I’d hate for you to burn, and not just because it means I couldn’t touch you.”

“Yes, heaven forbid Mr. Grey can’t have his playtime.” Goddammit, Allen!

“Allen, if you don’t shut up, I’m going to begin a detailed conversation about cunnilingus,” Christian says calmly.

“What?” Allen protests, mocking innocence. “She doesn’t have a bratty little brother… well, she’s got a little brother, but he’s not old enough to be a brat, yet. Somebody’s got to fill in.”

“Eating hot, dripping wet pussy,” Christian says.

“Shutting up,” Al replies, and I have to stifle my laughter. Christian turns back to me.

“Are you okay? Really?” I can see his soft, concerned eyes. I shrug.

“Sometimes you can’t avoid old ghosts creeping up on you.” I gently stroke his cheek, slightly prickly from his designer stubble. “But you do a very good job of chasing them away.” I hear Al on the chaise next to me take a breath to retort.

“Clitoris,” Christian says before he can speak.

“Not a word,” Al says quickly. Christian turns back to me.

“I’ll talk to yours later,” he whispers. “Now, turn over.” I do as he says while he holds my towel over my breasts. “Do you need me to do your back?”

“No, Al did it for me earlier,” I reply.

“You been fondling my wife?” he asks Al.

“Sure have, and you can fondle me to get even if you like,” Al retorts.

You asked for that one, Grey.

“I’ll send your husband over,” Christian replies, a bit uncomfortably. Al chuckles.

“I was just fucking with you,” Al says, “Chocolate covered me already.”

And they just keep flying.

“You really want to have that pussy-eating conversation, don’t you?” Christian shoots back.

“Good Lord, what did we walk in on?” I hear Maxine’s voice and a cooing Mindy off to my right.

“My husband and best friend are sparring,” I say, without lifting my head. “They’re trying to see who can make the other more sexually uncomfortable.”

“Who’s winning?” I hear Elliot’s voice say.

“I can’t tell just yet,” I say. “Christian had Al on the ropes with talk of vaginal satisfaction, but Al came back with a request for Christian’s man-hands and now, I’m a little unclear what the score is.”

“It’s two to three I think, Chris’ favor,” Al says, “but I haven’t said anything yet about my obsession with the taste of chocolate.” I roll my eyes under my sunglasses. This will never end.

“Hey, Al?” Christian says. Al foolishly turns to look at my husband, who does a “V” with his fingers and flicks his tongue between them several times. Al shakes his head and lays back down on the chaise.

Game. Set. Match.

Christian slaps my ass and goes back to the barbecue kitchen to man the grill with Jason. Once he’s out of earshot, Al pulls his glasses down and glares at me.

“What?” I ask him as Maxie gets comfortable on the chaise on the other side of me while Phil holds Mindy.

“Jewel!” he says. “That thing is long as fuck! He needs to put it on a leash!”

You should see his dick.

“Exactly which part of him got you pregnant?” he continues, as if reading my mind.

“Fuck!”

All seven adult heads spin to see which angel-baby voice produced this word. Mindy is sitting there proudly clapping her hands for her audience… and her new word.

“She’s talking?” Val says with large eyes, having joined the party with Elliot and the Guests.

“Repeating,” Phil says, none too pleased, “only particular sounds that she hears with emphasis,” he adds, looking at Al.

“Sorry,” Al says, lying back on chaise. Maxie leans back and begins to play with Mindy.

“Al, when you have kids, I’m coming to your house and saying random curse words all day,” Phil threatens.

“Who says I’m having kids?” Al retorts. I frown.

“You don’t want kids?” I ask.

“It’s not on my immediate agenda, no,” he replies.

“I thought you wanted kids,” Val says, slathering sunscreen on her arms. “James doesn’t want them?”

“We’ve had the conversation,” he says. “I’m not in any rush and we’re both a bit hesitant, what with still having to fight for gay rights. It’s hard to imagine having to bring up a child in a society that doesn’t really accept its parents as a couple.” I sit up, holding my towel to my breasts.

“But you’re godfather to my children,” I protest, garnering the attention of all the people at the party now. Al sits up and faces me.

“Here’s the thing, Jewel,” he says, resting his elbows on his knees. If—heaven forbid—something happens to you and Chris, there are going to be a lot of people in line to take The Incredibles over there. I doubt that there will be any battles, but you have Carrick and Grace, Ray and Mandy, and even Elliot and Val or Mia and Ethan are in line before me. They’re family… and I’m a lawyer. I know my pecking order. But rest assured, Chocolate and I have already talked about this and if that dreaded day ever comes and no one protests it, my hat is still in the ring.”

I’m suddenly deflated. I hadn’t even thought about the fact that Al would truly have no legal right to our children if something happened to us. I don’t know why I didn’t think about it. I just didn’t.

“Hey, Steele,” Val interjects, noting my obvious change in demeanor. “Everybody knows how important Al is to you and to the Wonder Twins. Even if they do go to someone in the family, no one would try to keep him out of their lives.”

That brings comfort, but very little.

“Okay,” I nod. “I know. If you’ll excuse me…” I move to get off the chaise and grab my bikini top. I look over into the baby tent and my two little angels are fast asleep.

“Jewel, I’m sorry… I….”

“No, it’s not you,” I stop him. “I need to pump.” I walk to the house with my breast covered and quickly go to the nursery. When I’m attached to the breast pump, I go over the conversation I just had in my head. Al called them the Incredibles and Val called them the Wonder Twins. Everyone else refers to them as Minnie and Mikey—a play on “Minnie and Mickey.” Everybody calls them some sort of cartoon character, and right now, they’re napping by the pool wearing costumes of their original namesakes. I smile to myself thinking of how much everyone loves them, and hoping beyond hope that there won’t be a battle for them if something ever does happen to me and Christian…

“Hey,” I hear my husband’s voice quietly come into the nursery. “You okay? Everybody’s worried about you.”

“Yeah,” I say as the miracle contraption fills one bottle and Christian attaches a second. “Mindy blurted out a very colorful word after hearing Uncle Al say it, to which Phil responded that he would get revenge by cursing around Al’s children every day. Al then announced that he had no intentions of immediately having children, which brought us around to the conversation of him being our children’s godfather. He brought up that legally, he’s the last man on the totem pole and probably wouldn’t get the kids anyway, but he would always be available to them. And it just got me thinking…”

“Thinking what?” he asks.

“We hope to be here for our babies, but what happens if some terrible accident occurs and we’re both untimely ripped from this earth? What’s going to happen to our babies? I would hate to think that our families would fight over the twins, but we both know that death brings out some very bad emotions in people. I don’t think I could stand the thought of our children being in a tug-of-war.”

“Our families would never do that,” he says.

“We don’t know that, Christian,” I retort. “What do we want for our children? I always assumed that Val and Al would take some kind of joint responsibility for my kids if something happened to me, but I never, ever considered the other people that would be involved—the baby’s father, his family… Common sense dictates that this should be considered, but I never did. I never have.” I raise my eyes to the ceiling and finally admit my thoughts—the thoughts of a young, broken woman years ago…

“I knew that I was going to have children. I was certain of that… but I was so busy seeing myself alone that I never considered the other half of the child.” I bring my eyes back to Christian. “We’ve got to definitively decide the fate of our children if something happens to us. When I checked out, Maxie showed you that someone will step up and try to take the reins even if they don’t have the authority.” He examines me and sighs. I move the breast pump to my other breast and begin to empty it.

“And consider this,” I say once the pump is reattached. “My mother is the only blood relative that I have that I know of except for a grandmother that I don’t really care to know. What’s to stop either one of them from trying to lay claim to my children once we’re gone? They have just as much right as anybody—even more so than Ray—to our children. This one little door left open could let all kinds of rodents into the barn.”

He drops his head. He knows I’m right. Minnie and Mikey will be heirs if something happens to the two of us and although our close family may have no concern with that, vermin are very likely to come out of the woodwork should Christian and I come to an unfortunate demise.

“What should we do?” he asks.

“Call a family meeting,” I say. “Include Allen. He’s an attorney. So is Carrick, and as far as I’m concerned, they both have an interest in this. Find out how everyone feels, then put our wishes in a will and everybody has to stick to it.”

“What’s to stop someone from contesting the will?” he asks as he replaces the bottle on the pump.

“It’s a chance that we have to take,” I say. “Who among our family can you see contesting the will except for my mother and any of my long-lost blood relatives? We’ll include in the will that I’ve been estranged from my mother since I was seventeen. If I die tomorrow, that’s still more than ten years. Any judge anywhere would see that she was only in it for the money and that being with her—someone my children won’t even know exists—would not be in the best interest of the children. Not being a snob, but I’m about to… Even my step-father is more financially well-off than my mother… Oh, my God!” Christian frowns.

“Baby, what’s wrong?” he says, noting my change of demeanor.

“Why didn’t I think of this sooner?” I ask aloud. Whether he decides he wants my children or not, I should have done this the moment I turned eighteen.

“Baby, you’re scaring me. Please tell me what’s going on,” Christian says. I turn to him.

“I’m going to ask Daddy to adopt me.” He frowns again.

“You’re… it’s a little late for that, don’t you think?” he asks.

“No, it’s not,” I tell him. “If you are incapacitated, Daddy is my power of attorney. He should have just as much rights and say-so to anything and everything that I have or anything to do with me as my mother ever had, and hate it or love it, if we both die, she’s my next of kin!” He shivers at the thought.

“Fucking hell how soon can we get this ball rolling?” he asks all in one breath…

*-*

“Jesus Christ, Jewel, what did I start?” Al asks dismayed when Christian and I get back to the pool.

“A conversation that really should’ve happened more than ten years ago,” I tell him. “We’re going to have a family meeting to decide what happens to our children, and you’re going to be a part of that meeting, but in the meantime, I need you to start the process for my dad to adopt me.”

“You want Ray to adopt you now?” Marilyn asks, she and Gary having joined the party while I was pumping milk.

“Yes. We would have done it sooner, but my mom’s a bitch,” I say flippantly. “Once I was free from her, I didn’t think about it until now. He needs all the legal rights that any father would have because he is my father, and I don’t want anyone trying to squash his rights.” Al looks over at Christian.

“She’s not talking about my family,” he says, answering Al’s gaze. “In terms of blood relatives and any legal rights, Carla can come through here and brush him aside. As much as it pains me to say, if we’re both gone, she’s Butterfly’s biological next of kin. And when we went national with Butterfly’s retrieval from that asshole on Vashon Island, she was on the first available bird to get to Seattle—once she discovered her daughter was dating a billionaire. What do you think is going to happen if something happens to us and she can get her hands on two miniature cash cows?”

“Your family would fight her tooth and nail on that and most likely win. She doesn’t have the resources…”

“I don’t care!” I interrupt Al. “My dad is my dad, and we should have made it legal a long time ago. I want to make it legal now. Does Carla have to be notified because she’s my birth mother?” Al shakes his head.

“You’re an adult,” he replies. “In the state of Washington, Ray can adopt you, but Carla doesn’t lose her parental rights.”

“Carla lost her parental rights a long time ago,” I retort, “and I’m going to make sure that our will says that she is to have nothing to do with my children, but I don’t want her whisking in here on her broom thinking she has rights to lay claim to anything and brush my father out of the way. That’s what this is about. Whatever we decide to do with our children, with our fortune, with whatever we leave behind, she can no longer say that Daddy is not my Daddy. That’s what this is about.” Al sighs and nods.

“I’ll get right on it,” he says. I sigh heavily.

“How long will it take?” I ask.

“Well, you’re an adult, so we don’t need an adoption report. We’ll need an adoption petition, consent form from you, then findings and conclusions filing and the decree of adoption. It’ll take me about a day to draw those up, then you and Ray sign them and we file them with the court. After that, the process can take six weeks to six months, usually shorter for adult adoptions with no contest,” he says.

“Can Carla contest it?” Christian asks.

“She could. It would delay the proceedings a bit, but most likely not stop them. But she can’t contest what she doesn’t know.” I purse my lips.

“I’ll pay her,” I say immediately. Christian looks over at me.

“Butterfly…” he protests.

“I’ll pay her!” I repeat. “If she finds out about the adoption and she contests it, I’ll pay her to go away. Whatever she wants, I’ll give it to her.” Christian sighs. He and Al have a silent conversation and Christian nods almost unnoticeably.

“Fine, I’ll get on it first thing tomorrow. You may want to let Ray in on this, though,” he says almost facetiously. I nod. Daddy is finally going to really be my Daddy. I’m so happy, I could burst.

“Can we party now?” Val interrupts. “I’m ready to hit the pool and eat and have cocktails. This serious shit is starting to be a real downer.”

“Shit!” Mindy declares, clapping her hands wildly and giggling profusely. Dear God, please don’t let Minnie start speaking that soon. She’s going to know every curse word in the English language, and some in French.

*-*

Once we turned attention away from the serious shit, as Val put it, the party was back to the light-hearted banter we started with. Val freely took a dip in the pool and lazied away in the sun without her wig. Mia and Ethan finally joined us around dinnertime and talked happily about wedding plans. Grace is in seventh heaven that she gets to plan Mia’s wedding down to the last detail and we’re certain that it’s going to be the Broadway production that Grace has been waiting for. She and Mia think exactly alike, so we’re expecting a grandiose affair… even before Mia announces that we should be “red carpet” formal for the reception. Christian immediately rolls his eyes, totally dreading the fanfare that he knows will be his sister’s nuptials. I squeeze his hand and kiss his cheek.

“We were married in a castle, dear,” I say softly in his ear.

“And my mother still thought it wasn’t big enough,” he reminds me. “She’s in charge this time. The reception will be standing room only. Mia had a marquee at the Faces of Abuse premier. She may have the damn color guard at the door. The paparazzi will be her photographers…”

“Stop,” I chide him as Mia continues to describe her wedding.

“Her wedding will be at the Paramount theater,” he continues whispering in my ear, “a venue that holds 2000. She won’t know most of the people in attendance. Her wedding will be displayed across the marquee—The Greys present Mia and Ethan’s Wedding, September 20, 2014, 6pm. We need to be ‘red carpet ready,’ which means if the police don’t have the street blocked off, we won’t be able to get to the front door.”

As much as I hate to admit it, the more he describes this event, the more it sounds like this is really what’s going to happen.

“Um, Mia, how about security and access?” I ask. “How will you be sure that those on the guest list can get in and those who aren’t don’t?”

“Private security and the police,” she says. “The mayor and the governor will be there.” Oh, of course, I think to myself.

“Along with every judge in King County,” Christian whispers in my ear.

“I know what you’re thinking, big brother,” Mia calls him out. “You can have your precious security there to protect you from the paparazzi, but it will be totally unnecessary. No one will be there that wasn’t invited.” Christian doesn’t look convinced.

“I know I shouldn’t be thinking about ditching my sister’s wedding, but I’m thinking about ditching my sister’s wedding,” Christian whispers to me.

“Don’t you dare!” I whisper back.

“This coming from the woman who won’t be in her wedding,” he says quietly.

“Don’t try to blackmail me, Christian,” I retort a little firmly. Mia wanted me to be in her wedding, but seeing the responsibility that I carried taking care of Val while she was sick, my twins, and all the other day-to-day things that were going on in my life, I got a pass from all the dress fittings and bridesmaids duties, as did Val for reasons of her health, of course. After seeing the lineup of the twelve women that she will have in her bridal party, I was glad not to be part of it.

Four of the women are bratty little debutants, far worse than Courtney ever was. However, since none of them tried to blame Mia for their thievery, I guess they made the cut. Five of them are Mia’s sorors, or—as they refer to themselves—sands. I’ve never liked sorority girls and to be honest, I didn’t know that Mia was a sorority girl. Had she not been my husband’s beloved Meelo, I’m not sure we would have hit it off. Though I do love her dearly, I now understand some of the traits that I see in her that drive me batshit.

I’m not saying that all sorority girls are bad, don’t get me wrong. However, the ones that I encountered during my college years at U-Dub were the quintessential mean girls. I don’t know what the issue was or why not being part of a sorority at the time made you pond scum, but these Gamma Phi Sigma Gamma Beta Rho Kappa bitches really rubbed me the wrong way. I was a poor pre-med student. I didn’t have time for that shit. It was Green Valley all over again. The only difference was that I had gone through self-defense classes with Daddy and had started Krav Maga with Luc. I would have fucked the bitches up for touching me. They were verbally cruel very often, but hell—I had already been through the worst. That shit they were talking… sticks and stones. It left a bitter taste in my mouth for sorors, though.

The final three women—including Mia’s best friend, Lily—are none other than three of the daughters. Yes, those daughters. Two of them were present when I beat the Pedophile’s ass the first night that I met the Greys. Lily wasn’t one of them. But apparently, she had… or still has… a big thing for Christian even though he completely ignores her presence when she’s around. It actually borders on rude behavior, causing me to ask him if there was history between them.

“Not per se,” he had responded. “She just seems like trouble to me.”

I asked Elliot if I needed to be on my guard around her. She had come to the Manor a few times to discuss wedding plans while we were staying there. She was obvious and downright irritating with her greeting to Christian… and in her blatant refusal to greet me. I didn’t let it bother me, because I felt like it was just sour grapes on her part. Elliot told me Lily did everything in her power to get Christian. Even when the family thought he was gay, she was determined to convert him back to pussy. She was so pushy and overbearing that Christian just resolved to have nothing to do with her.

“It was embarrassing,” Elliot had said. “She would throw herself in his path; she would speak to him and he wouldn’t acknowledge her. One day, she nearly chased his car down the street.”

“Oh, you have to tell me this,” I prodded.

“He was leaving, going back home or wherever he was going, and she came out and went to his driver’s side window. She was talking to him, and he started the car. He actually started rolling away from her and she was still talking, running next to the car. She didn’t even have enough sense to be embarrassed by it. She just kept talking and running, saying that something must be wrong with him not to want her. That night when you met the family, had she known he was there, Madam Creeps-A-Lot would have been the least of your worries.”

“Who the hell is Madam Creeps-A-Lot?” I had choked.

“That Lincoln bitch,” he said matter-of-factly. “No, Lily would have been your biggest competition for Christian’s attention that night. You could have been sitting in his lap and she still would have been hitting on him. When you guys went upstairs to go to bed, she would have been knocking at the door.”

Sure enough, Lily’s facial expressions every time she sees me are worse than bitter-pill-swallowing Liona. I hadn’t seen or heard of this woman anytime during our relationship or my pregnancy, but when we moved into Grey Manor, she was there once or twice a week easily. Mia would whisk her off to some room and they would talk wedding stuff as far as I knew, but the moment Christian showed up, there she was. She was in his face, smiling and batting her eyelashes, and he never gave her a moment’s notice. Yet, when she turned her attention to me, she looked like those ugly people on the Twilight Zone whose faces turned into those horrible masks they wore.

c2d8b6c0edc02e2b7635960d7247108f

The visual is actually pretty scary.

“Hey, I was just kidding,” I hear my husband’s voice say, pulling me back to the here and now. “Where did you go?”

I just shake my head. The truth is that I would rather not be in Mia’s wedding. If my wedding was considered ostentatious, her wedding is going to be a three-ring-circus for sure. Mine wedding was the party of the century. Hers will be the event of the millennium. It should truly be televised. The over-the-top creation of a mother who didn’t get to plan her sons’ weddings and a daughter who wants every bell and whistle imaginable. I wouldn’t want that type of attention.

Then the thought of having to spend any extended amount of time with pampered and spoiled debutantes who have probably never seen a hard day in their lives and stuck up sorority girls who are probably worse than anything I ever encountered at U-Dub. Oh, and let’s not forget the scorned daughters of the fundraising committee who saw me at my best and worst, defending my then-boyfriend from a predator and—much like that predator, believe I put some spell on him to make him marry me. Maybe I trapped him with my twins. I was pregnant when we got married after all, right?

I swear, I won’t allow this to make me look at my sister-in-law any differently. She has some annoying ways about her, but she’s still one of the sweetest and bubbliest people I’ve ever met, even though her friends are stuck-up little bitches who would rather see me dead or disappear…

“Baby, are you okay?” Christian asks with concern in his eyes. Mia still hasn’t stopped talking about her wedding plans and Pops’ suggestion that she use votives with gray rocks as centerpieces and lavender in her bouquets instead of baby’s breath. I remember being that excited about my castle and my one of a kind dress and my vintage Bentley. Was anybody thinking of me the way I’m feeling about Mia’s wedding party right now? I sigh.

“I’m just… beginning to feel the same way you are about this wedding,” I confess. He frowns.

“I’m sorry… I didn’t mean… I was just kidding,” he says.

“Part of you was,” I say, looking over my shoulder at him. “Part of you is having the same feeling of dread that I’m having right now and wishing the whole thing was over… the cameras, the publicity, the paparazzi, the fanfare… From what I hear, the bridesmaids are all… not my type of people. Do you know anything about the groomsmen?” Christian shrugs.

“Friends of Ethan, I’m told,” he says.

“Possible family?” I ask. “Definitely possibly Kavanaughs?” He sighs.

“I know some of his mother’s side will be there. Daddy Kavanaugh is not invited.” I sigh and nod.

“And then there’s that,” I say. “Mia’s going to be a Kavanaugh. Has anybody really thought about that?” Christian twists his lips.

“She’ll always be a Grey,” he says. I shake my head.

“No, Christian, she’s about to be a Kavanaugh. How do you and Elliot feel about that?” I look over at Val, laughing happily with Mia as she continues to regale details of her big day. “How will Val feel about that?”

God, I’ll be glad when this is over.

A wedding at an historic theater that can accommodate 2000 guests…

Holy cow, Batman.


A/N: Pictures of places, cars, fashion, etc., can be found at https://www.pinterest.com/ladeeceo/raising-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

 

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

Nope, You Are Not Crazy; Miles Is On The Move…

I know you might be asking yourself, “What the hell happened? I thought we were in Dallas!” Well, you’re right. The rewrite of the story started in the lovely city of Dallas, Texas.

DallasTX

 

Alas, as I continued with the rewrites, I literally hit a brick wall with one of the most crucial and pivotal points of the story. Many times, Dallas and I were having disagreements as the story progressed. Yet, we managed to settle our differences–or, I should say, I conceded to the wishes of Dallas, and continued on.

The problem with that thinking is that when the artist makes too many concessions for the subject, the masterpiece becomes flawed at best. Dallas was unwilling to bend for me. He fought and fought and fought on location needs, specific shopping requirements, specific residence requirements, specific…. you get the idea. I am very unhappy that I have to switch locations because I really did fall in love with one or two aspects of the city, but one or two aspects was not enough to prevent the inevitable break-up of our relationship, especially when one of the issues that is causing me to have to divorce this locale is a state issue.

On my Facebook page, I indicated that an author should always follow their first mind. I am kicking myself for not taking this advice sooner. Dallas was my second choice. I am ashamed to even say why I strayed away from my first choice. Instead of further punishing myself for making a completely avoidable mistake, I am just going to correct the error and get on with the rewrites. I have done my research and I am positive that the new location (which should have been the location in the first place) will work out fabulously. So, having said that, I bid a tearful and fond farewell to the lovely city of Dallas, Texas and a gleeful and happy “Hello” to the beautiful city of Charlotte, North Carolina.

Chrlotte

 

I will be going back and changing the previous posts of “Journey of Miles” as soon as I get the opportunity, but I just wanted to let you guys know that you are not insane when you see that the next update takes place in North Cackalaky! (Oh, that’s North Carolina for my people outside of the U.S.)

See you in Charlotte!!!

Love and handcuffs,
BG Holmes aka Lynn