This is a work of creativity. As such, you may see words, concepts, scenes, actions, behaviors, pictures, implements, and people that may or may not be socially acceptable and/or offensive. If you are sensitive to adverse and alternative subject matter of any kind, please do not proceed, because I guarantee you’ll find it here. You have been warned. Read at your own risk.
I do not own Fifty Shades Trilogy, or the characters. They belong to E. L. James. I am only exercising my right to exploit, abuse, and mangle the characters to MY discretion in MY story in MY interpretation as a fan. If something that I say displeases you, please, just leave. If you don’t like this story or me, please don’t spoil this experience for everyone. Just go away. For the rest of you, the saga continues…
Season 5 Episode 38—Family Affairs
She was too tired for aftercare last night. If I had put her in the bathtub, she might have sank and drowned. What can I say? I wasn’t ready to come yet—I was building up to the big one, but she ripped it out of me against my urging her not to. Oh, it was big, but I still said don’t. So… she had to pay.
I think we both enjoyed the punishment.
I’m glad she safeworded. I had no intention of continuing, but she didn’t know that. So, when she’s done, she’s got to tell me she’s done.
She may not have been able to do aftercare last night, but she’s certainly going to need it this morning. I don’t know if her muscles are going to ache, but her pussy sure the hell is. I don my clothes from yesterday and head back to the house.
I hadn’t planned on any kind of extracurricular activities on the boat last night. It just kind of… happened. As such, I don’t have any supplies out there—no clothes, no real toiletries to speak of, no painkillers or arnica cream for sore joints, nothing. I hate being unprepared, but when the moment is right, you can’t let it slip away…
She had to know that coming out of the bathroom with no bra on would set me off. I mean, hell, her tits were just sitting up there staring at me like, “So what’re you gonna do?” Intentional or not, that question required a swift and sure response.
I won’t tell her, but I think I fucked my dick into submission, too. I probably won’t be able to share the bath with her because my. Shit. Is. Sore! To much friction, I think… if there is such a thing. My balls will need cold water, not hot. At this point, the heat is likely to send me to the moon, and not in a good way.
No one is awake when I enter the Crossing. I head straight up to our bedroom and my en suite. After swallowing two ibuprofens, I make good on that idea and use the detachable showerhead to run a little cold water on my balls.
Will Butterfly need cold water in her nether regions as opposed to hot? I’ll ask her when I get back to the boat.
I hadn’t intended to shower and change when I came to the house, but that cold water was calling my name and I needed relief. I think the ibuprofen is kicking in, too, because Greystone isn’t screaming in my boxer briefs. I put together an overnight bag of a change of clothes, a few toiletries, and of course, some ibuprofen for Butterfly. I go back down the elevator and head back across the lawn to the Slayer.
Butterfly hasn’t moved. She’s still fast asleep when I get back. I’m going to have to get her down to the bath in the master stateroom when she wakes, but there’s no hurry. For now, I just let her sleep.
I open my phone to check my emails. I’m cleaning out the junk while sitting in bed next to my sleeping wife, when an email from Allen catches my eye. He sent it last night and the title makes me get out of the bed and head to the office across the hall.
This computer is old… like dog years old, and every time I come in here, I always make a point that I need a new computer for the boat. Then, I forget about it just as quickly as I think about it because I probably only use this thing once a year and only then to check my emails. However, since it does access GEH’s network, that’s reason enough to upgrade it.
I log into my email and search for Allen’s message. There’s an attachment so I download it and read the one sentence contained in the body of the email.
I was going to tell you yesterday, but I thought better of it since we were all having such a good time.
The subject is what made me stop scrolling and come to the office. Three words…
Green Valley Sentences
I click to open the attachment and look at the contents. As it stands, Sullivan’s case set a precedent that it’s going to be hard to get a conviction on the kidnapping charge unless you can prove they were part of the kidnapping, but the other charges will be easier. The standing convictions, however, made it easier to get pleas as accessories in most cases. My eyes scroll down the page and I read the fates of the other people arrested in the case:
With all the convictions that racked up against Vincent Sullivan, George is now an accessory to all of those. One could argue that he didn’t want to testify against his brother because if he’s convicted, he now becomes guilty of these crimes as well, loosely translated. However, if his behavior was completely due to his loyalty, now he has nothing to lose by taking a plea. Larson didn’t let him off easy, though. He knew he could make the case stick if he went to trial, but he’s trying to avoid Jewel having to testify. As a result, he dropped some of the charges provided that Sullivan did the full sentence on the ones that remained.
George Sullivan got obstruction of justice, evidence tampering, aiding and abetting, and accessory to the battery charge with a deadly weapon with substantial bodily harm; 15 – 30 years and a $350,000 fine.
Kevin Van Dyke, Brian Malehan, and Justin Roundy—assault accompanied with acts of extreme cruelty and substantial bodily harm, battery without a weapon with substantial bodily harm, and involuntary manslaughter; 15 to 25 years and a $25,000 fine.
Randall Marshall—assault accompanied with acts of extreme cruelty and substantial bodily harm, battery without a weapon with substantial bodily harm, and reckless endangerment; 10 to 15 years and a $25,000 fine.
Something to note here, Carly Madison-Perry got into the car with four other girls—three that were arrested and the videographer, who of course is now deceased. That means that they had to be present at the kidnapping. The two guys who loaded Jewel into the car were also identified—one mainly because his car was identified as the one used for transport after Jewel was hit over the head. He offered to roll on the other guy, but the other guy had already taken and registered a plea. To that end, here are the fates of the five living people discussed.
Timothy Leahman and Blaine Nelson—assault accompanied with acts of extreme cruelty and substantial bodily harm, battery without a weapon with substantial bodily harm, kidnapping, and involuntary manslaughter; 25 to life with possibility of parole after 25 and a $100,000 fine.
Mary Wiseman, Rhonda Yick, and Vesta Evans—assault accompanied with acts of extreme cruelty and substantial bodily harm, battery without a weapon with substantial bodily harm, accessory to kidnapping, and involuntary manslaughter; 18 to 40 years and a $75,000 fine.
I hate to tell you this, but Joseph Kulp and Lana Mulligan feel that there’s not enough tangible evidence to convict them, so on the advice of their attorneys, they’re waiting for trial. This means that Jewel will be called on again to testify.
Shit. Shit shit shit! This is exactly what we were trying to avoid. And what the fuck is reckless endangerment? I Google the term and I don’t like the definition. It makes it sound like his role in what happened to her was an accident. I guess he had the best lawyer, but at least he still got 10 to 15.
I scrub my hands over my face wishing there were some way—some legal way—I could make these two rodents disappear. What kind of creeps would do what they did to Butterfly and then walk away with a clear conscience? Granted, nobody wants to voluntarily go to jail, but for fuck’s sake, man…
Before I shut the computer down, I send an email to the requisitions department to get a laptop delivered to my home as soon as possible. I stand up and head back to the bedroom.
Butterfly is sitting up in the bed. If I’m honest, she looks pretty bad. Her hair is matted in some areas and wild in others. She looks like she’s gone a few rounds with a twister… and lost.
“You should get some more rest,” I say, trying not to tell her that she looks like hell warmed over.
“I can’t get comfortable,” she mumbles. “I ache all over.” Ibuprofen to the rescue… but she should really eat something first, as should I.
“Okay, so, in light of the current circumstances, would you like a hot bath or cold water on your cooch?” She pushes a large bunch of the matted mess out of her face and looks at me.
“Huh?” she says, groggily.
“I’m only asking because cold water did wonders for my tender dick and balls this morning,” I say with a shrug.
“Hu… ha… ah… oh… oh, okay…” Boy, it took a long time to get there. “Do we have any ice?” she asks.
“Not on the boat, I don’t thing so,” I reply. She frowns.
“Yeah, I think I need an ice pack, Christian,” she says.
“Oh, I’ve got one of those,” I tell her. I head to the small closet near the bridge and locate the first aid kit. I retrieve the ice pack from inside and pop the tube inside to activate it. Once the mixture cools, I hand it to her. She takes it from me and sticks it right under the covers and on her magic spot.
“Oh… oh, that’s good. That’s really good,” she says and falls backwards on the bed again, holding the ice pack to her promised land. I try not to laugh at her, especially since the last thing that I ever want to do is to cause discomfort to my happy place. That was a long and somewhat brutal fuck last night—not rough, but grueling.
“Hello!” I hear from downstairs. Good Lord, it’s too early for people to be bothering us on a Sunday morning.
“I’ll be back,” I say and I take the winding staircase down to the main desk. I can’t help the smile that forms as I remember fucking my wife on these stairs last night.
“Glad to see you’re still breathing,” Jason says as he and his wife set the table for breakfast.
“Why wouldn’t I be?” I ask.
“I don’t know what he saw, but Ethan was red as a beet when he came back to the house last night,” he says, and I can’t resist the smile again.
“Okay, don’t elaborate,” he adds. “I saw you, but I didn’t see Her Highness, so I told the wife that it may be a good idea to bring breakfast out here this morning.”
“You assumed correctly, Mr. Taylor,” I say, uncovering one of the plates to see a delicious spread of breakfast foods.
“You were working this morning?” he asks. I nod as I steal a piece of bacon.
“Only a little, while Butterfly was still asleep,” I say while chomping on the salty deliciousness. “I need a new computer for the office here, and the verdicts came in.” They both freeze and look at me.
“The verdicts?” Jason asks.
“The pleas,” I tell him, “for Green Valley.” Gail twists her lips and grabs the carafe of orange juice.
“I’m going to go start coffee,” she says and she heads for the galley.
“What are we looking at?” he asks as he sits in one of the empty chairs. I join him and snag another slice of bacon.
“It’s a pretty even spread,” I reply. “The smallest plea was 10 – 15; the largest went up to 40. Sullivan got 15 – 30.” Jason whistles.
“I didn’t think they’d give it to him that hard,” he says. “He’s a cop. Depending on the crime and the jurisdiction…” He trails off. I know exactly what he’s trying to say. Some jurisdictions would go easy on cops while others rightfully think that violation of your vow to protect and serve deserves punishment to the fullest extent.
“Well, I’m out of my area on this type of thing, but I’d say 15 – 30 is the least they could do for that asshole,” I reply. “How did you know that I was working?”
“I heard you come down the stairs,” he says.
“Oh, we’re sleeping upstairs,” I reply. He frowns and I just raise my brow at him.
“Don’t elaborate,” he says. “I don’t know where you get all the energy.” I shrug.
“I’m enjoying it while I have it,” I tell him. “And come on, you’re not old. Stop acting like this is all news to you.”
“Well, I’m not in the habit of talking to men about their sex drives, but I haven’t met anybody anywhere who can boast the escapades that I know you’ve had and I don’t even know all the details.” I chuckle. Yes, Mr. Taylor, there are some stories to be told in my boudoirs, but as you said…
“I won’t elaborate,” I say with a wink. “What was Ethan looking for anyway when he came back here?”
“His sunglasses,” he says. “Maybach Diplomats. His wife bought them for him as a wedding present.”
“Now, why would he wear those on a boat?” I ask. “He could’ve lost those in the water.”
“Don’t ask me,” he replies. “I don’t even know what to do with a $60,000 pair of glasses. I guess I’ll never really understand the rich. I get wanting to buy special gifts—like your Hublot. You wear that nearly every second of every day—but a $60,000 pair of sunglasses? That’s the price of a luxury car! And even if you wear them every day, you’ll only wear them for a few minutes unless you’re sunbathing. I don’t know, I can just see so many other things that can be done with that kind of money.”
“Well, it was a special day and a special gift, so cut her some slack,” I say. “Where the hell did he leave them anyway? Does he even know?”
“He says the last place he put them was on the entertainment center,” he says turning around to search the entertainment center. We both spot the diamond-clad glasses at the same time. I have to admit, they’re very stylish—modest, yet elegant.
“And there they are,” Jason says. “I’m going to leave them there. I don’t want to be responsible for a $60,000 pair of glasses.”
“No worries,” I say. “I’m sure he’ll be happy to come back and get them himself.”
“Coffee’s ready,” Gail says coming out of the kitchen. “Orange juice is in the refrigerator when you’re ready for it. You can put the plates in the warmer if Ana’s not awake yet…”
“You better put them in the warmer before he eats all the bacon. Save some for Her Highness!” Jason scolds. On cue, I steal another piece of bacon. There’s plenty—stop policing the bacon! Gail shakes her head and takes two of the plates and their covers to the kitchen.
“Tattle-tell,” I sneer. Jason laughs.
“Yeah, yeah, get over it,” he says, retrieving the other plates and taking them to the kitchen. I finish crunching my most recent piece of bacon while they put the plates in the warmer.
“We’re heading back to the house now,” Gail says when they exit the kitchen. “Call us if you need anything.”
“Call before you come back to the boat,” I jest. Jason rolls his eyes.
“For God’s sake, let that woman come up for some air!” he scolds.
“I’m not mounting her right now, am I?” I tease. He asked for it. Gail just shakes her head and walks out of the parlor to the main deck.
“I swear, one day that thing is going to shrivel up and fall off,” Jason says, following his wife. Blasphemer!
“I doubt it,” I reply once he’s left the parlor, then go to alert my wife of breakfast.
She’s fallen fast asleep when I get back up to the captain’s suite. I gingerly lift the covers to see that she still has the ice pack on her crotch. That can’t be good.
I carefully move her hand and remove the ice pack. Can’t risk any freezer burns, now, can we? I get a little closer to examine her skin. I’m not sure what I’m looking for—how do you determine if a cooch has been damaged?
“Are you fucking kidding me get away from my pussy!” she yells all in one breath while moving away from me and I leap back like she hit me.
“I’m not trying to touch you, baby. I’m just trying to help. You fell asleep with the ice pack on it. I’m sure that’s not good,” I defend. Her expression changes.
“Oh… oh… okay, then,” she cedes, still backing away slightly. I can’t help it. I burst out laughing and hand her the ice pack.
“What’s so fucking funny?” she asks, snatching the ice pack back and replacing it on her happy place.
“You are,” I reply. “I’ll admit, I’m not in as bad a shape as you, but I did need help this morning, too.” I go to the overnight bag and retrieve the ibuprofen and hand her two pills.
“Why didn’t you safeword sooner if you were in so much discomfort,” I scold gently as she takes the pills from me and I hand her the orange juice.
“Because I wasn’t in this much discomfort last night,” she says before swallowing the pills and some juice. “You know what they say, too much of a good thing…” She trails off.
“It’s never my intention to hurt you like that,” I instruct, “and I’m paying for it a bit as well, but not as much as you are.”
“I’ll live,” she says. “This isn’t one of those times where you pushed me past my limits and I let you. We were both in the moment and yes, you pushed me and I wanted to see how far I could go. When I couldn’t go anymore, I told you. Now, I’m paying for the distance.”
“In the spirit of full disclosure, I couldn’t go anymore either.” I raise a brow at her and she laughs at me.
“You’re full of shit. I’ve seen you go longer than that,” she says, smacking my arm.
“No, you haven’t,” I tell her. “You’ve seen me go long, and you’ve seen me come more times, but you haven’t seen me go longer than that. I forced several orgasms out of you last night with my dick. Only two of them were with my mouth.” She twists her lips.
“Well, it serves you right that your dick is hurting, too, then. Now, excuse me while I go and scream through a piss.”
She scoots off the bed and heads for the bathroom. I don’t want to hear her scream through a piss, so I go back to the dining room to retrieve the food and a tray. She deserves breakfast in bed.
We spent the day on the boat so that Butterfly—and I—could recuperate. Ethan eventually retrieved his glasses and couldn’t look Butterfly in the eye. First of all, youngster, I’m certain you’ve eaten some pussy in your day and if not, I’m not sure why my sister married you. Second, if you haven’t eaten some, I know you’ve seen a porno or three. Why are you acting like you’ve never seen a man give a woman head before?
I’m in my office on Tuesday morning when I get the email from Aggie that the brindles have arrived. She has also attached pictures of the growing red-noses. I respond to her email explaining what our schedule will be in Italy and when we plan to return, asking if she could board the puppies for a couple of weeks until we get back to the states. As it turns out, the brindles will be just ready to come home when we get back, so she would only be boarding the red-nose.
I look at the pictures and the brindles are just as beautiful as the red-noses. Since there’s such plentiful and handsome litters of both pups, I include in my email my choice from the red-nose pups, which will be a girl, and that we’ll be choosing a boy from the brindles. I hope Butterfly won’t mind. My thoughts are interrupted by a knock at my door. I raise my eyes to see Alex standing there.
“You looked a little engrossed in what you were doing,” he says as he steps into the office.
“Just picking out dogs,” I say, turning my attention to him. He raises a brow, and I’m not sure if I told him that we were getting pit bulls. It can wait.
“What’s up?” I press.
“I’ve got some information on that woman from Helping Hands—Susan Yardley.” He walks over to me and drops a file on my desk.
“What do we have?” I say, opening the file.
“Nothing of any consequence,” he says, “but whoever said that she might be trying to work the system, they may be onto something. She’s not even married—never has been. That’s not to say that there’s not a significant other that she may be just calling her husband, but there’s no evidence of it. No police report filed, no hospital records showing any injuries, no visible signs or trail of abuse anywhere. She was, however, recently released from her job about 90 days ago. Ferrell has been kicked out of three public schools for bullying or fighting. She was evicted from her apartment right before she showed up at Helping Hands. Near as I can tell, she approached the station with the story, because they paid her for it.”
“Juice on Anastasia Grey that can be corroborated? Ten grand,” Alex says.
“They paid her 10 grand for that garbage?” I bark.
“It was the truth, Christian,” he says.
“It was a partial truth,” I hiss. “They threw her out because she was fighting, and she lied to the Center to get in there! Even though she was homeless, she wasn’t abused. Now, she’s put all those other women at risk because she and her boorish son couldn’t behave themselves, and she got paid for it. Where is she now?” Alex glares at me.
“She’s a civilian, Christian,” he warns, “and she didn’t lie.”
“I didn’t say I was going to get her. I just asked where she was.” She made my wife cry… after she tried to help the cow. He pauses.
“She’s at Extended Stay America on Stone,” he says finally.
“Leave,” I say. “I need to think.”
He stands and leaves the office. He’s right. There’s nothing I can do to her. She didn’t lie. She didn’t do anything illegal. Any harm that she could’ve done to Helping Hands was undone by the other lady in the fight. She’s just a horrible human being. Oh, how I wish I could make this woman pay for being a bitch.
I take my anger out on a couple of acquisitions that appear to be dragging their asses. I’m not in the mood to fight any more poison pills, nor do I feel like negotiating around golden parachutes, especially not today.
But alas, the fates have shined upon me because just as I’m preparing to leave for the day, I get a call from the front desk.
“Mr. Grey, I think you should know that Sarah walked out of the building today and she’s been approached by a man on the sidewalk. The conversation doesn’t look heated, but she doesn’t look pleased either.”
“Is it her husband?” I ask.
“I don’t know for sure, but I think so…”
I end the call and take the express elevator down to the first floor. Sure enough, there’s some guy pointing in Sarah’s face on the sidewalk right in front of the building. Boy, this fucker really has balls.
I walk out of the building and right up to her and he’s so busy berating her that he doesn’t even realize I’m there.
“Excuse me,” I say, interrupting his tirade. He turns angry, disbelieving eyes to me.
“This is a private conversation! What the hell do you want?” he snaps.
“It’s not a private conversation. You’re having it on a public sidewalk,” I say matter-of-factly. He narrows his eyes and quickly grasps Sarah’s arm as if to move her along. I grasp his wrist just as quickly and squeeze—hard. He has mechanic’s hands—strong, rugged, scarred from years of working with tools. He can really hurt her, but I won’t let him.
“Get your hands off me!” he says through his teeth.
“Get your hands off her,” I say, calmly.
“This is my wife!” he hisses.
“Estranged wife,” I reply, “so like I said, get your hands off her.” I hear a shuffle behind me, and Fletcher’s gaze moves just beyond my shoulder. I’m assuming my security has joined me.
He reluctantly releases Sarah’s arm, but I keep a grip on his wrist a few more moments. He flexes his fingers a bit after I release him.
“May I ask why you’re accosting my godmother out here on the sidewalk?” I inquire.
“Godmother?” he says in disbelief. “She ain’t got no godkids!”
“She does now!” I announce. “And she has filed for divorce from you, so why are you here?”
“We’re still married!” he shoots. “And I ain’t signing no papers, and half of whatever she gets from you still belongs to me!” I shrug.
“All she has is a job where she works, an apartment where she’s paying rent, and a whole stack of bills that you left her with. Are you going to pay half of that?”
“Her address is here! And she’s got a fancy lawyer, so she’s making more money than she’s letting on,” he protests firmly.
“That fancy lawyer, that’s my lawyer, and he’s doing this pro-bono. And this address—this is where she works with lots and lots of security. So, what are you gonna do, take half my building? Just how brave are you?
“You’re a letch of a man,” I tell him. “You let her get evicted from her home and as far as you knew, she had nowhere to go. I found her in a homeless shelter. Your wife, in a homeless shelter begging for help. And now you show up here because you think she has something that you can latch onto! Well, let me tell you this. Any assets that she could acquire at this point, I’ll be glad to put them in the name of GEH until. You. Die!”
He’s looking at me like I’m crazy because he really doesn’t know who the fuck I am. I lean in to him.
“Fletcher,” I say, calling him by a name he never gave me. That gets his attention. “I know who you are; I know where you work; and I know where you live. You have abused this woman for the last time. There are cameras fixed on us right now and I have you on camera assaulting her until I stopped you. That’s perfect evidence to press charges, but we’re going to try this the easy way. Don’t you ever. Put your hands on her again, or you’re going to have to deal with me personally, and then you can deal with the police.”
“I’m not scared of you, kid,” he boasts.
“And yet, you let her go,” I point out. “You’re not afraid of me? Fine. Try putting your hands on her… anytime, anywhere, and see what happens.” I glare at him and await a response. Nothing.
“Leave her alone, Fletcher,” I say. “Sign the papers and get out of her life.”
Fletcher appears to be about to say something, but we hear a voice behind us.
We turn around to see a determined Marlow walking towards us. What the hell is he doing?
“Are you okay?” he asks Sarah while glaring at Fletcher with a furrowed brow. Sarah rubs his arm as if to soothe a dog that’s about to charge.
“Yes, Marlow, I’m fine,” she says, her voice calming. When did this happen? I didn’t introduce them. He must be another person that she infected with her kindness.
I look from her to Marlow, and then I remember—he doesn’t take kindly at all to domestic abuse having experienced it firsthand.
“Aunt Sarah,” Fletcher repeats. “Looks like you’ve got a whole family here I didn’t know about.”
“Looks like you’re right,” I confirm.
“More than you know,” Marlow threatens, still not taking his eyes off Fletcher. “Aunt Sarah, may I drive you home?”
“I’ll be fine, child,” she says, still rubbing his arm. He turns a tender, beseeching gaze to her.
“Please?” he says. It’ll make him feel better. A smile plays with the corner of her mouth.
“Of course,” she says sweetly as if a courtier has just asked her out for coffee. He returns her smile before looking at me.
“Christian, is this conversation complete?” he asks. “It’s been a long day, and Aunt Sarah should really get home.”
“Go on and get her home, Marlow,” I say, “and thank you.” He nods and takes Sarah’s hand, folding it gently into his elbow, and leads her to the parking garage. I turn back to Fletcher.
“Anything else… Fletch?” I say, my voice menacing. He looks at me, angry but defeated, and leaves without a word. Jason’s voice is behind me in moments.
“Sir,” he says.
“He’ll wait for a minute,” I say, watching his retreating back, “and then he’ll become angry that she has a support system. Then, he’ll follow her home and try to get her alone and then she might become a statistic. Full surveillance on him—not that bullshit we had on David! If he’s heading to 20 feet from her, make your presence known. If he breaches that perimeter, take him down and call the police. He means her no good.”
“Protection order?” he asks.
“I’ll talk to her and Allen tomorrow,” I reply. We all know that a protection order is just permission to take someone down. It won’t stop anyone from getting to you if they really want to.
“You were noticeably absent from the festivities this weekend,” I say to Sophie as we’re going over outdoor furniture choices for the villa.
“Not that noticeable,” she murmurs.
“Yes, that noticeable,” I correct her. “By the time Jason called you, he realized that he had seen the twins more that day than he had seen you. Even then, you didn’t immerge until it was time to go home.”
“Just trying to stay out of the way,” she replies. I frown, and she gives me that surly, teenager “Seriously?” look.
“Are you telling me that you hid out on a four-story, 150-foot yacht with more rooms than your apartment so that you could avoid Marlow?” I ask incredulously.
“We used to be friends, Aunt Ana,” she says. “We used to be cool; he used to like me. Now, he hates me. If he forgets that I’m alive, then maybe he won’t hate me so much,” she replies. I‘m completely taken aback by this logic.
“Sophie!” I say, shocked. “That’s a horrible thing to think.”
“Any worse than hearing him tell a stranger to ignore me because I don’t know how to behave around company?” she retorts, her voice horrified. Jesus, I don’t have an answer for that.
“Aunt Ana, the damage is done now,” she says, her voice reserved. “Marlow hates me. I should have left his girlfriends alone and I should’ve stayed away from them in the first place. If he doesn’t see me, he can’t hate me forever, and I don’t have to hear him say terrible things about me.”
“Why don’t you talk to him?” I say. “Tell him that you regret saying those things about his girlfriends and see what happens.”
“Honestly, that’ll be worse than avoiding him. I’m just going to stay out of his way and wait for this thing to blow over. I am sorry that I said those things about his girlfriends, because if I made any of them feel as crappy as I feel now, well I guess I got what I deserved.”
Without a word, the grown-up young lady that I had become accustomed to seeing stands up and runs out of my office. I know that dance. She’s crying, and it’s best to leave her alone.
I regret bringing it up now. It’s bad enough for someone to say something cruel or hurtful to you, but for it to come from someone that you like? Just stand me up at the wall and throw knives. I pull out my phone and send her a text.
**I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to upset you. **
I sigh heavily and go back to the choices for patio furniture that Aaron sent me. The villa is mostly finished and we’re just adding the final touches to it now. I’m becoming more and more excited about our trip. There’s way too much to learn about Rome on the internet, so I stick to focusing on the things that interest me the most—the most prominent sites like the Roman Forum, what has to me some of the most famous ruins in Rome along with the Colosseum and various other surrounding areas. I almost can’t contain my anticipation the closer we get to our vacation.
When I’ve finished choosing the patio furniture, I read more of my emails to see that Josh confirmed that he’ll be able to come on Wednesday to take the pictures of the twins and of me and Harry for Father’s Day. I don’t know how or when I’ll present Christian with his gift since we’ll be in Italy on Father’s Day, but Mandy will give Daddy his gift on my behalf.
I also see an email from my husband that the brindle pit puppies have been born, and that he took the liberty of choosing a girl from the red-noses and we’ll get a boy from the brindles. Fair enough. They’re all beautiful pups and I wouldn’t have the first idea how to choose anyway.
I also see that he has discovered that Susan Yardley is most likely a con artist and has probably gotten over at Helping Hands’ expense. I beg to differ because Penelope’s interview nullified everything that Yardley said. What’s more, other channels got a hold of the interview and they’re airing it in its entirety and offering commentary. While there are mixed reactions, Yardley is largely being made out to look like the opportunist, taking advantage of my kindness because I happened to be a billionairess and then exploiting the situation for gain.
It didn’t help much that it was leaked that she was paid handsomely for the story.
However, all’s well that ends well, because Penelope ended up escaping to safety and starting a new life while Susan is somewhere in some motel, living off her few thousand dollars and most likely looking for another gig when that runs out. Oh, and while my beloved Laura informs me that there are a few people slamming Helping Hands on social media, there are even more people supporting us and praising the work that we do, as evidenced by the increase in donations over the last week.
Take that, Yardley!
I shut down my computer and head upstairs to see what’s going on with the twins and the rest of the house and notice that I have a text message. It’s a response from Sophie.
**It’s okay. It’s not your fault. Sorry I bailed. I’ll see you tomorrow. **
The photo shoot was darling. The candid pictures of Minnie and Mikey were priceless along with the formal pictures that I had taken of them. We took some seated pictures with me and the children as well. Josh has suggested that we get together and take a family picture and I couldn’t agree more. We haven’t had anything taken together like that since our wedding and our babies are getting so big. I wonder how the Greys would feel about a generational picture—with all the children and grandchildren and everybody… I think that would be fantastic.
We had to get creative with pictures of me and Harry so that it didn’t look like a mother and son picture. We both have brown hair, so sitting him on my lap made him look like my kid.
We opted for fun shots—me giving Harry a piggy-back ride; Harry chasing me on the back lawn; both of us leaning our faces on hands and looking lovingly at the camera; things like that. We also opted for a shot of Mandy with Harry in her lap, and one with them in the same position and me standing behind her with my hands on her shoulder. I really like that one.
I’m slowly putting my wardrobe together for Italy and making a list of some things that I might need. Christian has already told me that Victoria will be coming along when we get to Milan to help style me with the latest and greatest fashions. So, I’m having a time deciding what I should bring. Enough clothes for two weeks and just rotate the outfits? Maybe enough casual clothes and accessories for two weeks and then round things off with a few dressy outfits and one or two formal options… maybe three. Yes, that sounds like a plan.
As I’m combing through my wardrobe over the weekend, I realize that I need to get rid of some of these things. I’m a throwback-vintage kind of girl, but some of this stuff I haven’t worn in ages, and I don’t really have any intention of wearing them again. I work at a homeless shelter, and although every woman isn’t shaped like me—or even like I used to be—I’m sure that someone would be able to put these things to use. If not, I’ll just donate them to another charity…
Okay, this was a massive fucking undertaking. I have a lot of goddamn clothes! What the fuck was I thinking? I’m tossing piece after piece out of the closet when I hear a bewildered voice in the bedroom.
“Um… dear? Have you… lost something?” It’s my husband, of course.
“Yeah, my mind!” I reply, coming out of the closet and examining the huge mess of clothes on the floor. “I was beginning to choose my wardrobe for Italy and had the grand idea to thin out the clothes I don’t wear anymore and have not intention of wearing.”
I gesture, frustrated, at the massive pile that has accumulated on the floor.
“Well, step away from that for a moment,” he says. “I’ll tell someone to come and sort through this pile.”
“I want to take these things to Helping Hands,” I protest.
“All the more reason to have someone sort through them,” he says, taking my hand and helping me to maneuver around the massive pile of clothes. “Besides that, you left your phone on the counter downstairs. It’s been ringing incessantly. I think you should look at it.”
I take my phone from his hand and swipe the screen… 702 area code. It called five times.
I raise my gaze to Christian and his expression is impassive. I go to my voice mail application and check it. Only three voice mails. I play the first one.
“Dr. Grey, this is Dr. Hamlin. I’m contacting you concerning the next stage in Carla Morton’s treatment and her possible release from the facility. Will you please return my call at 702-555-4398. It’s important that we speak to you. Thank you.”
I listen to the other two messages and they’re nearly identical to the first one. I raise my gaze to my husband and his expression still hasn’t changed.
“Why would they call someone repeatedly like that on a Sunday afternoon like she’s dying?” I ask. “I have Wendy down as her contact. Why are they calling me?”
Before he has a chance to respond, the phone rings again… 702.
“Is my mother dying?” I ask when I answer the phone on speaker.
“No,” he answers, slowly, sounding somewhat confused.
“Then, why would you call me six times in a two-hour span on a Sunday afternoon?” I bark.
“Because there is important information regarding your mother’s treatment and the next step,” he responds.
“Is it life-threatening?” I ask. “You left three identical messages—one was enough. In fact, one call was enough for me to know that I needed to return your call.” He’s silent. I shake my head. “What is so important that you felt the need to call me six times?”
“Well, generally, Dr. Grey, family members want to know when something is happening with their loved ones, especially when their participation is required,” he replies haughtily.
“So, by your response, I take it that it’s regular practice for you to call family members back-to-back like that when they don’t answer their phones,” I reply just as haughtily.
“It’s normally not necessary,” he retorts. “I usually get an immediate answer or response from a concerned family member.” I look up at Christian and I can immediately see fire burning in his eyes. Oh, we’re going through this again, and here I thought this one understood.
“So, I guess you’ve never experienced anybody being away from their phone ever in your career.” He doesn’t respond. “Or your phone is stapled to your hand as well, right? You’ve never missed a call… do you take the phone in the shower with you, too?” Still no response.
“And if I were one of those swooning concerned people prone to extensive worry about my loved one, I’d be passed out on the floor right now wondering why you’re calling me six times! Now, once again, what is so important that you felt the need to call me six times?”
He’s still silent.
“What the fuck? Is this thing on?” I yell. I can hear the phone moving.
“Are you finished?” he asks. What the fuck? He put the phone down? I end the call and go about the business of blocking the number. He can fucking call Wendy. She has power of attorney and she can make any decisions he needs.
“Dear God, where did they find these people?” I lament out loud as I enter his number in the blocked list and press save. “I’ve never seen a group of so-called medical professionals like this before in my life.” Then again, they’ve probably never seen anything like me before either.
“That makes two of us,” he says. “So much for sensitivity training.” I look over at him.
“Drop it,” I say. “They’ve got the money. They’ve got Wendy. I’m not involved anymore…”
Well, at least I thought I wasn’t.
Tuesday afternoon, I get another call from an unknown number to my cell phone. I suspected it was Nevada, but I gave the number the benefit of the doubt.
“This is Dr. Hamlin,” he says when I answer.
“Oh, you’re speaking to me?” I ask surprised. “You called me six times and when you finally got me and I began to voice my opinion, you put the phone down. We have nothing to talk about. You have Wendy Scorcio’s information on file. She’s Carla’s caregiver and she has full power of attorney to make decisions on my and Carla’s behalf. You don’t need me and I refuse to be disrespected by any more of you people for one more moment because I’m not falling down in grief over my mother’s condition…”
“Mrs. Grey…” he interrupts.
“Dr. Grey!” I bark.
“I apologize, Dr. Grey,” he replies. “We are completing your mother’s evaluation and discharge. Yes, we have Ms. Scorcio here, but we really need to have you present as well. I know that you are unable to be here physically, but if I can have just a few moments of your time, I can Skype you into the meeting.”
“Why do you need me present?” I ask, perturbed.
“Because you are her living next of kin. We just want to make sure that everything is in order.”
I sigh impatiently. Do they need a house to fall on them to realize that I don’t want anything to do with this? I don’t really care what they think of me—I just don’t want anything to do with this.
“Fine,” I say. “You have my email. Send me the Skype invite.”
I end the call and stand. I put my “Do Not Disturb” sign on my door, then close and lock it. I take my seat and pop my neck like I’m about to go into a price fight. I open my email and find the link for the Skype invite, click on it, and wait to be admitted in.
When the picture comes up, there’s Dr. Hamlin, Wendy, and my mother all in what looks like his office.
“Thank you for joining us, Dr. Grey. I realize this is short notice,” Dr. Hamlin says. I just nod, but I don’t respond.
“This is Carla’s discharge interview and we just want all parties involved to know what’s going on, what’s going to happen from here, and what’s going to be necessary for Carla’s recovery. I’m fully aware that Ms. Scorcio has power of attorney to make decisions for her. However, Dr. Grey, since you were the family member who originally agreed to have her admitted, we just want to make sure that we are taking all steps necessary in the interest of full disclosure for Carla’s continued treatment…”
The conversation goes on for about another five minutes with Dr. Hamlin pretty much verbalizing disclosures and covering his ass. This is interrupting my day and I really want him to just get on with it. Yes, yes, whatever you need, here’s the money, can I go now.
After all of his disclosures, he finally gets to the part where he’s talking about Carla’s delicate condition and the circumstances that she’s found herself in and the best way for her to get out of it and heal and blah blah blah blah blah, and all I’m saying to myself is, “Wendy, I don’t see you taking notes and I hope you’ll remember all this shit.”
Somewhere during the conversation, he mentions something about the support of family and friends and how her recovery is crucial to her support system. When he gets no response from me, he decides to call me out.
“Do you understand that, Dr. Grey?” he asks.
“Oh, I heard you just fine, Dr. Hamlin,” I reply.
“But do you understand?” I’m not going to argue with him.
“I understand that she needs a support system, and she has one there in Nevada. I’m in Washington,” I respond flatly. Dr. Hamlin sighs.
“Carla, is there anything that you want to say?” he asks. Carla sighs this time.
“I’ve… I know you don’t want to hear this from me. I know it’s too late, but I’m sorry. I understood before now what I lost and what I did, but I understand even more now. I get it, Anastasia, believe me, I get it. I really feel horrible for what you went through. That’s why I testified in that trial—not because I was trying to get anything from you, but because I was trying to make it right in whatever small way that I could. I’ve been trying to get on with my life all of these years and it never worked. I was never able to find happiness or peace because of what I had done to you. I don’t expect you to welcome me into your heart with open arms. I just want you to know that I appreciate everything that you’ve done for me—that you’re doing for me. I know you don’t have to. You may not believe it, but I love you, Anastasia. I love you now and I always will.”
Oh, dear God, I think I’m going to vomit. I scoff shamelessly at the computer, looking down and shaking my head.
“Dr. Grey, your mother is being very sincere. I can’t imagine what’s funny,” Dr. Hamlin says. I raise narrowed eyes to the computer.
“You love me now,” I say with tragic mirth. “You love me now. Where the fuck were you when I needed you? Where the fuck were you when I cried myself to sleep for three years wondering why you didn’t fucking care about me? Where the fuck were you when your beloved husband berated me day after day after day, after I was beaten within an inch of my life—branded like an animal, my baby killed after I was raped? Where were you when at 15 I had nobody—nobody! Every day, I woke up regretting that God didn’t take me in the night! Where were you then, Mother?
“Everyone looks at me like I’m this horrible ungrateful child who has no pity on her poor mother—what the fuck do I have to be grateful for? Pity on you? Where was the pity when I was in a coma! Where was the pity when I laid in that hospital wishing I were dead? White walls, no visitors, not even you, yet you had a room full of flowers while you were unconscious and he has the nerve to lecture me about a support system? I’ve done everything in my power to make sure that you are comfortable and that you have everything you need, including a support system. But if it weren’t for Daddy, I could’ve died in that hospital room and you never would have known!
“He was my support system and you ripped me away from that!” I bark. “What’s more, you and that rotting monster profited from it! You wouldn’t even look at me and you love me now? All offense intended, Mother, take that love and shove it up your ass. I don’t need it anymore.”
“Dr. Grey!” Dr. Hamlin scolds.
“You’re toxic to me, mother,” I say finitely. “Nothing good for me can ever come out of a relationship with you. I don’t want you near me and I don’t want you near my children.”
“Dr. Grey, your behavior is completely contrary to what we’re trying to accomplish here!” Dr. Hamlin interjects.
“Hey, shrink?” I say, sarcastically. “She’s not going to have a relationship with me. That boat has sailed. It’s a reality. Now, help her deal with it… or don’t! I don’t care. Whatever you do is not going to involve me.”
“Then why are you here?” he asks.
“Because you told me that in order for her to be released, I had to be here. You lied. You tricked me into coming to this meeting to try to orchestrate some type of reconciliation between us, I see that now. You’re pursuing her mental well-being at the cost of mine! Where did you get your license, from a correspondence course?” His brow furrows and he glares at me.
“Mrs. Grey,” he begins in a scolding tone, “you clearly have issues with unexpressed anger and it’s causing you to be unable to forgive your mother.”
“Oh, I have forgiven my mother,” I correct him. “Years ago, I let go of that shit that she did to me, that she allowed to happen to me, but that doesn’t mean that I must allow her back in my life! She’s the one who came at me with that ‘I love you’ shit after years of neglect and emotional abuse. She told me her feelings and I told her mine. And it’s Dr. Grey!” I bark at him, “or didn’t they tell you that I’m a shrink, too?” His eyes widen.
“You’re a psychiatrist?” he asks shocked.
“Yes, I am, and your tactics are completely backwards. You can’t force someone into a reconciliation. This isn’t an intervention. This is an attempt at medical and emotional bullying! Is this something you normally do? Have you lost your mind?” He glares at me.
“I don’t tell you how to treat your patients, Dr. Grey, and I don’t appreciate you trying to tell me how to treat mine,” he shoots. I twist my lips.
“Yeah, sure. Closed my private practice to focus on my family and my charity and I still have a waiting list as long as you are tall. I might know a little bit about this.”
“Why are you seeing to her care if you hate her so?” he asks.
“Because when and if I find myself in her situation or anything like it and my children have to care for me, I want to be able to say that I did my best by my mother, no matter what, even though she didn’t do her best by me! I want my children to know that I love them and look at me and be proud of me instead of feeling the shame and disdain that I feel when I look at that woman!”
“Okay, look,” my mother says, “I did horrible things to my daughter. I allowed horrible things to happen to her. As a result, she wants nothing to do with me, and I accept that. Now, you’ve orchestrated this meeting and every time she sees me, she berates me. I’m not going to sit and listen to it this time. So, if her approval is what you need to let me out of this place, then I guess I’ll be an eternal resident!”
My mother rolls herself to the door, opens it, and rolls out of the room. The door slams closed behind her. Wendy looks at me and then Dr. Hamlin, then follows Carla out of the room.
“You need my approval, you got it. Let her go home. Let her out of there, or I’m having you investigated. I’m already questioning your methods.” I end the Skype.
I can’t fucking wait to get to Rome.
“Do you know that bastard called me at work?” I say to Christian when I get home.
“What bastard?” he asks while sitting at the breakfast bar chomping on Sophie’s truffles.
“Dr. Hamlin,” I reply. He frowns.
“You gave him your work number?” he asks over the chocolate. I shake my head and snag one of his truffles.
“Let me rephrase,” I say. “He called me while I was at work.”
“I thought you blocked his number,” he says, his mouth still full of chocolate.
“I did, he called me from an unknown number,” I reply, taking a bite of the truffles.
“Okay, and how did that go?” I scoff, almost spitting out my chocolate. “That doesn’t sound good.”
“It’s not,” I say after swallowing my chocolate. “Do you remember the really big fight that Grace and I had after the Adopt-A-Family Affair where she engineered a meeting between Addie and Courtney?”
“How can I forget?” he says. “Hamlin tried to engineer one with you and Carla?”
“Not try… did!” I snap. “He tricked me into a Skype meeting by telling me that he needed to discuss Carla’s discharge instructions with me since I was the next of kin who had her committed. It seemed reasonable enough, so I met with them—all of them. I should’ve known something was up when he started the meeting with a billion disclaimers.”
“Yes, ‘In the interest of full disclosure, we have to’ blah blah blah. It all started sounding like wah wah talk to me and I wasn’t even paying attention anymore until he got around to talking about her support system. He’s going into great detail about how she needs her family and friends around her… and now I’m thinking Wendy was in on this shit, too, because she didn’t even seem surprised and wasn’t taking any notes about anything he said…”
“Okay, you lost me,” Christian says, and I realize that I’ve left something out.
“He asked me if I understood that Carla needed her friends and family and I told him that I understood what he was saying and that she has a support system in Nevada. That’s when he asked her how she felt about what I said, and do you know what this bitch did?” He remains silent and waits for me to continue.
“She told me she loved me,” I hiss folding my arms.
“W… what?” he says, disbelieving.
“You heard me. After everything she put me through, this selfish, callous, self-serving, demonic, wretch of a woman had the audacity to tell me that she loves me!”
“You must have been mistaken,” he says, and I can tell he’s utterly stunned. “There must’ve been a mistake…”
“There’s no mistake,” I clarify. “That psychotic, neurotic bitch sat there right in front of her doctor and her beloved Window and had the nerve to say she loves me. ‘I love you, Anastasia. I love you now and I always will.’” I repeat her words with mocked sincerity and disdain.
“What did you say to that?” he asks, still in shock.
“I told her to shove it up her ass!” I shoot. “You love me now. You fucking love me now. What’s different now, Mother? The fact that you can’t fucking walk? That you’re fucking helpless without me? That you fell in love with an absolutely perfectly worthless piece of shit who died rotten physically and spiritually and left you alone and penniless? What’s the difference between 15-year-old Anastasia Steele who was lost and forlorn and broken without you and grown ass Anastasia Grey—Dr. Anastasia Grey—who don’t fucking need you no more because she got her own money and her own life?”
I’m pacing around the kitchen huffing like a horse. Delusional, narcissistic ass witch. Why does all the fucking liquor have to be downstairs?
I can’t wait for the elevator. I take the back stairs down to the entertainment room only to find the Christian has made it down there before me. What the fuck did he do, teleport?
He puts a glass on the bar and pours me a double-shot of vodka. I throw the damn thing back before I can even think about it.
I’m not going to cry… I’m not going to cry…
“Nobody’s going to blame you if you do,” he says, pouring another double-shot. Did I say that out loud?
I shake off the thought and down the second drink.
“I wanna dance,” I say. I pull out phone and look for the docking station.
“There’s no docking station down here?” I ask.
“Alexa, play music,” Christian says. Who the fuck is Alexa?
“What would you like to hear?” What the fuck is that? Who the fuck is that?
“Who the hell is that?” I ask appalled.
“That’s Alexa,” he says. “It’s voice-control virtual AI that’s wired into the communications system and can do a few things if you ask her nicely.”
“How long have we had that?” I ask.
“Only for about a month,” he replies. “It relies on the same AI that does the voice and face recognition in the house. It just has a few more capabilities.”
Just as he’s explaining what the fuck Alexa is doing in my house, my phone buzzes with a text. My vision is a little groggy, but I can make out that it’s from none other than Carla’s beloved Window:
**She’s been released. **
I close the screen and leave the phone on the bar.
“Alexa, play 80’s dance music.”
“Here’s some 80’s dance music…”
Almost instantly, I hear the synthesized drum beat of Take On Me by Aha. I move to the middle of the floor and begin to fling my hair and dance with abandon, working to forget the demented, self-centered, unfeeling woman who claims to love me.
A/N: Pictures of places, cars, fashion, etc., can be found at https://www.pinterest.com/ladeeceo/grey-continued-misadventuresseason-v/
Pictures related to the progress of the Italian Villa can be found at https://www.pinterest.com/ladeeceo/italy/italian-villa/
The new question and answer thread is always open for questions about the story. Be sure to read it and please adhere to the rules when asking questions. You can find it on the left, second from last on the menu or you can click HERE.
If you feel the need to talk to fellow readers about personal issues, you need a sounding board, or you want to vent about something in your life, please feel free to visit the link on the left in the menu intitled “Do You Need To Talk.” No subject is taboo. I just ask that you approach the link with respect for those who have concerns as well as those who respond. You can also get to the link by clicking HERE.
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.