Fifty Shades Golden: Chapter 20

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.

Explicit details of sex and BDSM scenes from here on out. Some may be hot while others may not be to your taste… and not necessary CG with Ana together. Proceed at your own discretion, but don’t say that I didn’t warn you.

This ain’t your everyday Christian and Ana story. Don’t expect anything. Just read it as it goes along or go away. 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 new saga continues…

Chapter 20

Eric Dane 20

TREY

It’s been a few weeks since I’ve spoken to my Mistress. I’ve had more than a few mind-blowing orgasms since our last encounter. Angry sex is quite fulfilling and as it turns out, every time I stick my dick in some dark orifice lately, I think of Golden and become angry. Then, of course, I end up fucking someone into oblivion. I still get a little enjoyment from my Dom activities, such as they are—controlling a woman’s orgasm; tying her down and fucking her until she begs me to stop; having her ride me until my head nearly explodes; drilling into her ass and feeling my dick thump hard while pumping that hot cum into her… yeah, that shit still gets me off, and well!

But there’s also those times when I’m just fucking, just thrusting into some hot pussy and grabbing a big ass, and I feel it… that fucking whip across my back. That shit makes my dick so hard and my balls so tight. Then I see her curled up with that Kevin fucker, talking shit to me that last time that I saw her, and that shit pisses me off. So, even though I may lose the image and feeling of the whip, that anger drives me harder and further into that pussy until I and the poor waif that’s beneath me are both howling to the moon in climax.

I don’t know if that’s good or bad.

This woman fucking controls everything I do. I can’t even have a climax without her.

I’m still building my lumber empire while Linc and his remaining minions are doing everything they can to head me off. He’s countering my bids with some of the holdouts, like a couple of large mills in Texas, Maryland, and New York. I was able to acquire the contract of one of his largest interests overseas, but I’m not going to get into a bidding war with him. He’s offering higher contracts to the holdouts, which is why they’re hesitating.

They’re hoping for more money. What they don’t know is that I can take a bite out of the industry with what I already have. If they want to go with Lincoln Timber, they can. The larger contracts will have the same effect on Linc’s bottom line as it would if he had to buy the timber from me. It would still take a bite out of his profits. The biggest downfall is that I wouldn’t recognize any income for GEH.

Linc is a sleeping giant. He has a big name because of tenure, not power. So, he’s actually prime for picking right now. Truth is, if I hadn’t done it, sooner or later, someone else with an ounce of sense would have.

Word trickled down to me a couple of weeks ago that Elena Lincoln is in hiding… somewhat. Apparently, she pissed someone else off and was sporting a new set of bruises for a while. It’s only hearsay since no one got any pictures of her, but I’m wondering if Linc snuck up on her again, or if she just got on someone else’s bad side like she always does.

The past few weeks, I’ve been going to the park for lunch more often. The sunshine—when the sun is out—actually helps to improve my attitude. I’ve run into my new friend Veronica a few times, if you can call her that. We just sit, eat lunch, shoot the shit, then go back to our jobs in our respective glass towers. It’s kind of good to see her when I do, though.

“Getting in touch with you is like trying to contact Her Majesty the Queen,” my father chides when I absent-mindedly answer my cell one day.

“What is it, Dad?” I say. I’m still raw from our last conversation about my search for legal counsel.

“Always a pleasure to talk to you, son,” he says. “I just wanted you to know that your sister has been having more episodes.”

Episodes? He must be talking about her diabetes.

“She should probably monitor her levels more closely, then,” I say, “instead of trying to chase the next conspiracy theory. She needs to prioritize.”

“Have you even spoken to your sister since your mother’s birthday?” he asks.

“Why? Is she dying?” I ask impassively.

“Not that I know of,” he retorts, sarcastically, “but that is your sister, Christian.”

“Have you forgotten, Dad? Mia and I don’t speak—we fight. And that’s only when we get together at your house. Do you really think I’m inclined to call her and chat to sign up for an extra dose of that? No, thanks. What does her doctor say?” He pauses.

“The same thing he’s been saying,” Dad says.

“Which means nothing has changed, right?” I conclude. “If she’s been having episodes, it’s because she’s probably not measuring her insulin correctly and not watching what she’s eating. I know that diabetes can be properly managed with diet, medication, and lifestyle. She’s most likely concentrating on all the wrong things—like another corporate conspiracy—instead of concentrating on her health. What does her doctor say about it?” My father sighs.

“Never mind,” he says. “I thought you might want to know about your family. Forget I called.” He ends the call abruptly.

Well, that’s not like Dad. He usually wants to fight and taunt. My first instinct is to call my mother, but while I’m considering making the call, I get a text from him.

**Don’t bother your mother with this. It’s apparently nothing that Mia can’t fix with a little diet and medication, so no use upsetting your mother, right? **

That only makes me want to call Mom more, but since I don’t have any information, I tend to agree that calling her and drilling her about it would only stress her out. I’m sure as hell not calling Elliot. He’d find some way to hold it over my head if there is a way. Gosh, gotta love family.

I head to Crimson to see what mischief I can get into tonight. I need a little spice since I haven’t seen Golden for weeks. I walk around and examine the flavors on the menu. I’m on the hunt and they know it. They nearly offer themselves up to me as I walk past them. There’s quite the buffet on display tonight, from the sexy, beautiful, tasty morsels strolling around half-naked and ready to fuck to the Goth-painted bondage freaks and partially-bound pain whores. Whatever your pleasure, it’s present tonight, except…

I have to admit that the asses are leaving a bit to be desired. There are taut, tight asses on display and even wide asses to be had; fit asses and flabby asses alike… but none of the round and juicy bubble asses that I’ve become accustomed to. I like to watch my dick slide between those cheeks whether I’m fucking that tight rosette or edging myself between two juicy globes. I love to grip that ass meat fiercely while I’m pumping into a tight, hot hole—front or back, it doesn’t matter. My dick is thumping with anticipation

I can’t help but wonder what Elena does for entertainment these days since she’s been banned from any reputable club. Does she frequent the back-alley clubs that just don’t care, or has she given up on the scene completely? She only comes to mind because I’m reminiscing of big asses and Caramel comes to mind…

And ultimately, Golden.

I’ve prowled the entire place, and no one seems to fit my taste tonight. Who am I fooling? I haven’t felt her whip; haven’t come like she makes me come in weeks. I know what I want and it’s not here. I reluctantly text her phone, fully expecting rejection if any answer at all. After another hour of walking around Crimson dissatisfied, I get in my car and make plans to contact my service and fuck til I’m blind.

Just as I’m entering my parking garage, I get a response to my text.

**Be in the dungeon in an hour. **

*-*

As instructed, I’m in her dungeon within the appointed time. She greets me in a gold robe and insanely high black high heels.

Black… that’s different.

She’s wearing some kind of hat—antique gold, not the shiny or flaxen gold I’m accustomed to seeing. It’s tilted and it has fringe on the brim so I can’t really see her face. She’s wearing red tassel earrings and antique gold gloves protrude from her gown. Lace, I think… I can’t help but wonder how those are going to feel on my dick.

She’s silent as she guides me to her table and begins to undress me… slowly and sensually. When I’m naked, she wordlessly directs me to lie on the table, which I do, my face and dick protruding through their usual orifices. As she touches me, I realize that her gloves are not lace. They’re latex, painted to look like lace.

Shit, that’s hot as fuck.

She straps me down—securely—using wrist and ankle restraints that are lined in fur or fuzz or something, but they’re so tight that they damn near cut off my circulation. She extends another strap across my waist and secures it in place.

That’s different.

I feel the table turn, then tilt. When it’s done, I and the table are vertical, and my feet are flat on the floor. My dick is hanging out of the glory hole in her table, and I can see myself.

She has position me so that I’m facing a mirrored wall. That wasn’t there before. I know there was a mirror, but not an entire wall. I see her standing next to the table, still donning a robe with her head slightly tipped on an angle in the direction the long tassels are hanging.

Are we taking a fucking picture? C’mon, let’s get on with this.

She slowly undoes the sash of her robe, opens it, and allows it to fall off her shoulders. Holy Mother of God, where did she find this outfit?

Her entire outfit is latex, most of it that same antique gold except for the latex stocking which are a semi-transparent black with antique gold lace toppers and red seams and heels. Those lace toppers are held on to a beautifully structure latex corset by a set of gold suspender garters, a pair of deliciously-tight latex panties underneath. There’s a small latex cape on her shoulders, obviously tailor-made for her just like the rest of this ensemble—with fringe on the edges just like the fringe of her hat and red tassel earrings. The red in the earrings is made to bring out the red accents in the stockings, the gloves, and on the back of the garter.

I won’t deny that I’m a bit unnerved. Not only has she restrained me in a manner that I’ve never been restrained before and I am quite immobile, but also her usual sunshine-gold garb has been replaced with the exquisite antique gold, black, and red creation. I’m feeling a little anxious waiting for her next move.

I see it all. Whatever I can’t see from just looking around is on complete display in the full mirror in front of me. That delicious ass strolls over to the implements, and Mistress picks her weapon of choice. I’m immediately transported to the state of mind I’m always in when I come to her dungeon—the willing subject ready and able to take whatever she dishes out.

She chooses her flogger and walks back over to me. I brace myself for her strikes, but when they begin, they’re gentle. I open my eyes and I can’t see her, because she’s behind me, but I can see the tails of the flogger—going back and forth rhythmically on my back. Even though I can’t see her, it appears that she’s doing a figure-eight flogging.

I don’t particularly like this. It’s like an incessant tickle on my back and I’m not digging it at all. Just when I’m about to protest, the strikes become a little harder, providing a scratch to the itching previously caused by the flogger tails.

Okay, that’s better, a little relief.

The strikes get harder still and now, it’s starting to sting. This is the feeling that I associate with those massive orgasms, so I sink into it. The strikes are continuous on alternating sides of my back and I clench my jaw to bear the pain as there is no relief from the continuous blows. She doesn’t let up and I’m starting to feel the burn in other parts of my body. Jesus, it must have been longer than I thought because this is really beginning to hurt. I’m gritting my teeth now to withstand the torment of the tails of the flogger and I can feel the sweat forming on my brow.

At last, she stops, and the air brings welcome relief to my skin. Shit, that was intense! I don’t know how much more of that I would be able to stand.

Next, I see her reach for her crop. I prepare myself for the impact, but instead, she begins with light repetitive taps on the top of my ass.

Okay, that’s like a ruined fucking orgasm… to go from whacks back to taps. My adrenaline is up and now, she’s cooling it down again. It’s aggravating. What the fuck is this shit?

Just as I am beginning to come down from the adrenaline rush and my breathing becomes more regulated, the blows of the crop become more intense. They move from the light taps to more intense flickers. Moments later, she graduates to long, fast, and hard vertical strikes—up and down on my ass cheeks like a paintbrush.

Where the fuck did she learn this technique?

The sting is more intense again and I clench my fists once more to bear the pain. Now, the sting in my back returns and intermingle with the sting on the tops and bottoms of my ass cheeks. The way that she’s striking, it’s not hitting the meat. It’s just hitting the tops and bottoms… and that shit stings.

I’m grunting now from the pain, sweat forming quickly on my forehead this time. I tighten my cheeks, but that actually makes the pain a little worse. That’s not supposed to happen. What’s going on with me?

Her next tool is a cross between a crop and a paddle. I’ve never seen it before—braided handle like a crop or a cat with a narrow paddle that looks more like a 12-inch cane wrapped in a leather ruler. She stands to the side of me and starts with those like fucking taps again right on the meat of my ass.

What the fuck is this anti-climactic shit! You can’t work a man up to a painful frenzy, then bring him back down just to work him back up again. That shit will cause him to have a heart attack!

I’m trying to concentrate on the pain I was feeling before, the intermingling of the flogger with the crop and the sting that caused me to grunt in agony, trying not to lose the rush, but it’s no use. She continues this tickle-flicker-spanking thing until my body and breathing are calm.

She’s blowing my high, and I don’t like it. And she’s not talking to me. She usually says something to me throughout this process, but this time, she’s silent—like she’s denying me the stimulation of her voice. As I’m pondering the significance of that factor, her strikes go from gentle flickers to…

“Fucking hell!”

It feels like she has every intention of fusing that damn thing with my ass. I know I verbalized my surprise and agony, but she doesn’t stop to chastise me for speaking. She just keeps going…

Whap!
Whap!
Whap!

Sonofabitch! My eyes are squeezed so tightly that I’m seeing stars. This shit hurts, and once again, it’s blending with the pain of the other two instruments.

Shitfuckinghellsonofafuckinghellshitmotherfucker! This shit is bordering on inhumane. What the hell did I do to deserve this?

Oh… I know what I did. I pissed her off, and now she’s making me pay.

My main consolation in this exercise is that I’ll have a session to recall in the coming weeks when I’m fucking some poor wench within an inch of her life… and that I’ll come like a rocket when this is all over.

My brain and body is slipping into this spacy kind of acceptance of my fate and the pain as Golden rains blow after blow after blow on my tender ass. I feel my muscles relax even though I’m not telling them to do it. It’s like I’m in some kind of subconscious state that’s absorbing the pain, only I’m quite conscious. My body is warm… hot… it feels like it’s on fire all over, and I’m floating, or at least it feels like I’m floating, somewhat outside of myself when…

“Aaaaaaaahhhhh!”

I cry out involuntarily when I feel a very narrow leather strap or tail stripe my back from the left shoulder down to my mid back. What the ever-loving fuck!?

It appears that I had somehow disconnected from our session and my Mistress wished to bring me back—and oh fuck, did she! I didn’t even see or feel the paddle stop or see her retrieve another instrument. So, I don’t even know what she’s using. I just know it’s some kind of whip.

Thwap!

“Aaaahhh!” I cry out again. Her strikes are slower, more calculated this time. My back is already bruised and tender from the flogger, my butt still aching and stinging from the paddle and the crop, and now this… my favorite thing, but not so favorite right now.

Nonetheless, my cock can’t seem to distinguish that.

I feel the rush of blood going through my shaft with each strike. It’s like a heartbeat…

Thwap! Pump! Thwap! Pump! Thwap! Pump!

I know I’m getting hard. I can’t stop it. But after several thwap-pumps, apparently, I’m not hard enough for my Mistress.

“Shit! Aahh! What the fuck!”

Well, she’s not hitting me anymore, but without warning, she has thrust a latex-covered lubed finger into my ass. That shit hurts and my erection wanes immediately. I’ve had enough of this sadistic shit. Now, I’m about to safeword until…

Her finger begins to move—methodically, rhythmically—and I know what this is, I’ve just never experienced it before. I’m trying my best to hate it because I’ve always felt like no straight man—no man’s man—really wants a finger in his ass. But her touch is firm and gentle at the same time, masterfully rubbing that magic gland or moving in circles, in and out and around, causing and involuntary reaction from my body. Her free hand firmly squeezes my painful ass or strokes my burning back, enhancing that pain/pleasure experience that I’m accustomed to. I close my eyes and grunt, biting my lip to suppress any further outbursts from the combined experience. This shit is fucking magical.

I’m completely immobilized, and I can’t move—to thrust, to roll, to move out of the way, nothing. I’m totally at her mercy and she’s about to show me just how true that statement is.

She moves her hand slowly, methodically, massaging my asshole and all the sensitive nerves, adding lube occasionally and often turning attention to my prostate. I am so aroused that I can barely think. The feeling is incredibly erotic, and she’s keeping me just on the edge as my cock gets harder and harder.

I’m nearly shaking with anticipation when she stops the anal massage. My eyes fly open in horror and surprise and immediately focus on my red, veiny cock standing impressively upright and staring back at me from the mirror.

Damn… he’s pissed.

She walks around her table to the front of me and turns to face me. Her face is still totally covered by this hat with the tassels and if it wasn’t for the thick bubble ass wrapped in latex staring back at me from the mirror, I wouldn’t even know this was Golden.

She removes one latex glove—probably the one that was in my ass—and gently begins to caress my cock. The fucker is on fire. I thought a good stiff wind could make me come, but I’m discovering that my sadistic Mistress can draw that process out forever…

And ever…

I groan inwardly as her soft hand outlines the veins on my straining, angry dick, causing just enough stimulation to keep him aching and hard. After a few moments of playing with my immobilized, thumping cock, she produces a small leather apparatus and begins to attach it to my nether-regions. Once she has snapped the thing in place, I look in the mirror to see that my junk is tightly restrained in a highly-restrictive cock and ball harness—the kind that goes between your testicles, wraps around each ball, and snaps around your dick like a cockring. My balls are shiny and straining and my dick is harder and protruding farther than it was before.

She uses her nails to gently scratch and tease the tight skin of my balls and I’m losing my fucking mind. A shiver runs through my entire body and I can’t even move. What’s worse is that I can clearly see this shit in the mirror as she taunts my balls—over and over again. My cock can’t even bob and flex like it usually does because of this damn leather contraction.

She kneels down and, while still tickling my balls, she takes my cock into her mouth. Fucking hell, her mouth is hot! I’m unable to stifle my groan as she takes my cock all the way to the base and slowly drags her lips to the head. She doesn’t even have to hold it because it’s so fucking hard that it’s protruding straight out for her.

And I. Am. In. Agony.

Once, twice, three times she does this and the third time, she locks her lips on the aching head and suckles like she’s capturing the flavor of a delicious lollipop.

Her tongue and lips wrap repeatedly around the strained head, the skin now shining like my restrained balls. She holds her head back just enough for the tassels to fall apart, only giving me a view of her crimson lips suckling the very head of my cock. I then see her talented tongue lick lazily over the tight skin, then sensually over the slit to collect the tiny offering of precum.

Fucking hell, I’m going to die.

Her tongue flicks several times over the frenulum before she sucks one more time as if to clean the head, then replaces her mouth with a thoroughly oiled latex glove.

Oh, God. Oh, dear God…

I can say that I’ve never felt anything like this before. It kind of reminds you of a condom, but not. With condoms, the stimulation is outside of the latex. This is direct—slippery rubber up and down your cock, pumping you to orgasm.

Shit. Fucking hell.

I close my eyes tight, because the burn is unbearable. When I come, it’s going to be fucking explosive, and if she keeps this up, it’s going to be any second now.

As if she was reading my mind, the gloved hand stops its stimulation, and I take in deep breaths to try to calm my frazzled nerves. Fuck, that was hot as fuck! Fuck!

My reprieve is temporary, as I expected, and the soft skin of a bare hand caresses my cock again. I open my eyes and look down at her to see both her hands are latex free now, but she’s only using one hand—one well-oiled hand—to torment my aching dick.

Mistress has decided that she wants to play today and play she does… and play and play and play, much to my eternal torment. My dick was hard just from her putting the cockring on, but I know that she has a thing for dicks. She admires them and adores them and right now, she’s paying very special attention to mine. She’s treating it like a treasured pet and dear God, I’m losing my mind in the pleasure and the teasing.

My dick is fully cooperating with her, reaching out to her soft yet powerful perfectly manicured hands. I can feel it pulsing against her grip as she forces the blood to the very sensitive and swollen head of my very sensitive and swollen cock. She now sits comfortably on a stool next to me, wearing this golden Domme outfit and paying extra special attention to my dick.

Did I mention that I’m not blindfolded, and I can see?

Yes, I can see her as she perfectly edges my anxious shaft with just the right amount of smooth oil—not too much to make it too slippery or too little to cause too much friction… or even enough friction. My muscles hurt from tightening with the pleasure of this near-coming-not-quite-enough stimulation, and she knows it. She repeatedly runs her fingertips from just under the base of my hood over the rim—my fucking nerve center—and up the overstretched skin of the head, her nails scratching just enough to cause painful tremors to rack my body as her fingertips close over the tip.

“Uuuuuuuggghhhh!” I groan in agony and ecstasy each time her nails gently scratch the head of my cock, my balls screaming to come. She always works me into a mindless frenzy until I break out in an unbelievable sweat. I’ve even begun to train myself to bear the sweat in my eyes so that I don’t miss the show.

“Please, Mistress!” I beg. “Please! I need to come!”

“Sssshh,” she chides softly. “Not yet, Chopper.”

She spoke! She spoke to me and it causes ripples of pleasure to flow through my body. I groan involuntarily and she stops her stimulation again. I look down to see a long stream of precum hanging from my dick and dripping onto the floor.

And that’s hot.

My dick is aching so badly; my balls are about to burst, and she takes that oily hand and strokes slow and hard from base to tip and back again—achingly slowly, causing a burn deep in my abs that almost makes me want to cry.

She does it again… and again… and again… and…

“Aaahh!”

My body jerks from the unexpected pain of a cat, wrapping around my back and butt. My eyes shoot open.

She’s standing next to the table, pumping my dick with her oily left hand, and a cat o’ nine tails is hanging from her right.

She’s going to cause a fucking nuclear explosion.

She strokes my cock again, base to tip, causing that rumble in my body when her hand passes the head and her palm strokes my frenulum, then…

Thwap!

Pleasure and pain; heaven and hell; agony and ecstasy. I’ve never been so on edge, so aroused, so ready to blow in my life! She strokes again…

Thwap!

And again…

Thwap!

And again…

Thwap!

And just when I thought the sensation couldn’t become any more intense, she removes her hand. When it returns, it cups my head again and this time, she’s got that fucking bullet in it, rolling it over my head in different areas as she strikes me with the cat once, twice, three times. My head is about to explode from pleasure overload, and so are my balls. I can’t take it anymore; I’m losing my mind. I’m about to give her the spectacular candle-lighting ceremony that she’s been building up to and I just might break that mirror. My eyes roll back in my head…

And she stops.

I’m dizzy, mindless. My body is mush and my dick is throbbing so hard that I can hear it! I feel her undoing my ankle restraints, the waist restraints, and one of the wrist restraints. I can feel her remove the cock-and-ball harness, and when I open my burning, weary eyes, she’s standing in front of me. She has removed her hat and she’s looking impassively at me.

“Not yet, Chopper,” she says as she raises a brow, gazes at me and walks away. I watch her ascend the stairs, her ass tauntingly switching from left to right.

Wait a minute. That’s it? She’s just going to leave me here? She’s going to leave me with my dick thumping and aching like this—my balls ready to explode with a good wind? What the fuck?

Is this a fucking joke? She can’t possibly intend to leave me like this. She can’t!

I wait for a moment before I undo my last restraint. She probably left that one so that I wouldn’t lunge at her ass.

This is the cruelest, most disrespectful thing I’ve ever seen. The torment of each of her implements—slow rise just to let my adrenaline drop again, then start the torture over all the way from the beginning to drop me down again… repeatedly…

That’s like a ruined fucking orgasm…
She’s blowing my high, and I don’t like it…
And she’s not talking to me… like she’s denying me the stimulation of her voice… 

As my prior thoughts flash through my head, I think hard to all the times I’ve watched her in action. In all the time that I’ve seen her… watched her… been in her dungeon… I have never seen her leave a man unsatisfied. I’ve seen other Doms or Dommes do it, but in the year that I’ve been dealing with her—visually or physically—she’s never done this… to anybody! She has beaten them, tortured them, done some pretty unthinkable things to them and their dicks, but they always came. Often, they came several times. And she just worked me up, worked me over and left me hanging—literally.

What the fuck is this anti-climactic shit!

She’s fucking turning me into a sub.

I grab my T-shirt and slide it over my head and onto my sweating, stinging back. I slide my boxer briefs over my aching ass, followed by my jeans. Angry adrenaline is pumping through my veins so quickly that I can barely get them zipped and buttoned.

“These games,” I hiss quietly as I slide on my socks and step into my boots. “These fucking games!”

I grab my jacket and ascend the stairs two at a time. In my angry haze, I know he’s there, but I don’t really see him.

Don’t worry, Belvedere. I know my way out.

I breeze past him and out the door, slamming it hard behind me.

*-*

I come and I come and I come, in several different positions, with more than one woman, and each time the only thing that comes back to me is that horrid woman’s face and the torment that she put me through tonight…

Cruel, sadistic bitch.


Briana Evigan 20

GOLDEN

Waking up in Blake’s lap a few weeks ago was an eye-opener. First, it felt good—not that it was Blake, but that it was anybody that close to me. Waking up and smelling the scent of a man, feeling his strong hand resting in my hair… it was a good feeling… too good. It brought me to my second realization.

That I forgot who I am.

I’m Golden—often imitated and never duplicated; highly coveted, but never acquired; sought and lusted after; craved and never forgotten…

And Trey’s text reminded me of that.

I had been saving the Atsuko Kudo couture latex ensemble for a special occasion. I would give him an evening that he was sure never to forget.

You may not be a submissive, Chopper, but I’m still a Domme.

That night, I made sure that he didn’t forget it. I flogged him, cropped him, paddled and whipped him in a manner to keep him on edge all night—start with just enough tenderness to bring the blood to the surface of his skin, then give him the intensity he craves and subsequently bring him all the way back from the precipice, just to do it all over again.

And again.

And again.

He squirmed and he cried out as his nerves were so exposed, he was losing his mind. It was magnificent.

The prostate massage was a last-minute decision. He was so far into subspace, I don’t even think he felt me massaging and lubing his asshole, because he never responded. He only reacted when I breached his rosette. That’s when I knew I had to bring that lovely little member back to attention once more. So, I did.

He came so close to exploding that I had to end more abruptly than I intended.

But the cock-and-ball harness was magnificent. It made me remember why I nearly lost myself in his kiss. His dick is beautiful. It’s God’s work of art—exquisite, superb. I never looked at his face once; I only concentrated on the cock. It’s breathtaking.

Watching it throb, tasting it, playing with it, feeling it on my fingers, seeing it change and grow before my eyes—it was glorious.

Then I remembered…

Watching it blow is what made me kiss him in the first place… and he was insolent the last time he left.

No, you’re not a sub, but I’m still your Mistress, and I deserve your respect. For your malfeasance…

Your orgasm is mine.

That’s the only time I looked in his eyes, to let him know that he didn’t even control his own dick.

When I walked up the stairs and to my room, refusing to see him that night, I knew that would leave a lasting impression on him. No matter who he goes to, no matter what he does, no matter who he fucks, no matter how hard or how many times he comes, it still won’t be what he would have gotten had I got him off that night, and he knows that.

So, he’ll stew in his brew for a little while, but he still won’t forget Golden. And maybe the next time he sees me, he’ll have a little more respect.

*-*

Several weeks have passed since Canciana’s attorney, Greg Beasley, darkened the door of my office. He’s called me several times since then and more than once, I’ve inquired about what his client thinks would be a suitable settlement, only to have them come back with ridiculously unrealistic numbers. I pretended to continue to confer with my client, throwing out possible counteroffers and negotiating. I was only buying time to execute our ultimate coup.

Blake has footage from long before he ever expected to get a divorce. Using the resources at our disposal, we were able to secure names, places, receipts, pictures, and videos, including a few bonuses I’m certain that Mr. Beasley and the soon-to-be ex-Mrs. Haviland have no idea are in store for them. Promising a settlement that would appease “all parties involved,” we set a meeting for today.

“I’m sorry, Mistress,” Blake says as we head to my office. “I never meant to drag you down in this.”

“I’m not dragged down in this, Blake,” I comfort him. “I offered to help a good man and a good friend, and a whore and her unscrupulous attorney are taking advantage of that. Now, they’re about to get more than they fucking bargained for.” I look over at him. “Chin up, my friend. Today, you’re going to be free.”

We walk into the office, deliberately ten minutes late. I’m suited, booted, and bunned in my regular “Let’s Get Ready to Rumble” garb while Blake looks sharp—and three levels of pissed off—in a tailored black suit and white shirt with no tie. Canciana Haviland and Greg Beasley are standing in my lobby awaiting our arrival. Blake doesn’t even make eye contact.

“Forgive our tardiness,” I say insincerely. “We’ll be with you in a moment.”

“Being late for a meeting is very bad form, Ms. Olivet,” Beasley says sharply. Is this fucker scolding me? I slowly turn to face him, every bit of Mistress rising up in me, no doubt displayed in the glare I give him.

“We can reschedule if you like,” I say, my tone sharper than his. I offer no other explanation and wait for his response.

“No need,” he counters. “We’ve come all this way now.”

“Then, like I said,” I say, my voice low and my words crisp, “we’ll be with you. In a moment. Chanelle, please offer Mr. Beasley and his client something to drink while they wait.” I over-emphasize the “t” on “wait” and never break my gaze with Beasley. We’re having a stare contest until I hear Jesse’s voice.

“Ms. Olivet,” he says, knowing that I’ll stand here and stare at this fucker until his dick falls off. I don’t break my glare with him until I turn hard on my heels and my designer stilettos click loudly across the lobby floor. Jesse holds my office door open for me and he and Blake follow me into the office.

“Don’t let him unnerve you, Ana,” Jesse says.

“I’m not unnerved,” I say, opening my briefcase and setting it up on the conference table. “I’m ready to scrap.” I gesture to the large leather seat beside mine for Blake to take a seat as I prepare for the meeting with the snake and the Mrs. I’m taking files out, preparing disc drives and firing up my tablet and laptop, along with two sets of prepared documents. I go to my desk and press the button that records depositions in my office and head back to the conference table. Blake is still standing behind his chair.

I should have known. He won’t sit before I’m seated.

I nod and walk over to my chair, allowing him to pull it out for me to take my seat. Once he is seated, he rests his arms on the armrests and fixes the most stoic expression on his face that I’ve ever seen.

“Jesse, let them in and remain in position.” Jesse opens the door and informs Canciana and Beasley that they can enter. Once they’re inside, he closes the door behind them and takes his place by the window.

“Who is this?” Canciana balks in a slight Spanish accent.

“That’s her bodyguard,” Beasley says in a condescending tone. “Wherever she goes, he goes,” he mocks.

“Hmph,” Canciana grunts unimpressed. Oh, I’m going to love this.

“I take it you and your client have had a chance to review Mrs. Haviland’s request,” Beasley says confidently. Requests… more like outlandish demands.

“We have,” I say, “and we’re prepared to make an offer.” I slide the papers over to him and his client with Blake’s signature already on them. He frowns.

“This is the same offer as before,” he says, shaking his head. “Is this some kind of joke?”

“Oh, I think it is,” I retort, “but that’s for you to tell me. You see, I don’t take kindly to blackmail at all, especially when someone wants to go about the business of completely fabricating a story and besmirching someone’s good name just a get a dollar they don’t even deserve.”

“Ms. Olivet!” Beasley says, feigning shock, “such harsh words! I wouldn’t call it blackmail. I’d much rather refer to it as a bargaining chip.”

“A bargaining chip,” I say with a nod. “What a nice way to phrase extortion.”

“Extortion, please!”  Beasley says. “Our clients have been married for several years. She’s at least entitled to what she’s asking for.”

“First, how do you know he even has what she’s asking for?” I retort. “He’s living in my guest room, not the Fairlane Olympic. And second, are you really planning to go to court spouting about how many years they’ve been married?”

“I thought we were here for a settlement hearing—to avoid dragging this out in court,” Beasley shoots.

“Well, that’s going to be up to you and your client,” I say. “I mean seriously, my client walked in on her screwing another man in his home in the bed that they once shared, and she didn’t even have the modesty to be embarrassed. She just barked at him to close the door and you really think we’re going to capitulate to your demands for more money? I’ve seen some real pieces of work in my day, but you take the cake.”

“You’re hardly in a position to insult my client, Ms. Olivet,” Beasley taunts.

“Oh, on the contrary, Mr. Beasley, we’re in a position to do whatever we want. You have pictures of my client coming in and out of my home, fully dressed in a business suit just like he is now. Whatever that may imply, it proves nothing, besides that my client was at my home…”

“A judge may not see it that way, Ms. Olivet,” he retorts. I shrug.

“They may, they may not.” I pull the first file from my briefcase, “but how do you think a judge would see this?” I open the file and remove one of the very graphic pictures of Canciana and one of her lovers, handing it to Beasley. An unreadable expression crosses his face as he hands the picture to Canciana. She looks at it then raises a hateful gaze to Blake.

“Me estabas mirando, gilipollas enferma?” she barks.

“This changes nothing, Ms. Olivet,” Beasley says. “We would simply contend that Mr. Haviland’s indiscretions occurred first, and there’s no telling what that could do to your reputation,” he smiles that slimy smile.

“I thought you might feel that way,” I say. “I can see the importance of having a smear-free name as an interpreter of the law. However, I was hoping that we could keep the smearing between our clients instead of involving each other. Since that doesn’t appear to be the case, tell me, Greg. Is there a Mrs. Slimy Attorney?” I ask. His smirk falls.

“That’s really none of your business,” he says curtly. My turn to smirk.

“Maybe it is, and maybe it’s not,” I say, my voice low, “But you’re the one who dragged my reputation into this, and a girl must protect herself. Now, what was that phrase you used earlier? Ah, yes, I remember now… bargaining chip.” I pull three more stills from the file. “I’m pretty certain that Desiree wouldn’t be too pleased to see these.”

His pupils constrict at the mention of his wife’s name, and I push the pictures across the table to him. He examines the pictures and all the color leaves his face. He looks at the pictures, then at Canciana, then at me.

“Where did you get these?” he seethes. I cross my arms.

“A little birdie gave them to me,” I say. “She’s got some pretty good moves, wouldn’t you agree? I mean, I was thoroughly impressed watching the videos.”

“Videos?” he barks angrily.

“Lots. And lots of them,” I say confidently, “dating back through several of those ‘years’ they’ve been married. It’s really not a good idea for you to fuck your clients!” I add viciously as Greg is currently looking at pictures of him and Canciana in various sexual positions.

That gets Canciana’s attention.

“Oh, there’s more,” I say, opening the file and laying picture after picture in front of them—all stills of Canciana in compromising positions in the bed that she once shared with her husband. “And if you like those, you’ll love this.”

I hit the auxiliary then play buttons on the remote to activate the feed going to the television. A live action video of Canciana at her hoe finest, wildly riding some guy who is not Greg. His face shows intense displeasure. Blake doesn’t even turn to face the screen.

“You’ve got impressive moves, Canciana,” I compliment. “I thought it was the expensive gifts that you were showering on your boytoys that kept them coming back. I stand corrected.”

“Pendejo!” she hisses. “Perra!”

“Likewise, puta,” I respond without flinching. She narrows her eyes at me. She spoke two of the very few Spanish words that I understand. Don’t dish it out if you can’t take it.

“Two out of the other five guys that you’ve been fucking… they’re married, too.” Greg glares at her. Apparently, he’s unaware of the extent of his lover’s infidelity, if you can call it that, since he’s cheating on his wife with her. “I hope you’ve been having protected sex, Greg, because you’ve been fucking the ‘good time girl.’” I turn back to Canciana.

“I understand that you’ve been hurt, but you took advantage of a man’s guilt to the fullest extent. You never once thought of his suffering—not once. You spent years and years punishing him for a terrible mistake, and he was already punishing himself. I can tell you now that if your daughter is looking down on this right now, she’s ashamed of you. Your behavior has been reprehensible in more ways than one. Even the law of the land allows a man to pay his debt to society and move on with his life. You just want him to pay over and over and over again while you behave like a mindless floosy, a senseless harlot, and a heartless and soulless charlatan draining him dry until he’s dead.”

“I lost my child,” she says softly but firmly. “You don’t know that pain.”

“Then you should have gotten help instead of extorting the husband and father that was hurting right along with you!” I hiss. “I lost my parents as a child—both of them at the same time, almost exactly the same way you lost your child. No, I didn’t lose a child, but you lost one person that you loved, and I lost two. I guess if there was someone there that I could have extorted, maybe I would have turned out like you!”

I close my eyes and take a deep breath. Attacking her won’t help at this point.

“You get the house, you keep your car, and you get what’s in your prenup. Sign the papers now and go away, or this footage—and there’s a lot of it—gets released to every slimy, sleazy, back door porn site and gossip rag I can find. And the wives of your married fuckboys will get packages of their husband’s extracurricular activities…” I turn to Beasley, “including yours.”

He turns an accusing glare to Canciana.

“Five other guys,” he hisses. “Five fucking other guys. I could understand one, or even two, but five… you’ve got a fucking problem—literally! Sign the goddamn papers,” he barks. “I’m not going down because of you! I’ve got way too fucking much to lose and if I do, I’ll bury you, you slut.”

I raise my brow. Diplomacy has flown the coup, not that it was ever present. Canciana clearly sees all of her options—her opportunity to get more money—flying out the window.

“Tu matas a mi hija. Me quitaste la vida. ¡Lo único que queda es el dinero, y ahora también quieres tomar eso. Bastardo¡” she barks at Blake before lunging a huge glob of spit at him that lands right on his cheek. I’m disgusted, but he doesn’t even flinch. He gazes unaffected at her and he removes a handkerchief from his pocket and wipes the saliva off his face.

“I have been punished,” he says calmly. “My suffering ends today. Take your money and leave me, and never darken my door again.”

Further angered by his lack of reaction, Canciana yells a few more statements in Spanish before Greg interrupts her.

“Yeah, yeah, yeah, he’s a horrible wretched person he’s going to burn in hell sign the goddamn papers!” Greg demands, the volume in his voice causing Canciana to nearly leap from her seat. She knows that she has no other options, so she continues to hurl insults at Blake in Spanish for at least another minute and a half. In the middle of her rant, I see Blake do something I have never seen him do.

He loses his temper.

Blake silences his estranged wife by simultaneously slamming his fist into the conference table and rising to his feet, glaring at her with a look of death. I have no idea what she said to him since I don’t speak fluent Spanish—just the few words that I’ve picked up from Blake—but either she said something that just pissed him the fuck off or he has simply had enough.

“I. am giving you the chance. To walk away from this situation. With your money. Your house. And your car. Which is more than you’re entitled to in our prenuptial agreement. I. Have suffered. Enough. Now, take your trinkets. And get out of my life. Or I swear on the holy virgin that it’ll be your turn.”

Blake glares at her without blinking, his gaze more menacing than I’ve ever seen. Canciana is leaning back in her seat in utter horror. Either she has seen this side of him before and she doesn’t want to see it again, or she has never seen this side of him before and it’s shocking the shit out of her. Greg is just as surprised at the situation, but not horrified. He just sits there with a surprised frown on his face waiting to see what his client is going to do.

I’m completely shocked by what I’m seeing, but I don’t show it. I just pretend like this is another day at the office and I show no emotion. I’m certain that no one saw me when I flinched at the noise since we were all focusing on Blake.

No one moves. No one says another word. The next move belongs to Canciana.

She blinks several times, gazing at Blake in fear. I don’t dare look in his eyes. I’m afraid of what I’ll see. I’m not afraid of Blake because I’m certain that I would never have to fear him. However, he feels nothing but contempt for this woman, for what she has done and put him through over the last few years. Even criminals serve their time and at some point, are released. She never intends to release him. She intends to punish him indefinitely as if he had just committed the crime yesterday. He, on the other hand, feels like his sentence is over.

We sit there for what feels like an eternity, Canciana waiting for someone to speak and come to her rescue, but it’s not going to happen. The three people at the table with her all want her to sign the papers, and at this point, I’m certain that Greg would have no problem leaving her in the room alone with Blake to allow him a few minutes to make good on his promise that it’s her turn.

Seeing no assistance from anyone or reprieve from Blake, she straightens her back, picks up the pen, and signs every page of the divorce decree, pushing it back towards her attorney. He pushes them to me, and I check each page.

“You need to sign here, here, and here, and initial here and here,” I say, pointing out the pages she forgot to sign. She signs and initials the missing pages, sighing like we’re inconveniencing her. I review the documents again.

“Are we finished?” Greg asks, perturbed.

“We’ll see,” I say. He turns his glare to me. “I don’t appreciate my privacy being violated for your game of cat and mouse. You have nothing on me, nor will you get anything on me, besides the fact that I enjoy my male company and that this man lives in my home. I can live with the world knowing that, but I still have footage of you, and it’s a whole lot more than just your ‘comings’ and goings, pun intended. Call off your dogs and don’t darken my door again or I promise you…” I lean forward on the conference table. “If you think he’s scary, you ain’t seen nothing yet.” I sit back in my seat. “Deal?”

Greg swallows, but doesn’t move while Canciana’s gaze snaps back and forth from him to me.

“Deal,” he says, his voice low. “I would shake on it, but I don’t assume you’d want to shake with a slimy lawyer.”

“Not necessary,” I say, standing, “especially since I can be pretty fucking slimy myself—when needed.” I stand and hand the papers to Jesse. “My secretary will make you a copy to take with you and you’ll have court certified copies in a week. Jesse, please show these people out.”

Greg stands first while Canciana seems to be planning some kind of exit strategy—one last crack.

“I suggest you stand and leave silently,” I warn her. “I will not be responsible for your safety if you stay a moment longer.” She turns her gaze to me, and Jesse steps in.

“Ma’am,” he says, coming very close to her chair—more of a threat than Blake is at the moment—who, by the way, is still staring venomously at her, “if you’ll come with me, please.”

It’s not a request.

“Oh, and Missy?” I say as the bitch finally stands. “I would caution you against getting another lawyer and trying to contest. This…” I gesture around the files and papers, “only scratches the surface of what I’m capable of if you ever come after me again!” Yes, bitch, this is personal.

She sighs angrily and walks out with Jesse and her slimy attorney.

When I look over at Blake, he’s still leaning on the conference table with his fist clenched. His eyes are closed and he’s breathing deeply. He does that for several moments before he slowly lowers himself back into his seat.

“I’m sorry, Mistress,” he breathes, his voice gravelly. Approach with caution, Olivet.

“Blake… is there anything I can do?” I ask carefully.

“Just please, don’t dismiss me for my behavior,” he beseeches. I sigh inwardly. He wants to stay. This is good.

“Of course, not,” I say, softly. He turns a cooling gaze to me, his eyes red with repressed anger. I gently place my hand over his and raise my brow as if asking for permission. He closes his eyes and nods.

“Thank you, Mistress,” he breathes.


A/N: “Me estabas mirando, gilipollas enferma?”—“You were watching me, you sick asshole?”

“Pendejo! Perra!”—this translates a couple of different ways depending on where your from, but in this instance, Canciana is calling Ana an asshole and a stupid bitch or whore.

“Puta”—also translates a few different ways, but in essence, it’s just what it sounds like; whore, pussy, or cunt.

“Tu matas a mi hija. Me quitaste la vida. ¡Lo único que queda es el dinero, y ahora también quieres tomar eso. Bastardo¡”—”You kill my daughter. You took my life All that’s left is money, and now you also want to take that. Bastard!”

The Pinterest board for this story can be found at https://www.pinterest.com/ladeeceo/fifty-shades-golden/.

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

Advertisements

Raising Grey: Chapter 86—Going Soft?

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…

Chapter 86—Going Soft?

CHRISTIAN

Butterfly agrees that Wednesday is a good day for us to meet with the godparents of our children to solidify our plans for the twins. She’ll talk to Valerie since I’ve already told Al. In the meantime, I’m back in my glass and steel fortress about to let some folks have it.

I’m sitting in the usual department head meeting, putting together some thoughts concerning the four people at the center of my ire. While I’ve been sitting here, I’ve listened to discussions about shipments of supplies to some of our warehouses that had to be rescheduled because the shipping dock simply misplaced the materials, resulting in a horrible delay of delivery of product to our end users; a fire in one of our buildings on the east coast that resulted in injuries; and an extremely costly error with one of our pharmaceutical subsidiaries that could result in a lawsuit.

While I’m sitting here quietly fuming at our shipping, quality, and safety teams and waiting to hear what the plan of action is to keep these situations from becoming international incidents, one of the department heads from some department is expounding on some question that Lorenz has asked about something. I half-heartedly pretend to listen and jot down notes in my ledger—something I never do—when I decide that I’ve heard enough of the useless rambling. I have a shift in my seat that I do that signals the person speaking that they should wrap it up soon.

“What’s the progress with SEEKNID 1.0?” I ask casually once I hear that the discussion about… whatever it was… has ended. I hear throats clearing but no answers. So, I raise my gaze to my R&D department head. “Mr. Hammond, was my question unclear?” He clears his throat and rubs his eyes.

“No, sir, your question was clear,” he replies, his voice tired. I narrow my gaze at him.

“Well?” I hiss, waiting for an answer.

“I… haven’t had a chance to review it, sir,” he says. My brow furrows and I look over at my wife, who shrugs, before I look back at Hammond.

“What do you mean you haven’t had a chance to review it?” I ask. “I sent an email requesting immediate research and testing on Tuesday… while I was still on vacation with my wife.”

“I sent one as well,” Butterfly chimes in, “wanting to know why it was taking so long for the project to be initiated.” I look over at her.

“You sent one, too?” I ask. She nods.

“I questioned the delay of a very important product both to GEH and the industry and requested additional information on the normal timeline concerning the processing of a project from presentation to production. I never received a response.”

“To whom did you send this email?” I ask frostily.

“I did a blanket reply to all of the people on the original email that you sent out… even you. Maybe I did something wrong,” she says. All heads know that I’m now going to go in search of this email, because if I received it, their asses received it, too. I may not look for an email from my wife because I’m with her every day and she can just tell me what’s up… or text me. As soon as I swipe the screen of my phone, people start speaking up.

“I received that email, Dr. Grey,” Ros says. “I’m sorry I didn’t respond. I made the error of thinking that one of the heads closer to the project with more detailed information would provide an explanation for you. I apologize for that oversight on my part…”

“Same here,” Lorenz excuses. “Granted, I wouldn’t have had the immediate information that you needed, but I—or someone—should have responded to your email. I hope you’ll excuse the oversight.”

“It’s an oversight on your part because you and Ros have an entire company to run,” Butterfly says as I’m searching for her email. “I appreciate the acknowledgement and hope that in the future, I can expect a response to an email when I send it. ‘I don’t know, let me find out for you’ is a perfectly good response. It’s just very disheartening feeling like I’m being ignored.”

“Understood, Dr. Grey,” Lorenz replies. “Thank you for understanding.” My wife nods just as I find her email that she sent minutes after I sent the email to my chief officers, Barney, Hammond, and R&D.

“That explains why my company heads didn’t respond. However, in this instance, I can understand why they would have expected the experts in the area to have said something.” I turn to the people who would normally have their hands on the pulse of the situation… or who should, that is.

“I have no excuse, sir,” Barney says, his response a mixture of unapologetic but humble, if that’s possible. “I have quite a few irons in the fire in IT and since the product hadn’t made its way through R&D yet, there’s really nothing I could do with it at this time. I apologize, too, An… Dr. Grey, for not at least responding to your email. Please charge it to too many balls in the air and not disrespect, ma’am,” Barney finishes, and I can see my wife cringing inwardly at the ma’am sentiment.

“So, that leaves my $15-million R&D department,” I say, turning back to Hammond and the man sitting next to him. “We’re all waiting for you, gentlemen. Was my executive and IT staff supposed to respond to these emails that were clearly in your court and control?”

“I’m sorry, sir,” Hammond says a bit half-heartedly. “I just saw the email this morning before I came to the meeting. I didn’t have a chance to look into the matter thoroughly.”

“This morning?” I frown. “Why did it take so long?”

“I’ve been in the hospital, sir,” he says. “I was just released yesterday. I had a severe upper respiratory infection.” I glare at him. Is this fucker contagious? “It’s cleared up now, sir,” he adds, reading my thoughts. “I’m just still a little weak from the illness.”

“How long were you hospitalized?” I ask.

“Twelve days, sir,” he replies. Shit! That was some infection!

“And who is your second in command?” His eyes widen and I see the guy sitting next to him suddenly get fidgety.

“I take responsibility, sir,” Hammond says, “I should have left stricter instructions…

“That’s admirable of you,” I interrupt. “But I sent instructions to the team to get going on this last week while I was on vacation and you were hospitalized recovering from a severe infection. Now, who. Was your second. In command?” He sighs heavily and drops his gaze.

“Nathan Burgess, sir,” he says without making eye-contact. I look over at the sweating worm next to him.

“I take it you’re Nathan Burgess,” I say, watching the man’s forehead become shinier and shinier.

“Yes, sir,” he squeaks then clears his throat. I lean back in my seat.

“Let me ask a question to all people within earshot… Should I call an ear, nose, and throat specialist in to have you all examined?” I bark, and everyone suddenly sits up straight. “I’m sure that I made the announcement months ago that Dr. Anastasia Grey is 50% owner of this company and you all are still treating her like a goddamn outsider! Don’t you all realize that with or without my authorization, she has the power to fire any and everyone in this room? And she can’t even get a response to a goddamn email?”

I see my wife squirm infinitesimally, then plaster an impassive expression on her face.

“A week goes by and she couldn’t get a specific answer to a specific question that she asked and all I’m getting is a bunch of ‘I’m sorry’s,’ but what’s more, did you all suffer from fingerous brokitis? Because no one responded to me, either!”

The looks of discomfort that everyone donned moments ago have now been replaced by expressions of horror. This lets me know that even after this last announcement, they still won’t regard my wife as 50% owner of this company.

“I sent an email to at least five people within the sound of my voice and to the research and development team a week ago, and not one person thought it might have been important to stick your head in the door and ask, ‘Hey, what’s going on with the thing Mr. Grey asked about?’ Not one of you? None of you?”

Now even my executive staff is looking a little green in the face, as they should. I sent this email out to several people, because I expected if one person didn’t see to the situation, someone else would have. I didn’t send that information out for show. Even my wife had the good sense to respond and acknowledge the email and none of these highly-paid assholes thought they should even bother?

Even though Hammond knows that he’s off the hook for this situation because he was sick in the hospital, he still shrinks in his chair. That only makes me more pissed at this Burgess fucker.

“And you,” I say, focusing my attention on him, “if anyone was at the root of finding out where this project stood, it’s you, because your boss was out sick. Tell me, did you not see the emails?” He’s so scared right now, he could shit his pants.

“I… um… I remember… seeing the reports on… the projects we were working on…”

“It’s a simple question, Mr. Burgess,” I interrupt this stuttering fool. “Did you see the emails?”

“I… I think… I may have seen the email from you, sir,” he stutters.

“So, you did see one of the emails,” I confirm, and he nods. “And not only did you not see fit to respond, but you also don’t have any information about the content.”

“I was trying to get some information for you, sir,” he excuses. “I didn’t want to respond without at least having some kind of input…”

“So, you didn’t respond at all,” I interrupt. “Nothing.” And I get no response. “To add to that, you knew that you were the one in charge when the command came down, and you sat there quietly willing to allow your boss to take the wrap.”

“No, sir,” he interjects, “that… I wasn’t…”

“You all. Are getting. Sloppy,” I say, my voice threatening. “I lighten up on you for a minute and you act like you don’t remember who the fuck I am. Do I need to go back to being that iron-fisted fucker I was before I met the love of my life for you slackers to remember that I will fire you at a sneeze? Did you all conveniently forget all the crazy shit that I and my family have been going through? Shit that’s been plastered all over the goddamn news? You idiots are in charge! I trust you to run my company when I’m not here! Did I make the wrong decisions? Should I be coming in here taking my frustrations out on you? Or do I need to babysit each one of you fuckers to make sure the work is getting done? If I must do that, why the fuck do I need any of you?

“Two years ago, I told you all that I didn’t become who I am today by turning a blind eye to weaknesses in my company. You didn’t believe me then, but you better fucking well believe me now. I will be revisiting those protocols that were put in place at the last company-wide review. Anybody who I find lacking will find themselves immediately on the block. Depending on the severity of the situation, that means one of two things. First, your position may immediately become interim. This means that you will have to reapply for your position, and I personally will decide based on your qualifications and the talent pool if you get to keep your job or find yourself replaced—sound familiar?

“The second outcome is that your performance has shown no improvement in your department since the last protocol review or you have fucked up so tremendously that you just lose your job. I will be completely within my rights because with the exception of two or three departments that have new heads, you have been given two years to get your acts together and put your best foot forward. If I discover that you’re still doing the same haphazard, lackadaisical work that you were doing at the last protocol review, I’m getting rid of your ass.

“And make no mistake, this will not be a review of what you’ve done in the last couple of months. There’s nothing you can do in the next week or so that can repair the shabby ass job you’ve already done, if that’s the case. So, don’t bother putting any extra credit projects on the hopper or searching for a scapegoat, because it’s not going to help you.

“Mr. Burgess,” I say, turning my attention to the second man in charge of R&D, “effective immediately, you are being placed on administrative leave without pay for a period of three weeks. I have documentation from both owners of this company specifically asking about a program that should have been in production months ago.

“Although you may not have seen the email from Dr. Grey, you admit that you saw the email from me and a week later, you haven’t even pulled this extremely important and potentially profitable project off the shelf yet. I promised the developer that we would have some information for him, and you have nothing for me to give him. I wouldn’t be surprised if he pulled the project away from us since our company apparently doesn’t want it!

“Your position will be under review as well and the only reason you’re not being fired is because I don’t think you disobeyed a direct order. I just think you’re being sloppy, and you dropped the fucking ball, which is almost just as bad by the way. I’m running a multi-billion-dollar company with holdings and subsidiaries worldwide. I don’t have time to micro-manage and I can’t afford for anybody to be sloppy.

“Hopefully, three weeks without pay and a bit of uncertainty about your future will help to alleviate that situation. After your three-week administrative leave, I and Dr. Grey will have reviewed the departments and you will be notified if you do or do not still have a job.

“Mr. Hammond, I want a preliminary report on the SEEKNID software in my email within three days, and cc Dr. Grey’s company email with those findings as well. Don’t rush and don’t fuck this up, Mr. Hammond. A preliminary report shouldn’t be too difficult to generate. If you have questions, contact James Forsythe-Fleming directly. His contact information is in the project file.” I stand to my feet and turn to my wife.

“Is there anything you’d like to add?” I ask.

“No, I think you’ve covered it quite thoroughly,” she replies, crossing her legs. I turn back to the department heads in the conference room.

“You’re dismissed,” I tell them. They begin to scramble out of the office, and I gesture to Jason to handle Burgess. He nods once and walks out the door behind Burgess. Ros and Lorenz stay behind and everyone else leaves the room.

“So,” Ros begins, “does this mean that Finney and I are under review as well?”

“Don’t be ridiculous,” I say, taking my seat. “I work closely with you two every day. I’m very well acquainted with your job performance, although I do expect you to treat an email from my wife as if it was an email from me.” They glance at each other. “Is that a problem?”

“No, of course not,” Lorenz says. “Again, Dr. Grey, my apologies for not responding.”

“Accepted,” Butterfly says softly, “and when it’s just us, I prefer Ana if you don’t mind.” Lorenz nods.

“And what about legal?” Ros asks.

“What about legal? I retort, my brow furrowed.

“Will legal undergo the review that the other departments are being subjected to?” I know what she’s asking.

“As a matter of fact, it will not,” I say finitely. “Much like you and Lorenz, I work with my head of legal nearly every day. I have had no problems from my legal department and as such, I’m not in the habit of fixin’ what ain’t broke. And in case you’re wondering, my accounting department won’t be subjected to that protocol review either as they already undergo an audit annually. Are there any other departments that you have questions about?”

“I’m not trying to start a fight, Christian,” Ros says. “It’s just that you know what they’re saying about your head of legal since he is your wife’s best friend.” Butterfly sits up straight and glares at Ros, who doesn’t return her gaze.

“I hired Allen Fleming-Forsythe because he is very fucking good at what he does, not because he’s my wife’s best friend. And those people that you’re talking about, tell them to get their Doctor of Jurisprudence Degree, and then maybe they can say something!”

Ros shrinks a bit in her chair at the same time that Butterfly leaps from hers.

“Baby…” I say, trying to halt her escape.

“I’m going back to the Center,” she says, retrieving her purse.

“What’s wrong?” I ask.

“Darling, they’re never going to revere me as you—none of them,” she says. “Some of them will get it in their heads that they need to respect me. Others will resent me. Still others will try to fuck you while I watch,” she says disdainfully, and I know she’s talking about that little trick from the new projects meeting a few weeks ago. “But they’ll never ever treat me like they treat you. It’s simply not going to happen.

“Your best friend is your bodyguard, but nobody’s asking if our security is going through an overhaul, just legal. You want them to treat me like you because you hold their destinies in your hand, but that’s simply not going to happen. They can’t wrap their heads around someone else wielding your omnipotent power. So, there will be sometimes when I’ll be able to take the reins with some people, and sometimes when I definitely won’t. You trying to shove it down their throats is just going to cause them to question and resent me, even at the risk of their jobs. It’s that simple.”

Without another word or any malice, she puts her purse on her shoulder and strolls out of the conference room, Chuck silently falling in step behind her. Ros and Lorenz have a silent conversation—again—which is really starting to piss me off. I thrust my hands in my hair, close my eyes, and begin to count.

She’s right. They’re never going to revere her like me. My two executive heads—or at least one of them—just proved that. We had a goddamn mole in the building for three years that everyone was certain that I fast-tracked through the system without even so much as an actual word from me, but I can’t openly hire an extremely qualified head of legal without being questioned about nepotism because he’s my wife’s best friend.

I don’t know if I really wanted them to revere her like me, though. At the most, I want them to respect her and recognize her authority, but it appears that I can’t even get one of them to do that until I get my hairs up. Then, they respect her for the moment and it’s back to business as fucking usual.

Dear God, I’m trying so hard to temper the new husband and family man with the hard-as-stone businessman, but it’s damn near impossible to be those two people. I was always the cold-hearted, unfeeling asshole everywhere I went—business and professional—and people sat up and paid attention; never questioned my judgement or authority. I need to get that back, but fuck if I’m going back to being that asshole that I was before…

“Christian?”

Ros’s voice breaks into my thoughts and the darkness behind my closed eyes. Without realizing that I was still counting, I now notice that I’ve gotten somewhere in the 300’s. I hope I was counting quickly.

“You can go now,” I say without opening my eyes.

“Christian, I…”

“I need. You to leave,” I hear myself nearly growling. After a brief pause, I hear the two of them stand and leave the room. I don’t know how many more minutes I stand there before I head to my office.

“Has Holstein called today?” I ask Andrea as I pass her desk.

“Twice,” she says. “He’s on hold as we speak.” I nod.

“Get Welch and Shaler in here…”

“The smoke is rising quickly on the internet,” Josh says once he and Alex are seated in my office. “All it takes is a rumor to get the fire going online. By the end of the week, if that, there will be quite a few high-powered people with ruffled feathers from nothing but a little innuendo.”

“Good, and what can we do with Holstein by the end of the week?” I ask Welch. He looks over at Joshua. “Nothing drastic,” I add. The real hell will come later.

“We’ve got a few things in the hopper for him,” Alex says, revealing nothing. “We’ve already got great information on him. It appears that our dear warden has been a very bad boy as of late.” I raise my brow.

“Excellent,” I say, turning back to Joshua. “How long before the average reader will be able to see the smokescreen?”

“Keep your eyes on the regular news outlets. When you see it, everybody else will, too.” I nod and look at the screen just to my left scrolling the NASDAQ and NYSE for selected stocks.

Kavanaugh Media has dropped significantly in the last week and still dropping, and that asshole is still holding out. Well, good luck to you.

“Start to sprinkle some inconvenience on Holstein,” I instruct Alex. “I want him jittery as fuck. If I know the kind of people he’s pissed off like I think I do, he’s going to be getting it from so many different directions that he’s not going to know where it’s coming from first.” Alex nods and I turn to Josh. “Any new news for me?” I ask him. He shakes his head.

“Not since yesterday,” he replies.

“Well, good work so far,” I comment. “Keep it up.” He stands, taking his cue to leave.

“Thank you, sir. You know where to find me,” and he leaves. I turn to Alex.

“Ellison and Lincoln,” I say after flipping the switch on the scrambler.

“We’ve of course put a tracker on Ellison’s car, but we expect her to get wise to that pretty soon. She has another… partner who requires her to carry a specific cell phone everywhere she goes…”

“How did you find that out?” I ask with a frown. He just twists his lips and cocks his head at me.

“I mean…” I stutter, then sigh. “I did this shit for years. Can people find out this crap about me?”

“Your operation was a whole lot more Mission Impossible than a lot of these amateurs out here,” he says, and yet another Mission Impossible reference. “She went to see Lincoln yesterday and was forced to leave said phone at the guard’s desk… with one of my colleagues. It’s being tracked as we speak, along with the small device that has been placed on her car. We figure that no matter what disguise she wears, she has to either carry that phone, drive that car, or both.”

“Have we found out anything else on her besides who she’s playing with and that she can disguise herself to be anybody?”

“Nothing much, except that her Dom likes to watch.” I frown. That’s one thing that I could never get into—watching my women with someone else. I’m too damn possessive for that shit… and I immediately think of Butterfly leaving my office a little while ago.

“Can we use that to our advantage at all?” I ask.

“We will,” he says, “when it’s time for the confrontation. For now, we’re watching her every move and trying to get as much information as we can on that book, and if there’s a plan of action if she doesn’t publish or check in with anybody.” I don’t react. I know what he’s getting at and I don’t want to admit that I anticipate the day that Greta Ellison is no longer a blip on my radar.

Butterfly has arrived at the Center by now. I wonder what she’s doing?

“And Lincoln?” I say, trying to keep my mind on the matter at hand. “What’s the word on her since she’s obviously still visiting with her ghost writer?”

“I still have friends in low places,” Alex says. “Lincoln’s life can become ‘uncomfortable’ as soon as you say the word…”

“’The word,’” I reply sarcastically, and he nods. It seems that I should have never gone through Holstein in the first place to get what I needed. I should have just kept the job in-house. Hell, I don’t know the ins and outs of this kind of thing anyway.

“How uncomfortable do you want her to be?”

Very!” I say before I think about it, “but not yet. Just uncomfortable enough for now… enough to know that something’s not quite right. Shit Holstein can’t prevent, right?”

“Shit Holstein won’t even know about,” Alex confirms.

“She could tell him,” I warn.

“She could, but by the time she realizes that she’s targeted, he’ll have his own problems to contend with. He won’t know which way is up with all the people that’ll be pissed at him by the time Josh’s plan is put into action. He’ll be clawing and begging for vacation time by the end of the week from the publicity alone.”

This is good news. I’m so sick of bullshit, I could literally scream. I actually just want to go home and daydream about our trip to Australia and all the fun and sex that we had… the wines we tasted, karaoke and game night, and deciding that we’ll begin BDSM training this weekend…

“Still with me, sir?” Alex’s voice breaks in, and my visions of butterflies leave my head.

“Yeah, I’m still here…” just barely.

“Thinking about the meeting?” he asks.

“Amongst other things, yes,” I admit. “I have no idea how my life became such a mess.”

“There are several answers to that question, sir.” I glare at him.

“What the fuck is that supposed to mean?” I snap.

“Simply that it depends on which question you’re asking. How did your life become such a mess… from which point of view? As a child? We know the answer to that. As a teenager? We’re fighting that demon right now. As a man, same demon, only she had you believing that you were in charge when she was actually the one in charge all the time.”

“How the fuck did you know that?” I bark.

“We all knew it,” he replies. “You were the only one who didn’t. Now, you’re a husband and a father, and that’s the real fucking mess.”

“Are you trying to get fucked up? And fired? In that order?” I threaten. He shrugs unfazed.

“You asked a question. I’m just answering it,” he replies. “Love is the messiest situation you’ll ever encounter in your life, and I don’t have to ever have been in love to know that. You had a nice little plan of things, a place for everything and everything in its place, including each of your Jennifer Love Hewitt wannabes. And then along comes this 5’3” fireball and knocks you right out of your Cesare Paciottis and onto your billion-dollar ass. There was nothing clean and tidy in the world about that transition. You fell instantly, and then she got kidnapped—what—two weeks after you sealed the deal?”

“Something like that,” I mumble.

“The next year of her life plays out in the press with you as nothing more than honorable mention in several of the headlines. Then you spend more money than you’ve ever spent on any one purchase in your life except your penthouse maybe—notwithstanding your business acquisitions—to marry her in a castle, to let the world know that the infamous Christian Grey is finally off the market. You take an ass beating like I’ve never seen you take since the day I met you to prove that you’re worthy of her love, and you went soft in that fight…”

“I did not fucking go soft!” I interject, ready to leap at the fucker.

“Yes, you did,” he retorts unapologetically. “You could have flattened that fucker in three hits, and you know it. I know him. I know his skill. And I know that he could have done the same thing, but he wanted to beat your ass and leave a mark, and that’s exactly what he did. He landed your ass in the hospital. You couldn’t see. You had to have your teeth wired. You were unrecognizable. He won! But you… you were worried about what Butterfly would say if you laid him out; how she would react if you sent her father’s best friend home out cold in five seconds. At the same time, you wanted to teach that fucker a lesson, but you wanted to play fair. Ain’t shit fair in love and war and this was both, and you conveniently forgot that, but you want to stand there and tell me that this shit ain’t messy? Seriously?

“You want to know what’s going on with your business? You’re going soft. People can see you going soft. You’ve found love and it’s the most beautiful, life-changing thing in the world, but that’s what it’s doing—it’s changing your life, and people can see that. Why do you think that Spanish asshole thought he could pull that shit over your eyes? Why Fairlane LTD sold you a poison pill? Why the Pussy DJ, as you affectionately call him, tried to drag that shit out as far as he could? Why two ex-submissives and one wannabe felt like they could push limits they knew would set you off? One is back to being afraid of you, one is more afraid of Ana than of you, and one isn’t afraid of either one of you.

“The old Christian Grey would have had each one of those bitches crushed under his heel. The new Christian Grey—the husband and father—is soft, and that’s a good thing when it comes down to your wife and family, but not a good thing when it comes to your business and dealing with your adversaries. You even showed that today. Two years ago, that guy from R&D, Burgess, would have been out on his ass. You put him on administrative leave. You gave him and everybody in that room hope when you should have struck fear into them. You’re in a cutthroat business and you’re turning into a teddy bear. So far, the most Christian Grey thing I’ve seen you do is go after Lincoln and her crew of Merry Men.

“Christian Grey gives half his empire to a woman? Any woman? Everybody everywhere is wondering what the fuck is going on. You have to figure out what you’re going to do here, sir, because what it looks like you’re doing is giving the reins to everyone else—Ros, Finney, your wife—while you sit back and watch. Of course, no one is worried about showing your wife Christian Grey respect. They’re not even showing you that respect right now. Nobody responded to your email? Seriously? You don’t find that strange?”

Shit. Shit, shit, fucking shit, fucking hell, shit. Having that anvil hit me in the face is the most painful and shocking thing I’ve felt since Pops died. Even more shocking than finding my wife locked in a gaze with another man, and that says a lot! Besides Lincoln, my biggest concern these days is trying not to curse around the twins.

“I’m going soft,” I say.

“You’re going soft,” Alex confirms. “You built this empire with a ‘take no prisoners’ attitude. You’re not going to be able to maintain its momentum being ‘father of the year.’ You’re going to have to choose one or be satisfied with a compromise… and all the drawbacks that come along with that.”

My company and my family are the two single most important things in my life, and my head of security is telling me that I have to choose between them? That’s not possible. There has to be a compromise that doesn’t leave me looking like a pussy.

“Get started on our prison posse,” I tell him. “I’ve got some things to ponder.”

Once Alex goes and I’m in the office alone, I give some serious thought to the man that I used to be. He was a real fucking asshole—in and out of the office. I didn’t have to be one person during the day and another at night and on weekends. I was just Christian fucking Grey, striking fear and reverence into businessmen and submissives everywhere. Now, I have to prove that I’m not a pussy without ostracizing my wife or mistreating my family. How the fuck am I supposed to do that?

My thoughts are interrupted by my cell phone buzzing in my pocket. I’ve been standing at the window pondering my situation for I don’t know how long, but the call is coming from inside GEH. What the…?

“Grey,” I say answering the phone.

“Sir, it’s Alex. I don’t have time to explain, but I think you should get down to Helping Hands right now!


ANASTASIA

I’ve had enough of trying to be Mrs. GEH. If those fuckers don’t want to acknowledge my authority, so be it. And why would they? Christian’s been at the helm of that company for more than a decade, then I show up with a marriage license and a minor degree trying to throw my weight around and take over. No thanks. If the day comes where I have to take the reins of GEH—and I truly hope that day never comes—then I’ll cross that bridge when I get to it. In the meantime, Christian can have it. I’m done locking horns with people who don’t think I should be there.

Courtney is filling in as well as can be expected for Marilyn, but I do still miss her, as a PA and a friend. I’m still not very comfortable at the Center right now. I want to make the executive decisions that need to be made, but I’m in constant concern that Grace’s instincts will somehow undermine whatever decisions I make. I make a list of everything we need to go over—which is nearly everything since I no longer want to make any final decisions on my own. Geez, why am I even here? I’m nothing more than a middleman at this point.

I’m lamenting my situation when a knock at my open office door causes me to raise my head. Speak of the devil…

“If you have a moment,” Grace says in a formal tone. I gesture to the chairs in front of my desk, inviting her to sit. She takes a seat and for some reason, I immediately prepare myself for a showdown.

“I’ve given it some thought,” she says, her hands in her lap. “You shouldn’t leave Helping Hands… I should.”

Okay… I certainly wasn’t expecting that! I frown.

“What?” I say, surprised.

“I’m a figurehead, Ana,” she says. “You’re the voice. You’re the face. You’re doing all the work. We’re starting classes because of you. We’re getting more donations and attention than ever because of you. We got past that whole thing with Gloria and the licensing board because of you and it nearly cost you everything. Helping Hands cannot afford to lose you. It would be the worst thing that could happen to this organization.”

“Grace, I can’t run this place alone… or full-time. I’ve got twin babies at home. I quit my practice just so that I could work here part-time. Did you forget that?”

“No, I haven’t forgotten that,” she says. “There’s no reason why you couldn’t remain part-time with the right person in the position as assistant director… or as director if you choose to remain the assistant. I think… I think I’ve truly damaged the professional relationship too much and we just can’t be effective if we’re here together.”

I won’t deny that the professional relationship is terribly damaged, but it’s more than that.

“Here’s the thing,” I begin. “You and I being here together is not the problem. It never has been the problem. We’ve bumped heads before. We’ve had disagreements before. We’ll have them again. The issue—the very big issue—is you disregarding my professional opinion and authority.

“It’s like you take temporary leave of your senses, and you’re a doctor, Grace. It’s not like you don’t understand the importance of confidentiality and trust in a doctor/patient relationship.”

“That’s not how I saw this,” she defends. “You and Courtney are friends. Addie is my friend. We’ve been friends for decades. I wasn’t stepping on your professional toes! You were looking out for your friend and I was looking out for mine!”

“I made it clear to you that our relationship was personal and professional! If you didn’t know that, then it’s because you ignored me—not because you weren’t informed. And that brings to light yet another very vital piece of information. You felt like your friendship with Adelaide was more important than my friendship with Courtney. And if my relationship with her was destroyed, that was fine as long as you got what you wanted. So, basically, what you’re telling me is that what you did wasn’t just a bad judgment call—it was just you being completely selfish?”

Grace sighs heavily, drops her head, and puts her hands on her hips.

“Yes, Ana, that’s what I’m telling you,” she says flatly before raising her eyes to me again.

And I’m floored.

I wasn’t expecting her to just come out with it. I was expecting her to stutter a bit, beat around the bush, stall, try to explain herself, something. She just spit it out and I’m pretty taken aback by it.

“I don’t have an explanation for it,” she says as if reading my mind. “I don’t have a justification for it. I can’t wrap it up in a pretty bow and make it what it’s not. I felt that my longtime friend needed to see her granddaughter—needed to see the changes that she made in her life, and I orchestrated it… by any means necessary. I wasn’t taking into consideration any other relationships, friendships, promises, nothing. All I knew was that this woman needed to see that Courtney had changed, really and truly changed.

“I watched Tina die and her crazy, ungrateful children swarm in on the house like rats. She went to her grave with nothing but regrets for those children—nothing but regrets! And then I see Adelaide feeling like her granddaughter is a lost cause when she’s not 20 miles away every day making something of herself and being a better person. I couldn’t live with that!

“Just telling her that Courtney was here—that she had changed—wouldn’t have worked. She had to see it! So, I put the picture—one picture—in the slideshow. It was in a slideshow with at least 100 other pictures from several different agencies, and I told myself that if she saw it out of all those pictures, then it was meant to be, and if she didn’t, then I would walk away… and she saw it.”

Grace is showing a bit of passion as she tells this story, so much that I can somewhat understand why she did what she did, especially in light of Tina’s recent death… but she still betrayed me, professionally and personally.

“I apologize,” she says further, “for disregarding your professional authority, and I also apologize for jeopardizing your relationship with Courtney. But I don’t apologize for helping my friend. I feel like it was really, really necessary under the circumstances.” I sigh.

“And therein lies the problem, Grace,” I point out. “If you don’t feel any remorse or conviction for what you actually did, then you’ll do it again. I pour myself into these people’s mental well-being, and I can’t have someone look at the situation and just say, ‘This is how it should be,’ and just make an executive decision without even thinking to consult me first simply because you knew I would say, ‘No.’ You’re playing a dangerous game of chance with people’s lives and your solution to that problem is that you should just pick up and leave simply because you don’t want me to leave.

“With or without me, you built this place. You had the idea; you bought the property; you funded it; you built it from the ground up—and you have a responsibility to this place and the people in it. You can’t just throw your hands up and walk away…”

“But you can?” she asks incredulously. “I want what’s best for the Center and like it or not, you have a responsibility to this place, too. You’ve started all kinds of programs, hired staff and created different departments, got our accreditation so that we can do schooling—people depend on you!”

“I’m an employee!” I point out.

“You are assistant director!” she retorts, pronouncing each syllable. “This place will survive without me, but it won’t survive without you.” I’m being battered with logic here.

“I won’t be blackmailed into keeping this job, Grace,” I say finitely. “I won’t be forced to move into a position that I can’t handle because we don’t see eye-to-eye and you don’t want to be here anymore.”

“Will you listen to yourself?” she nearly barks. “That’s the exact reason you’re leaving! And it’s not that I don’t want to be here. The Center needs you, and if it’s going to be a choice between you or me, then the choice needs to be you.”  I’m not going to coddle her.

“If you want to leave Helping Hands, you can, but I’m not running this place full-time. It’s everything I can do to be here when I’m here. I’m not going to take on the role as director.”

“I’m not saying that I want to leave Helping Hands!” she shoots back. “Of course, I don’t want to leave! I love the work that I do here, and I love what the Center does for the families and the community, so much that I’m willing to step down if I’m going to be a hindrance to its progress. We’ve accomplished so much over the last two years and I’m under no misconception, Anastasia. I know that’s because of you. If the Center loses you, it will certainly lose that momentum that it has gained over that course of time, and we may never get it back. I’m just trying to do what’s best for the Center.”

Well, fuck. I hate to admit it, but I know that she’s right. It’s not that no one else can do my job or even step in and pick up where I left off, but will they have the passion, drive, and vision that I have for this place? Even only part-time, I get a lot of shit done in this joint, and lately, part-time has been feeling a lot like full-time.

I don’t think the Center would crumble and die without me, but I have to agree that it could possibly take a substantial blow.

“Understand me clearly,” I begin. “My responsibilities are very important to me, and I will not shirk them. That’s the reason I came back here in the first place. But Grace Trevelyan Grey, make no mistake. We don’t have to agree, and you don’t have to kiss my ass, but if you ever cross me this way again—if you ever again disregard my professional opinion and authority or dare to treat me with the complete and utter lack of respect that you’ve shown me throughout this situation, I am outta here—with no notice!

“I understand and appreciate that there’s a lot going on—with this place, with your job, with your recent diagnosis. I get it. However, that does not give you license to treat other people like they don’t count and if you think it does, then I’m here to tell you that you are sorely mistaken.

“If you feel strongly about something, you need to find some kind of way to talk it out and find out if there’s a solution to the situation, just like you’re supposed to when you have bouts or episodes with your menopause. You knew this situation had repercussions and you completely ignored them. Do that again, and this ball is all yours. Have I made myself perfectly clear?”

“Must you be so cold and harsh in making your point?” she retorts, coolly.

“Yes!” I nearly hiss. “You were cold and hard in making yours and I want to make sure that there is no misunderstanding here. I want to see Helping Hands succeed and continue to assist the community as much as you do, but not at the cost of my dignity, self-respect, or peace of mind. Now I repeat—have I made myself perfectly clear?” She pulls herself up to her full height.

“Perfectly,” she says. We stare at each other in silence for several moments, each of us waiting for the other to say something.

“I… think now would be a good time for me to call it a day,” she says formally. “I’m on call at the hospital tonight and I should probably get a couple of hours rest before I go in.”

“I think that’s probably a good idea,” I reply. Don’t go home and tell your husband or mine that I bullied you, or I won’t be back tomorrow, and you can sell the place for all I care. She sighs.

“Goodnight,” she says just as formally. “I’ll see you tomorrow.” She walks out of my office.

Sakes alive, this woman is going to be the death of me.

Almost the second that she walks out of the office, my desk phone rings. I sigh heavily and lift the receiver.

“Dr. Anastasia Grey,” I answer wearily.

“Hello, Mrs. Grey. How are you today?” a woman replies.

“I’m fine. May I ask to whom I’m speaking?”

“Oh, you don’t know me, but I just wanted to talk to you myself, to ask you how it feels.”

“How what feels?” I ask bemused.

“To be sitting on top of the world,” she says. “To have your family around you and your friends and your husband. To have more money than you know what to do with. To have the life that many people only dream about while you go about the business of ruining the lives of others.”

I’m taken aback by the accusation of this unknown woman. I want to know who this is and she’s giving me the creeps at the same time. As I’m trying to formulate some kind of response, I see Courtney walking past my door. I wave frantically to get her attention, then cover the mouthpiece of the phone when she enters my office.

“Get Chuck!” I whisper harshly. She doesn’t hesitate. She darts out of the room and I turn my attention back to the mystery caller. “Who is this? What do you want? What are you talking about?”

My husband is dead, Mrs. Grey,” she continues. “I’m sure that you know that. After nearly thirty years of marriage, I’m a widow now. My children are all gone. One of them is in jail. One of them is a public figure and just wants to stay as far away from this as he can. One of them won’t even speak to me because she’s convinced that I had something to do with this.”

“To do with what?” I ask almost frantically. “I don’t know who you are, and I don’t know what you’re talking about! I’m going to hang up now.”

“No, you won’t, because you’re dying to know who I am,” she says calmly. “You’re aching to know why I said you’re ruining people’s lives.”

“You’re right, I do want to know, but I’m not about to play a cat-and-mouse game for your entertainment,” I hiss.

“Aren’t you the little indignant one!” she hisses back. “You walk around all high and mighty like nobody’s important but you. Nobody matters but you and your precious little family. How are your babies by the way—growing up healthy and strong like Mommy and Daddy, I take it?” I suddenly feel a sharp chill and then seething, searing rage.

“Lady,” I say with as much restraint as I can muster just as Chuck walks into the room, “I don’t know who the hell you are, but you better hope for your own sake that you didn’t just imply a threat to my children.” Chuck freezes and when I raise my eyes to him, all the color is gone out of his face. He’s on his phone in moments talking very low while I try to ascertain who this woman is.

“You’re right about one thing. You don’t know me. You have no idea who I even am, so save your high-handed threats, you lying, pompous, pampered whore! You’ve never even met me, but don’t worry, you will. Every time I see your picture in the paper or see your face in the news, it makes me just want to gag. It’s bad enough that I have to stand by and watch you get over on other people’s pain and tragedy. Now, I had to be subjected to a two-hour vomit-fest about how special and perfect you are. You hit it big because your gold-digging ass landed a big fucking fish and all of a sudden, that’s supposed to make you something? You’re nobody! You’re nothing! You always were nothing and you’ll always be nothing!”

God, if I didn’t know better, I would swear that I was talking to Elena Lincoln, but this is not Lincoln. I’d know She-Thing’s voice anywhere.

“You don’t know shit about who I’ve always been, bitch!” I nearly shriek. “You don’t know shit about what I’ve been through, so don’t you dare try to pretend you know me!”

“Oh, I know exactly who you are!” she shoots. “You’re the same lying little cunt you always were! You were the same fortune-seeking, gold-digging, attention-hungry, lying bitch that you were when you were a teenager. I see you have those same social-climbing tendencies as your worthless mother! My only regret is that they didn’t kill you!”

Fucking hell. This is not happening. This is fucking not happening. I take out a pen and scribble on my desk pad:

Green Valley.

Chuck raises his eyes to me and mutters something into his phone.

“I know you’re still there,” she snaps. “I can hear you breathing…” I’m trying to quickly put together who this could be. She talked about Carla, so she has to be one of the socialite-bitch parents. She keeps calling me a gold-digger and a lying bitch. I don’t say anything as she continues to rant and I’m putting together the things that she’s already said. One child is in jail, probably the one that helped in the beating. There are a lot of people that were arrested, but I don’t know who all is still in jail besides the main players. I sit at my desk and start typing facts frantically—whatever I can remember from the conversation:

Her husband is dead; they were married for 30 years.
Her children are gone—jail, public figure, and incommunicado, none of them apparently speaking to her or readily accessible.
She’s pissed off about my money.
She called me a lying, pompous, pampered whore. Pompous and pampered obviously comes from the money and she clearly thinks I’m lying on her kid, but where did whore come from? Was she there? Is that a reference to the brand?
Fortune-seeking, gold-digging, attention-hungry, social-climbing… None of this is helping me. They’re just angry words. Who is this woman?

“Are you fucking typing??” she asks, horrified.

“Yes, I am, because you’re boring me,” I reply quickly out of frustration, “I’ll admit that I’m dying to know who you are, which is the only reason why I’ve stayed on the phone for your useless drivel. So, you can either tell me who you are and what the fuck you want and get it over and done, or you can continue to sit here and drone on that whatever role your offspring played in my torture was somehow my fault! Either way, I’ve got shit to do, so while I sit here and listen to your self-victimized, delusional babbling, I’m going to type until I feel this conversation is going nowhere and then I’ll hang up.”

“You self-righteous bitch!” she exclaims.

“Yeah, yeah, whatever. Move on,” I say, pretending to have no interest. Nothing pisses off an already pissed-off person more than acting like you truly don’t care that they’re as pissed off as they are.

“How dare you trivialize my suffering!” she screams into the phone. Is she serious?

“You mean like you trivialized mine?” I respond calmly. “I was beaten within an inch of my life. I was 15 years old in a coma for three weeks. I lost my baby. I’ve got brands on my back, lady, haven’t you seen the video?” She momentarily gets quiet. Maybe she hasn’t seen the video, but she certainly heard about it while I was in the hospital.

“It serves you right,” she says, indignantly, and I have to stop myself from laughing in her ear though a tiny scoff does manage to escape. No one’s suffering is important but our own.

“That’s what I get for trying to reason with the unreasonable. Your child is in jail right now because you passed down to him or her the same privileged thinking that you’re trying to push off on me right now. You push the blame off on the victim so that they—and you—don’t have to take responsibility for what they did. If I had my way, all of you stuck-up, snobby, voluntarily blind ass parents would be sitting in jail and going on trial with your criminal children for raising a bunch of spineless, socially irresponsible, uncaring, amoral, juvenile delinquent bastards!” I bark. I hear her gasp on the other line. Yes, lady, you really pushed the button, now.

“It’s okay, though,” I continue. “It’s okay that your child participated in a crime that killed one person and temporarily maimed another, but you think that’s fine because it’s your child. You wouldn’t feel that way if your daughter was on the receiving end of this brutality.”

“My daughter would never be in your situation, because my daughter is not a lying, gold-digging cunt!” she spits.

“How would you know?” I ask. “According to your victim rant, she’s not even speaking to you…”

And then it hit me, like a boulder from the sky…

Her daughter won’t speak to her because she thinks Mom had something to do with this. In fact, she moved away to New York and she’s not speaking to the whole family because of this incident.

One child is a public figure, like a newscaster—or whatever he is—in Texas.

One child is in jail, the fucker that started this shit in the first place.

Her husband is dead… because he killed himself on Christmas Day right before the family fortune went completely belly-up and eventually took more than half of Green Valley’s wealth with it.

Whitmore!

I didn’t know that I had tuned her out until I come back to myself and she’s ranting and cursing in my ear again.

“This concludes our conversation,” I interrupt her unceremoniously. “I know who you are. I’m calling the district attorney to tell him that you’re harassing me, so leave me alone. Please know that if you come anywhere near me or my family that I am armed and licensed, and I will defend myself up to and including deadly force.” She’s quiet for another moment.

“You don’t know who I am,” she says, confidently. “Don’t pull that shit on me, you little twit!” Oh, well, at least I’ve gone from a cunt, a whore, and a bitch to a twit.

“No?” I say confidently, both in response to her and to Courtney’s and Chuck’s questioning eyes. “Tell me, exactly how many other girls accused Cody of rape?” I say calmly.

She falls silent. I know there were more. He was too cocky, and Carly was too ready to defend him. They were all in a state of self-imposed blindness, like if they didn’t see it, it didn’t happen.

“How many parents did you all have to pay off?” I continue. “Are there any little illegitimate grandchildren running around that you may or may not know about? Hell, your son and his friends beat my baby out of me. How many of his other victims didn’t get that privilege?” She gasps loudly, then screams into the air on the other end.

“You’re a lying bitch!” she screams into the phone, and now I’m a bitch again. “You were a lying bitch then and you’re a lying bitch now!”

“Yeah, I’m sure that we all were,” I say, referring to his other victims. “Goodbye, Mrs. Whitmore. You’ve been warned. Don’t contact me again.” I hang up the phone and take a deep breath. The adrenaline drop is almost immediate. I open the drawer of my desk and retrieve my purse. My hands shake as I search frantically for the card.

“Ana?” Courtney’s voice is thick with concern, but I just put my hand up to silence her. I think a whimper escapes in the gesture, but I’m not sure. Locating the card, I shakily dial the number and wait for an answer.

“Anastasia Grey for Herbert Larson,” I spit all in one breath when the receptionist answers. I’m shaking uncontrollably now, and the tears start to flow.

Herbert Larson. Ms. Ste… Mrs. Grey?”

“Mr… Larson…” I can’t get my words out.

“Mrs. Grey! What’s wrong?” he asks alarmed.

“Whit… Whit… Whitmore! Pa… Pamela Wh… Whitmore…”

“Mrs. Grey, please. Breathe. I can’t understand you…” I’m starting to hyperventilate. I push back from the desk and drop my head between my legs. Chuck kneels in front of me while Courtney retrieves the phone.

“Mr. Larson?… Yes, I’m Courtney Wilson, I’m Mrs. Grey’s temporary personal assistant… May I ask who you are, sir?… Oh, okay. I understand now. She just received a call here in her office at the Center from one of the parents of someone who has been arrested in her attack. From what I understand, it was Pamela Whitmore and she mentioned someone named Cody…”

Thank God for Courtney. I’d certainly be lost without her right now.

“Yes, sir, I’m sure that can somehow be arranged… She’s very upset. I’m sure she’s probably going to go home for the rest of the day. From what I could understand from Mrs. Grey’s end of the conversation, this Whitmore woman may have made some kind of derogatory reference towards Mrs. Grey’s children and their safety… Yes, sir, I’ll have her give you a call as soon as she’s able… Thank you, Mr. Larson. I’ll tell her.”

She ends the call. Although I’m no longer hyperventilating, I’m still sobbing. I feel sick to my stomach. The adrenaline that kept me collected on the phone with that witch has left my body all too quickly and all I can think about are my children. I’m still laboring a bit with my breathing and my sobbing when I focus, and Chuck has suddenly become Christian.

Did that just happen? Am I crazy?

I look around the room to make sure I’m not hallucinating… you know, head injury, grief, adrenaline? I identify Chuck and Jason both standing nearby. I don’t know how he got here so quickly or when he took Chuck’s place but thank God he’s here. I throw my arms around his neck and weep with abandon. He’s rubbing my back and trying to soothe me, but it’s no use.

“My babies… my… babies…” He stands effortlessly with me in his arms and without a word, proceeds to carry me out of the center.

*-*

“I’m not coming to the department head meetings anymore,” I tell Christian once I and my babies are home and settled and someone has explained the Pamela Whitmore situation to him. He frowns.

“May I ask why?” he asks.

“I’m a distraction,” I say. “They’re not going to treat me like you and the more you try to make them do it, the more they’re going to kick against you. I’ll be present for really big announcements and super important meetings that can shift the direction or position of the company as I am part owner now, but in terms of the operations, you don’t need me and neither does the company. I’m a hindrance, not a help.” He sighs.

“We never would have found the flaw in the XRC90 transmitter if you hadn’t caught it,” he protests.

“Yes, you would have,” I inform him. “You have a lot of smart people working for you—Ros, Lorenz, Barney, somebody would have found the error. I was just the one focused on it at the time. It’s okay to come home and be a husband and father, but you need to run your business when you’re at your business, and everyone has already told you that I’m one of your biggest weaknesses. You need to see that in this situation right now.” He rolls his eyes and runs his hands through his hair.

“I love you,” he says. “I love our life together. I don’t want to see that change.” I frown.

“And it won’t,” I say. “Why would you think…”

Then it dawns on me. Somebody has already had this conversation with him, or something like it.

“Why would you think our life would change?” I finish my question.

“Because I have,” he blurts out. “I’ve changed since I’ve been with you. I’m not the man I used to be in any shape or form. You’ve permeated me—my blood, my soul, my very being, everything that I am, you’ve permeated me, and I’m a different man… and everybody knows it.”

As much as I love him and as much as I love hearing that I’m in every cell of him, I don’t need him to tell me that this is a bad thing for him as a businessman.

“Well, fuck,” I breathe.

“I have a hard-enough time trying to be one person,” he laments. “I don’t think I can successfully be two.”

“I know,” I respond. It’s then that I realize that part of the old Christian Grey may need to return in order to save his company, his legacy. I’m going to have to be understanding and let him do what he needs to do. This isn’t going to be easy.

“You gotta do what you gotta do, Christian,” I say, resigned. He rolls his eyes.

“There’s no way that I can be that guy I was before,” he says firmly, “nor do I want to.”

“And you don’t have to,” I point out. “But you need that iron fist that you used to rule with, and if it means that you need to put on that asshole persona when you enter GEH, then so be it. I saw you be two different people in one night, Christian. I know you can do it.” I’m referring to the night he turned into the Dom with Greta Ellison and nearly broke her wrist. His pupils constrict as he realizes what I’m referring to.

“Yes… you have, haven’t you?” he says, none too pleased. I nod.

“You gotta do what you gotta do,” I repeat. He sighs heavily.

“God, this shit is going to be difficult as fuck,” he hisses.

“I know,” I assure him. “Difficult, but not impossible. Just picture yourself walking into your building and everybody around you is trying to destroy your company. Who would you be?” His brow furrows, then one rises.

“Yeah, this ain’t gonna be as hard as I thought,” he says frankly.

I’m certain that it won’t. It’s a necessary evil… but will we survive it?


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

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.

There has been yet another development where if you feel the need to talk to fellow readers about personal issues, you need a sounding board, you want to vent about something in your life, please feel free to visit the link on the left in the menu entitled “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.

~~love and handcuffs

Raising Grey:Chapter 85—Business As Usual? 

FThis 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…

Chapter 85—Business As Usual? 

CHRISTIAN

“I still think you overacted about the snake,” I say coming out of my dressing room while straightening my tie.

“Whatever,” she replies, “be glad I don’t cut you off,” she threatens.

“I’d find a way to make you give in,” I say confidently

“You think so, huh?” she challenges. I raise an eyebrow.

“You want to test the theory?” I retort just as haughtily, daring her to try me and begging her to do it at the same time. I’ll have your pretty little ass clawing at the walls. She ponders the theory for the moment, then turns and leaves the bedroom.

“I thought not,” I say under my breath as I follow her out of the room.

“You’re going back to the Center?” I inquire, noticing that she’s dressed for work as we descend the stairs. She sighs.

“Yes,” she says, “for now. I have responsibilities, but I don’t know what the future holds yet. I still don’t appreciate being disregarded that way, so we’ll just have to see.”

“What will you do if you leave the Center?” I ask. “Stay at home?”

“We both know I’d lose my mind,” she replies. “I haven’t gotten that far yet. I gave some thought to starting my own cause, but… that seems so catty and that’s certainly not my M-O. I just wish she could truly see what she did. It’s unacceptable and I just can’t tolerate it… and I won’t keep talking about it with you because I don’t want you to feel like I’m trying to make you take sides against your mother.”

“I don’t think that,” I say, placing my hand in the small of her back and leading her to the kitchen.

*-*

“Ronald Holstein on the line, sir,” Andrea says through the intercom. “I’ve been telling him all week that you were out of the country and expected back today. He’s been calling every day nonetheless.”

“Whenever he calls, tell him that I’m in meetings until further notice,” I reply. Let his ass stew for a while until I decide what I want to do with him… and we won’t be doing some simple shit like kidnapping his fucking dog, either.

“Yes, sir,” Andrea says.

“I know you’ve got a hundred meetings today, but you’re going to want to hear this,” Josh calls in my office from the reception area before I close the door. I gesture him in, and he closes the door behind him.

“Sir, let me start by saying that it’s not my business what you do in your private life, but I’m sure that you hired me because I’ve always got my ear to the ground and because I’m more insightful than most.” I already don’t like the sound of this.

“I’m listening,” I say as I gesture to the chair in front of my desk.

“Well, the puzzle is falling together, sir,” he says taking the seat. “Elena Lincoln is still talking to whomever will listen, but now she’s starting to say a little more.” I frown.

“A little more like what?” I ask.

“She’s saying things like people in high places are going to fall when her book is published,” he says. “She insinuated these things before, but she didn’t come out and say them. Now, she’s saying them—to other reporters and it’s filtering back down to me. I was going to make another trip back up there to see her, but I really don’t think I need to. Her diarrhea of the lips along with Ron Holstein’s foot-in-mouth syndrome has pretty much given me all I need.

“I should tell you that her conversation is not nearly as cloaked as she thinks it is. I only say that because it wouldn’t be wise to give away her story before publishing, or her book would be worthless. Bearing that in mind, I can only assume that she’s not fully aware of how much information she’s leaking and, sir, anybody with even the slightest inside hook would have no problem finding you in her code speak. What’s more is that they would probably find a few others, too… I did.”

Oh, fuck, this just keeps getting worse and worse.

“Okay, Josh, I need you to give it to me straight,” I say. “I can’t follow any more riddles.”

“Nineteen out of 20 journalists don’t have the background information or resources that I have,” he begins. “They could get it, but it would take a lot of work and even more time. By then, the story would be blown wide open. She didn’t give me the name of her ghostwriter, but she gave me her pen-name—BD Simmons. There’s no risk in giving me that because there’s nothing else published in that name. However, these ladies aren’t as savvy as they pride themselves to be.

“I don’t know what they’re expecting, but I can almost guarantee that Lincoln is counting on the safety of the prison walls, as ironic as that sounds. Her ghostwriter has anonymity on her side. For whatever reason, they’re both underestimating the danger of the situation. Knowing what I know about Lincoln—the public information and the inside information, you should know that it doesn’t take too much ingenuity to figure out what BD Simmons is an acronym for.”

No, it doesn’t. I figured it out the minute he said the name. BDSM.

“So, of course, the first thing I did was check her old haunts, her old sources, her submissives…” Jesus, this is so much more of this conversation than I really want to have with Josh. “The logical paths lead to three of her girls—two still studying journalism and one with a degree in literature. They all have other… interests at this time, according to Alex, but one has been visiting her at the prison, quite freely I might add.”

“And who is that?” I ask.

“That would be one named Greta Ellison. It didn’t take much more than context clues to figure out that she was BD Simmons.”

“Fucking hell!” I hiss, trying not to curse too loudly or crash something against the nearest wall. Why the fuck do I keep letting these people get away and the minute I let them out of my sight, they bite me?

“Get Welch in here!” I bark into the intercom.

“Yes, sir,” Andrea replies.

“You’re sure that Ellison might not be just filtering the information through to her? Like being a liaison between Lincoln and the ghostwriter?” I ask, not wanting to believe that I was gullible enough to set this bitch free instead of crushing her when I had the chance.

“Sir, to be able to stand in a court of law and tell you that Greta Ellison is Lincoln’s ghostwriter, I can’t. To look you in the eye and tell you with at least 95% certainty that Ellison is her ghostwriter, that I can do. No matter what your content, you can’t get a decent feel for the story—for what the real author wants to portray—without a face-to-face meeting. Even with every fact airtight and recited to you, you wouldn’t be able to relay a successful story without meeting personally with the subject, and Ms. Ellison does that a lot.”

She has no other reason to meet with Lincoln. There’s nothing for her to gain from the acquaintance, and I threatened her the last time we met. I let her ass go, but I threatened her…

And she threatened me.

 “You think you’re so much. You’re not untouchable, Mr. Grey, and I’m just the one to prove it!”

This should come as no surprise to me. I remember our first meeting. She wasn’t just an airhead when I interviewed her. She was brilliant. She was perfect. She knew all the right things to say and do to get me where she wanted me and that can’t be taught. She’s wily, cunning, sly, and conniving… and she’s smart. Now, she seems dead set to destroy me and my family by any means necessary. I’ve got to destroy her first.

The gloves are off… all the way off.

“I won’t say, ‘Good Morning,’” Alex says as he opens my office door. “I can already tell it’s well past fucked up.”

“That’s an understatement,” I say coolly, my mind travelling more miles per hour than I can clock. “Close the door and have a seat.” Alex enters and closes the door behind him.

“This thorn is never going to go away,” I say, standing from my chair and walking to the window. “She’s on the watch list. How was it that she was seeing Lincoln and we didn’t know?”

“The same way that she stole Her Highness’s gun, sir,” Alex says. He scrolls through his tablet and hands it to me.

“She’s like Ethan fucking Hunt, sir. She can physically turn herself into anyone, male or female. There’s no way to tell who she is when she leaves her home. We didn’t even know that she was visiting Lincoln until we worked our way backwards and reviewed Lincoln’s visitor logs…”

Do I even want to know how he got access to Lincoln’s visitor logs without Holstein’s cooperation?

“Then we coordinated the people leaving the apartment with the people returning. She hasn’t gotten smart enough to change disguises before she gets home. Then again, she doesn’t need to.”

I scroll through the pictures and see men and women of every nationality identified as Greta Ellison. I even had to turn the tablet around to confirm the person was her a few times. Height and build don’t change. Shape can be masked by clothing, but she’s definitely different people.

“A few times, she logged in to see Ron Holstein, so he’s definitely in on it,” Josh adds.

“Yeah, I figured as much,” I say, still swiping through the many faces of Greta. She’s dangerous—extremely dangerous—and she must be stopped.

“Josh, who have you deduced could also be in this book?” I ask. He twists his lips. He doesn’t want to tell me.

“High-profile officials,” he says. “Some politicians, philanthropists, businessmen like yourself…” That’s all I need.

“Any way to get word to them without totally letting the cat out of the bag?” I ask. “You know, they don’t need to know where the information is coming from and I don’t even need to know who they are… it’s better that I don’t. Just a little tip-off that they may soon be in a tell-all book about their dirty laundry that may make it look even dirtier than it really is.” His brow rises.

“I see what you mean. I may need your help, Alex,” he says.

“I’m at your disposal,” Alex says.

“Then, get on it,” I tell Josh. “I’ll have more questions for you once I sort my rambling thoughts.”

“I’ll keep you posted,” he says as he stands to leave.

“Alex, you stay. I need more information from you.” Josh pauses, but only briefly before he leaves the room. I go over to the desk and flip the switch that scrambles recording signals in my office, even my own.

“She’s a chameleon,” I say, once I know that I’m no longer being recorded. “She’s a fucking dangerous, pestilence ass chameleon that’s not going to fucking go away.” I walk to the window.

“Do you know that I presented her with proof that I knew she was the one that stole my wife’s gun?” I continue. “I had her pinned in a BDSM club between three people that could have killed her with our bare hands, confronted her, threatened her, and let her go and she still came back?” I hiss angrily.

“Yes, sir, I do,” he says. Of course, you do. It’s your job to know. It only takes a minute to ponder what needs to be done.

“Ellison is smart. She’s cunning and she’s brilliant. She gave that gun to a woman that she knew was unstable, delusional, desperate, and had a bone to pick with me. She knew what that woman was going to do with that damn gun, and she gave it to her anyway.”

“Yes, sir,” Alex concurs.

“That woman tried to kill me with that gun,” I say, handing him the tablet, “and had it not been for Jason, she would have succeeded. As an accessory, Ellison tried to kill me.” Alex cocks his head and ponders.

“With the right evidence, a court of law would say that you’re absolutely correct…”

“Fuck the court of law!” I bark. “Because of those two conniving, murderous cunts, my bodyguard and best friend took a bullet for me and that’s the only thing that saved my life and nearly cost him his!” Alex examines me.

“What do you propose?” he asks.

“Get started with Josh to alert the other officials that they’re technically in the hot seat. Between my world-class security team and my extremely savvy PR department, I’m sure innuendo can be circulated to the press without upheaval or suspicion.” Alex casts a knowing gaze upon me.

“You’re creating a smokescreen,” he says.

“I wouldn’t call it a smokescreen,” I reply, “just more people of interest. I was the center of her last trial. The spotlight is already going to be on me. I want to see how many other people we can cast center stage.”

“I know we’re not being recorded,” he says. “I need to know what you have in mind.”

“You know what I have in mind!” I retort sharply. “She’s a thorn, a deadly thorn in my side and she needs to be extracted… and her little dog, too.”

“Are we talking Lincoln or Ellison…”

“We’re talking both!” I say before the words are completely out of his mouth. “But we can’t be sloppy. The minute that smokescreen starts, I need shit to get rolling on the lot of them… Lincoln, Ellison, Holstein, and his haughty ass secretary, too.

“Why the secretar…?”

“Because she pissed me off!” I hiss… and she doesn’t know who she’s fucking dealing with. Alex straightens his back.

“What are we talking here, and in what order?” he asks.

“Punishments for Lincoln begin immediately—subtle at first, but by the time it’s over, she’ll know who it is.” I’ll come up with something creative for her at the end so that she won’t be willing or able to fuck with me ever again. “Save the secretary for last. I just want her seriously inconvenienced, extremely uncomfortable, and if I forget while pursuing the bigger fish, it’ll be your responsibility to make sure those wishes get carried out.”

“Yes, sir.”

“Holstein? Thorough retaliation—annihilation, if possible. My only requirement for him is that he gets to live,” I growl. “His begins the moment the signals start to rise from the smokescreen, so get that going now.”

“And Ellison?” he asks. I only glare at him. Ellison… big, little bitch with too much power, real and assumed. She’s become more than an inconvenience! I don’t know if she’s chasing money, fame, or revenge, but whichever it is, it’s going to cost her dearly. She has no idea how far this woman has taken her down the rabbit hole, if for no other reason but the information that she’s given her, let alone how she plans to use it.

My silence answers his question.

“Duly noted,” he says, rising from his seat. “Anything else?

“I want to be there for every step of what happens to Ellison until I tell you that I don’t,” I say.

“Yes, sir,” he says coolly before opening the door to leave the room. I know that I’ve already missed a meeting and Andrea didn’t inform me. She knows me so well that she probably knew to reschedule with me in a meeting with Josh and growling for Alex. Just as Alex reaches the elevator, I hear something I don’t think I’ve heard in all the years that she has worked for me.

Andrea raises her voice.

“Mr. Holstein, I don’t care who you are or who you think you are, but I am a professional, and unless you can conduct your calls to this office with a little professionalism and decorum in the future, I will disconnect your calls every time I hear your voice. How’s that for a short-skirted, pencil pushing answering machine… sir?

Whoa! Holstein said the wrong thing to the wrong person and Andrea’s giving him what-for on this end of the line.

“Well, if you think you haven’t gotten through to him before, let’s see how successful you are now!” She slams the receiver down and closes her eyes, taking a deep breath. Alex and I make eye-contact before he nods and boards the elevator. When Andrea opens her eyes, I’m peeking around the door jam at her.

“I’m sorry, Mr. Grey, but you don’t pay me enough to put up with the names he just called me.” My face falls.

“More than a ‘short-skirted, pencil-pushing answering machine?” I ask, as if that wasn’t bad enough.

“Much more,” she says, her voice low.

“The next time he calls, put him on hold,” I say. It’s time to put my plans into action for this fucker as soon as possible. I don’t disrespect Andrea and I won’t allow anyone else to do it, either. His dick has gotten way too big for his pants, and I’m about to whack it down a couple of inches.

*-*

Al was two steps ahead of me and conferred with my accounting department about the best way to itemize and categorize my assets for a will. He’s slowly working his way through the process, setting up a trust for each of the children and placing other items in a revocable living trust, and several other terms of mumbo-jumbo that I trust he’ll handle and explain to us when it’s time to sign the final documents. I inform him that we’ll plan to have dinner with him and Valerie and their significant others sometime this week to discuss some of the particulars and to get some things in writing should I and my Butterfly meet an untimely simultaneous demise. We set aside Wednesday for the meeting, pending Valerie and Elliot’s acceptance of the invitation and, of course, Butterfly’s approval.

It’s later than usual when I get home and all I can think is that I can’t wait to be in my wife’s arms. Today was packed full of catching up with whatever work and catastrophes that simply couldn’t be solved without my presence not to mention plotting revenge on my enemies. I didn’t even eat lunch, so I’m hungry in more ways than one. Just as we’re pulling into the garage, my cell rings.

“Grey,” I say without looking at the phone.

“Hello, Christian,” my mother’s voice says. I try not to sigh loudly into the phone. My last conversation with my mother involved her trying to get the inside scoop on what my wife’s plans are in terms of the Center. Now, she has spent an entire day with my wife… and she’s calling me. What is it now?

“Hey, Mom,” I say, trying to sound casual. “What’s up?”

“Is Anastasia home yet?” Why would she call me and ask me that? Why wouldn’t she call Butterfly? And yet…

“No…” I say, slow and uncertain, as I look over at the bin where her vehicle usually is and it’s empty. “Is everything okay?”

“She’s probably just still at the Center,” Mom says. “You may want to go down there and get her. It’s been a long day.” I’m noticing that my mother’s tone is a bit labored, like she’s extremely tired.

“What happened, Mom?” I ask. “Did you two have a fight?”

“No, we didn’t have a fight,” she says, slightly exasperated, “and you said that you were going to stay out of it, so that’s what you should do.”

Well!

“I didn’t call you for that reason, anyway,” she continues. “I called you because, like I said, it’s been a long day and she was still closed in her office when I left, so it might be a good idea for you to go and get her.”

Jesus Christ. This day has already been horrific. The last time I popped up on my wife at the Center unannounced… no, I won’t think that way. Mom says I should probably go and get her, so I’m going to get her.

“Okay, Mom, I’m on my way now,” I say, and Jason looks over the seat at me.

“Okay. Goodbye now.” And just like that, she ends the call. What the hell happened at the Center today? I’m just looking at my phone wondering what’s going to be waiting for me when I get to Butterfly.

“Sir?” Jason says, reminding me that we’re still sitting in the car.

“We’re going to the Center,” I inform him.

“What’s wrong?” he says with concern.

“Nothing that I know of, but Butterfly isn’t here and she most likely still has the children with her. I’d like to go and bring them home.” He twists his lips at me. “While we’re on our way, you can call Chuck and make sure that everything is okay, but my mother just called and told me to go get my wife, so I’d like to see her, okay?”

There. I’m not trying to catch her in anything, nor do I think I would. I just want to go get her.

“Very well, sir,” he says, and starts the car again. As we’re crossing the bridge, he put Chuck on the speaker.

“As far as I know, she’s fine,” Chuck says through the speakers. As far as he knows…?

“Why wouldn’t you know?” I ask.

‘Because she’s been holed up in her office all afternoon,” he says. “She hasn’t come out and when I went to check on her, she called through the door, ‘Leave me alone! I’m busy!’ So, knowing that she’s okay, I did what she asked and left her alone. I do know—through the grapevine—that she and Grace had an intense conversation today and Grace didn’t look happy when she left. She stayed all day, but she was less than pleased.”

“Why are you telling us this?” Jason asks.

“Because I think that’s why she’s still in the office,” he said. I sigh.

“She fought with Mom,” I say. Mom said they didn’t fight. Jesus, the day was at least as hard for her as it was for me and now, she’s hiding out. “Thanks, Chuck,” I say.

“You’re welcome, sir,” he says and ends the call. Jason looks at me, questioning.

“The mission hasn’t changed. Get me to my wife.” I wonder if she’s hiding from me thinking her argument with my mother is going to cause us a problem? I’m even more eager to get to her now than I was before.

Hurry up, Jason. She needs me…


ANASTASIA

“She hasn’t given you any idea when she’s coming back? Or if she’s coming back?” Courtney asks.

“Neither,” I tell her. “She’s never taken a day off in her life that I can remember, not even for doctor’s appointments…” which makes me question when she ever went before the whole pregnancy scare. “Then she takes them all at once. I’m still depositing her check into her account because she has nearly a lifetime in sick time accrued and she only ever used vacation time when I did so…” I trail off.

“Well, I’m certain that I won’t be as efficient as Mare was, but I’ll be happy to fill in for her the best that I can.” I sigh.

“Thank you, Courtney. Every little bit helps. I know that you have your own set of responsibilities here and I won’t interfere with your work, but of course I’ll pay you extra for helping me out. If Marilyn hasn’t decided what she plans to do at least by the new year, I’ll look into hiring someone more permanent.” It hurts to say that.

“I hope everything is okay with her. This is so out of her character. It had to be something really bad, and no, I’m not pumping you for information.” She looks down at her notepad and writes something on it.

“How are things with you and Addie?” I ask. Courtney raises her gaze to me.

“Still a little tense, but we’re talking,” she says. “Grandfather has made it clear that I’m still not getting any money from them and I’ve made it clear that I never intended to see them again, so the last thing I expect from them at this point is money. I don’t think I would want it even if they offered it to me. It reminds me too much of who I was and what I was doing… and how I felt when Grandmother disowned me. No… I think I’ll be happier earning my own way and making a life with Vick, whatever that life may be.”

“I’m glad that the two of you are talking, but you know I had nothing to do with this, right?” She rubs my forearm.

“Yes, Ana… I know,” she says. “Grandmother says you only talked about it after she confronted you. I know you would never betray my trust.”

“That’s what’s most important to me,” I tell her. “I’m all for a happy ending, but I won’t take credit for a victory that means you think I betrayed your confidence.”

“I know better,” she says with a smile. “I knew from the very beginning that it wasn’t you. I knew when I saw your face when I walked into your office. I may have been focused on Grandmother, but you were clearly horrified,” she adds matter-of-factly. “We’ve… got a long way to go. I don’t know if it’ll ever be back the way it was. Maybe it’s better if it’s not. Scratch that—it’s definitely better if it’s not.” She folds her arms around her body. “I… don’t like that Courtney. I don’t know how I lived with her for so long. No matter what happens, I don’t think I could ever go back to being her. For one thing, I’m sure I’d lose Vick. She won’t take any of my crap. She calls me on my shit any and every time I try to pull it, and she supports me in everything I do. What’s more, she knew me when I was that other crazy bitch, and she still loves me. Can you imagine?”

“Your grandmother knew and loved you, too,” I point out.

“No, she didn’t,” Courtney corrects. “She may have loved me, but she didn’t know me. She thought she knew me. She knew the façade. When she saw the real me, she thought that was the façade. When she found out that it wasn’t, she couldn’t take it. That’s why she sent me away.” She sighs and stands.

“I’m going to find something to do now,” she says. “I’ll be at your beck and call of course, but as you know, there’s lots that need my special attention… and I do better when I’m moving around.” She goes to the door, opens it and steps out. I follow her to the door.

“You’re sure this isn’t going to be too much for you,” I reinforce.

“Nah,” she says, hugging her laptop. “Outlook isn’t a foreign language for me. We use it in school for the syllabi and to keep up with our classes. I just have to spend a little time deciphering Mare’s hieroglyphics and we’ll be fine. Plus, I get an up close and personal look into the super-secret life of Anastasia Grey.”

She does a spooky little wiggle of her fingers and smiles before walking away down the hallway. I turn to go back into my office, but a shadow catches my eye. She doesn’t move or speak, but I can see her standing in her doorway, or at least her shadow cast on the floor of the hallway. I say nothing. I just go into my office and close the door.

Now, she’s lurking. She won’t even face me. Yet another reason why I feel this is no longer the place for me. There was a job that needed to be done here—some things that needed to be fixed. I fixed them. I did my job, but the job isn’t completely finished. So, I’m going to finish my job here and then I’m going to find something else to do.

What, I have absolutely no idea. Maybe I’ll get in touch with Josephine Kennedy, our sponsor for Broadmoor. She’ll probably have some suggestions. I don’t need to be in any kind of executive position. I just want to be somewhere that I can do some good and my opinion is valued.

Knowing that I don’t have much time to implement the learning programs needed before the school year starts, I immediately get to work researching the necessary requirements for a learning coordinator. I fire off a text to Keri to meet me in the office as soon as she has a moment.

Every time someone knocks at my office door, I get the willies. I don’t want to talk to Grace at all, to have her confront me about my absence or to rehash why I feel like she should treat me with more respect and consideration. These things should be understood. You hired me to do a job; then let me do it and don’t interfere with it. If you’re going to interfere and do things your way, what do you need me for?

Anyway, this time, it’s Keri at my door.

“Ya wanted ta seh meh, Annah?” she asks cautiously when she enters the room.

“Yes, please, come in,” I say. She slowly walks in and takes a seat. I can tell that she’s nervous, so I get straight to the point. “I need your help.” She looks shocked.

“You do?” she says, her surprise evident. I nod.

“First, I need to ask how the process is going with getting your teaching certificate here in the states. Were you still planning to do that, or had you changed your mind?”

“Noh! I mean, yes! I mean…” She’s terribly nervous. I’ve never called her into my office in an official capacity, ever, and she’s not quite sure how to handle it.

“Keri,” I say, rising from my seat and walking over to her. “Relax. You’re not in any trouble or anything like that. I just… I’m trying to kill two birds with one stone. I need some information and I just want to know what your immediate plans are.” Keri sighs heavily and rolls her eyes a bit.

“Ah’m sawtty, Annah,” she says. “Ah jus feel lak Ah’m bein’ cawled to da ptincipal’s awfice!” She laughs. In effect, she is, but only because the principal needs her help.

“I understand,” I say.

“Yes, I steel plan on gettin’ mah teachin’ cehtificate heyah. Ah cahl de school bohd ahnd dey sey Ah got ta tek de necesetty exams foh residency. Ah alreaty apply foh the exams since mah degtee is enough foh da requyment. So, Ah’m wehtin’ foh dem ta tell meh when da test gwine be and Ah should be okay.”

“They didn’t say anything about your citizenship or anything like that?” I ask.

“Ah’m heh on a work visa. Ah can keep dah sem visa or get a new one if I choose to teach. Ah wold luv to teach, Annah. I miss me bebbies.” I know that she’s talking about her students in Anguilla.

“Have you thought about becoming a resident?” I ask. She shrugs.

“Anguilla ask de sem ding when I cawled for mah recohds an cehtifications. Dey say, ‘ahe ya gwine stey dere in da states or ya come back to Anguilla?’ I tell dem it not my immediate plan ta stey, but don know what happen in de furtah.” I frown.

“You may go back to Anguilla?” I ask sadly.

“Me don know,” she says honestly. “Anguilla me home. I could nevah leave hah forevah. But me heart wit me Choonks. Das wheh Ah mus be.” That’s an enigmatic response.

“Does Chuck know that you’re somewhat on the fence about returning to Anguilla?” I ask. She nods. “How does he feel about it? He can’t be happy.”

“He not,” she says. “He tinks me run out da doh anyday wit mah bags. I tell him, ‘Choonks, don tek it dat weh. Ah jes not wannah lose meh woots, das all. Jes like yah not wannah stey in Anguilla becuz yah home heyah, I no wannah be in Anguilla witout yah, but Anguilla me home, too. Meh woots deyah. I don wanna lose dat.’”

“So, we’re not talking about packing your bags and moving back to Anguilla when your visa is over. We’re just talking about being able to go back to Anguilla as you please so that you don’t forget your roots.”

“Yeh,” she says, confidently. “I noh move back to Anguilla. Lek I seh, mah heart wit me Choonks. Ah havta be wheh he is.” I sigh heavily. It would be a devastating day all around if we lose Keri.

“Well, that’s good to hear,” I admit. “My second question is more detailed. You worked with small children in Anguilla, right?”

“Yeh, all me bebbies primery school, some younga,” she says. I nod.

“I’m trying to come up with a plan of action to get started with our early-learning program when the school year starts. I have some good solid ideas that we presented to get our licensing and accreditation, but now we need to tweak it and get it ready to roll out. I could really use some help.”

I confer with Keri about what direction we should take in terms of curriculums. I know that the subjects in Anguilla will most likely probably vary from the subjects in America, only because of the difference in culture and the direction of the curriculum as it relates to the region, but I’m certain that the basis is the same. I’ve done a little research to get a basic framework, but I’m definitely going to need some help in nailing down the particulars.

Keri turns out to be invaluable. We’re at it for hours fine-tuning our curriculum and learning plans. We’ve already done some interviewing for teachers and tutors, and we’ll have to make some decisions this week, which means that whether I want to or not, I’ll have to meet with Grace.

There’s no use putting it off.

Once I’ve finished with the basic curriculum, I ask Keri to look it over and see if there’s anything else that we may need. I don’t want to present this outline and framework to the teachers and tutors that I plan to hire, and it turns out to be total garbage. Then I send a text to Grace that we need to chat about the teaching staff and to let me know when she’s available to do so.

It was like carving my tooth out with a chisel just to send the text.

Not half an hour after I hit send, Grace is at my door.

“May I come in?” she asks. I sigh inwardly.

“Please,” I say, standing and gesturing to the seat in front of me. She enters and sits down, and I close the door behind her. I jump right in.

“The school year is starting in a few weeks and I don’t want to be caught unprepared like we have these last terms,” I say, picking up the papers showing the progress that Keri and I made and handing it to her. “We already conducted several interviews and with where we plan to start, I would think we don’t need too much staff right now—a few teachers and a tutor or two and someone to act as principal or superintendent just over the scholastic portion of the program…”

I continue discussing what I think would be the best direction for the preschool and tutoring program—afterschool classes, playgroups, and eventually, a possible part-time homeschool, particularly for at-risk families, namely residents in the dorms while Grace looks over the proposals and plans that Keri and I have collaborated on so far.

“You’ve been quite busy,” she says raising her eyes to me. “I’m glad the Center won’t suffer because of our disagreement.”

I wouldn’t say that just yet, Grace.

I continue the conversation as if nothing had been said about our disagreement and make suggestions as well as request input on who would be the best candidates for the positions we would like to fill as we really need to get the ball rolling like right now. Grace gives her opinions on who she thinks will fit the immediate bill and luckily, except for one, they were the same people that I think will work best. I cede to her judgment for the last person, selfishly thinking that if they didn’t work out, I wouldn’t have to be the one to contend with it. She would.

It’s a bit late in the afternoon when we bang out our initial steps and final choices, and I’m more than ready to discontinue the conversation. I’m not, however, ready to pick up the conversation that she wants to have.

“I really feel I did the right thing,” she says with conviction.

“Grace, this conversation is moot,” I say matter-of-factly. The time for us to have this conversation has passed.

“You won’t even discuss it with me?” she asks, her voice rising an octave in disbelief.

“No,” I say finitely. “I don’t want to fight with you or dispute this with you anymore. What you did could have had disastrous results, and if you can’t understand that, there’s nothing for us to discuss.” She sighs.

“Fine. I was wrong,” she says, almost like a petulant child. I shake my head.

“You don’t get it,” I say. “I’m not looking for capitulation. I don’t need you to admit that you were wrong. I need you to see that you were wrong. Courtney had come miles from where she started. Her progress was fucking immeasurable. Addie barely recognized her as the hell that she sent back to her hellhole hometown. What you did could have set her back far beyond her starting point, and what would you have to say had that happened? What could you have possibly said to me—to Courtney—had you, in your self-proclaimed omnipotence, destroyed all the work that she put in to achieve what she achieved?”

“Can’t you see that sometimes, everything isn’t answered by theory and book-smarts? Sometimes—oftentimes—there’s emotion involved, and you just have to go with your gut?” Her voice is beseeching.

“I can see that, Grace, but can you?” I retort. “Logic dictates that the strides made by Courtney should have had her running back to Addie to present her new self—to show her grandmother that she was nothing like the person Addie last saw. The fact that her grandmother felt that she was nothing, she had to prove her wrong—for herself, but in the process, she made it clear that she wanted nothing to do with the source of her uncertainty. When they parted ways, Addie pretty much told her that she was better off dead. She cremated and buried Courtney’s mother this past summer with no pomp and circumstance, and you just take it upon yourself to say, ‘Oh, it’s a good idea to shove these two into each other’s faces!’ If you can’t see what’s wrong with that, just how fucked up a judgment call that was, then you’ll do it again and I can’t tolerate seeing all my hard work destroyed that way. I might as well go back to my practice.”

“I… I… I didn’t know…” she stammers.

“Of course, you didn’t know!” I bark. “There’s a lot you didn’t know! I’m the psychiatrist! I have all the inside scoops on what’s going on in these people’s minds because that’s what I do! And you had the audacity to be offended because I pointed that out! I don’t diagnose the intricate illness of children—that’s your specialty, not mine! But they share their deepest, darkest secrets with me because of my station and I act accordingly! She trusted me! She trusted me with her secrets and her feelings, with her life! And you exploited that! Can’t you see that? Can’t you see that you orchestrated a train wreck that could have destroyed them both and they just got lucky and walked away?”

“I… was just… following my instincts,” she says, resigned.

“Well, congratulations, doctor,” I say, clasping my hands on the table. “This time, your instincts were correct, and in the process, you undermined everything I do. The very basis of my profession is privacy and trust—respecting the rights of the patient. You know the Hippocratic Oath, and you totally disregarded mine, then haughtily walked away smiling when you did it. I can’t work like that. I can’t have someone’s mental well-being in my hands and in the back of my head, constantly fearing that you’re going to make a decision that’s going to unravel the intricate tapestry that I’ve taken months… or years… to create with one of my patients based on your instincts.” I silently shake my head, indicating that this is definitely a no-go for me.

Grace bites her lip and takes a seat, humbly clasping her hands in her lap.

“Can you, for just a moment, see where I’m coming from?” she says, her voice shaking slightly.

“No…” I begin.

“Please… let me finish,” she beseeches without raising her eyes. It’s my turn to be petulant, but I just defiantly fold my arms and sit mute.

“Addie… is my friend,” she begins. “She’s been my friend for a long, long time—even longer than that crazy bitch who victimized my son.”

That kind of stings… and causes me to let my guard down a little.

“You may have known how Courtney felt, but I knew how Addie felt. She felt hurt and betrayed, and that’s what made her say the things she said to Courtney, but most of all, she was heartbroken. She felt that she would die and have nothing to show for her bloodline. She had such high hopes for Courtney, and when she saw those hopes dashed to the rocks…” She stops and swallows.

“I’m not saying that you wouldn’t understand,” she says. “You’re a mother, so you have to know that we only want what’s best for our children. Courtney’s mother was such a disappointment and Addie had her hopes in Courtney even when everybody told her that it would be a lost cause. When she finally accepted that those hopes were destroyed, it was the most traumatizing thing that had ever happened to her. She tried to move on, but she was crushed.

“That’s the reason I advocated for Courtney in the first place,” she adds. “After everything that she had done and all the problems she had caused, I just wanted to help my friend. It was wonderful seeing the progress that she was making, but Addie was still hurting… deeply hurt. We didn’t hear anything about her daughter because she couldn’t mourn her daughter. To her, it was all a lost cause.

“I found out about Adele—that’s her daughter’s name—at Mia’s wedding. I had been trying to indirectly arrange a meeting ever since. I knew Courtney was at the wedding, but by the time I had heard about Adele, Courtney had already left.

“When I say that I was trusting my instincts, Ana, I’m not just saying that I thought it was a good idea. My friend was suffering, and I just didn’t want to see her suffering anymore… and I knew that seeing Courtney—how beautiful she is and how far she’s come—would do her some good.” I roll my eyes nearly to the point of agony.

“Why. Didn’t you. Explain that to me?” I nearly seethe. “Why didn’t you come and talk to me?”

“Because just like you had confidences, I had confidences…” she begins.

“But it was okay for you to disregard mine!” I nearly shout, causing Grace to jump a bit in her seat.

Settle down, Grey.

I take a deep breath and address the situation again.

“The progress that I made with Courtney in eleven short months is more than I’ve done with a lot of people in years, and you could have undone all of that. That’s what I need you to see. This situation is the epitome of that old saying about the road to hell and good intentions. I can appreciate that you saw your friend suffering and you wanted that suffering to stop, but your. Methods. Were wrong. You threw a blowtorch into a vat of gasoline and prayed that it wouldn’t explode, and instead of alienating one person, you could have alienated three—one of which was your very close friend.

“As much as I want to say that the biggest betrayal here was to Courtney’s right to privacy and to Addie’s suffering, I can’t even say that,” I say, and she raises glassy eyes to me. Yeah, this is going to sting, Dr. Grace, so get ready for it. “The biggest betrayal is that you dismissed me. You dismissed my expertise and my feelings. It caused friction in my marriage and discord in my professional life. But you know what’s even worse, Grace? What you probably never even considered even up to this very moment? You. Destroyed. My trust! Did you think about that? Did you think about the fact that I have to trust the person that I work with and I don’t trust you anymore?

“I can’t be effective under those conditions, and I can’t just wave that off. When you’re dealing with the human mind, at any given moment someone’s sanity can be hanging in a delicate balance. One wrong word, one wrong action, can be the difference between a breakthrough and suicide—and I’m not exaggerating.” I immediately think of Ace’s shark’s tooth.

“I should have come and talked to you,” she says just above a whisper, her voice cracking.

“Yes,” I say softly, but firmly. “You should have…” and now, it’s probably too late. Grace takes a deep, shuddering breath and stands.

“Let me know what you decide to do,” she says without raising her eyes to me. “I’ll understand either way.” She turns and quickly walks out of my office. I hear her heels clicking at a quick pace down the hall and just before she closes the door to her office, I hear her begin to weep.

Dear God in heaven, I think to myself as my face falls on my arms on my desk, my hair splayed wildly over my hands and arms like a blanket. What am I going to do now…?

*-*

“Hey…”

My head feels like lead and my eyes hurt from crying. I can only imagine that I look like pure hell from having cried myself to sleep at my desk and when I turn towards the soft, melodic voice, my husband is looking lovingly at me while stroking my hair out of my face.

“Hey,” I barely squeak out. “What are you doing here?”

“It’s late… and Mom called me,” he says. “She told me that you were still in your office when she left and that it might be a good idea if I came to get you.”

“I don’t know what to do, Christian,” I lament, on the brink of tears again.

“Well, you won’t think about it tonight,” he says cupping my cheek. “Right now, I’m going to take you home, bathe you, feed you, and make love to you. Then, you can conquer this in the morning.”

I don’t have the will or desire to fight him. I’m tired of thinking, dreaming, fretting about this whole thing. It’s getting on my nerves. I stand and proceed to leave the building and had it not been for Chuck, I might have left without my children. Mom of the year.

My husband keeps his promise, making sure that I was fed, bathed, and loved. Nonetheless, at 2:49 in the morning, I find myself staring at the ceiling while he’s sleeping comfortably next to me. I don’t know how long I’ve been lying here, but I decide that I don’t want to lie here anymore. I quietly roll out of bed and retrieve the first shirt that I can find. It’s the linen shirt that Christian wore to work, and it smells like him. It’s comforting. I put it on and button it before leaving our suite.

The children are sound asleep and I don’t want to disturb them, so I go to the kitchen to get something to drink. After I fix a spritzer, I sit at the breakfast bar, trying to think of something to do. I look at my phone and begin to scroll through it. Some time between the time I got home and now, my contacts, calendar, and apps had all been moved to the new phone.

When did he find time to do that?

I had already forwarded my calls to the new phone, but it’s probably time to leave the new number on the old message so that I can retire my 4S soon. I decide to take a look at my emails. I had cleared most of them at work, but I hadn’t looked at the junk mail to see if anything had been misrouted.

Sure enough, something had.

To: Anastasia Steele-Grey
Re: Web Presence
Date: Saturday, December 13, 2014, 14:14
From: Laura Kelly

Hey there, Sheila!

Just a little nudge from down under to remind you to finish setting up your social media. Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram—but start with Facebook. It’s probably best for social media virgins. I know you said you had to talk to your PR people before you could pull the trigger. Remember what I showed ya!

Jax was a little depressed after visiting his mum’s grave, even more depressed when we got back to the ship and there was no Chris to shoot the shit with. You’ll have to come back and see us sometimes, or we’ll look you up next time we’re in the States.

Look for LauraLee Kelly on Facebook. You can’t miss me!

Missing you guys already!
Laura

Laura showed me the basics while we were on the cruise and we ran around her social media accounts a bit, but we never actually set up an account for me.

Social media. Facebook. Hmmm…

Screw PR. I’ll just create an alias.

I go to iTunes and download the Facebook app. Sign up with an email.

Back up.

I go to Gmail and create an alias email just for this purpose. You can’t be too careful.

First name… Anastasia

Last name… hmmm.

Lambert.

There’s no taboo attached to that name for me anymore. It’s a name that I used to escape, and I escaped, so…

Welcome to Gmail!

Back to Facebook.

Sign up. What’s your name?

Anastasia Lambert.

Hmm… it still feels too obvious.

Mercer Mistress… Hell, no!

Mercer Doctor Lady.

Good enough for now.

Upload a profile picture…

Butterflies!

I do a quick internet search and find a picture of a black and white butterfly that reminds me of Marty.

Perfect!

I download it to my phone, then upload it as my profile picture.

Invite your friends… well, I only have one that I know of on social media…

LauraLee Kelly. I need her email. Nah, I’ll look her up and invite her to be my friend. It’s faster.

I have access!

LauraLee Kelly.

She’s right. I find her quickly and send a friend request. I create the same account with Twitter, then I make the mistake of going to Facebook and Twitter and doing a search for my name.

There are a million of me!

I could make a page with my real name and no one would be any wiser, but no. I’ll hide behind Mercer Doctor Lady. Not very creative or catchy, I know, but it’ll fit the bill. I answer a few questions about books and hobbies.

There’s nothing on my timeline since I don’t have any friends, so I see what Facebook has to offer.

Videos… relationship advice… reality TV snippets… groups that might interest me… comedy…

I like comedy.

I watch several comedy videos and share many of them to my timeline.

I’m dying laughing over Steve Harvey and Family Feud…

Ellen Degeneres, well, I love her. I follow her and Steve on Facebook.

The Real Housewives of what? Where? What real housewives behave this way? And you’re still married? These women need to get a damn life!

“What are you doing down here?”

I’m startled by Christian coming to the kitchen in his pajama pants. I’m even more startled by something else…

Daylight.

“I was just… I couldn’t sleep,” I say. Hell if I’m telling him I spent all night on Facebook. His gaze softens.

“I didn’t do my job, then,” he says, closing the space between us. I put my phone down and sigh.

“It’s not you,” he says, “and I don’t want to pull you into the middle of what’s happening between me and your mother.”

“She said you didn’t fight, but I have a feeling you did,” he says. I look up at him.

“You thought I fought with your mother and you still brought me home and took care of me?” he shrugs.

“She’s my mother and I love her very much, but she went home to her husband. You’re my responsibility.” I wrap my arms around his waist and lean on his chest.

“I love you,” I say, breathing in his scent.

“I love you, too,” he says. I sigh. “You’re holding it in. You have to tell somebody.” I lean back and look up at him, twisting my lips.

“She looked like a broken puppy when she left my office, and I heard her crying,” I say. “She broke us… plain and simple. She broke us as a team. I have to trust who I’m working with. That’s it. I don’t expect you to take sides here, I really don’t, but I have to say it out loud. She broke us. She broke the team, and I don’t know if it can be fixed.”

“Any idea what it would take to be fixed?” he asks.

“Time, for one,” I admit, “and I’m not sure I’m willing to put it in.” She begged me last year to give Courtney a chance and I did, and we built something, and then she tossed it out like trash. Fuck how Courtney was feeling; fuck what Courtney wanted; Addie was more important.

“You’re taking it really personal, baby. Can you tell me why?” he asks.

“Because this could be anybody,” she says. “This could be a scared and battered wife and mother hiding from her abusive husband. I put in the work and get to the core of this girl’s deepest, darkest secrets—get her to where she’s not afraid to fall asleep at night; to where she finally sees that she’s out from under the oppression of her abusive husband and can do something with her life… move forward like Marlow’s mother did. And then Grace somehow brings the abusive father back into the picture. All that work I’ve done for nothing, and her only excuse and reasoning is that she’s following her instincts.

“Yes, that’s more graphic. Addie wasn’t abusive, but Courtney was crushed, crushed enough to never want to see her grandmother again, and Grace disregarded that… disregarded her feelings, disregarded her wishes, disregarded my work as a person and a professional. It’s very personal, Christian. How can I work with someone like that?”

“Then… why were you crying?” he asks.

“Because I obviously hurt her, and I didn’t mean to. We didn’t fight, but I was merciless in my explanations. She put her friend’s feelings over all professionalism and trust, the very basis of my profession. If she’s going to make decisions over my head without any consideration for my wishes, opinions, or input, then why am I there? I feel strongly about that, but I didn’t mean to hurt her—and I don’t know if she was hurt over understanding what she did to me or the concept of losing me.” He hugs me again.

“You’ll figure it out, baby. I know you will,” he encourages, “but doesn’t it feel better to get it out?”

“A little,” I say, sinking into his embrace.

“What have you been doing down here all night?” he asks. I twist my lips and look up at him, then push my phone over to him.

“Facebook?” he says, mirthfully. “You’ve been on Facebook all night?”

“Watching videos,” I say. “I don’t have any friends online.”

“You’ve got one, Mercer Doctor Lady,” he says and hands my phone back to me.

Laura accepted my friend’s request.


A/N: Ethan Hunt is Tom Cruise’s character in Mission Impossible. He was a master of disguise and could make himself or anyone else look like anyone anywhere.

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

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.

There has been yet another development where if you feel the need to talk to fellow readers about personal issues, you need a sounding board, you want to vent about something in your life, please feel free to visit the link on the left in the menu entitled “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.

~~love and handcuffs

 

 

 

Fifty Shades Golden: Chapter 18

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.

Explicit details of sex and BDSM scenes from here on out. Some may be hot while others may not be to your taste… and not necessary CG with Ana together. Proceed at your own discretion, but don’t say that I didn’t warn you.

This ain’t your everyday Christian and Ana story. Don’t expect anything. Just read it as it goes along or go away. 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 new saga continues…

Chapter 18

Eric Dane 18

TREY

“We think it was Linc, but was it really him?” Wester asks, reviewing the article about Linc being extradited back to the states and now in custody of the Kirkland Police.

“It was him,” I reply. “I’d bet my fucking fortune on it. Elena is beat all to hell not two hours after he leaves GEH with a bloody nose, and come morning, he’s gone.”

“That’s my concern,” Wester says, folding the paper and putting it back on my desk. “You’ve been cleared of beating Elena Lincoln. Is there any possible way that you can be pinned for his face looking that way? That would clear him for beating Elena and pin you for beating him.” I hadn’t even thought of that.

“Wouldn’t he need some kind of proof that I hit him?” I ask. “A witness, or DNA, which he certainly doesn’t have? Besides, I hit him in the nose and that was it. That man looks like he’s been through Saigon!” Wester nods.

“This is true,” he says. “There’re all kinds of holes in the story that Linc won’t be able to fill. First, his wife falsely accuses you. If he tries to accuse you, too, it’s likely that no one would believe him even though you knocked the stuffing out of his ass. It’s obvious that he exhibits all the benchmarks of a guilty man, but I look beyond the obvious, sir. I look for all the loopholes that some sleazy DA or some gung-ho cop can use to make the big pin and do the famous televised perp-walk. That’s why I’m asking if there’s anything at all that can link you to assaulting that man?”

I twist my lips and ponder the situation. I like the way he thinks. He’s three steps ahead of everything and he’s got raw killer instincts. Once we got him out of here, I didn’t think twice about Linc or anything that he thought he might have been able to do to me. I had shown him who’s boss and he dare not cross me.

Until…

“There’s nothing I can think of besides the fact that he left here with a bloody nose,” I say. “If someone saw him leave, or his exit was caught on someone’s exterior security camera somewhere…” Wester nods.

“We’ll prepare for that eventuality,” he says, typing into his phone. Fuck, I’m glad he’s on my side.

“Could this whole thing be a scheme or plot of some kind between him and his wife? To nail me for this so that I can become a non-factor in his lumber interests while negating the cases that I have against his wife?” Wester nodded.

“It would be quite the coup, but it could. From what I know about Mr. and Mrs. Lincoln, I don’t think they collaborate that way.”

“Don’t put it past them,” I say, typing into my computer. “A common enemy can create an alliance between the Hatfields and the McCoys.” He purses his lips.

“You’re thinking like me,” he says, with raised eyebrows.

“How do you know you’re not thinking like me?” I ask. He laughs and shakes his head.

“I’ll cede this one to you this time, Mr. Grey, because you’re the boss… but I think you know better.” Asshole. He’s a straight shooter and a straight cutter. He’s just what I need for my team.

“I want my mugshots back,” I inform him. “I never should have been booked and I don’t want those in the system.”

“I’ll get on it,” he says. I bring up my email and see that the piece that I’ve commissioned is ready to be shipped. Fucking hell, it took long enough. I asked for the damn thing nearly a week ago. She’s going to think I completely forgot my tribute. I pay the fortune it costs to have it shipped overnight and order another case of the gold-infused vodka to accompany it.

I’ve been resisting the urge to touch my lips all day, her kissed still bruised in my skin like it was yesterday. It’s my turn to leave an impression.


Briana Evigan 18

GOLDEN

Just when I thought I was in the clear for that temporary slip of the lips, it comes back to bite me in the ass. A week after I absent-mindedly kissed Trey after a scene, I get two pretty fucking remarkable gifts…

Another case of the gold-infused vodka, as if he knew that I had run out…

And a golden sculpture of lips—a very large sculpture of golden lips. They’re like two-feet wide.

“He seems infatuated with the anatomy,” Blake says, eyeing the lips.

“This is gaudy,” I say, pointing to the horrid thing. “This is something I would expect to see in someone’s psychedelic 1970’s bachelor pad along with horrible shag carpet, beaded curtains, and lava lamps. How dare he send me something like this!” Blake examines the sculpture carefully.

“If I can be so bold, Mistress,” he says, “this is certainly not some gaudy piece worthy of a 1970’s bachelor pad.” He lifts the sculpture. “This—like the statue—was commissioned. Even though there may be others out there like it, this is a custom piece. It’s not mass-produced, it’s made of gold fiberglass, and it was created by an international artist. That writing on the bottom is German. As you well know, the States doesn’t have many mass imports from Germany.”

“It’s still gaudy,” I maintain.

“It’s not gaudy, Mistress,” Blake retorts. “It may not be to your taste, but it’s not gaudy. Like the statue, Mr. Grey wants you to know that your body has left a lasting impression on him. This time, it was your lips.” I shake my head. This can’t happen.

“How do you know so much?” I ask him.

“It didn’t come easily,” he says. “What would you like to do with it?”

“Ship it to his home address,” I say without hesitating. “I’ll keep the vodka, but not the lips. Please make it clear that I don’t want it returned.”

“Very well, Mistress,” he says, and he takes the ugly thing and the packing that came with it and leaves the room. This is not part of the plan, Trey. If you want this to continue, you have to get your head out of the clouds. In fact…

I pull out my phone and fire off a text to him.

**The kiss was a mistake. It won’t happen again. **

*-*

“So, you kissed him,” Kevin says as we eat lunch after our yoga session later that week.

“Yeah. Temporary insanity,” I admit.

“Or could you just like the guy?” He raises a brow at me.

“I like his dick,” I say finitely, eating some of my fried zucchini. He scoffs.

“And you’ve never seen a dick you’ve liked before,” he says, his voice low, “because it’s obvious that you’ve never voluntarily kissed some guy… at least not in the current context.” He takes a big bite of his burger.

“I’ve seen other dicks that I’ve liked,” I say after swallowing my food. “And actually, I choose one person a month to kiss. So, yes, I have voluntarily kissed someone else before.”

“So, what’s so different about this one?” This one wasn’t the one I chose to be this month. In fact, I hadn’t chosen anyone to be this month…

“I just got carried away. It happens,” I say dismissively.

“Really?” he says, his mouth full of burger. “And how often has that happened to you?” he confronts.

“That’s not the point…”

“It’s exactly the point!” Kevin laughs. “You may be starting to feel something and it’s scaring the shit out of you. Is it the fact that you’re feeling something or the fact that you’re feeling something for him?”

“I’m feeling something for his dick!” I clarify, louder this time. A few people in the café turn and look at us.

“I’m sorry to be the one to burst your little bubble, Annie, but there’s a body attached to that dick!” he says, just as loudly as I do. “You can’t just cut it off and pretend that it doesn’t exist.”

“I may not be able to cut it off,” I say, lowering my tone, “but I have absolutely no problem pretending the body doesn’t exist. You wouldn’t understand, because you don’t adore the penis like I do.”

“Yeah, but you didn’t kiss his penis,” Kevin says, taking a bite from a fry.

Yeah, there is that.

“What I’m so miffed about,” he says, wiping ketchup from his mouth, “is that I didn’t think you were even slightly interested in that kind of relationship at all, so I didn’t even try.”

“I’m still not interested,” I clarify. “Like I said, it was temporary insanity and it won’t happen again. God, I wish I hadn’t even brought it up now.”

“You brought it up because you needed to tell somebody. You needed to tell somebody because it was eating at you and you couldn’t handle it on your own. That’s probably the case because you like this guy more than you’re willing to admit and denying it to me—even though I wanted you first—to him, or to yourself is not going to make it any less true.”

“Wanted me?” I say, pretending to be slighted. “You don’t want me anymore?”

“What does it matter? We’re friends now,” he says, chomping on another fry. I roll my eyes and move to take another bite of my sandwich when I catch an unpleasant sight over Kevin’s shoulder.

“Oh, what the fuck is this?” I hiss, dreading the next few seconds. Kevin frowns and looks over his shoulder just in time to catch Jake strolling in our direction.

“What the hell?” I groan. “Do I have a fucking tracking device attached to me?” I don’t see or hear anything from this guy in 17 years and now, he just seems to pop up where I am. I understood him popping up at the restaurant because I was in his neighborhood, but the grocery downtown? And now here? Am I releasing dog pheromones or something?

“Fancy meeting you here,” he says with a suggestive smile.

“Yeah, fancy that,” Kevin says, a near-scowl affixed to his face. Jake turns to Kevin.

“Yeah, you, too Kev, but…” he turns that creepy ass smile back to me, “I was addressing the lady.” I fold my arms and glare at him.

“Well, the lady is clearly not addressing you,” Kevin replies. Jake doesn’t tear his eyes away from me.

“I don’t know why I was so… driven… to get a Mickey’s patty melt—this place is so far out of my way—but now I see. When I want something, I just do whatever I have to do to get it.” He bites his bottom lip and I just want to hurl. I’m in a public café, not one of the clubs. I can’t floor him like I normally would. I have a few choice words bubbling up in my stomach, but I’m certain that it would just egg him on. Instead, I turn back to my lunch and continue to eat.

“Look, man, you’ve come to speak. You got your sandwich. Now, if you don’t mind, you are interrupting our lunch, which is pretty rude,” Kevin warns. I know just from his strength and his size alone that unless Jake has been working out or doing some MMA fighting that I’m not aware of, Kevin can most likely squash him. Hell, I can most likely squash him, but there would be some police intervention involved with either of those options. Even though I don’t make eye contact, I can feel his gaze boring into me.

“The lady hasn’t expressed an interest in my leaving, and even if she did, I would do my very best to dissuade her.” Dear God, if he only knew how much his sad attempt at seduction is making my stomach turn. He really is ruining my lunch.

“My mom always told me that if you ignore a pest, they eventually go away,” I say, taking another bite of my sandwich.

“Except flies,” Kevin says to me before turning a searing glare back to Jake. “Those bitches don’t go away til you swat ‘em.” I raise my eyes just in time to see the gentlemen glaring at each other about to square off.

“You wanna catch this fade, mothafucka, let’s go!” Jake taunts. Oh, I’ve had enough of this shit.

“And exactly what would you be fighting for?” I say loudly, now standing to face Jake and deliberately raising my voice. “When I wanted you, you didn’t want me. Now, you precariously pop up everywhere I’m trying to get something to eat, often muscling in on my meal, and now you want to fight because I won’t pay you any attention? It’s my understanding that you can—and already did—have any piece of pussy in town that you wanted. What’s the problem? Go find one that wants you, too. Just leave!”

I’ve had enough! I want this asshole to leave me the hell alone. He won’t take the cold shoulder; he won’t take rejection; let’s try humiliation.

“What the fuck you say?” he says, surprised that I had the nerve to call him out. “This mothafucka disrespected me. What makes you think I would fight over you, hoe, you ain’t shit!” I violently wave him off.

“Yeah, yeah, yeah, whatever the fuck you say! You made that shit very clear several years ago—until you fuckin’ started stalkin’ me again. Now, say that shit while you walkin’!”

Jake eyes me with serious distaste and raises one nostril like he’s smelling something bad.

“You think you hot shit ‘cause you white?” he spits.

“What I think is that we were trying to enjoy our lunch before you brought your ass over here fuckin’ with us. You said I ain’t shit, so why are you still here? Get the hell away from our table!” He’s so busy trying to humiliate me like I just humiliated him that he doesn’t see Jesse come up behind him.

“Shut the fuck up, puppy, and sit yo’ ass down,” he retorts.

“The lady said leave,” Jesse says from behind him. “You’re disturbing her lunch.”

Jake turns around and whirls right into a wall of angry, buff security guard about five inches taller than him. Not to be outmatched, he aggressively looks up and down Jesse’s form.

“What? You fuckin’ her, too, white boy?” he accuses.

Oh, little boy, if you only knew that nobody in this room right now is fucking me, least of all, you.

“No, but I may have to restrain you and kick you out for insulting the lady and disturbing her lunch. You are now in her personal space which makes you a threat, and I won’t be responsible if your face meets a little road rash on the way down.” Jake scoffs.

“You think I’m scared o’ you?” Jake asks incredulously, his voice rising two octaves. “Nigga, where I come from, the bigger they are, the harder they fall!”

“Please… oh, please test that theory,” Jesse invites and stands there, waiting for Jake to make a move. Jake glares at Jesse but doesn’t dare to make a move. “Air and opportunity, young’un,” Jesse adds.

Now, where Jake comes from, “air and opportunity” is short for “Stop yappin’ and make your move. Ain’t nothin’ between us but air and opportunity,” So, now Jake has to shut the fuck up and make his move or get the fuck on. He takes the latter option. My guess is that he has assessed the situation, weighed his options, analyzed the likelihood of actually leaving the building with a face full of road rash, and decided that outcome would not be favorable for him. He’s going to leave… but not quietly.

“Please,” he says, disdainfully, “ain’t none o’ y’all worth none of this shit.” He moves around Jesse to leave and calls out “bitch” just as he’s getting to the door.

“Yo’ momma’s a bitch,” I retort before the door even opens. He doesn’t pause. He brushes right out the door.

And I’m pretty sure that’s the last I’ll see of him.

“God, what is it with that guy?” Kevin asks. I nod at Jesse thanking him for coming to my rescue and he nods and goes back to his table and his sandwich.

“Is it usually volatile when you guys get together?” I ask. “Does he have something to prove?”

“Yes,” Kevin says. “He sees me with you and you’re the only one in the neighborhood that he hasn’t fucked. So, he has to prove he can fuck you, too. Ain’t shit with me and him. I’ve seen him around here and there, but I haven’t seen him this much in years. It’s like your pussy starts moving in his general vicinity and he can smell you coming.”

“That can’t be it, because I’ve been back in Seattle for a while. So, if he was smellin’ my pussy, he would have smelled it long before now.” I pause. “He does realize he called Jesse the ‘N’ word,” I point out. Kevin twists his lips.

“You said you come from the hood,” Kevin says. “You know that’s not what he did. He used the ‘gga’ not the ‘gger.’”

“But if Jesse had said that to him…” I begin my protest.

“Yes, I know,” Kevin interrupts. “The entire café would have been in an uproar. At the risk of defending that asshole, you know we throw that word around a little more than we should and in different ways.” I twist my lips and don’t touch the rest of my unfinished lunch.

“I don’t approve of black people disparaging white people any more than I approve of white people disparaging black people—and he does that pretty freely. Jesse was the ‘gga’ and ‘white boy’ and I supposedly thought I was all that because I’m white, but had I made even the slightest reference to his race, that would have been an entirely different conversation.” Kevin puts his hands up.

“Hey, I’m on your side, remember?” he says, surrender evident in his tone. I roll my eyes and shake my head. I’m going to start carrying a police whistle and blow the shit out of that bitch when I see him coming!

“Well, I’d say lunch is sufficiently ruined,” he says, pushing away the rest of his burger. I raise my eyes to him and his disgusted expression.

“So… since we’re friends and all, I guess I can make this up to you. That asshole wouldn’t have come to the table had I not been sitting here. Dinner at my house on Friday?” He raises surprised eyes to me. “That is if you don’t mind crossing the bridge.

“Uh… no, I don’t mind,” he stutters. “I got a car.”

Yeah, I surprised the shit out of him.

“Well, then, I’ll text you my address, and don’t be surprised when my butler answers the door.”

“Ooooo, a butler! Fancy,” he teases, and it adds some levity to our ruined lunch.

*-*

I invited Kevin to dinner. Why the hell did I do that? I still have a few days where I can cancel, but I’m not going to. I’m sadistic, not selfish, and I do feel that Jake ruined a perfectly good lunch because of me.

My phone has been ringing and buzzing with texts… from Trey. I’m sure he has received those ghastly ass lips back and wants to know why. I would rather not see or speak to him right now. I’m not totally certain why I succumbed to kissing him and right now, I’d prefer not to make that mistake again. In fact, Golden has other plans this evening…

**I would be eternally grateful if Mistress could find it in her schedule to fit me in tonight. Or even tomorrow, or whenever you have available. **

The text came right after lunch and right before Trey’s. I would like nothing more than to get my hands a little dirty at one of the clubs. I need to beat the image of Jake out of my fucking head…

And the taste of Trey off my goddamn lips.

**Club Syndrome. 8:00. Tonight. Don’t be late. **

I do a quick gold-chrome nail cover before I don my attire for the evening.

Tonight, it’s the vintage boned gold corset with the mock alligator texturing over high-waisted gold panties. I have to tape my boobs and the corset down so that they don’t fall out during my new routine. Adorning my chest is the Majestic Gold Filigree Indian Wedding choker with matching jhumka earrings—tribute from another satisfied client valued at over $12,000. I have to double-side-tape this piece as well as the necklace falls elegantly over my chest and will droop over my chin while I’m performing unless I secure it.

Wonder WomanThe best wigs that money can buy will ensure that my raven hair won’t end up on the floor somewhere. Gold contacts reminiscent to sunsets and gold eyeshadow on my lid and under my eye lend a dramatic contrast to the black lashes and brows with just a dusting of gold at the end of the brows. I slide into a decadent pair of gold thigh-high stiletto boots and slide two gold arm bracelets on my arms. They almost look like the “Wonder Woman” symbol.

When I’m satisfied with the look, I descend the stairs to find Blake waiting for me. He doesn’t react to my attire, but then again, he never does.

“Which wrap, Mistress?” he asks unfazed.

“Gold leather,” I reply. I check my reflection in the mirror at the foot of the stairs. My lips are done in matte, non-smearing lipsticks—gold and black in a fierce design. I’m extremely proud of my creation. I look every bit the sexy, golden nightmare and I’m beginning to feel more like myself again.

Blake assists me into my gold leather trench just as the doorbell rings. As I fasten my belt, I see my driver and my bodyguard waiting on the other side of the door for me. Right on time, as usual…

“Thornton will be meeting me this evening. Set him up and let me know when he arrives,” I say to Zane, the head dungeon monitor, when I arrive at Syndrome. “And cue the new music.”

“Yes, ma’am.”

I remove my coat and walk right to the stage to my usual theme song. This will be my first time doing my new routine, but I’m not concerned. As usual, I just want to show the amateurs how it’s done.

Moments after I mount the stage, the music changes and a dangerous, sultry beat begins as I circle the pole. The crowd goes from a gentle roar to a tiny murmur as I bend one leg and wrap it around the pole behind me.

Sometimes I feel I’ve got to run away…

As Claire Guerreso begins to sing, I reach behind my head, grasp the pole, and begin to climb it backwards.

The murmur falls to silence.

Half-way up the pole, my body bends in half, then fully extends with my stiletto heels pointing perfectly to the ceiling and my raven wig hanging dramatically towards the floor,

It’s nothing but me and the music now.

I’ve lost my light for I toss and turn I can’t sleep at night…

Like hell. Maybe you, but not me.

a2ca8bf11648826dc78841c9918824c9I reproduce the incredible move where my body is bent but not touching the pole. I saw this move in the mirror at the studio, so I’m well aware of how sexy it looks now.

Once I ran to you, now I’ll run from you…

The idea behind a good pole dance is to look sensual and sexy and desirable without looking raunchy. If I wanted to be a stripper, that’s what I would do, but that’s not what I do here. My routines have the same effect whether I’m wearing a pair of lamé panties, thigh high boots, and a corset, or if I’m wearing a catsuit and strappy stiletto. It makes you wonder what’s underneath, not just want to fuck.

My moves display incredible control over my body and muscles—unbelievable leg extensions, midair ab and hip rolls, and insane upper body strength that allows me to sensually animate my body while my hands or arms are the only things touching the pole. My attitude sends a message to men and to women not to come at me with bullshit, because I’m not the one and I won’t have it.

The crowd is once again silently mesmerized as that one line is sung that reminds me that I’m Golden…

You need someone to hold you tight and you’ll think love is to pray,
But I’m sorry, I don’t pray that way…

Nope, not I. Find somebody else to love you.

I writhe down the pole in an awesome finishing move that has my knees bent and my body lying backwards with one arm over my head and my hair splayed on the floor—not even having broken a sweat. When the music dies, I rise to my knees and then to my feet before sauntering to the stairs. There is no applause, but I can clearly hear the murmurings of the crowd—some talking about how sultry the dance was while others asked who I am. They must not be the regulars.

“That’s Golden,” I hear someone say. “She’s a Domme and she damn near owns the place.”

“Well, I never heard of her,” another says.

“You must be new, then,” the first guy says. “She’s extremely exclusive. They’ll blackball you if you do something to piss her off.”

“Your client is ready in room three, ma’am,” Zane says to me as he helps me off the stage. I can’t hear the conversation anymore as I descend the stairs and thank him, but I hear the end of it.

“If she’s here, she’s going to be in one of the exhibition rooms. Come on, get ready for the show of your life.”

That’s right, boys. Golden is here in full effect and now, I have fresh meat to impress. It’s not that I’m looking for any more clients, but I just adore performing for Golden virgins.

Thornton is into humiliation. That’s just what I need tonight. It’s like somebody somewhere knew that I needed to remember who Golden is and what she does. I open the door to the exhibition room and there he is, standing in the corner with his back to me. He’s only wearing his pants, and he’s not allowed to look at me without my permission.

I remove my corded whip from the wall and, dragging it on the ground behind me, skillfully approach my subject.

“Hello, Thornton…

*-*

Last night was perfect. I stretched my Golden legs—and my Golden whip—and I am back! Not that I went anywhere in the first place, I just needed to remind myself who I was. All this kinda touchy-feely shit had me out of touch for a moment.

I don’t answer any of Trey’s calls or texts, which aren’t as frequent as they were at the beginning of the week when I first returned those garish gold lips that he sent me. Those things were horrendous. What the hell did he expect me to do with those?

What’s more, he knows that I know exactly what they were all about. He had as many questions about the kiss as Kevin did… as I did… and I answered them. It was a mistake. It was temporary insanity and it won’t happen again. I told him that and when I feel like he finally understands that, then I’ll answer his fucking texts.

I made sure to tell my clients in the Lincoln lawsuit that she came by in an attempt to settle, but that she wasn’t apologetic, which means that her offer would have been laughable had I listened. They agreed with me that we should take it to court if she doesn’t admit fault and try to make it right.

Make it right. That’s hilarious to me. Each of these women knows that they’re taking this woman for a ride. Maybe one or two of them might have suffered the real heebie-jeebies. The rest are just on the bandwagon for the buck. I’m usually not the slimy lawyer, but in this case, I don’t care. Blondie took the gloves off on me a long time ago, and since I’m so damn ethical in everything else that I do, I don’t mind being the corrupt attorney this time. Not one bit.

It’s just what she deserves.

True to my word, I agree to fix dinner for Kevin on Friday. I get the feeling that I may have to squash his hopes for l’amour as he’s convinced that Trey is breaking me down. Dinner may not be the best idea under the circumstances, but as a friend, I promised. And as a woman and a Domme, I know that if I back out, I’ll be feeding his idea that I’ve been weakened and I’m afraid to be alone with him.

As usual, I can’t find what I need in my area, so I visit the grocery in my old neighborhood and hope to God that the Jake-radar isn’t alerted that I’m in the area. I manage to avoid seeing Jake, but I should have known that I wouldn’t leave this area unscathed.

“Ana?”

I turn to the voice that called my name. It had to happen. At some point, it had to happen. First, Richard in the courthouse; then Jake at the restaurant… and the grocery… and the café. Now, this.

I sigh heavily as I look into the face of my cousin, Tracy. Of course. It had to happen. I raise my eyebrow at her as if to ask, “What the fuck do you want?” but she totally ignores the gesture.

“Wow,” she says as she closes the space between us. “You look really good. You haven’t changed one bit.” I’m a little taken aback by the compliment.

“Thank you,” I reply, trying to appear unmoved.

“I haven’t seen you in years. Have you moved back to these parts?” she asks.

“No,” I reply. “I… needed some ingredients that I can’t find in my neighborhood.” She twists her lips.

“Well, I know what you mean about that,” she says, looking over her shoulder as if looking for someone. “I’m not living around here either anymore, but Mom needs a few things, so…” She trails off. Figures. Why couldn’t Sheila’s lazy ass husband come and get what she needed? He can track me down and chase me around the city. How about you tend to your ailing wife and leave me the hell alone! God, I want to be a total bitch, but…

“I heard about Sheila,” I say. “I’m sorry.” Tracy frowns a bit and just as she’s about to speak…

“Baby, they’re out of cumin. We may have to see if we can find it somewhere else. I know the exotic spice stand at the Mar… Oh, I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to interrupt.”

The gentleman who joins us is a handsome, older man, distinguished looking and well-built. He’s pushing a grocery cart with a child in the seat, maybe two or three years old. Another little girl is latched to his hand, six or seven years old.

“Ana, this is my husband, Lance. Lance, this is Ana, my cousin.”

Lance’s eyebrow rises in obvious surprise. Yeah, yeah, I’m white, so what?

“Ana, yes,” he says with a sincere smile. “Tracy has mentioned you. I’m glad you reconnected.”

Reconnected? Mentioned me? What the hell?

Not in a public grocery, Ana. Don’t make a goddamn scene, and definitely not in front of children.

“It’s nice to meet you, Lance,” I say, trying not to sound stiff. Noticing my discomfort, Lance turns back to his wife.

“I’ll go pay for these and meet you outside, okay?” he says. Tracy smiles and nods as he leans down and kisses her on the cheek. He turns a half-smile to me. “Ana, hope to see you around.”

“Thank you, Lance. Take care,” I say, trying not to be rude. When he’s out of earshot, Tracy turns her attention back to me.

“Ana, what did you mean by that,” she asks, “when you said you’re sorry about Mom? What did you hear about Mom?” I try not to frown at her. Is she in denial? What the hell?

“That she has cancer and she’s dying,” I reply, stating the obvious. Tracy frowns at me like I have no idea what I’m talking about. I soon find out that I don’t.

“Mom’s not dying,” she says, her frown burrowed deeply. “Dad is.”

I know I must look like I’ve seen aliens. Richard’s dying, not Sheila. Why would he say it was the other way around? What would be the purpose of that?

“I…” I’m at a loss for words, something that doesn’t happen often. I quickly find myself and lean on my attorney instincts instead of the diplomacy I can’t seem to locate when I’m dealing with this family. “I… was misinformed,” I excuse. “I was told that Sheila was the one who had cancer—stage four, in fact.”

“Well, someone must have gotten their facts confused,” Tracy retorts, a slight bit of anger hidden in her words. “My father’s dying, not my mother. We’re not quite sure how much time he has left.” I sigh a bit inwardly. I hate being made to look like a fool and I won’t apologize because Richard lied to me.

“I should be going, Tracy,” I say turning to leave. “Take care of yourself, okay?” I can’t tell her that I’m sorry to hear about Richard, because I’m not. As cold as it sounds, I’m not sorry in the least that he’s dying.

“Ana, wait,” she says as she falls in step behind me. “If losing someone shows us anything, it shows us that we should hold on to who we have left. Don’t be a stranger.”

Oh, God, I almost want to gag. Give me a fucking break. This is your first experience with loss, girlie, and you’re an adult. I lost my Mommy and Daddy almost 23 years ago and I was a child—an innocent, forsaken, isolated child with nothing and no one. Who the fuck held on to me? As long as I wasn’t a burden or a disgrace, I could stay tucked away in the corner, but as soon as I brought any attention to myself—even slight attention—I got abandoned, so I’d rather not hear about holding on to who we have left, because nobody bothered holding on to me!

“You take care, Tracy,” I say, my voice cold, before leaving her and my groceries in the store.

I walk to my car as quickly as I can. I don’t have Jesse with me as I sent him home already. I kind of wish he had been with me. Maybe Her Fucking Majesty wouldn’t have approached me. Fuck! I left my groceries in the store. I’ll just wait until I see her leave, then I’ll go back and get them.

I wait almost forever before she finally leaves, then I run back in and retrieve my basket, grateful that all my things are still there. As I’m paying for my items at the cashier, my phone rings.

“Yes, Blake,” I answer.

“Ma’am, you have a visitor.” He’s calling me ma’am. That means someone is in his face.

“Kevin? He’s extremely early,” I say, looking at my watch.

“His name isn’t Kevin, ma’am,” he says coolly. I frown as I place my bags back in my basket.

“Is it Trey?” I reply, my voice just as cold.

“No, ma’am,” he replies, “but he refuses to leave without speaking to you. I can remove him if you like.”

“Who the hell is it, Blake?” I ask, irritated.

“He says his name is Steele, ma’am.” Steele. Did that fucker come to my house? Did Tracy say something to him? “His name isn’t Richard, ma’am, but it is Steele.”

Steele. Not Richard. Who the hell is at my house?

“I’m on my way home,” I say as I load the groceries into my Range Rover, “but I’m quite a ways away.”

“Would you like for us to wait for you, ma’am?” he asks.

“I want to know who the fuck this guy is,” I exclaim, climbing into the car.

“We will wait for you,” he says flatly.

“It could take me quite some time…”

“We. Will. Wait. For you,” he says finitely. I pause for a moment.

“Very well,” I say as I start the car and end the call. Now, this is what that statement really means:

Some guy shows up at my front door and got my “butler,” who informs him that I’m not there. From the way Blake is speaking, this guy has pushed himself into my house, at which time, he made some kind of demand that Blake get me back home, stating that he’s not leaving until I’m there. Blake can easily, and legally, put this man out on my doorstep—in pieces, if necessary—but he won’t do it without my permission. He won’t even touch the guy.

When Blake came to call me, this fucker followed him to the phone, which means he took great liberties walking through my house. In my mind’s eye, I can see Blake’s scalp boiling during this encounter, but he won’t let it be seen. When he first spoke to me, he indicated that someone was at the house, and let me guide the conversation from there.

Someone’s there.
Not Kevin.
Not Trey.
He won’t leave. Blake offers to remove him.

I have another idea. I want to know who the fuck he is.

Steele. Not Richard, but Steele. Now I really want to know who the fuck he is.

At this point, the rules have changed because Blake can’t afford to let him leave. We both need to know who this fucker is. This means that if Blake has to break his legs and tie him to a chair, they’re going to wait for me.

I drive home as quickly as I can, from several miles away, in rush hour traffic… which means it’s still taking a long time to get home. It could be my other cousin—Tracy’s brother—I can’t even remember his fucking name right now. He wouldn’t come to my house like that… would he?

I leave all my groceries in the car and dash to the stairs to find out what’s going on. I burst through my front door and I see a stranger—a black man—standing there playing “slaps” with Blake… or at least that’s what it looks like. He keeps trying to get a hit in—a shove, a slap, something—and Blake just keeps forcibly pushing his hand away. Blake is clearly blocking his escape, so I’m assuming that sometime during the wait, our guest decided that he didn’t want to stay, probably once he realized that he wasn’t going to get the free reign of the house that he enjoyed while Blake was calling me.

“What the hell is this?” I ask, bemused.

“Well, it’s about time you got here!” the stranger says, no longer sparring with Blake. I’m taken aback by his boldness.

“I was unaware that I was on a clock,” I retort, folding my arms.

“Well, I’ve been waiting for you for a while,” he shoots, moving to close the space between us. Blake steps in front of him and he huffs impatiently. “Dammit, she’s here now! Can you move outta my way now?”

“You said you wanted me,” I say folding my arms. “You wanted me to drop what I was doing and come all the way home from clean on the other side of the bridge. You’re lucky I was on my way home or you might be standing here playing “slaps” for another couple of hours. Now, here I am. What do you want?”

“I want you to call off your damn dog!” he says, unsuccessfully trying to get around Blake.

“Well, you see, we don’t know who you are or why you’re here, so it’s not very likely that he’s going to heel,” I informed our visitor.

“He’s holding me against my will,” he says. I scoff.

“You show up at my home, demanding to see me and refusing to leave until you do. I’m sure my butler didn’t invite you in because he asked me if he could remove your ass. I’m also sure that you followed him around my house without permission because I could tell by the way he was talking when he called me. Now, you want to say that he held you against your will? Make up your fucking mind!”

He’s shocked that I most likely called him on exactly what happened in my home before I got there. He’s nervous at first, but he recovers very quickly.

He has ammo.

“You’re gonna want to hear what I have to say,” he says cockily. I put my hand on Blake’s shoulder, signaling him to stand down.

“Don’t go anywhere,” I request. He nods and takes a step back. “Make it quick,” I say to my now unwanted visitor. He smirks and looks around.

“Nice digs,” he says. “Nice house in an affluent neighborhood, butler, late model Range Rover. Seems my dad’s money set you up real nice.” I frown.

“Your dad’s money?” I say, shaking my head. Is he the son of one of my clients? I only have two black clients, and I would have fucking remembered if either of them was named Steele. He smiles fiendishly.

“I should say our dad,” he oozes, “even though he really wasn’t your dad.”

Our dad? What the hell? Dad? Dad? Daddy?

“What the fuck are you talking about?” I nearly growl.

“I’m talking about Raymond Steele!” he hisses. “The asshole who got my mother pregnant and left us to rot!”

I sincerely feel like somebody hit me in the chest with a sledgehammer. Nobody has ever said a harsh word to me about my father. My defenses are down, and I don’t know how to react.

“How… did you find out about me… where I live?” I stutter. He scoffs disbelieving.

“I just told you that your so-called father—even though he’s not really your father—deserted me and my mother and all you want to know if how I found out where you live? Are you for real?”

I don’t respond. I don’t know how. I don’t know who this man is or even if he’s who the fuck he says he is, but I don’t have shit to say to him until he tells me how…

Uncle Richard told me where you were,” he says disdainfully, and I can easily tell that he has about as much love for Richard as I do.

“Richard?” I hiss, finding my words. “Richard told you where to find me?”

“Don’t worry your pretty little head, Buffy,” he sneers. “He didn’t know anything about me either. Seems Dear Old Dad just hoped I would disappear.”

I narrow my eyes at this fucker. I’m beginning to hate him more and more. He doesn’t look anything like my father, and I don’t believe a word he’s saying.

“How do I know you’re even who you claim to be?” I seethe angrily. “You don’t look like any of the Steeles to me and my father is not here to defend himself.”

“Well, I have plenty of pictures of my father and my mother together before you were even born! So, even though you may not know who your daddy is, I know who mine is.”

He has no idea how much of a gift he just gave me. The fact that his mother and my father may have been together before I was born means that Daddy didn’t cheat on Mommy.

“Well, whatever your name is…”

Reynard,” he hisses, “but you can call me Ray,” he adds with a sinister smile. The hell I am.

“Well, Reynard,” I spit with all the venom I can muster, “I know who my daddy is because his name is on my birth certificate and my maiden name is Steele.”

“The fuck you say!” he barks. “Richard told me you were adopted!”

“I gives a fuck what Richard told you!” I bark back. “Check vital records, mothafucka, you’ll see my name is Steele. Now, why the fuck are you in my house?”

“I came to claim my share of my father’s money—whatever he left you. I’m entitled to half of it, because he was my father, too.” Now, I laugh loudly.

“Is that what this is about?” I cackle. “Money? Boy, did you come to the wrong place. Daddy was a great man. He was known and loved by many people, but he certainly wasn’t rich.”

“You’re living awfully comfortably, Ana, so Daddums must’ve left you something!” he accuses.

“Well, whatever you think Daddy left me, you better go harass Uncle Richard before he kicks the bucket. Whatever I may have had, Richard took for those couple of years he took care of me—right before he abandoned me. Everything you see here is mine! I worked for it; I paid for it; I own it. So, if you came here looking for a payout, you came to the wrong place, asshole, cuz I have nothing for you.”

He needs to recoil a bit. He sees how Richard lives, and he sees how I live. In his mind, with all the wealth that he’s seeing, there’s no way that after all this time, Daddy didn’t have something that he left behind that this jerk could lay claim to.

“I’m going to drag him through the mud,” he says calmly. “I can see that you love him very much, and I’m going to soil his name so badly that there’ll be no recovering from it. I’m going to tell everybody who’ll listen that Ray Steele had a little Steele that he left to die because his mother wasn’t white and the black baby that he made wasn’t good enough to have a decent life!”

Does it always come down to this? Does it always come down to the black world hating me because a black man wanted me as a daughter? Because a black boy wanted me as a girlfriend? Because another black man is attracted to me? Because I’m white? Is that why Richard deserted me? I’m, once again, extremely angry.

“You slime-sucking piece of shit!” I declare. “You haven’t asked how he died or even where he’s buried. You just show up on my doorstep looking for a damn handout from a man who’s been dead for over twenty years, and you have no fucking idea who he even was!”

“I may not know, but according to you, quite a few people do,” he taunts. I scoff.

“Who do you think he was, the fucking mayor?” I ask. “My father was a Seattle cop. He was loved by everybody who knew him, but he was still just a Seattle cop. You’re just another illegitimate child from somebody’s past, buddy. Nobody’s going to give a fuck about you. I knew my father. I’m sorry for you that you didn’t get a chance to, but I knew my father and he was a wonderful, kind, and generous man. And believe me when I say that nothing you can say now or ever will change that in my eyes or in the eyes of anybody who ever knew him. And you may want to be careful who you go spouting your bullshit to, because you don’t have any proof, and if you go spouting it to the wrong people, they may just squash like the insignificant little bug that you are!”

“I thought you said he was nobody,” he nearly growls.

“I didn’t say he was nobody,” I say. “I said he was a Seattle cop. I also said that he was loved by everybody who knew—in so many words. So, go ahead, do your worst, Reynard, because you’re not going to get a fucking dime from me. Now, get the fuck out of my house.”

“Oh,” he says, folding his arms. “When I wanted to leave, this fucker wouldn’t let me go. Now, I’m supposed to leave because you said so?”

“Yes, sir,” Blake says, stepping between me and Reynard. “Allow me to show you out.”

Reynard stands there looking at him for a moment, a bit incredulously.

“Man, get the fuck outta my way,” he says, moving to brush Blake aside. In less than three seconds, this asshole is pressed against the wall, his arms pinned in a mummy-like pose in one of Blake’s hands with Blake’s other forearm under his chin and precariously close to his neck.

“We’ve played this game already, sir,” Blake says calmly. “Would you like to move to level two?” Reynard struggles a bit against Blake.

“Get the fuck off me, man!” he threatens.

“I’m taking that as a yes, sir,” he says, and I can see him press his arm further against Reynard’s throat. “So that there’s no misunderstanding, I’ll ask again, sir. Would you like to continue this game, or would you like to leave?”

Blake hasn’t broken a sweat, hasn’t raised his voice. Reynard, on the other hand is looking a little pale.

Is he choking him to death?

“I’ll leave,” he squeaks out. Yeah, he was choking him to death!

Blake releases Reynard and shoves him in the direction of the door.

“You haven’t seen the last of me, cracker bitch!” he seethes rubbing his neck.

“For your sake, you better hope I have, you fucking bastard!” I retort. “I’m strapped and I’ll pop a cap in ya ass if you show up at my door again. Then, I’ll give what’s left of you to him and my bodyguard. They’ll need dental records to identify you.”

Reynard’s eyes pierce and he looks at me like a Martian. Blake forcefully shoves him out the door that he opened behind Reynard, who stumbles onto the porch and nearly down the stairs.

“Have a good night, sir,” he says, slamming the door behind him and immediately turning to me.

“Mistress?”

“Another… child,” I pant, putting my hand on my forehead, my adrenaline immediately dropping. “A brother… Daddy… couldn’t have known. He… never would have left…” I crumble to my knees and Blake catches me.

“Mistress…”

“I need… I need to speak to him…” He owes me an explanation. He doesn’t owe me any fucking thing else, but he owes me an explanation.

“Maybe you should rest first, Mistress…”

“I need to talk to him!” I shriek. Blake pauses for a moment, then helps me to the parlor and sits me on the sofa. I’m nearly hyperventilating when several moments later, I hear him dial the phone.

“Is this Richard Steele?” he pauses. “One moment please, sir.” He hands me the phone.

“How!?” I scream. “How could you send that fucker to my home?”

“Anastasia?” he asks, surprised.

“You know who the fuck this is!” I shriek through my tears. “How the fuck could you send that sonofabitch to my home?!” I hear him sigh.

“I’m sorry about this, Ana…”

“Is he my brother?” I scream. “Dammit, is he my father’s son?”

“I don’t know,” he says. “I know Ray was seeing his mother years before he met Carla, but I never knew or heard anything about a child.”

“His name is Steele!” I accuse. “How could you not know?”

“What? His name is not Steele. It’s Stamper.” Well, he knows that much.

“How the fuck do you know?” I say through my tears. I hear him sigh.

“Ana, must you curse in every statement you make to me?”

“How the fuck do you know?!” I scream. He pauses, then begins to speak again.

“He came to me a little while back. I had him checked out.” Wha…?

“A little while back,” I squeak incredulously. “A little while…” How long ago? It doesn’t matter. It was long enough to have him checked out.

“I tried to tell you,” he says calmly.

“Like hell, you tried!” I shoot. “You came to me with bullshit, each time trying to get me to bow or give in and listen to your sob stories about why I should forgive you for deserting me. You remember how you callously blurted out that lie that Aunt Sheila was dying, hoping to get a reaction out of me? Well, you should have blurted out the truth instead—that I possibly have a psychotic half-brother looking for me trying to get some of my dead dad’s non-existent money!”

“I wasn’t sure…” he interjects.

“But you knew!” I interrupt, sobbing. “You knew he was vindictive and spiteful. That’s why you had him checked out! You knew Dad didn’t have anything, and if he did, I never got it. You knew that! Why didn’t you tell him that instead of leading him right to my front door? You couldn’t do right by me if your fucking life depended on it! You ditched me when I was 15 and now, I’m 32 and given the second chance, you still threw me to the dogs. And you have the nerve to say that my father would be ashamed of me? Old man, if Daddy was here right now, he’d have you bound, gagged, and publicly flogged in the middle of the Marketplace. Then, he’d shoot you in the knees with his service revolver!”

“Don’t say that about my brother!” he says, threatening.

“I’m not saying that about your brother! I’m saying that about you, you miserable fuck!” I scream. “You’re a wretched excuse for a human being, and I hope you die a miserable fucking death!” I hiss.

“Well, apparently, God agrees with you,” he laments, “because it’s not your Aunt Sheila that’s dying from cancer. It’s me. Stage four metastatic melanoma—the baldness isn’t a fashion statement.”

“You’re late with that news, too, Unc! I already knew. You’re coming into court looking like hell and ill-prepared, having the judge question my ethics and motives—you need to go the fuck home and die!” I curse him.

“Do you really hate me?” he asks, and he sounds a little remorseful. “Do you really hate me that much, Anastasia?”

“With the disdain of a thousand plagues,” I growl. “My only regret at this point was that I wasn’t able to watch you rot! I did everything in my power to forget that you abandoned me! That you left me to die or to be a statistic and I was determined not to let that happen. And I survived! I survived and I succeeded despite what you did to me! And you have a hissy fit because I won’t run into your arms for a warm embrace after seventeen years? And we only met by accident? After all the pain and disappointment you’ve already caused me, you unleash that vermin on me? Lead him right to my fucking door? You are the worst form of subhuman I’ve ever known in my life and I have no idea how a kind, gentle, noble and loving man like Raymond Steele could have ever been related to you. I hope your last days are agonizingly, painfully miserable and I can only hope and pray that on your way to your eternal afterlife, you get one last glimpse of my father so that he can tell you just what a rotten, miserable asshole you really are right before he throws your ass off a cliff to rot in hell!”

I slam the receiver down onto the carriage, heaving with sobs so uncontrollable that I can barely breathe.

“Ana?”

I whizz around to see Kevin standing in the door of my parlor staring at me. Shit. I forgot about our dinner.

“I… I don’t think… I…” My sobbing is so heavy that I can’t get my words out. Nothing on this earth ever upsets me like things that have to do with my parents. Nothing! Now this asshole shows up opening old wounds, looking for money that Daddy never even had. I sink to the floor, my knees unable to hold me up anymore. What is it about the Steele bloodline? Had it just produced a bunch of leeches and monsters with my daddy being the only good egg? Was Daddy like this and I just didn’t know it?

Of course not!

Daddy loved Mommy endlessly, and he showed it all the time. He was a wonderful father to me, and I have nothing but good memories of him. He adopted me and gave me his name. He didn’t have to do that. He married Mommy—that would have been enough for me, but no. He went all the way. He loved me. And he was a good man… a really good man, and I’m not going to let some possible hateful offspring from a relationship—probably even a one-night stand—before he met my mother or some judgmental, heartless asshole of an uncle change my opinion of him.

But to have them spit on his memory like this hurt so badly that I can barely think or breathe. I feel Kevin lift me off the floor and I’m back on the sofa again, weeping in his arms. When did he get here? Did Blake let him in? Where’s Blake?

“Ssshh, ssshh, shh,” he says, rubbing my arms. “Calm down. You’re going to pass out.”

Blake comes in with a glass of water, but I can’t drink anything right now. I can’t even think…

*-*

“So, do you think he’s really… your father’s son?” Kevin says, still sitting on the sofa with me and stroking my arm once I’ve finally calmed down. Blake has retrieved the groceries from the car and prepared some hors d’oeuvres since I was in no condition to cook.

“I don’t know,” I say, my head swimming. “My wretched uncle says he did some kind of background check on him. I’ll do one, too. His name isn’t Steele. I don’t know if he’s really an illegitimate child or just an extortionist.”

“What if he is your dad’s child?” he asks.

“What if he is?” I repeat. “He better go get to know Aunt Sheila and their crew, because he doesn’t mean a damn thing to me. He comes barging in here, asking for money, not even asking about Daddy…”

“Okay, okay,” he says. “I don’t want you to get upset again.” He rubs my arms and I sigh.

“Kevin, what do you think this means?” I ask.

“What what means?” he says.

“This,” I say, gesturing around us. “All this. What do you think this means?” He sighs.

“It means that we’re friends,” he says. “You told me that we’re friends, and I’m okay with us being friends. But I saw you at two very vulnerable moments, which lets me know that you’re not as untouchable and unmovable as you always pretended to be.”

“Kevin…” I protest.

“Do I expect you to change? No,” he interrupts. “What does this mean? It doesn’t mean anything. As long as you are who you are and you gotta do what you gotta do, I’m okay being your friend—but if things ever change, and you need something different in your life… just know that my hat is in the ring.”

“There is no ring, Kevin,” I tell him, slightly frustrated.

“And yet, I’m here,” he says, gently caressing my arm. “If there ever is a ring, my hat is in it.” I shake my head. Give it up, Sheardon. It’s never going to happen.

“This is going to change things between us, Kevin,” I say, sadly.

“I’m a big boy, Ana,” he says. “This changes nothing between us… unless you can’t deal with it.”

I shake my head and pop some cheese into my mouth. A few moments later, Blake comes into the parlor.

“Mistress, I really hate to disturb you, but you have another guest.”

What is this, Grand fucking Central Station?


A/N: The Pinterest board for this story can be found at https://www.pinterest.com/ladeeceo/fifty-shades-golden/.

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

Fifty Shades Golden: Chapter 17

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.

Explicit details of sex and BDSM scenes from here on out. Some may be hot while others may not be to your taste… and not necessary CG with Ana together. Proceed at your own discretion, but don’t say that I didn’t warn you.

This ain’t your everyday Christian and Ana story. Don’t expect anything. Just read it as it goes along or go away. 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 new saga continues…

Chapter 17

Briana Evigan Ch 17

GOLDEN

“Whoa!”

I’m stunned into silence when I step into my living room. I know who this is from—it could only be one person, but I haven’t seen him in nearly three weeks. Is that why he’s sending me tribute?

“This is incredible,” I say, examining the gift. It’s a near life-sized golden statue… of me! I’m naked with a cloth of some kind covering my breasts and vagina. My ass is perfect! It’s reminiscent of the statue of Aphrodite and I’m wondering how he commissioned it without me being present. How could he describe my ass so perfectly that an artist could mimic it without a picture, because I know there are no pictures of my ass anywhere.

“It’s a good likeness, Mistress,” Blake says, examining the sculpture and never taking his eyes off the face. “He’s very fond of you.”

I look over at him, then back at the statue.

“Is it real?” I ask, touching the cloth covering my private areas. Blake touches the hand that’s covering my breast.

“It’s gold fiberglass, Mistress. Generic pieces like this cost upward of two or three thousand dollars. Custom pieces very likely cost two to three times that much.”

“What brought this on?” I wonder aloud. We haven’t had a scene in weeks—since he was arrested.

“Like I said, he’s very fond of you, Mistress,” Blake says, raising an eyebrow before leaving the room. I twist my lips and shake my head at him before turning my attention back to the statue. It’s exquisite. Honestly, these are the two things he’s had in his face more often than not—my face and my ass—so I guess I shouldn’t be surprised that he can describe them from memory. That’s not creepy at all… right?

“Can we get it out of the living room please?”

*-*

When I get to my office, I’m greeted by an unwelcome visitor. If I cared at all, I’d be concerned that he looks tired—haggard is more accurate. His face is sunken in a bit and he’s pale… and his lips are dry.

“I told you not to come back here,” I say, walking past him and into my office.

“Ana, if you’ll just give me a minute…” Richard begins.

“I don’t have a minute for you, Richard,” I say, spinning around to glare at him. “I had 17 years—time’s up!” I look over at Jesse. “Get him out of my office.” I slam the door to my back office and wait for them to tell me he’s gone. I sit down at my desk and pretend that my estranged uncle didn’t just infringe on my personal time and professional space yet again. My phone buzzes with a text as my computer is firing up.

**Good morning, M. I hope my gift arrived safely. **

It’s from Trey. As we have no protocol for texting, I’m grateful that he only refers to me as M instead of Mistress.

**It did. It’s beautiful, and a bit overwhelming. **

**Too big? **

**Too precise. **

**You are unforgettable, M. **

I’ll just bet I am. His next text is almost immediate.

**I was hoping to get some time this week. The sooner the better. Is there anywhere that you can fit me in? **

I smile. How droll, Trey.

**Tomorrow night, about 7pm. **

I could fit him in tonight, but why make it that easy for him?

**Thank you, M. I’ll see you then. **

I don’t know what took so long to get rid of Uncle Richard, but Chanelle finally comes in several minutes later as I’m well into planning my week.

“He doesn’t look well,” she says, handing me a small stack of papers.

“His wife is dying,” I say unconcerned. “He’s probably exhausted.”

“Well, he looks like he’s about to go into the grave behind her,” Chanelle observes. I raise my eyes to her.

“A little less concern for the man who deserted me at 15, please,” I say, matter-of-factly. She raises her hands in defense.

“My bad,” she says, also matter-of-factly. “You should look at the meetings for today, particularly the tentative one set for 2pm.” She turns around and leaves the office without another word.

Two PM… Elena Lincoln and Carver Mason, Esq. What does she think she could possibly have to say that I would want to hear? This isn’t divorce court, bitch. We’re not negotiating terms. I want your ass. The clients can have whatever little money you have left.

“Chanelle, you can confirm that 2 o’clock.”

This is gonna be fun.

*-*

“This is a fishing expedition and you know it,” Mason says. “The health department cleared Mrs. Lincoln. There was no infestation of bed bugs on any of the properties.”

“Then why did she pay for the fumigation and cleaning of three residences?” I ask. “Money to burn, Mrs. Lincoln?” She jeers at me.

“That was damage control,” she hisses. “I didn’t want it to get to this point where ambulance chasers and opportunists would try to capitalize on my misfortune.” Her attorney puts his hand on her forearm. Yes, Mrs. Lincoln, you’re attempting to negotiate, so insulting the opposition isn’t a good idea. I laugh aloud.

“No, Mrs. Lincoln, that’s not damage control. Damage control would have been making an announcement that this was a mistake or even that someone was out to get you, as you so verbosely claimed to all the wrong people. This was hush money.”

“This was no such thing!” she exclaims. “This was more like extortion!”

“All the more reason for you to go public with ‘the truth,’” I say, making the finger quotes around the last two words. “You’re so busy running around pointing fingers at all the wrong people that the people who are or may be responsible for your misfortune are all getting away with it. The truth is buried so deeply under your mess of lies and deceit that nobody knows when to believe you. Every time you’re in the public eye, forth comes a lie. So, what is anybody supposed to believe when you open your mouth?” I clasp my hands on the desk in front of me. “You seem to be healing very well, Mrs. Lincoln,” I taunt. “I truly hope they catch your assailant very soon.” Her eyes narrow.

“If we could stick to the matter at hand,” Mason says.

“Oh, we are,” I say, turning my attention back to her attorney. “You should already know that aside from the facts, credibility is the foundation of any punitive lawsuit, and the credibility of your client is being questioned all over the media since she fingered one of Seattle’s most prestigious citizens as her attacker. Coincidentally, her husband disappeared the same night she was attacked and was discovered lying on a beach in the Bahamas sunning with a few beauties that weren’t his wife and recuperating from battle scars reminiscent of an assault. So, unless they were blindfolded and attacked at the same time in the same place, causing his blood and DNA to be splashed on her body and under her nails, she’s a liar! And when they choose the jury for this case, the assault case and the details surrounding it will have played out all over the press. So, if you’ll allow me to be frank, no one’s going to buy that poor little rich girl victim role that she’s playing right now.

“And you can insult me until the sun goes down, but the bottom line is that this lawsuit doesn’t belong to me—it belongs to the clients. So, go ahead and hurt my wittle feewings and think you can chase me off the case. They’ll just get another ambulance chaser to pick it up. You set a precedent by agreeing to clean out and fumigate those other people’s houses and not asking for the records to be sealed. Now, unless you’re coming to me with a settlement that’s going to satisfy the six clients in this class action lawsuit, a jury is going to decide if you are responsible for their discomfort.”

“This entire thing is ridiculous, and you know it! You know it!” she screeches.

“All I know is that you’re untrustworthy,” I reply. “You’re conniving, you’re violent, and you’re a liar. You tried to pin this mess on me and I had no idea any of this was going on until well after the fact. You assault a highly respected businessman in his office, and then have him arrested for assaulting you when he was nowhere near you that night. You will use any means necessary to get what you want, and it doesn’t matter who gets hurt in the process, then you turn around and have a temper tantrum when people don’t roll over for you…”

“There’s clearly a conflict of interest here,” Mason interrupts. “You two obviously have history.”

“Your point, sir?” I ask. “What gave it away? The fact that you were fine with her calling me an ambulance chaser a minute ago, or the fact that I know intimate details about her life?”

“I know intimate details about your life, too,” she seethes. I raise a brow at her.

“Don’t be too careless with your threats, Mrs. Lincoln,” I say calmly, “or being thrown out of fundraisers is going to be the least of your worries.”

“What is she talking about?” Mason whispers to Elena.

“I’ll tell you what she’s talking about,” I say, turning to Mason as Elena’s skin pales. “We were at a fundraiser a while back with several key individuals in the city and state when Blondie here decides that she wanted to spread some very unpretty stories about me. Subsequently, her frosted husband came onto me very strongly on the smoker’s balcony requiring my bodyguard to intervene and subdue him. When security and aforementioned key individuals heard about their behavior and activities that evening, they were both ejected from the premises. Now, she wants to exploit the fact that she has details of my personal life like she can’t be destroyed with the twitch of a little finger.”

“Now, that sounds very much like a threat, Ms. Olivet,” Mason scolds.

“I didn’t say my finger,” I say throwing a glance at him. “Do you want to tell him, Blondie?” I jeer. “Do you want to tell him exactly what he’s getting into?”

Her hands are clasped so tightly in her lap that her knuckles are white, and I think I hear her teeth gritting. Why does this woman insist on crossing me when she knows she’ll never win?

“A word of advice, Mr. Mason. Stick to the case and only to the case, because if she opens that Pandora’s Box that she keeps hinting at, she’s going down…” I stand up and lean over my desk. “… And she’s gonna take you with her.” I look over at Blondie, who now has a sheen of sweat forming on her brow. I get the feeling that someone has already talked to her… or maybe she’s having flashbacks of her conversation with Blake.

“As you well know, this isn’t a criminal case,” I say to Mason. “She could have been personally responsible for the death of my parents and I could still represent my clients in suing her,” I inform him with a smile. I straighten my body and stand up.

“This conversation is over. This meeting is an obvious attempt to persuade me to drop the case, which isn’t going to happen, and since I don’t see an offer on the table for a settlement, you two can leave now. Jesse?” Jesse moves forward.

“Mrs. Lincoln, Mr. Mason, if you please?” He holds out his arm gesturing to the door.

“You are the epitome of the slimy lawyer,” Blondie says. “You’re exploiting a situation that has no foundation based on the rumor mill. You’re destroying my life based on hearsay and not fact. You’re despicable!”

I can’t argue with her, because when it comes to her and this case, she’s right. After all, I fed on the fears of a few and created a case that wasn’t there.

“If that’s true, then you’re in like company, because it’s no slimier than openly planning someone’s demise or having someone falsely arrested and thrown in jail.” I turn to Mason. “On your way out, sir, please educate your client on the exact moment that a visit becomes trespassing. She apparently didn’t believe me the last time she was thrown off my property.” Mason’s pupils constrict, and he proceeds to stand.

“We’re done here, Mrs. Lincoln,” he says, glaring at me. I see the challenge in his eyes. Bring it on, Esquire.

“And Mr. Mason?” I fold my arms. “I’m well acquainted with that look. Do some thorough homework before you throw down gauntlets.” I play legal, but I don’t play fair. His gaze sharpens, but he says nothing as Blondie turns angrily on her heels and marches out of the office with Mason right behind her.

“This looks like it’s going to be a fight to the death,” Jesse says when he comes back into the office.

“No, it’s not,” I reply. “She’s got bigger fish to fry. Caldwell Lincoln is being extradited back to the states, so she’s got to contend with the false arrest of Christian Grey and then the trial of her and her husband which will most likely end in a very costly divorce. Once that’s said and done, there won’t be much left to pick from for my clients and by that time, everybody is going to be willing to settle, Lincoln most of all. Not my first time at the rodeo, Jess,” I say, scrolling through the trending news online.

“How can you be so sure that it’ll work out that way?” he says.

“Because I also failed to mention the criminal charges she’s facing for assaulting Christian Grey, and if I’m reading this correctly, he’s suing the police for his false arrest. Do you think Blondie’s going to get out of that one unscathed? Somebody’s going to hit her with something—charges for a false report, another possible lawsuit from Christian, she could be facing more jail time. I’m just a thorn in her side. Today’s meeting was an attempt to make me go away so that she can tame this veritable wildfire she’s got going on in her life.

“Mason’s got this gleam in his eye because he thinks she has something on me that can really cause me grief. I can live through anything she has on me—that’s why I taunted him to do his homework, because any piece of information on me that he or she can find or reveal will lead to some powerful person somewhere that will have both of their asses on a spit like a pig at a luau.”

127db6638fb571d98b91c53b2c8c1847

I continue to browse through the trending stories on Trey—all the different conspiracy theories, including that he paid the police to tamper with evidence or that he really did assault Elena to get back at her for attacking him last year. There’s even one theory that he’s doing this to set Caldwell Lincoln up for a fall so that he can take over Linc’s lumber interests. The theories range from reaching to utterly ridiculous.

My interest is particularly piqued by a thumbnail of a beautiful woman—Brazilian, I think—looking over her shoulder at one of the cameras. Curious of what she could possibly have to do with Trey, I click the thumbnail. It’s a video with a short blurb underneath it:

Financier and socialite Gisela Serra sears members of the press for presumably incorrect assumptions.

I click the video and watch as Gisela Serra exits a luxury car and heads towards one of Seattle’s posh spas and beauty boutiques. Various reporters are trying to get a statement from her, yelling questions about none other than Christian Grey. At first, she ignores them until someone yells out the magic inquiry.

“We never see him with anybody else but you, Gisela, and only rarely. Is Christian gay?”

That woman stops in her tracks and throws a piercing glare so cold and hateful in the direction of the question that I feel a chill on this side of the computer screen. Jesus Christ! The questions cease, but cameras continue to flash, and I’m sure that expression is going to end up on a gossip rag somewhere if it hasn’t already.

“No!” she barks angrily. “He’s discreet! Discretion does not make one gay, you uncouth sow! Or do you advertise all of your sexual partners?” she chastises in a heavy accent.

The other reporters fall silent and look at the one who answers the question. Gisela breaks into a string of words in another language—I assume it’s Portuguese—which one could easily interpret as curse words from her angered and irritated demeanor. She ends the rant with four words in English before disappearing into the salon.

“Classless, tasteless American reporter!”

Financier. Hmm… is she Trey’s money manager? Why has he only been seen in public with her? And where do people see them? She’s very pretty, and she became seriously pissed when someone suggested that Trey was gay. What’s that all about?

And why do I care so damn much?

I shake my head to rid myself of these useless thoughts of Trey.

“What sounds good for lunch?” I ask Jesse.

*-*

He’s different tonight. He’s receptive—his entire body is alert and anticipating what I’m going to do next. He really loves the whips, I mean really loves the whips. I’m surprised by how much he loves the whips, more than any submi— er, client I’ve ever had. He’s writhing each time the leather makes contact with his skin, but I know ecstasy when I see it. I could stripe his back like the flag and he’d moan and wait for more…

… And I like it… a lot!

I’ve only paid this close attention to his body one other time—the first time I undressed him. His body is still as magnificent as it was then, and now, it’s glistening in sweat and streaked with pink marks from my whip.

Chopper likes any whip. He prefers the single-tailed toys over the multi-tailed on his back, and floggers on his thighs, but he loves the flat paddle so much on his ass that I believe I could make him come from the spanking alone if I could regulate the amount and intensity of the sting.

After a few more blows, it’s time to move to my special chair. It’s an antique dentist’s chair with a few modifications to fit my purposes. The chair is leather and metal, and the armrests not only collapse to allow easier access to my subject, but they’re also equipped with leather restraints—good for immobilizing my clients with their arms straight down to the sides of the chair.

The seat and the footrest have both been widened. The seat allows the client to comfortably spread his legs wider and the footrest is also equipped with restraints and can double as a spreader bar.

Knowing that it may irritate his stripes, I cover my special chair with a memory foam pad and instruct him to have a seat. I bind his wrists to the leather cuffs on the armrests before blindfolding him with a half-folded scarf that drapes gently over his entire face. His breathing quickens in anticipation, his sweat-drenched abs and chest rising and falling quickly. His dick is standing at perfect attention, not ready to blow, but eager for whatever I have in store.

He’s magnificent.

I reach for one of my favorite oils—a special blend of mint and Hinoki oil from my homeopathic apothecary. He adds a special ingredient that gradually warms with friction, but never gets too hot.

I oil both hands with my Hinoki mix and approach my masterpiece, my crop handy to chastise any missteps on his part. I grab that beautiful erection with both hands, squeezing hard and massaging the minty emollient into the skin of his shaft, paying special attention to his balls and head. He’s trying not to squirm in his binds, but I know that the texture of the oil and the pressure of my hands are driving him wild.

Settle down, Chopper. We haven’t even gotten to the fun part yet.

I stroke his entire cock a few times to begin the heating process of the oil as well as for the sheer joy of feeling his stiffness in my hand and watching the oil coat this glorious organ. I love the feeling of the rim of the head against my palm and watching his body jerk with each pass as he fights not to make a sound. His dick isn’t angry and veiny just yet, but it’s getting a fucking good start.

I clasp my hands together and run them repeatedly up and down the top portion of his dick. His thighs tighten and his back arches slightly, and I feel the oil beginning to warm. He’s standing at attention with no assistance from my hand or a cock ring, so I release his dick and do single quick strokes from three-quarters down all the way up and off the head to watch his cock thump and bob with anticipation for me.

It’s showtime.

Using my thumb and forefinger, I begin the torturous process of edging his frenulum. His breathing calms at first, and I’m certain that he thinks he’s getting a reprieve from the stimulation of his cock. It only takes a minute or two for my favorite part of his body to show him just how mistaken he is. The shiny head seeps a tiny offering of precum as his dick begins to pinken and thicken for me. That wide vein pulses a time or two and his balls lift once and drop.

Yeah, it’s alive.

His breathing picks up again and I continue the taunting of his cock. I always imagine what this process feels like. I had one client explain it to me as a pleasurable agony where you ache for more stimulation of your entire shaft while the stimulation of the pleasure point is so intense and repetitive that you nearly can’t stand it. I tried to liken it to getting my clit stimulated, but I don’t think that’s the same. When my clit is stimulated, I may welcome other stimulation like in my ass or my pussy, but the clit stimulation is enough…

… Says the woman who hasn’t fucked in an eternity.

The way I understand it, the frenulum orgasm sneaks up on you. Your body is aching and yearning for more intense stimulation—begging the hand, the tongue, or the mouth to cover more ground—but the dick is in heavenly torment and preparing to give up the fight. The balls are reluctant, also expecting more stimulation to aid in the orgasmic process, but that constant stimulation results in an impulsive and involuntary regurgitation that’s so powerful that the giver may end up hurting themselves—or you—in the process… which is why I tie them down.

Then again, I always tie them down.

This process is so much more fun than a regular hand job, even more fun than a blow job only to the extent that I get to pay close attention to the dick as it changes before my eyes. To me, the dick is the most expressive part of the human body, even more expressive than the face. The face has 43 muscles for expression while the penis doesn’t have any—yet it speaks to me more than smiles, frowns, tears, grimaces, or sneers ever could.

As I watch the skin change from pale to pink, the main vein thicken while the capillaries begin to appear, the girth widen and the head become nearly smooth as glass from the skin stretching taut with arousal, I have to restrain myself from taking it in my mouth and tasting it, running my tongue up the unforgiving vein on the underside, licking the sensitive rim… I’m getting hot just looking at it, but I won’t touch myself. I won’t allow anything to distract me from this beautiful work of art.

“You have the most perfect dick, Chopper,” I say as I watch his shaft lengthen and stiffen at my touch. His breathing becomes choppy under the scarf. As I gently stroke him with just my two fingers, he tries and fails not to match my stroke with long, sensual thrusts, but I don’t care. This is the closest we’ll ever get to fucking, and I’m savoring this moment.

“It’s the most perfect dick I’ve ever seen,” I coo as I use my forefinger and thumb to edge his growing cock… slowly… slowly… He groans sensually under the scarf and I can barely see his gluts tighten with each forward thrust and contract as he pulls his dick between my fingers for maximum friction, as much as you can get from two fingers, but it appears to be working.

“I’ve seen so many beautiful cocks, but none as magnificent and flawless as yours,” I praise. It’s stiff and shiny and has a life of its own when he becomes aroused. He would like to think that he’s in control of his dick, but his dick is clearly in control of him—at least when it’s aroused, it is. It moves to and fro and bobs and throbs without his permission. His balls rise and separate each time my finger caresses his frenulum and drop and retreat each time he pulls his hips back. It’s a beautiful dance, executed by his fantastic nether regions, and he would love to believe that he’s the choreographer, but he’s not. His body does this dance all on its own, without any instruction from him.

His hips begin to rise with more fervor, even though I haven’t changed my stroke. His ass tightens even more to push his cock between my welcoming fingers, to increase the friction of the tease, and the groan in his chest rises an octave or two. I know that he’s close, not only by the instinctive thrusting of his hips, the impressive roll of his eight-pack abs, and the change in the sex sounds emitted from his throat, but also from his uneven breathing pattern, and mostly, from the thickening of his cock. It gets harder and stiffer, and the vein down the base starts to pulse.

So, I stop.

He’s panting like he just ran a marathon. His biceps and triceps tighten and bulge as he clenches his fists in frustration and growls from his chest.

Such insolence, Chopper!

A whack of my crop across his thighs surprises him into a low yelp and he’s panting again, his fingers extending and stretching from the fist and his arms relaxing. Dear God, this man is beautiful.

I bind his ankles to the footrest and tilt the chair so that he’s lying back in it at about a 130-degree angle… so that his dick is sticking straight up.

Yeeeeeeesssssss… that’s delectable.

My mouth actually waters at the sight. But I won’t taste it. He won’t feel my mouth tonight, only two fingers, and I start the torturous process again. In this position, he’s able to thrust his hips higher and it’s fucking beautiful. I pay attention to the warm feeling of his tightened frenulum over the skin of my fingertips. His hands grip the armrests even though they’re vertical right now, and his feet are planted firmly on the footrest, allowing him to raise and roll his hips freely into the stimulation of my two fingers.

I’m a master… or I should say Mistress… at this kind of stimulation. I’ve studied the dick medically—how it behaves and responds to different levels of stimulation and just what to do to make it suffer or give me everything.

Make them want you…
Make them crave you, then only give them a hint of you…
Make them desire what they can’t have…
Tease them with a promise… deliver satisfaction, but don’t give them all of you…
Never give all…

My guru’s voice is in my head to remind me who I am and what I do, and with newfound determination, I manipulate that cock with fiery precision—just that tiny little pleasure spot, taunting with the promise of total satisfaction until his hips suspend in anticipation of that final blast…

… And I stop again.

He actually whimpers this time. If he could speak, I’m certain that he would say, “How could you?”

You’re a virgin at this particular type of play, Chopper. I need to train you, so relax and be trained.

And the stimulation starts again. Sweat is pouring down his chest and into the sinews of his abdomen. He’s being tortured. I believe he would give his kingdom for an orgasm right now. Veins are popping up all over his body, not just his dick, and I can see him trying to resist the pleasure, which makes it even more fun for me. His body tenses in the chair and he’s fighting a fearsome fight, but I can tell from his cock that he’s about to blow yet again. Just as I feel the offering about to pulse up his dick…

He’s breathing through his teeth now, hard, like he’s in the ring. His fists are clenched, and he could rip this metal and leather chair to shreds at this moment. His dick seeps a bit of cum just as I stop the stimulation, and a bit more once my hands have moved away. Chopper is in pain—sensual pain. I know he’s never felt anything like this because he’s never allowed anyone to do anything like this to him before.

I have to give him a few moments to settle, or he’ll blow the second I touch him.

“This is new for you, isn’t it, Chopper?” I purr.

“Yes, Mistress!” he nearly chokes, frustration lacing his voice.

“You don’t sound pleased,” I note with a raised eyebrow.

“I’m… just unfamiliar, Mistress,” he excuses. He’s not pleased, not in the slightest, but he’ll see it through just because he knows what I do.

Good boy.

I anoint my fingers a little more and resume my task. This time I take my time and examine his dick, caressing the head and frenulum gently with my fingertips and nails—not enough stimulation to cause orgasm, but enough to cause frustration. He heaves heavily then groans his lament. I watch his body jerk in frustration and I can feel his inner mournings through his skin. He’s at the very end of his rope, somewhere I can guarantee no other woman has ever taken him.

And I’m loving it!

I begin the relentless stimulation of his frenulum again, after allowing it to cool and calm for several minutes, and my poor little marionette begins to thrust between my fingers, seeking his satisfaction with fervor. I see is pelvic muscles flex and his cock pushes forward involuntarily. When the little soldier is ready to blow…

“Oh, God… please… please…” There’s agony in his voice as he laments another instance of denied release. He’s aching to come so badly that he’ll do anything to feel that orgasm, and since this is my first time performing full-on ruined orgasms and denial on him, I won’t make him go home without a climax for his insolence, but he will still know that I’m in control. I reach over to my rack and retrieve a flogger.

Whack!

His entire body jerks and trembles with surprise as the straps bruise his chest and his dick drips a bit, stiffening even more. His chest rises and falls violently and his fists clench once more.

“Did you speak without permission, Chopper?” I chastise. His body stiffens in pain as he groans and mourns heavily.

“Yes!” he coughs. “Yes… Mistress… I’m sorry… Mistress.”

“Good, and I’m glad to see that you corrected your other faux pas as well,” I scold, referring to his failure to address me properly when he does speak. I whack him once more with the flogger to see that magnificent recital of his body before I decide that it’s time to put him out of his misery. I grasp his cock again between my two fingers and begin the assault anew. I hear a slight whimper in his chest as I’m sure he thinks I’m going to ruin his orgasm for a fifth time.

Not this time, Chopper. You get to spout for me.

He resists at first, trying to spare himself the agony, but that only lasts about a minute or so. Although it doesn’t get hot enough to cause discomfort, the heating sensation in the oil can get pretty intense and right now, it’s about as hot as it can get. Jesus, I want to suck that thing so badly, but the change in sensation can actually be anti-climactic and set him back further than I would like. Once again, his body tightens tremendously and he’s fighting to keep from moving his hips. He loses that battle, too.

And the final dance begins.

He begins to convulse as he physically resists the urge to come. There’s no more mind over matter here. Chopper is using every muscle imaginable in an attempt to control the uncontrollable, but I know the inevitable is very close. In fact…

“I love and hate to see you come,” I breathe as I watch his balls rise and tighten. “It’s beautiful to watch the transformation of your cock into this majestic tool that’s standing up to pay pleasurable tribute…” He grunts as cum shoots from the head of his dick, squirting into the air and landing where it may, most of it dripping back onto his shaft and balls as he squirms and shivers through his orgasm.

He screams. He actually screams.

Well, not a shrill, girlie scream, but the scream of passion that a girl does, only in a deep, throaty, manly voice. It’s one of those screams that you hear in a torture chamber, carrying some small modicum of relief from the pain.

“Then you spray this fountain of arousal that wracks your body with such pleasure that you can only surrender to it and allow it to run its course. Even as it holds you captive, your cock still throbs and fights, determined to have the last word in the battle.”

His body is stiff with pleasure as I continue to edge the last of the orgasm from his oh so willing cock. When it has given its final offering, Chopper falls back into his seat, spent and breathless, his breath choppy and gasping as I continue to play with his cock, now dripping in cum, still hard as stone though his balls are visibly empty and hanging—sated—in his scrotum.

He won’t be multi-orgasmic tonight. He is done!

“And then it’s over,” I say, my voice melancholy, still gently fondling his dick as he tries to take in slow, deep, controlled breaths. I look up at the scarf covering his face, unable to see his sated expression, but I can tell by his relaxed body and the fact that his head is turned away from me that he is spent and satisfied, just by my two fingers.

Yet for some reason, I feel bereft.

I move away from him and wipe my hands, cleaning them of his arousal. I undo his ankle restraints then move to undo his wrist restraints. Before I do, I take his face by the chin. He doesn’t fight me. He turns his blindfolded face to me and I lift the scarf only above his mouth to reveal his lips. I press my lips to his and thrust my tongue into his mouth. His response is immediate. His lips mold to mine and he matches my tongue in an exotic tango. I cup his face, almost expecting him to slide his arms around me, but forgetting that I have him bound… forgetting why…

Forgetting that I’m Golden, and not some love-starved girl wanting to be kissed.

Nonetheless, I gently end the sensual kiss between us with a sexy bite to his bottom lip before replacing the scarf, undoing his wrist restraints, and leaving him in the dungeon, fighting the urge to run full speed up the stairs and to my room.

I ascend the stairs slowly, deliberately, the words of my mentor ringing repeatedly in my head:

Your power comes not only from what you do to them, but also from what they can’t have.

What they can’t have…
What they can’t have…

What they can’t have…

“Mistress?”

I’m standing at the top of the stairs, half-dressed. I’ve never half-dressed in front of Blake. His eyes don’t leave mine. He has never looked at me sexually and even now, with my breast partially exposed and my ass hanging out, he examines my face carefully, his gaze laced with concern.

“Send him home,” I say softly. “I won’t see him.”


TREY

I open my eyes and I feel like I’ve lost some time. Did I fall asleep?

I lie still for a few moments to determine if I’m alone. She usually unbinds me before she leaves. I’m not bound, but this blindfold is still over my face. I slowly reach up and push it over my eyes.

I’m alone. Thank God… I think.

Did I dream that? I dreamt she fucked me—who’s to say that I didn’t dream that she kissed me?

My. Dick. Hurts.

That was so damn powerful that I may need to pack this shit in ice later. The outside skin doesn’t hurt because she barely touched it, but the insides and my balls got quite the workout. The head is tender, and I don’t even want to touch that one spot she kept manipulating. I look down at my nether regions. My abs are covered in cum as I assume my dick is, too, but I can’t see it as the poor, limp thing has fallen down between my legs and over my balls. I’m surprised it hasn’t retracted completely back into my body hiding for cover and taking my nuts with it.

I have a bit of a sting from the crops, whips, and floggers, but nothing too intense. No, the torment today was all on my dick, and I’ll be damned if I let the manservant handle that part of my anatomy.

I stretch in this instrument of sexual agony that she had me strapped to and completely remove the scarf from my face. I touch my lips and swear that I can still feel hers against mine. I must be fucking delirious. Golden wouldn’t voluntarily kiss me any faster than she would voluntarily fuck me. I swing my legs over the sides of the chair and once I’ve gotten my balance, I proceed to the restroom to clean up.

I turn on the light, then the cold water, because my Johnson is going to need some coolness after that heated exchange—pun intended. Was it her hands that had my skin all hot, or something in that damn oil? Whatever it was, soap and cool water soothe it quite nicely. I use a washcloth to clean the cum off my abs and balls and after thoroughly cleaning, rinsing and drying my skin, I wet the cloth with cold water again and wrap my limp organ in the coolness.

“Aaaaahhhh,” I sigh contentedly as I allow my head to fall back and enjoy the relief. Once the cloth warms, I raise my head and open my eyes… and the sight in the mirror causes me to do a double-take.

Lipstick.

There’s lipstick on my mouth, the deep pink shade of Golden’s lipstick… is on my mouth. She did kiss me!

I take a moment to recall the kiss—deep, hot, and passionate. I remember thrusting my tongue into her mouth, or her thrusting hers into mine. Either way, it was a hot, sensual exchange of intimacy that’s almost enough to make me forget that orgasm.

Almost.

I look at the fool staring bemused back at me in the mirror and touch my lips where her lipstick is left. I almost don’t want to wash it off, but I can’t go in public like this. What am I—some fucking moonstruck teenager?

“Oh, this is ridiculous!” I hiss as I reach for tissue to wipe away the lipstick. Before the tissue reaches my face, I pause again unable to wipe it away. I’m just standing there staring at it.

Why did Golden kiss me?

The only other kiss that we’ve ever shared was that dry fuck kiss where I ripped that orgasm from her against the wall in her parlor. What’s the meaning of this?

Still lost in my confusion, I go over to the valet and retrieve my clothes. As I don each piece—shirt, boxer-briefs, jeans, socks—I ponder the implications behind the kiss. Maybe it’s because she never edged me like that before and she was giving me a reward, but wouldn’t the orgasm had been the reward?

And dear God, she is brutal. It’s cliché to say that I see why her clients always come back, but dammit, I see why her clients always come back! Have I been on the wrong side of BDSM all this time? Even when I’m balls deep in some pussy, I come like a faucet when I think about the feeling of her whip across my back. Hell, that same thing happened when I dreamt of fucking her.

Having the whip in my hand gives me some pleasure, but I barely do that anymore if ever. Being in control of an orgasm is quite fun and if I’m honest, I just like to fuck big asses now. The joy of the domination for me is just in the sex—in being in charge. Even though it can be quite torturous, I like the receiving end of things now. I like it more than I even liked anything else, except of course the fucking—but I come like a goddamn freight train every time and sometimes, more than once.

Am I really a submissive?

I pull my jacket on and catch my reflection in the mirror as I stand just beyond the door of the restroom. I push my hands through my hair to tame my short, wild mane a bit, then realize that I still haven’t wiped away the lipstick.

Every time I see it, I feel her on me… touching me, kissing me… she even cupped my face. I forgot where I was for a moment and wanted to hold her, but my arms were still bound to the chair. If I wipe it off, I might wipe away the memory, and I don’t want to. The painful truth is that I just don’t want to.

I reach in my inside pocket and retrieve my handkerchief. With one last look in the mirror, I wipe away the lipstick and shove the handkerchief back in my pocket before ascending the stairs.

I’m still uncertain of what this all means. Should I ask her? Would I be out of line? When I get to the top of the stairs, there’s Blake standing in his usual spot, expressionless. I take a breath to ask where she is, but I’m overcome with some other sensation, something I can’t really identify. I shake my head in resignation. I can’t do this tonight.

“Can you… make my apologies to Mistress, please?” I say to Blake. “I really need to get home.” His brow furrows as he examines me.

“Yes,” he says. “Is everything alright?”

How do I answer that? No, I’m all verklempt and tied in knots because I don’t know why my Domme kissed me… and I’m not sure that I want to know.

“Yes, I’m fine, thank you. I just… have a bit of a drive ahead of me and… I’m quite spent, and I need to get home. Please, extend my apologies. Goodnight.”

I hope I don’t face any punishment the next time I see her… maybe I hope I do…

Yeah, I’m losing it.

I dash out of Golden’s front door and to my car. I turn the ignition and peel off as fast as that little sports car can take me.

I’m raw. I don’t know why, but I’m raw and all I want to do is get home. I focus on the road and think of nothing else. My insides are in a knot and I don’t know why. I don’t have feelings for this woman… at least, I don’t think I do. But I love what she does to me and how she makes me feel, the physical passion that she wrings from me. Hell, I only see her once a month, maybe twice. I know I’m not feeling anything emotional.

But that kiss. Fucking hell, that kiss. And if I count all the times I think of her when I’m fucking other women, the times I feel the sensation of her whip on my back or my ass when she’s not even there, the great fuck we had in my dreams…

If I count all those times, I see her considerably more than once a month—considerably more.

I run my hands over my forehead and through my hair as I’m sitting at a red light. I’ve played that kiss over and over again in my head so many times, it’s ridiculous. I’ve even added my own touches to the vision—wrapping my arms around her waist and holding her close to me as I massage her soft tongue…

The angry horn behind me reminds me that I’m actually still operating a very large piece of machinery, and I check traffic, then hit the gas.

I’m glad there aren’t any fucking police waiting for me like the last time I returned from Golden’s. At this point, damn near anything is possible—starving submissives wondering where the hell I’ve been, assassins sent by Linc to remove this most recent thorn in his side, Elena with a goddamn butcher knife or a fucking rubber-tree plant…

A bunny cooking on my stove…

Jason nods when I enter the penthouse, acknowledging my arrival. I return the nod and walk straight to my bedroom. After I start the shower, I strip out of my clothes and walk under the rainwater stream. As the water begins to warm and beat down on my slightly stinging skin, I think about her again—about her fingers tormenting my dick, the tassels of her flogger on my thighs…

Her lips on my lips.

I hold my head down and allow the warming water to saturate my head and stream down my face. I suddenly feel so… empty… and alone. The water sounds like pebbles as it hits the marble floor. As I lather my body and hair, I try to wash away the melancholy feeling that has suddenly taken over me. My personal space feels strange, foreign—large and hollow—when it used to be my sanctuary.

16a653944541dbdd18437662184d1f5a

Just because we could all use some eye-candy…

I rinse the soap from my body and hair, turn off the shower and grab a towel. As I’m wrapping it around my hips, I catch a glimpse of myself in the mirror. My chest is as smooth as a baby’s bottom. She only struck me there once. As I stand there gazing at myself, the image of my reflection with her lipstick smeared across my mouth comes back to mind. I shake my head to rid myself of the image and proceed to brush my teeth. When I’m done, I don a pair of sweats to sleep in and retrieve my clothes from the floor, placing them in the dirty laundry in the bathroom. I empty my pockets of my keys, my cell, my money clip…

And my handkerchief.

I don’t know how long I stand there fondling the damn thing. I feel like some stupid lovesick fool pining over some piece of ass across town—a piece of ass that I haven’t even fucked by the way. I really need to get my shit together.

Yet, instead of tossing the lipstick-soiled handkerchief in the dirty laundry, I open the drawer of my nightstand and tuck it in there instead. I crawl into bed and look for the warmth that I felt earlier in the evening—anytime in the evening. I feel cold and lonely, my empty bed emptier than I think it’s ever been. I pull the covers up over my chest and as ridiculous as it is, all I can think about right now is…

I need a hug.

*-*

I wake up the next morning from a dreamless sleep. I resent the fact that my Domme didn’t visit me in my slumber, and my bed feels colder and emptier than it ever has before.

What is this fucking shit? Do I need to talk to somebody about this? I don’t need to be pining or mooning over some female! I’m Christian Grey—women pine and moon over me! Yeah, she’s the hottest woman I’ve ever met in my life, but still…

And I touch my lips…

Goddammit!

I throw the covers off me and get out of the bed. Am I seriously that gone over this woman?

It’s Saturday morning and I consider going into the office, but quickly put the kibosh on that idea. Even if I just sit around the penthouse, I don’t feel like going into the office.

I walk into my study and open my laptop. I begin to go through my emails, responding to a few from Wester and confirming meetings for next week. In a very short time, that man has proven to be worth his weight in gold. Let’s just hope that he doesn’t come in like a lion and go out like a lamb, like that fucker Rockford. Welch informs me that he has secured employment with Randall and Seveld. If they suddenly start gaining a corporate advantage that looks mysteriously like mine, I’m going to fry his fucking ass and serve him for lunch in the public square.

And I touch my lips…

Oh, for fuck’s sake!

I check the news sites and some gossip rags to see if there’s anything on Linc and his bitch wife. There’s nothing yet. He’s still in the extradition process and she’s hiding out in her mansion, claiming to be afraid of retaliation from me. I can’t believe she’s holding fast to that lie knowing that her wife-beater husband is on his way back to the states. The pictures tell the whole story of all of us—I’m walking around with no bruises whatsoever and they both look like they’ve been in combat. Who’s telling the truth here?

And I touch my lips…

Sonofabitch!

I open my browser and type in the last word I thought I would type in a search bar—not mouth, not kiss, not tongue—lips… and I learn an immediate lesson.

Never type “lips” in a search bar all by itself. There’s a lot of goddamn freaks on the internet.

Hell, if I’m honest, I’m one of them, but that’s not what I’m looking for at the moment.

Okay, let’s narrow this down to the not-so-freaky… golden lips.

Still freaky, but more of what I’m looking for. I latch on to the idea that’s plaguing me and lift the receiver on my desk phone to make the call. She’s sending enigmatic messages. Now, it’s my turn.


Briana Evigan Ch 17

GOLDEN

I’m sipping a shot of vodka on the rocks—not my gold-laced vodka, though. I drank the last of that tribute, but don’t want to request any more. Not only that, but he’s gripping my thoughts enough tonight. I think the vodka would be a bit too much right now. I’m looking out the back window of my parlor at the lake off in the distance when I feel his presence in the doorway.

“I heard him leave,” I say, noting to myself that even his car sounded pissed. “Was he angry?”

“No, Mistress,” Blake responds. “He was… confused.” I turn my gaze to him.

“About what?” I ask.

“I’m sorry, Mistress. I misspoke. I should say that he appeared confused. I don’t really know that he was.” What the hell does that mean?

“I don’t really catch your meaning, Blake,” I say. “Did you tell him what I said?”

“No, Mistress,” he says. “I didn’t get the chance. He asked me to make his apologies for not coming to speak to you. He said that he was really very tired and wanted to go home.”

What? He avoided me? The nerve! I’m the one in control here.

“Mistress?” Blake calls my title and I raise angry eyes to him. “If I may ask, did something happen… again?”

What do I tell him? I’m certainly not telling him that I kissed my submi… er, client and it has me a bit shaken.

“No,” I tell him. “Nothing happened.”

“Hm,” he says, twisting his lips and diverting his gaze.

“Something you want to say, Blake?” I demand. He raises his eyes to me.

“With all due respect, Mistress, I don’t believe you any more than I believed him,” he responds. “That mountain of power came up those stairs totally verklempt, and when I looked at him, I swear I saw a little boy looking back at me. I didn’t want to give him your message because I was sure that he would have a temper tantrum and I would have to forcibly remove him from the premises. Instead, he all but begged me to apologize to you for him not coming to you, and it wasn’t his words, Mistress. It was his demeanor, his stance. His shoulders were dropped, he slouched slightly, and he couldn’t wait to get out of this house. The most aggressive thing of the entire exchange was the screeching of his tires. Whatever happened in your dungeon that broke you down, it broke him down, too.”

Nothing broke me down! I was just… taken aback, that’s all! But it appears that Chopper was completely overcome. He had to escape as quickly as possible, even at the risk of inciting my wrath.

But isn’t that what you did, too? Dash up the stairs and hide out, leaving Blake to get him out of here without a word from you? Didn’t he do the exact same thing? At least he offered his apologies.

“Exactly what did he say?” I probe.

“He said, ‘Can you make my apologies to Mistress, please? I really need to get home.’ When I asked if everything was okay, he assured me that he was fine, but that he had a bit of a drive ahead of him. Then he added, ‘I’m quite spent, and I need to get home. Please, extend my apologies. Goodnight.’”

He’s right. Chopper was verklempt.

Even if he was tired, he would have made his way in to see me. He’s been beaten all to hell and still came into that parlor when he could barely sit.

“Thank you, Blake,” I say dismissing him. He nods and leaves the room and I take another sip of my vodka.

Make them want you…
Make them crave you, then only give them a hint of you…
Make them desire what they can’t have…
Tease them with a promise… deliver satisfaction, but don’t give them all of you…
Never give all…
Never give all…


A/N: Before people start disputing me—because someone always does—about the penis having muscles or being a muscle, please do your research first. The penis is actually like a sponge and fills up with blood to get stiff for intercourse. It’s not a muscle nor does it contain any muscles. The muscles that control that area are the pelvic muscles that create a pelvic “floor” between the tailbone and the pubic bone, and support the prostate, bladder, seminal vesicles, bowel and rectum. They help guys control urination and defecation as well as play a role in sexual function.

Sorry about the clinical breakdown of the dick, but I’d rather do it here than in response to x-number of comments to dispute the fact that the penis is not a muscle.

The Pinterest board for this story can be found at https://www.pinterest.com/ladeeceo/fifty-shades-golden/.

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 82—Now, Where Were We?

Danger—Aussie accent ahead. Turn away now.

There are probably some bad attempts at French laced in here, too. Beware, you’ve been warned!

All other previous disclaimers still apply.

Chapter 82—Now, Where Were We?

ANASTASIA

I am on fucking fire.

My body is completely alight with orgasmic release and I’m still trembling for more. I didn’t know he packed toys and I have no idea when he had the time to do it because I packed his bags, but I’m sure the fuck glad he did.

Maybe he picked something up when we separated in the Marketplace.

Who the fuck cares?! Get back to the “alight with orgasmic release” part!
I have to agree with the Bitch on this one.

He’s rubbing my ass and playing with that heavenly butt plug while I catch my breath and come down from a blinding climax. His hands anoint the sides of my body from just under my arms all the way down my thighs to my knees before he issues the command that I hoped I would hear.

“Turn over.”

I roll over onto my back, still blindfolded and mindful of the butt plug still inserted.

“Are you comfortable?” he asks when I’m situated.

“Yes,” I whisper, my hands resting on the bed on either side of my head.

“Good,” he says. I feel him leave the bed for a moment and I wonder with anticipation what he’s doing. I take this time to try to decipher the scents in the room. Lilac for sure… no, maybe it’s jasmine… mixed with…

I hear him come back into the room and feel the bed dip when he returns. I feel a strawberry against my lips, so I open my mouth and take a bite. As I’m chewing, I feel his body over mine and his lips cover my mouth. I open slightly, and cool wine flows from his to mine. I swallow the mouthful of strawberry and wine, totally food seduced at this point. A bit of the chocolate confection from dessert passes my lips and I savor the flavor as his body rises from mine, and moments later, oiled hands anoint my neck and shoulders.

He keeps me alight with sensations, causing one to flow right into the other—the strawberry into the wine into the chocolate and back into the massage. I purr with satisfaction as his oily hands travel from my shoulders down and over my breasts and nipples over my torso and abs and down to my pelvis. He reoils his hands to spread copious amounts around my mounds, my outer lips, the sensitive crevices at the junction of my thighs and pelvis and my top and inner thighs.

His hands travel masterfully all over the front of my body, touching and tempting me. Then, I feel a strawberry at my lips again. I bite and chew and wait for the wine, but it doesn’t come. Instead…

“Ah!”

Gentle pressure closes over my nipple. I bite my tongue and breathe in. It’s not his mouth—it’s a nipple clamp, the adjustable kind. I wait as he secures it, just enough to plump and sensitize my nipple. He doesn’t dawdle. He goes straight to the other one, which has become taunt in the process, and attaches the second clamp. He pauses for a moment, and even blindfolded, I can tell that he’s admiring his handiwork.

I feel him cover my body again, his erection pressing into my leg—and his mouth closes over one nipple and the clamp. I cry out in arousal, pushing my breast up towards him as his hand teases the other nipple in the clamp.

“Christian…” I whimper, so turned on that I can barely think. I keep my hands on the bed next to my head—it’s better this way—and his mouth feasts on my nipple while his fingers play with the other. Then he switches, giving both nipples the benefit of his talented tongue. I have to hurry and swallow the strawberry so that I don’t choke on it from my radical breathing, and the sweet flavor lingers on my tongue while my man stimulates my nipples.

It’s glorious!

He moves away from my nipples and slowly slides down my body, rubbing and planting kisses along the way. My breathing is more controlled when he gets to my feet and starts a gentle massage with the oil again. Yes, that’s jasmine. It’s a favorite scent of his… and mine, along with cinnamon and vanilla. His massage is gentle and firm at the same time, relaxing my ankles, my calves, my knees… and giving my throbbing clit a brief reprieve to recuperate. I know Christian Grey enough to know that the orgasmic stimulation is far from over, and it’s not the butt plug or the nipple clamp that’s giving it away.

It’s the thigh massage. The way that his hands are spread open on my thighs, kneading upwards so that his thumbs run across the crevices gently over my outer lips, he’s about to attack.

He straddles my legs again and there’s a pause in his massage. When he returns, the texture of the oil is different. Even though I can still smell the jasmine in the air, it’s not as strong. It’s not in the oil, and I’m very soon to find out why.

“Mmm… mmm…” I groan. He continues his massage, up the top of my thigh, across those sensitive crevices, over my outer lips, only this time, the tip of my clit is protruding ever so slightly, and his thumb zeros right in on it. He runs his oily thumb up and down just inside my lips with each upward motion of his hand, pressing my clit in and pushing it up, stroking it just so between my lips. I want to crawl off the damn bed as I try to stifle my whimper.

“Let me hear you, baby,” he encourages.

“Ah,” I gasp, the heat so hot and the moan releasing some of the pressure in my chest. His thumbs feel so good, one stroking my clit and the other teasing the crevice between my pelvis and thigh.

“Christian!” I breathe, grabbing my breasts and stimulating the nipple clamps there. I hear him gasp and he continues to rub intermittently, giving me seconds to recoil before I’m squirming on the bed again in ecstasy.

He moves his hands to my thighs and pushes them open—not eagle-spread, but open enough. He puts his hand over my mons, pressing firmly and squeezing just enough to heighten arousal, using the base to open my lips so that the clit protrudes just a little more than it did when he pleasured it with his thumbs.

Well, maybe more than a little more… I feel air on the underside. I can tell that he’s positioned between my legs, on his knees maybe…

“Oh, God,” I gasp deeply as I feel something I’ve never felt before—wet, smooth, soft. He starts at the tip of my clit with a titillating tickle, and I turn my head and bite my lip, sinking into a pleasure I’ve never felt before.

Is it a feather? No, it’s much heavier… thicker than a feather.

It moves from the tip of my clit, slowly down the underside and over the surface of my inner lips. Then it travels back up the same way that it started.

It moves up… and down… and up… and down… up and down… and up and down… flicking over and off the top of my clit just once… then it comes back… starts at the tip and moves down the underside and over the inner lips… then up again… then down… The strange stimulation is sending ripples through my body and even causing my thoughts to stutter—enough to ignite and keep me burning, but not enough for orgasm unless he keeps going and going and going. He’s exquisite in his meticulous movements, back and forth masterfully, like an artist.

An artist…

That’s what it is! It’s a paintbrush!

This has to me the most agonizing, glorious new thing I’ve ever felt! Wherever he got this idea, I owe ginormous homage and he needs to tell me how I can get some, too! This is fucking genius!

My whimpering is almost embarrassing, but this feeling is divine and irresistible. I can’t be silent… I can’t keep still… dear God, my stomach muscles are fucking aching and my pelvis is actually cramping with pleasure! How can that be?

Several moments later, the brush makes its final stroke and I’m panting in ecstatic exhaustion. Every time I’m about to come, he changes the rhythm and stimulation so that it brings me back a bit, not enough to start over, but enough to stop the rise to orgasm. It’s maddening—and magnificent!

Next, I feel cold air on my clit. He’s blowing on it, I know he’s about to dive in and taste the rainbow. What will he do—deep massage with a firm tongue? Fast, tormenting flicks to bring me to a quick release? A deep clitoral suck accompanied by a two-finger g-spot stimulation? Oh, no. Not just yet. Mr. Grey has other plans for me.

He lays his head on my inner thigh while placing his hand gently on the other to spread my legs. His tongue licks lazily over my inner lips and up to my clit, firming a bit when it gets to that fiery bundle of nerves, up and down like he’s casually licking an ice-cream cone. He repeats his lick over and over, his breath panting gently in contentment as his tongue covers all the necessary skin, never missing a spot in a gentle, sensual erotic caress.

“Oui… oui… mon amour,” I breathe as I flex my tightening clit. His massage doesn’t change, though his grip tightens a bit on my thigh, his hand presses flatter on my stomach and he continues to lick… and lick… and lick…

Fire is burning in my chest and my stomach is quivering madly, right where he’s pressing it—not to mention this infernal butt plug is still in my ass and that pleasure hasn’t ceased since the first orgasm! The rhythm syncs with my body and I feel the tightening in the small of my back.

And so does he.

The rhythm stops and he lifts my legs to expose my core and ass. He holds one leg up and commences a circular feast, around and around with a flexible rolling tongue—his entire tongue—as his free hand pushes, turns, pulls, and manipulates the butt plug.

Putain d’enfer, il l’a encore fait!

I whimper, nearly sob, my protest as my core continues to burn, but the orgasm backs away. I can’t take much more of this. The massage is delicious, round and round with his tongue masterfully covering my clit then traveling down to my vaginal opening and back up to madly manipulate that love button. Over and over he repeats the cycle, causing me to tremble and my muscles to clench painfully, but if it rises again and he changes rhythm, I’ll certainly expire.

I need it deep! I want to come!

“S’il vous plaît,” I whisper my plea, my voice desperate. “S’il vous plaît…”

He groans in his chest and situates himself between my legs. He throws my legs over his shoulders, reaches around my hips and cups both breasts, clamps and all.

“S’il vous plaît,” I groan again, more loudly this time, certain that he’s going to deny my again. Even though it’s heightening my pleasure, I can’t take any more. He massages my breasts firmly, causing my nipples to pebble in excitement. He parts my lips with his and proceeds to give my core the deepest, most sensual kiss—no teasing; his tongue, lips, and mouth are purposeful.

“S’il vous plaît, Christian, s’il vous plaît,” I beg. I’m desperate. The massage is so deep, so hot, I’m right fucking there. If he stops me this time, I’ll scream… I’ll cry… I’ll rip his fucking throat out! He can’t stop!

He massages harder, squeezes harder, kisses deeper, licks and sucks wildly, his mouth is watering all over my core, causing a delicious slip-and-slide sensation down there. I clamp my hands over his and squeeze and he moans, diving deeper into my core…

God, don’t stop… please don’t stop…

My back is so tight that it hurts, and when the orgasm starts to creep, I literally sob in my throat. I won’t be able to stand it if he stops.

I feel my legs cramping, stiffening… no…

I lock my ankles behind him and thrust my pussy into his mouth begging him in my native language not to stop and let me come. His kiss reaches down into me and wrenches a painful, merciless orgasm from my loins that has me screaming, still begging him not to stop—literally paralyzed with pleasure and pain as this climax wraps around my clit, these nipple clamps, and that butt plug all at the same time.

I think I’m still coming in my ass when he leaps to his knees, lifts my already elevated hips to his pelvis and thrusts double-digit inches of hard, hot, pulsing meat inside me. I scream at the pleasure. I love his mouth and tongue, but nothing feels like his dick!

“God damn, you’re so fucking hot!” he growls as the plunges into me over and over, like an animal. He thrusts and thrusts and thrusts, mindlessly, before he throws his head back and growls loudly, his eyes squeezed shut and his face twisted. He’s breathing like a bear and I don’t know if he came, but he snatches his rock-hard dick out of me. He tortures my clit with the head of his dick over and over, breathing and grunting like a bear before sitting flat on the bed.

“Turn around!” he growls, his voice deep and hungry. I move very quickly. “On your knees!” he commands. Okay, doggie-style. “Give me those pillows.”

Okay, not doggie-style.

I get into position as instructed. He opens his legs and rests them on my calves.

“Get comfortable, however you have to. Get on this dick and fuck me til you come.”

Til I come? I just came! You sure about that, Grey? I look over my shoulder at him questioning and he glares back at me as if to say, “What the fuck are you waiting for?’

Okay, you asked for it.

I wait for him to lie back on the pillows and I sit down on his pelvis—not on his dick, on his pelvis. I bring my calves from under his knees and open my legs as wide as I can.

This is my damn party? Then, I’m going to have it.

I grab that beautiful rock hard and veiny piece of flesh and stroke gently. The oil from my pussy is coating his skin and he grunts when I grab him.

“Get on with it!” he demands.

“Quiet!” I hiss. “This is mine now.” He forcefully grabs my hips as a warning, and I throw a glance over my shoulder.

“What are you gonna do?” I taunt. “Fuck me?” I glare at him, still teasing the head of his cock with my oily hands. His hips move ever so slightly to match the stimulation as he grits his teeth.

That’s what I thought. And now, Mr. Grey, I’m going to drive you crazy.

I begin to rock my hips up and down so that my open pussy strokes the side of his dick while my oily fist still grips and manipulates his head.

“Shit,” he hisses softly as he grips my hips. That’s right, Grey, just lay there and let me do what I do.

The veins on the side of his cock stimulate the underside of my clit and I lick my lips. Damn, that feels good. I get a little lost in the feeling of his glorious cock rubbing against my clit and I forget for a moment that there’s a man attached to it that’s going to come quickly if I don’t stop. His agonized groan brings me back to the here and now.

How about a little tease, Grey?

I plant my feet on either side of his hips and steady my hands on the bed on either side of him. Using only my hips, I massage my clit with the head and side of his dick—achingly slowly pumping my pelvis so that my clit rides up… and down…  and up… and down… over the slit and pulsing ridge of his head and partially down the side of his shaft.

“Oh, my God, yes,” I breathe as I watch the show between my legs; the head of his dick appearing and reappearing just beyond my mons; the burn of the friction going straight through my core…

“Jesus!” he prays quietly as his hands reach around my body and tease my tender nipples. One of the nipple clamps has fallen off, but both nipples are still hot and taut.

“Uh!” I groan, throwing my head back as pleasure once again shoots from three different directions. I know this has had the same effect on him that his changing rhythm had on me—that he’s still on fire, but has drawn back from “ready to blow.” I slide against that dick a few more times, biting and licking my lips in my own ecstasy until I’m nearly over the edge myself, and then I stop. I need that magnificent piece of meat inside me for this orgasm.

I resume the initial position he requested, situating myself between his legs and my calves under his thighs, causing him to bend his knees and open his legs very wide. With my ass in the air and the ass plug staring him in the face, I reach between my legs and thrust my finger into my core. I momentarily stifle the moan that wants to escape, but fail in the effort when I drag the moistened finger over my throbbing clit and massage it gently.

“Christ, baby, you’re so damn hot,” he breathes forcefully.

Like you wouldn’t believe, Mr. Grey, like you wouldn’t fucking believe.

I reach down and grab his cock and rub the head against my clit two or three times more before I guide him to my hungry opening. There, I hold him in place while the opening and lips of my aching pussy gently and slowly tease the head of his cock. I can feel the ridge just inside my vagina as the release and reentry make that luscious, wet “kissing” sound. I’m insanely turned on by this, so with him watching it, I know that he’s losing his fucking mind.

“Anastasia,” he breathes, his voice tortured, “God, you’re too much…”

“You make me this way,” I reply, my voice steeped in passion like a mindless horny nymph.

A few more vaginal kisses and I slide effortlessly down onto his cock, all the way to the balls. He groans loudly and places both hands on my ass. I start a rhythmic glide with just the slightest directional roll, raising my ass up towards him when I drop onto his dick, then pulling my hips down and forward when I rise off of it. His pleasure sounds are tortured, deep, and sexy, and my core is on fire filled with his thumping meat.

“Christian,” I mewl, “you feel so good… you’re so hard…”

I fight to keep my rhythm now with him filling me wall to wall. I know he’s rising to orgasm because he so thick and wide inside me, and I am once again producing that heat and wetness that’s accumulating on his dick and leaving an arousal cockring at the base near the balls. It would be embarrassing if it wasn’t so fucking hot and I wasn’t so goddamn turned on.

“Don’t worry, Mr. Grey,” I pant breathily. “I’ll come… I’ll come really fucking hard for you.”

“Fuck!” he hisses as he rubs my lower back, and I can feel his thighs tightening with pleasure. He wants to enjoy it, so he’s going to hold out until I blow. I push back onto his dick repeatedly so that I get maximum penetration and he groans again.

“God!” I gasp as I pump harder. His hands are still grabbing my ass and one of them moves and pushes the butt plug.

“Oh, God,” I exclaim, the pleasure so much that I can’t concentrate on my movement anymore. I straighten my body and balance on my knees, still bouncing on that wonderfully, deliciously hard cock. One hand moves to tease the nipple still painfully confined in the nipple clamp while the other shamelessly moves to circle my burning clit. I feel the sensation rise immediately from my feet, taking only a few seconds to overtake my thighs. Just as it begins to tingle and burn deep inside my core, he grabs my hip and pulls the butt plug out.

I scream and detonate into such a dangerously violent orgasm that I can’t even tell what the fuck is going on at the moment. All I know is fire and light and dizziness and trembling and screaming… lots and lots of screaming. My attempt to seduce my husband has backfired and I’m having one of the longest, hottest, heaviest, most mind-numbing orgasms I have ever fucked myself into.

I don’t know how long it is before I come down from that electric display and experience, but when I do, I’m on my knees, my chest flat on the bed with hair sticking to my sweaty face, panting profusely. Once I’m able to breathe a bit, I lift my head just slightly and catch him in the mirror. I didn’t know it was there.

He hasn’t come. I know he hasn’t because he’s still very hard inside me, but he’s smirking at my back—clearly unaware that I can see him.

Mo-ther-fucker, I’ll show you…

I put my hands flat on the bed and curl my back like a cat stretching from a deep sleep. Then, I roll my hips again, like I did in the beginning, only faster… and harder… and faster!

I get another glimpse of him in the mirror and that smug look has left his face. His hands have grasped my hips again, trying and failing to control my thrust as his mouth alternates between biting his lip and clenching his teeth.

“Slow it down, fuck baby, slow it down,” he begs breathlessly. Fuck you, Grey. Come, you cocky motherfucker.

“Uuuuhhhh!” I moan sensually, knowing that the sound of my voice will help to set him off, and partially because I absolutely adore how he feels inside me, even though there’s no hope of me coming again tonight. I lean up on my knees again and thrust my hands into my hair, lifting it sensually over my head, closing my eyes and puckering my lips as I roll my hips relentless and fast over his cock.

“You feel so good,” I mewl truthfully, “so good…” I add a gasp to the last two words and his breathing is no longer controlled. He’s losing it.

“Good… Fuck…” he hisses as he grabs my hips right below my waist and sinks into the bed a bit to angle his cock more.

That’s it, Grey. Give it to me. I’m going to milk you dry.

I fall back onto the bed with a helpless mewl, steady myself on my hands, and bounce my ass on his dick in an intense buns-of-steel workout while clenching my Kegels so hard that it’s a wonder my IUD doesn’t pop out like an orange seed. After a few minutes of bouncing and listening to my own mewling, I glance in the mirror to check on my husband.

His head is thrust back and he’s firmly holding my hips. His lips are moving like he’s saying something, but nothing comes out. After a few moments, his eyes return to our joined bodies and I reach behind me a stick a finger in my ass where the butt plug used to be.

“Oh, fuck!” he growls at the sight and begins to wildly thrust into me, overpowering my smooth, massaging stroke. He pumps into me feverishly, gritting his teeth and grunting and throwing his head back again. When the first cry of orgasm escapes his lips, I rise off his cock, open my ass, and capture his ejaculating shaft between the cheeks. Surprised and impassioned, his eyes open wildly, and his mouth is gaping as he’s gasping for breath.

I roll my still-oily ass over his squirting dick and watch him gaze in amazement as I hold it between my ass cheeks and pump the cum from his balls.

“Fuck!” he chokes. “Oh, God, do that! Do that! Fuck, yes! That ass! Oh shit! Shit! Shit! Shiiiiittt!”

His eyes are plastered to my ass like he can’t believe what he’s seeing—a fantastic stream of candle-lighting shooting up out of my oily ass from his dick. My husband sounds like he’s passing a kidney stone and I’m taking extreme pleasure in watching his haughty ass irk out an orgasm as intense as the one I just had. In fact…

I raise my hips, swivel and drop my pussy onto his still pulsing cock. He screams as I pull and push slow and hard, flexing my Kegels over his dick to mimic the tighten-release-push-pull of an oily handjob on the head and walls of his shaft.

“Gooooooooooddamn! Goddamn! Goddamn! Goddamn!” He’s twitching and trembling as he rides out the aftershocks and I smile to myself as he finally falls limp, breathless, and helpless, his body silently calling for mercy.

*-*

Had it not been for Jason calling to wake us, we might have missed out on the day’s events. As it turns out, a car will be arriving at 9am to take us to the Barossa Valley for a wine tour. The Valley is only an hour away, but Christian rightfully had them coordinate everything with Jason. I’m a bit jealous right now because for all intent and purposes, Jason is Christian’s Marilyn… and Andrea is Christian’s Marilyn. And Andrea has a Luma. Marilyn doesn’t have a Luma. She organizes my life all by herself.

I really miss Marilyn.

As we’re a bit pressed for time, I use the en suite to pump, shower, and prepare for the day while Christian uses the second bathroom. I can’t have another day where I don’t speak to my children, so when I’m done pumping and prepping, I call my babies for a little facetime. Keri informs me that Minnie is becoming a bit crabby and wouldn’t take her bottle last night. I’m certain it’s because she’s accustomed to the changeup between the rubber nipple and the breast—and she’s not getting one of those. This is further driven home by her elation to see my face on the phone and her subsequent displeasure with having to give the phone back to Keri. I can’t stand to hear her anguish, especially since I’m inadvertently causing it, so I hand the phone to Christian and let him get a little baby time while I try to nurse the wounds of my breaking heart.

“It happens all the time, baby,” he says, putting his arms around me and trying to comfort me while I stare out the window overlooking the City of Churches.

“Was she still crying when you ended the call?” I ask, never turning to face him.

“She settled a bit,” he says, pulling me against him… which means that she was still crying, just not as much. I suddenly can’t wait to have her in my arms.

“I’m a terrible mother,” I say, wiping away a tear.

“Don’t be ridiculous. You are no such thing,” Christian scolds gently. “You’re both having a bit of separation anxiety. It’s not the first time and it won’t be the last. Now I want you to stop that ridiculousness right now. It’s not true and I don’t have to tell you that.”

“I just… I shouldn’t have left her,” I protest.

“She’ll be fine,” he coaches. “What are you going to do when she goes to school?”

“Oh, God,” I say, and I’m overwhelmed with emotion. I drop my face in my hands and begin to weep. I hear my husband sigh heavily and I can imagine that he’s totally exasperated with me, and that just makes me cry harder.

“Don’t cry,” he says softly, turning me around to him and wrapping his arms around me. I stand there and weep into his T-shirt for several minutes until it’s covered in colored moisturizer and tears and he has to go and change it, and I have to wash my face and refresh my make-up. I still don’t feel good about leaving my baby, but I feel a little better since I’ve had my cry… I think.

Christian emerges in a white Izod over his jeans, declaring that he has no more T-shirts and will have to have the ones he has laundered since we still have two more days—including today—and the trip back to Seattle. Quite frankly, I like the Izod better.

39f548032e3227319813a69b6ab79224-christian-grey-jamie-dornan

I’m looking very Sex and The City in a comfortable flowy Halston Heritage lavender mini cut just above the knee and a pair of Louboutin Madmonica spiked open-toe cork wedge sandals. We rush down to breakfast so that we aren’t starting the day and an hour-long car ride to wine country on an empty stomach. That definitely wouldn’t be a good idea. My little crying spell and the subsequent cleanup cut our eating time in half, so we have a simple breakfast of eggs, Canadian bacon, roasted tomatoes, toast and juice—something that we can eat quickly, but not too quickly, before the car arrives.

“You were sleeping like the dead,” I say quietly to Christian during breakfast.

“I put in a lot of work last night,” he says proudly. “Bringing your beautiful wife to three orgasms is quite the feat.” He winks at me.

“Oh, really?” I challenge. “And I guess I had absolutely nothing to do with that last one, huh?” I raise my brow at him.

“Well… I… you… um…” Amazing. I’ve brought my husband to a stuttering mess.

“Um-hmm,” I say, filling my fork with food. “Well, while you opted for quantity—which was quite nice—I concentrated my efforts on quality. How do you think I did?” I throw an innocent gaze over at him, full well remembering watching him in the mirror muttering silent prayers while I rode his pulsing shaft relentlessly.

“You…” He clears his throat. “You… um… you did fine.” He quickly takes a sip of his coffee. I smile devilishly at him. I’ll just bet.

“Thank you, Mr. Grey,” I say, eating the food from my fork, chewing and smiling triumphantly. “By the way,” I add once I’ve swallowed my food. “Your choice of music…” I say, trailing off. He raises his gaze to me.

“Did you like it?” he asks.

“It was… a lot of new stuff. Some oldies… I didn’t think you were into the new stuff.”

“I can’t take credit for this song list,” he admits. “I typed a request into Pandora and just let it play.”

“What was the request?” I ask curiously.

“Baby-making music,” he says proudly. I burst out laughing.

After breakfast, a private van picks us up to take us on a beautifully scenic drive through the city of Adelaide and all the way north to the Barossa Valley. The ride will be approximately an hour long with plenty of sites to see along the way.

“Um, ma’am, I nohmally don’t comment on attiyah, but ya moight wanna chaynge ya shoes,” the driver says as we approach the car. Christian glares at him for a moment. He only glances at Christian momentarily before turning his attention back to me.

“It’s… foh ya comfoht, ma’am,” he adds. “There’ll be a lot of walking, ma’am,” he says in an attempt to get me to change my shoes. I immediately see the concern for my feet since I’m wearing wedges.

“Don’t worry about me,” I say with a warm smile. “Heels and I are old friends. I’d be much less comfortable in flats, and I have no problem taking them off if they become unbearable, which is not likely.”

“The touh is mohr than six hours, ma’am. If yoh’re shuh…” he urges once more. I appreciate his concern.

“I’m sure,” I smile. “Thank you for your kindness.” I elbow Christian in the side as he’s still glaring at the guy. “Stop it!” I chide softly. He looks down at me and I cock my head at him as an additional warning. When he appears to behave, I smile again at the driver and get in the van.

“Come on, Christian,” I chide gently to keep him from further harassing our driver. He leans in and sits next to me.

“The first thing he noticed was your shoes, huh?” he says as our security follows us into the van. It’s a late model Mercedes—it seats seven, but I’m not sure of the model.

“He’s probably trained to do that, dear,” I point out. “Can you imagine how many women have come on the tour wearing the wrong shoes and did nothing but complain the entire time?” The driver gets into the car and confirms what I’m saying.

“She’s roight, mate,” he says to Christian. “I don’t know whaht thehy’re expectin’, but plenty o’ sheilas get in wehring six-inch heels and thehy’re miserable halfway through the trip. Imagine how ya’d feel troying to enjoy ya day with blistahs on ya feet!! I always check an’ give ‘em toime and option ta chaynge. I’m sorry… I didn’t mean ta offend ya.” Christian sighs and waves him off.

“Don’t worry about it,” he says. “I’m just… very possessive of my wife, and it’s been an… interesting trip on that note so far.” I chuckle.

“Tell me about it!” I murmur mirthfully. The driver smiles in the rearview.

“Thanks, mate. Roight, then, shall we go?” He smiles widely and starts the car.

The scenery is absolutely breathtaking, including the gorgeous vineyards that lay before us once we clear the city limits. They’re everywhere along the road through the Adelaide Hills, from really small patches of land to huge estates. I’m captivated by the beautiful landscapes, but not so captivated that I can’t tell that my husband is distracted. Is he still pissed off at the driver?


CHRISTIAN

“I wanted to have more information for you before I called you with conjecture, sir,” Josh says as I’m drying my hair. I brought the phone into the en suite with me and it’s a good thing I did. Josh has information hot off “the presses” for me.

“What do you have?” I ask as I begin my grooming routine.

“Lincoln is talking to anyone who’ll listen. She’s a media dream and nightmare at the same time. She’s very indiscreet. She gives enough information to have you chomping at the bit, but it’s not hard for the educated researcher to decipher exactly who she’s talking about—they just can’t afford to speculate without further information.”

“Fuck, I was afraid of that,” I hiss around a mouthful of toothpaste. “How close is she to a release date?”

“She’s aiming for May,” Josh says. Shit, that means she’s got a lot of information already on paper, or at least shared with her fucking ghostwriter. “She’s got a good solid timeline in front of her and nothing between her and the tell-all but air and opportunity.” She picked the perfect time to leak her story—right after our exposé hit the air.

“Did she make you for working for me?” I ask.

“I don’t think so,” he says. “If she did, she didn’t let on, or she just doesn’t care. She didn’t give me the name of her ghostwriter either. She gave me a penname, but at the moment, it leads nowhere. I’ve got Alex looking into some things for me and I’m discreetly chasing a few leads myself.”

“Shit!” I hiss. “So much for nipping this thing at the bud.”

“Don’t lose faith,” he says. “It’s only been a few days. Sometimes, it takes a little more digging to find the buried treasure. That’s why I was waiting to call you…” and I got impatient and jumped the gun.

“She gave me pretty much the same information that she’s giving to any other reporter that comes through there,” he continues. “Everything she said to me, we’ve already read in the papers, but to her, it’s fresh and new information every time she gives it. So, I listen for fresh and new information. I listen for context clues that nobody else would know to listen for. Like I said, I’m chasing a few things to narrow down a few solid theories, but I won’t relay information that sends you in the wrong direction—I have to know for sure.”

“I appreciate that,” I reply with a disappointed sigh. I’ve been literally itching for some information on the crazy bitch, and pretty much… nothing.

“I do have some other information, though,” he adds. “The warden cornered me as I was leaving…”

Oh, now we’re getting somewhere.

“What did he want?” I ask.

He asked who I was working for. I told him that I was freelancing, that I’m hoping to get an angle that nobody else has gotten and I’ll sell my story to the highest bidder. It’s easier to get what you need from a crook if you come off as cutthroat and hungry than if you show any signs of ethics whatsoever.”

“What makes you think he’s a crook?” I ask. He scoffs. “I mean, I pretty certain that he’s crooked. I just want to know what makes you think he’s a crook.”

“Upstanding member of society and leader of industry has been trying to get in touch with you for several days on a matter that you know will directly affect him and you avoid his calls… You’re either crooked or stupid—or both!” I twist my lips. Excellent judge of character.

“He asked if I had gotten any material that was worth printing. I told him that I hadn’t. Everything that she gave me, I already knew. So, he dangles a carrot in front of me. He says the book, the story, and the possible subsequent movie rights are likely to blow the top off the social scene and quite possibly the financial scene. He knows it’s you. He didn’t say so, but he made enough references. I don’t know what Lincoln said, but he knows, and at this moment, he’ll protect her through the screenplay to get his payoff.”

Well, this is just fucking great. She didn’t have to tell him much of anything. Of course, he knows it’s me. I paid his ass off to keep her quiet. Now, he’s avoiding my calls and siding with her, giving her carte blanche when it comes to talking to reporters and her fucking ghost writer.

“He wants to get the profits from the book. She just wants to tell her story, but her story is so sick and twisted, I couldn’t imagine anyone wanting to write it. The way she portrays the roles of certain characters, it’s not pretty. Her rendition will implicate people and suggest that they’re pretending to be victims when they fully participated in the activities.” She’s obviously referring to the fact that I became a Dom once I came of age and continued the BDSM lifestyle…

Or at least that’s what I thought.

“The brief description that she gave me made it look like she had a club—a coven, if you will—of pedophiles; that they engaged in consensual sexual relations with minors and that said minors joined the club and continued the cycle when they became of age.”

“Wait a minute… what?” I say, staring horrified into the mirror.  

“I can’t make it any clearer,” he says. “There are underground pedophile sex clubs all over the world. It’s disgusting, but it’s true. It’s a real movement, and there are a lot of people involved… a lot! Her basis from what I can see is that she was part of—or the head or madame of—one such organization. And Christian, she can say what she wants, because she’s writing it as fiction. So, whether it’s true or not, the sensationalism of it will have this shit flying off the shelves. Think O.J. Simpson and If I Did It.

Oh, hell. That’s already a horribly touchy subject. Now, we’re comparing my life and the lives of several other sexually victimized young boys to the story of a man who may or may not have nearly beheaded the mother of his children and her male companion?

And now, I don’t have Holstein’s cooperation because he’s more concerned with a piece of the possible pie. Fine, fuck it. They want to play dirty, then it’s dirty they’ll get.

“And no clue on BD Simmons.” It’s a statement in the form of a question.

“Nothing concrete,” Josh says. “Again, I won’t put flawed information into the hands of the most powerful man on the western seaboard.”

“Duly noted,” I reply. That really wouldn’t be wise. “I need you to keep me posted the moment you do get something concrete. My response to this matter will be swift and sure. Time and discretion are of the utmost essence.”

I end the call and try to pretend that this information has not soured my entire mood.

“You’re not here.”

My wife’s voice brings my attention back to the fact that we’re cruising along a country road on our way to one of Australia’s many famed wine regions. I can’t hide the fact that I’m completely distracted by the conversation that I had with Josh this morning. She’s probably going to be pissed that I called him, but… I have to tell her something.

“Excuse me, parlez vous français?” I say, leaning forward to the driver. He glances in the rearview mirror.

“I’m sorry, mate?” he says.

“Parlez vous français?” I repeat.

“Sorry,” he says, watching the mirror and the road, “not shuh whaht cha sayin’, mate.”

“No problem. Thank you,” I say, turning to my wife to have the entire conversation with her in French.

“J’ai parlé à Josh ce matin,” I say. She sighs.
(I spoke to Josh this morning.)

“Qu’a t’il dit?” she says.
(What did he say?)

“Il essaie toujours de savoir qui est l’auteur, mais Holstein protège Lincoln.” She rolls her eyes in frustration.
(He’s still trying to find out who the ghost writer is, but Holstein is protecting Lincoln.)

“Je le savais!” she hisses. “Je le savais putain! Cela explique pourquoi il ne prenait pas vos appels.”
(I knew it! I fucking knew it! That explains why he was not taking your calls.)

“Ça a empire,” I inform her. “Elle donne l’impression que nous étions un club secret de pédophiles… comme si nous étions un groupe entier cherchant des enfants et les recrutant plus tard dans leur cercle quand ils sont devenus majeurs.” Her eyes widen in horror.
(It gets worse. She gives the impression that we were a secret club of pedophiles… as if we were an entire group trolling for children regularly and later recruiting them into our circle when they became of age.)

“Vous n’êtes pas sérieux,” she whispers incredulously. “Qui dans leur esprit accepterait d’écrire quelque chose comme ça?” I shake my head.
(You’re not serious. Who in their right mind would agree to write something like this?)

“Tu sais aussi bien que moi qu’il y a un public pour tout, bébé,” I reply. “Vous devez juste trouver le créneau qui est prêt à écouter vos conneries.” She drops her head in her hands.
(You know as well as I do that there’s an audience for everything, baby. You just have to find the niche that’s willing to listen to your bullshit.)

“C’est irréel.” she laments. “C’est absolument irréel. Si je n’en étais pas personnellement conscient, je ne penserais pas qu’un être humain puisse survivre avec autant de mal. Je plaisantais quand je l’appelais «démon puant, méchant, sale, visqueux, visqueux, démone pédo-salope de l’enfer», mais que cette horrible reine diabolique appartient vraiment au plus profond les profondeurs du pire tourment éternel jamais imaginable. Il n’y a absolument aucune rédemption pour elle. Elle marche à pied détérioration, damnation et destruction et elle doit être détruite…”
(This is unreal. This is absolutely unreal. If I wasn’t personally aware of it, I wouldn’t think that any one human being could survive harboring this much evil. I was joking when I called her a ‘stank-ass, slutty, nasty, filthy, slimy, Pedo-Bitch She-Thing demon from hell,’ but that horrific, wretched, inhuman, devil queen really does belong in the deepest, hottest depths of the worst eternal torment ever imaginable. There is absolutely no redemption for her. She is walking deterioration, damnation, and destruction and she must be destroyed…)

I had all but forgotten about that name, but Butterfly is right. This woman is pure evil personified, the worst manifestation of Satanic personification—Princess Beelzebub unleashed on this earthly realm, and the world would truly be a better place without her in it.

My wife has completely gone off on a French tangent now. All the men in the car—including the driver—have gone a bit pale and are looking everywhere but at us, and as far as I know. I’m the only one who knows what she’s saying… maybe…

“Do you speak French?” I ask Lawrence. He shakes his head.

“German, sir,” he says. I look at Jason. I know Spanish is his second language.

“A word here and there, sir,” he says, “enough to know she’s pissed.”

“Stop talking about me like I’m not here!” Butterfly snaps. We weren’t… only that last statement, but I’m not going to be the one to dispute her on it. All the men quickly turn their attention to anything else—the scenery, the road, a speck of lint on the carpet, anything safe—while I turn my attention back to one angry little Butterfly.

“I shouldn’t have told you,” I confess, “at least not now. It’s going to ruin your day.”

“No, it won’t,” she says matter-of-factly, “because I know that you’re going to do everything humanly possible to rectify this situation. I know that you’re going to use your endless resources to make sure that this woman is not able to ruin the many, many lives that she could possibly ruin—now or ever again—with this ridiculous undertaking. You’re going to do what needs to be done to put an end to this—or I will.”

Three sets of eyes zero in on my wife and I’m sure it would have been four if the driver could look at her without putting us all at risk.

“Butterfly…” I begin my protest.

“I’m going to let you handle this, Christian,” she says, her voice unwavering. “I’m going to watch, and I’m going to let you handle it. But if for any reason, you are unable to stop this from happening, I want you to remember something—all those boys, their families, my children! I will stop at nothing and no one to terminate this ridiculous pursuit! She wants us to believe she’s crazy? Fine! I’m crazier! She will not jeopardize the lives of my children and that is my final word! And that’s not a threat, Christian, that’s a promise!”

I’m glaring at this woman possessed because I swear, I’ve never seen her before. Al usually tells me which version of “Ana” I’m dealing with when she steps out of herself, and he’s not here to identify this one for me. I’m quickly running through my head all the Ana’s he has introduced me to…

Knife-throwing Ana…
Marine’s Daughter Ana…
First-Blood or Rambo Ana…

Shit, I don’t know. All I know is that she’s glaring at me with the glassiest blue eyes I’ve ever seen, her pupils so constricted, they’re almost invisible. I fucking well better answer her.

“I. Will take. Care. Of this,” I say, finitely. She glares at me for a moment longer before she slowly nods once.

“Good,” she says firmly. “Keep me posted.” She turns her gaze away from me and back to the scenery going by outside the window. I throw a cautionary glance at Jason, who returns my glare before glancing over at Lawrence. A silent conversation ensues between the three of us to not let her out of our sight or she just might hurt someone today. The conversation inside my head is much more detailed.

Get this shit on lockdown or there’s going to be fucking hell to pay.

*-*

Tensions ease once we arrive at our destination. Butterfly has all but forgotten our conversation about the Pedophile, and it’s my job to ensure that her thoughts don’t wander in that direction again. Granted, it’s my fault they wandered in that direction in the first place, but I couldn’t keep the truth from her, especially since my ire and distraction was written all over my face.

“Hello,” a friendly gentleman greets us when we exit the Mercedes. “Ma nayme’s John. OI’ll be yohr touhr goide tahdeye.” I take Butterfly’s hand as Jason and Lawrence exit the vehicle.

“I’m Christian. This is my wife, Anastasia. These gentlemen are my security detail.” John’s brow rises.

“Political official, ahre ya?” John asks. I shake my head.

“No, nothing like that… but perfectly legal,” I assure him.

“Can nevah beh too syfe, eh mate?” he says with a nod before continuing directly to the next topic. “Tell me, whaht’s yohr expehrience with woine?”

Hmmm, how do I answer that?

“My wife is basically a Cabernet woman, but can be easily swayed with smooth reds,” I begin, and Butterfly playfully slaps my arm. “One of her favorites is the Screaming Eagle from Napa Valley. We discovered it on the wine train tours a couple of years ago.”

“Yes, OI’m quite familiah with the Screamin’ Eagle,” John confirms. “Which yeahr?”

“2006,” I confirm. “It’s apparently hard to find, but our concierge was able to locate a dozen and have them shipped to our home.” John nods.

“Have ya had tha pleasah of tha ’92?” he asks. I shake my head.

“I can’t say that I have.” John nods again.

“Extremely rahe vintage, mate,” he says, his voice laced with a bit of awe. “Aged in 60% new oak; it’s mohe puhple than woine colored and has a jammy black currant aroma mixed with hints of oak. Very difficult ta locyte and OI’ve huhd of bottles runnin’ upwuhds of 500,000 Amehrican!” He pauses for a moment. “Sorry thehre, mate. OI get a little carried awy talking about the woines.” I wave him off, playing down the fact that I’m thoroughly impressed with his knowledge of wines.

“Don’t be,” I excuse, “I’m a bit of a connoisseur myself, versatile with a preference to dry whites. I may pick your brain about what exclusive blends the region has to offer.” John smiles widely.

“OI’m yoh goiy, mate,” he says happily.

“I’m afraid we haven’t been able to expand our palates much since our honeymoon,” I add.

“Ah, newlyweds?” he asks. Butterfly giggles.

“Somewhat,” she replies. “We’ve been married for 18 months.”

“Yeah, thaht’s still newlywed,” John says. “Ahr little cornah of tha world hehr is whaht we cahl a woine town—everything hehr is centehred on tha woine.”

“I’ve heard that you have some award-winning Shiraz in these parts,” I coax. John smiles widely again.

“You huhd correct, mate,” he says gleefully. “Did ya do anythin’ special on ya honeymoon? Somethin’ that stuck out to ya, maybe?” I shrug.

“Well, our honeymoon started in Paris, then continued in Greece,” Butterfly says. “To be honest, the entire trip was pretty special, so it’s hard to pick just one thing. We had a tasting at Le Dokhan’s…”

“Ah, Le Dokhan’s!” John interrupts, “worhld-renowned champyne, oldest estahblishment in Pehris. You both must have vehry discuhning palates.”

“We’ve tasted a wine or three,” I confirm.

“Well, in thaht cyse, OI’ve got tha perhfect day in moind foh ya. Fahllow me and we’ll get stahted.”

He walks ahead of us and leads us to a rebuilt and refurbished 1962 Daimler Chrysler. Apparently, this beautiful classic car will be our transportation for the day.

“Ooo, very nice,” Butterfly says as she climbs inside.

John is quite chatty during the course of our tour and I’m very soon to discover why. He’s very proud of the Barossa Valley having lived here most of his life and conducted tours for over 20 years. He boasts having given this tour to dignitaries and wine connoisseurs from all over the world and promises to look me up so that he can add our tour to his updated list of bragging rights. He informs us that our tour has no specific itinerary and that if at any time we don’t like the course of the day to let him know and we can adjust accordingly.

We take a short drive to St. Hugo first. Although my wife was distracted with thoughts of Elena Lincoln’s demise on the trip to the valley, she’s quite attentive as John informs us of the history of St. Hugo. She remembered to bring the camera this time, and she’s taking several shots ranging from the picturesque countryside to quirky street signs pointing in various directions.

At the risk of sounding like the terrible snob that I can be, I’m extremely pleased with the vibe we’re getting from the Barossa Valley, and even more pleased when I hear of the settlement of the area. Most of Australia—particularly the ports we visited earlier in our vacation—was settled by convicts or others who had been exiled to Australia from England. Contrarily, settlers of South Australia and the Barossa Valley came looking for a better life. They were mostly merchants and farmers, those in search of their fortune on the shores and bush of Australia in the late 1800’s. Most prominent in this area were German settlers, and many of the vineyards they planted are still around today.

I’m not ashamed to say that the spirit that my Butterfly is gleaning from this area is much more relaxed and pleasant than the monsters she acquired at Port Arthur. So, yes, the snob in me is much more partial to the Barossa Valley, and I intend to do more research on our excursions in the future.

As we arrive at St. Hugo, John tells us that the current winery is comprised of original structures from the ruins of William Jacob’s winery, which was built over 150 years ago, as well as new additions designed to seamlessly tie in with the old ruins. We travel down a winding driveway with a stunning view of half-century-old cork trees—one of the few plantations of its kind in Australia.

Our tour begins with a short but refreshing walk through the vineyard. We note that some of the vines have been named and John tells us about how some of the names were chosen. One of the royal families came to the vineyard for an exclusive tour called the Sainthood Experience and the row of vines was named after them. Parcels from the vineyard of that row were picked and a custom wine was blended, where it is stored to age for three years and will then be delivered to that family. I don’t bother asking what that experience costs—I can imagine that even I would find it exorbitant.

After the tour, we head into a cozy tasting room, cellar door, and restaurant to literally enjoy the fruits of the field with a few other patrons of the vineyard. It’s easy to see that John is well known in the area. He takes pride in showcasing his knowledge and sharing his personal Barossa friendships and connections. It’s like he’s part of a special club that knows the inside scoop of all the secrets of the land—a wine fraternity, if you will.

Watching the wines being poured into the glasses is almost a spiritual moment. You can almost see the blends flowing out of the bottle and into the glass in slow motion, and your mouth waters with anticipation to taste it. The way the wine washes up from the bowl of the glass and gracefully caresses the sides enhances the experience. It’s almost like you’re watching a vintage being born in front of you even though you know that’s not the case.

Each tasting is accompanied by a very small gourmet entrée to complete the wine-tasting experience—a light degustation, not the complete chef’s experience, but we didn’t want that right now. Unlike the regular practice of pairing the right type of wine with the food, St. Hugo’s chef chooses his foods to complement the wines. After all, the wines are the stars of the show. The dishes are arranged with the wines according to taste—bitter, sweet, sour, fatty, savory, etc. We taste the various wines along with the simple dishes and ingredients and pick our favorites—which flavors we felt went best with each vintage, and which vintages we preferred over others. I’m pretty partial to the signature Shiraz while Butterfly predictably leans to an incredibly decadent Cabernet.

John is only too happy to inform the vintner that we would like three bottles of the 2005 Signature Coonawarra Cabernet Sauvignon to be packed and prepared to take back to the States. Reminding us of the tax and hassle of getting the wine through customs, he offered to send it directly to our address in Seattle. I wouldn’t have minded the tax on the wine—at $1000 a bottle, it couldn’t have been much for someone like me—but he raises a good point about the hassle of customs, and we may find more wine that we’d like to ship home. In light of that information, I agree to have the bottles shipped and give him our information for the shipping.

Just as I’m finishing the transaction, Butterfly scoffs loudly and indiscreetly. I frown and turn to her.

“What’s wrong?” I ask. I know she’s had a bit of wine, but it’s no more than we’ve had at a normal dinner and we’re just getting started, so it can’t be that.

“I must be one helluva hot dish!” she’s says uncensored. Okay…

“Well… yeah, but why is that a bad thing?” I ask.

“Because people can’t believe for the life of them that we just met, fell in love, got married, and started a family. I just have to be a trophy wife!”

That statement tells me everything I need to hear. There’s only one other group of people in the cellar door with us and they’re standing just to the left of her—two couples about our age examining the wine menu. At least the men are examining the wine menu. The women are looking over at Butterfly. They subsequently divert their gaze when they see me glaring at them.

“You are a trophy wife, baby. Get used to it,” I say loud enough for them to hear. They giggle and Butterfly gasps. “That’s because you’re one hell of a fucking prize. And the next time someone says that about you, just remember that they’re only saying it because they’re so goddamn jealous that they could chew out their own fucking tongues.”

I raise my brow at her and wait for acknowledgment. I get it in the form of her beautiful, coy smile that I know is only reserved for me. I lift her chin and kiss her gently.

“Never get upset about trolls, baby,” I say, still holding her chin, but looking at the cunts who disparaged her. “They’ve got nothing on you and they know it, and that’s why they try to cut you down.” I bring my eyes back to Butterfly’s. “Comprendre?”

“Oui, monsieur,” she replies sweetly. I brush her lips with another soft kiss.

“Let’s get out of here,” I say, taking her hand and tucking it into the crease of my elbow. “The riff-raff is starting to bother me.”

As we pass the couples still standing at the counter, I hear one of the men say, “Geez, what the fuck did you say?’”


A/N: Yes, they’re everywhere!

More music from the special night:
Usher—
Trading Places
Nelly and Kelly Rowland—
Dilemma
Usher—Lovers and Friends
Trey Songz—
All We Do
Slo Mo—
Ride
Jeremiah—
Birthday Sex
Guinuwine—
Differences
Trey Songz—
On Top
K Camp—
Blessing

Putain d’enfer, il l’a encore fait!—Fucking hell, he did it again!
S’il vous plaît”—”Please!”

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.

There has been yet another development where if you feel the need to talk to fellow readers about personal issues, you need a sounding board, you want to vent about something in your life, please feel free to visit the link on the left in the menu entitled “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

The Australia Picture Board can be found here: https://www.pinterest.com/ladeeceo/raising-grey-the-trip-to-australia/ and the pictures from today’s chapter are in the “Adeliade,” “Peppers,” and “Barossa Valley” sections, and there are a lot of them!!

And of course, the regular Pinterest board is here: 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 78—Traipsing to Tasmania    

I’m assuming that anyone reading my fanfic has read the entire FSOG trilogy and most likely seen all the movies. By now, I’m certain that you are fully aware that BDSM is an entire lifestyle practiced by an ENORMOUS community of people. To that end, if you do not agree with the lifestyle, I’m pretty certain that you knew that you didn’t agree with it by the time you finished reading the original trilogy. As such, why would you continue to read FSOG fanfiction knowing that it’s based on the trilogy and that the trilogy is based on a BDSM relationship if you don’t agree with the lifestyle? 

This is nearly the end of book four—BOOK FOUR! You didn’t know when you read that conversation between Christian and Ana in BOOK ONE, PAGING DR. STEELE, that this story would be about BDSM?

If you don’t agree with the practice of BDSM (not you, Falala, I know that you’re still trying to grasp it), that’s your prerogative and that’s okay, but don’t use my forum to slam it. First of all, you knew what you were reading when you started reading an FSOG fanfic and second, it’s not my responsibility to defend an entire lifestyle that was being practiced EONS before our great-grandparents were even a sperm in their great-grandparents’ DNA.

I’m certain that there are plenty of forums out there that share in your point of view about how inappropriate BDSM is in any relationship—marriage, casual, sexual, or otherwise. I Googled it came up with ten pages of forums that will welcome your anti-BDSM comments. This AIN’T one of those forums, and your comment has been deleted—no disrespect intended. Please post your anti-BDSM comments elsewhere. This is a REQUEST, not an ATTACK. Thank you. 

Danger—Aussie accent ahead. Turn away now.

All other previous disclaimers still apply.

Chapter 78—Traipsing to Tasmania    

ANASTASIA

Hobart is a beautiful city in Tasmania, built on rolling hills with Mount Wellington as its backdrop. Even though we’re on a ferry, it’s easy to see the beautiful 19th Century architecture throughout the city. The ferry driver is spouting several statistics about the location—second oldest capital after Sydney, mostly Anglo-Celtic despite the increase in immigrants from other countries, home port for Australian Antarctic operations, blah, blah, blah.

Should this interest me? I guess it should as a tourist, but sadly, it doesn’t. I’m not really sure what I should be interested in, but I know I don’t want to hear a bunch of stats.

“Some people compare the colonization of Hobart to the colonization of America,” Laura says to me when she sees that I’m completely uninterested in our tour guide’s stats and figures. “There are differing points of view concerning what wiped out Tasmania’s original inhabitants, the Aboriginal Tasmanians. Some schools of thought blame disease brought by the English when they built the convict settlement here. Others point to warfare and violence while there are still others that say that many died in what we would consider concentration camps.”

She looks out at the water for a moment.

“Being the spirit soul that I am, I tend to look at things a little differently than others.” She scoffs a laugh. “Who am I fooling? I look at things a lot differently. My ancestors are largely English. I have some Polish and a spot of German, but mostly English. Yet, I could never wrap my head around the European concept of manifest destiny. I realize the words were ‘born’ in America, but the concept was the same everywhere. No matter how they tried to explain it, what it basically meant was that the whole world was theirs and nobody else mattered. If that meant going across the land on several different continents and wiping out the natives, then so be it. Genocide was and is still justified as long as they got their piece of the land.” She turns around and leans on the railing.

“I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to get all philosophical,” she says. “I’m only one opinion. What does it mean? It just irritates me to hear someone spouting off about the depth of the harbor at the Hobart pier when there’s so much history here—so many untold stories. I can’t imagine that these people have traveled from so many different parts of the world to hear that the mountain there is 1300 meters tall. Is that why you’re here?”

“Certainly not,” I concur.

“There are barely any native Aboriginals left—Palawa, they’re called. I’m not sure that there’s any left of purely Aboriginal descent. And yet, here we are skating across the hillside like ‘This land is your land, this land is my land…’”

She seems very passionate about this and I wonder why she’s taking it so personally.

“Again, I’m just one person,” she sighs. “There’s one other heritage that I didn’t give you. I’m largely English, and some Polish, and some German… and I’m quite a bit Native American.”

My eyes widen and I purse my lips. Hence, the reason for taking things so personally.

“My ancestors know of being forced from their land, and their descendants—my grandparents and great-grandparents—talk about it a lot. They never let you forget. I’m of the Sac and Fox Nation. We were a merged tribe of the Sac and Meskwaki peoples. It didn’t help, though. We lost our land—most of it—and they tried to assimilate us completely in the 1940’s, 50’s, and 60’s. Some of us survived, though—I’m still here to tell the story.

“I didn’t mean to give you an ‘American’ history lesson. I just feel like a tourist attraction like this would be better served by hearing the history of the land—maybe even as told by one of the true natives—instead of this whole ‘Look at us, look at what we did’ spouting of statistics that I’m hearing from this guy.”

I’m not so sure that the entire gory details of colonization would be story material for tourists. However, I have to agree that a bit of true history would be a lot better than hearing about how deep the water is in the harbor.

I’m relieved when this leg of the trip has ended, and we arrive at the MONA—an underground lair full of art dug into sandstone cliffs a short ferry ride from Hobart. The ferry ride that trip sent Laura down a very morose road and I’m hoping she doesn’t travel down it again. Of course, she would empathize with the Aboriginals given her heritage, but for some reason, I get a feeling that it’s more than that.

We order a breakfast of champions at the restaurant there and Christian and I tell Jaxon and Laura about our eventful night. We leave out the buck-wild spanking-and-sex-session that resulted in all the love bites, and I conveniently skip the encounter with that horrible couple at the pub who thought it was perfectly normal and natural to ask if we wanted to wife-swap. I don’t know or care what kind of “free love” vibe we’re emitting, but I’m absolutely certain that we’re not sending out signals that we want to share.

While I recount the events of the previous night to Laura and Jaxon, Christian keeps looking at his phone, occasionally typing on the screen. I want to ask him if we’re interrupting his work, but I don’t bother. It goes with him everywhere and I’ve long since gotten used to it, except right now, I kind of feel like he should be more engaged with current company than concerned about his organization back in Seattle.

“So,” I say to Laura and Jaxon, “I wasn’t with you when you planned the excursions, so what’s on the agenda today?”

“Well,” Jaxon begins, “fuhrst, we’ll trip around tha ol’ MONA hehre for an houh or so, then we’ll tayke a droive bahk down ta Kettering an’ catch tha fehry across tha wattah. Through Nohth Bruny we go, down ta Advencha By, an’ hop tha Bruny Oiland Cruise. Thehre’s plenty ta see on an’ around the oiland behfoh we hedd bahk to the big boat. Then we’ll staht ovah in tha mornin’ on Port Ahthuh. We’ll only have a few houhs but we’ll get a lot done.”

“It should be a scenic drive,” Laura says. “It’s sounds like about two hours if the shuttle is driving slowly, which I wouldn’t count on.”

I nod and finish my coffee, trying to ignore Christian and his tap-tap-tapping on his phone.

“Great. Well, let’s get going. I’d like to see what there is to see.” I wipe my mouth and stand without looking to my husband. If he wants to sit here and work, he can. I’m going to go look at the art of the MONA.

The MONA is located on the Moorilla Estate, which is a winery and brewery on the Berriedale peninsula of Hobart. I should really say that the MONA is located under the estate, as the museum itself is a labyrinth of displays that burrow three levels into the side of the cliff. There’s a small and unassuming building on the main level that you enter to get to the good stuff. The front is totally mirrored, and the entrance makes you feel like you’re walking into a vortex. After we’ve had our breakfast, it’s now time to see the meat of things.

Upon entering the museum, we’re given these iPods called “The O.” If you want to know what the pieces are that are on display, you follow them on “The O” as there are no wall texts in the museum. “The O” offers lots of information and the ability to interact more through information, interviews, and music without affecting the aesthetics of the museum experience. Basically, as you get close to the artwork, you get content on the piece, and two people standing next to each other can get different content on the same piece. If you have an iPhone, you can download the app to your phone without having to borrow one of MONA’s iPads, and you can save and retrieve your trip at any time on either device or even when you leave the MONA.

I particularly like the feature that allows you to get your information in detailed scholarly language, lovingly referred to as “curator’s wank,” or in simpler text that speaks more to your emotional, creative side. I chose the latter. I’m always in some kind of scholarly, intellectual situation—I don’t want that shit today. I’m intrigued to see what this little device will offer, although I’m not necessarily thrilled with the idea of looking down at a mobile device the entire time, considering the fact that I’m still harboring a little resentment for Christian being buried in his blackberry during a portion of our breakfast. Nonetheless, I take my little device and head into the museum as does Jaxon. Laura and Christian decide against the iPod. I can’t help but think it’s because he wants to be able to look at his phone instead of admiring David Walsh’s multi-million-dollar art collection.

Ben and Jason appear equally as “interested.”

It’s a bit underwhelming when you get inside. You have to descend this long and winding flight of stairs to the lower level of the museum and work your way back up through the art and exhibitions—or there’s a cylindrical glass elevator to take you back up, but there’s only the stairs down.

“Great,” Christian murmurs. “More stairs.” I groan inwardly.

“They help to work off all the food we’re eating during the trip, like that magnanimous breakfast we just had.” He spent a good portion of breakfast on his phone, so even though it would be uncharacteristic of him, I don’t even know if he finished it. I’m not sure if he catches the sarcasm, but I begin my trek down the stairs without a concern for it.

It looks very ominous once you get to the bottom. The architecture is very organic, nothing like the traditional art galleries I’ve seen—a far cry from the pristine displays in Greece.

I was yet to discover just how far.

You don’t really have any idea of which direction you should go as nothing is really labelled. There are no specific sections for “expressionist art” or “abstract art.” You just have to find your way based on desire or instinct. I decide that this is going to be one of those experiences like when I go to the aquarium… or when I used to go to the aquarium—just me and the fishies.

As I begin to work my way around the museum, the GPS inside The O gives me brief descriptions of the masterpieces. I explore the mobile device and find that I can listen to interviews, Walsh’s opinions and stories about a particular piece, music, poetry, or even differing ideas to spark conversation—all in context of what I’m viewing.

Jaxon and I talk a lot about what we’re seeing since we both have The O. He explains to me the significance of a giant mural on one of the floors called Snake by Sidney Nolan. It’s a Rainbow Serpent consisting of over 1,600 individual paintings. The Rainbow Serpent has significant meaning in the various Aboriginal cultures—all largely religious. I’m just amazed by the level of dedication it took to create a work comprised of so many paintings. I discover that the museum was specifically designed around this and other pieces, like an iron bookshelf with large glass shards called Sternenfall housed in its own zinc cube back up on the surface and an illuminated sarcophagus called Mummy and Coffin of Pausiris—one of the older pieces.

I’m particularly—and morosely—drawn to a piece called Cloaca by Wim Delvoye, an artist who seems to have a lot of pieces in the museum. In simplified medical terms, the cloaca is the combined intestinal, urinary, and reproductive organ in various species, including humans. In laymen’s terms, it’s the part of the body that produces shit.

That’s what this piece does—literally! It produces shit.

It’s a contraption made of eight distinct pieces. Seven of those pieces are tanks and hoses and such attached to a steel frame hanging from the ceiling. The last piece is the “asshole,” the shit-producing apparatus. Someone stands at a table situated at the head of the machine, prepares food, and “feeds” it to this device. The food proceeds through the machine where the different tanks remove the nutrients and fluids, mimicking different stages of the digestive process and at the final stage, it produces turds. Real fucking turds! It’s fascinating and disgusting at the same time.

Who the fuck thought this was art??

I wander past another piece called Formations of Silence: Freudian Flowers and read that the work is about life and death by an artist who was fascinated by the human body. Each piece of the art could either represent a flower or a human organ.

More bodily functions… for Christ’s sake.

And yet another body metaphor—Artifact, a giant head that displays a light show inside to simulates your consciousness at work. I have to admit, that piece looks kind of cool, though.

I stop and get a glass of Cabernet Sauvignon from the Void Bar inside the museum and continue on my expedition, invariably thinking about the “shit machine,” of all things, while I’m drinking it.

Partially through the exhibits, I ask Laura why she opted not to get The O. She explains that she likes for art to grab her. She often visits museums without looking at the wall plaques. According to her, they take away from the art. That’s most likely what Walsh had in mind when he set up the MONA—no windows, just you in this artistic dungeon of sorts being forced to commune with each piece. I look around for Christian, wondering if he’s still communing with someone at GEH or something in his email, and I can’t find him. I look around and see Jason trailing me…

Odd.

That must mean that Ben is with Christian. Since I can’t visually locate Christian immediately, I look for Ben. I find him standing outside the narrow doorway of a room, so I walk in his direction. Just inside the doorway, I spot my husband… communing.

He’s standing there gazing at a mural of… drawers, I think. He’s entranced, like he’s reading one of his spreadsheets and trying to find the pattern or the formula for his next merger.

Not a bit bitter, are we?
Well, you picked a fine time to show up.
Stop acting like a ‘tosser” and go over there and communicate with your husband. He’s “communing” with the art.

Why must this fucking cow be fucking right all the fucking time?

I begrudgingly walk over to my husband who still hasn’t taken his eyes off the piece. He’s totally transfixed. His head doesn’t move, but his gray eyes dart from one drawer to the next. The pictures on each drawer are illuminated. They’re black and white circles that look like cyclones. In the middle of each cyclone is a face… in color.

The drawers open like drawers of a morgue, and of course, the piece is invariably about sex and death. The sex part, I don’t get, unless it has to do with the wall of records on the opposite wall in the narrow room behind us—actual vinyl records that appear to be breathing. We just had a conversation about how much death we’ve been confronted with and now we’re in a museum looking at various pieces that cause introspection about what? Death.

He opens one of the drawers and it says, “I love you” in a young boy’s voice. I open another one and the same sentiment is heard in a woman’s voice. It’s one of the creepiest things that I’ve ever experienced… or so I thought.

“What do you think she felt?” he asks. I frown.

“Who?” I ask.

“Her,” he says. “The crack whore—what do you think she felt? When she slept with strange men, prostituted herself for her next fix… When she got that fix… When she let that monster burn and beat me… Do you think she ever loved me? Even once? Why didn’t she just abort me if she didn’t want me? Why didn’t she just take me to the hospital or the police station and just leave me there? She couldn’t take care of me, so why did she make me stay?”

I don’t even know how to answer his questions. Anything I say right now could set him off, and I can’t afford to let that happen in a public place—much less in the middle of the MONA.

He opens another drawer and yet another voice says, “I love you.”

“She killed herself,” he says. “She didn’t have enough money to feed me, to clothe me, to find a fucking baby sitter while she turned her tricks, but she had enough drugs to overdose. How is that possible?”

I move in closer and just stand next to him, looking at the faces staring back at us and wondering what they mean. Were each of these people in a drawer at one point—in the morgue? Are these random faces or are these people close to David Hall who passed away? Who are the voices saying, “I love you” and why?

“What do you think she felt as she was dying?” he asks as he closes a drawer. “Did she feel any pain? Did she see anything? Was there even the slightest moment of clarity… or regret… before she kicked over?”

I don’t examine the work anymore. I don’t need to know what it means. I only need to know that Christian is spiraling down each one of these little black-and-white cyclone holes with these little faces thinking about death…

And the crack whore.

It’s time to bring him back to the here and now.

I slowly slide my hand then my arm into the bend of his elbow. I then hug his arm with both of mine and wait for him to emerge from that dingy place of squalor in Detroit and come back to me… to our children.

He looks down and over at me and I give him a soft smile. It doesn’t matter what she felt. She’s not here anymore and she doesn’t have any answers for you. Stop torturing yourself.

“That little boy… he wants to know. He’s got questions that nobody can answer because she’s dead… but he still fucking wants to know.”

Yeah, you’re torturing yourself.

He sighs and looks down at me, coming back to the here and now for a moment. He moves the arm that I’m hugging, and I release it. He wraps it around my body and pulls me closer to him.

“What’s this piece called?” he asks. I touch the thumbnail on The O and pull up the information.

Well, that explains it.

“’When My Heart Stops Beating’ by Patrick Hall,” I inform him. He scoffs.

“Well, that explains it,” he says, repeating my sentiment. He turns us both to the door and we leave the tiny room.

We walk around the museum, arm in arm, hand in hand, or with me tucked under Christian’s arm—whichever makes him feel more comfortable. He confesses to me that he got a little baby time before I woke up this morning. I confessed that I, too, had some baby time yesterday while checking my emails, so we’re even. We agree to make sure that we talk to them together later if it’s not too late.

We happen upon a water piece, words made out of falling drops of water illuminated by tract lighting—a lot of work in this museum seems to be illuminated—called bit.fall by Julius Popp. We stand there in silence for several minutes reading random words as they fall and listening to the water splash at the bottom of the installation. It’s very comforting.

There are several more pieces to marvel at—or question—the room full of white books with no titles and blank pages, the bike on the rack that spews dirt on the wall, the exquisite sculptures hand-carved out of tires. But the one that invariably catches our attention was a seemingly harmless piece consisting of three white—probably plaster—casts on a black background. My mouth falls open and Christian’s head tilts to the side like he’s not completely sure he’s seeing what he’s really seeing.

Pussies. Yep, that’s what I said—pussies.

Appropriately labelled Cunts… and other conversations, the piece is three perfectly cast snatches—one in full bush, one in the typical pussy-mohawk with hair at the top and clean lips, and the one in the middle is completely Brazilian… clearly not all the same coochie.

“Are those…?” Jason begins.

“Yep, yes, that’s what they are,” Christian says, cutting him off before he finishes the question. My mind immediately goes to the Pussy DJ… and we paid to see these. I can’t help but see the humor in the irony of the situation, and I choke out a snorting laugh. Christian rolls his eyes and tries to stifle his own smirk, and thus, some much-needed levity is added to a pretty tense situation.

When we emerge from the MONA into the “bright light” once again, I take a moment to reflect on the hours we just spent in the cave. I had no idea this place was so macabre. It’s strange and awful and wonderful and fascinating all at the same time. It’s a contradiction in and of itself because it has subtle spiritual undertones and disturbingly anti-religious themes. Walsh describes the Amarna by James Turrell as “what God would do if he wanted to build a gazebo,” yet he declares himself a rabid atheist. How does one reconcile that—a reference to God mixed with a blaring belief that God does not exist?

Not to mention the parking space reserved for “GOD.” It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to know who parks there as there’s a second one reserved for “GOD’S MISTRESS,” so… what’s the thrust here?

823fbc462e495ec4a959a716edde2029

This entire experience and all this crazy, beautiful, nonsensical art has revealed one fact to me. It’s not a small world. It’s a big world, a very big world, and there’s a lot of it that I haven’t seen. Tucked on this little island on the other side of the world is this museum that’s so unconventional that it truly shows you just how much of a speck you are in the universe.

Who crashed that damn car between those two walls?

What man records every single day that he spends in his studio until his death? And did he do it specifically for it to be displayed that way in that bunker?

What kind of mind thinks to burrow into the ground—deep into the ground—to build a museum that holds priceless, existential works simply to maintain the integrity of two existing structures on the land, in effect making them a part of the art exhibit?

I saw a sculpture of a dead horse; illuminated drawers of a morgue that speak when you open them; and one piece of art made from 1600… 1600!

And all this after experiencing the splendor that is the Sydney Opera House.

I am nothing!

We take some time to view the art pieces that are outside the MONA before we must take the 45-minute ride to Kettering to catch the Bruny Island Cruise. I guess living in Australia, particularly in Tasmania—you should probably get used to water travel.

There are beautiful—and strange—sculptures and pieces to see outside just like there are inside. Wim Delvoye is apparently a pretty popular “bloke” in these parts as his pieces are all over the place, but I’m extremely impressed with his Gothic Temple that sits on the grounds near the water with a backdrop of Hobart and his Flatbed Truck, Trailer and Cement Truck, which defies words and you simply must see it to believe it.

There’s an adult-sized trampoline, a tennis court, and the aforementioned car wedged between two walls with “sex, death, & bogans?” carved or written on the trunk, and I’m having another one of those “was this trip really necessary?” moments.

And a lovely platform and with a roof called the Amarna sits prominently on the ground, providing a lovely colored light show over the course of time. I’m told that the Amarna is quite beautiful and best viewed at sunrise or sunset. First, it is quite beautiful. Second, I wasn’t here at sunrise. Third, I won’t be here at sunset. So, I guess I’ll just have to take their word for it.

I truly think I’ve had about all the “art” I can take today, not to mention Christian’s brief trip down Hell Street, and I’m more than prepared to bid adieu to the MONA. It was an enlightening experience, but I’ve had enough. Jaxon and Laura were enthralled by the place and keep sharing their perspectives of the various pieces of art. I interject an opinion every now and then on the pieces I found interesting, and the rest of the boys just kind of listen until our excursion shuttle arrives. It doesn’t take long before our ride to Kettering is pulling up outside of the Moorilla Estate and we board to head to our next destination.

And Christian pulls out his phone again.

“May I ask why you keep pulling out your phone?” I ask, attempting to hide my ire. He looks over at me and raises a brow.

“Yes, you may,” he says matter-of-factly, “and there are a couple of reasons. First, it keeps vibrating and I keep getting messages from Holstein, the warden at the women’s prison who wouldn’t take or return my calls?” My turn to raise a brow. “He keeps leaving me messages apologizing for not returning my calls and asking me to call him back. He’s called me about five times in the last 12 hours. So, I can’t help but wonder what has set him off.”

“Ooookay,” I reply.

“Subsequently, Josh went up to the prison to do an interview with Lincoln to try to get some footing on the progress, purpose, and the actual author of this book. He’s gotten some solid information and he’s been corresponding with me on his findings. I’m wondering if Holstein has put two and two together, although I don’t see how since there’s no way to tie Josh to me.”

“He works for you,” I say with an unsolicited yawn. Where did that come from?

“To maintain his autonomy as well as his anonymity as a freelance journalist, he works for me under an alias. Only certain people inside the company know who he really is.” I nod, take off my glasses, and rub my tired eyes. I had to wear my glasses because they were a bit irritated from sweat running into them last night probably mixed with a little mousse.

“You’re sitting,” he says. I nod. I know what he’s referring to. I didn’t sit down on the ferry ride to MONA because my butt was still tender from the spanking and the water was a slight bit choppy. I was careful with my sitting at breakfast and didn’t sit down again after that until now.

“How do you feel?” he asks.

“I’m okay,” I say, softly.

“You brought eucalyptus lotion with you,” he points out. “Did you think something like this might happen?” I shake my head and lean over on his arm.

“I didn’t want to risk working out or swimming too vigorously and ruining my vacation,” I say with a yawn, resting my tired eyes. He lifts the arm that I’m leaning on and puts it around me. I nuzzle into his chest and absently listen to the conversations going on around me.

“Butterfly?”

My husband’s voice drifts through the fog of my brain. I open my eyes and realize that I fell asleep during our ride.

“Hmm?” I say, trying to pull myself out of the extreme comfort I feel snuggled here in his arms.

“We’re almost there, baby. You might want to get the sleepy dust out of your eyes.”

I stretch my arms over my head. Gosh, that was a really good nap, even though I missed the scenery. My eyes even feel better. I stretch both arms over the other side of my body, then bend down between my legs to stretch my back. I hear what sounds like the normal chatter of various conversations on the shuttle, so I sit up and continue my stretches.

“Mmm,” I hear someone say sitting across from me, “OI guess Americahns don know how ta keep thehr bedrooms in thehr bedrooms.”

I don’t react, but I’m sure she’s talking about me. I let her have her little comment and put my hands on Christian’s shoulders to get a good twist and stretch my lower back.

“Huh, look, moh on tha bahk,” she points out. “OI guess this koind a’thing is on display in tha Staytes.”

Geez, what a stupid cunt. Christian is looking at me and waiting for me to react, and I don’t, but when I turn around, she’s glaring at me with distaste. My eyes immediately go to Laura, who’s also sitting across from me next to the verbose bitch.

“Part of your new attitude?” Laura asks. I scoff.

“She doesn’t bother me,” I say, loud enough for the woman and the people around her—whomever she was talking to—to hear, “because the fact that I have a ginormous tattoo on most of my back to hide the brutal scars from a vicious act committed upon me as a teenager doesn’t offend or affect her or prompt her to speak on the origin of the art, but these hickeys give her cause for pause. I think she needs to get her priorities straight.” I quickly locate my Jackie-O’s and put them on, never making eye-contact with the object of my current displeasure. Say something, bitch. I will shred you.

“Butterfly,” Christian says, taking my hand.

“I’m not naked,” I say firmly without yelling. “I’m not indecently dressed and what’s more, I’m not ashamed of the fact that I’m a beautiful woman and you love my body. A good portion of my back is covered in woodland creatures and goth letters and all she saw was the hickeys?

“I’m not going to wear a turtleneck in 80-degree weather—that’s about 27 Celsius to my metric listeners—because someone who doesn’t understand the concept of passion might be a little sensitive. We just left the MONA where we saw a sculpture on the wall of three bare anatomically-correct pussies, and this offends her?” I say, pointing to myself and now turning my gaze to the woman who was glaring at me a moment ago, who’s now staring gape-mouth at me. Laura doesn’t make the situation any better. She leans over and says something to the woman that nearly makes me lose my composure.

“Close your mouth, dear. You might catch a fly.”

The woman gasps and quickly closes her mouth, turning her gaze away from us and out the window. I conspicuously hold my hand up to Laura, who victoriously gives me a high-five.


CHRISTIAN

Even on the other side of the world, we can’t seem to catch a break. They despise us for being rich and then they despise us for acting like normal people. Once the shuttle arrives on Bruny Island, I take my beautiful wife’s hand and walk away from the twat that was talking shit about her. We have a quick lunch of fish, chips, and slaw at the Bruny Island Cruises Seafood Restaurant before we head into the Adventure Bay Visitor Center to get ready for our cruise.

“’Hehr, Chris,” Jaxon says, handing me two red jackets with hoods, two beanies, and two pairs of gloves. The jackets are a nice weight and have a yellow patch that says “Bruny & Tasman Island Cruises.”

“It moight get a little chilly on tha boat. It would have been a buhden carrying jackets ‘round the MONA.”

Well, he’s right about that, but I don’t intend to wear this beanie unless I have to. I grab two more jackets and hand the lot to Jason. Butterfly’s looking at the digital cameras.

“Are you looking at those for the cruise?” I ask, she nods. “No need. I picked up a couple at the gift shop on board yesterday when I found out where we would be going today. Jason has them.” She smiles.

“You think of everything,” she says. “And when’s the last time you gave that man a raise? You would be completely helpless without him.”

That’s a good question. He lives with me. I’ve always paid for Sophia’s schooling. I’ve never thought about giving him a raise and it hasn’t come up… at least not for the last few years.

“I’ll talk to him about it,” I say, seriously. “It may be time to do that.” We pay for the jackets, leave the visitor center, and prepare to board the boat for the cruise. It has already gotten cooler, so Butterfly puts her new red jacket over her sweater. She actually likes the beanie a puts it on over her braided hair, shoving the gloves in her pocket. She turns around to model for Laura, who is donning her own red jacket when I catch a glimpse of the woman who made the comments to her on the shuttle and pray that Butterfly doesn’t see her.

Too late.

“Is this better?” Butterfly says, holding her arms out for the woman to see. “You can’t see my hickeys now. Is this less offensive for you?”

The woman does this gasping thing and walks away from us, no doubt looking for her friends. Her best bet is to stay out of our way, because Butterfly is not going to let up.

A few minutes later and it’s onto the boat we go for the Bruny Island Cruise, away from Adventure Bay and around the southeastern side of Bruny Island. There really is so much to see on this cruise. It’s not really a cruise, though. It’s actually more exciting. We’re on an open boat skimming across the water like a speedboat around the large dolerite cliffs—a stone tougher than granite.

Where the Tasman Sea meets the South Pacific Ocean, our small boat rides the swells of the water and dolphins leap out of and back into the water alongside us. Some swim and dive separately while others swim in groups of three, four, or even five leaping out of the water all at the same time. It’s a synchronized dance between them—like they’re trained to do this, although you know they’re not because they’re free. It’s like something straight out of National Geographic, and it reminds me of swimming with the dolphins in Anguilla.

Next, the tour guide informs us that we’ll be seeing what is known as The Monument. What he really meant was that we would be skating over the water at top speed through a seemingly narrow passage between a gigantic dolerite formation on the right and the ominous dolerite cliffs on the left. Now, I did mention that dolerite is tougher than granite, so had our boat hit either the cliff or the formation, it would have been smashed to smithereens. I trust no one like I trust myself to guide a boat—except the captain of the cruise ship, of course—so I’m sitting on the edge of my seat the entire five seconds it takes to get around the cliff.

I must admit, however, that the photo ops of this trip are endless. These majestic cliffs carved out of these beautiful rocks are simply awe-inspiring, and I’m not easily awed. We see this phenomenon called The Blowhole. It’s not really a phenomenon—it’s really very simple. There’s a hole in the base of one of the dolerite cliffs. As the water rises and falls—as it always does, the pressure builds inside the hole, forcefully pushing the air and water out so that it flies high up into the air like a whale’s blowhole. But the water also flies out across the surface, so we have to keep our distance to prevent being sprayed.

We discover that we really need our jackets because some parts of the cruise are colder than others. There are some parts where we could just open our jackets and let the wind blow in our faces. There were other parts where we needed our beanies and gloves and actually should have purchased scarves as well. My wife teases me incessantly as she knew that I had no intention of putting that beanie on my head… until that cold air hit me.

Watching the fur seals play was an interesting event, and there are a lot of them! Many of them were just lounging along the rocks—natural beds along the cliffs that appears to be made just for them—while others took dips in the cool water. If we get too close to the cliffs, we have to let the boat coast a bit to keep from hitting them. One seal follows us around the cliff, leaping from rock to rock to keep up with the slowly cruising boat until a wave reaches up and douses his most-recent landing pad, pulling him into the water. He emerges a few moments later and abandons the idea of keeping up with the boat.

On another cliff, we see a gaggle of nests, each occupied by an albatross or two. Watching them fly reminds me a lot of soaring… and the fact that I haven’t been in a glider in years. Shit, I’m going to lose my wings if I don’t get in the air soon.

There were a few times when the cruise slowed to a crawl to travel through natural tunnels in the cliffs, allowing for the aforementioned photo ops. The entire trip is extremely majestic, and I find myself feeling slightly more spiritual than I’m accustomed to being.

I look over at my wife, laughing and enjoying the trip with our new friends and even with our security detail, and I realize why she was crying when we left the docks in Sydney, even though I knew it then. We’re so lucky—not because we’re rich, but we have each other and this beautiful family, and opportunities, and an entire world to explore. I’m sitting here mulling over my past and the crack whore when I’ve got my entire life ahead of me and nothing but opportunities—to live, to grow, to help other people… to have experiences besides those that money affords.

I need to put some things in motion when I get back to Seattle—besides dealing with the Pedophile and her impending book, and the warden who appears to be running scared now. My mother took me from hell and from squalor and even though I remember the terror and it’s had a lifelong effect on me, I spent most of my life in a bubble and I’m still in that bubble now. It’s time for some changes.

The cruise takes us from the north end of Bruny Island from Adventure Bay and back up the coast the way that we came. We enjoy a repeat of the sites and our group is treated to the migration of a few humpback whales. The tour guide informs us that humpback whales travel north up the coast through May and June. However, they migrate back down towards Antarctica from September through December, and we were just so lucky to witness the southern trek.

We get back to Adventure Bay mid-afternoon and take the shuttle again to Inala, a conservation property, that holds nature tours, where we learn about the endangered birds and wildlife on the island. From Inala, the shuttle takes us to the Hotel Bruny Bistro, a pub where we have dinner and talk about the day. Most of the ingredients used in Tasmanian dining are grown or harvested locally. We discover that their specialties are chocolates, cheese, and wine.

Looking around both here and Sydney, I realize that I didn’t really need to book a separate trip to “Wine Country.” The whole damn continent is “Wine Country” in one way or another. Nonetheless, I’m hoping we can capture the same magic in the Barossa Valley that we did in Napa.

We start dinner with an assortment of oysters from nude to grilled with bacon and Worcestershire sauce to beer battered with lemon accompanied by pitchers of Coopers Pale Ale. For our main course, Butterfly has chicken Parma with smoked leg ham, Bruny Island cheese and house Napoli sauce, with a salad and fries… or chips, I should say. I have the Tassie beef Scotch Fillet steak with vegetables and honey brown mushroom sauce.

Once we finish dinner, our last stop is to the Bruny Island Neck Lookout for the penguin walk. Just on the other side of the Bruny Island Neck, which is the narrow isthmus that joins North Bruny Island and South Bruny Island, is the penguin lookout. There are viewing and observation platforms that can be reached by—what else—a fucking lot of steps. Butterfly looks over at me as we step off the shuttle when she sees the stairs.

“There must not be an obese person on this entire continent,” I say before she speaks. “I sure haven’t seen any, and if they are here, they’re few and far between. I haven’t visited anywhere that hasn’t been an exercise in stair-climbing.”

“There were no stairs at the Tower Eye,” Butterfly disputes, “or in our hotel, or at Big Poppa’s. Okay, there were a few at Big Poppa’s, but it wasn’t an ‘exercise in stair-climbing.’”

“There were stairs in Sydney,” I correct her, counting off on my fingers, “there were stairs in Hobart at the MONA, and now there are stairs here on Bruny.” She folds her arms.

“Would you rather wait here at the bottom for us, old man?” she teases. What the fuck? I’m not that much older than she is.

“If you can do it, I can do it, girly,” I retort. She puts her hands on her hips.

“You know I can do it, Grey,” she challenges, popping her neck from side to side.

“Well, what are you waiting for?” I taunt. “Less talking, more climbing—chop, chop!” I gesture to the stairs. She shakes her head and scoffs at me.

“Stop whining, you little crybaby, and get your ass up the stairs,” she says before turning around and beginning her climb. Part of me wishes that she had worn her heels so that she wouldn’t be talking so much shit after all the walking and climbing we’ve done. The other part of me is thanking the fates that she didn’t, because I’d have to carry her down these steps. I pause for a second at the foot of the stairs and watch her climb. She turns around to find me and stops.

“Well, these stairs won’t climb themselves, Grey,” she chastises. “You throwin’ in the towel?”

“Nope,” I say calmly. “Just enjoying the view.” She raises her brow and purses her lips.

“Get your ass up here…”

Once we get to the top of Mount Everest, the guide there gives us some instructions and information about the march of the fairy penguins, as Butterfly calls it. Fully grown, they’re only two pounds and measure about one foot long. They’re nocturnal and during the nesting season, they make their way inland to the nesting grounds and their burrows just beyond the beach after dark to protect themselves from predators.

“Finally!” Butterfly exclaims softly, “Something that I want to see at sunset or dusk that I get to see!”

In order to see the penguins, we have to use flashlights covered in red cellophane and stay on the boardwalk or the stairs. If there are any people on the beach, the penguins won’t come ashore. Once again, I’m reminded of Anguilla and the night the turtles hatch and made a mad dash to the sea. It scared the shit out of my wife, who wasn’t my wife at the time. She later told me that she had flashbacks of the movie The Mummy, where the scarabs all swarmed out of his burial site. She swore that the world was ending, and the Mummy was coming up from the great beyond to claim our souls!

The wild sex on the beach that followed calmed her nerves enough to not be concerned, however.

The march of the penguins isn’t quite the same, though. There are several of them, granted, but it’s not a swarm of them. Though they’re small, they’re much larger than the turtles we observed running to the water. They clearly don’t like the light during this trek, and an idiot or three opted to shine bright lights on one or two of them, causing them to flee to dark places under the bridge and steps, and prompting heavy chastising from the rangers and guides.

Assholes.

Our little group is able to see several of the little critters make it to their burrows with our cellophane-covered flashlights, and Butterfly is even able to get a picture or three of the journey.

The time has come to make the trip back down the stairs and, as usual, Butterfly gravitates towards Laura to discuss their adventure. She doesn’t hang out with her female friends as much since we got married. I mean, Valerie is around often enough, but she used to have Food and Libations with her friends every weekend. Then they all—we all—got married and started having kids and… it just hasn’t happened nearly as much.

I take this opportunity to have a little chat with my head of security.

“Jason, do I pay you enough?” I blurt out where only he can hear me. His brow furrows. “I mean, have you gotten a raise recently.” Now, his brow rises.

“Sir, I get a cost of living raise every year,” he says.

“Oh,” I say. “I didn’t know. Is it sufficient? Did you get a raise when…?” I trail off. I’m hoping he knows what I’m asking without me actually having to say it. Even in the dark, I can see his face soften.

“I don’t live an extravagant lifestyle, sir,” he says. “I don’t even have to pay child support anymore. You pay me quite handsomely. If there were a problem, I definitely would have let you know by now. And no, I didn’t get a raise when the blonde bimbo shot me. I got hazard pay, which is more than a raise—not to mention I got to lay up in your penthouse, eat your food, and be treated like a king without lifting a finger.” I chuckle.

“This is true, you freeloader,” I say with mirth. I’m suddenly a bit overwhelmed with emotion thinking about the day that Jason was shot. That bitch truly did almost take everything from me, including my best friend.

“Thanks, Jason,” I say, controlling my voice, “for everything.” He examines me for a moment before he answers.

“You’re welcome, Boss.”

As we’re riding in the shuttle back to Hobart, I look over at the woman who made the comments about my wife earlier. She has moved her seat and she’s not sitting across from us anymore, but she’s still facing us. I honestly attempt to decipher what her home life must be like.

Is there any passion in her marriage?
Is she even married?
Does she have a significant other at all or just this friend she’s sitting next to?

Laura is leaning on Jaxon catching a nap over what will be a nearly two-hour ride and I look over at Butterfly. She’s looking down at the digital camera, reviewing the pictures that she took throughout our day trip.

“Hey,” I say, quietly enough for only her to hear. She looks up at me and I jerk my head and add a soft, “C’mere.”

Her brow furrows at first until I jerk my neck in that “come hither” fashion again. She puts her camera in her coat pocket and zips it shut. I help her crawl into my lap, wrap my arms around her, and kiss her softly.

“Did you enjoy yourself today?” I ask softly.

“It had its moments,” she admits, “but overall, yes, I had a really good time.”

“What do you say we piss off some of our more sensitive shuttle-mates?” I ask. She smiles coyly.

“What did you have in mind?” she asks

“PG only,” I confess, “but I can’t guarantee that I won’t cop a feel or two.”

“Carry on, Mr. Grey,” she says suggestively, and I cover her lips with mine.

*-*

“Sir…”

This time, I had to be roused from sleep. The shuttle has arrived at the dock and it’s time for us to re-board the ship. I feasted on Butterfly’s lips until we had both had our fill and then… we fell asleep. She’s still asleep on my lap when Jason wakes me, and I have to rouse this angelic creature from sleep.

“Butterfly?” I say, softly giving her a shake.

“Hmm?” she responds, pulling herself from a deep sleep.

“We’re back at the ship, baby,” I say. I look across the seats and see Jaxon having the same problem with Laura. He cups her face gently and says something in her ear. She rouses a bit, but is having as much difficulty coming out of her fog as my wife. Butterfly uncurls in that way that makes me want to eat her alive, but I swear, I’m totally exhausted and can think of nothing but getting this woman to bed… to sleep! That’s odd.

When we finally wake our wives and get them to the platform to board the ship, Jason and Lawrence stay close in case either of them looks as if they may faceplant and we negotiate the gangplank. We make it safely back onto the ship and check-in before heading to the elevators. I push the button for our deck while Jaxon pushes the button for theirs. We ride in silence with two half-conscious wives unable to keep their eyes open and barely able to walk. We get to Jaxon and Laura’s deck first and he puts his arm firmly around his wife.

“Shall I walk them to their cabin, sir?” Lawrence asks, clearly concerned about Laura’s ability to walk. I’m about to answer when Jaxon speaks up.

“Thaynks, mate, but don’t trouble yaself,” he says cheerfully and sleepily at the same time. “I’ll nevah let ma Lahrie fall.”

“If you’re sure…” Lawrence presses. Jaxon smiles.

“Yoh a good egg, but no, I got ‘er,” he says. “See ya at brekky, Chris?” he adds.

“Brekky,” I say before the door closes. Jason turns to me.

Brekky?” he asks.

“Breakfast,” I tell him. “I only learned this morning—from context clues and process of elimination,” I add with a yawn.

“Oh,” he says and flattens his lip. When we get to our deck, the door opens, and I begin to walk. Butterfly doesn’t. Her feet stay right where they are, and she nearly goes down.

I’m not that damn sleepy. I’ll nevah let ma Buttahfly fall, eithah! I bend down and effortlessly scoop her up in my arms.

“I can walk,” she protests sleepily, never opening her eyes.

“Yeah, I’m sure,” I say as I carry her to our stateroom…

Butterfly is awake bright and early on Thursday morning. She didn’t pump after we left the ship yesterday, so she was pretty swollen when she got out of bed. God knows I wanted to partake, but we don’t have the time.

Similar—but in contrast—to what she wore yesterday, today she wears a hot pair of black skinny jeans and a black and white halter tops identical to the yellow one that she wore yesterday, with all black sneakers and another black sweater tied around her waist. She has taken her hair down and put it in two pigtails, the waves from my braid cascading down her breasts.

Dear God in heaven, why is she tempting me?

Dressed similarly in black jeans, a black T, and black hiking boots, I take my wife’s hand and we head to brekky to meet Jaxon and Laura.

Like yesterday—when Butterfly thought I wasn’t listening—Jaxon informs her of what we’ll be doing. Since we don’t have nearly as much time as we did in Hobart, we’re going to do a quick tour of Port Arthur, then catch a shuttle to the Tasman National Park. We have to be back on the ship early this afternoon to sail to Melbourne, so today’s port of call will begin early and end early.

Our breakfast this morning is quite sweet and starchy. Aside from the poached eggs and “bangers,” we had waffles made to order with assorted toppings, mango French toast, and apple sticky buns. Butterfly has some kind of gourmet roast frappa-latte or something with her sweet, starchy brekky.

As Butterfly loads her fork with a slice of banger and some poached eggs, I notice that same woman walks pass our table that antagonized her on the shuttle yesterday. Butterfly is looking down and doesn’t notice her. She has joined some friends already sitting at a table near ours and unless she’s just getting an early start on her day, she’s taking an excursion, too, and I can only hope it’s not ours.

Her friends are not being discreet at all by pointing out that Butterfly’s the one with the hickeys that let the woman have it yesterday. I can tell that my wife can hear them.

“Butterfly,” I warn gently.

“Yes?” she says, loading her fork again, this time with waffles and French toast.

“Don’t let it get to you,” I reply.

“What?” Laura asks, blissfully ignorant of what’s happening.

“Same shit from yesterday,” Butterfly says before stuffing her mouth with food. Laura looks around and spots the group and the woman.

“She’s glaring over here again,” Laura says. Well, damn, way to fan the fire, Laura.

“I haven’t heard her say anything and I better fucking not,” Butterfly says with a mouth full of food. “I’ll stab her with this goddamn butter knife.”

“Butterfly!” I exclaim at the same time that Laura and Jaxon exclaim, “Ana!”

“Didn’t we come on this trip to decompress?” Butterfly says, raising her voice slightly. Oh, shit.

“Yes, dear,” I reply.

“Well, on that note,” she says in the same tone, “I’m not going to let some jealous, stuck-up, insecure, puritanical, unhappy bitch ruin my trip. So, like I said, she better not say anything to or around me today, because I’m not in the fucking mood. If she wants to say anything about me today, she’d better say it outside of my earshot, because I won’t be responsible for my actions and we’ve got bail money!”

Whoa! Butterfly doesn’t bother looking at her, but I do, and she swiftly buries her face in her plate, paying attention to her brekky like it’s the most interesting thing she’s ever seen. Her friends are clearly asking if Butterfly is talking about her, but the woman doesn’t acknowledge their questions.

“Won’t that ruin your trip?” I ask my wife once she swallows her poached eggs.

“It’ll be worth it,” Butterfly says before sipping her coffee.

“Ya got a little spitfoire on ya hands thehr, Chris.” It’s a statement, not a question.

“That I do,” I reply, “and I wouldn’t have it any other way.”

*-*

Apparently, the ladies must have had other plans, because they don’t debark with us nor go on our excursion. Our ship doesn’t actually dock at Port Arthur, just inside the harbor near the island. There’s this platform call the Magic Carpet that rises up and down on the outside of the ship between decks 2 and 16. It serves as a restaurant and bar hovering over the water when it’s not in use for debarkation and embarkation for various excursions if the ship doesn’t actually dock, which is what we’re doing now.

The excursion boat actually takes us to the historic site. We debark at the ferry dock and begin our tour with a guide from the visitor’s center—a young guy with a hard and heavy Aussie accent like Jaxon’s, who’s a little too friendly with the younger women in the group, my wife included. He doesn’t do anything overtly disrespectful, so he gets to keep his life.

As we walk among beautiful English trees and lush manicured gardens, the guide gives us background concerning what we’re about to see. Port Arthur is a convict settlement. It started as a timber station in 1830 and went through a transformation or three until it closed in 1877. For the most part, it’s now an open-air museum. Much of the settlement still survives. Some of it has been restored. However, most of the buildings are roofless ruins of the Port Arthur penal colony.

Although it opened in 1830 as a timber station, there were so many convicts cutting the trees down that they made it into a prison in 1833. Our first official stop is the Penitentiary building. There’s a huge gravel yard in front of the building and many of the windows still boast the iron bars that prevented prisoners from escaping. The building looks large and looming from the outside, but once you get inside, they are large scaffoldings and landings that make it appear much smaller. Though I can’t imagine what it looked like in the mid-19th century, it looks pretty gloomy right now, even with the absence of a roof and all the sunshine shining in.

According to our guide, the first two stories were maximum security and the upper level was minimum security. I guess it makes sense, because if you have less supervision on minimum security, it may be easier to escape. However, to get out of the building, you have to get through the maximum-security floors first.

The trip from England was eight months by sea for convicts. Convicts also came from Ireland and North America, but most prisoners were English. As the Alcatraz of Australia, Port Arthur was virtually an island. So even if you did escape, there was nowhere to go. Most English prisoners at the time couldn’t swim.

Political and gentlemen prisoners were housed here as well, but it was simply like exile for them as they lived in cottages somewhere in the 30+ buildings that made up the settlement.

In the first part of its existence, Port Arthur’s convicts were not only involved in timber, but also in brick making, ship building, smithing, and shoe making. Later, there was a flour mill and a granary. A hospital soon followed, and as I listened, I couldn’t help but wonder what they did with the sick before the hospital was built.

We visit several ruins, including the shells of the aforementioned hospital, a large church, officer’s quarters, the guard tower, and an insane asylum, all constructed by convict labor except the insane asylum. The hospital has a plaque inside that says, “There is not the space required for the health of inmates.”

Ironically, the insane asylum has been converted into a museum, study center and coffee shop. Not so ironically, the “separate” prison is right next door to what used to be the asylum.

The “separate” prison was started in 1848 and opened in 1853—built for the worst and most violent prisoners who were housed in the A and B wing, and the C-Wing was for the criminally insane. The criminals were all deprived of human contact.

Initially, punishments were physical—horrible corporal punishments consisting of leg irons, cat o’ nine tails, that sort of thing. The year 1849 brought the psychological punishments and the Quaker concept of solitary confinement called “separate treatment.” The idea is based on the premise that a man with no distractions would become closer to God.

To that end, prisoners in the separate prison were locked in a cell for 23 hours of the day in total silence and only released for one hour for exercise. They were taken separately to separate yards, but every so often, there were two prisoners being transported at the same time. If this happened, one of the prisoners was forced to face the wall until the other prisoner passed. To further make sure that they didn’t recognize each other, they were required to wear special uniforms with hoods and masks. In addition, the guards spoke to each other in sign language to maintain the silence of the punishment and to keep the prisoners from hearing the sound of another human voice.

It makes me think of Elena.

Solitary wasn’t harsh enough for her to keep her mouth shut and leave us the fuck alone. Neither was a few weeks with Big Bertha or whatever the hell her name was. When I get back to Seattle and get the information from Josh, I have a few ideas for her and the not-so-loyal Warden Holstein. Couldn’t accept your bird in the hand, huh, gov’na? You had to go after the two in the bush. Have it your way.

Inside the separate prison was the punishment cell. The punishment cell or the dark cell was a room with one door and no windows. Men were placed in the cell for undetermined amounts of time and were literally driven out of their minds due to the darkness. Even the most hardened criminals were broken after a few months in the separate prison and even less in the punishment cell

Between the A and B wings of the separate prisons, a staircase led to the chapel, which contained tall, upright cubicles. Prisoners were led in one by one and placed literally in a box where they could sing the hymns and look at the preacher, but they couldn’t look at each other because the box was confining and the walls between them were too tall.

“It almost seems cruel that such a beautiful place could be so brutal,” Butterfly says. “Do you think it was this beautiful when it was a prison?”

“I can’t really say,” I reply. “Even with some of the buildings restored and the shells that remain, clearly some of the buildings that were here at the time are gone, so this wasn’t all rolling green hills like it is now.”

Even without the rolling green hills, the convicts in the main penitentiary got to see the water that would never again take them home and the poor unlucky souls in the separate prison saw the sky—and only the sky—for one hour out of a 24-hour day.

And in one of the cells in the C wing, I could swear I could faintly hear a man coughing…


A/N: Part II of the Port Arthur excursion will be in the next chapter

Although all the pieces that I describe were on display at some point at the MONA, I didn’t bother trying to find out which pieces were on display at the time that Ana and Christian visited. I found myself falling down too many rabbit holes as I was trying to put the storyline together, so I’ve used creative license for this trip, too.

Ana talked about preserving two buildings on the property. There are two Roy Grounds buildings on the estate, and the entire estate and museum were built in a fashion to connect and preserve these two buildings, located on opposite sides of the peninsula.

Ana references a guy who has his whole life recorded. Christian Boltanski made a deal with David Walsh to record every day of his life as he works in his Paris studio and have it live-streamed to a bunker on the grounds of the MONA.

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.

There has been yet another development where if you feel the need to talk to fellow readers about personal issues, you need a sounding board, you want to vent about something in your life, please feel free to visit the link on the left in the menu entitled “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

The Australia Picture Board can be found here: https://www.pinterest.com/ladeeceo/raising-grey-the-trip-to-australia/ and the pictures from today’s chapter are in the “Hobart,” “Bruny Island,” and “port Arthur” sections.

And of course, the regular Pinterest board is here: 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