Raising Grey: Chapter 74—Sydney Sidewinding

Before we start, I feel the need to point something out. I share a lot of things in my author’s notes—something that may be going on in my life (because several of you have agreed that we are friends), something that I may want to point out about the story or a previous chapter, translations, song titles, disclaimers, links, etc. You guys do know that you have the options to just skip the author’s notes and read the story, right? I just wanted to make sure that everyone knew that…

ADDITIONAL DISCLAIMER: I pointed out in the first “Down Undah” chapter that you most likely saw a “bad imitation of an Australian accent” and I asked not to be beaten over the head about it because I was doing my best. Then today, I see a comment about my bad imitation of an Australian accent… DIDN’T I SAY THAT?? ISN’T THAT WHAT I SAID??? So, as I am not trying to offend anyone, I’m going to say it again, and it will now be a disclaimer in every chapter that I post that involves the trip to Australia—not in the ending author’s notes like I did in the last chapter. It will be in the beginning author’s notes from now on:

Please do not beat me over the head too badly for my bad imitation of an Australian accent. I’m doing the best I can.

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 74—Sydney Sidewinding

ANASTASIA

I’m drenched in milk and it takes me about 15 minutes or so just to dry my dress. Some of the girls look at me with raised brows as I’ve removed my dress and bra and I’m standing there in just Christian’s jacket and my panties and stilettos trying to dry my clothes.

“Did yah huhl, dahlin’?” one of the girls asks. I smile tragically.

“Not so glamorous,” I reply. “I’m breastfeeding, and the bats scared the milk out of me.” Her friend laughs unceremoniously, and my gaze goes to her. She stops immediately.

“Sorry,” her friend says sheepishly. I shrug.

“Actually, it is kind of funny,” I tell her. “Most people piss themselves when they’re frightened. I shoot milk.”

We all stand there and have a laugh at my expense, and the girls keep me company while I’m drying my dress. We talk about nothing for a while and they ask if the “bloke” outside the door is my sweetie. I tell them to describe him and deduce that it’s Ben that standing out there waiting for me, prompting me to wish that this dress would hurry up and dry. My bra was quick work. The dress, not so much.

When I finally get it to “just under damp,” I give up on totally dry and slip back into my clothes. I thank Ben for waiting so long when we exit the bathroom and head back out to the bar. He acknowledges me with a nod.

When I get back out to the bar, Li’l John is gleefully describing his perspiring testicles and I, along with my bathroom companions, break out into dance moves reminiscent of the days in the school gymnasium… if you had that kind of highschool life, that is. I high-five my recently acquired Aussie friends and head back to our table to explain the delay to my husband. I’m probably going to ditch this dress before we even leave Sydney. It’s been my experience that breast milk stains can be pretty stubborn, and this puppy is destroyed. I wasn’t that attached to it anyway.

I’m so glad to see food on the table when we get back—three mondo platters full of cured meats, fresh cheeses, mixed olives, figs, roasted red peppers, crustini, slices of various breads… Dear God, I am so ready to eat.

Round about 18 hours ago or so, I had a breakfast full of breakfast meats when what I really wanted was the classic mixture of breakfast and lunch that is “brunch.” During the course of that 18 hours—notwithstanding the vigorous workout involved therein—I was given a moderate dinner, just enough to keep my stomach lining from digesting itself on the flight over here. I’m now ready to gnaw my fucking arm off.

I’ve been taunted with unspoken and assumed promises of exclusive food in Beverly Hills; I’ve been terrified and nearly accosted by bats; and my boobs have mutinied on me to the degree that no one can see my really cute pink sheath dress because it’s drenched in milk and has to be covered by a way too big Tom Ford blazer…

Decorum.
And civility.
Have left.
The building.

I’m ready to rip off the leg of a zebra with my bare hands, sit down, and eat it in front of everybody in this room.

Also on the table is a respectable serving of Cabernet Sauvignon. Yeah, that’ll never do. I swallow the wine in nearly one gulp, then begin to make quick work of this antipasto tray. I learn quickly that the restaurant portion is famous for its cheeses, and good God, are they delicious! As I’m scarfing down the yumminess laid out in front of me, I hear the Macarena start to play. I resist the urge to stand up and start dancing, but I don’t let the opportunity to poke fun at Jason pass me by.

“Jason, they’re playing your song!” I exclaim gleefully. My husband looks bemused as I do the Macarena from my seat.

“That is not my song,” Jason says coolly, and I can’t suppress my giggle.

“Somebody care to let me in on this?” Christian asks. I wave him off with a smile.

“You had to be there,” I dismiss, chomping on more meat, cheese, bread and veggies.

“Not a good answer,” my husband says, and I realize how it could be construed that I know something about Jason and the Macarena that I’m not willing to share.

“Okay, do you remember a while back just after the accident when I was pregnant with the twins and we did a ‘reveal’ of the house?” I ask.

“Vaguely,” he says.

“You wouldn’t remember too much because you weren’t there, but let’s just say that Jason pissed the Boss off and as a result, Gail and I were treated to quite the display.” His brow furrows.

“The boss?” he says. “I’m the boss.”

“Careful,” Jason warns.

“No, not you,” I tell him. “The Boss.” He still frowns for a moment, then realization dawns.

“Oooohhh, the boss Boss,” he says, turning to Jason. “What the hell did you do?”

“I’d rather not discuss it,” he brushes off. I giggle again.

“He got a little mouthy,” I say, “and we were subsequently blessed to see his dance moves.”

“Just the Macarena?” my husband prods.

“No, there was…”

“Your Highness,” Jason interrupts. “Please.” It’s a request that sounds more like an order, but I’ll let him off the hook.

“Alright, alright, I’ll leave what’s left of your modesty intact,” I say as I wave down our server.

“Yeah, whadya hahve?” she says as she comes to the table. “Another Cab Sav?”

“No, I want something stronger, something with a little kick that won’t knock me completely on my ass.” She laughs.

“Well, let’s see,” she says as she pulls out her drink menu. “Hmm, fah you, I rehcommend the Tequila Me Softly. Got a noice little keek but it won’t lehve yah plastahed as long as yah don’t drink foive of ‘em.”

She shows me the menu. It’s tequila, sweet vermouth, Montenegro, lemon, pineapple syrup, and a pineapple paper curl on top. It sounds delicious.

“What will two do to me?” I ask.

“Leave yah with a noice buzz,” she says.

“Then Tequila Me Softly it is,” I say. She takes the menu.

“Shuh thing. Anything for you blokes?” Christian raises his barely-touched beer and Jason shakes his head while Ben waves his hand indicating “no.” I go back to munching on the appetizers.

“So, you said that we had more food coming,” I say. “I know you didn’t order this whole thing for me, did you?”

“No,” Christian says, “I’m just enjoying watching you eat.”

“Well, I’m pretty sure we’ve been together for the entire day. Unless you were treated to some food that I didn’t see, if I’m starving, you three are ready to resort to cannibalism. Eat, for crying out loud.”

Jason and Ben don’t need a second invitation. They tear into these trays like bears waking from hibernation. Christian just gazes at me.

“What?” I ask.

“I’m sorry our vacation started with a possible bat attack and a milk-ruined dress,” he says, his voice accommodating. I scoff a laugh.

“Actually, our vacation started with a somewhat anticlimactic brunch in Beverly Hills, but at least I can say that I’ve been to Beverly Hills now and it’s not the worst brunch I’ve had. And this—the bats and the milk—this will just be another funny story that we’ll tell people about our visit to Australia. I mean seriously, did you see those things? The damn things are huge. When their wings are spread, they look like fucking eagles! I thought they were going to swoop down, pick me up, and take me back to their goddamn nest! Are those things everywhere?”

“I don’t know,” I tell her. “I don’t think so. We didn’t see them until we got to the park. And they weren’t outside the bar when we got out of the cab.”

“Like most bats, they feed at night,” Ben says, scrolling through his phone. “They’re called gray-headed flying foxes, which is why the cabbie kept calling them ‘foxes.’ They’re looking for plants, fruit, and nectar. They may travel long distances, but they stay in the trees in packs and sleep during the day. You might see them moving at night, but that many at once, you usually only see at dusk, because that’s when they come out.” He raises his eye to me.

“They’re harmless,” Ben adds, comfortingly. “They’re endangered here and pretty important to the ecosystem. They pollinate over large areas. Just think of them as giant bees without the stinger.”

Not a very comforting visualization, there, Ben.

“Thanks, Ben,” I say with little enthusiasm and turn my attention back to the food. Where the hell is my drink?

The four of us have put a serious dent in the antipasto tray by the time the food starts to arrive. I use the term starts to arrive because there is a continuous flow of food to our table every few minutes for about a solid hour. When the first few dishes show up, I’m a little disappointed because the servings are so small, but then they just keep coming…

Porchetta with parsnip purée, roast Brussels sprouts and braised fennel…

Risotto-stuffed spatchcock with rainbow chard and a Parmesan biscuit…

Slow roasted lamb breast with an herb crust, white bean puree and chicory…

Jerusalem Artichokes pan tossed with broccolini, chives, chili, and shaved parmigiana…

Cacio de Pepe prepared in a cheese wheel right in front of you and then served hot…

And this doesn’t even scratch the surface of the food brought to the table, and the flavor—divine! Decorum is tossed to the wind and the four of us just eat like Neanderthals. Now, I’m accustomed to being myself and feeling at ease when Chuck is with us because he knows me so well. Ben is our backup when one of our usual detail is unavailable. He’s seen some of me, but he probably hasn’t seen me in all my Ana glory. He better get used to it fast because I’m not going to change who I am, and I plan to let loose on this trip. It’s been a really fucked-up autumn. Now we’re coming into winter and it’s starting to look a little crabby, too. So, I plan to shake myself loose a little bit before I go back to the hell that is Seattle these days.

We’re well into our meal and I take note that every so often, Christian looks around the room in confusion.

“You look perplexed,” I say to my husband as the evil hunger monster begins to subside, tamed by delicious Australian food and a bit tranquilized by a smooth Tequila Me Softly.

“I am,” he admits. “The artwork has me mystified.”

“In what way?” I ask.

“I can’t figure out what the words have to do with the pictures.” I look around the room at the pieces of artwork.

“They don’t,” I tell him. “I don’t know what the concept is behind the classic art, but the words are lyrics.”

“What?” he asks bemused. “Lyrics to what?

“To the music you’ve been hearing,” I say matter-of-factly.

“’Oops there goes my skirt’ is a lyric?” he asks bemused. I nod.

Oops Oh My by Tweet,” I inform him.

“And what about that?” he asks, pointing to another picture.

“That’s a name of a song by Kendrick Lamar,” I say.

Bitch Don’t Kill My Vibe is the name of a song.” It’s a statement, not a question. I nod. “So, what about that one?” I look up and to the right where he’s pointing.

“Jay-Z, Dirt Off Your Shoulder,” I tell him. “’The blacker the berry, the sweeter the juice’ is Keep Ya Head Up by Tupac. That picture there that I’m assuming is Napoleon with ‘I call all the shots, rip all the spots,’ Mo’ Money, Mo’ Problems by Big Poppa himself with Diddy and Mase.” My husband gazes at me.

“How do you know songs—old songs—just by the lyrics?” I laugh.

“I like a lot of music. Music has always been my escape. I mean, think about it—Al and I were misfits from day one, we just didn’t mind being misfits in our own town. Then I moved to Vegas and… boom.” I do the explosion gesture with my hands.

“Music and books, these are the things that didn’t judge me. I traveled a lot of places through pictures and books, and I escaped the horror of my current realities through music. I may not have retained a lot of knowledge about the places I ‘traveled’ because a lot of that was done when I was a kid, but music, it’s true what they say… it soothes the savage beast.

“So, I would close myself in my room or go off to some remote place and listen to my music for hours. At first, it was Motown, because that’s what Daddy listened to. Of course, that was the best music ever made, but then I was drawn to hip hop and more R&B because I really liked the music—great beats, fantastic hooks. The love songs had meat to them, words you could really sink your teeth into and feel. The hooks to a lot of the hip hop—you get it stuck in your head and it doesn’t let go. ‘H to the izzo, v to the izzae…”

I start singing the hook to Jay-Z’s H.O.V.A. It’s a perfect example of what music does to you. Although the beat and the music are addicting, in the words he was too close to comparing himself to God—Jehovah—which was a huge dilemma for me. Nonetheless, I still couldn’t stop singing the song because the hook was so catchy. The meaning of the song sticks in your head and you either love it or hate it for the meaning. But you can’t beat a good hook.

“So, to answer your question, when I saw the words, my brain immediately asks, ‘Where have I heard that before?’ So, I quickly play the words over in my head, and then I hear the music and identify the song. Once you know that one of the pictures is lyrics, then you know the rest of them are lyrics, too.”

“So… you’re telling me that there’s a song somewhere that says, ‘My milkshake brings all the boys to the yard?’” he asks perplexed. I laugh.

Milkshake by Kelis,” I inform him.

“And what about that?” he asks, pointing at another one. “’Stacking up cheese…’ who makes a song about stacking cheese up?”

“Hip-hop artists do,” I reply. “Lupe Fiasco, Hip Hop Saved My Life. And for the record, ‘stacking cheese’ is slang for making money. I’m surprised you didn’t make that connection because cultures all over have called money ‘cheddar’ forever, my billionaire lover.” I pop a square of some cheese, I don’t know which, into my mouth after the last statement and chase it with the rest of my Tequila Me Softly. My husband’s pupils dilate quickly.

“Well, that was hot,” he says. I furrow my brow. This man could get turned on by a stiff wind—what did I do?

“What?” I ask bemused.

“You calling me your billionaire lover—that did something to me.” Oh, that.

“It speaks to your virility and dominance,” I say matter-of-factly, sitting back in my seat and playing with my necklace. “One of the things I’ve learned about subliminal messaging.”

“And you need to cut that out,” he nearly growls, his voice changing. The liquor is making me a little bold and somehow, I’m hitting the right buttons without even trying. “You want to see Sydney tomorrow and we’ve got a boat to catch, so you’re going to need some sleep.”

“Yes, Sir,” I say coyly, looking at him through deliberately slithered eyes. He licks his lips, then sucks the bottom one in an attempt at restraint.

“Alright, I’ve warned you. Keep it up,” he cautions.

“That’s your job,” I remark, waggling my brows. He stares at me for a nanosecond and before I can protest, he has snatched me into his lap. I’m cradled in his arms—more like pinned—and he’s kissing me, licking so deliciously into my mouth that I want to gobble him up right here in this chair. My entire body is on fire from this kiss and I fucking feel like I’m floating. I don’t know how long it lasts, but after some unknown span of time, I can vaguely make out the sound of catcalls, whoops, and cheering through my alcohol-and-kiss-induced haze. I’m panting embarrassingly when his lips leave mine and his eyes are black and steely gray staring back at me, his pupils nearly as large as his irises.

“I will. Make you come. At this table. In front of our security and the world, if you don’t chill out.”

I’m trying unsuccessfully not to pant in his lap and my panties are now wetter than my dress was after the bat-dance. His semi-hard erection is poking me in the ass cheek and I’m certain that he’ll make good on the promise just for his own satisfaction. Don’t poke the damn bear.

“O… okay,” I breathe uselessly. He victoriously raises a brow at me, then releases me and helps me back to my seat. Once I’ve somewhat controlled myself, I bellow for the server.

“Carla! I’ll be needing that second drink now!”

*-*

I vaguely remember our Sydney cabbie, Noah, getting us back to the hotel, not only because I’m suddenly wiped out after the adrenaline from the near bat attack has finally worn off, but also because I actually had three Tequila Me Softly’s. They didn’t knock me on my ass, but they have me quite loopy. Christian carries me up to the room to be sure that I don’t take a spill on the way, and I’m too damn tired to pump, so I just take off my clothes and fall into bed.

Miraculously, I awake before my husband a few hours later, the sun blaring in my eyes from curtains that we forgot to close the night before—or I should say, in the early morning hours. Not so miraculously, I awake with a slight hangover. I crawl miserably out of bed and go to the mini bar. I take a bottle of water and down the entire thing, then grab another one and head to the bathroom.

I start the shower and as it’s getting hot, I thank God for the travel packs of Advil that I remembered to pack in my purse. I don’t know what kind of foresight I was having, but there it is. I take two more of them and head for the shower.

The water is scalding, and I couldn’t be happier. I feel like the milk from last night is still sticking to my skin and the steam will help to sweat out some of the alcohol from last night. I let the water massage my scalp and run through my hair while my overly full breasts begin leaking into the shower. They’re so heavy that they hurt, and I just stand there for several minutes, allowing them to leak into the shower while the water helps to rinse away my headache.

I have no idea how long I’ve stood here before the door opens and my husband steps into the bathroom. I don’t say anything while he relieves himself as I’m somewhat doing the same thing. He drops his boxer briefs on the floor without flushing—most likely since I’m in the shower—and slides the shower door open.

“You okay?” he asks. I nod slightly.

“A small hangover,” I admit. “My head is feeling better. My breasts, on the other hand, feel like boulders. I think I may have to pump.” He steps into the shower with me.

“Allow me,” he says and latches onto one of my aching breasts.

“Christian,” I protest. “You know what that does to me when you do that. I want to see Sydney!” He releases my breast.

“Then you’ll just have to control yourself,” he says, and latches on again, Apparently, the running water had relieved some of the fullness, and now the ache isn’t so bad, but the relief is immediate when he drains what’s left of the milk from one breast before latching onto the other. I’m trying to control my raging hormones as my husband relieving my swollen tits has always turned me on. When we’re having sex, I usually leak milk anyway and that’s when he latches on. So, of course, it feels erotic as fuck even though we’re not fucking.

Or at least we weren’t.

Once my breasts are empty, he lifts my leg, presses me against the wall and impales me. I want him so badly that when he lifts the other leg to hold me up, I’m bouncing on his dick in one of the most strenuous strength and cardio workouts I’ve ever done. My body turns to complete mush when, a few minutes later, I orgasm fantastically on his cock and he has to wrap his arms around me to keep me from sliding down the wall. A minute or so and more than a few strokes later, my husband explodes into me and we both have to catch our breath under the running water.

As I choose our clothes for the day, I toss the dress from last night into the trash. I have no intention on toting around a milk-soaked dress for an entire week, nor do I have any hope of salvaging it once I return to Seattle. I do, however, remember to pack my portable breast pump in case the girls get too heavy before I find myself in a comfortable and convenient place to relieve them properly.

I’ve convinced my husband to wear his Seahawks jersey and a pair of jeans, much to his bemusement, because I’m wearing a green Seahawks jersey with a pair of blue leggings with the matching green trim. When I step out of the bathroom after doing light makeup and adding a pair of Louboutin denim wedges, my husband’s mouth hits the floor.

“I’m going to kill that woman,” he says, examining my ensemble.

“What?” I ask.

“Is this what she meant when she referred to ‘buying from the rack?’” he asks, and he sounds perturbed.

“Uuuummm… could be. What’s the matter, Christian? It’s cute,” I say, my voice a bit whiny.

“That’s not cute,” he corrects me. “That’s hot! Your ass looks fantastic. Fuck bats, I’m going to have to beat Aussies off you with a goddamn club!” I giggle. I love when he makes me feel irresistible.

Christian's Ass, Chapter 74“Thank you, dear,” I reply. “That’s why I packed your jersey and those jeans that make your ass look so yummy. No use in you having all the eye candy.” I smile and head for the door.

We head down to the breakfast buffet, and I have worked up an appetite again after having spontaneously fucked in the shower. I also need something greasy to help curtail the remnants of my slight hangover and headache, which are mostly gone, but I don’t want them to make a reappearance.

Now this is brunch!

Veggies, salads, pastries, potatoes, eggs made to order, chicken congee, eggs benedict, Belgian waffles, veal, baked beans, avocado, smoked salmon, yogurt and superfruits… and that’s not everything! Who needs Beverly Hills?

Christian and I partake of our fill of the deliciousness and I have a couple of mimosas for a bit of the “hair of the dog” while we discuss what the day is going to look like. The mimosas are made with local wine and I must admit—they’re some of the best I’ve ever tasted.

“Our cruise leaves at four,” Christian says. “That doesn’t leave us much time to see Sydney. I know you’ll at least want to see the Opera House, but since the ship is leaving from Sydney Harbor, we can do that just before we sail. What would you like to do this morning?”

“I don’t know,” I admit, while sipping my mimosa. “You sprung this on me last minute. The only thing I know to look for is the Opera House.”

“Well, I thought about the petting zoo, but it’s over an hour away, so that’s a no go. Yes, I know we’re adults, but natural Australian habitat—koalas, kangaroos, Tasmania devils…”

“Oh. Yeah, that would have been fun,” I admit.

“Maybe next time,” he says. Next time? “They’ve got this thing where you can climb the bridge.”

“What bridge?” I ask.

“The Harbor Bridge,” he says, swiping through his phone before he hands it to me. I begin to read the description.

“’Absorb a 360-degree panorama of Sydney as you journey to the summit on our original climb experience. Like an exposed spine, the outer rim delivers you to the peak, as the sky remains just beyond your outstretched fingertips.’”

As I continue to examine the website and pictures, I realize that Christian isn’t talking about crossing the bridge. He’s talking about climbing the bridge—up and over the top! My husband has officially lost his fucking mind!

“Are you insane?” I exclaim loudly, unintentionally drawing the attention of the other diners in the restaurant. “I’m not scaling a bridge, Christian!”

He stares at me for a moment, then covers his mouth with his napkin, trying to stifle his laughter and not spew his food all over me. What the fuck is so goddamn funny?

“You…” he begins after swallowing his food while pointing at me. “You just lost all the color in your face,” he laughs.

I don’t know what color my face is now, but my ears are starting to burn.

“Would you like to wear this mimosa, Grey?” I threaten. He’s still laughing when he capitulates.

“Okay, okay, no bridge climb,” he says, still chuckling as he holds his hand out for his phone. I begrudgingly give it back to him. I almost want to drop it into my water glass just to spite him, but then I’m sure he’d find a way to summon the plane and we’d be on our way back home. He scrolls through the phone again. “There’s the Sydney Tower Eye, but it’s pretty much the same as the Space Needle…”

“It’s not the same as the Space Needle,” I protest. “It’s Sydney, not Seattle.” He does that back and forth nodding thing with his head.

“You’re right,” he says, poking his lip out contemplatively. “So, Tower Eye and then the Opera House? I’m told there’s quite a bit to see down at Circular Quay.”

“Where’s Circular Quay?”

“It’s pretty much the town square—the shopping and entertainment hub down at the harbor,” he says.

“Good,” I reply, finishing my mimosa and standing. “I’ll go get my purse and my portable pump and we can go.” I see Ben sitting a few tables over finishing his breakfast alone. “Where’s Jason?”

“He’s exchanging currency and securing transport for the day.”

“So, we have to wait for Jason to get back before we can go to the Tower Eye?” I ask.

“Not really. The Tower Eye is less than half a mile from here. We can walk if you feel up to it.” He looks at my shoes.

“We’ve had this conversation about me and high-heels, Grey,” I challenge.

“Stop calling me Grey,” he says, wiping his mouth before throwing his napkin down and rising to his feet. “And our stroll is going to take us close to Bat Park. Are you going to be okay?” he asks sarcastically.

“It’s daylight,” I point out just as sarcastically. “They don’t come out in the daytime, right?”

“For the most part, no,” he retorts.

“Then I guess I’ll be fine, won’t I?” I say, rolling my neck. He glares at me.

“Keep up that smart-ass attitude,” he warns. “You won’t see much of Australia because you won’t be able to walk or sit for the rest of the week.”

“Promise?” I say before snapping my head, turning on my heels, and walking away with a distinctive sway in my ass.


CHRISTIAN

Oh, she’s going to get it on this trip.

I’m going to fuck her every time she blinks, and as soon as she thinks she’s getting a break, I’m going to fuck her some more.

It’s a clear day outside and I’m really enjoying the fresh air. What’s more, I’m enjoying the view tremendously—not just the city and the sites, but my wife’s beautiful ass wrapped in spandex and rolling from left to right… beautiful round mounds of meat plumping and flattening with each step causing me to fight continuously to talk my dick down. I don’t know how the hell I’m going to get through this day.

I can’t expect men not to look at her ass. It’s too unrealistic. I see several of them doing double-takes as they pass, and I don’t bother looking behind me, because I’ll probably see a trail of horny fuckers following us and it’ll only serve to piss me off, so…

“Maybe I shouldn’t have worn this,” she says, noticing the eyes on her. Seriously, what did she expect?

“Yes, you should’ve,” I scold. “I know I can be possessive sometimes and yes, that ass is on lovely display, but you’re hot and you’re beautiful, and you shouldn’t feel bad about that. You’re not dressed inappropriately, and you’re with your husband. So, let ‘em look as long as they look from a distance. I have to say, though, that I get how you feel when women are gawking at me because good God almighty!”

She giggles and loosens up a bit as we continue our trek to the Sydney Tower Eye. She looks a little squeamish as she looks across at Hyde Park—the location of the Great Bat Encounter—but she’s easily distracted once we reach our destination.

We enter a glass building labelled Westfield. It turns out that the entrance is inside of a shopping center. We wait while Lawrence buys our tickets and we have to go through a security checkpoint like at the airport. After that, we proceed through an opening and pass a wall that says “Welcome” in at least twenty different languages.

Sydney Tower Eye, The "Welcome" Wall, Chapter 74

We enter a large room with pink and white walls that contains pictures of the Sydney cityscape and bits of information and trivia written on the walls. Some of them are purple as well with black and white vintage pictures of old Australia along with wide oval-shaped floor-to-ceiling beams with monitors that display more information about the continent and the tower.

On one of the walls, there’s a comparison of the heights of several similar towers in several countries and I can’t help but notice that the Space Needle is not among those towers.

How tall is the Space Needle anyway?

I think it’s only about 600 feet and the shortest among these is about 1000. I guess it wouldn’t stack up, huh?

“Thinking about the Space Needle, aren’t you?” my wife correctly deduces.

“Yeah,” I admit, “not nearly tall enough.”

“How tall is the Space Needle?” she asks.

“About 600 feet.” She looks at the comparison wall again.

“Yeah, no competition unfortunately.”

We continue our brief tour around the ground floor of the Sydney Tower Eye and we stumble on a guy taking pictures. They’re those pictures that you take where there’s nothing behind you, but they end up superimposing you onto some corny backdrop.  We take a couple of pictures and pose like he tells us just to be good sports before we head over to the tower elevators… and the elevator operators. They help to keep traffic moving along because, if they didn’t, I would imagine it would be mayhem to get to the observation deck.

The express elevator ride up the tower is a solid 42 seconds to the top. There’s a screen at the top of the car that shows our ascent and Butterfly watches it attentively.

“You alright?” I ask, slipping my arm around her waist.

“Uh-hmm,” she says quickly, still never taking her eye of the tiny screen. I don’t know if it’s the tiny box that we’re in that’s making her nervous or the fact that we’re inside this tube for nearly a full minute, but she’s definitely not alright, and I just stick close to her until the doors open.

She tries not to show her relief when the attendant appears outside of the elevator doors and instructs us to keep to the right. We walk onto the observation deck and it reminds you of a spacious conference room. It’s large with lots of room and there’s a clear view of the whole of Sydney. My girl visibly relaxes and walks over to the glass walls to get a look at the city. She becomes the view as she gazes out over the tops of the buildings in the Central Business District, or the CBD as the locals call it, and I take out my phone and snap a picture of the back of her gorgeous frame against the cityscape.

There are viewfinders and telescopes at nearly every window—very touristy. There are even screens with fun facts and info about Sydney. Each monitor shows the view through the window in front of you. You select your language, then a location or a landmark, and the monitor gives you detailed information about your selection. You can see everything, and I mean everything from up here from the entire span of the CBD to the Ferris wheel at Luna Park and the Harbor Bridge.

We can even see the Blue Mountains, the Sydney Cricket Ground and even the airport from up here. The view of the Opera House is a bit obstructed, however. It’s a spectacular view, extremely beautiful with incredible views of the water and the harbor. Nonetheless, I find myself comparing it to the beautiful simplicity that is the view from the Space Needle.

View from the Space Needle Chapter 74

I love to travel, but let’s face it… There’s no place like home.

Butterfly spends quite some time admiring the view of the city and reading the tidbits of information on the monitors around the observation deck. Although the Opera House is a bit obscured, we learn that there’s a gorgeous span of lawn and trees to the right and behind it known as the Royal Botanic Garden. Our stroll to the Opera House will take us through this beautiful trek of land, and I have a feeling that Circular Quay may have to wait for another trip.

I’m also wondering if those shoes my wife are wearing will stand the test of an entire day of walking and being a tourist. I see some carrying in my future.

There are vending areas and souvenir shops up here, complete with boomerangs, but nothing particularly catches my wife’s eye.

If you’re really brave, you can don a blue jumpsuit and harness and partake in the Skywalk, which is basically a glass-bottom ledge where you walk outside and get to see the aerial view of Sydney up close and personal. My wife wouldn’t even walk on the metal frame that is the Sydney Harbor Bridge. Nothing but a plate of glass between her and a three-hundred-meter drop? I didn’t even suggest it.

After we’ve seen all 360 degrees of the Tower Eye and garnered some very interesting information about Australia and Sydney, we decide that we want to head over to the Botanic Garden before time gets away from us since it’s on the way to the Opera House. My wife is just as attentive of that screen during our elevator descent as she was during the ride up to the observation deck. I won’t pester her about it. She’ll tell me if she wants me to know.

Another gift shop greets us once we exit the elevator. Still nothing catches my wife’s eye, not even those corny pictures we took before we went up to the observation deck.

It’s an illegally beautiful day outside and I immensely enjoy walking with my wife down Macquarie Street towards the Garden. She doesn’t even mind the shortcut we take through Bat Park to get to the main road. We pass the Parliament building and the State Library, but we just take note of what we’re seeing as we walk the short distance that brings us to the edge of the Royal Botanic Gardens.

Christian says that a tea tree in the Royal Botanic Garden reminds him of Home Tree from the movie Avatar in Chapter 74The walk is just what I expect it would be—a trip through a majestically beautiful stretch of land that leaves you somewhat speechless as you commune with nature. I allow my wife to lead me around through the variety of unbelievably tall trees, sculptures, and fountains as we admire the garden’s tranquility. We see this huge tea tree that looks like a cluster of trees entwined in one, and I couldn’t help but think of Home Tree from the movie Avatar.

There are people with blankets spread out over the grass near the large fountain enjoying the late morning weather, and my wife removes her shoes to walk barefoot in the grass. Normally, this would concern me as Butterfly has made it clear that she can do anything in stilettos and the only time I’ve known her to falter was when we had that terrible spat years ago and I thought she was cheating on me with Elliot, which was absolutely ludicrous—but that’s another time entirely.

Right now, she’s smiling contently as the grass caresses her toes. I don’t dare remind her that we don’t have much time before we have to start boarding the ship, so if we want to see the Opera House, we should probably get going. She begins her trek across the grass in the direction of the Opera House without my prompting, her shoes hanging leisurely from her fingers…

And I take another picture.

Sydney is built on the world’s largest natural harbor and they make sure that everywhere you go as a tourist, you don’t forget that Sydney started as a penal colony. I guess they’re proud of that if for no other reason but how beautifully the city turned out.

There are public pools in several locations here and it’s during our walk from the Botanic Gardens around the harbor to the Opera House not far from Circular Quay that I learn that the most prominent swimwear here—or at least in my immediate eyesight—is the speedo, or as the Sydneysiders call them, “budgy smugglers.” Now, let’s be clear about this. There’s no discrimination in the budgy-smuggling department. It doesn’t matter if you’re a teeny-bopper or a senior citizen, if you’re 120 pounds or 520 pounds. Budgy smugglers are apparently for everybody… and you just can’t unsee that.

Also, apparently, the drink of choice is beer, even at 11am. Bottoms up, folks… literally.

Needless to say, we move a little faster around the harbor on the outside of the Botanic Gardens to the Opera House. Butterfly didn’t even bother to put her shoes back on.

Now… here we stand at the base of the Opera House, and I’m seeing lots—and lots—of stairs. Jesus, this is unreal. There are a million stairs—well, maybe not a million—but once again, I’m having flashbacks of another time, this time of the Arc De Triomphe and the spiral staircase that made me ask, “Is this trip really necessary?” I have no idea how many stairs there are to the front door, but there’s a whole fucking lot of them. Without a word, Butterfly puts her shoes back on and begins taking the stairs like a stair climber.

Goddammit!

I take a deep breath and follow that ass up the stairs, glad that she chose Chucks for me to wear today and wondering how she’s effortlessly taking these stairs in what has to be three-to-four-inch wedge heels while carrying a leather backpack purse. I hear Lawrence behind us sigh heavily and fall in step himself. I expect her to pause at the second landing, but she doesn’t. She keeps going all the way up to the main platform of the Monumental Steps. When I finally catch up with her, she’s standing in the middle of the platform slowly taking and releasing deep breaths. I watch her mesmerized as her beautiful breasts rise and fall and she hasn’t even broken a sweat. I’m a tiny bit winded, and Lawrence isn’t winded at all, but he has broken a sweat.

“Excuse me…”

We turn to the voice that has beckoned and there’s two young women standing next to Butterfly. They appear to be American.

“Yes?” she replies, turning her attention to the ladies.

“Just a cool, leisurely stroll up the stairs just now nearly took all the wind outta me. If you don’t mind me asking, what is your exercise regimen? How did you do that? In high heels, no less?”

Butterfly chuckles and explains her regimen to the ladies which consists of variating through Krav Maga, yoga, sparring with the heavy bag and any unlucky person who wants to wear the hand mats, and some occasional dancing. One of the ladies looks over her shoulder and asks suggestively, “What’s your regimen?”

“Sparring with her,” I say, sliding my arm around her waist and resting my hand on her hip. The woman raises an eyebrow, then diverts her gaze from me. We say a few parting words to the ladies and then proceed into the opera house.

We arrive with a few minutes to spare before our tour, and the inside is exactly as you would expect it to be—majestic vaulted ceilings everywhere. The architecture is unbelievably stunning—the symmetrical overhangs and hallways. The impact is difficult to explain; you have to see it. I’m a bit stricken by the general splendor when our tour guide interrupts my thoughts and begins our tour.

“The Sydney Opera House location is on Tubowgule, the land of the Gadigal Clan,” our guide informs us as we head to the lower Colonnade of the Opera House. Three of the theatres are down here—Playhouse, Studio and Drama—and he directs our attention to one of the large windows in the Colonnade set inside angled wells that make the windows appear larger as well as cuts down on glare. We’re able to visit the foyers of several of the theaters even though we can’t visit each theater, not that we have time to do that. Each foyer has slanted windows that give you surreal views of the harbor and can be used for intermission from a variety of shows or rented out for private affairs.

I thought the Sydney Opera House was strictly for operas—shows how much I know.

The landmark boasts extremely grand concert halls and theaters, the largest of which—I think—is the Sydney Opera House Concert Hall. The stately concert hall boasts a capacity of 2700 people, 700 of which can fit onstage. With walls and seats made of white birch wood, the hall is built specifically for instrumental sound. Along with the acoustic precision offered by the birch wood, the lit glass saucers over the stage raise or lower to optimize sound. The pipe organ utilizes more than 10,000 pipes—only 138 of them are visible, though.

Locals and tourist will tell you the Opera House is famous for the sails. I beg to differ. The stairs leave more of an impression on you—lots and lots and lots of stairs. There are stairs everywhere—front side, back side, upside, ‘round the side… and not just outside. I wanted to know where the elevators and escalators were, but I didn’t want to be a punk.

Like I said, Arc De Triomphe, just not spiraled and all in one place.

We continue the tour admiring the impressive architecture, each portion of the structure built to precision and purpose from the acoustic wood and glass in the theaters to the angled windows and the fact that the dramatic overhangs and bulging wooden walls never touch the concrete of the outer frame. There’s even a Sydney Opera House store where you can buy the Lego Sydney Opera House and the model Sydney Opera House… my wife buys the Lego… and a magnet.

Finally comes the highlight of the tour for my wife, and if I’m honest, for me, too—a closer look at and description of the iconic roof of the structure. If you look at it from the sky, it’s actually three sails—two large ones and one small one. I seek out the aerial view on my phone when the guide brings it up, and it appears very unimposing compared to the remarkable reality of the “up close and personal” that we’re seeing right now. It’s made of over one million ceramic roof tiles of seven varieties, two different colors, and matte and shiny finishes—little squares like the kitchen or bathroom tiles you see, only… not.

The one million Sydney Opera House tiles that make up the iconic sails. Two colors and seven varieties of tiles, with both shiny and matte finishes, create the effect.

The seashell slices of dome that look like billowing sails on the harbor took fourteen years to build, the concept originating from taking four symmetrical slices from the same sphere and arranging the to form the structure.

Sydney Opera House - The Concept behind the sails

During the tour, we learn that there’s a “lighting of the sails” at sunset and at 9pm each night where a psychedelic light show is displayed on the sails of the Opera House roof. I’m told that it’s pretty damn spectacular and I’m sorry that we won’t be able to see it live, but our guide informs us that there are several places online where we can see the show. My wife isn’t willing to wait and pulls up YouTube on her phone while we’re looking at the massive and impressive network of tiles that composes the famous Sydney sails.

“How do you cover the entire roof that way?” Butterfly asks. “I can’t even begin to imagine how that would be done.”

“Projectors,” the guide says. “Lots and lots of projectors. Special software works in conjunction with several high-powered projectors that meticulously align and crop the images so that they fall perfectly into place next to and on top of each other to accurately cover the shape of the sails. The intricate network of projectors is actually controlled from the Overseas Passenger Terminal on the other side of the Quay.”

“It covers the sails so well,” Butterfly observes while looking at the pictures and presentation of the lighting of the sails, “from all the way over there?” The guide nods.

“Don’t try to understand it,” she shrugs. “I work here, and I still don’t get it.”

At 1:00pm, a fort in the middle of the harbor shoots a cannon. We discover that they do that every day, but today, it signals the end of our tour. We thank our tour guide and say some pleasantries to the other members of our tour group before we disperse. I look across the harbor and see a cruise ship docked at the terminal. Since it’s so close to the time for us to sail, I’m assuming it’s our ship. I check my texts and see that Jason has already exchanged cash for us, checked us out of our hotel, and is in the process of checking our bags on the ship. So, it’s safe to assume that is indeed our ship and we should get over there soon.

“We’re going to be shoving off soon, baby,” I say to my wife. She sighs.

“I know,” she says and puts her hands on her hips.

“Sad to leave?” I ask. She looks up at me.

“Truth?” she asks. I frown. No, lie to me. “Coming up is a lot easier than going down.” She looks in front of her.

Oh, the stairs.

“We can make it,” I tell her.

“I know,” she says, and begins the trek down the stairs. This trip isn’t nearly as effortless and graceful as the first one. Her footfalls are heavier and I’m almost afraid that she’ll tweak her ankle in those shoes. We finally make it to the bottom of the stairs and we have to walk all the way around the Quay to the other side of the harbor—there’s no other options. She’s obviously winded and she’s been on her feet all day since the early morning—in those shoes. I pull out my phone and call Jason.

“Yes, sir?” he answers.

“I see you’ve been busy,” I say into the phone.

“Yes, sir. I’m trying to ascertain the procedure for priority boarding at this time.”

“Good. Any idea where Noah is? Has he finally kicked off to get some sleep?”

“No, sir. He’s here with me. He decided to take a break here and see if you would need a ride.”

“That’s exactly why I’m calling. We’re at the Opera House. It’s a short walk, but Butterfly is tired. We’ve covered quite a bit of ground today.”

“He’s here in the terminal somewhere. Do you want me to find him or do you want to text him yourself?”

“You do it,” I tell him. “Just let me know where to meet him.”

“Will do, sir,” he says and ends the call.  

“Come on,” I say, stooping down with my back to her. She pauses.

“You’re not serious!” she exclaims.

“It’s either this or I throw you over my shoulder, now don’t argue with me.” I can almost see her shrug in my mind’s eye before she climbs onto me for a piggyback ride. I don’t think my wife understands just how light she is.

“Comfy?” I ask.

“I’m fine, are you?” she retorts.

“Don’t worry about it. We’ve got a boat to catch.”

My wife and I receive more than one sideways glance as I carry her on my back from the stairs of the Opera House back towards Circular Quay. I love the feel of her leaning on my back, her body warm and pressed against me. Almost on cue of my contentment, she presses her nose into my neck and takes a deep breath.

“I love the way you smell,” she says, kissing me on the neck.

“The feeling’s mutual, baby,” I say suggestively, “and I love the way you taste.”

“The feeling’s mutual, baby,” she says huskily, gently sinking her teeth into the skin of my neck.

“Butterfly,” I warn, “it’s going to be very hard to carry you with a raging woody.” She giggles.

“Okay, okay, I’ll behave,” she promises. I feel my phone buzz in my pocket, then realize my hands are full.

“Wrap your legs around me,” I instruct.

“Mr. Grey!” my wife scolds. “I thought you wanted me to behave!” I can’t help but laugh.

“I can’t reach my phone,” I excuse. “I don’t want to drop you.” She giggles again.

“Alright.” Her legs are a death grip around my waist and I swear to God, my dick is thumping in my boxer briefs. Settle the fuck down, Grey! I reach into my pocket and retrieve my phone. It’s a text from Jason. Noah says he’ll pick us up at Allen Lewis Fountain. I only see one fountain—it’s just beyond the entrance gates to the Opera House outside the wall of the Botanic Gardens. It’s only a few feet away. I hope that’s it.

“Noah wants us to meet him at the fountain. I don’t see anywhere for you to sit over there.”

“Sheh needs ta get ‘er loyzie ahs off your bahk and wawlk!” some female voice says from behind us.

“Piss off, ya tossah! Ya just mad it’s not yeeou!”

Now, I would have thought that comeback was from one of the locals, only I heard it from behind me in my wife’s voice. What’s more, I felt and heard her slap that juicy ass of hers right after she said it. Holy Mother of God…

… But wait…

“What did you just say?” I ask in amused horror. “Did you just call somebody a tosser?”

“I sure as hell did,” she says proudly. “If you want to give me a piggyback ride, chauffer me around on a bicycle, or pull me in a goddamn rickshaw, It’s none of her damn business!”

“I’ve been with you all day!” I laugh in disbelief. “Where did you hear that? I don’t remember hearing anything like that!”

“I don’t know, I just picked it up somewhere… and not a moment too soon.” I turn around with my wife still on my back to see who’s behind us. Nobody’s paying us any attention or looks particularly horrified, so I don’t even know who she was talking to.

“Did you scare her away?” I ask.

“I guess so,” she says. “Maybe she’ll shut the hell up from now on.” I laugh again just as I hear a horn and see a taxi coming around the fountain.

“Your chariot awaits, my dear,” I say as Noah pulls up. Lawrence gets in the front seat with Noah, and Butterfly and I get in the back. I had almost forgotten he was with us.

“My wife is offending the locals,” I say mirthfully to Noah once we’re on our way.

“I was not offending the locals—the locals were offending me!” she defends.

“What ‘appened?” Noah asks.

“You saw—my husband was giving me a piggyback because I’m tired from walking around all day. This is my husband and that’s our business—he carries me all the time. Some cow called me lazy and told me that I should get off his back. So, I called her a tosser and told her to piss off!” Noah laughs heartily.

“Spoken like a true Aussie!” he says joyfully. “Ahl ya needed was the accent!”

“She had it!” I tell him. “At least for the first part of the sentence! When she said, ‘Piss off, you tosser,’ I thought it was somebody else!” Noah laughs again.

“Ya moight pick up a little somethin’ as ya wawlkin’ ‘round,” he says. “Ya mahy not even know ya picked it up. Ya jus goin’ about cha bizness an the next thing ya know ya tawlkin’ like an Aussie… ‘appens ahl the toime.”

“Well, that must be what happened, because it just flew out of my mouth and I wasn’t even thinking about it!” Butterfly admits.

We take note of the shops and the various scents of the different foods available as we ride through Circular Quay. It’s been a few hours since breakfast and we could stand to eat, but we decide against it since we’re heading to the boat and there’s going to be more food aboard than we know what to do with.

Our trip will take us through New South Wales, Victoria, Tasmania, and South Australia. I would love to see the Great Barrier Reefs and the Northern Territory, but we just don’t have the time to cover the whole continent. There are so many things to see in Australia that there’s absolutely no way we could possibly see it all. The exclusive sites that we want to see require that we abandon the cruise for the last two days and take a detour… which is not cheap, by the way. As it turns out, if you don’t finish the cruise and you disembark at one of the ports of call, you have to pay something of a fine, and the price could be as much as the cruise itself. That’s why when you take a cruise, they tell you not to miss the boat at any of the ports of call because getting back home is going to be the least of your problems.

Luckily, this is not an issue for the filthy rich.

A few short minutes later, Noah drops us at the Overseas Terminal. When I offer him something for his trouble, he assures me that Jason took very good care of him. So instead, I give him something for his honesty and Butterfly makes him promise to go and get some real rest. I think we just made his week.

From the outside, the Overseas Passenger Terminal, or OPT, looks like an older bus depot. Once you get inside, it’s like a bustling airport. I can’t help but wonder if all these people are going to be on our cruise. I’m so accustomed to our privacy that this is going to be quite the adjustment for me. As I planned this somewhat hurriedly and left the details to Jason, I’m not really sure where we should be right now. I text as much to Jason as we’re standing near the information area in a crowd of people masquerading as a line.

And then I remember why I’m so accustomed to my privacy.

“Ayyyye, mate, look at deh ahss on ‘er.”

Now, yes, I’m a jealous guy, and I think everybody wants my wife—boys, girls, puppies, komodo dragons, zygotes not yet formed into humans, everybody… everybody wants my Butterfly. But this time, I’m right.

Ana's Ass, Chapter 74I look over at my wife standing next to me and scrolling blissfully ignorant through her phone. Her weight is supported on one leg while the other is bent, and her ass is on glorious display—as it has been all day. I raise my gaze to the blokes standing behind us and their eyes are so trained on her ass that they don’t even see me glaring at them. I gently take my wife’s arm, coax her over in front of me and put my arms around her waist. One of the guys looks at me sheepishly and diverts his gaze. The other doesn’t show an ounce of shame.

“Won’t ‘elp, mate,” the guy says from behind me. “She’ll still ‘ave that ahss,” he chuckles. I turn around and look at him.

“And she’ll still be my wife,” I say, my voice low. Don’t make me get arrested before I even board the boat. The jerk just laughs at me, and my wife looks over her shoulder to see what’s going on, not having heard the comments about her ass. Like an angel from heaven, Jason makes his way through the crowd and over to us.

“Sir, your luggage is on board and priority boarding is this way,” he says. I’m glaring at the asshole who disrespected me and my wife while Jason and Lawrence close in.

“Sir?” he asks. “Is everything okay?” I’m still glaring at the two assholes who have now fallen silent at Jason’s appearance.

“Yeah,” I say, taking my wife’s hand without breaking eye contact with them, “everything’s fine.” I gently coax my wife to walk ahead of me with our security as I throw one last threatening glance at the uncouth buffoon. Make sure you keep your asses away from me on the boat, boys.

“Crikey, Max,” I hear one say as we’re walking away, “Yah nevah know when tah shut yah fayce, do yah? D’yah hafta be such a bogan all the time?”

Max had better learn soon.

“What did I miss?” Butterfly asks as we head toward priority boarding.

“Nothing, baby, trust me,” I say, keeping step behind her. This is the first commercial cruise I’ve ever taken, and now I remember why. It’s the same reason I own a private jet. I don’t like people—they’re too damn unpredictable and I can’t stand being in situations that I can’t control.


A/N: When the guide at the Sydney Opera House explains the projectors, you just have to imagine the Aussie accent. When I tried to put that explanation in an Aussie accent, I was like, “That’s hard for me to read,” so I didn’t do it. Conversation, maybe… Explanations? No.

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 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

 

 

Didn’t She Say She Was Going To Publish?

Didn’t She Say She Was Going To Publish?

open-text-book-question-mark-pen-drawing-icon-white-background-30529978It’s 2016 and the question keeps coming to me…

“When are you going to publish?”

I’ve seen many of my fellow authors publish–both traditionally and self-published–and I keep saying that I’m going to get it done. Yet, life keeps finding ways to throw obstacles, issues, and stumbling blocks in my way by means of family crises, health issues, money, time, change of jobs, etc.

I looked at my original draft and realized that it’s so close to FSOG that E. L. James would have rights to get an injunction against me. So I’ve been editing it ever since. There are two huge problems with that.

First (which would probably be second), I never seem to get a copy of it that is acceptable and ready for publishing. That’s becoming a vicious cycle.

Second (which should probably be first), once it’s published, my original baby is dead. Just like “Masters of the Universe” may have copies floating around on someone’s hard drive and among die-hard E.L. James fans, it’s not on any site and it’s not being updated. Why? Because it’s been published. Once I definitely hit that button to “upload to Kindle,” the story has to come down off of the blog. There’s no more updating it. There’s no more weekly chapters… it’s done. Once Miles is in print, Dr. Steele dies… and I think that scares me most of all.

I had one of my oldest readers unsubscribe today. She wasn’t mean or nasty about it all. She was truthful. She said that she was no longer interested in the story because there was too much drama and it had strayed from the original characters. It did get me thinking, because I had a similar experience.

When you’ve written about the same people for so long (in this case, it will be three years on Valentine’s Day), you realize that there’s only so much you can put people through before you have to start focusing on other aspects around them and other characters around them. Look what I’ve done to these people:

We started with Christian’s usual tragic backstory that didn’t really spill into this story as much except to indicate why he is who he is and why the Pedobitch is in his life anyway.

We added Ana’s tragic backstory, which is continuing to spill into this story in so many ways and taking on a life of its own as it’s constantly hiding in the background waiting to blow up.

We’ve got Ana kidnapped by her psycho ex-boyfriend;
Ana’s been beaten by one of Christian’s disgruntled ex-employees;
Christian nearly starves to death pining away for an angry Anastasia;
Christian almost loses his best friend and his girl in Anguilla;
Ana decides to help someone with dignity therapy only to find out that it’s the same person who recorded her beating and after watching the damn thing, she clocks out for three days (or was it four…);
Christian and Ana both are stalked by a psycho asshole–the son of the man who tormented Christian’s childhood and many of his nights as an adult–claiming to be Christian’s brother;
The same asshole orchestrates a break-in of Ana’s condo and the stealing of her gun;
That same gun was used to shoot Jason, who actually took a bullet for Christian because the psycho blonde Pedophile couldn’t live without him;
Psycho mom Mini Morton is not worth the air that she’s breathing, but keeps harassing Ana for a relationship now that she’s dating a billionaire and when Ana finally gives in, she discovers that she was right all along and it’s a lost cause.

All that and I haven’t even finished with the drama that was Book II and what’s happened to them in Book III… you know–hacker, amnesia, fundraiser fiasco, psycho Val…

At this rate, my main characters will be stressed to death by 35! At some point, you have to step back and start to focus on different storylines and how they relate to the main characters–which means that the main characters may not always be the focus, or that a storyline may drag on until a point is made, or it may end prematurely because the point is made very quickly. You have to constantly come up with fresh material to keep readers happy and engaged, and if you don’t, you lose your readers. Unfortunately, sometimes if you do, you still lose your readers.

This is not a complaining post, because I completely understand this dynamic. I went through the same thing with Grey’s Anatomy. I was watching the series for 12 or 13 seasons, and then I saw all of the original characters start to fade away. When I looked up, most of them were gone off the series. When the main person that I was watching the series for was killed off the series, I didn’t want to watch it anymore. So I completely understand when the story takes a turn that someone may not like and they decide that it’s not for them anymore.

I also understand that after a while, the characters do have to change as well as the storylines in order to keep the story fresh and new. So I may go back and check what’s going on with Grey’s Anatomy.

~~Patrick Dempsey

“I’ve enjoyed [making a movie] it immensely, getting back to something that has a beginning, middle and end,” Patrick Dempsey said. “It’s just a completely different approach. With Grey’s, you’re just grinding it out. In this instance, you take the time to get through things.”

~~Private Scandal Murder

 

Like Shonda Rhimes, however, I also understand that there may be a need for new stories, like How To Get Away With Murder and Scandal and Private Practice. To that end, I’ve decided unequivocally that the first story that will be published this year is the love story about Devin and Jordan. That’s a fresh story straight from the imagination that ends much differently than it begins. For those who may not be familiar with it, you can find a taste of the story in the Lemon Drop post. That’s only one of the love scenes. I’m working on a blurb for it right now, and I’ll try to get it posted to see if it draws interest at all.

I hope I haven’t disappointed anyone with this decision, but if I have, c’est la vie. If my writing chops are worth anything, this story will be worth reading, too. If they’re not, then I’ll find out soon enough. Either way, I’m not ready to kill Dr. Steele just yet…

Love and Handcuffs,
Lynn X

 

 

 

 

Paging Dr. Steele: Chapter 24: Digging Dirt and Cleaning House

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 24—Digging Dirt and Cleaning House

STEELE

I awake in a strange position. Christian and I are facing each other, holding each other. His head is nuzzled into my chest and he’s holding me around my waist. I’m holding his head close to me with my hands in his hair and my legs wrapped around him. Although I don’t remember it and I don’t know how, we’ve fallen asleep in the same position that we were in when we made love, only now, we’re lying on our sides—and we never moved all night. I just want to stay here and hold him—block the world out, the Edward Davids, the Robert Harrises, the Elena Lincolns… I just want to love my man with every bit of me. But I know we both have responsibilities and we have to leave our little cocoon.

I gently run my fingers through his messy copper locks. “Baby?” I say, gently trying to rouse him from his slumber. His breathing changes slightly. “Baby?” I say again, stroking his face.

“No,” he moans, pulling me closer to him. “I don’t want to get up.”

“We have people that depend on us, dear,” I say kissing his forehead. He sighs heavily.

“Yeah, I know,” he says kissing my breast. Oh, Mr. Grey, that’s wonderful, but…

“Christian…” I say, my resolve slipping fast, “we really need to shower and get dressed.” His tongue sticks out and runs salaciously over my breast before he takes the nipple into his mouth.

“I know, baby. We won’t be long,” he says as he crawls up the bed to meet my mouth.

“Christian,” I whine. “I have patients to see today.” His hands slip to my butt and he starts to fondle my rosette. Now how would he know I would like that? I reflexively move my hips against his hand.

Oooo,” I say before I can stop myself. That was Mr. Grey’s cue to make his move, and I’m already perfectly positioned for his morning wood since my legs are wrapped around him. With one smooth move, he’s inside of me. I gasp as he rocks gently inside me, massaging and applying pressure to my clitoris with his pelvis.

“Do you still want me to stop?” he says, his voice deep and smooth like caramel.

“No,” I breathe, pressing myself against him, his length filling me from base to tip.

“Are you sure?” he taunts, his voice controlled, and he sticks his index finger in my ass, massaging gently.

Aah! Yes! Yes! I’m sure!” I exclaim, panting now.

“Oh, baby! This turns me on so much!” he says as he begins a deeper stroke into me, his finger massaging me closer and closer to orgasm. I don’t know which one to focus on, his finger deliciously stimulating my ass or the incredible stroke of his cock.

“Kiss me, Christian,” I say, my voice raw. His lips seize mine, his tongue playing lusciously with mine. He moans into my mouth and I feel his length get harder and his stroke quicken. He’s racing to his release and driving me to my own.

“Oh, Ana… shit. I’m gonna come… come with me, Baby,” he growls and sticks his finger further into my ass.

“Oh, fuck!” I scream as I explode around him and he’s right behind me, pumping his seed into me. Oh, I’m so glad I didn’t have to tell him I like anal!

“Shit, Ana. You are so hot!” he says, breathlessly. He pulls his finger out and I grab onto his arm. Shit, I almost came again! “We’re going to have to explore that avenue when we have more time,” he says fiendishly.

“Yes… by all means…” I say, just as breathless as he is. He pulls out of me and I whimper a bit at the tenderness and the emptiness. He plants gentle kisses on my lips.

“My Ana,” he says, between kisses.

“Yes, Mr. Grey,” I reply, tasting his delicious lips. “Only yours.” He groans into my mouth.

“We better get up now or I’m never letting you out of this bed,” he says, grabbing my ass and pulling me against him.

“Yes, yes. You’re right,” I say as I reluctantly unwrap myself from around him. I stretch my stiff limbs. Being wrapped around Christian Grey is a lot of fun, but it can leave you needing a massage when it’s done. “Do you want the shower first, baby?” I ask. “Or you can use the guest shower if you like.”

“What? No shower together?” he says, tilting his head.

“Not if we want to get to work,” I say, matter-of-factly. He nods in agreement.

“True. Taylor is most likely downstairs with a change of clothes for me. You go ahead—I’ll use the guest bathroom.”

Half an hour later, I’m in the kitchen in my Lindy Bop “Delores” Red Vintage 1950’s pencil wiggle dress with the sweetheart neckline, capped sleeves and ruched with buttons at the bust and a kick pleat in the front left with decorative buttons at my thigh. My hair is in a tight bun and I’m wearing my black suede platform stilettos with the snakeskin heel. I whip up some eggs scrambled with cheese and mushrooms and some bacon and toast. Christian comes out of the bathroom in a light gray suit—Cesare Attolini, I would say—with a white dress shirt open at the collar, no tie. He’s wearing Cesare Paciotti gray leather shoes and his hair is still slightly wet, mussed up…

Fuck. Me.

I’m so busy trying not to drool over him that I hadn’t noticed he’s frozen in his spot eyeing me with the same lust that I’m giving him.

“Ms. Steele, has anyone ever told you that you dress way too sexy for work?” he says, his voice low and sensual. I look down at my dress. Nope, just fine.

“You just don’t want anyone else to see me,” I say, putting his breakfast on the breakfast bar. I turn back to the refrigerator and pull out a bagel.

“That’s true, but you’re still sexy as fuck,” he responds. I look over my shoulder after I put my bagel in the toaster.

“You’re pretty delectable yourself this morning, Mr. Grey.” I turn back to my bagel to add cream cheese and jelly.

“How do you cook in those?” he asks, and I know he’s referring to my shoes.

“I can do anything in stilettos. It’s one of the benefits of having to compensate for being so short.” He raises his eyebrow.

“Anything?” he says, seductively. I walk over the breakfast bar and lean over to him so that he gets an eyeful of my cleavage. I put my hands on the counter spread out so that my upper arms push my bosom together and up.

“Anything,” I confirm, my voice dripping with sex. He tries, but he fails. His eyes dart down to my hoisted breasts and he licks his lips.

“Ms. Steele, you’re playing with fire,” he warns.

“Oh, no, Mr. Grey. You are,” I say in that voice that dominated him during our love making session last night. He recognizes it immediately. His eyes become hooded; his pupils dilate. I smile at him and kiss him across the breakfast bar. “Coffee, Christian?” He blinks once.

“You’re going to be the death of me. You know that, don’t you?” he says, his baritone voice betraying his arousal.

“I hope not,” I say, with a smile as I give him his coffee. I sit down with him and eat my bagel and coffee while he enjoys his breakfast.

“Aren’t you going to eat more than that?” he asks about my continental breakfast. I sigh.

“I told you—no big breakfasts before I have to listen to someone spill their guts. I’ll be asleep by noon.” I know he wants to argue with me, but I think he knows he won’t win.

“I have to ask you a serious question,” he says, after he swallows the last of his eggs. I put his plate and fork in the sink.

“Shoot,” I say, before sipping my coffee.

“Interesting choice of words,” he says, shaking his head. I frown showing my confusion. “Gun, Ana?” I still look at him questioning.

“Yes,” I answer.

“Ana, I’m very anti-gun.” I find that hard to believe.

“You told me that people are always after you. How can you be anti-gun?” I ask.

“Because I have the best security force that money can buy.” Except for Harris, I think to myself.

“And don’t they carry guns?” I question.

“Not all of them, and not all the time,” he replies.

“But they’re armed sometimes,” I push. He sighs heavily.

“Yes, sometimes they are,” he replies.

“Good. So, now you understand the need for me to be armed… sometimes,” I say, folding my hands. He sighs, heavily.

“A Glock, huh?” he says, a little disgusted. Might as well get this out of the way now.

“Do you know anything about guns, Christian?” I ask.

“Only that they kill people,” he says.

“Guns don’t kill people, people…” I start.

“Yeah, yeah, I know. People kill people,” he says, sarcastically. I sigh again. I’m trying not to lose my patience with this man. Time to dazzle him with my gun knowledge. Maybe that will put him at ease a bit.


GREY

“You should probably know that I have more than one gun, Christian.” Oh, for fuck’s sake. What would she need with more than one gun? The look of horror on my face prompts her to continue. “I’ve been shooting ever since I was old enough to hold a firearm properly, aim, and pull the trigger,” she says.

“I don’t see how that is supposed to make me feel better, Ana.”

“It’s supposed to make you feel better because I know what I’m doing. I’m not out there just swinging the damn thing around because I can!” Okay, I can hear that she’s getting a little irritated, but I’m irritated, too. I don’t want my Butterfly carrying a gun. If she’s likely to point a gun, she’s likely to have one pointed at her. I visibly shudder at the thought.

“Christian,” she says, her voice softer this time, “I don’t pull it out unless I feel threatened, really threatened, like with Edward in the parking garage yesterday. And from what you’ve told me, I should feel really threatened by him. I’m not stupid, Christian. I would much rather not have to shoot anyone, although make no mistake. I’m fully prepared to do so if I must—but it’s not on my bucket list.” I know I’m not going to win this one, though I want to argue her down about the many, many reasons she shouldn’t be carrying that thing… those things. Fuck!

“What do you carry?” I ask reluctantly. She takes a breath.

“I keep the 9mm Glock G19C with a slide lock and integrated compensator in the car. In the apartment near my bed, I keep a Beretta Px4 Storm Type F Sub-Compact with a reversible magazine—also a 9mm. When I choose to carry, it’s a .44 Magnum 629 double-action S&W Special.”

“A Magnum?” I ask in horror. “What are you doing? Robbing stagecoaches!?” She laughs a little.

“It’s a mini-magnum, baby. It’s only about seven inches long.” She smiles. I throw my hands up.

“Fuck. I’m in love with Wild Bill Hickok!” I shake my head. She comes over and puts her arms around my neck.

“I’m a very responsible gun owner. I’m proficient with my weapon and I’m fully aware of all the dangers involved,” she says. I put my arms around her and sniff her hair.

“I would die if something happened to you.” I hold her close to me. Why can’t I just put her away for safe keeping like they do with all the Butterflies on the farm?

“Nothing is going to happen to me, Christian,” she says softly.

“Why do you carry them, Ana? Are you afraid?” She stiffens. “What? What is it?”

“Well,” she begins slowly. “I had stopped carrying them for about two years or so. I even let my CCW lapse, but then something happened that frightened me. So, I renewed my CCW and got my weapons out of storage.”

“What happened?” I snap. I’ll kill the fucker who scared my Ana like this. She shifts uncomfortably in my arms.

“I got word that someone was looking into Anastasia Lambert,” she says trepidatiously.

Shit! The fucker was me.

“I’m sorry, Ana. Why had you never told me?” I ask.

“Well, I did, sort of,” she says. “The day that I came to your office, but we were both in a different state of mind, then.” I hold her close to me.

“Well, now that you know it was me, can’t you get rid of the guns?” I question. I so don’t want her carrying those things.

“Well, now we have Mr. David to be concerned about,” she protests.

“But you’ll have close personal protection now,” I argue. She sighs.

“I still feel safer with my guns, Christian. Look what I had to do yesterday to show that bastard that I was serious.” I’m still seeing her looking like a sexy Charlie’s Angel pointing that damnable thing in Edward’s face. So glad I wasn’t the one looking down the barrel of that piece.

“I’m going to relent for now, Ana, but I reserve the right to revisit this at a later date,” I say in pure CEO form.

“I wouldn’t expect anything less.” She smiles as she pulls me in and kisses me tenderly.

“I fired Harris, by the way,” I say.

“Good riddance,” she adds. We stand there for a few more moments.

“Do you know one of the reasons why I’m so drawn to you?” I ask.

“Why?

“Because you treat me like a normal guy. From day one you never treated me like Christian Grey Billionaire CEO. Even my subs treated me that way, but not you. You always treated me like… Christian.”

Just Grey,” she says softly.

Just Grey,” I repeat.

“Well, when I first met you, you were an ass, Mr. Grey,” she says, as she releases me and goes to her room. She’s right, I was an ass.

“Was I?” I say to Ana, now returning with her briefcase.

“A big one!” she replies. “It wasn’t too hard to treat you like everyone else, except…” She pauses.

“Except what?” I say, closing the space between us.

“Well, it was kind of hard… because… you’re gorgeous,” she breathes.

“And you’re breathtaking,” I say putting one arm around her and pulling her gently to me.

“Mr. Grey,” she whispers closing her eyes, “we have to get to work.”

“I know.” I close my lips over hers. Her kiss is delicious. I could stay lost here forever, but she’s right. We have work to do. I reluctantly pull myself away from her sweetness. “You ready to face the world?”

“Yes,” she said after a deep breath. “Am I riding in with you and Taylor?”

“No, baby. Davenport left the Audi here last night and Taylor brought him back this morning, so he’ll be going in with you today,” I respond, as we leave her apartment and she locks the door.

“Okay… so…” she pauses, as we wait for the elevator.

“So?” I ask.

“We’ll talk later?” she says. I know what she’s aiming at. We haven’t really defined our relationship or how we are going to handle it. How do I tell her that I want to spend every waking moment with her that I possibly can? That I have spent so much of my time locked in a lonely hellish lifestyle under the guise that I was content and in control and now I don’t want to waste another minute? Right now, all I can say is, “Yes, we’ll talk later.” And I kiss her again before we get on the elevator.

*-*

I think I’ve caused some people to feel like they are in the Twilight Zone this morning. I’ve been pleasant and happy… I’ve even smiled a few times before I even realized it. It’s the Ana Effect. She makes me happy. She makes me look forward to the future now. Before it was just day by day, going along—each day dragging into the next merger or acquisition… or submissive. After Ana made love to me last night, I have no idea how I’ve gone all my life without it. I have no idea how I’ve survived this long without this connection. Now that I have it—with Ana—I can never go back.

She took care of me last night… completely. We never discussed her being my Domme. It’s just understood. I don’t know how it happened and I don’t care. It just feels right—and she knows exactly when I need it. When I want to play, she’ll let me play. And when she wants to lead, I gladly let her lead. It’s liberating! I never thought I could sub again—especially after the realization that Elena had me under her thumb for all these years. But with Butterfly, it’s different. It’s so different—and I love it! How it that possible? I’m a Dom! Who the fuck cares? When it comes to my Butterfly, I’m whatever she wants me to be.

I go back to my office and wait for the department head meeting this morning. I really hate this meeting, but I have to keep them on their toes, or my business will go to shit! I’m scrolling through my emails again. More from Elena—when will that woman get a clue? I will have to talk to her at some point to discuss how we’ll be handling the Esclava salons after this. I don’t want anything to do with her anymore. I don’t want her near me or in my life in any way, but the salons are profitable, and I would be a fool to let them go. I’ll talk to Ana and see what she thinks. I never told her that Elena and I are still in business—especially since the last time I saw her, I wanted to kill the bitch and Ana effectively beat her ass without touching her… much. The sooner I tell her that, the better. I think this will be tonight’s discussion.

Tonight. Her place or mine? Will she want to spend the night with me again after spending four nights with me already? Am I crowding her? Shit, this is all so new to me. I’ll have to ask Butterfly how this is done. I’ll follow her lead. She’s had a bad experience, and I’ve had no experience, so she’s a better teacher at this sort of thing.

I’ve just talked to Mr. Walker and Ms. Sims about the bungling idiots that they have working at Ana’s condominium. Although I don’t want them fired, I do want them replaced—all of them. I want competent guards watching over my Butterfly and her belongings. I also informed them that I want to know how none of these officers had a clue what was happening for nearly two hours and I expect answers by the end of the day. I will hold them personally responsible for that structure from now on. Nothing gets you results like holding someone personally responsible for something.

I look at my wall clock—9:54am. Time to go scare some department heads.

This has to be the most boring meeting I have ever attended. These people are droning on about projections and possible projects and I couldn’t care less. I’m into hard core numbers and results. I don’t want to see what you think is going to happen—I want the bottom line.

“How much time and effort have we put into marketing research on this project?” I ask the suit babbling at the other end of the table. Get me down to some dollars and cents, man, and stop with all the not-so-impressive jargon. As he’s going into a gaggle of information that I can easily—and more effectively—get from a spreadsheet, my blackberry buzzes. I have a text from my Butterfly.

** Just finished my second patient. Thinking of you. **

How sweet is that? She lightens my mood immediately, but I can’t break into the Cheshire grin that I want in front of the suits. So, my face remains impassive as I respond:

** In a room full of suits and all I can think of is kissing you. **

That ought to give you something to think about while you’re seeing your next patient. My phone buzzes again.

** I’m thinking about kissing you, too, in many, many different ways.  **

No boners in the boardroom, Grey. I shift in my seat as I look up and see a few of the department heads looking at me with interest. I glare at each of them momentarily and they each clear their throats and pay attention to the suit currently speaking.

** No fair making me squirm in front of all these men. You know how you affect me, Ms. Steele. **

I put my blackberry down and stand causing the room to get quiet. “Mr. Anderson, did I just hear you say that the product didn’t score well with the 21 to 30 age demographics and only marginally better in the 31 to 40?” Anderson adjusts his tie. I don’t understand why these people still haven’t figured out that I can do several things at once. It’s called multitasking, you assholes. That’s why I’m the Chief.

“Um, y-yes, sir, that’s correct,” he stutters.

“And how much money have we thrown behind this?” He fumbles with his paperwork. “Never mind. I don’t need to know. I didn’t make it to where I am today throwing good money behind bad products. What I would like to know, Mr. Anderson, is why you continue to push a product that didn’t test well in two of the highest paid demographics in Seattle.”

I lean forward on the table, my glare focused solely on Anderson. He’s starting to sweat now. Every so often, you have to make an example of one person so that the whole team falls in line. Today, that person is Anderson, and rightly so.

“What’s more, why am I only just now hearing about this? Last week…” As if on cue, Andrea hands me her iPad with last week’s notes and key points. “You were testing in Tacoma, Montesano, and Bellevue. Seattle testing had been done and you were about to test in Kirkland and Newcastle. Are you telling me that between last week and this week, the results were so bad that you had no advance warning that we were wasting our time?” My blackberry buzzes again. Give me a moment, Butterfly.

“Um, no sir… um, yes sir… um…” Did I hire this guy?

“Get this stuttering idiot out of my face,” I say, standing up straight. “Does anybody have any news on any projects or developments that’s going to make me very happy this morning?” I look from face to face and a timid hand goes up next to where Anderson has vacated his seat.

“Yes, Ms. Simpson?” I say, impatiently. She clears her throat.

“The three buildings that you purchased for half-way houses in Highland Park and Cass Corridors have been fully renovated. We have a contract in place with Detroit Receiving and Babesworld for counseling and outpatient medical treatment,” she says quietly. This is good news. I have no love lost for Detroit after my horrific experience there as a child, but if I can prevent one child from suffering the abuse and neglect that I did, then I will do whatever is in my power to make that happen—short of adopting the lot myself.

“Thank you, Ms. Simpson. That is good news.” I reward her with the 32-teeth smile and of course, she blushes. “Anyone else?” Either there’s no more good news or these lemmings don’t have the balls to speak up. “Go back to your departments and bring me something I can work with. I have no problem replacing the management that can’t get me solid results, as Mr. Anderson may soon discover. Meeting is adjourned.”

I sit down at the conference table and watch the heads leave the conference room. These are the people to whom I entrust the fate of my empire? I’ll have to get with Andrea to set up some individual meetings with the departments and then possibly bring in an outside auditing team. I may be letting some things slip by that need my attention. There might be some restructuring in GEH’s future.

I pick up my blackberry and I’m reminded that I have a text. Ah, yes, the lovely Ms. Steele.

** Would I be too presumptuous in asking my place or yours tonight? **

“Yes!” I say, as I do a fist pump in the air. She wants to see me, too.

** Of course not, Butterfly. Either is fine with me, as long as I get to see you. **

Does one man deserve this much happiness? I see that I have another text—from Elena. This woman, I swear.

** Why are you avoiding me, Christian? We need to talk! **

No, we don’t, Elena… or what was it that Butterfly called her? Oh yes, Pedo-Bitch She-Thing. I love that. Just as I’m chuckling to myself, Taylor steps into the conference room.

“Sir. Mrs. Lincoln is here to see you,” he says.

“Is she up here or down in the lobby?” I ask perturbed.

“She on this floor, Sir.”

“Let security know that Mrs. Lincoln is no longer allowed in this building without an appointment… and that Anastasia never needs one,” I say as I rise from my chair and head to my office. I see Elena standing there at Andrea’s desk in her normal funeral garb, a large black purse tucked under her arm.

“Christian,” she says upon seeing me. “This is ridiculous! We really need to talk about this!” I walk over to Andrea without looking at Elena.

“Does Mrs. Lincoln have an appointment?” I ask a bewildered Andrea.

“Um, no, sir.” I turn to Elena.

“Make an appointment with my assistant,” I say to her. “Andrea, if my girlfriend Anastasia Steele shows up here, always send her right through. If she calls, find me wherever I am.” Both Elena and Andrea are awestruck.

Your… girlfriend, sir?” Andrea repeats.

“Yes. My girlfriend. Make sure all of the required people are informed. Is that clear?” Andrea fights a smirk.

“Yes, sir,” she says in her usual professional manner. I turn to my office, go inside and close the door. Elena storms into my office two steps behind me.

“You can’t avoid me forever, Christian. We have to discuss this,” she says.

“Andrea, get me Welch and Taylor, please,” I say through the speaker.

“Yes, sir,” Andrea’s disembodied voice calls back.

“There’s nothing left for us to talk about, Mrs. Lincoln,” I say curtly. “We are no longer friends. That topic is not up for discussion. You have nothing to do with my personal life anymore. That topic is also not up for discussion. As for our professional relationship, I haven’t decided its fate as yet.” She turns pale.

“What do you mean?” Her whole life is the Esclava salon chain since her divorce from Linc. I’m a heartless bastard, granted—except when it comes to Butterfly—but I wouldn’t dream of taking the salons away from her. I’m not that heartless.

“Don’t worry, Mrs. Lincoln. You get to keep your salons. I just don’t know if I want to be part of that venture anymore.” My blackberry is buzzing again.

“Christian… why?” I can see that she is shocked and maybe a little hurt, but I don’t care.

“Because you’re a fucking pedophile! And I don’t want anything to do with you. I don’t even want to be associated with you. The thought makes me sick; don’t you understand? As much as I don’t want my parents to know about my lifestyle, I’m tempted to tell my mother what happened just so that she knows what she’s dealing with!” I snap. As if her face could get any paler under all that make-up, Elena turns as white as a sheet.

“She really has turned you against me!” she says, tears in her eyes. I throw my hands up.

“And. You. Still don’t get it!” I say flustered. “Listen to me carefully—assuming all of that plastic surgery hasn’t affected your eardrums.” Her head pops back in surprise at the insult. “You came on to my brother when he was 14-years-old. I found that out on Thursday. I talked to you on Friday and gave you a chance to come clean about it. Not only did you lie about it happening, but then you turned around and blamed my brother! My brother, Mrs. Lincoln. That means that I had to decide whether you were lying to me or whether my brother was lying to me. Do you understand that? Don’t you see the ramifications of that statement? Get it through your bleached blonde head that Anastasia had nothing to do with this!”

I come around my desk and tower over her.

“I love my family over and above anything in my life. These are the only people who loved me when no one else would.”

I love you, Christian,” she says, her voice shaking. And again, I see the beast with two heads.

“Isn’t that convenient? You told me that love was for fools and now you love me?”

“I’ve always loved you, Christian.” She drops her head. “And there were no other children,” she lies.

“Oh, no, just me and my brother, right?” I say, flatly. She sighs.

“Christian, I…” She trails off. Taylor sticks his head in the door. I wave him off, and he closes it.

“You what?” I ask.

“I… never touched anyone who wasn’t willing.” What the fuck? Well, at least the bitch finally admitted it.

“Are you fucking serious? Horny hormonal teenage boys are always willing, you sick bitch! That’s why I was willing… and you knew that. But you ran up against my brother, and to your surprise, he wasn’t willing. Do you understand that if I had believed you, I would be in a feud with my brother right now? Don’t you get that? Do you even care?”

She’s weeping now. I’ve asked her three times if she understands what I’m saying.

“You need to understand that the breakdown in this relationship is because of you… because of your actions. You could have cost me my relationship with my brother because you have some kind of sick appetite for children. Our lifestyle is taboo enough without involving children! But you know what the worst part about it is?”

I walk up to her and stand in her face. I hear my Butterfly singing in my ear, so I don’t have to grab this bitch and shake her—although shaking some sense into her might be a good idea.

“I thought I was special. I thought there was nobody else like me… that you only did this for me. But you did it for yourself, to fulfill your own sick needs. I had already been abused—and you abused me again and God knows how many others. This was your doing, Mrs. Lincoln. This has abso-fucking-lutely nothing to do with Anastasia Steele.” At the mention of her name, Elena’s eyes narrow and her nostrils flare.

“She’s the reason you didn’t want Greta!” she spits. I nod.

“Yes, she is the reason.” I confirm. “I’ve known her for three weeks, but she wanted nothing to do with me. I thought she hated me. Every time we were in a space together, we were scratching at each other. I threatened to ruin her career. She did a background check on me; can you believe that?” I laughed. “And she’s got good people working for her because they found shit that most people couldn’t.”

“How do you know that she’s not just another opportunist?” she shoots.

“Because she didn’t pursue me. I pursued her! She didn’t even know. The only reason she got a background check on me is because I got one on her and she wanted to know who was digging around in her past,” I say.

“Does she have something to hide?” Elena sneers. It’s time to bring this conversation to an end.

“I’ll tell you this, Mrs. Lincoln. There is a specific reason why other than Grace Trevelyan Grey, Dr. Anastasia Steele is the strongest woman that I’ve ever met. You don’t want to know why, and you don’t want to meet that woman. I watched as she had a martial arts master begging her to let him get up. Yesterday, I watched her make five men grovel while a sixth went running away with his tail between his legs—all while dressed like a teenager. She was able to acquire classified information on me, including who I was before I became Christian Grey. She’s the only woman that I have ever known who has looked me in my eye and taken me on, balls to the walls, without flinching or patronizing me. She’s a remarkable woman, and you don’t want to bring out her bad side. You. Will. Lose.”

“Why are you calling me Mrs. Lincoln, Christian?” she asks, her voice pleading.

“Because we still have a questionable business arrangement and that’s how I address all of my business associates.” I press the button to the intercom. “Taylor!” I know he’s still out there.

“Christian, please. There must be some way we can mend this.” I have never seen Elena beg. It’s kind of refreshing. She almost looks human…

… Almost.

Taylor comes into the office and remains silent.

“I will be in touch about our business arrangement, Mrs. Lincoln. I hope you heard that carefully. will be in touch with you. Since you can’t seem to hear me each time I say it, let me make this perfectly clear this time. Do not contact me unless I summon you. Do not come to see me without an appointment. Do not come to my home anymore. Address me as Mr. Grey when you see me, except around my mother. I want to spare her the embarrassment of knowing that she had been friends with a pedophile for so long—but make no mistake, Mrs. Lincoln. I value my privacy, but I will publicly out myself before I ever allow you to have control over me again. Do I make myself clear?” I glare at her and await an answer. A single tear falls down her cheek.

“Perfectly,” she says flatly.

“Good. Taylor will see you out.” I turn and go back to my seat and take out my blackberry. Taylor stands aside and waits for Elena. She pauses before leaving.

“When you come to your senses and realize that little tart can’t fulfill your needs, I’ll be here. I’ll always be here, Christian,” she says, softly.

“Address me as Mr. Grey or don’t address me at all. Goodbye, Mrs. Lincoln,” I say without looking up from my blackberry. She solemnly leaves my office and I can hear her weeping in the hallway.

Poor little pedophile.

“Welch!” I yell as I check my latest texts from Butterfly.

** That sounds wonderful. I’ll stop by my place and pick up a few things, then meet you at your place after work. I can’t wait to see you. **

I can’t wait to see you either, Butterfly.

** Strangely, I need your advice on a business venture. We’ll talk this evening. Love you. **

I don’t think I’ve ever written that in a text before… feels good. Welch comes into the office.

“She doesn’t look too happy,” he says about the Pedophile as he closes my office door.

“Yeah, well, I can imagine there are quite a few people that wouldn’t be too happy with her right now,” I respond, thinking of the families of the unknown number of children she has molested over the years, mine included. “What do you have for me today?” Welch opens his tablet and starts to scroll.

“I’m sending you an email right now, sir. I would have sent it sooner, but I wanted to discuss some of the things that I found.” My blackberry buzzes again. I open the email on my touch screen computer instead. Two attachments—one about David and the other about the Mortons.

“Which one first?” I ask.

“Let’s start with the Mortons,” he answers still looking at his tablet. I open the attachment on Ana’s “guardians,” as she calls them. Carla seemed to jump from mindless job to mindless job for many years and then last year she settled in as a nurse’s aide in a convalescent home/assisted living facility in Boulder City. I personally thought she seemed to be a little up in age to be a nurse’s aide, but in these times, you get work wherever you can find it. Stephen Morton worked with the water board for many years and was let go just before Carla started working with the elderly. Unless he has been collecting some sort of unemployment compensation or had one hell of a severance package, they have been living off Carla’s meager wages for the last 13 months.

“What do their finances look like?” I ask Welch.

“Not too good right now.,” he says as he scrolls through his tablet. “They were fair to midland for a while. His salary seemed to pay their way for the most part. However, in 2001, they received a pretty big payout from an unknown source. I had to pull in a few favors to get to the bottom of that one, sir.”

“That big, huh?” I ask looking up at Welch.

“I would say so. The payout came from Franklin Whitmore. He’s a high-level executive for an insurance company out there.”

“Why would a man on the water board be getting a payout from an insurance company?” I ask. “Was there an accident or something? Those are usually kept pretty private.”

“You misunderstand, sir. Morton didn’t get a payout from the insurance company. He got a payout from Whitmore’s personal accounts.” I do a double-take on that statement. I’m a businessman and that stinks to me.

“How much was the payout?” I ask.

“Three quarters of a mil,” Welch answers. This was not business, this was personal.

“What did Morton’s finances look like in 2001? Could this have been a loan from a friend? Did he ever pay it back? Was his house in foreclosure…?” I’m firing off questions as quickly as they come to me.

“Sir, slow down.” Welch interrupts. “I don’t see any outstanding debts or problems in the Mortons’ financials at that time. The house was gifted to Morton years before when his father passed away, so he only had to pay taxes and a small home equity loan on the property. From what I can tell, everything was fine until…” Welch trails off. I look up from scrolling the information on the screen and wait for him to finish his statement.

“Until what?” I prompt.

“Sir, 2001 was the same year that Anastasia Steele was attacked.” Okay, now he’s got my attention.

“Give me all of the information without me having to ask you any questions. I need to know exactly where you are headed with this.” I sit back in my chair.

“I have a theory, but I don’t know how accurate it is.” Welch takes a deep breath. “Ana Steele gets beaten and burned in February but doesn’t know what happened to her when she awakes.” Yes, she did. She just couldn’t turn anybody in because she couldn’t see their faces. “Nobody is arrested for the crime. Ms. Steele disappears for the summer and everything is quiet in Green Valley… maybe too quiet for what just happened a few months prior…”

“The locals are getting restless,” I observe.

“Exactly,” Welch confirms. “Somebody gets nervous and maybe talks to Daddy about making this whole thing go away. Whitmore has three children—all of whom were attending Green Valley High at the time. The next thing you know, Morton is getting a huge payout in August from Whitmore and a few days later, Ms. Steele is dragged back to Henderson…”

“To a school she can’t even attend and a bunch of people who don’t want her around, including her parents.” Welch looks at me puzzled. “We’ve talked. Her mother ignored her, and Morton treated her like crap. She never went home for more than a few hours at a time in the middle of the night. She left as soon as she was able, and they don’t even speak now. Why did they bring her back?” I question.

“To keep her close,” Welch responds. Shit, it makes perfect sense. They didn’t know that she remembered what happened to her, and they couldn’t take the chance of it all coming back to her when she was here in Montesano with Ray Steele. They had to be able keep an eye on her in case details started coming back to her. “It wasn’t a payout, sir…”

“It was a payoff. He fucking sold out his stepdaughter and brought her back to hell for $750,000… and her mother let it happen.” I stand up and run my hands through my hair as I pace my office. “He probably bought their silence. I’m certain Ana doesn’t know about this.”

“How certain are you, sir?” Welch asks.

“Ana repeatedly contends that she doesn’t know why they brought her back to Henderson. It’s a major point of contention for her. Had she known it was money-based, it would have still been a point of contention, but it would have been different. She would be angry for being sold-out… What were the Whitmore children’s names?” Welch scrolls a bit.

“Two boys and a girl—Amber is the youngest at 25. Then there’s Cody, who just turned 27 and Landon who is 28,” he says. So, Amber would have been a grade under Ana, Cody would have in the same grade or a grade over Ana, and Landon would have been a senior. I can’t rule any of them out just yet.

“What are they doing now?” I ask.

“Amber married and moved to New York, now in the fashion industry, but still using her maiden name. Landon is a sports commentator in Texas. Cody went to Harvard, then to Columbia, then dropped out and went back to Green Valley. He’s been working for his dad’s company for the last three years, but he doesn’t appear to be doing very well as most of his money is coming from his father. He is effectively spending his inheritance right now.”

So, which one of these people had something to do with Ana’s attack? Were they all involved? I have no idea how to approach this and I can’t just come out and ask her.

“I’m thinking that I should probably talk to the Mortons. I just need a reason to do it,” I say. Welch shrugs.

“IRS, maybe? They’d want to know about this little gift,” he says. He’s right, of course, but I’m not sure I want to go that far unless it’s utterly necessary.

“Let me think about that for a moment. What happened to the money?”

“Well, the money was spent pretty quickly—cars, clothes, high roller nightlife in Vegas and Lake Tahoe—nothing set aside for Ms. Steele, further emphasizing that your assumption may be correct that she didn’t know about it.” Of course, she didn’t. She stayed at a shelter for battered women when she first moved here. “Besides that, I’m still looking to see if I’ve missed anything.”

“Anything else of any great importance right now?” I ask.

“Not really, except for the relative in Las Vegas. Ms. Steele used Morton’s sister-in-law’s address to zone for Chaparral. Her name is Cynthia Morton and she works for the Clark County School District, so no doubt she probably did some things on the inside to allow ‘Steele’ to finish as ‘Lambert.’ Cynthia and Morton are estranged, though, so it’s possible that she did this solely to help Ms. Steele. She may be worth talking to.”

“She may indeed. Okay, so what about David?” I ask.

“Ah yes… we’ve saved the best for last… or worst I should say.” Oh shit. I open David’s file. Fuck! What the hell…?

“What is all of this?” I ask.

“That is a list of all of the women that David has slept with over the past ten years.” Who the hell has this kind of time on their hands!? Good grief, man! I do a search for Ana’s name and before I can hit enter, Welch says, “She’s number 22, sir.” Good God. She dodged a damn bullet! It’s a wonder he hasn’t been killed by any deadly sexually transmitted diseases by now!

“He’s been a busy boy, hasn’t he?” I say sarcastically.

“Very!” Welch answers.

“Any of these of interest?” I ask.

“Fifth from the bottom—Phyllis Studdard. Ms. Studdard was admitted to the hospital three months ago badly beaten. She had recently had sexual intercourse but contends that she was not raped—just that her lover got carried away. When the police asked for his name, she refused to give it to them. She was released from the hospital four days later. A transfer of $50,000 was made into her account from Mr. David and she subsequently left town… but not before she had already planted the seeds in the proper circles that David is the pariah that landed her in the hospital. Some of the stories of their encounter are pretty gruesome. I have no doubt that they have gone through the rumor mill a few times and some have been exaggerated, but the basis is pretty sound. It’s almost identical to the attack on Camilla Johannson except that supposedly there was no rape. It’s enough to say that he couldn’t get a date in the greater Seattle area if his dick were dipped in platinum.

Damn! And now he’s after my Ana. Over my dead body, fucker.

“How were you able to single out Ms. Studdard?” I ask.

“After I saw what happened with Ms. Johannson, I cross referenced possible hospital stays and MO’s with the girls and the times they were noted seeing David, and we got this hit. If there are others, they weren’t bad enough to be hospitalized.” I’m wondering if I should tell Ana about this. She has already agreed to close protection, and she knows this guy is crazy already… and she carries a fucking gun! Three fucking guns! No, I won’t tell her. She’s taking enough precautions already.

“There’s more, sir.” More? What more? “Look at Mr. David’s college roommates. I scroll through the list of his roommates.

“What should I be seeing?” I say scrolling through the years… 2004… 2005… 2006…

… 2006… FUCK!

“Do you see it, sir?” Welch says, noticing the change in my expression.

“This is not a coincidence! It’s not a coincidence that this was one of his roommates and he ends up dating Anastasia!”

“I don’t think so either, sir,” Welch concurs.

“Find out everything you can about this guy. Every. Little. Thing. Back at least 15 years!”

“Yes, sir. Will that be all, sir?”

“One more thing. I need any information that you can get me on Elena Lincoln’s personal affairs.” Welch looks questioningly at me.

“Personal affairs?” he repeats. I run my hands through my hair.

“I have it on authority that Mrs. Lincoln has been—and may still be—molesting teenage boys.” Welch’s eyes turn cold.

“Okay,” he says with a bitter tone that I can’t place.

“Will this be a problem for you, Welch?” He straightens his jacket.

“Absolutely not, sir. I’ll get right on it,” he says with conviction in his voice. I don’t ask why.

“I don’t care what it takes to find the information. Hack her computers, search her office, break into her car, hack her cell phone. Hell, climb a tree outside of her house if you have to…”

“I understand completely, sir,” Welch says. I want to know if she’s still doing this sick shit. How and where does she find her candidates? Hell, I was delivered to her on a silver platter, but Elliot wasn’t. He just had the misfortune of being her best friend’s son.

Most of all, I need to know if a check on her would reveal anything about me.

“I don’t need to tell you how delicate this situation is, correct? I can trust you to handle this with the utmost discretion—need-to-know basis only?”

“Absolutely, Mr. Grey.” His demeanor tells me that this means something personal to him, but I won’t ask if he won’t tell me.

“Thank you, Welch. That will be all.” As he closes my office door. I look at David’s roommates:

Fall 2004—Kip Johnson, Sioux Falls, SD

Spring 2005—Marshall Brookings, Des Moines, IA

Fall 2005—Dennis Jackley, Missoula, MT

Spring 2006—Everest Billings, Henderson, NV

I asked Ana if she thought she was profiled, and she said no. Could he have known something about her before he met her? It’s certainly possible. I’ll know more once I find out about this Billings guy. I pick up my blackberry and realize that the last buzz was not the email from Welch after all. It was a message from my favorite person:

** I love you too**


STEELE

“Hello, Ms. Steele, this is Mr. Robinson at the Cristalla Condos. I’m calling to let you know that your windshield has been replaced and your car has been detailed, ma’am. You may pick up your keys and your warranty paperwork at the security office anytime you like.”

“Thank you, Mr. Robinson. How late will you be there this evening?”

“As late as you need me to stay, ma’am.” Suck up. Christian must’ve scared the pants off this guy.

“I’ll be there between 5:00 and 6:00,” I say.

“That’s fine, ma’am,” Mr. Robinson says. “I’ll see you then.” I end the call.

I haven’t heard anything from Christian since my last text, but the man does have a multi-billion-dollar company to run, and I need to get a grip. We have such fun together and I feel so free. I haven’t felt this way in a long time. It always seems like I have to be on my guard… but not with Christian. He’s just as bruised and guarded as I am, making it easy for us to let go around each other. And when he called me Mistress last night…

Oh. My. God!

The power was insane. It fueled my inner Nympho more and more! I have no idea where it came from—it felt like I could do anything, but I also had a responsibility. I can’t explain it—he was mine. Not just my man—he was MINE! I had to love him and I had to take care of him—but he had to do what I said. It was amazing, and he submitted so freely. I’ll have to ask him about that.

We’ll have to set some parameters. Maybe I’ll do some more research. Each BDSM relationship is defined by its participants—I know that much. He and I will set our parameters. Ours is a relationship without borders to begin with—totally undefined, except that we love each other. I have no doubt that we’ll have a wonderful time discovering our mutual wants, needs, and desires.

I kind of liked it when he tied us up.
Yeah, me too! That’s his Dom side coming out.
That slap on the ass was kind of hot, too.
I know, right?
Okay, now I’m getting horny.
Me, too. Shut up, already! I’ve got another patient to see!

The Bitch finally goes silent just as Marilyn announces that my next patient is here. A few moments later… “Monica, it’s good to see you. Come in and sit down. Where would you like to start today?”

*-*

Good grief! My car is spotless! And beautiful! It almost looks better than when I bought it! Good job, Mr. Robinson! Chuck and I run up to my apartment so that I can grab some things before I head to Christian’s—a couple of outfits, tops and bottoms; a dress; several changes of underwear and bras, a few pairs of stockings with garter suspenders and a couple pairs of shoes. I’ll leave everything in my bag so that I don’t scare the man half to death.

His blue Anderson Sheppard pinstripe suit lay in the chair where I left it last night. I think I’ll leave it there. I like it there. I pick up his shirt and inhale—it smells divine, like Christian. Suddenly, I need to be near my man in the worst way.

I reach in my dresser drawer for My Boo. I pull the magazine out and release the slide to pop out the round in the chamber. I load the loose round back into the magazine and relock the slide. Putting the Glock and the magazine in my purse, I grab my makeup kit and a couple of ponytail holders just in case and Chuck and I are off.

“I want to drive, Chuck. Will you follow me?”

“Sure, Ana. Right behind you.”

Once in my car, I put My Boo and the magazine back in the glove box and head off to Escala.

Once we get there, Chuck has to go in before me since I don’t know the codes to the underground garage. Chuck has been given instructions to have me stop at the front desk before I go upstairs. I get to meet Marc, the clerk who called Christian in a tizzy on Sunday when She-Thing showed up.

“Hi, are you Marc?” I say to the gentleman behind the counter.

“Yes, ma’am. How can I help you?” he says with a pleasant smile.

“I was told to stop at the front desk. My name is Anastasia Steele.” His face lights up with recognition.

“Ms. Steele, yes. Just a moment.” He goes into the office and comes out with two boxes, one large and one small, as well as two envelopes, also one large and one small. “You’ll need to open the small envelope now, ma’am. Mr. Grey isn’t home yet, but he should be here shortly.”

“Thank you, Marc.” I smile warmly. I open the small envelope and it contains a small embossed card that contains the codes to the garage and to the elevator to get to the penthouse. Underneath the codes in the same lovely script as his “I’m Sorry” business card is written:

You have the magic code to my heart. Now here are the codes to my home. Christian.

Oh, that man can really make my heart go thumpity-thump! I run to the elevator giggling like a schoolgirl. When we get inside, Chuck goes to punch in the code.

“No!” I squeal, and Chuck jumps back like I hit him. “I’m sorry. I mean… I want to do it.” I say, kind of whiny.

Chuck works hard to force back a smile, but steps away from the console to let me punch the numbers in. I enter the six-digit code and the elevator slides shut and smoothly glides to the penthouse. I hug the boxes close to me, but not too hard as it is clear to see that one of the boxes contains flowers. When the elevator opens at Christian’s foyer, Chuck and I step out and he steps aside with a flourish, allowing me to the front door first.

He’s teasing me.

“Ha, ha! Very funny.” I turn the doorknob and enter the great room. The air is different. I can’t quite place it, but I feel more… welcome—not so much like a guest anymore.

“Ana!” I’m greeted by a chipper voice and a smile.

“Gail, hi,” I pause. “May I call you Gail?” I never asked permission.

“It’s fine by me, but I don’t know about Mr. Grey,” she whispers to me like it’s a conspiracy. “It looks like you have some packages there.”

“Yeah, it looks like it.” I smile widely. “Where should I sit them down to open them?”

“Anywhere you like, Ana. Mr. Grey insisted that you make yourself at home.” Her voice is warm and inviting like the mom I never had… which is pretty sad since I grew up with the woman that birthed me.

“Thank you, Gail.” I smile and decide to take my packages and bag to Christian’s bedroom. I put the huge box and the small box on the bed with the envelope. Which one to open first? The flowers! I open the flower box to reveal a gorgeous assortment of exotic and wildflowers—all in blue! Roses, hydrangeas, morning glories, dayflowers, chaste plants, bluebonnets, bluebells, and of course a few light blue rhodies. The flowers are exquisite, and I’m blown away. Of course, there’s a card:

Blue… your favorite color, just like your beautiful eyes. Christian X

Oooohh! He put a little kiss on his name! Before I open the small box and the envelope, I bring the flowers back out to the kitchen.

“Gail, please tell me that there is a vase somewhere large enough to accommodate this magnificent arrangement.” I put the flowers on the breakfast bar.

“Oh, Ana!” she exclaims. “They’re breathtaking!”

“Aren’t they?” I say, breathily. My heart is doing cartwheels in my chest. “Please tell me there’s something we can put them in.” She smiles at me.

“I’ll take care of it for you.”

“Thank you,” I say before taking one of the roses from the arrangement and returning to my other packages. I decide to open the envelope next. It’s an invitation:

Anastasia Steele
Your presence is requested at
The fundraiser meeting
of the Helping Hands Association
Saturday, July 7, 2012
At the home of
Carrick Grey and Dr. Grace Trevelyan Grey
Bellevue, Washington

At first, I’m confused because I’m not exactly sure what this means, then it hits me… Christian wants me to meet his family! I’m excited and nervous all at the same time. He wants me to meet his family and that’s a good thing, but what will they think of me? Hell, I’m a doctor and I know that counts for something—but Christian comes from real money. Will they think I’m after his fortune? Well, we’ll just have to see because I’m sure as hell going!

I finally reach for the little box that’s left. I pull off the beautiful ribbon and remove the top to find another box inside. The unmistakable red leather of Cartier.

“Oooooo!” I squeal like a schoolgirl. Cartier means jewelry.

Give it to me, Daddy!

I remove the Cartier box and open it and holy. Cow. Batman. There is a perfect replica of the tiara that Audrey Hepburn wore in Breakfast at Tiffany’s. I don’t know if it’s silver or platinum, diamonds or Swarovski crystals, but when I tell you that it’s the most beautiful thing I have ever seen in my life, that would be an understatement. This piece of jewelry is thoughtful… and priceless… and splendid!

“Oh, my God, I’m dating Santa Claus,” I say, stunned at the exquisite creation before me. I wonder how long he had this one cooking. I know even the powerful Christian Grey can’t get something like this done overnight. Well, maybe he could. What the hell does it matter, I think to myself as I run to the mirror to put it on. Oh, my God, I’m Holly Golightly and I immediately hear “Moon River” playing in my head. A small smile creeps across my face as I think about the day I told the group about Breakfast at Tiffany’s.

I was wearing that little blue dress—the one that I said was too short for work, but I wore it anyway. I think I was trying to impress him even then. That’s one of the days he tried that awful staring crap with me. Yeah, blew up in your face, didn’t it, Grey? Come to think of it, it blew up in both of our faces. I pick up my bag from the floor and carry it to the closet. Various Christian Grey suits greet me from various designers.

My boyfriend is so hot!

And he knows his fashion… Armani, Paul Stuart, Borelli, Canali… and those are just the ones that I know! Beautiful Caesar Picotti, John Lobb, and Tanino Crisci leather shoes line the shoe shelves—again, just the ones I know. I have a feeling I’ll know a lot more before long. Crisp white shirts pressed to perfection, ties and cufflinks organized by color and style. I think Christian might be just a little OCD on top of everything else, but the neatness and organization are comforting. I run my hands over Prince Charming’s suits as I peruse his closet wearing my tiara. I get to meet his family on Saturday. I will do him proud. I smell one of his suits. If it has been cleaned, it still smells like him. I take the jacket off the hanger and wrap it around me. It is way too large and I can’t roll up the sleeves like I do with his shirts, but I sit on the floor of his closet with my rose and my tiara and cocoon myself in Christian’s jacket—and his smell.


A/N: “That’s why I’m the Chief.” Greys Anatomy, Season 2, Episode 22, said by James Pickens as Chief of Surgery Richard Webber.

Holly Golightly is of course Audrey Hepburn’s character in Breakfast at Tiffany’s and there is a scene where she sits on the balcony with a guitar singing “Moon River.”

Pictures of places, cars, fashion, etc., can be found at http://www.pinterest.com/ladeeceo/paging-dr-steele/

You can join my mailing list on the “Contact Me” page. Just indicate in the message that you would like to join the mailing list.

~~love and handcuffs