I Have To Admit… They’re Winning.

I Have To Admit… They’re Winning.

So, I spent a lot of time this week thinking about whether or not I would respond to a couple of comments that came at me in terms of how I respond to people who say mean things. Y’all know my first reaction–what the hell? So at first, I decided to just not say anything. Then, I started an author’s note that just said “I deleted your comment without reading it,” because I did delete one comment without reading it. It came from “Mystery Reader,” so I immediately saw “Fanfiction Guest Troll” and didn’t read it. Then I proceeded to go through my emails and private messages and contact me’s only to find that there were about five to seven responses that said something on the lines of I need to stop zinging people because they have an opinion.

At first, I went past them and tried not to pay attention to them because seven people out of 2000–what’s that, like 0.35%? Not a big number, right? But then, I got a message from one of my long-time readers (that I’ve most likely lost now) that I read about four times. She didn’t say anything particularly cruel or insulting. I felt like she took a couple of shots, but nothing that was really cruel. I had to think about my response because I didn’t want it to come off as a zing, but I did want to address what she said.

The more I responded to what she said, the more I felt hurt and I will admit that I cried a bit (please don’t tease me). It wasn’t because she said anything particular hurtful–even though some of the things that she said were blatantly incorrect. It’s because I have a degree in business and I know the power of surveys. I know that a survey represents a certain percentage of the population that didn’t speak up. I know that these five to seven people represent a certain percentage of readers who feel the same way–like I should just shut up and stand there “like a man at a mark” and let people throw darts at me.

That’s the part that hurts.

Everybody that came over here is fully aware of what happened to me on Fanfiction. Unless they were directly referred to the blog by someone, everybody that came over here knew that I left Fanfiction because the insults were brutal and very personal–I know none of you that were there could ever forget the string of racial slurs!

She even suggested that I purposely make my readers attack people that say bad things to me. What the hell is that? Although I did say a lot and none of it was disrespectful, I knew that there was really nothing I could say to get through to her. She had already besmirched me defending myself, so if I defended myself against her, what good would it do? If she’s still subscribed and she reads this, I can actually see her saying to herself, “Yep, I knew she was going to do that! Now watch her people attack me!” …I can’t win!

I realized that it was a losing battle, so I just thanked her for her prior support, gave her some other story suggestions, and ended the email.

I thought coming to my own forum would at least free me from some of this. I thought that if I couldn’t get away from the people who still wanted to attack the story or the characters or the writing that I would at least be able to escape the naysayers who thought that I should shut up and take it, because these people followed me from Fanfiction and they saw the abuse that I was taking over there. The fact that I had a long-time reader of more than two years see that, know that, and then say that she has lost passion for my story because I still won’t take this crap–let me tell you, that really hurts.

If people who attack my story and my characters have long-time, once-faithful readers feeling like I and the people who defend me are the bullies, then they’re winning. She stopped and told me. How many people just left? How many people have just quietly unsubscribed because they feel like I am bullying the people who are actually bullying me?

How many people won’t even read this?

I’m not looking for sympathy. I’m not even trying to garner support. I just wanted to make my feelings known on my forum. I may take a step back from this for a while, I don’t know, because to be honest, they are winning.

AND PLEASE! DON’T ATTACK THE GIRL, BECAUSE IF YOU DO, THAT’S GOING TO BE MY FAULT, TOO!

Lynn

Mending Dr. Steele: Chapter 73—Jason’s Clearing His Throat

Welp… I’ve got nothin’…

Okay, so this was funny to me, so I have to share it. I got another one of those comments on the lines of “If I don’t kiss your ass, I might as well not comment.”

So… I’m probably dating myself here, but you all know I’m no youngster. We’ve talked about the strokes and the high blood pressure meds and such. But back when I was a youngster and I use to frequent the nightclubs as a single girl, there was a common comeback from a guy who came on to you and you didn’t want to talk to him: 

“What’s the matter? Are you gay?”

That shit used to crack me up! It couldn’t be that you’re stinky, ugly, creepy, wearing clothes with the tag still in them so you can take it back to the store tomorrow, “hanging out the passenger side of yo’ best friend’s ride,” nursing the same drink all night and you can’t even afford to buy me one… or that I’m simply not interested. It couldn’t be any of those things that could be the reason that I don’t want to deal with your loser ass. No, it had to be because I’m gay… Yeah, okay, whatever makes you feel better. 

That’s exactly what that “kiss ass” statement reminds me of. I got that on Fanfiction a lot where people would say really hurtful and offensive things–racial slurs and off-color remarks about “hood dictionaries” and things like that–and then they were genuinely angry when I deleted the comment! Then nine out of ten of those comments–which were usually guest reviewers–had the comeback “If I don’t kiss your ass, you’re going to delete my comment.” 

Every time I see that, I go right back to the nightclub and I’m like, “Wow… seriously? My deleting your comment couldn’t possibly have anything to do with you being vulgar or racist or insulting or disrespectful or downright mean or (fill in the blank–whatever they were being at that moment). No, it simply had to be because you weren’t blowing rainbows up my ass… Yeah, okay, whatever makes you feel better. 

Moving on…

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. I hope you—as a fellow fan—enjoy it, too.

Chapter 73—Jason’s Clearing His Throat

CHRISTIAN

“Shit.” Bubble broken. I sigh heavily and Butterfly lifts her head. She’s just as unhappy that the bubble has been broken as I am.

“Just a minute!” I yell, and we reluctantly untangle ourselves from each other. “I want a space in our new house just for this… just for us to connect this way. We can design it together. I never want to lose this… ever.” She touches my face gently with her fingertips.

“Never,” she says, gazing into my eyes before going to find something to wear. I haven’t showered and we both have the same scent, of each other and sex—lots and lots of sex. It’s no use. I grab a fresh pair of shorts and a T-shirt. I’m going commando until after my shower. It looks like Butterfly had the same idea as she just grabs a sports bra and a pair of yoga pants. As she pulls her hair back into a ponytail, I open the door for Jason. His subtle change of expression indicates that he can smell  what we’ve been up to all day. Dude, you have no idea what you interrupted.

“This better be astronomical,” I warn. He just looks at me.

“Unfortunately, it is,” he says, his voice serious. Fuck. “Where’s Ana?”

“Right here,” she says coming up behind me, “And I heard you say that this is astronomical and it’s apparently about me, so just jump to it. Don’t give me any prelims.”

“I’m sorry, but there is one. You two need to call Allen.” Allen? I look at Jason’s watch—5:09. Damn, we have been fucking all day. What’s more important is that it’s 7am in Seattle. What the hell is going on?

“Both of us?” Butterfly asks the question I was thinking. Jason nods.

“It’s about the trials,” he says.

“Trials?” I repeat. “Plural?”

“Yes, trials. You need to call him. He says he’s been trying to reach both of you since last night… Seattle time.” Butterfly’s hand immediately goes to her forehead and she starts mumbling to herself. Shit! Trials. What the hell is going on? She goes off into the bedroom, in search of her phone no doubt. I take my blackberry from the dining table. It’s dead.

“Let me borrow your phone, Jason,” I say, plugging my blackberry into my laptop. If my phone is dead, so is Butterfly’s. I send off a text to Allen to meet me on Skype in five minutes. “I know this place doesn’t have a workout room and swimming’s not going to do it. She’s going to be caught in three hours of pushups after this call and I know it. Do you have any other ideas? If not, you may want to get ready for one of the most grueling runs you’ve ever had in your life.”

“I’ve got my gloves and sparring mitts,” he says. Fuck, that’s perfect! I should probably warn him…

“My phone’s dead,” Butterfly says, exasperated, marching back into the dining room. “What about yours?” Oh well, he has to find out for himself.

“Have you all had dinner?” I ask Jason.

“No, it’s being prepared now. You know they serve late. Did you want something sooner?”

“Maybe something light and quick,” I tell him. He nods and leaves the villa. I turn to Butterfly.

“Mine is dead, too, but I sent a text from Jason’s phone. We’ll Skype.” She nods. We get ourselves situated and I Skype Allen and prepare for bad news. When he shows up on the screen, he’s still at home, but dressed for work.

“Good, you’re together,” he says. “I’m sorry to interrupt your honeymoon, but I have news.”

“So we’ve been told,” I say.

I called last night to get your take on it, but when I didn’t get an answer, I assumed that you haven’t heard yet. I wanted to wait until it was concrete and it became concrete yesterday. David has a trial date.” Butterfly doesn’t react.

“Okay, when it is it?” I ask.

Monday,” he says and I frown.

“Monday?” I confirm. “As in the 15th Monday??”

Yes,” he says with a sigh.

“I knew it!” Butterfly snaps. “I knew that fucker was going to wait until I was on my honeymoon to plant his fucking flag. I fucking knew it! If he had known the wedding date and could get the trial on a weekend, he would have asked for it on the 29th! Fucking sleazebag bastard! I knew it!”

“Can’t this be postponed a week, Allen? We’ll be stateside on the 21st. He’s got so many continuations—why can’t Ana get one?”

“Yeah, our side has tried that already. Based on the fact that he’s in prison and you’re in Greece, the scales tip in his favor right now. Those continuations that you mentioned are the biggest reason they won’t postpone the trial anymore. He has a right to a speedy trial and now he wants one. It doesn’t matter that he’s the one who has been delaying things all this time. He wants his day, he wants it now, and he’s been waiting for it—so now, he’s getting it.” Shit! It’ll take us a day to get back to the states and I have to prepare for international transport. This is going to really take some juggling.

“I’ll get on it. What happens if we can’t get back in time?” I ask him.

“I’ll let the prosecution know and they’ll put off when you guys are called to the stand…”

“Both of us?” Butterfly asks. “They want both of us to testify?”

“No, they want all of us to testify. Jason, Gerald, Chance, Ben, and Chris were the first to see you when you were found. I saw you in the whirlybird. Chris undid your cuffs after Jason scared the key out of the double-dicker… oops, sorry. Force of habit.” The double-dicker… that’s what he called him. I never found out what that meant. Butterfly shakes her head.

“So because this fucker has been playing the waiting game all this time for God only knows how long, I have to interrupt my honeymoon so that he can go to trial. Phenomenal. Abso-fucking-lutely phenomenal.” We’re all quiet for a moment before Allen starts talking again.

“There’s more,” he says, his voice solemn. Oh, yeah, Jason said trialsplural. This can’t be good.

“Just tell me,” Butterfly snaps.

“Carly Madison-Perry is negotiating a plea,” he says. It takes a moment for the words to sink in before Butterfly goes into the violent angry bobble-head motion.

“What!?” she roars, standing to her feet and almost knocking the dining table over—laptop and all. I slam my hands on the table to prevent it from falling. “What!? Why? She planned the whole thing! Why?” She’s screaming now. “It wasn’t only murder and attempted murder, but it was also premeditated. They’re offering her a plea on premeditated murder??”

“There’s a lot going on here, Jewel…” Allen tries to explain.

“I don’t give a shit about what all is going on. All I want to know is are they trying to let this bitch get away with murder?” Butterfly says. Allen freezes.

“She’s not going to get away with murder.”

“She is if she takes a plea!” Butterfly shoots.

“Jewel, it’s not that simple…

“Quit bullshitting me and answer the question, Allen!” Butterfly barks. Noting his defeat, Allen answers the question.

“Yes,” he says.

“Fuuuuuck! Fuck! Fuck! Fuck!” Butterfly screams and stomps out to the courtyard. She is screaming and stomping like Rumpelstiltskin when the Queen guessed his name. I quickly go back to the computer.

“Allen, I thought they had to have her permission to do something like that,” I say.

“They can consult and inform her, but no, they don’t require her permission.”

“Why is she pleading? What do they get in return?”

“She turns state’s evidence on everybody at the incident.”

“They’ve got the video!” I roar! “They’ve got the victim! Why do they need the word of the accused on the other defendants!? This case is as airtight as it gets!!”

“I know, but they want to cast their nets and get as many fish as they can,” he tries to explain.

“So they’re going to set the whale free to catch a bunch of fucking guppies?” I yell. I’m with Butterfly on this one. This is bullshit.

“She won’t go free, Christian…” I have to go to Butterfly. She is out there stomping and screaming enough to bring the police.

“I have to go,” I say before closing the laptop. I run out into the courtyard and to Butterfly. Words cannot express how angry she is right now. She’s even more angry than when she safeworded a couple of days ago.

“Baby?” I try to approach with caution.

“They’re going to let her off! They’re fucking going to let her off! I know they are! I know it! I can’t believe this shit!” I grab her arms to try to stop the vicious rant.

“She’s not getting off, Butterfly. If they let her off, I’ll go after her personally.”

“And do what?” she screams. “Beat her near to death like she did me? She doesn’t have anything else left to lose! She’s fucking worthless!”

“She has something left to lose and I’m just the one to find out what it is,” I try to appease her.

“She’s nothing! She’s no one! All she had left was her freedom and they’re going to set her free! They’re going to set her free!” Her fists are shaking and she is ready to explode. I grab her hand and drag her behind me. Taking two steps at a time, we run to the first level where everyone in the villa is standing in the courtyard. Charles throws the gloves at me and Jason is standing there wearing the mitts. I turn to Butterfly who turns incredulous tear-filled eyes to me.

“Do you need this?” I ask her.

“You knew?” she asks, her voice squeaking and betraying her tears.

“No, I knew something, but I didn’t know what. I found out everything at the same time you did. Do you need this?” I ask again. She looks from me and the gloves to Jason and back to me. She nods frantically.

“Yes! Yes!” she whispers loudly. I quickly help her get into the gloves. She turns on Jason and lights into those mitts, bare feet and all. Before she gets in good, I lean back to Charles and ask if there’s another pair. I think he—along with everyone else—is a bit stunned at how hard she is blowing out these mitts. He nods hesitantly and I tell him to go and get them. Keri actually looks a bit frightened by the spectacle.

“Don’t worry,” I lean in and tell her. “She got some bad news from home. She’ll be fine as soon as she blows off some steam.” She looks at me incredulously then back at Butterfly.

“She vety sthong,” she says. “Look at heh ahms… little, but… big!” I look at Butterfly’s arms. Keri’s right. I never paid attention, but her biceps are quite large and defined when she’s working out. Charles comes back with the second set of mitts. She has whaled on Jason for about fifteen minutes and he’s starting to wince a bit. I tell Charles to give me the second pair of mitts and be ready to take the first pair from Jason. If this session goes for 15 more minutes, he has to take his fair share of abuse. Adrien and Norbert are staring at the whirlwind that is my Butterfly in wide-eyed amazement. I betMeathead will think twice about saying anything disparaging to her after this.

“Fifteen minutes and you’re up,” I tell him and I put the mitts on.

“Yes, sir,” he says. I look at Keri.

“You may want to step back a bit,” I say as I take the stance. She looks at me and nods, stepping away from me and closer to Charles. “Butterfly!” I yell to break her concentration. She whirls around, uncertain, but ready to unleash hell. When she sees me with the mitts ready for action, she tears into me to give Jason’s hands a rest. Her strikes are no less vicious. She lets me have it hard, mercilessly. I quickly catch a glimpse of Jason behind her, removing his mitts and shaking his hands while mouthing “Ow.” She’s giving me hell, much worse than she did on Anguilla. I’m hoping to God that someone is keeping time because in only a matter of moments, this shit hurts like fuck! I don’t let on that she’s hurting me because she needs to get it out. She is pouring sweat from head to toe and she shows no signs of slowing down. She wasn’t this pissed about cutting our honeymoon short. Hell, maybe she’s this pissed about both.

“Ana!” His voice is music to my ears. She knows what it means now and immediately turns her aggressions onto Chuck. I remove my mitts and throw them at a reluctant Norbert. I’ll save Adrien for last as she may kill him when his turn comes. By then, at least some of her energy will have waned.

“At 15 minutes, call her name,” I tell Norbert. He nods as he tightens the mitts. Jason comes over to me with two ice-cold bottles of water. I put one in each hand and the relief is heavenly. She is fucking pissed! Those hits sunk through those mitts in no time and she might as well have been beating my bare hands. Right about minute 13, she starts to lose steam. Her hits get wild and she starts to grunt with each strike. She’s getting tired. Norbert is ready to call her name, but I slice at my neck and shake my head. I hand the water to Keri and get ready for one of two things—another black eye like that day at her condo when I saved her from the heavy bag, or a mountain of Butterfly falling uselessly into my arms.

After several more swings and the inevitable tears that come with the falling adrenaline, she opts for the latter. I’m behind her in moments catching her before she hits the hard concrete. She is weeping bitterly in my arms as Jason carefully removes her gloves. She’s like a helpless little rag doll in my arms, and I stroke her hair from her sweat-drenched face as she sobs. She cries so hard that she breaks into violent coughing. Jason disappears to his villa and comes back with a damp washcloth. I wipe her face and she calms a bit, though she doesn’t stop crying. Keri opens one of the bottles of water and hands it back to me. I take it with a nod and put the bottle to Butterfly’s mouth. She takes a sip, but only a sip before she starts to weep again. Damn, when will we ever catch a fucking break?

I stand with her in my arms and carry her back down to our villa. I get into the hot tub with her in my arms, both of us fully dressed. In moments, she’s calm and I know the heat will help keep her muscles from tightening. I’m stroking her hair and calming her down, and we are only in there for a couple of minutes when she squirms out of my arms, scrambles out of the hot tub and runs inside the villa.

What the fuck?

When I get to the bedroom door, I hear the very last thing I expect to hear. Butterfly is vomiting! Violently!

“Oh, hell!” I say as I find my way to the bathroom and to Butterfly. She tries to hold her long hair out of the toilet while she heaving her soul in there. I come over to her and hold her hair back only to see that she’s vomiting bile. She hasn’t eaten anything all day!

I’m close enough to the sink to wet a washcloth and wring it out with one hand. I wipe her face and mouth, rinse it again, and apply it to the back of her neck. She’s breathing heavily, threatening to dry heave a bit, but not doing it.

“The hot tub… it was too hot. It made me nauseous.” She can barely speak.

“I can imagine. We haven’t eaten all day, Baby.” She nods. “I’m sorry. I didn’t know it would make you sick.”

“Neither did I,” she chokes. “I’ll just have to pray… that my muscles don’t lock… because that was just too hot.”

“I’ll work the kinks out if you lock,” I promise her. “Maybe we should just take a quick shower and get something to eat?” It’s more of a question than a statement. She nods and stands from the floor, stripping off her wet clothes and going immediately to the shower. She turns the water on to a nice warm blast and stands under the head, letting the water run over her and down her body. I strip out of my clothes and, seeing that the water is hot, but not too hot, I join her in the shower. I put shower gel on the freshwater sponge from Athens that she now uses and meticulously wash her body as she leans with her hands flat against the wall. She is hoping to rinse something away, but I’m afraid it won’t be that easy. I need to find out exactly what’s going to happen to this Madison bitch, because if she gets off, I swear that I will find some way to make her pay for what she did to my Butterfly.

I wash myself when I am done with Butterfly, but have to coax her from the showerhead so that I can rinse the soap from my body and hair. I quickly wash her hair while I have her away from the showerhead. The conditioner will have to wait and there’s only so much coaxing I can do in this small bathtub/shower. I wrap myself in a towel and get a second towel to dry her off. I wrap her hair in the towel and bring her to the bedroom. After putting on a pair of boxer briefs, I begin to dry her hair. It’s so long that I know it’s going to take longer to dry than it used to. I’m just about finished drying it when she looks up at me. Her large, sad blue eyes are full of gratitude, and I lean down and kiss her. Without a word, I finish drying her hair. After handing her a clean bra and panties, I help her into a comfortable sleeveless sweater mini-dress.

“Do you want to eat down here?” I ask her while I pull a clean T-shirt over my head after stepping into some jeans. She shakes her head while she fashions her hair into a braid over her left shoulder.

“No,” she says while she secures the end with a little barrette-hairpin of some kind. It lies over her shoulder and she would be Pippy Longstocking if she had one on the other side. “They probably think I’m crazy, so I want to dispel that. We also have to get everyone ready to go home.” She says that last part with venom and I know she is sickly angry about having to cut our honeymoon short.

“We can come back, Baby, anytime you want,” I try to soothe her.

“That’s not the point, Christian,” she snaps. “This man disrupts my life every chance that he gets and now he’s disrupting it from inside of a jail cell! When will I ever be free of him? And Carly! Carly fucking Madison!” Her hand moves quickly to her forehead and I know that she is going to bruise if she starts to rub. I quickly grab her wrists and force her to look at me.

“You. Are going. To have. To trust me,” I say slowly. “One way or another, that woman is going to pay for what she did to you. Do you understand me?” She looks up at me uncertain, then resigned. Her body relaxes and she nods. “Good. Now may I carry you to dinner, Mrs. Grey?” She cocks her head at me.

“I’m fine, Christian, really. I can walk.”

“I know that. May I carry you to dinner, Mrs. Grey?” She examines me for a moment. Then she holds her arms out for me to pick her up. I lift her off the ground and grasp her firmly in my arms. She holds me tight around the neck, burying her face there until I get her up the stairs and into the large dining room where everyone has already started dinner. The room falls silent as Butterfly uncurls herself from my neck and allows me to sit her in a chair. I take the seat next to her and put generous helpings of roasted chicken, grilled vegetables and potatoes on her plate. She declines the wine gesturing to her stomach, but fills her water-glass instead.

“Edward David has gotten his trial date,” she says without looking up from her water-glass. Jason and Charles frown and Charles put his fork down.

“When is it?” Charles asks.

“Monday,” she responds.

“Monday!” Jason exclaims. “Fuck! Are you serious?” Butterfly nods.

“I’m afraid so,” she says. “No doubt, this means that Seattle knows that we’re married and we most likely won’t be able to get into Escala when we get back.”

“This means that we need to put some things in place before we can leave,” I add. “Since it’s the business day in Seattle right now, we’re going to have to get some balls in the air and I mean fast.” Jason nods. “I’m going to see if we can stay at my parents’ house when we get back if that’s okay with you, Butterfly.” She nods.

“It’s fine with me, but won’t we be imposing with Burton and Herman there?” she asks. I hiss.

“I forgot about that. I’ll see if we can make other arrangements.”

“What about Dad and Mandy?” she asks.

“I wouldn’t mind,” I say. “I just don’t want to disrupt little Harry’s life like that.” It’s her turn to hiss.

“I forgot about that,” she says.

“Maybe we can just stay at a hotel?” I ask and she frowns.

“Well, okay, if we must.” She really doesn’t like that idea.

“It’ll only be for a couple of days, Baby, until we can get security straightened out at Escala. You know it’s going to be impossible to get in and out of there.” She sighs.

“I know. Do what you need to do,” she relents reluctantly. I squeeze her hand.

“It’s going to be fine,” I say. She nods, unconvinced. I think she has just taken all that she can take at this point.

“Carly Madison-Perry is taking a plea,” she says, dropping her fork onto her plate. Charles nearly chokes on his food.

“She’s what?” he says, wiping his mouth.

“She’s taking a plea. I don’t know exactly what that means for her, but I know that means that she won’t get what she deserves.” I can see that she’s getting agitated again, so I take her hand and draw small circles on her skin to calm her. She takes a deep breath and releases it.

“I’m going to ask Allen exactly what it means, and then we’ll go from there.” I nod at Jason and he nods back. I mean it, some terrible accident will befall this woman before she gets the opportunity to turn state’s evidence if they have any intention on setting this creature free after she orchestrated this whole attack on my wife. Butterfly falls silent and eats her meal. “I’m sorry, Keri. This means that your visit is going to be cut short.”

“No wotties, Mr. Chwistian. I leaving Satuhday night anyway. I sotty, I didn’t mean to cause any twouble.” I wave my hand.

“Don’t worry about it. Try to enjoy your last day here,” I tell her. I look over at Butterfly and she is making quick work of her dinner. That vomiting spell from the hot tub is long forgotten and her appetite is back in full force. I don’t want to bring any undue attention to her, so I turn my attention back to the staff. “We were going to fly to Crete on Saturday, so now I have to see if we can secure the villa until Sunday. I don’t know if they have it rented out already, but I will have to see and make other arrangements for us if that’s the case. We need to secure the jet as soon as possible. Norbert, Adrien, you can leave tonight or stay until Sunday if you wish. I’ll make sure that you get compensated as promised for your time.”

“Thank you, sir,” Norbert says. “It’s late now to try to get travel arrangements. We will stay to Sunday. It will be easier to get home that way.” Adrien nods his agreement.

“Very well.” I look over at Butterfly, who has gotten a second helping of chicken and potatoes and isn’t paying any attention to our conversation. “We should probably pack tonight—tomorrow at the latest. I’ll probably be on the phone with Seattle all night making sure everything is in place for our return…”

“Maylen cun pwoby hep,” Butterfly chimes in with a mouthful of food. I frown.

“What was that?” I ask turning to her. She swallows the ungodly mouthful of chicken she was just chewing.

“I’m sorry,” she says, wiping her mouth. “Marilyn can probably help.”

“How?” I ask. I’m sure that between me, Jason, Welch, and Andrea, we can have everything set and ready to go before morning. Butterfly shrugs.

“I don’t know. For one thing, she can tell you the latest gossip. They know we’re not at Escala but they don’t know where we are. They don’t know when to expect us back at SeaTac if at all. She can tell you what the buzz is and it may give us a better idea of when we should land that bird.” Shit! I hadn’t even thought of that!

“Can you see what you can find out for me? The more information I have, the better,” I say. She nods and wipes her mouth.

“I’ll go call her now,” she says, rising from the table. I grab her hand.

“Are you okay?” She nods, uncertain.

“As well as can be expected under the circumstances,” she says. That was the right answer. If she had said she was fine, I would have known she was lying. I kiss her hand.

“I’ll be down in a minute,” I tell her. She smiles tightly and wipes her mouth with her napkin again before dropping it on the table and leaving the dining room.

“Is she a nervous eater, Boss?” Jason asks. I nod.

“She’s been eating pretty well for the last… several weeks, I’d say, but it’s worse when she’s upset,” I say. Charles nods.

“Remember the candy situation in Anguilla?” he says. Jason and I groan. Even Keri remembers the ordeal since she took the candy back to the kids. “We won’t even talk about that mammoth hotdog-and-fry combo and that outrageous ice-cream-banana-split creation that almost cost me a limb when I asked if we could share.” Jason and I burst out in laughter. It really wasn’t a funny situation, but he just made it sound hilarious.

“Well, hopefully everybody’s already packed. If not, get packed tonight. Like I said, we were supposed to fly to Crete tomorrow, so I don’t know what our sleeping arrangements will be tomorrow night…” We talk about whatever minutia we can until we have finished dinner and break to different locations.


ANASTASIA

“Damn! That really sucks, Ana,” Marilyn says sympathetically. “I knew that Al would tell you about Edward’s trial, but that Madisongirl… I had no idea. Why are they giving her a deal?”

“I don’t know,” I tell her. “Nothing that the police or the district attorney or any of them does surprises me anymore, but I’m pissed as fuck. I know she’s going to get off with some sort of slap on the wrist. Shit, if she had killed me, they would probably give her community service.” I shake my head. “Anyway, I need to know the buzz in Seattle. I know that the wedding was front page news, but does anyone know that we’re gone?”

“Yes, they know you’re gone but not where you are. Honestly, may I suggest pulling Vee in on this one? I have a little information, but she has to have more.”

“Yeah, it is her job to…” I trail off. Job. Job! Oh my gosh.

Ana, what is it?” Marilyn asks.

“Mare, look in my contacts in Outlook and conference Josh into this call.” There’s momentary silence.

“Josh! Of course!” There’s another pause before she tells me to hold on. In a few moments, she’s back. “Hello? Ana?”

“I’m here.”

“Josh, are you there?” she asks.

“I’m here, too,” he responds, and his voice is music to my ears.

“Hi, again, Josh.”

“Hey, Ana. How’s the honeymoon so far?”

“Quickly coming to an end as I’m sure you’ve already heard.”

“Yes, I imagined as much. So what’s up?”

“Josh, I know that you’ve already been wonderful in keeping our secret and helping us sniff out the mole in Christian’s company…”

“Hey, it’s as beneficial for me as it is for you. Not only do I get great material, but I also have friends in high places!” he says with a laugh and I laugh, too.

“I’m so glad to hear that, because I need you again,” I tell him.

“What can I do?”

“Christian has a PR department that’s usually on top of everything, and I plan to utilize them as well, but you seem to be able to get things from the wire… and possibly to the wire, I’m hoping.” There’s a pause.

“Yeah, I can do that, but what are we talking about?” he asks.

“I need to know how likely it would be for Christian and I to get into the country undetected.”

“None!” he says honestly. “Every reporter in the Pacific northwest is watching SeaTac 24/7 for that GEH jet. They know that with David’s trial being a couple of days away that you two have to fly back in here sometime this weekend. I don’t care if you come in at 2am, they will be bright-eyed and bushy-tailed waiting to ambush you.” I sigh and shake my head.

“There has to be a way,” I lament. “Maybe if we flew into another state and got a charter flight…”

“They’d still be on top of you the moment you hit SeaTac,” he says.“Somebody would spot you, Ana. They’re looking for you.” I put my hand on my forehead.

“There has to be a way,” I say. “We can’t have them follow us from the airport. We’re trying not to go back to Escala.”

“You could use a diversion,” Marilyn pipes in. Hmm…

“What do you mean?”

“You know, a decoy of some kind. Something like that,” she says. Just like that, a light bulb goes off.

“We have to go through customs as soon as we get to an American airport,” I say.

“Yeah, that’s generally the idea,” Josh says in a stating-the-obvious kind of tone.

“So, the masses have their eye out for the GEH jet. If they see it, they expect us to be on board.”

“I think you get my idea,” Marilyn says.

“I think I see where you’re going, but tell me anyway,” Josh says.

“The jet stops in New York and we go through customs there. The jet continues to Seattle with a tip-off that the GEH jet will be landing at SeaTac. While they’re waiting for us to disembark, we’ve chartered a flight to another airport and are well on our way to our lodging accommodations before anybody knows that we’re not on the jet. Many of them may even stay out there all night thinking that we’re sleeping on the jet.”

“Good God, that’s brilliant!” Josh says.

“That’s more than I would have come up with,” Marilyn adds.

“So, where do you need me?” Josh asks.

“I need you to get it on the wire that the GEH jet is making an international departure to parts unknown to retrieve Christian and Ana Grey, nothing more—but don’t leak that information until tomorrow night. I know by then the jet will, in fact, be on its way to get us if not here already. It’s going to require that you camp out at SeaTac with the rest of the suckers. Are you game?”

“Are you kidding? I get to lead the wild goose chase? I wouldn’t miss this for the world! I have to practice my angry face for when I realize that we’ve all been ‘duped.’” I laugh in the phone.

“I’m so glad that I can count on you, Josh. You’re at the top of my Christmas card list!”

“Don’t forget you said that. A Christmas card from Christian and Ana Grey could be very valuable sometime in the future.” I smile.

“You got it. Correspond with Marilyn for me on any developments and gossip that may need to float our direction. I may need to hire my own PR team after this…”

“I’ll be your secret public informant,” he says facetiously. “I’ve got to run. I have a couple of assignments before I set the mouse free in the city. I’ll keep you posted.”

“Thanks again, Josh. Mare, don’t go away…”

I give Marilyn instructions on what to pack from Escala assuming that she can get in. I don’t know how recognizable she is to the press, but I will need clothes for wherever we are going when we get stateside and so will Christian. Luckily, Jason has already notified Gail by the time I call her and fill her in, asking her to please help Marilyn get together some things for us for a few days as I have no idea how long we’ll be away from our penthouse. Next, I call Daddy. He’s surprised to hear from me on my honeymoon, until I tell him why the honeymoon is being cut short. Al and James each have a place. Maybe they’ll let us stay in the place that they’re not using? I’ll see how Christian feels about that before I ask them.

I lie back on the bed looking at the white cave-like ceiling of our room. The villa is very clean and understated, one of the most modest places I have ever stayed while traveling with Christian. Everything is simple and neat. I think that’s why I like it so much. I think our meditation/connection room in our new house will look like this—functional and cozy, not white though. We’ll need a more comforting color in the room. Maybe a soft tan—that seems toogeneric. I’m thinking an organic wallpaper of some kind…

I awake and it’s dark in the room. The sun has gone down and the bed is cold. I have a slight headache. I get up to see if I can find some pain killers and I hear Christian’s voice in the dining room.

“Yes, I know. I just didn’t want to burden you… Not yet, I’m trying to make arrangements now… No, Mom, that wasn’t it. I just didn’t want to impose. You’ve already got Pops and Uncle Herman there. You’re going to have a house full of people… No, I’m certain she won’t mind. Her reaction was less than pleased when I mentioned staying at a hotel… Yes, Mom, I know. I’m making arrangements now. I’ll let you know as soon as I do… She’s okay for the most part, but she didn’t take the news well. It’s been so much on her and, well, you know…” He rubs his hand over his face and then through his hair. “I know. I know, Mom. I just… I hate to see her unhappy and this shit is wearing on her… Sorry, Mom. I forget sometimes… Okay. Tell everybody we love them and we’ll be there soon… Bye.” He ends the call and starts typing on his laptop again. He’s sighing heavily and I know that he’s trying to figure something out. That’s when I make my presence known.

“Hi,” I say walking into the dining room. He looks at his watch.

“Hi, Baby. What are you doing awake? It’s after 2am.”

“I awoke and you weren’t there. I knew you were trying to get things set up for our return. Grace said it’s okay for us to stay?” He looks at me, then back down at his computer.

“More like forced me to stay,” he says. “I was trying to make other arrangements and God only knows how she found out. She scares me sometimes.”

“Kind of like you scare everyone else,” I say, sitting next to him and laying my head on his shoulder. “What are you working on now?”

“The quietest way to get back into Seattle. There doesn’t seem to be one.”

“Yes, there is,” I say, rubbing my eyes. “We’re going to be in the air when?”

“Sunday afternoon. It’s the soonest they can have the jet ready and we’ll have to get to London-Heathrow to meet it. Too many complications involved in getting it to Greece in such short notice.” I nod.

“I’ll call Josh and let him know.” He frowns.

“Josh?” he questions. I fill him in on the plan we devised to sneak into the States. He rubs the stubble on his chin and types into his laptop.

“That just might work,” he says, twisting his lips and still typing. “We can’t fly into Boeing Field. It would most likely be just as monitored as SeaTac, but with the jet sitting on the tarmac—what a diversion. Who thought of that?”

“Marilyn,” I inform him, rubbing my head.

“I just might have to hire her,” he says.

“Nope. You took Allen, you can’t have Marilyn. She’s mine… for life. She’s going to be my PA when I’m old and gray unless she quits to do something else.” I’m still rubbing my head.

“What’s wrong?”

“I’ve got a headache,” I tell him. He kisses me on the cheek and goes to the kitchen. When he comes back, he has orange juice and water.

“Drink the water first. If there is any aspirin or ibuprofen here, I have no idea where they are.” He watches me drink the water, then moves behind me and begins to massage my temples. Oh God, it’s heavenly. I don’t want to fall asleep again. I want to stay and help and I want to start getting back on Seattle time. I know it’s somewhere around 4:30 in the afternoon there right now, so I need to stay awake for at least a few more hours.

“Better?” he asks after massaging my temples for a few minutes.

“Much,” I respond. He stops massaging. The pain isn’t completely gone, but it has subsided quite a bit.

“Headaches not caused by some major illness are often a result of dehydration. Drink your orange juice now. It’ll help clear the fuzziness.” I drink down half of the glass. It’s so good. I look back at his computer and his fingers caressing the keys. “Our best bet would be to fly into Bellingham or Yakima and get a car from there, but renting a car or even having one meet us would be a dead giveaway. The press would follow anything leaving from Escala.” I start thinking again.

“Then let them,” I say. “Have one or two of the other security detail leave Escala in one of the Audis and pick up our luggage at SeaTac. Have Grace or Carrick meet us at Bellingham or Yakima… or even Elliot or Val.” The wheels are turning in his eyes again.

“You think of everything, huh?” he says, typing into the laptop again.

“Nah, I’m shooting from the hip. I think on my feet.” I lay my head on his shoulder.

“What happened with the hot tub earlier?” he asks, still typing on his computer and occasionally on his blackberry. I shrug.

“It was too hot,” I tell him. “I hadn’t eaten anything and I guess the temperature was too much. I don’t know. My stomach was just insanely queasy and the next thing I knew…” I shrug again. He eyes me curiously.

“No more hot tub without food, I guess,” he says, turning back to the computer. “So the charter plane to Bellingham is completely doable. I guess just put whatever we may need in a carry-on to go on the charter plane.”

“Marilyn and Gail are packing some things for us to take to Grace and Carrick’s. Marilyn is not so recognizable right now, so she can take the things to Grace and Carrick’s without being spotted and they’ll be there when we get there.” He nods.

“Good. So, nothing is left but for us to get there without attracting attention. This will be a neat trick. After this, they won’t know whether to follow the GEH jet or look for us in some obscure airport somewhere.” He laughs.

“Why had you never had a contingency plan like this before?” I ask.

“I never needed one,” he says. “I didn’t care about them parked at the airport or camping out at Escala or Grey House. I just ignored them.” He looked up at me. “Things are different now.”

“It bothers you that they intrude now.” It’s more of a statement than a question. He nods.

“I’ve always been fodder for gossip and headlines, but the things going on in our life right now… they should be private. I never knew that people could exploit someone’s suffering so much until all our calamity became front page news. I saw it happen to other people, but I never really paid attention. Lincoln gets arrested and they’re trying to find the kids she molested to talk to the parents. You get kidnapped and beaten and they’re camped out at the damn hospital! The same thing happened when Jason was shot! They’re vicious and heartless and…” He pinches the bridge of his nose. I gently rub his back. “I’m scared to death for when we have kids, Ana. They won’t have any kind of normal life.”

“Yes, they will,” I reassure him. “They will have a family that loves them and if I know you, you will build a fortress for them to live in that’s larger than a small city. Their kindergarten teachers will be screened within an inch of their lives and their little 5-year-old playmates will have to sign NDAs.” He laughs.

“Well, not far from it,” he says. His email pings and I can see that it’s from Welch.

“Do you need some privacy?” I ask.

“No,” he says. “It’s probably about the travel arrangements.” He opens the email and, sure enough, Welch already has a quote on chartering a Challenger 604 or a Gulfstream III to get us from New York to Bellingham. All that’s left is to get us to London-Heathrow.

“So what do we do next? Do we have somewhere to stay tonight? We were supposed to be gone.”

“Well, we have to compromise. There will be another couple staying down here in the private villa, so you and I have to move upstairs. Charles is going to have to move into the villa with Jason and you and I will take the small one-bedroom. It’s just for one night, Baby.”

“That’s okay, Christian. At least we don’t have to go to another hotel completely and we’ll already be packed to leave on Sunday afternoon. Chuck will be taking Keri to the airport tomorrow anyway. What about Norbert and… Adrien?” He looks at me and smiles.

“No more Meathead?” he teases.

“He gave an asshole a gut shot for me. I guess I can give him a break. Besides, it’s just for one more night, right?” I shrug. He kisses me on the cheek.

“They have flights out to Paris on Sunday before we fly to Heathrow. We really didn’t need them as much as I thought we would, but they were helpful in Paris.”

“If you say so,” I say, looking back at his computer. “Vee emailed you.” Again, it should have been a question, but it was a statement.

“Yeah, to tell me that the press is teeming in front of Grey House for a statement. There’s a lot of speculation about the trial and they’re trying to get information. The word seems to be that we—more specifically, I—am responsible for all of the continuations and that the court date fell during our honeymoon because I couldn’t get another one.” I shake my head.

“I am dreading this trial. I know exactly what they’re going to do. I was kidnapped, beaten, traumatized, nearly raped, robbed, disfigured… and now, I’m going to be villainized.” I rub my face and shake my head, trying to wipe away the tear that falls before he sees it. I’m not successful. He takes my face in both his hands and kisses the eye that shed the tear.

“I don’t know what you think I can or can’t do to that Perry woman, but this fucker—I can make him pay. I can make him squirm and cry and suffer for the rest of his life. He will be better off getting convicted than to fall into my hands. So, don’t you worry. That asshole will pay until his dying day.”

I believe him when he’s talking about David, but Carly is another story.

“Speaking of that Perry woman, any update on her?” He kisses my cheek and drops his hands.

“No. I asked Allen what we could expect with David, but I didn’t ask about Perry. One mountain at a time,” he says, squeezing my hand. I sigh.

“So besides an Ana bloodbath, what can we expect with David?”

“Well, he’s not pleading insanity actually. To be specific, his defense is diminished responsibility and duress. It’s a little different from insanity or temporary insanity. One defense focuses more on the defendant’s competency and ability to stand trial and understand the consequences of his actions while the other focuses on the state of mind at the time of the crime and the defendant’s fear of personal harm. Allen assures me that it’s still likely to fly out the window because he never attempted to contact the police before taking any action, so this defense is very likely to fall flat unless his attorney has a bird-in-the-hand that we’re not aware of.”

“I can guarantee it,” I say. “He’s vindictive and manipulative and I’m certain that he’s got something up his sleeve. I’m certain of it.” I sigh again. “I’m hungry.” He looks at me like some sort of strange creature.

“Really?” he asks and I know what he’s thinking. I ate like a cow storing food for later at dinner.

“I burned calories that I didn’t store with that workout, so I had to replenish them. Now, I’m hungry, like normal people are when they wake at 2:00 in the morning and start the day.”

“You haven’t started the day. I’m getting you back to bed.”

“Yes, I have, Grey,” I scold. “I need to stay awake for at least another four hours and then I can take a nap. I need to start getting back to Seattle time as close as possible or I’m going to be crabby and fuzzy in court and I want my head to be clear as a bell!” His lips form a thin line, but he relents.

“Fine, but you’re going to bed at six and I expect you to sleep until at least 10am,” he scolds.

“We’ll see,” I say.

“Damn straight, we’ll see. Test me and I’ll fuck you like a Neanderthal at five to be sure.” My eyebrows furrow.

“Is that supposed to be a threat?” I ask. Don’t go to sleep and I’ll fuck you? Really? He smirks.

“Test me and find out,” he says, raising his eyebrow. I shake my head.

“I’m going to find something to eat, and then I’m going to pack,” I say, kissing his forehead.

*-*

It turns out that I didn’t need to test Christian after all. After I ate and finished packing our things, I was dead to the world by 5:30. He had to wake me to check out of the private villa at 11:00 so that the staff could clean it. Jason and Chuck had already taken our luggage up to the Katikia villa and Christian carried me since I simply could not open my eyes. He put me in bed in the villa, pointing out that it was 1:00am in Seattle and I could get some more sleep. He didn’t have to tell me twice.

It turns out that we all had the same idea to try to get back onto Seattle time as quickly as possible. At about 3pm, I wake with Christian wrapped around me and sleeping soundly. He couldn’t have gotten more than four hours of sleep and I don’t want to wake him, but I have to pee. I slide out of bed as quietly as I can and go relieve myself. When I come out of the bathroom, he’s still asleep. I remove my phone from the charger and go out to the pool.

Hanging my feet into the water I send a text to Marilyn.

**I need black and blue suits with white shirts and matching shoes. I need stud earrings—pearls or diamonds. They are in the jewelry box on my chest of drawers. If you get the pearl earrings, I need my string of pearls too.**

I’m facing this mess head on and I don’t want to show any signs of weakness or uncertainty. If they’re going to paint me as the villain, I want to make sure that they know who they’re dealing with. I got a text back a few minutes later.

**I packed the Love Collection. You didn’t want that?**

I respond quickly.

**You can leave it, but I need studs if it’s not too much trouble.**

I don’t plan to wear the Love Collection to court—only suits and studs.

**I kind of knew that you would want suits, but I packed some other things, too, just in case.**

Marilyn knows me so well.

**What are you doing up so early on a Saturday?**

The response is immediate.

**Awaiting instructions.**

I laugh. Of course, she would be. She knows me.

**Christian wants to hire you. I told him that he couldn’t have you. You’re mine for life.**

There’s a pause after that text. I’m thinking that she’s wondering if I’m serious. A few minutes later…

**Can I get that in writing?**

She’s unsure. I know with all the changes in my life, she is wondering where she stands. Even though I don’t use her as much in the “receptionist and secretary” capacity, she is irreplaceable as a personal assistant. So yes, you can get that in writing.

**We will work on a contract that we both agree with when I’m stateside. Is that okay? I don’t want to lose you. I couldn’t function without you.**

I can see her smiling in my head, but I know that she needs to protect herself. Up to this point, we’ve been going on word and that’s all. There’s nothing to protect her if I just go nuts and decide that I don’t want her anymore. She needs that safety net in case something happens since she’s putting all of her eggs in this one basket.

**That would be great, Ana. Don’t worry, as long as you don’t abuse me, I don’t plan on going anywhere.**

That’s music to my ears. I text her some other pleasantries about her and Gary and Greece before I end the conversation.

And I’m hungry again.

I very well should be. I’ve been sleeping all day and it was 12 hours ago that I last ate. That was just a fruit salad and some toast. I go to the community kitchen to see what might be available. There’s some leftover chicken from last night. That’ll do me for now. I put some of the chicken on a plate and pop it in the microwave. There’s some kind of loaf bread on the counter. I slice two pieces and pop it in the toaster. There’s some tomatoes in the refrigerator, so I cut a few slices. My chicken is done, so I put the tomatoes on the plate with a little salt and pepper and a splash of some oil and vinegar. My toast is done—just lightly enough to be crunchy on the outside and still soft on the inside, so I don’t need butter or anything. I play around with the idea of wine and decide that it’s probably not a good idea this early in the afternoon. Besides, the thought of it is making my stomach churn for some reason, so I just opt for water.

I sit on one of the loungers by the pool and tear into my lunch. God, I’m starving! The sun is high in the sky and I didn’t bring any sunglasses out with me. There is no stirring from any of the villas and I’m thinking that everyone must be fast asleep, except maybe for Chuck, who had to take Keri back to the airport to get her flight. I wonder if they’re serious. I mean, she did fly to Greece to see him and he risked his job to get her here. He could have put her up in a nearby hotel or villa, but he didn’t want to chance not being able to see her. I know that had to upset Jason since he couldn’t bring Gail along. With us leaving, my idea for bringing her to Greece for the last leg of the trip is moot, but at least he’ll be able to see her soon.

I finish my lunch and go into our villa. Christian is still asleep, his hand reaching to the empty spot in the bed—no doubt, looking for me. I take my sunglasses from my backpack and go back out to the pool.

“Hi.” I hear a female voice and open my eyes after I have been lounging on the chaise in the sun for about twenty minutes. I adjust my eyes and focus to see a young, attractive blonde in a string bikini standing over me. She’s not overly nipped and tucked, but you can tell that she’s had some work… and she is hot! When I say hot, I mean really hot.

“Hi,” I respond sitting up on my chaise. She drops her towel on the chaise next to me to reveal these tiny scraps of material that only cover her nipples and the slit at her crotch. Everything else is on display—her full ass, her ample mounds… she might as well be naked. She smiles at me and I feel a twinge of caution. There’s a nearly naked woman walking around the pool and my husband is about 50 feet away sleeping in our villa. Heaven help me.

“My name is Shelly. I’m in the villa downstairs.” Yes, I am aware of this. She sits on the chaise and begins to apply suntan lotion to her skin.

“I’m Ana,” I respond. I don’t really know what else to say. She knows we’re—well, I’m—in one of the villas up here.

“We were told that no one had rented the villas upstairs. We thought we would have the place to ourselves,” she says with no malice. We?Oh yes, Christian did say there would be a couple down there. I guess she thought no one would be here, so it would be okay to wear basically nothing to the pool.

“We’ll only be here for the night,” I tell her. “We have to fly to the states tomorrow afternoon.”

“Oh.” She sounds a little disappointed. I thought you wanted the place to yourself. “It’s a big place. The idea of being able to walk around freely is tempting, but it’s also fun to have other people around. At least you’ll be here for the night, though.” She smiles widely and puts her suntan lotion on the floor. “You’re very pretty.”

What? I’m glad my glasses hide my expression, because I know I’m looking incredulously at her.

“So are you,” I say, when I find my words. She chuckles.

“No, I’m hot,” she says, almost sarcastically while lying back on her chaise. “This look came from the doctor—boobs, hips, ass, dye-job, facials… that makes me hot. I can tell you woke up like that. That makes you pretty.” Wow! That’s one of the best compliments I think I’ve ever gotten, masked behind some of the deepest self-hatred I’ve ever heard.

“Where are you from?” I ask.

“Malibu,” she says. That explains it. If she’s competing with the hardbodies that she sees down there, she’s in somebody’s chair or on someone’s table under the knife every week. “I like being hot, don’t get me wrong. I just prefer being pretty.”

“So… why change?” I ask.

“Because I wasn’t either, so I needed some help.” I can’t imagine that she had to change that much to be pretty. Just then, I see this abso-fucking-lutely gorgeous older man come from the stairs of the private villa. I would put him in his mid to late forties and his body is insane—not overdone, but muscles everywhere, and I mean everywhere!His hair is black with slightly graying sides and sideburns and he is hot, hot, hot! Hell, fuck keeping up with the Malibu babes. She’s got to keep up with him!

“This is my husband, Harley,” she says, holding her hand out to the muscle-bound mountain of deliciousness walking towards us. He’s wearing a pair of jogging pants as he strolls over to us.

“Hey, Baby,” he says, leaning down to kiss his wife. “I was wondering where you got off to.”

“Not a lot of places to go, Sweetness,” she says with a full, sincere smile. He looks over at me.

“Who do we have here?” he asks.

“This is Ana,” she says, gesturing over to me. “She and her husband are here for the night. They’re leaving for the States tomorrow.”

“Oh? Where from?” Harley asks.

“Seattle,” I respond. “How long have you two been married?” I ask.

“Six years,” Shelly replies. Hell! Unless she got married when she was 16, she’s not as young as I thought. “You?”

“Newlyweds,” I respond. “This was our honeymoon.”

“Oh, how nice. Did you enjoy yourselves?”

“Yes, we did,” I say, smiling as I remember the hot springs and the hiking, the Acropolis and dinner at Orizones. “We had a wonderful time. We started in Paris…”

Before I knew it, I had a captive audience hanging on my description of the Arc de Triomphe and Love Lock Bridge. Shelly commented on how she would love to go to the Moulin Rouge while Harley sat on the floor between our two chaises, his legs bent with his arms resting on his knees. Thank God my husband is hot and beautiful. While I appreciate Harley’s rugged good looks and physique, he does nothing for me in the libido department. I keep looking at him and wishing Christian would wake up and come join us. After describing the beauty that is Athens, we hear scrambling at the door. It’s Chuck. Damn it, Christian, wake up!

“Is this your husband?” Shelly asks. I chuckle a bit.

“Um, no. This is my personal security. Chuck, this is Shelly and Harley. They rented the villa downstairs.” Chuck nods.

“Ma’am, sir, nice to meet you,” he says with a tight smile. He is a bit uptight and I can tell. “Anyone else up?”

“No, just me for now,” I say, throwing a questioning glance at him. He nods tightly and goes into the villa that he is sharing with Jason.

“Anyone else?” Shelly questions. “If you don’t mind me asking, how many people are here?”

“Um,” I start counting. “Six. My husband and I and our security team.”

“Team?” Harley asks. Oh, boy.

“Yeah. There are four of them. My husband is very serious about our safety.”

“Oh,” Shelly says, throwing a towel over herself. I guess she really did think they were here alone. Harley slowly and sensually pulls the towel off of her.

“You don’t have to cover up, Baby. You’re beautiful,” he tells her. Yikes. If I came out to the pool dressed like that, Christian would throw a blanket over me. I’m having flashbacks of a conversation that we had a while back concerning a nun’s habit or Ma Kettle or something like that.

“Butterfly?”

I hear the questioning voice of my husband from a few feet away. I look up and he’s standing in the doorway wearing a pair of cargo shorts hanging off of his hips and giving a glimpse of the “V” that leads to his family jewels. Fuck, I want to drool.

That’s my husband,” I announce as he begins to walk uncertain towards us. Harley turns around and looks while Shelly fawns over the nickname.

“Ooohh, Butterfly! That’s so sweet!” she croons. I don’t think Christian knows what to make of this scene as he approaches my lounger. I smile at her.

“This is Shelly and her husband, Harley. This is my husband… Chris.” Christian sits on my lounger and nods at Shelly and Harley. “They’re staying in the villa downstairs, Dear.” Realization dawns on his face.

“Oh. Now how did I forget that?” Christian says.

“You’ve been distracted with other things,” I remind him. “Is everything ready?”

“Yes,” he smiles. “We leave tomorrow at five and take a commercial flight to Heathrow. The jet will be waiting for us when we get there.”

“The jet,” Harley says. “Security team, private jet—are you guys royalty or something?”

“No, not so glamorous,” I answer, “but close enough.”

“So what are your plans for the day?” Shelly asks, no doubt hoping to piggyback.

“We were just going to stick around the villa for the day, try to get back on Seattle time,” Christian answers for us. Shelly’s face falls. I think she’s kind of lonely and I can’t really place why she seems a bit unhappy. “I planned for a very extravagant dinner for our last night, if you would like to join us… that is, if you don’t have other plans.” His statement is directed at Harley. He wouldn’t dare ask another woman to join us for dinner.

“That sounds great, Chris,” he says. “We had planned to stay in today and see the island tomorrow. That works out pretty well.”

The four of us continue to talk about this and that. Christian is careful not to give away too much information while carrying on the conversation. He’s also careful to stay very close to me. He’s like a second skin and I almost want to tell him to pull up a chair or move to another chaise. Harley is obviously very attracted to and fond of his wife, and Shelly doesn’t even make the googly-eyes at Christian that most women do. Conversation flows very freely for a long time until we see the staff coming in with enough bags of groceries to feed a third-world country, and we know that the dinner will be getting started soon. Harley takes this moment to do some “laps” in the pool while Shelly and I continue to talk about our trip through Athens and Delphi before coming to Santorini.

“I’m going to shower now, Baby. I don’t want to miss our last Santorini sunset,” Christian tells me before kissing me and rising from the chaise.

“I’ll be with you in a second,” I say to his retreating back. He waves without turning around and disappears into the villa.

“Is it as hard as it looks?” Shelly asks, watching my husband walk away. What the fuck is she referring to?

“Huh?”

“Keeping the women off of him, is it as hard as it looks?” I immediately feel sorry for her. I know that she’s speaking from experience and I have a feeling that it’s much harder for her than it is for me.

“I don’t have to,” I tell her. “He never gives me any reason to doubt him, and honestly, he doesn’t like the extra attention.”

“With a face like that, he doesn’t like extra attention?” I shake my head. She puts her sunglasses on and lies back on the chaise. “Must be nice.”


 A/N: “Don’t let a bug on your windshield distract you from your journey.” Thanks, bugglady23.

Please make sure that your email addresses are up-to-date on my mailing list. I’ve had some emails back back to my emailer and that’s how I’m going to inform people FIRST of my publishing.

The honeymoon is nearly over so don’t forget to check out the pictures on the page before our couple leave Greece. https://www.pinterest.com/ladeeceo/mending-dr-steele-off-to-greece/

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

Love and Handcuffs!
Lynn x

My Second (?) Deleted Comment/Review

I'm tired of this dayWell, I didn’t think it would happen, but it did. I have had a lot of people disagree with me and my story, but I put on my big girl panties and left the comment on the page. I may have responded harshly or defended my characters or actions, but I left the comment on the page. Today, I deleted my second comment, and I have to say that I feel really bad about it.

I’m only addressing it because I want to get it off my chest. It was a long comment and I didn’t get past the 4th sentence. The comment was from Redds77 and she broke Rule #1–don’t insult my characters. You can dislike the story and that’s okay. You can even dislike the characters and that’s okay, too. But I have always asked you guys to please refrain from insulting my characters. Those of you who bothered to read other posts on my blog will remember Disagree but don’t attack. Good and constructive criticism that may have helped me improve the story or the characters gets lost if you attack, and that’s what happened. So here’s what happened (for anyone who is interested)…

She started the comment by saying that she had caught up and there were some things that she wanted to say. She told me that I could erase it if I wanted, so I already knew that it wasn’t going to be pleasant. So I pulled up those big girl panties and said, “Okay, try to look at this objectively. See what she has to say.” Her first comment was that I had the weakest Christian she had ever seen and that he cries too much. I don’t agree that Christian is weak, but surprisingly, I did agree with her that he cries too much. You guys may not know this, but I reread my chapters in my spare time (if there is such a thing) and I go back and tweak them on this blog. That was an observation that I made myself, that that man cries entirely too much. Although I don’t look at my Christian as weak, I can understand why she would say that the crying made him appear weak, so I said, “Okay, check mark for that,” and moved to the next point.

In her next two lines, she pulls out this whole 32-boxcar-freight train of insults (yes, I’m exaggerating, but it was a lot) on Ana’s character! At that point, my brain, my Muse, and Ana all came to a screeching halt and stopped reading. She may have had some very valid points after that long dissertation of debasement, but I never got to see them because once you disrespect my characters, all bets are off.

There were some responses to the comment–both for and against–and when I deleted the comment, somehow the responses got deleted, too, except for maybe one of them. I don’t know how that happened. I guess it’s kind of like a thread, but I don’t know, so–sorry about that. 😦

There was one response (I can’t remember who it was from) that said something like orsomething on the order of “Finally someone who agrees with me. Ana is obnoxious. This author has lost my attention.”… … Um, apparently not, because you’re still here telling people that I’ve lost your attention. Please remember that this is a personal blog and you came here. You don’t have to stay and I do understand if it’s not your cup of tea.

I don’t know if she’s still following or not or if she even cares about how I feel about the matter, but I will say this. If you think your comment can help me tweak the story and can post your comment without disrespecting me or my characters, by all means post it again. However, it you’re going to berate my story, insult my characters, or proceed with any kind of troll-like behavior, please save your breath–or in this case, your fingers. I don’t even read comments like that. That’s why I left Fanfiction.

I don’t want people to think that I erase your comments if you don’t agree with me. That’s not true, but I will erase them if you disrespect my characters.

Love and handcuffs,
Lynn X aka Bronze Goddess

Paging Dr. Steele: Not Really A Chapter

This was the “chapter” that I wrote announcing my exit from that site that shall remain unnamed, henceforth referred to as “*****”. Eventually, I did decide to leave my story up because I’m still gaining readers, so it’ll stay there until I decide to take it down. I had originally only written the announcement part. Then, some Bitchy McBitchBitch wrote me a review telling me that she was reporting me because it wasn’t a chapter. I shocked her with my creative skills by coming up with this five minutes after I read her review:

We’re Moving…

“Christian! You have to come and see this! You’re not going to believe it!”

“What is it, Butterfly?” Christian looks over Ana’s shoulder at her iPad to see what she’s reading.

“Apparently, Bronze Goddess is leaving *****. She’s taking our story to a completely different forum!” Ana says bemused. Christian frowns.

“Why would she do something like that!? She’s been with ***** for over a year! She’s one of the only people that I’ve seen who’s not afraid to speak her mind when people are disrespectful. Why has she all of a sudden decided to leave?”

“Well, she has a notice right here that says apparently, the petty bullshit and childishness have just become too much for her. She has had to deal with name calling, insults, personal attacks, racial slurs, you name it—and people think that she should just shut up and take it,” Ana says, reading some of Bronze Goddess’s previous zingers and author’s notes.

“Well, that’s just bullshit!” Christian says. “Maybe those fuckers should try to churn out chapter after chapter of something—anything—and let people be disrespectful and talk shit to them since they think it’s okay.” Ana shakes her head.

“I know, right? I mean, who in their right mind would just sit around and allow themselves to be subjected to this kind of thing? Listen to this.” Ana begins to read Bronze Goddess’s most recent author’s note:

NOTICE! NOTICE! NOTICE! YOU ALL WANT TO READ THIS! I will most likely be taking my stories off of ***** soon. I’m mainly doing this because I am trying to publish the rewrites and you can only leave the story up for so long anyway once you decide to take that route, but also because I see a lot of pettiness on ***** and I’m having a hard time tolerating it anymore. Some of you know this and some of you may not, but I’m nobody’s youngster. I don’t have time for petty, childish bullshit—I’m very serious about my stories.

I have been on ***** for over a year. I have seen reviewers saying things to the authors and those authors end up quitting writing. Surprise! My skin is thicker than that and I am not going to quit—you can forget about that shit. However, I see people saying things to me in my reviews and to fellow authors that is horrible and personal. I had someone in a review call me the N-word at least 10 times. ***** can’t do anything about that because they are guests, but you can go through and take someone’s story down because you think it’s too erotic or offensive. WTF? I saw a story about Christian and Phoebe having a sexual relationship that stayed up on ***** for a long time despite many complaints to take it down, yet I personally know of friends whose stories have been taken down for being too explicit! Seriously!?

So here’s the deal. If you are already on my mailing list, you know where my stories are going. If you want to know where my stories are going, you better get on my mailing list, because if one of my stories gets removed from *****, they are all gone; and if I just get too damn tired of dealing with the kiddie bullshit, then I’m gone anyway. I am moving them as we speak. I have amassed a fairly large following on ***** and I really hope that you all continue to follow my stories when I move them, but if you don’t, that’s fine, too. I really hate to see you go. Once again, if you would like to join my mailing list, do it now! My email is on my profile page, but here it is again: divinebronzegoddess@gmail.com. If you PM me your email address, please send it in this format. Otherwise, the PM will erase it.

Love and handcuffs,
Lynn x

Now it’s Christian’s turn to shake his head. “That’s so ridiculous. It’s a shame that people can’t just be left alone to write our story. There are so many versions of it out there, if you don’t like one, you can surely click a button and one hundred others appear. What’s the problem with just walking away?” he asks.

“Well, apparently, since the trolls have decided that they’re going to stick around, that’s exactly what Bronze Goddess has decided she’s going to do… walk away, and she’s taking us with her. So, where do you think we’re going?”

Christian looks over her shoulder and says, “It says that you have to send her an email and get on her mailing list and she’ll tell you.”

“Should we send one? I mean, we’re going, so we’ll find out soon enough,” Ana says. Christian shrugs.

“Yeah, send one. See what happens,” he responds. Ana quickly types out a short request and sends it to Bronze Goddess. Not three minutes has passed and she gets a response.

“What does it say?” Christian asks.

“It says, ‘Ana, is this really you or is this a joke?'” Christian laughs loudly.

“Type in the password to her email so that she will know it’s really you.”

“Which email?” Ana asks.

“Any one of them! Who has her email passwords?” Ana nods.

“Good point.” Ana types her response along with Bronze Goddess’s email password. Another response shows up almost immediately.

“What does that one say?”

“It says, ‘You’re lucky I responded. I’ve got hundreds of requests and your name popped up while I was working on them. So, I answered. You’ll be at the new locale very shortly, but since you are curious, here’s the link.” Ana clicks the link.

“Wow! Not bad! Nicer than the old digs,” Christian says.

“So… Should we pack?” Ana asks.

“Nah. It looks like the new version of us in Mending Dr. Steele is already over there. The old us just has to catch up.”

“Well, from what it looks like, it won’t be long. Ever since she announced her departure, they’re getting jabs in on her like crazy—horrid guest reviews, reporting her story. I guess it’s a good thing she decided to leave, but it looks like all of her followers are coming with her anyway. Look at these numbers.” Christian leans over Ana’s shoulder to see what she’s talking about.

“Damn! All of that in two days!?” Christian says, aghast.

“Actually, it’s just been over 24 hours.” Ana corrects him.

“Well, shit, what does she still need ***** for? Let the ones that like her follow her and the ones that don’t can stay their asses behind!” Christian exclaims.

“I think she got that point, Christian,” Ana says with a smile.

See you at the new address. 😉

(… Well, we’re actually already here now…)

 

 

 

NO TROLLS OR TROLL-LIKE BEHAVIOR ALLOWED!!

I had someone ask me today if I would consider going back to Fanfiction because apparently my site is, oh so hard to maneuver. Granted, it’s only a handful. Out of over 1000 followers, I may have gotten 10 complaints about my site. Most of them are respectful and just ask for easier ways to find their way around or alternatives when they are having issues, but a couple of them are downright rude and one of them even suggested that I go back to Fanfiction.

First of all, I realize that Fanfiction made things very easy to maneuver—click a link, get a story. Boring white background made everything perfect and easy to see. Scroll down to a chapter and, magically, it appears. Unfortunately, they can’t keep a leash on their little monsters so, no, I will not be going back to Fanfiction since they are letting the trolls run the damn asylum! Don’t ask me that again!

Second, I’m having such a hard time figuring out what the problem is. Every time someone tells me that they are having a problem, I go in to see what the problem could be. I go in on my PC which has a very large screen, my laptop which has a smaller screen, and my phone which has an itty-bitty screen. I have both the website on my phone and the WordPress app on my phone and I’m just not seeing what the problems are.

I take to heart what people are saying and go in and try to make the site more user friendly, but then I get people that flat out say “your site sucks.” You can keep that. I don’t need that. The vast majority of people have no problem getting on my site. Those that have a problem tell me what the problem is and I always try to offer solutions. “Your site sucks?” Yeah… NO!

If you’re having that many problems with my site, no offense, but you may want to consider the device that you are using, the operating system that you have or the browser that you are on and whether it is up to date, the speed and ability of your wi-fi or cell service carrier, etc, because I have used three different devices to get on this site—multiple times in different locations—and whenever there was a problem with me getting on the site or reading something on the site, it had to do with the device that I was using!

After all of that, if you’re still having problems and none of the suggestions that I gave in messages or email are working for you and the changes that I have made to make the site more user friendly still doesn’t make navigation easier for you, then maybe my site just isn’t for you. Right now, my story gets posted on WordPress and linked through Tumblr, Twitter, Facebook, Google+, and I send links directly through email. If you are following me on WordPress, you get the whole damn chapter delivered right to your email when I upload the chapter!

And you still can’t read it?

I do everything but come to your house, fix you a cup of tea, massage your feet, and read the damn chapter to you myself—and I get “your site sucks” and “move back to Fanfiction?” It’s not my fault that you have become so Fanfiction-spoiled that you can’t taking having to click a few extra links to get around the site, but please don’t insult me or my site because you are having problems navigating it! And no, I am not posting my story on 16 different sites on the Internet to make it easier for you to read it. I’ve already got it linked through five!

For those of you who have come to me and respectfully asked for solutions, I will be happy to try to help you if the solutions that I gave are still not working. For those of you who think my site sucks and I should move back to Fanfiction, you can leave. More than 1000 followers don’t seem to agree with you, so you can keep those to yourself.

If you get offended by anything I said, think about what you said to me before you start sending me emails, comments, or messages about what I said wrong.

BG Holmes AKA Lynn AKA Bronze Goddess

Mending Dr. Steele: Chapter 23—Wedding Shenanigans

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. I hope you—as a fellow fan—enjoy it, too.

Chapter 23—Wedding Shenanigans

GREY

Where did you learn to do that?” I asked last night after Butterfly took me on the wildest ride I have ever had in my own Playroom. She had led me mindlessly to the shower in the en suite and washed me lovingly after she beat my ass and made me come so hard and long that my brain was scrambled. Afterwards, we lay in our bed in our bedroom, me on my stomach after she gently rubbed my aching butt with Arnica massage oil. “That’s something that you don’t learn overnight,” I continued nervously, not sure that I wanted to know how my Butterfly learned to master a cane so well.

She was fondling my back, and then she stopped at my question.

Michelangelo,” she responded. Micha-what? I leaned up on my arms and looked at her, frowning. She sighed heavily. “From the club? Michelangelo? I told him what I had in mind and he… she… he…” Okay, what the hell? “Fuck it, he taught me a few things.” I tried to sit up, but my butt hurts and my body aches. “Stay down, Christian…”

Excuse me, but…” I tried to interject.

Stay. Down. Christian.” She menacingly pronounced every word and I wasn’t really sure who I was dealing with. She didn’t call me Mr. Grey, but she had that voice… and my mind told me that it might be a better idea to stay down. I reluctantly laid back down on the bed never taking my eyes off of her. I needed to know details and I needed to know fast, before my imagination got the best of me.

I did my research when I saw how much pain turned you on. I saw your canes and I saw how you responded to the crop. I didn’t know how much you would be willing to take, but I wanted to try. I knew that I would punish you and I knew that I would use the cane on you. The paddle was trial and error, but I practiced on industrial strength latex water balloons. If they burst, I knew it was too hard.”

And the cane?” I asked. Anybody could swing a paddle. It’s takes a pro to wield a cane and elicit the feelings that she brought out in me. I should know… I am a pro.

A second-hand velvet cushion,” she said. “It shows the intensity and damage of each blow. Wolfgang likes pain with his pleasure, too, so Michel is very good with the cane.” I breathe a huge sigh. I’m not really sure how I feel about a man teaching my girl—my Domme—how to swing a cane, but the guy is gay and she practiced on pillows and balloons.

You didn’t think I practiced on a person, did you?” I stiffened when she asked that question. I had hoped that she hadn’t, but to be honest…

No… I didn’t. I knew that you wouldn’t do that to me. It’s just that you are so good at it. It’s like you have done it for years. I didn’t know how someone could be that good at it and not practice on another person, but you…” I laid my head back down on my folded arms and closed my eyes. “You never cease to amaze me…”

I am snapped back to the here and now and this damn rehearsal dinner by the sound of these fuckers drooling over my girl…

“Oh, shit, she is hot!”
“Damn, who dives into that every night?”
“I’m going to meet her in my dreams!”
“I bet I can tap that…”

Seven groomsmen. Seven fucking groomsmen and I only know three of them—Gary, Allen, and James—and the rest of them are ogling my woman. They’re not even being discreet about it. They’re all acting like horny ass dogs making comments right in earshot of me, and I can’t do a damn thing about it but sit here and listen. Butterfly, of course, is Maxine’s Maid of Honor, but some guy named Quincy is Phil’s Best Man. He went to school with this joker and they’ve been friends since they were kids. No amount of begging or convincing could get me into this wedding, and believe me, I tried—but I’ll have the last word. So enjoy it while you can, boys.

Butterfly is the last one to walk down the aisle before the flower girl and then Mandy walks down with Maxine’s father, standing in for Maxine as they are sticking to the tradition that the Bride will only walk down the aisle once when it’s her time. Mandy and Butterfly are very close since before she married Ana’s father and now, she’s almost like an honorary member of the “Scooby Gang” as Ana calls them… well, about as much as your pregnant stepmother can blend in with your friends, I guess.

The wedding planner has the wedding party run through the ceremony three times to make sure that everyone knows where they should be tomorrow, but by the third time, the bridal party—and Ana—look like they have had enough. I don’t know what happened back there in the vestibule, but Ana is sour-faced and a couple of the women almost look like they would rather be anywhere but here.

Butterfly wears the most provocative clothing and with these fuckers eye-fucking her tonight, I wish I could wrap her in a blanket and carry her out of here! She is wearing this gorgeous black lace sleeveless cocktail dress… not too much cleavage, cut about three inches above the knee, totally appropriate—and hot as hell! I feel like a troll compared to her in my midnight black jeans, black blazer, and white turtleneck. I’m beginning to feel like I should have worn a suit!

The rehearsal is nearly over and we’ll be going over to the Trellis in the Heathman for the rehearsal dinner. Tonight is the bachelor/bachelorette parties and I am sure that we all want to get to the festivities as soon as possible. However, I don’t know how long I’m going to be able to be social to the assholes that are drooling over my girl. She doesn’t seem too happy standing up there with the other bridesmaids, either. I suddenly get the feeling that she is going through the same thing I am when I see two of them look at me with salacious eyes. This is going to be a long ass wedding.

When the wedding planner finally dismisses us, that Quincy character makes a beeline over to my woman in an attempt to escort her from the church. That’s your job tomorrow, Sport… not tonight. Go grab one of those other horny women. This one is mine.

“I’ll take it from here,” I say to his back as he is trying to put the moves on my girl. She smiles widely up at me as Quincy looks over his shoulder to see where the voice is coming from.

“Can I help you, Friend?” he says, like I am interrupting him, which I am.

“No, but she can,” I say extending my hand to my Butterfly. She gladly takes it and walks around Quincy like he’s one of those orange construction cones in the street. “Surely you didn’t think she was here alone?” I added, matter-of-factly.

“Oh, I’m sorry. I didn’t know,” he says, tipping his head slightly at Butterfly and walking back to the other horny, drooling dogs. Butterfly sighs.

“Is it over yet?” she laments, dropping her head in her hands. I frown at her.

“Hey, what’s going on?” I ask. She shakes her head at me.

“I have to spend my night with a group of the most disrespectful women that I’ve ever met in my life.”

“Oh?”

“Yes, oh! Hell, those two on the end don’t even have enough class to feel ashamed of themselves,” she declares pointing obviously at the two salacious-eye women.

“You should hear what the men are saying about you,” I tell her. Her head jerks back.

“Excuse me?” she says, softly. I nod.

“Butterfly, you look absolutely delicious in that dress. Any one of those men would climb over me to get to you right now.” She smiles coyly at me then very deliberately outlines my lips with her forefinger while trailing her own with her tongue. Oh, fuck.

“Well, they would be wasting their time,” she says, seductively and my pants get tight in the groin area. I slip my arm around her waist and snatch her against me so that she can feel my erection. She gasps.

“Keep that up and I swear I’m going to fuck you right here,” I whisper the threat in her ear and feel her shiver in my arms when I gently kiss her neck, then her lips.

“Oh for God’s sake, you two, get a room!” Allen announces, turning all attention to us that wasn’t already focused in our direction. I kiss her again.

“Well, I would,” I retort, “but I have to spend my evening with you losers instead of wrapped in my girls arms…” I turn to look at her, “…and legs,” I add and I can almost hear panties—and spirits—dropping all over the room. “So, I’ll have to put a rain check on the room for tonight.”

“Promise?” she whispers in my ear.

“Oh, most certainly,” I say, my hand sliding down to her lace-clad ass. Eat this, fellas.

“Alright, alright, let’s get to dinner before Ana and Christian bang each other in the aisle,” Maxine adds with a laugh.


STEELE

“So that’s Christian Grey. He is even sexier in person.”
“Do you think he has a big dick? He looks like he does… look at his pants.”
“I bet he’s an incredible lover. He looks like he could fuck all night.”
“Oh my God, he has such a great ass! I would ride him to until the sun came up!”
“I bet I could give him a night he would never forget!”

Are you fucking serious? These bitches are standing right behind me talking this shit? And I have to spend the whole night with these whores? Give me a fucking break! This has been going on ever since Christian and the rest of the guys got here and these women have absolutely no shame. They know that he’s my boyfriend and they are still acting like uncooth hussies! I turn around and face all five of them and look each one in the face as I address their rude and inconsiderate statements.

“Yes, that is Christian Grey and he’s very sexy. Yes, he does have a big dick. Yes, he is an incredible lover. He can and does fuck all night. Yes, his ass is outstanding, but you will never get the chance to ride him… and you…” I glare at the last girl, “…would lose that bet!”

I understand that women want my man. Look at him, he flawless—but can you at least have enough home training to not disrespect me while I’m standing here?

“Ladies, can we agree that we know that Christian Grey is off limits and that you will attempt to try to control you wagging tongues, dripping panties, and out-of-control hormones so that we don’t ruin Maxine’s wedding?” Valerie questions the five horny hoes. They immediately start throwing dirty looks at me. “Oh, no! Don’t start throwing evil eyes at Ana. You were verbally molesting her man while she was three feet away from you! How would you feel if she did that to you?” Three of the girls immediately look chastised, but two still remain firm in their attitudes. Val walks over to the two and gets in their faces.

“Get it together, Girls, or we will throw you off of the party bus and you get to tell Maxine why.” She has pulled out a voice that I swear sounds like a Domme. almost heel to her tone. While she’s putting her foot in their asses, the other three are looking at me with eyes that clearly show they are ashamed of their actions. One of them even mouths “sorry” to me. That’s good enough. I don’t need a pound of flesh for this, not even from the bitches back there that won’t heel. Just don’t let this shit happen again.

I was only too happy when Christian came to rescue me from Quincy once the rehearsal dinner was over. I was sure that he knew that Christian and I were a couple, but he disavowed any such knowledge when Christian whisked me away from his possible clutches. Now, after that last display for “hungry cat” and “machismo” we just gave the wedding party, we are off to the rehearsal dinner at the Heathman.

I have to say, we are even worse sitting at the table with at least 30 people consisting of the wedding party and various members of Maxie and Phil’s families. I’m sitting so close to Christian that I am nearly in his lap. Every time I try to move away to be more appropriate, he pulls me back to him and kisses me somewhere just barely appropriate—my neck, behind my ear, my shoulder, my hair. Fuck, I wish I could ditch this damn hen party, but my duties lie with the bride. I’m sure we have thoroughly made our point to all of the hopefuls standing in line to get a crack at either of us—it ain’t happenin’.

“So, Anastasia,” Selena nearly barks my name from across the table. She is one of the bitches that never apologized for eye-fucking my man. “When are you and Christian going to make the big commitment?” Oh my God, I want to die. The table falls silent. Thirty damn people and the table falls silent while this bitch sits there smirking at me. My body tenses immediately and I was going to say something back to her, but Christian puts his hand on my arm bringing me to immediate silence.

In that combination CEO/Dom voice of his, he asks her, “Who are you and what business is that of yours?”

Whoa! Stand back, folks, there a blazin’ about ta happen! She just pissed him off. Various people react in silent awe of what just happened, and my friends all look at each other, silent signals passing between them. What the fuck just happened?

I turn my glare back to Selena and wait for her response.

“I’m sorry,” she says barely above a whisper. “I wasn’t trying to be rude.”

“Oh, but you were trying,” he retorted. “You just didn’t expect me to call you on it.” Now, she’s shrinking in her chair.

“Baby…” I say, reaching over and touching his hand. He squeezes mine in return.

“It’s okay, Butterfly. I won’t eviscerate her, but at least now she knows that if she ever tries to publicly undermine someone’s relationship again, she publicly deserves whatever she gets.” He’s glaring at her and she never raises her head. Needless to say, no one dare make a comment like that towards us for the rest of the night, but I know that Christian won’t be there to defend my honor as we go hopping around the city this evening. So I prepare myself for a not-so-fun night out with the girls.

“Behave yourself,” I whisper into Christian’s ear as we are saying our goodnights after the rehearsal dinner. He gently brushes his lips against mine before kissing me softly, leaving me longing.

“You, too,” he says. “I’ll see you tomorrow. Try not to kill anyone tonight, Tiger.”

“I’ll try, and I know the men can get raunchy, too, so don’t blacklist anyone or ruin anybody’s business or whatever you rich, powerful, CEO types do when people piss you off.” I smile and he kisses me again.

“Okay, okay, you love him, he loves you. Let’s go. You’ll see him in 16 hours. You’re holding up the party!” Val literally snatches me out of Christian’s arms and drags me to the party bus. I want to slap her, but Christian’s just smiles and waves at me.

We have rented the extra, extra large Executive party bus from Creative Bus and it is fantastic! It holds 26 people—plush seating and funky creative lighting. I fully stocked the bar and actually hired a bartender to serve us. I’ve loaded up my iPod and plugged it in to the bus’s docking station and we have a party going on—complete with high end hors d’oeuvres and desserts. We ride around for a little while, playing games, letting loose and acting crazy. After about 40 minutes, Maxie stands up to make an announcement.

“Okay, my lovelies. Now that we are pretty well… lubricated…” The girls howl at her choice of words. We are all beginning to get a bit tipsy and the party hasn’t even started yet. “We are going to go to our first destination. Now, I have my well-known, fairly famous maid of honor here…” More howling from the ladies, “…and I don’t want my hen party crashed by the paparazzi. So, to that end, we will all be wearing masks tonight.”

The girls begin to frown and question among themselves until Maxie starts to pull out the masks—the most beautiful assortment of Moulin Rouge style masquerade masks you have ever seen…

And the howling starts again.

“Oh my God, these are fabulous!”
“I want this one! It’s perfect for my skin tone!”
“Who came up with this idea? This is genius!”
“I want the little one. I don’t want to mess up my hair…”

Maxie and I had already chosen our masks. Maxie’s is a white and silver Venetian mask with clear and silver beads hanging down the sides, rhinestones around the eyes, and beautiful beadwork across the top. My mask is black with filigree-like designs on the left side while the right side front is decorated in rhinestones around the eye, and the far right, top, and bottom of the mask bursts out into a black hollowed butterfly… what else?

Our first stop—KARAOKE!

To be honest, I don’t even know where we were! I looked around, I saw Chuck, I didn’t care. Of course, we were the center of attention when we got inside—a bunch of hot women wearing Venetian masks and making a lot of noise. We were cheering on the singers and dancing and acting a fool! That’s when I noticed that we were having way more fun than I expected… where’s Selena?

“Maxie?” I say leaning into her and gaining her attention. “Did Selena get lost?”

“No,” she says, her voice slurring just a bit. “After her foot-in-mouth-itis at the rehearsal dinner, she suddenly ‘fell ill’ and agreed to meet us all at the Four Seasons after she ‘rests.'” Neither of us believed that garbage and it was clear that Maxie wasn’t missing her so, on with the show!

Speaking of show, right before we left Karaoke, we all got on stage and sang Count On Me. Not even one of us sounded like Whitney Houston or Cee Cee Winans.

We are back on the party bus and off to another locale, a little place called Brouwer’s Cafe—lots of dancing, great crowd, and Maxie ended up sitting on the bar drinking shots. No, not at the bar… on the bar. After a while, one of the security detail had to get her down because she was surrounded by men trying to get a kiss from the “bride to be.”

We danced and drank for quite a while at Brouwer’s before boarding the party bus again and making fools of ourselves on the pole in the back of the bus—a bunch of drunken, non-coordinated women trying to pole dance in a moving bus. It’s a wonder none of us ended up in traction!

We visited maybe six clubs—one of which we were thrown out of because the clientele didn’t appreciate our masks. They thought we were being separatists or elitists which, in a way, we were, but not because we didn’t want to mingle. We just didn’t want to be recognized, and we weren’t bothering anybody. Needless to say, the bulky bodyguards in black suits didn’t help. We started literally getting heckled by the guests just for sitting at the table. After about ten minutes, someone who I suppose is the owner comes over to analyze the disturbance and tells us that we had to leave.

“Excuse me, Sir,” Val says, “but we’re not doing anything wrong. We haven’t ordered a drink, we haven’t said anything to anyone… we just sat down.”

“I’m sorry, but you’re disturbing my customers!” he says, forcefully.

“How!?” Val protests. “We’re not doing anything.”

“Your presence is causing a disturbance,” he says, clearly putting on a show for the other patrons, who have now began to take on the “ugly mob” mentality. Val wants to argue more, but I put my hand on hers. I swear I must have drank enough to lay to lumberjacks on their asses tonight, but at this moment, I am cold sober.

“We’ll leave. Let’s go.” I say quietly. She looks at me and stands, realizing that it’s better to just leave than to cause a scene.

These fucking bastards start cheering. Maxie is near tears. I let the other ladies leave before me and purposely wait until the last of them is on the party bus. I turn around still inside the establishment and gesture Chuck to follow me. I march back into the bar where Mr. Owner Guy stands with his arms folded glaring at me. This is one time that I hope this fucking media fodder has done its job. I gingerly untie my mask and take it off.

Yep—somebody knows who I am.

There are a few gasps in the room, and yes, Mr. Owner Guy knows, too. I can hear my name, Christian’s name, Green Valley, that fucking AnaChris—yeah, they know.

“So, now you know why we were wearing the masks. I couldn’t very well wear one alone, now could I?” I say to the speechless man with his mouth gaping open. The party has stopped… even the music stopped. I speak very softly to him.

“You say that we were disturbing your patrons. We don’t know how or why we were disturbing them, but we were aware that our presence was disturbing. We would have left anyway. We didn’t need the added humiliation of you throwing us out for no reason whatsoever. My friend is getting married tomorrow. This was part of her bachelorette party. We just wanted to have a couple of drinks without being mobbed by paparazzi. I’m just glad that the clubs we went to before this didn’t treat us this way.” I turn to Chuck. “Make sure Christian knows about this.” I say to him.

As I am indignantly marching out of the club, I heard Chuck tell him, “Man, you have no idea who you just pissed off, but you will by tomorrow.”

Within moments, I was back on the party bus and the mood was somber at best.

“Oh, the hell with this! Turn on the music. Frank, start pouring drinks! This shit is not going down like this. If those fucking bastards don’t want our money and don’t know how to handle themselves in a presence of a gaggle of gorgeous women, fuck ’em!” I declare loudly. The ladies cheer in agreement and just like that, the party is live again. “Justin, get us the fuck out of here!” I yell to the driver.

“Yes Ma’am!” he says, and the party is on its way to the Four Seasons.

*-*

We have rented out two floors—one for sleeping and one for a combination of sleeping and partying with security spread out on both floors. Once my inebriated friends and the rest of the bridal party get inside, I gesture for Chuck and my purse.

“Justin, Frank, thank you for everything. Its was a wonderful night and you both did a fantastic job to deal with 12 drunken women.” I hand them each $500.

“Ms. Steele, the gratuity is included in your payment, Ma’am,” Frank protests and Justin nods.

“I know, but the gratitude is here,” I say closing both of their hands over the money. “Thank you.” I smile and they smile back and nod once politely.

“Our pleasure, Ma’am,” Justin says. I turn around and walk into the hotel with Chuck.

Up on the 10th floor, the party continues in the largest suite on the floor. The drunken ladies are at it again and there is no reminder of the events that happened not an hour earlier. We’ll let Mr. Grey handle that, as I know that he won’t let this go by quietly. I hadn’t even gotten my first re-inebriation libation down when one of the damn guards is knocking at the door. What the fuck is it? I’m not really pleased at what I see on the other side of the door.

“Ms. Saunders?” The officer asks. Two of them, in fact.

“Nope,” I say, opening the door and pointing over my shoulder with my thumb to the rowdy crown of women behind me. They breeze past me and they don’t fool me for one second. I stand there and watch them talk to the gaped-mouth women and the moment Officer What-The-Fuck-Ever-His-Name-Is rips off his tearaway pants, I am out of there.

I don’t know who all of these guards are, but there is one standing outside of our door.

“Where’s Chuck?” I ask him. He points down the hall.

“The elevator, Ms. Steele,” he says.

“Thanks,” I say. He nods.

“You’re welcome, Ma’am.” I walk towards the elevator and see Chuck standing there typing away at his phone. He raises his head and frowns when he sees me walking toward him.

“What are you doing out here?” he asks. “I know I just sent two fake cops to that room.”

“Yeah. Strippers aren’t really my thing,” I say, remembering with horror the fiasco that was my birthday party last year. I never really was a big fan of male strippers, but that incident turned me off forever. “There will be no strippers at my bachelorette party—whenever it may be. Anyone who even suggests a stripper will be banned from the wedding.”

“That bad, huh?” he says. I nod.

“That bad, but no use in stopping everyone else’s fun, right? Who are they?”

“Valerie ordered them—a couple of Med school students. Harmless.” I nod leaning against the wall.

“That’s good to know. Besides that asshole at the last bar, did we have any problems tonight?” I ask.

“You mean besides the nightmare of following 12 rowdy, drunk, and now horny women around all night? No, it was a piece of cake,” he says, and I laugh.

“Well, at least we’re all in one place now and we will most likely sleep until noon!”

“Well, yes, there is that,” he says. I sit in one of the seats placed in the hallway for the security patrol.

“What’s been the word from Christian?” I ask. I know he probably blew a gasket when he heard what happened to us at that club. I’m surprised he didn’t call me.

… Unless he’s having too much fun.

Unwelcome thoughts of that nasty strip-o-gram come to mind and I push them away. I’m not going to police this man’s behavior and I’m not going to worry about if some scantily-clad bimbo is gyrating on his lap right now. I shake my head in an effort to shake the thought.

“I rarely hear from Mr. Grey directly, Ana. It’s mostly Jason. He called right after I sent the text about what happened in the bar. Near as I can tell, that place is going to be persona non grata in less than a week.” I nod.

“I won’t lose any sleep,” I say. “We were potential paying customers just like everyone else in that establishment and we didn’t deserve to be treated that way.” I push my hair off of my forehead to make room for my hand. The elevator rings and another member of the security team reports something to Chuck about the girl downstairs who fucked the bellhop and sent him away.

That must be Selena. She’s the only “girl downstairs” right now.

“Classy,” I say aloud.

“I’ll say,” Chuck repeats. I hear the elevator ring and it’s Ben. He’s clearly surprised to see me in the hallway.

“Is everything okay?” he asks, covertly but not-so-covertly questioning my presence.

“Ms. Steele doesn’t do well with strippers,” Chuck says.

“Oh?” he says, surprised. I look up at him. “I’m sorry. I just don’t know of many women who wouldn’t at least watch.”

“Well, now you know one,” I say impassively, rubbing my head again. I hear Ben report something to Chuck and he leaves down the hall.

“So, you’re in charge tonight,” I say, more of a statement than a question. He nods.

“Just over here with you and the ladies. You’re going to rub a fire into your skin if you don’t stop, Ana.” The elevator rings again… more guards to report to Chuck, I think to myself.

“Oh… just trying to rub away some old ghosts, I guess…” Actually, not so old.


GREY

I don’t do titty bars. I never have and I never will. So there was no amount of coaxing that could be done that could convince me take this crew to a strip club. I could see Butterfly gasping at the headlines now…

Grey seen in local strip club. Is this the end of AnaChris?

They have been brutal with digging for details on Green Valley. She has been handling things pretty well so far. How in the hell do they plan to do the party route tonight with Ana in tow and not get clipped by the paps? She doesn’t know she has a small fucking army following her. Twelve women, eight guards. She thinks it’s only five. I thought she knew me better than that. Jason is with me tonight but he is on duty. I felt like I should at least have him and Williams, but all of these men can take care of themselves.

“What’s the word?” I ask him.

“Karaoke was uneventful. The women are getting pretty pickled. They are all wearing those masquerade masks, so no one knows who they are.” Good one! I never would have thought of that.

“No gropey idiots?” I question.

“Well, there’s always one or two, but nothing to be concerned about. The biggest thing is that Ms. Saunders had to be removed from off of the bar a little while ago.” I throw a questioning look at him. “She wasn’t dancing on it or anything like that. She was just sitting on it, but a few more shots and there may not have been a wedding tomorrow due to a blootered bride.” I laugh a little. Maxine is letting her hair down. That’s pretty funny.

We take the party to the McElvoy—harmless enough since I own the club. Of course, the atmosphere changes when I walk in. Nearly all of the staff know that I’m part owner, but not all of them. Elliot always likes to throw his weight around as my big brother, trying to get VIP treatment, but it doesn’t always work. I can just about hear panties dropping as we walk through the club. There are about 14 of us and none of us are unattractive. This place can be sort of meat-marketish on Friday and Saturday nights and believe me, I see the “baby-daddy” look in more eyes that I want to right now.

I make eye-contact with absolutely no one.

“Elliot!” I hear some woman shriek from off to the right. Elliot turns to follow the voice and grimaces immediately.

“Um… hi… um…” Fucked that many, have you, Elliot? I remember the name of every single woman that Greystone has ever encountered.

“Cheryl!” she hisses putting her hands on her hip.

“Okay, Cheryl,” he says, noncommittal.

“You never called me,” she says, pouting.

“Sorry.” He doesn’t even remember who you are, Lady.

“Any chance we can pick up where we left off?” she says tracing the buttons on his shirt.

“Um, sorry, Cheryl. I’ve got a girlfriend.” What? Did he just say that out loud? Cheryl huffs at him.

“Well, what are you doing here?” she snarls.

Well, first of all, it’s a free country. The last I checked, this was a nightclub, not a ‘come and fuck me’ club, so I am free to come here if I want to… especially since my brother owns it. However, if you must know, I am here for a private bachelor party.” That got her attention, especially since she’s watching all of this man meat parading past her.

“Oh! Can my friends and I join you guys? I have some really good-looking girlfriends,” she flirts. Good God, have you no shame, Woman? Are you pimping out your girlfriends!? Time to end this conversation.

“Thank you, um… Cheryl,” I interject, putting my hand on the shoulder of a relieved Elliot, “but we’ve got it covered. Like he said, it’s a private party.” She glares at me.

“And who are you?” she spits at me as if she were appalled that I dare speak. Elliot drops his head and chuckles.

“I would be the brother that he mentioned—you know, the one that owns this club.” I say, glaring at her. Without waiting for a response, I add, “Before you start throwing that misplaced righteous indignation around, you should probably remember that you just offered yourself and your girlfriends up on a silver platter to a bunch of strangers.” I’m frowning at her now. I look over to Elliot. “Where do you find these women?” I ask him right in front of her.

“In your club!” Elliot laughs. I shake my head.

“Well, maybe I should talk to security about a blacklist,” I say looking over at Cheryl one last time and then proceeding to the VIP area.

“Bye, Cheryl,” I hear Elliot say behind me. “It’s been… well… bye.” Wow. That was quietly harsh, and funny as hell.

We get to the VIP room and the servers are already there taking drink orders. The ladies’ shirts are open a couple of extra buttons, but hell, whatever you have to do to get a tip, I guess. The drinks are flowing and the bragging and talking begins. That’s when we discover that some of our gentlemen have no filter.

“Man, no offense but your girlfriend’s hot!” One of the groomsmen say. I didn’t bother getting to know them by name—except for Quincy since he’s walking my girl back down the aisle. Security knows everything about them, but there’s nothing I needed to know.

“I know she is,” I say, taking a swallow of my drink.

“How’d you manage to land that?” he keeps going. I look impassively at him.

“No need for you to be concerned with that.” I’m trying not to cause a scene, but this guy keeps pressing me. Luckily, Philip is nearby and can hear the conversation.

“For the love of God, Man, they were all over each other all night,” Philip says. “Are you really having this conversation right now? Really?” His voice is full of disbelief.

“I’m just saying, Man…” the guy weakly tries to defend himself. “She’s hot.”

“No. What you’re just saying is that you would like for me to beat your ass for egging me on and then you would like for my bodyguard over there to beat your ass, and when we’re done, you’d like for us to pour your ass into a plane and send you back to wherever the fuck you came from.” I respond. A smirk comes over his face.

“Go ahead. I’ll just sue your ass,” he says. I lean in to him.

“It’ll be worth ever dime to beat your ass, and trust me, I will beat you within an inch of your life and I’ll leave the scraps for him.” I gesture to Jason. At this point, I remove my suit jacket, just in case he wants to take me up on that offer. His eyes widen a bit and I realize that my suit jacket was a bit of a camouflage of my physique underneath.

“Shit, Fred,” Philip exclaims. “You’re ruining my fucking night! You’re the goddamn King of Inappropriate. I knew I shouldn’t have invited you. Now shut the fuck up before you get thrown out of the party and the wedding!” Fred takes another look at me, trying not to show that his resolve is slipping, but finally shuts his big mouth. Asshole.

Did they open the doors to the goddamn loony bin and let the crazies out on furlough tonight? It’s not bad enough that both Ana and I have to deal with the eye-fucking all weekend, but on top of that, people are saying the most inappropriate things to us tonight. What the hell—is there a full moon!?

As I am pondering my thoughts, more drinks arrive along with more women. It looks like Phil’s groomsmen got him one of those cheesy cake strippers. I’ve never seen one myself—a woman popping out of a cake—but I just sit back at the bar and let the men have their fun. As it turns out, Candy brought her friends… and lots of them. I don’t know if that is her real name, but most often where you find strippers, somewhere you’ll find a “Candy.” Phil, of course, enjoys a good show I can tell, even though he won’t touch the young lady. One of them did saunter over to me, but I thanked her and politely declined her invitation. She was classy enough and respected my wishes, smiling and wishing me a good evening.

She has more poise than that Cheryl chick. Go figure…

Allen comes over to the bar area with me and orders another drink.

“Allen, you have to explain something to me,” I say, drinking more bourbon and getting a little tipsy by now. “You were all over that stripper, giving her money and doing catcalls… do you swing both ways?” Allen giggles—yes, giggles at my question.

“No!” he says laughing. “Even if I did, I wouldn’t grope some woman while my boyfriend was here. Plus, I could never cheat on James. I’m in love with him.” I don’t know if that’s TMI or not, but it’s pretty obvious that they are quite smitten with each other, so it’s not like this is news. “What was the question? Oh! Yeah! No, I’m not bi, but believe me. I do appreciate a fine specimen of woman. A hot girl is a beautiful sight to behold—a naked hot girl, even more so, even though I have no desire to fuck her.” Oh boy, he’s drunk. He’s funny when he’s drunk.

“I don’t get it though,” now I’m getting a little drunk. “It’s like a diabetic going to a candy store. It’s something just out of reach.”

“No…” he says like he’s thinking really hard. “It’s more like a diabetic going to a candy museum…” Oh, he is toasted—a candy museum? “He admires the beauty and form of all of the candy even though he’s not going to eat any.” Okay, I must be a little snockered, because that made sense.

“Um, Sir… are you okay?” Jason asks as he approaches the bar.

“A little on the ‘happy’ side, but yes, I’m fine,” I tell him.

“A word?” Oh hell, what now?

“That’s my cue.” Allen rises from the barstool. “I’m going back to the Candy Museum. Try not to kill anyone, Chris,” he says as he walks away from the bar. Jason turns to me.

“Candy Museum?” he questions, tilting his head.

“Don’t ask,” I wave him off. “What’s up?”

“It appears that the ladies had a bit of trouble tonight.” What?

“Be more specific, please,” I hiss. Ignoring my ire, Jason continues.

“They were kicked out of a bar called the Heirloom. Apparently, the other guests didn’t like the fact that they were wearing masks and began to jeer at them… in masse—you know how the mob mentality works. Anyway, the owner noted the situation and kicked the ladies out, stating—and I quote—’you are disturbing my customers.'” I frown.

“Let me see if I understand you correctly. The customers were angry because they were wearing masks and started to verbally attack them?”

“Yes, Sir,” he confirms.

“Then the owner comes out, blames the ladies for the barbaric behavior of his customers and kicks them out.”

“That sounds right, Sir.”

“Did he even ask them what the problem was? Did he request that any of them remove their masks since they were causing such a disturbance?” I’m getting angrier and angrier by the second.

“Not that I can tell, Sir. They wouldn’t have taken their masks off anyway. They were trying to protect Her Highness’ identity, which turned out to be futile because she took off her mask anyway.”

“She what!?” What the fuck?

“Apparently, Maxine left the venue crying which pissed Her Highness off. After she put them all back on the bus, she and Chuck went back to the owner where she removed her mask in the middle of the joint, thus explaining—without explaining—why everyone was wearing masks. A lot of the patrons as well as the owner recognized her, after which she scolded him for humiliating Maxie during her bachelorette party and quickly left the scene. They are back at the Four Seasons now.” Shit. Their party is over because of some haughty bastard bar owner. He won’t be too haughty by the end of next week.

Remember that loony bin comment? Yeah…

“Is she okay, now?” I ask.

“As far as I can tell, yes. There has been no update from Chuck that things are going badly.” I shake my head. I don’t want to leave the party, but I can check on Butterfly and be back before these drunkards notice that I’m gone.

“Let’s go Jason.”

*-*

Five minutes away from the Four Seasons, I have Jason text Lawrence to get an update on if I will be mobbed by staff when I get there and to tell Davenport to get Butterfly alone so that I can talk to her. As we are entering the lobby, Jason tells me that she is already in the hallway with Davenport.

“Why?” I say, knowing that my voice sounds cross.

“Well, the strippers showed up about 10 minutes ago, and she wanted none of it. She’s sitting in the hallway fidgeting and rubbing her forehead as we speak,” he says. God, you’re such an asshole, Grey. Not only did my mind immediately go the suspicious route, but me and my “teach-her-a-lesson” attitude at our birthday party in October has made it so that she can’t even enjoy the night with her friends. I know that she would never be unfaithful to me and, like Allen says, harmless admiration doesn’t hurt. Instead, she’s sitting in the hallway, no doubt reliving the whole damn thing over again.

The elevator announces its arrival at the 10th floor and I hear her before I see her.

“I’m sorry. I just don’t know of many women who wouldn’t at least watch.” I don’t know which voice that is, but it had better be one of my security staff since no one else is supposed to be allowed on this floor.

“Well, now you know one,” That’s my Butterfly. I about to step out of the elevator when she says, “So, you’re in charge tonight.”

“Just over here with you and the ladies. You’re going to rub a fire into your skin if you don’t stop, Ana.” That’s Davenport. The elevator rings and I realize that the doors are about to close and take us back down. When I step off, her hand is on her forehead—her tell—and her head is down. She hasn’t noticed that I’m there.

“Oh… just trying to rub away some old ghosts, I guess,” she says, slightly mournfully.

“Anything I can do to help?” I ask softly. Her head shoots up immediately. She makes eye-contact with me but doesn’t say anything. “Aren’t you happy to see me?”

She bolts out of her seat and launches herself into my arms, just like she did that day at her apartment when I kicked David out.

“I guess that’s a ‘yes,'” I say, wrapping my arms around her and inhaling her scent. She doesn’t say anything and she’s not crying. She just holds me for several moments.

“What are you doing here?” she finally asks, her face buried in my shoulder.

“I wanted to make sure you were okay. I heard about Heirloom,” I respond.

“I knew that you would,” she says, her voice still muffled. “Aren’t they going to miss you at the McElvoy?”

“No, they’re pretty well occupied right now.” She pulls her head back.

“What going on?” she asks.

“Pretty much the same thing that’s going on here,” I say, looking into her questioning eyes. “You can participate, you know. I was an asshole. I should never have reacted that way. I don’t want to spoil your good time because I acted like a fucking caveman one stupid night.” Her expression softens.

“I’ll admit honestly that the incident soured me forever to male strippers, but I was never really a fan. There’s no appeal to it for me. There never has been… even less so, now.” Was that supposed to make me feel better? My girlfriend has such grace and poise…

“So now you can’t even sit in the room with your friends and watch them make a fool of themselves over a couple of hardbodies?” I say with an insincere smirk. She giggles a little at that.

“Don’t fret over me, Christian. Besides, I have my own hardbody,” she says, running her nails across my pecks over the turtleneck. Woman…

“That you do, Ma’am. That you do.” Down, Greystone. Jason, Davenport, and Lawrence have all discreetly decide that a private conversation a few doors down is much more interesting than mine and Butterfly’s exchange. I sink my hands into her hair and kiss her deeply. She drives men crazy, almost to the point of wanting to be beaten senseless and placed on a plane to No Man’s Land. She drives me utterly insane, making me totally unaccountable for my actions. I won’t fuck her… I won’t fuck her…

I reluctantly pull my lips back from hers and rub my nose against her nose. “I… just wanted to make sure you’re okay. I’m going to make sure that fucker never forgets the day that he threw you out of his bar,” I say, trying to control my hormones.

“I’m normally not a vengeful person, but this time, I’m counting on it.” She looks up at me. “I could have taken it if it were just me, Christian—people are just rude sometimes—but this is the night before Maxie’s wedding. She should be celebrating and that place brought her to tears. She was humiliated. Quiet as it’s kept, I’m glad the strippers showed up. They are not my cup of tea, but they helped to get the party back on track.” I stroke her face.

“See? I told you, not a selfish bone in your body, Doctor.” I lift her chin and kiss her gently. “Thank you for loving me, Butterfly,” I breathe. She takes handfuls of my hair and pulls my lips back down to hers, kissing me hungrily.

So much, Grey,” she whispers, her eyes closed and her forehead resting on mine. “So much.” We stand there in that position for a while, just breathing each other in.

“I really need to get back,” I tell her reluctantly. “We’ve had an interesting night, too. Nothing as dramatic as your night, but I would like to get these gentlemen back to the Fairmont in one piece.” She nods.

“Christian, I have a burning question that I need to ask you. Why the sudden interest in this wedding? You weren’t this involved with Daddy’s wedding, but you stole this reception right out from under me.” I laugh nervously. Divert, divert, divert.

“I wouldn’t say that I stole it, Butterfly. I promise that it still has all of your basic nuances. I just made a few key changes to… enhance the evening. You are going to love it.”

“That still doesn’t tell me why,” she presses. I shrug.

“We needed it.” She looks at me, bemused. “Me and your friends, we needed it. You and Valerie never fell out, and she’s under Elliot 25 hours a day. I see her all the time. It’s easy to mend fences there. Garrett and Philip, and even Maxine after this last situation, we needed some more… bonding time, if you will. A weekend every now and again wasn’t cutting it. I had some ideas, Al and I collaborated and presented them to Maxine and Philip and they loved them. Garrett, well, friend and groomsman, so he was always around.” I shrug. She puts her arms around me.

“You’re a good man, Christian, though I still won’t forgive you for stealing the reception from me.” We’ll see about that, Butterfly. She tiptoes and kisses me on the cheek. “Go back to your cavemen. Make sure they get to the ‘church’ on time.” She uses the little quote marks with her fingers since she is well aware that the wedding is not at a church. I kiss her lips once more.

“Don’t stay out here all night, Baby.” I put my forehead on hers. I’m sorry, Butterfly. The last thing I wanted was to be a source of a bad memory for you.

“I won’t,” she assures me, “and stop worrying about me. I’ll be fine.” I close my eyes and nod, then kiss her once more behind her ears.

“Jason.” I call to my bodyguard and leave the Four Seasons headed back to the McElvoy.

“What did I miss?” I ask, walking back into the VIP room.

*-*

“No fair, Grey!” Philip slurs. “If none of us get to see our women tonight, then you don’t get to slip off for a quickie!” The party laughs.

“It wasn’t a quickie,” I say, laughing with them. “We had a bit of a situation, but it’s okay now.”

“What kind of situation?” Allen asks, trying to be official but drunk out of his skull and holding on to James for dear life.

“Settle down, Counselor,” I say. “The ladies were kicked out of a club that will most likely no longer be in operation by this time next week.”

“Why? What happened?” Elliot says, joining the conversation.

“They were all wearing masquerade masks to avert the paparazzi. Apparently, the patrons didn’t like this and the whole thing became a public spectacle resulting in the ladies being rudely forced to leave.”

“Well, what did they do wrong? Why were they asked to leave?” Garrett asked.

“You heard it. They were wearing masks. That’s it,” I respond.

“Son of a bitch.” Allen slurs. “That’s fucked up.”

“Is Max okay? Should I call her?” Phil asks, his high partially blown. I put my hand on his shoulder.

“She’s fine, Philip. Ana took care of it and got the party back on track. From what I know, they were all back to being the rowdy women that we know and love.” No one caught on to the fact that I didn’t see these women, only Butterfly. Crisis averted. I wander around the club for a bit until I see the gentleman that I am looking for.

“Quincy.” He looks up at me.

“Christian,” he responds. I nod.

“May I have a moment of your time please?”


STEELE

My head feels like lead. After the strippers left, I came back to the room and had more drinks with my already drunken friends. It will be a wonder if any of us will be fit for human viewing by the time of the wedding. I’m not even trying to play with this hangover shit. After a few moments of praying to the porcelain god in my hotel suite, I go down to the gym to burn off this damn alcohol.

An hour and a half later, I am showered and dressed and knocking on the doors of our wedding party to get them out of bed and down to the spa. They were informed when they checked in that I would have keys to their rooms in case they couldn’t wake up so that I could get them down out of bed after our night of merriment. Most of them were just pissed that I looked so fresh face. I didn’t bother to tell them that this was after two hours of combined regurgitation and working out. A girl can’t reveal all of her secrets, now can she?

Somewhere in the middle of the block of rooms, I walked in on one guest giving some lucky fellow a magnificent blowjob.

“Whoa!” I turn around quickly and face away from them. “I knocked… several times,” I defend.

“Do you always just walk into people’s rooms?” Oh, I know that snotty ass voice. I’ve only known her for one day and I know who it is. I am immediately angry because I am really sick of this bitch. Ever see that movie Made of Honor? There’s a character named Melissa who basically sabotaged everything that she could with her friend’s wedding because she was angry that she wasn’t chosen as the maid of honor and wanted to make the current “maid” of honor look bad. That role has Selena’s name written all over it.

I turn around unashamed and face Sourpuss and the guy with the mini-fly.

“Selena, you know what time everyone is supposed to be at the spa for detox. You also know that I have a key to everyone’s room and that I was coming in if you didn’t answer. So stop acting all surprised and indignant like you didn’t see this coming. Now quit being a little sour-faced bitch, get the dick out of your mouth and get your ass down to the spa—or don’t. I really don’t care, but know that Maxie is going to be upset if you are not there. Sir, I apologize. I don’t normally go bursting into people’s room, but don’t be surprised if she set this up just for my benefit, because she knew that I was coming.” I turn around and march out of the room.

“Who was that?” I hear the guy ask. I guess that was the wrong question to ask, because Selena says, “Zip up your pants and get the fuck out.” I just shake my head and close the door.

“Was what I think was happening actual…” Chuck began.

“Yep,” I interrupted him, continuing to the next room.

*-*

“What was that call with Christian about?” Maxie asks while we are at the Four Seasons spa getting our bachelorette party detox.

“Just an idiot man being an idiot man, that’s all.” I tell her, dismissing the conversation that I had with my boyfriend right before we entered the spa. Look, I think you may have to ignore Selena today,” I tell her. She frowns.

“Why?” she asks. I sigh.

“I don’t know if she’s going to behave herself and she’s most likely going to blame me for it.” Maxie and are are in the room with Val and Marilyn having a sea algae wrap. It’s one of the spa processes from Los Angeles where you are wrapped in Klamath blue-green algae blended with French green clay and pure lavender essential oil. It’s one of the most powerful detoxifying body wraps the draws out impurities and increases lymphatic function. After the night we had last night, we need all of the cleansing that we can get!

“She and the other bridesmaids were ogling Christian and saying things about him during rehearsal last night… I mean, really vulgar rude things, like the size of his dick. Well, I informed them that I was his girlfriend and for the most part, they were apologetic except for two of them. One of them was Selena. That’s why I think she called us out last night at the rehearsal dinner.” I could have just crawled under a rock and died when she asked about me and Christian and our plans for marriage. I mean I know that weddings get single people thinking about marriage, but she put us—or I should say me—on the spot on purpose. Thank God Christian put her in her place.

“Anyway,” I continue, “I was going door to door to the girls’ rooms to wake them for the spa day. I mean who wouldn’t want a free spa day, right? Lord knows we need the detox. There’s only so much that make-up can do, and there’s some vomiting in our future. How about we get that all out before the wedding?” Almost on cue, Val is hurling into one of the buckets that I requested be near each lady. They are being well used and quickly emptied and replaced.

“Anyway, I had to go into just about everyone’s rooms because, well, we were all comatose after last night. I get to her room and she’s on her knees with a mouth full of dick.”

“Oh are you serious?” Maxie asks. “God, she is such a slut!”

“Now, wait a minute, because I didn’t care about that,” I interject. “I don’t care about whose dick she’s sucking. As long as it’s not my man, have at it! I was just angry because the whole thing looked like it was staged for me to interrupt. She knew what time I was going to be coming to the rooms. I made sure that everyone knew. Yet, I walk into her room and she’s sucking the sausage. I mean the guy was standing there fully dressed. It’s like she grabbed the first person that she saw, pulled him into the room, and stuck his dick in her mouth so that I could walk in and catch her. Seriously, why would I care? I don’t even know the girl, but she seems hell-bent on trying to make me feel uncomfortable. She’s probably telling the bridesmaids right now that I stood there and watched while she gave some guy a blowjob!”

“No, she’s a slut because she has a boyfriend and I can bet she wasn’t sucking his dick since Greg is away on a business trip!” Maxie says. I gasps.

“No!” I exclaim.

“Are you serious?” Marilyn asks.

“As a heart attack,” Maxie confirms and we giggle. Val moans.

“Val, I promise, this detox will help get all of that out of you. That’s one of the reasons why you’re vomiting. Just please, drink plenty of water,” I caution her.

“Yes, Doctor,” she groans and we chuckle again.

After a magnificent facial and hair detox and cleansing, I send the ladies up to the Presidential Suite where Franco and some of the staff from Miana’s are waiting to make us beautiful for the wedding. I knew what the spa staff was in store for before we got there, so I made sure that Chuck had a little something waiting when we were done. I had already used my Amex Black recently gifted to me by Christian to make sure that we weren’t disturbed during our detox, but these ladies had a lot to deal with considering the mob of hungover women they had to contend with. I ask the manager to please gather the women so that I could talk to them before I go upstairs to get beautiful. There are eleven of them and they look like they have been put through the wringer!

“Ladies, I and the bride would like to personally thank you for your treatment of us and our friends today. What you did and how you catered to us while most while most of us were tossing cookies the entire time… you went above and beyond the call of duty. You were professional in the face of disgusting circumstances.” The ladies let out a bit of nervous laughter. I laughed along with them to signal that it’s okay—I completely understand.

“Anyway, you probably have to fumigate this place to prepare for more customers, so I won’t keep you long.” More laughter. “I just wanted to give you each a gift for your hard work, your patience, and your professionalism.”

Chuck begins to hand out envelopes to the ladies and before he gets to the last of them, the first one has opened the envelope and gasps loudly. Each envelope contains a $300 tip.

“Ms. Steele! Thank you!” the first woman exclaims.
“Oh my God, Ms. Steele, this is wonderful!”
“Yes! Thank you! Thank you so much!”

They are full of gratitude for the money but I am full of gratitude that these ladies are not going to be falling down at the wedding today… or seeping alcohol through their pores!

“No, thank you, ladies. You were all magnificent.” They nod, continue to thank me, and each of them shakes my hand before they turn to clean up the spa from the “Saunders Party.” I turn to the manager, Georgia. “I didn’t forget you,” I say with a smile, handing her an envelope as well.

“It’s really not necessary, Ms. Steele. The ladies did all the work,” she protested.

“Um-hmm… and how many fires did you have have to put out today? How many people screamed at you and cursed you because you couldn’t let anyone else into the spa today?” I ask and she nods.

“It was interesting,” she says with a weary nod. I wink at her.

“I’ll bet it was.” I press the envelope into her hand. “Thank you.” Her eyes are full of admiration.

“You are one of the most gracious and classy women that I’ve ever met, Ms. Steele, and I’ve met a lot,” she says softly.

“Thank you, Georgia,” I say with a smile and hug her. As we are leaving, I give Chuck instructions to order lunch and dessert for 12 from Canlis and get it back here to the spa with my regards as quickly as possible.

Hair and makeup was a much smoother process than I expected. Selena didn’t make it to the spa because we were supposed to be down there at a certain time, which is why I was making sure that everyone was awake. She was too busy being a bitch. So when she got down there, they wouldn’t let her in. It turns out that those of us that got the detox didn’t need as much makeup because our skin was positively glowing. She, on the other hand, needed a vat.

Maxie warned the rest of the party of her attitude and demeanor and, like I suggested, she was mostly ignored—particularly when she was making little snide comments. I made it my business not to pay any attention to her for the rest of the day. If she was on fire, I wouldn’t piss on her. I would point at her and say “fire” and walk away.

It’s nearing five o’clock and the sun is setting on the Sound. Maxie and her court have just stepped out of the limousines pulling up to the Woodmark Hotel in Kirkland. Under the cover of a canopy at the door, each of us exit the limos in baby blue knee-length chiffon goddess dresses with an empire waist, crisscross breast, and single over-the-shoulder strap. Our feet are adorned with silver high-heeled sandals with a single jewel-studded strap across the toes and a jewel-studded ankle strap with rhinestone designs that drape down the top of our feet. Our hair is pinned up in the front but cascading down our backs, showcasing our simple stud earrings and zircon necklaces—although Christian secretly had a diamond replica delivered for me. That was totally unnecessary, but try telling that to the great Christian Grey.

Once we are all inside the lobby, the bride enters. Her dress is the stuff that little girl’s dreams are made of—sweetheart neckline, sparking crystal and rhinestone-beaded chest with ruched, crisscross bodice, and the skirt… oh the skirt! A-Line twinkly-light iridescent sparking organza from Alfred Angelo’s official Cinderella line. She had her nails done in a delicate pale blue tip with the same iridescent sparkles that are in her dress.

She is wearing elbow-length fingerless gloves and her hair is pulled back and up in the large bouffant bun with the beautiful zircon headband, regal dangling zircon and crystal earrings with a matching flowery draping necklace. She even has her glass slippers—clear vinyl closed-toe stiletto sandals with a silver steel heel and a cut-out heart at the instep.

She approaches her father who is already in tears. He gives her a gentle butterfly kiss on her cheek as the wedding planner begins frantically waving her hands that it is time for us to begin. We start to hear the quiet tones of Norah Jones Come Away With Me and the groomsmen appear in champagne tuxedos with baby blue ties to escort the ladies down the aisle.

It’s time to get Cinderella to her Prince Charming.


A/N: So, Maxie and Phil are on the way to their HEA. Will Ana and Christian have to endure more drunken amorous admirers at the reception? You can see Maxie’s wedding dress and the bridesmaid’s dresses on the Pinterest page of course.  

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

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.

Feel free to review—it is greatly appreciated.

Love and Handcuffs!
Lynn x

Mending Dr. Steele–My Departure From Fanfiction

PLEASE DO NOT USE THE DIRECTIONAL BUTTONS BELOW (PREVIOUS OR NEXT) TO GET TO PAST OR NEW CHAPTERS UNTIL YOU GET TO BOOK III. I WAS WRITING BOOK II ON THIS SITE WHILE SIMULTANEOUSLY EDITING BOOK I FROM FANFICTION. AS A RESULT, THE CHAPTERS WERE NOT UPLOADED IN ORDER UNTIL BOOK III.

If you are coming over from Fanfiction and have already read “Paging Dr. Steele,” please know that this version of the story has been updated and many events and names have been changed. You may want to start over from the beginning. 

This is not a chapter, but one of my beloved readers suggested that I post it over here for my faithful friends to comment on. This is what Fanfiction got as chapter 20 of Mending Dr. Steele…

It’s Official…

“Butterfly, have you seen this?” Christian comes out of his study looking at his blackberry in search of Ana.

“Yes,” she says, scrolling through her iPad on the sofa in front of the fire. He looks skeptically at the back of her head.

“What exactly am I asking you if you have seen?” he asks skeptically.

“Bronze Goddess’s latest announcement,” Ana replies, scrolling through the announcement and smirking to herself. Christian’s lips form a thin line and his eyes narrow. “Oh, loosen up,” she says without looking at him. “If you got the notification, you knew that I would, too.” He rolls his eyes as she points out the obvious.

“Well, I guess no more Fanfiction,” he sighs, sitting next to Ana on the sofa. “I feel… melancholy about that. I really liked it there before the trolls took over.”

“Me, too,” Ana replies, “but everything must change, I suppose. I guess this is our change. Look, she even has links to the new backstory for the rewrites here. I’ll admit that it’s kind of sad, but it’s also kind of exciting.” Christian nods.

“I guess. I still think it’s a shame it had to come to this… oh, look!” Christian shows his blackberry to Ana. “Did you know that you can Google her, now? This link takes me right to the story.”

“Yep. You can find her by Googling ‘Paging Dr. Steele,’ ‘Mending Dr. Steele,’ ‘Bronze Goddess,’ and even ‘love and handcuffs.’ That’s really cool.” Christian laughs aloud. “What’s so funny?”

“You sound like a teenager, Butterfly. ‘That’s really cool!'” he says, overemphasizing Ana’s girly voice.

“Keep it up, Mr. Grey, and you and Greystone will be very lonely tonight,” Ana threatens. All humor leaves Christian’s face as he pulls Ana into his lap. She gasps at the surprise as she finds herself laying over his thighs and ensnared in his arms.

“Oh, I can definitely keep it up, Ms. Steele, but Greystone will get what he wants…”

So while this scene fades to black just as Christian and Ana’s lips meet and they disappear into one of those hot ass lemons that I love to write, I am now announcing that I won’t be updating Mending Dr. Steele on Fanfiction anymore. If you would still like to follow the story, (1) you can get on my mailing list with the link on my fanfiction profile page, (2) you can email me to the email address on my fanfiction profile page and I can add you to my mailing list or (3) now you can Google me! 😉

Many of my faithful readers have already followed me and I thank you all for showing an interest in my writing, but my time here has frightfully come to an end. I may be back with new stories, I may not, but I will definitely keep reading on fanfiction because there are so many writers and stories that I adore over here. I thank you all for giving me a chance to share my story and I even thank the trolls for “encouraging” me to strike out on my own. If I don’t see you in the new digs, know that I appreciate your support to this point and…

Love and handcuffs!
Lynn x

(Bronze Goddess takes a bow) I will be posting my chapter tonight instead of tomorrow. I might change my posting days to Friday instead of Saturday. I haven’t decided yet, but I will let you guys know! 🙂