Raising Grey: Chapter 90—Phantoms

Four more chapters after this one…

This is a work of creativity. As such, you may see words, concepts, scenes, actions, behaviors, pictures, implements, and people that may or may not be socially acceptable and/or offensive. If you are sensitive to adverse and alternative subject matter of any kind, please do not proceed, because I guarantee you’ll find it here. You have been warned. Read at your own risk.

I do not own Fifty Shades Trilogy, or the characters. They belong to E. L. James. I am only exercising my right to exploit, abuse, and mangle the characters to MY discretion in MY story in MY interpretation as a fan. If something that I say displeases you, please, just leave. If you don’t like this story or me, please don’t spoil this experience for everyone. Just go away. For the rest of you, the saga continues…

Chapter 90—Phantoms

CHRISTIAN

“Look, I know I haven’t seen you in a while, Grey, but marriage has made you awfully soft. Get your head in the game, man!”

Bastille’s right. I fucking hate that he’s using the same words about marriage making me soft, but he’s right… well, partially right.

“I’m not soft, you asshole,” I jeer. “I’m out of practice, that’s why I called you.”

“You called me because you’re weak and you need me to toughen you up. Now, get on your fucking feet.”

I’m pissed now. I pay this bastard to spar with me, not disrespect me.

“And get that fucking power-play chastisement outta your eyes!” he shoots. “I’m not going easy on you, Moneybags. I never have and I never will! If that’s what you’re looking for, you can go find someone else to train your billionaire butt! You’re flabby, your muscles are weak, and your form is horrible. So, you can either put ‘em up, or you can get your ass outta my gym. Either way, get it off my mat.”

I’m going to beat the fucking hell outta this asshole.

I get up, take my stance and lunge at him. He does a sweeping kick at my feet and I land flat on my face. Shit, that hurt.

“Amateur move, Grey,” he says. “Have you forgotten everything I’ve taught you?” I rise to my hands and knees to get some much-needed air in my chest since the full-frontal faceplant just knocked the fucking wind out of me.

“I think I have,” I cede. He walks over to the front of me and stands there with his wrapped hands on his hips.

“Well, at least you finally fucking admit it,” Bastille barks. “You don’t stay sharp if you don’t practice and you don’t stay fit if you don’t do the work. I can tell just by looking at you that your body fat percentage is higher than it’s ever been since I’ve known you. I don’t give a fuck about those six pack abs—you’re in shape, but you’re not in Christian Grey shape. We have to start from square one until you learn to ride that bike again.”

He walks over to the corner of the ring, wipes his face and takes a swig from his water bottle.

“I’ve beaten your ass enough today. If you want to get back on your game, I’ll see you here next week, but it doesn’t matter to me either way.”

He bends and exits the ring between two of the ropes and I’m left there on the mat, feeling soft.

You know that feeling that you get where you think everybody is looking at you? Well, I scan the gym, and nobody’s concerned about my flabby ass, but I still feel like shit. I thought I was in pretty good shape, but there’s no arguing with an Olympic kickboxer.

And the body bag at home doesn’t kick back.

I’m standing in the shower in the men’s locker room thinking about the meeting that Butterfly and I will attend tonight. I’ve sunk back into my old ways in the workplace, and it brings back thoughts of my old ways all around. My talk with Flynn when I was in Anguilla comes back to me…

“You need to put playtime on hold for a while and learn to control yourself.
“It’s time to graduate a bit, Christian.”
“You need to take a page from this remarkable woman’s book and start handling your demons in a more productive way now.”
“It’s okay to exercise the lifestyle that the two of you enjoy, but the moment that one of you doesn’t enjoy it, it’s not okay anymore.”

We promised in Anguilla that we would do research and we never did. Then we promised again after the menopause situation with my mother. Today is the day. Today we start our active research by meeting with our mentors.

When I return home, I find my wife still in her yoga gear in the middle of the family room floor with our children. Our children… it seems like ages since I spent any quality time with my kids. A wave of guilt jolts through me as I watch my wife, smiling and attentive with my son, holding both his hands as he stands on the floor in front of her bouncing on his heels to some tune on the television. Minnie is thoroughly occupied in the Pack-n-Play with an array of various toys. They look happy and carefree and I almost feel like and interloper as I enter the family-room-turned-playroom.

“Hey,” I say softly as I walk in. She frowns when she sees me.

“Your hair is wet,” she observes. I touch my hair and remember that it’s still a bit damp from the shower at the gym.

“Yeah, I took a shower after my workout. I went straight to the car, though,” I confess.

“Christian Grey, did you forget that bug that hit you after your brother’s housewarming?” she scolds. “Are you trying to catch your death?”

“No, I’m fine,” I reply, sounding like a petulant child. I lean into the Pack-n-Play and retrieve Minnie before sitting on the sofa with her. “Your mommy sounds like she’s going to spank me,” I say to Minnie and she coos as I bounce her on my knee.

“Your daddy’s going to kill himself if he doesn’t dry his hair before going out in the cold,” she retorts to Mikey, who has graduated to full-on twisting and dancing with his mother’s help. Jesus, they look so big. It’s only been a week… two if I count Australia, but I’m sure I’ve seen them in between there.

“What should I wear tonight?” she asks. I raise my gaze to hers and she’s still looking at Mikey. I know she’s asking because I told her how to dress when we went to the club.

“Dinner attire,” I say. “Not too formal, not too conservative, but nothing flashy or too provocative, either.”

“Something in between,” she says, and I nod. “How was your workout?”

“Brutal,” I admit. “Claude beat my ass, then let me have it for being out of shape.” She raises her gaze to me, her brow furrowed.

“You’re not out of shape,” she protests.

“Remember, I used to work out every weekday,” I remind her.

“Which you’ve been doing lately,” she points out.

“Lately,” I say. “I’m not in Bastille-kick-boxing shape. The bastard even called me flabby,” I lament. She glares at me and clears her throat. “What?”

“You said the ‘B’ word in front of the children,” she chastises. I frown.

“What ‘B’ word?” I protest. I didn’t say bitch.

“B-A-S-T-A-R-D,” she says. Oh, that “B” word.

“Sorry,” I say with a shrug. “Did you even catch that, Minnie?” I say to my daughter. She touches my face and babbles something incoherent, and all is right with the world.

*-*

My wife presents herself in an ensemble that I’m certain is from my grandmother’s collection. It’s a red, strapless knee-length sheath dress with an open skirt attached to the back, making it look like one of her Lindy-Bop dresses. There’s a bow right in front at her breast, and she has complimented it with a red and gold choker necklace. I’m not sure what it’s made of, but it has red balls between large gold links with what looks like charms all around it. If it’s a costume piece, it matches the dress very well. Her hair is swept up in a chignon with flirty tresses falling around her face and she’s wearing my grandmother’s ruby earrings.

She looks absolutely stunning.

“I said not too formal,” I say when I see her. She looks down at her attire.

“This isn’t too formal,” she protests. “It’s like a cocktail dress. Should I change?”

“No,” I say, taking her coat from her arm and holding it open for her. “You look beautiful.”

“Thank you,” she says as she closes her coat around her. She checks her makeup in the mirror in the grand entrance as I put my coat on, then I lead her through the mudroom to the garage.

“We’re taking the RS7,” she observes as I press the key fob and the alarm chirps. I smile and lead her to the car. I open the passenger door for her, and she gets in. Once I close the door behind her, I walk over to the driver’s side. I really love this car. It’s got a lot of power behind it and I never considered getting rid of it once that drunk driver totaled my Spyder, but…

“It’s time for an upgrade,” I say as I start the car. “I love this car, but it’s a couple years old now.”

“Is that the only reason you want to upgrade?” she asks. “Because of the age?”

“Isn’t that enough?” I ask.

“It’s basically new, Christian. You hardly ever drive it,” she says. “Besides, I have some pretty fond memories of this car… especially the hood.” I feel my mouth involuntarily forming a smile.

“Well, that’s enough reason to keep it,” I say suggestively, dropping a gear and heading to Kirkland.

We arrive at this perfectly square contemporary house in Kirkland. I’ve never been here, although I know the couple very well. Butterfly will most likely loosen up a bit when we get to the door. I pull into the driveway and turn off the car.

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“Are you ready?” I ask. She takes a deep breath and sighs.

“Let’s do this,” she says. I get out and go over to her door. She’s all legs when she steps out of the car and I’m already fighting my primal urges as I take her hand and lead her to the front door.

“Christian,” a familiar face greets me. “It’s good to see you as always. Come in, come in, it’s cold out tonight.”

I put my hand in the small of my wife’s back and usher her in out of the cold.

“Artemis,” she says with realization. “Right?”

“Guilty,” he says with a flourish and a small bow. “May I take your coat?”

“Yes, please,” she says and allows him to take her coat.

“Oh,” he says upon removing her coat. “I’m afraid we may be a bit underdressed.”

“It’s my fault,” Butterfly says. “I didn’t know how to dress for the evening. I hope I don’t make you feel uncomfortable.”

“Nonsense,” I hear a woman’s voice and we both turn to see a beautiful blonde woman approaching us.

“And this beautiful creature is my wife, Savvina,” Artemis says, welcoming his wife into his arms and kissing her cheek gently. “You’ve met Christian, of course, darling. And this is his lovely wife, Anastasia.” Savvina extends her hand.

“It’s lovely to meet you, Anastasia,” Savvina says.

“Likewise, thank you,” my wife replies taking Savvina’s hand. Hmm, no call me Ana. She’s still a bit uncomfortable.

“Let’s go and make ourselves comfortable, shall we?” Savvina says. Savvina tucks my wife’s hand into her elbow.

“My dear, you are exquisite,” Savvina says, leading Butterfly into the den. Butterfly looks back at me and I don’t say or do anything. These are our mentors and she needs to trust them without my prompting. She’s a good judge of character, so I don’t worry.

The den is an open room with two sofas facing each other and a wall of glass facing Lake Washington. The backyard is lit with track lighting and recessed ground lighting, so we get a view of the highly manicured lawn with the lake as the backdrop.

“Let’s get right to it,” Savvina says as she and Butterfly take a seat on the sofa across from me and Artemis. Oh, okay. I assumed that I and my wife would be sitting together. I didn’t think they would separate us this soon, but okay.

“So, we know why we’re here, right?” Savvina asks. I think she wants Butterfly to answer, but I’m certain that she’s not comfortable enough yet.

“We all know my history in the lifestyle,” I begin. “My wife basically doesn’t have any…”

“I have a little,” she protests. I frown and turn my gaze to her, and she looks back at me. “What you mean to say is that I don’t have any before you, but I have some now,” she corrects me. I nod.

“I stand corrected,” I cede. “We’ve… had some playtime. Some of it can get a little intense…”

“Meaning?” Savvina probes.

“There have been some punishments,” I say. “There have been more than a few times when her limits have been tested, but she’s not a seasoned submissive and I think she may be taking more than she should in a healthy BDSM relationship.”

“Which means you feel like you may be giving more than you should,” Artemis says, and it’s not a question. I shrug.

“Yes… I think I might,” I confess.

“Why do you go as far as you do?” he asks me.

“I look to her for signals, like I’ve always done with any submissive, and she doesn’t give them to me. I only know or get the sense that I’ve gone too far when her body betrays her. I didn’t really realize that she was doing this until our cruise.”

“You had absolutely no warnings before then?” Artemis accuses.

“There may have been warning signs…” I pause, “there were warning signs, but I kept thinking that we were getting it together.”

“You’re quiet, Anastasia,” Savvina says. Butterfly begins to fidget a bit.

“I just want to be what he needs,” she says. “It’s not that bad…”

“Not that bad,” Savvina repeats, “that should not be a phrase that you use to describe your relationship at all.” Butterfly rolls her eyes.

“I’m trying to say that he doesn’t abuse me,” she clarifies.

“No one suggested that,” Artemis says. “Why would you immediately feel the need to point that out?”

“Because of what we do,” she defends. “People tend to get the wrong idea…”

“Are you forgetting that you’re here because we do the same thing?” Savvina interjects.

“It’s just… when he talks about pushing my limits. I haven’t passed out. He hasn’t beaten me and drawn blood or broken any bones, so I don’t know what he means when he’s talking about pushing me past my limits.”

“Your limits mean a lot of things, Ana… may I call you Ana?” Savvina says, and it’s the first time that anyone has ever had to force the nickname. Butterfly nods. “You mentioned breaking bones and drawing blood. Have you ever seen anything like that in the lifestyle?”

“Well, yes and no. I haven’t seen breaking bones, but I did visit a BDSM club in college and I saw blood play.”

“Do you consider that abuse?” Savvina asks. Butterfly grimaces.

“To each his own, I guess,” she says, finally. “It’s not for me.”

“So, he hasn’t done anything to you that you would consider abusive, but yet, you’re here because he thinks he’s pushing you past your limits.” Butterfly sighs.

“He went to see his trainer today,” she begins. Huh? Where’s this going. “The guy told him that he’s out of shape because he’s been out of practice. Look at him!” She gestures over to me. “You can pick any part of his body and not be able to pinch a centimeter of fat. Yet, his trainer says he’s out of shape. Why? Because he’s supposed to be at a certain level of performance, and he’s not there.

“That’s how I feel,” she continues. “I feel like I just need the conditioning to be what he needs when he needs it. And yes, I know that there’s a point called ‘too far,’ but if I don’t allow him to push my limits, how will I know what that point is?”

“I see,” Savvina says to Butterfly. “So, it sounds to me that you may have a bit of a grasp of the physical, but you don’t clearly understand the mental.”

“I understand the mental,” she says, clearly affronted. “He’s a Dominant—he needs to regain or maintain control.”

“That’s not all he needs,” Savvina replies. “But what about you? What about what you need? What about your mental? Does the pain get you off?” She shrinks a bit. She’s shrinking?

“Sometimes,” she admits.

“And the other times?” Savvina presses. Butterfly crosses her legs and begins to look very small, shrinking more and I repress the urge to leap over and gather her in my arms. I hate that shit. She looks down, then casts a glance in my direction, though she never makes eye contact with me.

“In another life, you would have been a great pain whore.”

No, she wouldn’t! Pain whores absolutely get off on pain. I know that’s not Butterfly.

“We need to be alone,” Savvina announces. My back straightens.

“Why?” I ask. I thought we were in training together.

“Because you came to us for help,” Savvina says. “She’s a submissive right now and she’s clearly not going to talk with you in the room, much less be receptive to anything I’m going to be telling her. We need to be alone.”

“Come on, Christian,” Artemis says, standing. “Let’s go get a drink.”

Savvina doesn’t break her gaze with me and Butterfly won’t meet my gaze at all. I reluctantly stand and follow Artemis to another part of the house.

“What’s your poison?” he asks, and I notice that his normally heavy Greek accent is significantly smoothed out.

A double shot of Scotch…

“Sparkling water with lime,” I say. “I’m driving.” He nods and begins to fix my drink. “Your accent suddenly doesn’t seem as heavy.”

“It’s a practiced dialect,” he admits, “when I want to make sure that my English is fully understood. Thank you for the confirmation.” He places a soda water with lime in front of me and prepares one for himself.

“You don’t have to abstain from drinking just because I am,” I observe.

“It’s better to keep a level head,” he says. “I may have one drink with dinner, but nothing more.” I nod.

“Why did you offer me a drink, then?” I ask. He raises a brow.

“I offered you a drink, not the bottle,” he says, sipping his soda water. “How does it feel to be ushered from the room that way?”

Like I’ve totally lost control and I want to beat something until my arms ache.

“Fucking helpless,” I admit.

“Good,” Artemis says. “You’re going to have to let her grow on her own and that means letting go. As you both said, she had no experience before you, so you were okay to introduce her, but you’re not okay to teach her… and even though she’s on her way, she has a lot to learn.”

“I’m aware of this now,” I say. “That’s why we’re here…”

Artemis and I talk for a while about balancing life with being a Dom and a husband—he calls it Dominus—and after a few minutes, he reaches into his pocket and looks at his phone.

“Dinner is ready,” he says, “and we’re being summoned.”

I raise my gaze to him. I guess that last part means that our wives have finished their conversation and it’s safe for us to go back. I feel a bit powerless and, in light of current events, it’s not a good feeling. Not a good feeling at all.

Artemis and I go back to the den to join our wives and I get a surprise.

“Ana, why don’t you go on in and get settled for dinner with Artemis? Give me a moment with Christian, do you mind?” Butterfly is clearly hesitant.

“Um, okay?” she says and it’s more of a question than a statement. Artemis gestures with his arm and smiles warmly. She looks at me then at Artemis and leaves the room with him. He mimics placing his hand in the small of her back, but doesn’t actually touch her as they exit. Savvina turns to me.

“You’ve always had submissives that were already primed,” she says. “They knew who they were, they knew what they wanted. They had contracts, they underwent negotiations, and they knew exactly what to expect. They knew what they would and wouldn’t take from you, and it was all spelled out in black and white. They had been thoroughly trained, and some of them were pros. You’ve never had feelings for any of them except your Mistress when you first began as a submissive…”

God, I hate that she refers to that woman as my Mistress.

“You’ve never had a submissive in training, much less one that you’re in love with—seasoned or not. Do not badger that girl about what we discuss. You’ll set her all the way back and undo any progress we possibly make. My suggestion is that while she’s going through her initial submissive training that you go to your Dominus training until you’re needed for her sessions. You’ve known me for years. You know she’ll be safe with me.”

“So, you won’t tell me about the progress of the sessions?” I inquire. She shakes her head.

“You’ll only know what you need to know and nothing more. I will tell you this—she needs a lot of training. She’s balancing on a delicate rope right now and she’s full of more uncertainty than you think. I’m only telling you this because if you push her too hard, it’ll be disastrous.” I nod. I can’t do anything but train and wait.

Fuck, this is going to be tough as fuck!

I’m contemplative throughout dinner, talking as much as is necessary to be social, but lost in my own thoughts. Don’t ask about training; don’t push too hard; I won’t get any updates. How the fuck am I supposed to know what to do and what not to do? I’m going to lose my goddamn mind trying to gauge what’s appropriate and what’s not. I thought I truly had a handle on this whole Dom thing. If I didn’t know anything else, I always knew how to read a woman’s body—what buttons to push, what things to say, how to touch her. To some degree, I’ve even been able to read a woman’s thoughts…

I know when she’s displeased; I know when she’s aroused; I know when she’s angry or sad.

Now, suddenly, with my own wife, I feel like I’m completely out of my league. And it doesn’t help where now I’m fighting with my company as well, where at one time I had total and absolute control and now, it just seems like things are going haywire!

Everybody is telling me that I’m going soft, including my fucking trainer. Even my executive staff don’t respect my decisions anymore. I feel like I’m losing my grip on everything and it’s unbelievably frustrating.

We’ve spent dinner mostly in an effort to make Butterfly more comfortable with the journey we’re about to embark upon, but the entire time, I’m feeling more and more rudderless. By the time we return to the den for drinks and to discuss our next steps, I’m wound tighter than a dollar-store watch.

I’m having visions of the less-controlled things that I once did to faceless submissives in the playroom that’s now being dismantled at Escala. I’ve been having these visions ever since I held my wife down and forced her into two orgasms… or was it three?

I’m remembering with a regretful fondness the days when I was looking forward to the weekend when some fit but bony waif would call me Master and I would work her over until all the pressures of the week had been released. I wasn’t kind to those women—I respected their limits and their safewords if they used them, but I wasn’t kind.

If they ever left me feeling empty or unsatisfied in any way, I punished them. And if they did it again, I ended their contract. It was a means to an end, and it worked out nicely, until…

“Christian, you’re quiet,” Artemis says, bringing me back to the here and now. I know he’s asking what I’m thinking because I haven’t contributed anything to the conversation since we returned to the den. Well, if I’m looking for help with this Dominus thing, I have to be honest.

“This week, I found myself fighting my old… urges,” I admit, and Butterfly rubbernecks to me. Oh, hell, this may have been a bad idea, but the elephant is in the room now.

“Your old urges?” he asks, curiously. He knows what I’m talking about. He’s outfitted both of my playrooms and broke down the one at Escala.

“The pressures of life and the corporate world,” I continue without looking at anyone. “They’re… unearthing the memories of my prior coping techniques.”

“I see,” he says. “Can you elaborate for Ana?”

“I’m aware of his prior coping techniques,” my wife says, turning from me and dropping her gaze to the floor.

“Okay, then elaborate for me,” Artemis presses. I glare at him and he doesn’t falter. He’s not allowing either of us to hide. If this is what we want, we have to face up to it.

“The caning and the whipping,” I admit. “The orgasm refusal and striping the skin with a cat… the things that use to calm my frustration with… life.”

I don’t look at Butterfly, but I can see her deflate out of the corner of my eye.

“You miss those things, Christian?” Artemis asks. I shake my head.

“I just… recall my fascination with them, that’s all,” I admit. “I remember anticipating the weekend and imagining a scene, then carrying it out with a submissive. Yes, the release was liberating. When the days become more stressful than you’re accustomed to—stressful like they used to be—you remember your old coping techniques. That’s all this is.” My wife scoffs, drawing the attention of everyone in the room.

“Ana, is there something you want to add?” Artemis adds. She shrugs.

“What’s to add?” she asks, her voice laced with sarcasm. “He’s feeling nostalgic about the days when he used to beat submissives. His business is stressing him out and he’s thinking about going back to the old way of doing things, just like he did with his company.” I roll my eyes and sigh.

“I’m not thinking about going back to the old way of doing things,” I defend. “I was honest about remembering those times because the stress and the angst that I’m feeling now is similar to the stress and the angst that I was feeling then. It’s no different than smelling my mom’s chicken soup and remembering my childhood, Anastasia. It’s just something that struck a memory.”

“Oh, there’s a comparison—your old BDSM lifestyle and Grace’s chicken soup.”

Yep… yep, that sounds ridiculous.

“Okay… alright, that was a bit too simplistic, but it’s the same premise. It’s something that struck up a memory and that’s all,” I retort.

“Um-hmm,” she says, her gaze back to the floor.

“Ana, what’s going through your head?” Artemis asks.

“I knew that’s what he wanted,” she blurts out. “No matter how he tried to convince me otherwise, I knew deep down that’s what he wanted all along.”

What?

“That’s what I wanted, yes!” I say finally, firmly.

“Then why didn’t you just say that?” she nearly shrieks. “Why play these games with me like I’m what you wanted all this time?”

“Because you are what I want!” I snap back harshly, feeling attacked, “and I don’t want to be that way! It’s what I wanted! It’s what I was accustomed to! And when things get rough, it may be what my mind recalls as a coping technique. It does not mean that’s what I want now! If you, of all people, don’t know and understand that, then I don’t know what to tell you!”

“We need to back up,” Artemis says. “We’re getting into pointing fingers and losing sight of the purpose here. Ana,” he says, turning to my wife, “you’ve heard that Christian may be having some of his initial primal urges…” I move to dispute him, but he raises his finger to silence me. I fucking hate that shit, but in this setting, it’s different—another means to an end.

“How do you feel about that?” Artemis continues. “Would you be able to satisfy those urges for him?”

“No,” she says, after a pause. “I can’t be that woman. I don’t like whips and I don’t like canes, and he knows that.” Her voice is cracking.

“Christian,” Artemis turns to me, “how do you feel about hearing that?”

“I don’t want to do those things to her, and she knows that,” I retort. “That’s why we’re here—to find that compromise that works for us both without her having to push herself to limits that I know she can’t take.”

“Then when he needs the really hard stuff, he’ll just go find someone else that’ll take what he’s dishing out!” She hisses through her tears.

“Fuck! Seriously?” I roar. “You seriously think I would fucking do that?”

I launch from my seat and walk away from the conversation, over to the wall of glass and just look out at the darkness. I don’t even bother counting. It won’t help this time. I really can’t believe what I’m hearing. Does she really think I would do that to her? To our fucking family? Seriously?

“Ana, that’s not fair,” Savvina chimes in. “Has Christian ever given you any reason to believe that he would venture outside of your marriage?”

“No,” I hear her sob, “but I can’t be that woman for him. I know who he was, what he did, and I can’t be that woman! So, what is he going to do—pretend like he doesn’t have those urges? Pretend like he doesn’t want to chain me to the ceiling of the playroom and cane me until my entire body is striped pink?”

I’ve never fucking whipped any woman until her entire body was striped pink. That is abuse. Hell, I had a hard time with B&D after I spanked her until she had purple bruises on her bottom. Remember that, Anastasia?

Come to think of it, even if I was that much of an asshole to want to cheat on my wife, I could never inflict the kind of damage on any woman that I used to before I met Ana, for more reasons than I can count.

I can’t hear anything now. I’m so fucking pissed that I can barely breathe. How dare her! How fucking dare she think I would want someone else—for any reason whatsoever! Yeah, I skipped out to Madrid when things got a bit much for me to bear, but has that situation completely negated everything that I’ve ever done in our entire relationship to prove that she’s the one that I really want? Jesus H. Christ, this is a fucking nightmare.

I feel angry, I feel appalled. I feel every type of burning rage a man can feel when he’s innocent and being accused of a crime he didn’t commit. But beyond all that fury and ire, there’s one emotion that’s sticking out the worst, and I can’t put a name to it? Is it rejection? Do I feel slighted? What is this?

“What did you say?” Artemis says and apparently, I said something, but I wasn’t aware of it. I close my eyes and open my mouth and just let the word flow out on its own.

“Hurt.”

The room is silent, and I don’t turn around. I’m leaning on the wall next to the wall of glass—or I should say that it’s kind of holding me up right now. I don’t want this. I don’t want any of this. I’ll turn my back on the whole lifestyle, on everything it means to me or does for me if it means I’ll lose her. I’ll work out until every muscle in my body feels like steel before I jeopardize my family. But I think what bothers me the most is the fact that she feels like I could so easily throw that all away.

“Christian, you’re moving backwards. That’s not good…”

We’re moving backwards!” I say finally, interrupting Artemis’ statement. “We’re moving backwards in every way!”

“That may be what’s needed,” Savvina interjects and I glare at her. “To pull back all the layers of everything you’ve built in terms of your practices and dispel all the disillusions.”

I take a moment to think about what she said when Butterfly left the room; that all of my submissives have already been primed; that she’s pretty much at a precipice right now and if I push her too hard, it may set her back. I just wish I knew how the fuck this equates into I want someone else just because I confessed to feeling the same lack of control that I used to.

“I really think we’ve gone as far as we can today,” Savvina says. Both Artemis and I look questioning at her and she gestures to Butterfly. I look over at my wife and she’s as still as a statue, tears falling almost endlessly onto her beautiful red dress. I push my hands through my hair and shake my head.

“I think you’re right,” I say, unable to hide the anger in my voice. I leave the den and head to the front room and the closet where our coats are kept. I’ve never needed time alone more in my life than I do right now.

The three of them come from the den into the front room where I’m standing. Butterfly isn’t crying anymore, but she’s eying me leerily. Oh, for fuck’s sake.

“You can ride with me if you like,” I say, failing miserably to contain my ire, “or if you rather I call someone to come and get you, I can do that, too.”

She immediately drops her gaze and shakes her head, and I immediately feel like shit. I hold her coat open for her and she walks into it without raising her head.

“Next week?” Savvina asks. “The Munch?”

“Yes,” I say, my voice clipped. No way in hell I’m going to put myself or her through this without seeing it through.

The ride back to Mercer is deathly quiet. I don’t even bother to turn the radio on. I’m concentrating hard on the road and trying to get us back home in one piece. Total silence for twenty minutes and plenty of time for my thoughts to bang themselves against my skull over and over again until I can at least find the solace of my goddamn piano…


ANASTASIA

He bolts to the elevator without a word the moment we hit the mudroom. He doesn’t even bother to remove his coat… or mine.

Weeping, I take the stairs to our bedroom. I cry the entire time I rip the red dress from my body, truly hoping to never see the beautiful piece of fabric again. I kick off my stilettos and I’m careful with his grandmother’s earrings, not so much with the costume necklace from one of my prior Ana Steele collections. My hands are trembling so much as I try to remove it that I break the clasp. I reach for a nightgown, then realize that I’ll most likely be spending the night alone, and not in that bed, so I opt for a pair of yoga pants and my U-Dub sweatshirt instead.

I always feared the day would come where I wouldn’t be enough for him. In the back of my head, I always dreaded the day would come when he needed something that I couldn’t give him. That’s why I took the heavy play. It was never something that I couldn’t take, and I knew it wasn’t abuse. I knew that I could stop any of it with just a safeword, but I knew he needed more. No matter how he tried to convince me or himself, I knew he needed more, so I convinced myself to take more—to be what he needed.

The truth is that the whole thing is an unknown to me, and I’m putting characteristics on him that were never ever there… like infidelity. Mistrust is a poison pill and I can’t allow that to creep into our relationship. It’s more than the running away to Madrid because he can’t take the heat or deal with what he saw. This is actively believing that my husband would venture outside of our marriage and find satisfaction in the arms of another woman, or with another woman at the end of his whip.

I’m fighting the urge to pack my things and my babies and leave just because I don’t want to be here and I don’t know what to feel, but I know that won’t solve anything. If anything, it’ll make everything that much worse, and it’s the wrong thing to do for so many reasons. I don’t even know why I want to leave. Even now, my mind is ping-ponging back and forth between rational and irrational thoughts, and I really need to talk to somebody.

I need a friend—a confidante in the worst way.

I open my phone to Facebook and look for Laura’s name. I can instant message her and she’ll contact me when she’s online.

Hmmm, I have to download Facebook Messenger. Fine. I download the app and look for Laura. She has to approve me to message her. That’s strange. Shouldn’t I already be approved if I’m her friend? Whatever. I type a short message:

Mercer Doctor Lady: Hey, what’s up?

Short and sweet. What time is it in Sydney right now anyway? Is she even awake? I’m fucking bright-eyed and bushy tailed since my husband refuses to come to bed after I foolishly accused him of wanting to whip other little brown-haired girls if I refused to cooperate. God, the thought is so repulsive, and if he had even the slightest reaction close to mine, I certainly understand why he’s livid and needs his space right now.

Ellen Degeneres it is…

I watch three clips of her scaring her guests and playing silly games that she made up when my phone chimes with a notification.

LauraLee Kelly: You’re up late. Can’t sleep?

Very perceptive.

Mercer Doctor Lady: How’d you guess? Exactly what time is it in Sydney? Did I wake you?

LauraLee Kelly: Not even. Has it been that long, dear? It’s barely dusk here.

Oh. Well, at least I didn’t wake her.

LauraLee Kelly: I know it’s past dusk in your neck of the woods. Why the night owl?

I can’t tell her everything, but I’ll give her the basics.

Mercer Doctor Lady: I had a fight with Christian.

LauraLee Kelly: Uh oh. Can you elaborate?

She knows me well.

Mercer Doctor Lady: Only a little. Old ghosts preyed on my insecurities.

LauraLee Kelly: The Boogieman?

Hmm… no.

Mercer Doctor Lady: Honestly, no, not this time. I was just insecure about his nostalgia of the man that he used to be before he met me.

LauraLee Kelly: Okay, so I’m a little lost. Why was he nostalgic?

Mercer Doctor Lady: Because work is stressful, and he began thinking about the things he used to do as a single man.

LauraLee Kelly: I’m not trying to open a can of worms, but work stress usually doesn’t make you think about something like that. There has to be something more. You know I’m your friend and I’d really like to help you out with this, but I don’t want you to tell me more than you think you should.

Shit, should I tell her anything? I’ve already told her so much. I would normally talk to Ace about things like this, but he’s not available and I’ve pretty much told him to kick rocks until I need him…

As I’m pondering my options, my phone makes this horrible ringing-clanking sound. It sounds awful. I look at the screen and discover that Laura is calling me. That’s not my ringtone, though. I look closer and realize that she’s calling me through Messenger. Hm, you learn something new every day.

I swipe the screen and accept her video chat.

“I figured this would be easier, whether you wanted to elaborate or not,” she says when her face appears on the screen. Jesus, she’s a sight for sore eyes.

“I didn’t think I’d miss you guys so much so soon,” I admit. “It’s been a rough week ever since we’ve been home.”

“Obviously,” she says. “Why are you sitting in the dark?” I turn on a lamp on the end table. “There you are. You don’t look so good…  do you want to elaborate or would you rather not?”

I look over into our bedroom at our undisturbed bed and sigh.

“Yeah,” I cede weakly.

Without giving her too much information on our background and why we partake, I explain to her that we’re active in the BDSM lifestyle and that Christian would most likely blow a literal fuse if he knew that I was telling her. I give her the short version of our mostly vanilla relationship with the kinky fuckery thrown in, but that my most recent uncertainty stemmed from the fact that my husband was—once upon a time—into some of the more sadistic stuff.

“You’re afraid that he wants to go back to that?” she asks.

“I don’t know, Laura,” I admit. “I know he thinks about it even though he won’t do it with me. I know he would never hurt me… well, beyond what I can take and what I consent to, but he used to be into some heavier shit than what we do. This week has been stressful with some things that have been going on with the business and in our personal lives, and he admitted that he had been thinking about some of the things that he used to do with those other women.”

“Did he say he wanted you to do those things?” she asks.

“No,” I say, shaking my head.

“Did he give you the impression that he wanted to start doing those things again… with you or other women?” I clear my throat.

“Not as such,” I admit. “He just… talked about remembering those things—his old ‘coping mechanisms’—and he made it sound like he missed them.” She nods.

“Okay, now we’re getting somewhere. So, did he in any way, shape, or form make you feel like you were falling short because you weren’t doing what these other women did?”

“No,” I admit. “He didn’t, but…” I trail off.

“But what?” she presses. I roll my eyes and sigh.

“This horrible woman that he used to… be involved with, she told me when we first got together that he would tire of me—that one day, he would miss his old lifestyle and that I wouldn’t be enough. As soon as I start remembering what she said…” with the help of a nocturnal visit from the bitch, “… he comes out and admits that he misses that lifestyle.”

“He said that?” she asks in horrified awe.

“Well, no, not that. He said that the stress of the week is making him nostalgic for his old coping mechanisms.” She frowns.

“What else did he say?” she asks.

“That was pretty much it—that he was just thinking about his prior activities and the way that he used to cope.” She rubs her chin.

“Okay, I see. So… some bitch planted a seed in your head a few years ago when her time was apparently fading and yours was just beginning to bloom, and now when things aren’t so perfect, her words have come back to haunt you and you suddenly believe that your husband is no longer satisfied with your relationship. Have I just about summed it up?”

Wait a minute, whose side are you on?

“You do realize that you’re subjecting yourself to insecurity because he’s remembering the familiar, don’t you?”

God, she makes it sound so simple. It’s got to be more than that.

“We were seeing another couple in the lifestyle to try to help us find a middle-ground between our kinky fuckery and the really hard stuff.”

“Why would you need that if you guys were already practicing?” she asks. “I thought you said he didn’t expect you to do all that hard shit.”

“He doesn’t,” I clarify. “We’re seeing this other couple because he feels like he may be pushing me beyond my limits and that I’m letting him because I don’t want him to seek satisfaction elsewhere. So, we sought out some guidance.” She frowns.

“You realize that you’re proving my point, right?” she says. “If he had the slightest inclination of going back to the lifestyle that he was living before, you think he would have said anything about it while you were present? He has a woman who is clearly willing to take more than she can bear to help him stay grounded, but you guys are meeting with someone because he feels like you’re going beyond your limits. How this equates to ‘he wants his old life back,’ I have no idea, so you’re really going to have to help me with that.”

You should see him, Laura. He’s nearly inconsolable!” I say, my voice desperate. “Most people devote eight or nine hours of the day to work. If you’re the boss, maybe ten or twelve. This thing with the business has turned him into someone else entirely. This is the guy he used to be before he met me, only it’s worse—or maybe it’s not worse, because I wasn’t around then. Maybe this was who he was all the time—unapproachable for 16 – 20 hours out of the day, but nobody cared because he didn’t have a wife and children. Nobody was looking or nobody cared if he slept for maybe four hours each night, but when he did that, he let his frustrations out on the weekend on women who were trained and professional and could take a whole lot more than I can.”

I’m choking back the tears that are welling up in my throat again. My husband is nostalgic about the old days not because he wants another woman, but because life is guiding him to where he was before. If something doesn’t change, what’s to stop him from wandering into his old way… again, not because he’s unfaithful, but because it’s what’s familiar?

“Ana, my high school years were outstanding—I was popular, I had friends, and the prom was phenomenal. I remember those days with fondness, but I don’t want to go back! It was a time before all my problems started. I was carefree and young and happy, but I still don’t want to go back. All kinds of things have happened that makes me a different person now than I was then. So, this person now won’t fit in that time, no matter how great it was. Do you really think that this person that Christian is now would fit in the time of the person that he was then? Because if you do, you’ve got a bigger problem than you think.” I choke on a gasp and cover my mouth.

“No,” I sob. “No, he’s nothing like he was before… nothing at all. I don’t think he could ever be that person again if he tried. He’s… come a really long way, and the biggest part of the journey was… in the first few months that we met. The Christian Grey that I first met could never have… been a husband, let alone a father. Yes, he has his imperfect moments, but… he’s not that guy. He’s… just not that guy.”

“I’m glad you see that,” she says. “So, why are you talking to me and not to him?”

“He needs some time,” I say, wiping the tears from my cheeks. “He’s a proud man. He told me how he felt… and I told him how I felt. I don’t think either of us could really take it.”

“Mm,” she replies, “his version of sulking?”

“Brooding,” I correct her, “but he gets a gimme on this one… a big gimme.”

Laura and I talk a little more and I thank her for listening to me and helping me get my thoughts together. The incident wasn’t Boogieman status—only because I think I’ve learned how to deal with the Boogieman—but it was pretty steep, and the way I feel about Ace these days, I don’t think he would have been able to help me.

Quite some time after I began my call with Laura, I go to the nightstand in my bedroom and retrieve my iPod. I take the throw from the bottom of the bed and go back into the sitting room. Still fully dressed, I wrap the throw around me and lay on the loveseat. I’m surprised that my iPod is still charged, but I haven’t used it in a while. I turn it on and open my files. That one big file is still there of course. I open it and allow it to play. I lay my head on the pillow as I listen to him play his piano and sing to me. I finally fall asleep as his deep voice sings about being in love with me and feeling brand new…

I slept like the dead. It must have been the emotional overload from last night. I’m in the fetal position on the love seat, wrapped in the throw from our bed. I’m listening to the last bars of one of the songs Christian sang to me on my iPod—I think it’s Michael Franks, Now I Know Why. I stop the iPod and sit up. It’s obvious that he didn’t come to bed last night since I’m still on the loveseat.

It’s also obvious that he’s been in this room.

On the floor next to the loveseat is a single flawless long-stemmed rose.

I pick up the rose and take it to the en suite with me. While I’m in the shower, I think about the conversation Savvina and I had before my husband dropped the “nostalgia” bomb…

“You say that you know about the mental,” she says. “So, what do you know?” I straighten my back.

“I know that different people deal with stressful situations in different ways,” I say. “I know that my husband has been mentally preconditioned to deal with unfettered circumstances in a physical manner. It helps him to regain control and yes, it gets him off.”

“Unfettered,” she says, repeating my word. “God, you sound so clinical.”

Well! Should I be offended?

“Why are you making this relationship sound so sterile?” she asks.

“I don’t know what you mean.”

“How long have you actively partaken in a BDSM lifestyle of any kind?” she asks.

“Since the beginning,” I reply. “Well, almost the beginning. We might have been a week or two into our relationship, I don’t remember exactly…”

“And how long have you been together?” she presses.

“Two and a half years,” I confess.

“So, you two have been dabbling for two and a half years, and you don’t find it strange that your husband has not been able to identify your limits?” My defenses drop and I shrug.

“Christian was a different man when we met,” I tell her. “If you already knew him, I’m sure you’re aware of this.”

“I have helped my husband outfit a few dungeons for him. I’m aware of this,” she replies. Dungeons. He’s never called it a dungeon… but she just did.

You seem unnerved,” she says. “Does it bother you that I’ve had a hand in decorating his dungeons?”

“No,” I reply honestly, “it’s unsettling that you call them ‘dungeons.’ It conjures other impressions for me.”

“Well, that’s what they are, dear, but I’ll refer to them as playrooms if it’ll make you more comfortable.”

“Yes, please,” I reply.

“Earlier, you said the pain gets you off… sometimes. Is that why you allow him to push your limits so far?” I raise my gaze to her.

“I will speak to Christian about our progress and things that I feel he needs to know throughout our encounters, but whatever you say to me will remain in confidence,” she assures me. I stare at her for a moment or two.

“I’m not sure… what my husband wants,” I tell her. “He’s beautiful and powerful and he has spent a good portion of his life in the BDSM lifestyle, both as a submissive and as  a Dominant. He’s very good at being both. His pain threshold as a submissive is beyond anything I’ve ever seen in my life.”

“So, you’ve dominated him, too,” she observes.

“Like you said, we’ve dabbled,” I inform her. “But when he’s on the other side of the crop…” I trail off.

How do you feel going into a scene?” she asks. “When you know that he’s in full Dom mode, when he binds you or restrains you in any way, when you don’t know what’s coming, but you think you might, how do you feel? What are you thinking?”

I try to think about all the scenes we’ve done. Some of them have been passionate while others have been somewhat brutal. And yet others have been a combination of the two.

“It honestly depends on the situation,” I confess.

“Do you know what’s coming before it happens?” she asks.

“Not unless he tells me,” I reply.

“And how often does he tell you?”

“Not often,” I say.

“So, again I ask, how do you feel going into a scene… overall?” I pause.

“I trust him,” I reply. “I know that if I tell him to stop, he’ll stop. I know that he won’t hurt me beyond what I tell him that he can and can’t do.”

“That’s all wonderful, Ana, but you still haven’t told me how you feel,” she points out. “He’s in full Dom mode and you know it’s coming. You know what he’s done before, but you don’t know what he’s about to do now. How do you feel?” I swallow hard.

“It depends,” I reply honestly. “Excited sometimes, or… terrified…”

“Terrified?” she questions, frowning deeply.

“Of the unknown,” I add. “I want to be what he needs, but sometimes, I don’t know what he needs. I know he can be intense, and I just don’t know what’s going to happen. I don’t know if he’s going to do something that I like or if he’s going to need something more than I can take. It’s a balancing act and sometimes, it can be terrifying…”

I tell her about punishments that I don’t feel I deserved or where I think he actually may have gone too far, like the time I went outside without a jacket to stop Keri from leaving when I was pregnant. I didn’t feel like it was a huge malfeasance and could have been easily settled by a verbal lashing about going outside without a coat—like he went outside with wet hair or ran through the rain and actually did get sick—but he spanked me in the shower until my butt was purple.

Or the first fiasco in Anguilla where I was left shaking and nerve-wrecked after being ordered not to come.

“So, it’s not that you’re concerned if he’ll hurt you because it sounds like you expect him to hurt you anyway. You’re simply afraid that you won’t be able to sustain as far as he might be willing to go.”

Bells ring in my head not to respond, not to let this woman know that she’s hit this nail on the head. What does that say about my husband—that he will one day take things too far? That I will have to safeword to get him to stop? When will I know when to safeword if I keep telling myself to go further and further… for him? When will that moment come when he really does need more, and I can’t give it to him?

“No response is a response, Ana,” Savvina says. “You don’t understand the mental and what it means for you; and if you don’t find enjoyment in it, or relief, or release, then it is abuse, even if it’s unintentional.”

“But I do find release…”

“No, you don’t,” she interrupts me. “You don’t find Nirvana, peace, or even subspace until it’s over and he makes you come. This. Is. Not. Just. For. Him. As his wife, this is for you, too. Until you fully understand that, you’re in a dangerous place.”

We went in to dinner shortly after that revelation with Savvina promising to help me understand what healthy limits are as opposed to allowing myself to be brutalized—for lack of a better word—for the sake of keeping my husband from straying. And then came the timebomb…

“The pressures of life and the corporate world, they’re… unearthing the memories of my prior coping techniques… The caning and the whipping, the orgasm refusal and striping the skin with a cat… the things that use to calm my frustration with… life. I just… recall my fascination with them, that’s all. I remember anticipating the weekend and imagining a scene, then carrying it out with a submissive. Yes, the release was liberating. When the days become more stressful than you’re accustomed to—stressful like they used to be—you remember your old coping techniques…”

Who wouldn’t feel at least even the tiniest bit of doubt upon hearing that their very dominant-previously-sadistic husband is recalling his fascination with his previous BDSM lifestyle right at a moment when he’s telling me that he may need to pull back because I might be pushing myself too far?

He expressed his feelings and I expressed mine. Mine were apparently the very wrong ones…

“You can ride with me if you like… or if you rather I call someone to come and get you, I can do that, too.”

He was pissed, not that I could blame him. I let the insecurities that I got from a dream—a phantom—materialize into the real, and I threw that insecurity at my husband. That ride was probably the longest twenty minutes of my life.

That’s a lie. The seconds passed like hours when he was in Madrid, but that’s another situation entirely.

I’m blaming a bout of dream-induced temporary insanity for my feelings of insecurity. I truly don’t think Christian wants another woman, not even to release his frustrations. However, I’m not at all convinced that he doesn’t want the release of the intense playroom scenes that he once had with his prior submissives, and I don’t know what to do about that.


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

The new question and answer thread is always open for questions about the story. Be sure to read it and please adhere to the rules when asking questions. You can find it on the left, second from last on the menu or you can click HERE.

There has been yet another development where if you feel the need to talk to fellow readers about personal issues, you need a sounding board, you want to vent about something in your life, please feel free to visit the link on the left in the menu entitled “Do You Need To Talk.” No subject is taboo. I just ask that you approach the link with respect for those who have concerns as well as those who respond. You can also get to the link by clicking HERE

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

~~love and handcuffs

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Fifty Shades Golden: Chapter 20

This is a work of creativity. As such, you may see words, concepts, scenes, actions, behaviors, pictures, implements, and people that may or may not be socially acceptable and/or offensive. If you are sensitive to adverse and alternative subject matter of any kind, please do not proceed, because I guarantee you’ll find it here. You have been warned. Read at your own risk.

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

This ain’t your everyday Christian and Ana story. Don’t expect anything. Just read it as it goes along or go away. I do not own Fifty Shades Trilogy, or the characters. They belong to E. L. James. I am only exercising my right to exploit, abuse, and mangle the characters to MY discretion in MY story in MY interpretation as a fan. If something that I say displeases you, please, just leave. If you don’t like this story or me, please don’t spoil this experience for everyone. Just go away. For the rest of you, the new saga continues…

Chapter 20

Eric Dane 20

TREY

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

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

I don’t know if that’s good or bad.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Episodes? He must be talking about her diabetes.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And ultimately, Golden.

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

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

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

*-*

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

Black… that’s different.

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

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

Shit, that’s hot as fuck.

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

That’s different.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Okay, that’s better, a little relief.

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

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

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

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

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

Where the fuck did she learn this technique?

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Fucking hell!”

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

Whap!
Whap!
Whap!

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

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

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

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

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

“Aaaaaaaahhhhh!”

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

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

Thwap!

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

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

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

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

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

“Shit! Aahh! What the fuck!”

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

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

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

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

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

Damn… he’s pissed.

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

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

And ever…

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

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

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

And I. Am. In. Agony.

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

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

Fucking hell, I’m going to die.

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

Oh, God. Oh, dear God…

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

Shit. Fucking hell.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And that’s hot.

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

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

“Aaahh!”

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

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

She’s going to cause a fucking nuclear explosion.

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

Thwap!

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

Thwap!

And again…

Thwap!

And again…

Thwap!

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

And she stops.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What the fuck is this anti-climactic shit!

She’s fucking turning me into a sub.

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

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

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

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

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

*-*

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

Cruel, sadistic bitch.


Briana Evigan 20

GOLDEN

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

That I forgot who I am.

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

And Trey’s text reminded me of that.

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

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

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

And again.

And again.

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

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

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

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

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

Then I remembered…

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

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

Your orgasm is mine.

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

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

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

*-*

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Videos?” he barks angrily.

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

That gets Canciana’s attention.

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

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

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

“Pendejo!” she hisses. “Perra!”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

He turns an accusing glare to Canciana.

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

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

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

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

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

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

He loses his temper.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Are we finished?” Greg asks, perturbed.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

It’s not a request.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Thank you, Mistress,” he breathes.


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

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

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

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

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

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

~~love and handcuffs

Raising Grey: Chapter 77—Something He Can Feel

I love you all from the bottom of my heart and I thank you for rallying to support me when I was beginning to doubt. I’ve always known that I can’t satisfy everyone, but I at least try not to offend. Thank you for your bandages, salve, and love for my weary Muse. She insisted that I give you a bonus chapter for your kindness and support.

As far as the accent goes, I’m not asking for forgiveness anymore. Here’s what you get.

Danger—Aussie accent ahead. Turn away now.

That’s it.

Smoochies!!

All other previous disclaimers still apply.

Chapter 77—Something He Can Feel

CHRISTIAN

This woman is sex on a stick and these fuckers are all nutting in their pants watching her roll that beautiful ass up there on stage talking about giving me something I can feel.

Oh, I feel it, baby. Believe me, I feel it.

When she finishes her song, a crowd of these fuckers rush the stage as if she could possibly be here alone. I take my time getting to the stage, watching her taunting them with her coyness as if she’s attempting to decide which hand to take knowing that she’ll only take mine. When I announce that I’m there to retrieve my wife, the fuckers all look like someone stole their lollipop, but they move the hell out of my way so that I can get my Butterfly. We have a few more drinks and she plays with the idea of going up and doing another number.

Over my dead body.

We leave and go to another bar called The Thorn. It’s an Irish pub with a real arcade in it. We’re the best dressed people in the pub and decide to make a night of it before we go back to our stateroom. We start with a game of bowling, with the smallest balls in the world. As it turns out, Butterfly is a mediocre bowler, and I end up winning two games.

Next, we play two games of pool—or at least that’s what I think we’re playing. We spend the entire time finding ways to distract each other’s shot. We do everything short of stripping and fucking right there on the table, which at this point I would gladly do. She’s determined to make me fuck her in some inappropriate place. I’m ready to tear into her like the succulent feast that she’s threatening to be and it’s taking everything I have to control myself in this setting. At one point, I find myself yanking that ponytail back and planting a shameless kiss on her mouth, wondering how that lipstick never smeared.

Oh… it’s that lipstick.

After a tie on the billiards table, we move on to darts. Now, I don’t know what’s in these beers that we’re drinking, but whatever it is, it lures me into some false sense of superiority that because I’m good at darts, I can beat this Marine’s daughter who once threw three knives at my ex-Domme—well, only one at her, but nonetheless, she threw three knives—and they all stuck in the same spot on the door. Even slightly tipsy, she whooped my entire ass… three times… well! I have been thoroughly spanked and sent out to pasture.

She’s a mixture of haughty victor and giggly schoolgirl and I’m totally triggered by it. I want to tie her up and spank her and fuck her and make her come in 19 different ways… but I don’t want to put a pause on our fun, and I know we’ve got excursions tomorrow and I don’t want to be exhausted. So, I put Sir back in my pocket, and vow to redeem myself in this game. I’m good, dammit! I can beat a girl at least once.

“You’re very good,” I hear someone say, interrupting us just as we’re about to start another game. Butterfly and I turn simultaneously to see who’s standing behind us. The statement came from a raven-haired woman somewhere between mine and Butterfly’s age. She’s wearing a long, white, formal dress with a cape attached, her blonde companion wearing a pair of black slacks with a matching vest, white shirt, and black tie. It appears that we aren’t the only ones who went straight from the formal dinner to the ship’s night life.

The woman is standing there with her fingers clasped loosely at her abdomen with this cat-caught-the-canary half-smile on her face. Her companion is sporting the same unsettling smirk. She’s looking from Butterfly to me and back to Butterfly, so I’m not sure who she’s talking to. I plaster the CEO expression on my face so as not to give away my inner thoughts. Butterfly isn’t so successful. It’s clear that she doesn’t trust this woman.

“Thank you,” Butterfly answers reserved. It’s a safe assumption that the woman was talking to her since she’s won all the rounds. We both stand there waiting for her to get to the real point of her interruption. They stand there gazing back at us, not saying a word, so Butterfly turns her attention back to the dartboard to start a new game. I don’t take my eyes off the couple who doesn’t seem to want to leave.

“I’d like to play a game with you,” the woman says as Butterfly is about to take aim at the board. My wife turns around and examines her. “If you don’t mind,” she adds.

Butterfly looks at the woman, then looks back at me. I shrug, signaling that I don’t mind if she doesn’t. She turns back to the woman.

“Okay,” she says, non-committal. “We can play.”

“Oh,” the woman adds. “I should have said that there’s a wager involved.” What the fuck is this bitch up to? Butterfly’s brow furrows.

“I didn’t agree to a wager,” she says. The woman smirks.

“You’re backing out now?” the woman taunts.

“I’m not backing out of anything because I haven’t agreed to anything,” Butterfly clarifies.

jsl98f-l-610x610-dress-longdress-whitelongdress-capesleevedress-capesleeve-whitedress“You agreed to play,” the woman continues. She’s up to no good. It’s quite clear. Her companion is standing behind her leaning on a table, too cool for words, while she’s smoothly doing all the talking and trying to back my wife into a corner. Now, I’m observing everything—his stance; her demeanor; the fact that they’re both wearing wedding rings; the cut of his slacks to see if they’re tailored or if his suit is from the rack; the fact that her dress is tight around her hips and boobs, but so long that it bunches on the floor and you can’t see her shoes, which means it is from the rack or at the very least she doesn’t have a stylist. A mermaid dress is already restrictive, so it’s not supposed to bunch at your feet. I’ve fucked and dressed enough women to know that.

I’m trying to put a quick profile together of these two to figure out their M-O, and I’m wishing Jaxon was here.

“I didn’t agree to a wager,” my wife repeats. “No one agrees on a price if they don’t know what it is.” It’s not a price, baby. I don’t know what she wants, but she doesn’t want money…

Oh, shit.

“In high stakes, they do,” the woman purrs. “I mean, if you don’t have the balls…” She trails off and shrugs one shoulder infinitesimally. Under normal circumstances, she’d be saying everything to push my wife’s buttons, but not tonight. Tonight, my wife smells a rat and I’m glad she does.

“The answer is ‘no,’” my wife says, turning away from the woman.

“You haven’t even heard the terms yet…”

“And you won’t state them, so the answer is ‘no,’” Butterfly says firmly. “You approached me about a dart game. I couldn’t care less to play with you or not.”

“Well, here’s what I propose,” the woman says, seeing that her tactic isn’t working, and here it comes. Brace yourself, Butterfly. “If I win, we swap… just for the night.”

“Swap what?” Butterfly asks, bemused.

Yeah, swap what? I think to myself… Then I look at her husband. He’s eyeing my wife and I can swear that he’s seeing her naked. His pupils have dilated to the point that the black almost overtakes his blue irises completely, and I can just see his tongue running against the inside of his mouth. He’s so transfixed on her that it’s like I’m not even standing there. I shift my gaze down to the woman and she’s looking at me with pure lust brandishing in her gaze.

Swap.
Shit!

This is worse than I thought. They’re not looking to swing; they’re looking to totally exchange partners. What the fuck have we walked into on this damn cruise? I swear it’s like Woodstock without the drugs! No drugs that I know of anyway.

I’m about to say something, but my wife beats me to it.

“You’re out of your fucking mind!” Butterfly says, her voice low. The woman tilts her head to the side, only mocking slight surprise.

“There’s no need for us to be coy,” she says. “I know it sounds shocking when someone approaches you, but you always get past it.” She waggles her eyebrows suggestively.

“You may always get past it,” Butterfly retorts, “but you’ve got some kind of screw loose if you think I’m going to take part in something like that!”

“You’re afraid you’ll lose,” she taunts again, returning to her original tact now that her hand has been revealed.

“It’s a goddamn game of darts,” Butterfly retorts, her voice murderous. “Who gives a fuck about a goddamn game of darts? And win or lose, I wouldn’t even consider wagering my husband! What kind of sick bitch are you?”

“There’s no need to resort to name-calling,” the woman says calmly.

“Then I suggest you get the fuck out of my face, because there’s a whole lot more where that came from,” Butterfly hisses. Her fists are clenched now and I’m certain that if this conversation doesn’t end immediately, it will become physical.

I take the darts from my wife’s clenched fists and place them on a table that we were occupying nearby. I retrieve her clutch and my suit jacket from the seat where I had been watching it all night, I take my wife’s shoulders and turn her away from Proposition Pam and her trusty sidekick Swapping Sam and usher her quickly out of the pub.

She snatches her clutch from me and begins an intent march down the hallway. I give her a little room as I can see that she’s extremely irritated, but I don’t allow too much space between us. I put my jacket on and wonder if we’re going back to the stateroom now or if we’re going to try to salvage what’s left of the evening at another venue. We’ve taken several steps away from the pub in silence when my wife spins around, prepared to let loose on me.

“Why weren’t you more appalled by that?” she demands. I take a deep breath and release.

“Something that Jaxon said to me last night,” I reply calmly. This won’t be a fight between us. I’ll explain it, she’ll get it, and we’ll get the fuck out of here.

“And that was?” she asks, folding her arms. I straighten to my full height and respond.

“My Dom is showing, baby,” I say. She nearly gasps.

“And that makes that suggestion okay?” she says, damn near choking on her words. “Do you want that?”

“No, it doesn’t and no, I don’t,” I reply, my voice calm. “Last night, Jaxon asked me if we were swingers, not because that’s what he and Laura does, but because he saw something in me… and in you. He didn’t know what it is, and he still doesn’t, but he put me on notice that whatever it is, it’s showing. He told me that there may be other like-minded individuals on board—his term, not mine—that may approach us. He advised that I don’t lose my temper, but kindly tell them we’re not interested, which is what I was going to do, but you handled it quite well all on your own.”

She’s still glaring at me and even though her expression doesn’t change, I can see the thoughts and emotions running quickly through her mind and across her face. She’s trying to analyze the situation, the events of the day and the fact that she saw my Dom earlier and responded accordingly, what just happened in the pub. She’s having one of her three-second funnels but it’s taking more than three seconds.

“I should declare my win by forfeit.”

A smooth, suggestive female voice breaks our pondering, and I’m certain this cunt thinks that we’re fighting over her—which we almost were. Now, it’s my turn to douse that fucking fire.


ANASTASIA

She’s determined to get her claws into my man, even if it means sacrificing hers to me and I want absolutely nothing to do with that slimy looking motherfucker even if I was single! My husband turns around and looks at her. I don’t know what his gaze is saying, but her skin flushes all over.

I’m lying. I know exactly what his gaze is saying.

“What you fail to realize,” he begins in a honey smooth voice so close to his Dom voice that I nearly become a puddle right there on the deck, “is that even if you had played that game and won, you would have lost, because I wouldn’t have agreed to the terms.”

She’s speechless—and obviously hot under the collar—but her husband decides to speak on her behalf since Christian spoke on mine.

“Then you would have lost,” her husband says, conspicuously rubbing her hips and ass before sliding his arm around her waist. She smiles a victorious and seductive smile at my husband and he just shakes his head.

“It looks like you’ve already lost,” Christian says to the man, “because you’re willing to share.” He slides his arm around my waist. “I’m not.” He pulls me close to him and walks past them with a final sharp glare, his arm still around my waist.

And I’m seeing the proverbial “mic drop” with my mind’s eye. I know they’re watching us walk away and I simply cannot help myself.

giphy-1

I scamper in front of him to cut him off and lunge myself at him. He catches me in his arms and I wrap my legs around his waist, my dress falling open over my thighs. His hands cup my ass as he holds me up and we gaze at one another with a deep hunger in our eyes. I tilt my head and burn his lips with a kiss, my fingers thrust into his hair and my tongue lapping his, searching to taste the hunger in his kiss that I just saw in his eyes. He growls deep in his chest, squeezing my ass harder as his cock hardens enough for me to feel the head of it through his pants at the juncture of my thighs. I break the kiss and pull my face back from his. I gaze into his eyes again, still hungry… now ravenous!

“You know what’s next,” he growls in his throat. My lips are parted and even though I do know what’s next, I nod and don’t break gaze with him. He secures his hands on each of my hips and takes long strides down the hallway towards the elevator. I slide my arms around him and rest my head on his shoulder, catching the unnamed woman in my gaze. As I suspected, she and her husband are standing there watching us walk away, no longer touching, none of the make-believe pride and coveting he showed before apparent anymore. I flip her the bird moments before the elevator opens and Christian carries me inside.

He pushes me against the wall, shocking me. He sears me with another deep, hungry kiss and grinds into me for the few floors it takes to get to our deck. I want to dread someone seeing us, someone watching us on camera somewhere as I know they are, but I can’t. I don’t fucking care and I know that he doesn’t. I’m breathlessly horny when the doors open to our deck and surprisingly, no one’s outside the elevator. My husband secures me again and nearly does a sprint to our suite.

I don’t know how he got the door open with the key card. I’m sure he would have kicked it in if he could. He doesn’t bother taking me to the bedroom—the cabin was far enough away as it is.

“Get out of that dress!” he growls, nearly ripping his suit jacket from his body. His eyes are blazing! I can’t tell if he’s mad or horny. I quickly undo the hooks at the neck of my dress and allow the halter to fall taking my breast pads with it. I push it down my body to reveal a pretty pair of lace thong panties.

“Perfect!” he hisses while snatching off his tie. He walks over to the sofa and takes a seat. “Get over here.”

I walk over to him and stand in front of him, my eyes fixed on his shoes. He takes my arm and snatches me hard so that I fall over his lap onto the sofa, only wearing my thong and the patent leather nude stilettos.

“Give me your hands,” he commands. I put my hands behind me and he binds them with his tie and begins to caress my ass.

“What are your safewords?” he growls.

“Bells…” I say softly, “and whistles.”

“And the third?” he says, still caressing my ass. Oh, shit. This is going to be one of those.

“Ladybug,” I reply softly.

“Good,” he says. His hand leaves my ass and comes down hard. I almost cry out.

“You’ve been testing me all day,” he says, his voice low. Shit… I have?

“You wear this blue, thin fucking dress that makes you look delectable…” He slaps me hard on the ass and I jump. Shit, this hurts!

“You taunt me about being able to keep my dick up…” Yeah, I did do that.

SLAP!

“You wear these tight scraps of material wrapped around your body and showcasing everything that’s mine while slithering through the water like a fucking mermaid.” He rubs my ass with this description.

“I could deal with that, but then you get out of the water, glistening and slightly sunkissed, looking hotter than a lingerie model, and you enter a fucking bikini contest…”

Yep, I did that, too.

SLAP!

“Then you put on a red dress that’s screaming of sex and desire with those plump, kissable lips, that slicked-back come-hither hair, and these goddamn fuck-me pumps, and you wonder why the French women couldn’t keep their mouths shut.

Inner sigh… yep, that was me.

SLAP!

“And I won’t even bother describing that display you did on stage at karaoke! You had those fuckers nearly coming in their pants—men and women!” SLAP!

Ouch! Guilty! Fuck, guilty!

“And when it was all said and done, you’ve got motherfuckers wanting to swap partners with us just from watching you play darts…” SLAP!

Wait a minute! That wasn’t just me! She wanted to fuck you, too!

“That fucker would have fucked you right there on the pool table if you had agreed…” SLAP!

“He was salivating all over you like I wasn’t even standing there…”
SLAP!

“He was willing to hand over his hooker wife for one night alone with you. He probably put her up to it!”
SLAP! SLAP! SLAP!

Okay, now I’m confused. Some trick propositions me to switch places with me for my husband and somehow, that’s my fault? I’m so caught off guard by trying to figure out the logic of that last one that the final slap reverberates through me and ignites the pain of all the others before it. Unprepared for the intensity, I involuntarily choke out a sob.

Before I know it, he’s snatched me off his lap and I’m on my knees on the sofa next to him. He’s breathless with uncontrolled arousal and he’s fighting feverishly to unzip his pants. When he reaches inside and produces his cock, it pops out of the little opening standing harder and taller than I think I’ve ever seen it… at least harder and taller than it’s been all weekend.

He snatches the wind out of me by effortlessly flinging me back over his lap—straddled this time—moving my panties to the side with the head of his cock and thrusting so hard into me that I cry out from the initial pain, still sniffling and whimpering. He’s balls deep inside me and breathing like a bear, his hips still as his cock sits fat and wide inside my aching, tight vagina.

He’s sitting there, not moving, panting through his nose and apparently fighting for control. When he opens his eyes, the fire is there again. His arms are wrapped around me, holding me close to him like a vise, and his hot breath is cold against my tear-stained face. He examines me, unable to wipe away my tears with my hands bound behind me or hide my sniffles and stuttering breaths. He does something at that moment that creeps me out and turns me on at the same time.

He licks the tears from one of my cheeks with one gentle lap.

Yeah, it creeps me out for a moment, but hell—he’s tasted my cum, my breast milk… tears can be much stranger.

“It’s because you’re so fucking beautiful,” he hisses. “Don’t you see what you do to men? They lose their goddamn minds over you, present company included! At the passenger terminal before we even got on the damn boat; at the swimming pool; at dinner…”

I hold my head down and try to control my whimpers. He pulls me even closer to him and my head falls on his shoulder.

I will not weep harder.
I will not weep harder.

My ass hurt like hell, but the heat combined with his dick thrust deep into my pussy, him holding me this close with my bound hands clasped in his, him actually licking the tears from one of my cheeks a minute ago, and his primal jealousy right now and the need to be vindicated—it’s all making me hot as hell

“Sit up,” he commands, the Dom back in his voice. I take a deep breath and release it, pulling myself to sit up straight. He drops his arms from around me and lay them on the sofa. I don’t raise my head. I wish my hair was down so that it could hide my face right now.

“Fuck me.”

I’m almost caught off guard by the command… almost. My hands are tied. He’s going to make me use my legs to do it. Fine. I use my knees and thighs to rise and fall over his incredibly hard cock, my pussy producing the needed lubrication almost immediately.

“Faster!” he demands. “Harder!”

I pick up the pace and bounce on his cock testing my strength and stamina with every rise and drop.

“Yes!” he hisses, gazing at me like a serial killer examining his next victim. “That’s it. Just like that!”

I risk a glance at him and he quickly undoes the buttons of his shirt and releases his cuff links, staring at my wildly bouncing tits the entire time. I concentrate on my thighs and on controlling the muscles to maintain my stroke. He groans once as he finally discards his shirt and works on loosening his pants.

“Goddammit,” he hisses as he finally gets his pants open. His cock is still restrained by the pocket of his boxer briefs, but he’s still madly enjoying the ride. One hand grabs one of my bouncing tits while the other firmly clasps my hip. He’s licking and biting his lips deliciously and he looks so fucking good.

“That’s it, baby,” he growls, throwing the typical playtime decorum out the window. “Fuck that dick. Fuck it hard, baby.”

And fuck it hard, I do. I don’t need him to tell me that I can’t come without permission. He made me say my third safeword, so it’s understood. But dammit, he’s going to come like a goddamn rocket if it’s the last thing I do!

I’m fucking him like a master, but he still exhibits that amazing stamina that he does when the Dom is here. He grunts every time I drop my pussy down on him, grabbing, caressing, or tormenting some part of my body or another. He’s licking his lips and biting me and sucking me—he even violently grabs my ponytail and holds on while I ride, but still never moves his hips. The ponytail holder gives up the fight sometime during that exercise, and my hair is free now.

When he’s on the edge, he grabs my ass cheeks with both hands and throws his head back. The shock of pain from my spanking ignites me and almost shakes my concentration. I throw my head back in agony as with the constant stimulation in my pussy and the wild groping, biting, and hair-pulling, losing my concentration means that I’m going to come. Luckily, he beats me to it.

“Oh, yes, Anastasia!” he groans through his orgasm. “Fuck me! Don’t stop!”

I keep the bounce going even though my thighs are burning in torment. I concentrate on the pain to keep myself from coming from this insanely pulsing cock inside of me. Keep… going… keep… going… keep… going…

“Stop! Fuck! For God’s sake, stop…” he begs, and I stop bouncing. My thighs hurt like fuck and I’m gasping for breath, sweat pouring down my face and into my eyes, my hair now free from its ponytail and wild all over my head. He’s panting heavily, still gripping my ass, and I squeeze my eyes shut from the pain, biting my lip to keep from crying out. My thighs are burning and will probably lock in this position in a moment and I’m thoroughly exhausted, just sitting on his lap and his still very erect cock. I’m trying to give myself a pep talk because I know it’s not over.

C’mon, Grey, catch your breath, get it together.
It’s just a little sweat, it won’t kill you.
You planned to work out anyway, so here you go. Don’t be a baby.

“Get up.”

Well, that wasn’t my voice. That was my Dom.

I close my eyes and concentrate one more time on stretching my thighs to rise off his dick. When I’m successful, the damn thing pops out of me and bounces off his belly with a thud, still standing at perfect attention like he didn’t just beg me to stop fucking him. I lift my leg from over his body and throw it over my own, landing on my butt—and my hands—on the sofa.

“Stay there,” he commands. Sure thing. I’m too weak to move.

He stands with little effort and toes out of his shoes, using his feet to step on his socks and remove them as well. He drops his trousers and maneuvers his boxer briefs over his very erect dick before pushing them down as well and stepping out of them both. Now, he’s gloriously naked in front of me and I would be excited except for the fact that I’m exhausted. He takes a seat on the floor with his back against the sofa and his legs bent and spread. He gets very comfortable down there.

“Come,” he demands.

Yeah, I wish I could!

“I actually heard that thought,” he says. “Get over here!”

Whatever. You can’t punish me for what you think you heard. I push myself off the sofa and move to stand in front of him.

“Other way,” he says. “Ass to me.”

Oh, fuck. What is he going to do, make me ride him reverse cowgirl now? I do as I’m told and stand in front of him with my ass in his face. I can’t straddle him because his legs are open.

“Now, that’s a very pretty shade of pink,” he says, kissing one cheek and then the other. I’m a bit shocked by the gesture, but I don’t react. “Sit.”

Now how does he expect me to ride him with his legs open? I’m not doing that shit—my legs are too weak.

“Do I need to repeat myself?” he says, his voice a bit threatening. “Goddammit c’mere!”

Fine, but the moment he commands me to fuck him, I’m safewording.

I bend my legs to sit as commanded, and my right thigh totally gives out on me. Unable to control my stance or support my own weight, I fall in the most ungraceful way onto my Dom with a helpless yelp as I’m going down. I’m terrified that he’ll think I’m being defiant, but even more terrified that I’ve injured his extremely erect penis. I know that he won’t randomly just hit me—that’s not the nature of our relationship. Nonetheless, I’m still tense and preparing myself for whatever backlash there may be for my assumed malfeasance.

The fact that we just sit there silent for several moments heightens my anxiety. I hold my head down, fearing punishment, and it appears that I’ve landed on his abdomen and his erect dick is precariously placed between my legs and against the lips of my vagina.

Thank God for that!

Sure enough, uncharacteristic to the nature of our relationship when we’re in D/s mode, he slides both hands under my arms, places them on my shoulder, and gently pushes me back against his body. I don’t know what to expect from this unusual tenderness, so I just lay back and wait.

His hands roam my body, gently caressing my abdomen and torso before traveling up to cup my breasts. I’m trying not to be lulled into a false sense of security, only to have said security ripped from me by some sadistic command to see me suffer slowly for daring to display my sexiness, but my breasts are swollen with milk and quite sensitive, and his touch is making me hot again. It doesn’t matter that I try to hide this from him, because he knows my body too well—he can smell my slightest arousal.

Just like clockwork, a few moments after I feel that familiar burning twinge in my clit, I feel his body stiffen a bit and his touch is firmer, kneading my body back into his. He pinches one of my nipples while gently teasing the tip of the other with his finger.

Talk about being able to walk and chew gum at the same time!

I bite my lip to stifle the moan that begs to escape my chest. My legs weaken completely and fall open, and my Dom takes his cue. With one movement of his hips, his erect penis is between the lips of my vagina. I take a deep breath as he moves his pelvis back and forth, his dick stroking against my vagina.

Oh. Hell. I. Will. Not. Survive. This.

Still bound by his tie, my hands are pinned between us and I flatten them against his abs. Well, that didn’t help. I can feel his muscles undulating each time his pelvis moves. He cups my breasts firmly and sinks his teeth gently into the meat near my shoulder. He’s trying to make me come.

“No… no…”

Shit, did I say that out loud? I don’t know. I’m delirious with pleasure. My body’s on fire and I want to come… badly!

He puts his hand under my thigh and lifts me just a bit, pulling his hips back at the same time. With very little effort, his cock slides into me and I release a whimpering breath of ecstasy. God, he feels so good…

“God, yes…” he groans, “that’s it.”

He undulates his hips a few times, pushing that magnificent organ up and into its counterpart and I nearly lose my mind. I release my body to him as I can’t fight him anymore and concentrate on holding my orgasm like I did in Anguilla.

Anguilla… no, this isn’t like Anguilla. This is different—much different.

My soft body turns to mush against his firmness and my pussy is getting hotter and hotter, coming closer and closer to climax. One hand moves from my breast and an arm slides around my waist, holding me firmly in place against his stroke, now deeper than before. I whimper in my chest, the friction and penetration so delicious. Can I hold out? Just a little longer?

He torments me this way for several more moments before he puts both hands under my thighs and lifts me up. Spreading my legs wide, he thrusts repeatedly—and uninhibited—into my wide spread pussy. I have no purchase to resist and he has me helplessly spread open, pummeling repeatedly with his masterful stroke.

“Ah!” I cry out involuntarily. Silence is impossible.

“Feel it,” he taunts, “feel the pleasure, Anastasia, but don’t come…”

There’s no pain to concentrate on this time… only pleasure. Only the pleasure of his hard, pulsing cock drilling into me while he’s holding me open. Dear God, I’m going to die.


CHRISTIAN

Fuck, my dick feels so good driving into this hot pussy from base to tip. I hear her whimper and I know she’s close. She’s getting wetter and wetter. I tried to keep the Dom at bay. God knows I tried, but she kept pushing and pushing—even when she had no idea that she was doing it. I’ve been at the very edge for over 24 hours. When she leapt into my arms in front of those crazy fuckers that wanted to swap mates, I couldn’t take it anymore. All of the events of the past 36 hours just overran my primal inner urges. I had to dominate her to keep from jumping overboard. Yes, it’s that serious.

She’s drenched in sweat and whimpering with each stroke into her. It’s torture and I know it is. I’m not going to make it any easier on you, little Anastasia. You’re going to feel the burn tonight.

I move my hands from her thighs to just behind her knees, lift her body off my dick and drop her back down onto it—repeatedly—while I thrust into her. Fuck, I feel my dick getting harder and my balls tightening. I can’t see it, but I imagine that fat pussy wrapped around my dick teasing the head with every thrust and leaving a ring of cream and juices right near my balls.

“Fuuuucck!”

I succumb to the unexpected orgasm, dropping her onto my dick and gripping her around her waist, emptying hard deep inside her. The climax is so hard and we’re both completely out of breath that I’m afraid it might have been the swan song, and I’m not ready for that. But no, Dom Dick indicates that he’s not quite finished yet. My submissive must suffer a little more tonight.

I contemplate taking her to the bed for our finale, but this area rug is soft and plush. It’ll have to do. I reach behind me and retrieve one of the pillows from the sofa, placing it on the floor next to us. I don’t expect her to do anything at this point, just take what I’m giving her. I roll us over so that she’s lying on the pillow and I’m behind and on top of her, straddling her with her legs closed. My dick didn’t even come out of its happy place.

With her hand bound and nestled in the small of her back, I open her ass with both hands and admire her puckering rosette as I stroke between her legs and into her pussy. It’s tight and hot and ready to blow and now, I’ve pushed her legs together. She’s losing her mind. I lean my weight onto her pink cheeks and stroke, stroke, stroke—deep and long. She doesn’t need pressure in this position to drive her mindless. She needs friction and rhythm, and I’m giving it to her just right. She groans mournfully and I watch her rosette again, puckering and opening with each thrust. My mouth waters, and I regret not having a butt plug at the moment.

When she begins to pant, I untie her hands. I need to be close to her, to have her hear me… and feel me.

I pin her hands next to her head with both of mine, entwining my fingers into hers.

“I’m going to mark you,” I whisper harshly in her ear, “so that they know that you’re mine!”

I lean down and first sink my teeth into her neck, causing her to cry out. Then I replace my teeth with my lips and tongue, licking and sucking and bring the blood to the surface of her skin. She moans helplessly as I continue to dig into her sex while giving her a conspicuous love bite. It’s driving me fucking insane. If she doesn’t tap out soon…

When I’m satisfied with the bite on her neck, I move to her back, just below her nape sinking my teeth in first then licking and sucking, just like before. I keep my stroke hard, deep, and steady into that clenched pussy, determined to make her surrender before I do this time.

She’s whimpering so much that she almost sound like she’s crying, and I vaguely remember bringing her to tears with her spanking. My bites now become sensual, open mouthed kisses on her back. Fuck, she feels so goddamn good. I lay onto her body, thrusting hard into her and pulling down on our clasped hands for traction, losing myself in her… over and over and over…

“Lady… l… lady… ladybug…”

“Come!” I command her in a harsh whisper. “Come, baby!”

She squeezes my fingers entwined in hers and buries her face in the pillow, screaming out a violent orgasm and thrashing about underneath me. I thrust repeatedly into that tightening, pulsing pussy until a few moments later, I’m burying my face into her back and repeating her actions, grunting and growling out a fearsome climax until my back, balls, and throat hurt from the pressure and the vibration.

“Fuck,” I breathe as I fight to catch my breath. “Fuck, fuck, fuck, fuck…”

*-*

Her milk had begun to express on the rug during our session, so I run a bath for her and have her soak for several minutes, allowing the heat to soothe her aches and to help express the rest of her milk as I wash her hair before carrying her to the bedroom. She stayed on her side and I think I may have gotten carried away a bit, but I’m a Dom and I don’t apologize for being one. Besides, she didn’t safeword… until she was about to come.

I didn’t bring any Arnica cream because I didn’t have any intentions of doing a scene on this trip. I look through her toiletries, hoping to find some baby oil or the olive oil that she uses on her nipples, but I find something better.

Eucalyptus lotion.

Did she know that we might do something like this? Did she do all those things to trigger me on purpose? I’ll have to ask her about it, but not right now.

When I enter with the lotion, she’s lying on her stomach with the covers thrown off her. She’s completely shattered, but her eyes are still open—tiny slits that refuse to submit to sleep. I sit on the bed next to her and warm the lotion in my hands. Starting at her shoulders, I begin to work the tension out of her body. I knead with just enough pressure to ease the tightness in the muscles of her back.

When I get to her ass, I examine it closely. I remember a spanking that made me not want to spank her ever again—where her ass was bruised, and she put coats at every exit of the house. I check for bruising, welting, broken skin. The pinkness has faded a bit and her skin is still flushed from the bath, but there are no vicious bruises like before. I’m relieved to see that.

Coating my hands again, I gently rub the lotion into her ass cheeks. She flinches at first, then settles. I don’t linger there, just enough to get the soothing ointment into her skin before moving to her thighs. She actually whines when I begin to knead them. I know they hurt like hell from the workout she got at the very beginning. I was going to make her ride me again until she fell and I realized that her legs couldn’t hold her up anymore.

Had she decided to do this without me, she would have made a great submissive, because she can endure a lot and she doesn’t readily give in. For the same reasons, I have to learn when to pull back, because by the time she does finally tap out, she’s completely destroyed. She’s convinced herself that I need her to go the distance, so she will, but the distance may be too far for her. She showed me this that night in Anguilla and had she not safeworded in the next few minutes, I would have told her to come.

By the time I finish her feet, she’s fast asleep. I smooth a little more lotion on her bottom, a little deeper into the skin this time since she’s asleep, then go to the bathroom and retrieve a brush. I gently brush the kinks out of her long hair and braid it before it dries, securing it with a ponytail holder.

I examine her face in her sleep. Her resting face tells me much more than her conscious face. She can hide her expressions—except her anger and her intense displeasure—when she’s awake. She can’t hide anything when she’s asleep. Her face tells it all—happy, fear, anguish, distress…

Peace.
Right now, she’s completely at peace.

I turn off all the lights and climb in bed beside her, covering her with the blanket before crawling under it myself. I gently trace her sleeping face and pouty lips as I lay on the pillow facing her.

“Sometimes, I love you more than my soul can handle…”

*-*

I awake before she does in the morning. I’m mindful that we need to get going soon if we’re going to make the excursions with Jaxon and Laura. I look over at my sleeping wife. She’s asleep so hard that I hate to wake her. If she says that she doesn’t want to go on the excursions, I’ll honor that request, but I have to give her that choice.

I reach over and stroke her hair gently, and then her cheek, pushing the stray strands of hair from her face. She protests a bit, but then opens her eyes and looks at me.

“Good morning,” I say softly. She inhales deeply and releases a sigh.

“Good morning,” she says weakly.

“I need to ask you something.” She blinks a few times and tries to focus on me. “Do you remember when we had that conversation about BDSM training? Back in August or September before everything went south?” She blinks a few more times, still trying to focus and wake up.

“Do you remember?” I ask again. Maybe I should have waited until she was more conscious before I asked the question. She gently clears her throat.

“I remember some of it, yes,” she says softly.

“Why don’t you ever safeword?” I ask. Her eyes widen a bit, indicating that she’s more alert than she was a moment ago. “You safeworded last night when you were about to come, but you cried before safewording when I spanked you. Why?”

She looks like she’s about to answer, but she doesn’t, so I continue.

“I think you may have the wrong idea about being a submissive,” I tell her. “Being my submissive doesn’t mean that I break you down until you’re bare. I did that to you in Anguilla and I almost lost you. You may disagree, but I know better. It doesn’t mean being weak either; but it also doesn’t mean having to prove that you’re not weak. The D/s relationship is a give-and-take. We both have to get something out of that experience and spanking you until you cry is not something that gets me off.”

Even though she’s still lying down, her gaze drops.

“I need you to look at me because I need to know that you hear me.”

She raises her guileless blue eyes to me again.

“You set me off in so many ways—whether you were trying to or not. Yes, I wanted to regain control, but not in a way that would cause you anguish. You give yourself to me, and I take that, but I try to give you something in return…”

“You were a full-on Dom before you met me,” she says softly. “Canes and whips and paddles and handcuffs… You gave up a lot to be with me, to adapt to me and allow me into your world. You used to go all out on your submissives before me and I know it. I saw everything in the playroom at Escala—everything!”

“That’s why we don’t have that playroom now,” I say calmly, but firmly. “That’s not who I am anymore. I’m not Christian Grey, single Dom billionaire out whipping little brown-haired submissives on the weekend. I’m Christian Grey, husband to Anastasia Grey, father to Mackenzie and Michael Grey, and part-time Dominant and submissive. There’s nothing about me that’s the same as it was before. Is that why you feel like you have to take everything until your body is wracked with pain? Be spanked until you cry? Fuck until your legs don’t work? Submit until you’re too weak and exhausted to keep your eyes open…?”

“I’m not weak,” she declares softly. “I don’t know how far you need to go until you go, and when you need me to have that strength and stamina to endure, I can!”

“Yes, but to the end of your wits!” I say a bit more firmly. “I don’t want any of the Domination fiascos we’ve have before—where you’re completely shattered and not always in a good way, and I’m feeling guilty for what I’ve put you through. Is that why you take such intense scenes? Because you think I need to be the guy that I was before?”

“Apparently, you do!” she says, sitting up in the bed. “You can go for hours! You can spank or whip or flog until your arm gets tired! You can fuck like a teenager—over and over and over again and never tap out. You’ll go as far as I’ll let you and I’m not weak!”

“As far as you’ll let me!” I repeat. “Did you hear that, Anastasia? As far as you’ll let me! I’ve had meetings with every single one of my submissives to discover what their soft and hard limits are; to see what they could take; to set boundaries. Yes, I’ve tested their limits, but not beyond the point of reason. Yes, I’ve punished them, but they knew when to tell me to stop. Not once did I ever take a submissive past her limits once I figured out what I was doing! I made a few mistakes as an amateur, but not once I found my way.

“I’m a Dom. I’m a full-on Dom. I’ve been a full-on Dom for years, but our relationship is supposed to be different. I didn’t feel anything for those women. I felt care and concern, but not love. I love you. You fulfill a need for me, and I love you for that, too. But when I’m in Dom mode, I can go the distance. I can go all the way and more because I take my cues from the submissive. I never know that you’ve had enough or too much until it’s over—when you’ve been broken over the rack, bottom bruised from a shower spanking, or twitching from not being able to come. That’s not what our relationship is…”

“What am I supposed to do?” she shoots, so near tears that I can see them in her eyes waiting to fall. “Your power seeps through your pores! It’s effortless. Women see you and don’t know what to do with themselves, and if you think it’s just the face, you’re wrong! It’s the way you carry yourself, it’s everything about you. The money and the good looks are just a bonus. You lived a lifestyle for years where when you needed relief, you got it from a submissive.

“I’m under no misconception of who you were, but when you can’t get that relief, you’ll turn into someone else! I love that Dominance about you. I don’t want to see it leave, but I don’t want to lose it because I can’t satisfy it!”

Oh, dear God, is that what this is about? Is that seriously what this is about? All the time she’s pushed herself beyond limits I know she couldn’t take, the times I’ve pushed her thinking that she was reaching her limit and not knowing—until later—that she was already past it? Doesn’t she know I worship the fucking ground she walks on? That even if she never subbed for me again, I would still love her with everything I have? Everything I am? I look at her glassy eyes and remember our conversation from that morning:

“After our talk yesterday, I realized that I didn’t know nearly enough about the dynamics of the D/s relationship to handle what was going on with you. We were on a precipice, and our next move would determine the fate of our relationship. Would we come out of this okay? Would we end up in a totally vanilla relationship? Would you have determined that I was able to give you what you needed as a wife but not as a submissive? Would you resent me and turn to others for your D/s needs? Would this be the beginning of the end for us?”

I never put her mind at ease about those questions because I wanted her to keep talking. They’ve been burning in her mind all this time and probably much longer—through the Westwick thing, the Boogeyman, every fight and disagreement… Jesus, if I felt that way about her, I’d go insane. I gather her into my arms and kiss her eyes before the tears have a chance to fall.

“We’re going to need to do some more training,” I tell her, “and we’re going to start when we get back to Seattle.” I brush my lips against her temple and gently caress her hair. I’m putting the kibosh on playtime until she fully learns what it means to be a submissive—to give of herself without losing herself. All this time, she’s just been some girl taking beatings and fucking for me. I don’t think she’s seen who she really is at all in this process, and if she did, she’s lost it.

Once I’ve brought my wife back from the brink of tears, I fire off a text or two to some old friends of mine back in my training days. We’ll need some very professional training for husbands and wives once we return and I’m not ashamed to admit that I’m out of my element here. She may not be fully aware of her role as a submissive, but likewise, I think I’m off the mark for being a husband/Dominant.

Right before I shut down my screen, I see that Holstein has tried to call me three times. Either he has finally decided to return my calls, or he’s got wind that something is on the cooker with Lincoln. Too little, too late, Ron, I’m taking this matter into my own hands.

My girl successfully recovers from the seriousness of our conversation and presents herself in yet another tasty ensemble—this time a pair of white skinny jeans, a yellow and white polka-dot halter… and sneakers! Butterfly never wears sneakers. These are a pair of Nikes—white with a yellow swoosh. She ties a white sweater around her waist that does nothing to cover that glorious ass.

And once again, I feel like a troll.

“I’m never calling Vickie again,” I say when I see her.

“Well, you can hold Vickie responsible for the jeans and the sneakers, but you’d have to blame Grandma Ruby for the shirt.” My eyes bulge out as she does a full turn to show me the shirt… and the love bites on her back and neck.

“Um… baby, you do remember our scene from last night, don’t you?” She looks up at me. God, I never realize how short she is until she loses the heels.

“You mean the hickeys?” she asks, unfazed.

“Yeah,” I reply, and it sounds more like a question.

“Nobody knows me on this trip except Laura and Jaxon and from what I understand, they have a pretty good idea how we get down,” she replies. “No offense, my love, but I have nothing here but a summer wardrobe. Unless you intended for me to spend the rest of the trip with a towel wrapped around my back, somebody was going to see this. Then again, you knew that.” She gives me a sarcastic smile.

Well, yeah, I did know that.

“Turn around,” I sigh. The one on her neck is clearly a love bite, but I want to see what the ones on her back look like. I don’t want anyone to think she’s a battered wife.

Uh, yeah… clearly love bites, too.

“You’ll do,” I lament, knowing that everybody’s going to look at her and then look directly at me.

“Well, thanks,” she says, picking up her backpack. I take it from her.

“I’ll carry that for you,” I say, admittedly still feeling a bit of a sting of guilt from last night. She gives it to me and reads my expression.

“It was grueling,” she admits, “And strenuous, but all’s well that ends well, right?”

I sigh inwardly and nod, just because I really don’t want to talk about it anymore. She let the cat out of the bag that she takes more than she probably would under normal circumstance because of me—because she’s concerned that I’ll be displeased or dissatisfied. Inevitably, she thinks that’ll lead to me leaving her or cheating on her. I’ve tried to impress upon her that that will never happen, but it hasn’t worked, especially considering the fact that I jumped ship when the whole Westwick thing happened—pun intended.

“We better go,” I say, taking her hand. “We don’t want to keep our tour guides waiting.”

I lead her to the door thinking about the texts I sent earlier to mentors that I hope will help us on our path.

Jason and Lawrence follow us to the conference area to meet up with Laura and Jaxon. Other passengers going to port and to excursions are waiting there as well. Laura is dressed similarly to Butterfly in a flowy strappy blouse and jeans while Jaxon looks like me—T-shirt, jeans, and a pair of sneakers. We exchange greetings and Laura gives Butterfly a hug. Just as I suspected, Laura looks at my wife, then turns a wide-eyed gaze and a knowing half-smile to me.

“Yeah, yeah,” I say dismissively.

“The breast is bettah, mate,” Jaxon says with mirth, “an’ less conspicuous.”

“Unreachable at the time,” I say with no further explanation.

“Ah,” he and Laura respond simultaneously, eliciting a giggle from Butterfly. She locks arms with Laura and they effortlessly start chatting away.

We’re out early as our outings to Hobart, Port Arthur, and surrounding areas are going to be squeezed into a day and a half and we don’t want to miss anything. We’ll most likely only be back on board to sleep, and back off tomorrow morning for the rest of our excursion.

We’ve docked in Hobart, but our excursion is yet another boat ride—a ferry from Brooke Street Pier to the Museum of Old and New Art. Twenty minutes or so later, we’re having “brekkie,” as Jaxon calls it, at the restaurant in the museum called The Source since our day started so early. We’re all having “The Big Fry Up,” which is farm fresh eggs, smoky bacon, sausage, grilled tomato and mushrooms, hash browns, and beans. I’m somewhat shocked to see my wife pull out those sexy ass Buddy Holly glasses to eat her breakfast. I try not to react, but Jaxon reacts for me.

“Chris,” he says, dragging my name out in a sing-songy type manner, “no offense, mate, but ‘ow do ya deal with thaht?”

“I need you to be more specific,” I reply.

“She maykes nuhrd glasses look sexy,” he says just above a whisper so that only I can hear him. “Ya must be beytin’ ‘em off with a stick!”

“Oh, you have no idea,” I lament, taking a drink of my black coffee. Like clockwork, Butterfly and Laura’s conversation migrates to last night.

“When you pull lipstick out of your makeup case and the first thing you think when you see it is ‘dick sucking red,’ you should probably put it back. But nooooooo, Anastasia had to wear the dick sucking red lipstick, and now she’s wondering why half the female population of the ship hates her,” Butterfly says.

“It can’t be that bad,” Laura remarks.

“Yes, it is,” we say simultaneously.

“Last night,” Butterfly continues, “two French-speaking cows at our table talked about me through the entire meal.”

“How did you know they were talking about you?” Laura asks nonplussed. Butterfly tilts her head and twists her lips.

“Oh,” Laura says knowingly. “Tu parle français.”

“Yes!” Butterfly retorts forcefully. “Fluently! And you?” Laura laughs.

“Not a word,” she says, “that is, except ‘tu parle français.’” Butterfly snorts a short laugh.

“Well, I’m telling you, I get it everywhere, and probably in more languages, too. I like to wear nice clothes, I like to keep myself fit. I’m attractive, and I know it. I’m tired of constantly getting into verbal sparring matches with women because they hate me because I’m beautiful or for the fact that I’m with a beautiful, wealthy man. I’m going to start finding another way to handle it, just like I did with those cows at dinner. And the glares that I was getting from the women in the front row…” She turns to me. “You didn’t see them—I got the last laugh with them, too, because their men all came rushing to help me off stage. What do they want—they want me to look like a toad standing next to you? Gain 25 pounds because I’ve had twins and that’s what we’re ‘supposed’ to do? Leave you or expect you to leave me because I’m not good enough for you? Fuck ‘em, I’m done.”

“Um, you skipped something,” Laura points out. “Front row? On stage?”

“Oh, my friend, do I have a story for you…”


A/N: 

The new question and answer thread is always open for questions about the story. Be sure to read it and please adhere to the rules when asking questions. You can find it on the left, second from last on the menu or you can click HERE.

There has been yet another development where if you feel the need to talk to fellow readers about personal issues, you need a sounding board, you want to vent about something in your life, please feel free to visit the link on the left in the menu entitled “Do You Need To Talk.” No subject is taboo. I just ask that you approach the link with respect for those who have concerns as well as those who respond. You can also get to the link by clicking HERE

The Australia Picture Board can be found here: https://www.pinterest.com/ladeeceo/raising-grey-the-trip-to-australia/ and the pictures from today’s chapter are in the Luxury Cruise Ship” section and the “Hobart” section.

And of course, the regular Pinterest board is here: https://www.pinterest.com/ladeeceo/raising-grey/

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~~love and handcuffs

 

Raising Grey: Chapter 32—Lights, Camera, Action!

I love all my readers, don’t you guys forget that, but a special thanks to those who click on and read the emails and to those who follow the links to the page. I get reports on how many clicks I get, and it makes me feel good to see that people do actually click the links. So, thanks you guys. ❤ 

Speaking of which, if your email address is bouncing because it’s too full, you may want to check your emails from time to time. If my auto-email program confirms that your email is bouncing, it automatically stops sending you emails and I can’t stop it or change it if it does, which is okay if you don’t want to get the email anyway, but if you do, I would probably have to delete you and you would probably have to resubscribe. Depending on the circumstance you may even have to do it with a new email address. I moved quite a few people to an infrequent list only to find that several of them were bouncing anyway and some had already been “quarantined” by my mailer. So, if you want to continue getting the personalized emails, please open them when you see them and make sure I have a good email address for you. 

To the rest of my readers, thank you from wherever you click to get here. I love you all! 

I do not own Fifty Shades Trilogy, or the characters. They belong to E. L. James. I am only exercising my right to exploit, abuse, and mangle the characters to MY discretion in MY story in MY interpretation as a fan. If something that I say displeases you, please, just leave. If you don’t like this story or me, please don’t spoil this experience for everyone. Just go away. For the rest of you, the saga continues…

Chapter 32—Lights, Camera, Action!

CHRISTIAN

“So, what was last night?” I ask, drawing circles in the skin on my wife’s naked back. She’s lying on her arms in our bed, displaying an amazing case of afterglow.

“I don’t know,” she says, and her brow furrows. “It wasn’t a punishment fuck… except maybe at the beginning.”

“No, that was desperation sex,” I tell her. “I had to fuck, hard and fast, or I was going to explode. That one didn’t count.” She laughs at me. “Make-up sex?”

“We didn’t really fight,” she says. “I mean, we did fight, but that was way earlier like the day before, and the sex wasn’t to make-up from that. It was because of what happened the night before.” I nod and ponder the situation.

“We had a really good talk,” I say.

“Yes, we did,” she agrees.

“Do you feel like we really handled our issues? That we didn’t just fuck away our problem?” she nods.

“I really feel like we did,” she says. “You listened to me and how I felt and what I was thinking. You understood how serious it was, and I was able to understand the impact of my actions on you as well.”

“And then we fucked,” I say.

“And then we fucked… there’s nothing wrong with that, Christian. We’re a young, healthy, married couple in love with each other, who love sex. That’s one of the ways that we connect.” I nod.

“I was just afraid that we fucked away another problem,” I admit. “I feel so comfortable with how last night turned out. It almost seemed too easy.” Butterfly ponders the situation for a few more moments.

“Resolution sex.” I raise my eyebrows.

“Resolution sex… I like that.” I stretch out next to her. “I want to ask you a question if you’re willing to tell me.”

“I don’t have any secrets from you, Christian,” she says. I smile.

“Well, ladies have their feminine wiles and I understand if this is one of those things that you would rather keep to yourself.” She turns on her side to face me. God, she’s so fucking beautiful all thoroughly fucked and content in the morning.

“Okay, I’ll keep that in mind,” she says. I take a deep breath.

“I don’t really know how to put this, so I’m just going to jump right in, okay?” I say, and she nods. “Yesterday, when I left, you were one person, and when I came home, you were someone else completely. What happened?” She raises her eyebrows and diverts her gaze a bit.

“It’s just like we said, baby,” she begins, sitting up and pulling the covers with her, “we had a situation occur that caused you to be ripped completely out of your element. I knew the moment that you left for work yesterday that you were uncomfortable and unhappy and that was not fair to you. That was not what you signed up for. I knew that although I was firm in my convictions on how I felt about helping your family and about not being punished because I was caught in the middle, that we had to find a middle ground. We were in unchartered territory. Neither of us wanted to be there and neither of us knew how to handle it. You had to work your way down from an elevated level of aggression while I had to figure out what was going on.”

“Okay, that somewhat makes sense, but how is it that you were the one that had to make that move and not me?” I ask.

“How do you stop a charging bear?” she asks.

“I don’t know. Throw something at it?” I shrug. “I don’t often find myself in the path of a charging bear!”

“Actually, it depends on the bear,” she replies. “With brown bears, you curl up, stand still, or play dead. With black bears, you stand your ground, make a lot of noise, and fight back. With both bears, you can use bear pepper spray, but in neither case does anything indicate that the bear is just going to stop charging on its own. For better or for worse, some outside element has to calm that bear.”

“So… you became the bear calmer,” I conclude.

“Or the lion tamer,” she mumbles, but I don’t think I was supposed to hear that part. I raise my eyebrows and wait for her raise her gaze to me. Explain, Mrs. Grey. She wraps her arms around herself and the blankets around her body. This might be part of that “feminine wiles” thing that I said that she could keep to herself, so I wait to see if she wants to elaborate. She sighs.

“I’m going to admit to you that I’m way out of my element,” she says. “As much as we’ve played and as far as we’ve ventured, you know that I’m nowhere near as experienced as you are when it comes to the nuances of this lifestyle that we practice. Even when I take on the role as Dominatrix, I can only go so far—push the envelope to a certain limit—because I haven’t been trained, I haven’t done enough research, I only know so much…”

“I know that, Butterfly…” I begin. She raises her hand to gently silence me.

“You’re very accommodating to me and I appreciate that, but we may need to discuss moving forward a bit in our BDSM relationship.” My brow furrows. Moving forward? What does she mean by that? Is what we do already not enough for her? Shit, BDSM can get pretty fucking intense. She wants more?

“I’m listening,” I say.

“Good, ‘cause I’m floundering,” she says nervously, pulling her knees up to her chest. “After our talk yesterday, I realized that I didn’t know nearly enough about the dynamics of the D/s relationship to handle what was going on with you. We were on a precipice, and our next move would determine the fate of our relationship. Would we come out of this okay? Would we end up in a totally vanilla relationship? Would you have determined that I was able to give you what you needed as a wife but not as a submissive? Would you resent me and turn to others for your D/s needs? Would this be the beginning of the end for us?”

I want to tell her that there no fucking chance in hell of any of that shit happening, but I know that if I interrupt her, she’s just going to silence me again. So, I just continue to listen.

“I needed the help of someone with intimate knowledge of the D/s dynamic that I could trust, so I went to see Michel.” I frown.

“Who… is Michel?” I ask.

“Michelangelo? And Wolfgang? From the club?” she says. I think for a moment. Then recollection hits me—the mini-munch a couple of years ago, when she almost hit Elena with the beer bottle. Ah, good times…

“Oooooohh. I didn’t know you still kept in touch with them,” I say.

“Not all the time, but I have him on speed dial for emergencies. Anyway, we talked, and he explained to me the dangers of taking the D/s dynamic for granted. Although we refer to it as playtime, it’s not a game. It’s a very real part of our lives, and it’s an innate factor of your inner makeup. It’s a fundamental part of what makes you who you are. I’ve always understood that, but it came to me in blaring colors last night as you became borderline dysfunctional with the concept of being unable to punish me…”

Borderline?

“Bearing in mind that we each had problems with our roles yesterday, one of us had to take the reigns and be the voice of reason, but I didn’t know how. I didn’t even know that was what was needed. That’s where Michel came in. He helped me to see just how much I don’t know, how much I need to learn about myself—about who I need to be as a wife and a submissive; about getting in touch with myself and the things I’ve always loved about myself; about not forgetting who I am while I’m being who you need me to be. It’s no small feat being all those women—it’s very daunting, and here I am, jumping off into the Dominant/submissive pool like I know what I’m doing… it’s no wonder that, at different intervals during the course of this exercise and this relationship, we’ve been tearing at each other.”

“So…” I must interject so that I get an understanding of what she’s saying. “What you mean by ‘moving forward’ is that there’s more that you need to learn about the dynamic?”

“Well, yes,” she says, like it’s obvious. “What did you think I meant?” I shake my head.

“You don’t want to know. Keep talking.” I shake the wild thoughts from my head of the hedonistic things I’ve heard of and seen in the lifestyle that I thought my Butterfly was referring to. There’s no way in hell I planned on venturing into some of the avenues of the things that I’ve seen and heard of, and I was hoping and praying to God that she wasn’t suggesting it after I went off the rails a little because of a night of denied punishment. She momentarily examines me cautiously, but continues making her point.

“Long story short, Michel told me to reach back and remember the basics—always resort to the fundamentals when you find yourself drowning. Think about it. If you’re in deep water and you fight, you start to sink, but if you hold your breath and calm down, you float to the top. It was a little more detailed than that, but that’s the thrust. I remembered who I was when we fell in love, before life became complicated and I was in my head all the time—when things were simple, and I was simple… and… everything after that was easy.

“I remembered that crazy, dominant man who commanded a room when he walked into it and always drove me nuts—in a good way and a bad way…” she smiles to herself. “That first gray suit and that arrogant asshole and ‘just call me Grey…’”

Boy, she went way back!

“You made it clear that he was standing at the mental playroom door fighting for supremacy with his whip and his flogger, so he was the lion that had to be tamed. I needed clear, concise communication with you and in order to achieve that, I had to get past him. The only one that could get past him was the complete submissive—the lion tamer.”

So, that’s what that was about. Fuck if she didn’t get that shit perfect.

“But you didn’t tame the lion, Butterfly,” I protest. “You became the sacrifice. I wanted to eat you alive from the moment you came down those stairs yesterday, and that’s pretty much what I did before the night was over. My hairs were up and I was beating my chest every single second from that moment and through every sexual encounter we had last night. The inner me was clawing and tearing like a transforming werewolf the entire time…”

“And look at you now,” she interrupts. “Night before last, you left this room raging like a Klingon ready to do battle. Yesterday, you left the house barely hanging on to civility. I was surprised that you kissed me even on the cheek. You were ready to tear someone’s head off and although I don’t know what held you yesterday and kept you from lunch, I’m almost certain that someone at Grey House was picking pieces of their ass off the floor. Now, you’re as gentle as a lamb.” She leans forward on her knees. “I tamed the lion.”

Son of a bitch. She did tame the lion. How the fuck did I not see that? She explained it to me in plain English. She went back to the basics, became the perfect submissive—even in front of my family—without giving herself away. She maintained her poise and grace while yielding to me, allowing me to open doors for her, lead her out of the car, direct her into rooms, instruct her when it was time to leave, everything. She didn’t move without my permission. Her submission was subtle, but complete, and my inner and outer Dominant stood tall, proud, and arrogant, pleased beyond measure with her performance. When we got home, I both used her and rewarded her, like I would any perfect submissive. When the night was over, I was thoroughly sated…

And tamed.

“Well, it looks like the teacher has been taught,” I say, my voice slightly playful. “We’ve both learned some valuable lessons, I’d say, and… it appears there are still more to learn.”

“So, it appears,” she sighs.

“It’s been quite some time since I’ve instructed a submissive, Butterfly. We may have to undergo this learning together,” I admit. She shrugs, coquettishly.

“I’m okay with that if you are,” she says. “Remember, I’m pretty green to all of this. All I know is what you’ve exposed me to and what I’ve seen in my studies, which wasn’t much. I have a natural tendency for domination—when the mood strikes, and that’s few and far between—but for the most part, I’m flying by the seat of my pants here.”

“Well, let’s start with this…” I pull the covers from her breasts, allowing her pretty, pink nipples to pop out from under the sheets. “When we’re relaxing… like this, never—ever—cover these.” I raise an eyebrow at her. “I’m serious about that, understood?” The corner of her mouth rises slightly.

“Yes, Sir,” she answers sweetly.

*-*

I make slow love to my wife one more time before we get out of bed to face the day. There are a lot of plans to be made. Maria Sanchez is flying in tomorrow for debriefing and we’ll be doing the interview on location over the course of the three days. Mac is flying around like a bat out of hell while our staff are scurrying about like roaches setting up locations, security, wardrobes, securing NDA’s and background checks on staff at the gun range as well as Maria’s entourage. We’ll have a breakfast meeting to discuss final content and sign the paperwork on what will and won’t be allowed to be aired, just in case something gets caught in the interview or on camera that we don’t want disclosed.

Vickie is in seventh heaven fashioning my wife for the next three days, choosing colors and ensembles that will photograph well and look good on television—no loud colors or overly boisterous jewelry. The world already knows that we’re billionaires and our mansion, the fleet of Audis, and the crazy yacht that still hasn’t been moved back to the marina will speak volumes to that fact.

I don’t feel the need to call my tailor for anything new, but I did need the help of a professional stylist to get me screen-ready, so to speak. We chose pieces from my extensive wardrobe and added an additional accessory or two, but nothing too ostentatious or pretentious. Members of the family are expected to be caught in a cameo or three, so our stylists helped to design them as well to be prepared for the eventuality. And of course, the prince and princess of Grey Crossing—young Michael and Mackenzie—were both outfitted for their television debuts as well.

We were thoroughly worn out by day’s end and called it an early night, choosing to snuggle and rest for the evening since Friday would be an early morning of hair, make-up, and breast-pumping for my wife. I’ve also arranged for her to have an early-morning massage to help her relax before everything gets started as I know the weekend will be quite hectic.

I’m awake at sunrise and I summon Jason for a run to get prepared for the day. We have a few Paps waiting for us at the gate, but they foolishly attempt to keep up with us on foot instead of some motorized mode of transportation. Bad move.

When we return to the Crossing, Butterfly has just finished her shower and is preparing for her massage. I pass her on the way to mine and greet her with a kiss before proceeding to wash off the sweat of my run. Once we’re both primed and polished, we head to the Audis and to Grey House to our breakfast meeting with the broadcast journalist.

“Maria Sanchez. It’s a pleasure to finally meet you both in person.” Ms. Sanchez extends her hand to Butterfly first, giving her a formal shake, then to me. Draped in a pale peach sheath dress and an extremely high pair of stilettos, she appears warm and professional. She’s tiny—like my wife—short with a really small frame. I guess it’s a signature of short women to wear really high heels. I can honestly say that I haven’t met many women as short as my wife.

I’ve done my homework on Ms. Sanchez. That’s her maiden name. She’s married with three children and lives in New York. She’s Latin, 34 years old, born in the Dominican Republic. Her skin is a natural tan, more like a caramel, and she’s very petite. She moved to the states with her family when she was five and she’s been living here ever since. She studied at Columbia and cut her journalistic teeth with an internship at MSNBC. Although she never landed a permanent job at the network, a local celebrity spotted her and gave her a shot on staff at a morning show where she eventually worked her way up. Now, she’s prime time and nearly as big as Barbara Walters.

“So, you already know that I’m not a smut journalist,” Maria says as we sit down to a gourmet breakfast in the conference room of brioche French toast, bacon, potato pancakes, and fresh fruit. “The Paps are all over you, though—this whole Judd Rossiter thing; Ana’s father adopting her at 28; and there’s still the issue of the supposed misconduct charges that you were addressing in your interviews. Now, you guys are coming out with this exposé of sorts. It’s going to be quite the bit to bite off in an hour-long interview.”

“Thank you for getting my age correct,” Butterfly interjects. I frown. I’m not sure of what she’s referring to, but I let her continue. “I guess we’ll just have to keep our content as succinct as possible without sacrificing quality.”

“Or see if we can convince the producers to give us a two-hour time slot if all else fails,” I suggest. Maria shakes her head.

“Easier said than done,” she says. “We couldn’t convince him for two hours for President Obama or Bono.” I raise my eyebrows.

“You interviewed the President and Bono?” I ask. She shakes her head.

“I didn’t,” she answers honestly, “but two of my colleagues did, and it was a no-go on both. We’ve got good material on ice that we hope to air at a later date with their permission.” She shrugs. I don’t know how I feel about having material about my me and my wife on ice. We’ll have to discuss the logistics of that.

“We like the feel of your direction,” Butterfly points out as we continue our breakfast. “We think you can capture the essence of what we’re trying to portray without it looking rehearsed, kitschy, or ostentatious.”

“That’s the plan,” she says. “It’s going to be tricky, though. You live in a multimillion-dollar estate and you live a fairytale lifestyle.”

“People expect that,” I interject. “What they don’t expect is for us to be drinking out of solid gold goblets and our children to be sleeping in diamond-encrusted cribs.”

“Don’t they, though?” Maria jests before sipping her orange juice.

“Oh, you’ve got jokes,” Butterfly retorts. “No, we traded those for the platinum binkies.”

“Oh, of course,” Maria says, waving her hands, and the conversation continues just as lightheartedly.

Allen, Mac, and Joshua all join us throughout the course of the morning and we work out the final details of how the interviews will go for the next two and a half days. Andrea and Marilyn shadow us the entire time and we’re not even allowed—for the most part—to handle our own phones. The camera crew—and Maria—are following us around for what feels like 23 of 24 hours of the rest of the weekend and it becomes pretty clear that security is going to have to get almost violent with the Paps to keep them at a safe distance. Travel is going to be a task.

We shoot all the content for GEH on Friday afternoon. I give her a brief overview of my “humble” beginnings—the very short version of the story that Raynell Stanton was looking for. I was sure to throw in a bit of the bite, the killer instinct, and the mastermind that Raynell was sure I wasn’t willing to give… Ten short minutes of How a Bear Crushes the Competition Without Even Trying, just so she would know what she was missing. Then, we move on.

My wife had been swept away to “wardrobe and makeup” during my portion of the GEH interview. When she joins us to begin the tour of the facilities, she’s effortlessly flawless in a ruched gray skirt, black turtleneck sweater and simple black pumps with silver diamond hoops, her hair swept into a swooping ponytail. She looks classic and professional, right at home against GEH’s sleek designs and decors—once again, like she rightfully owns the place.

We visit key areas of the company before Maria requests time alone with Butterfly to see how she handles the camera on her own. I have every faith in my wife’s abilities, so I kiss her on the cheek and send them on her way, reminding them of the importance of avoiding proprietary areas and information while I prepare security for our departure.

“What’s the news?” I ask Jason when I get back to my office. “I know something is abuzz with a camera crew on site.”

“For the most part, they’re just trying to find out what’s going on,” he replies. “It’s only a matter of time, though, sir. Maria Sanchez is a well-known public personality. The moment they see her, you know the story breaks.”

“Then we have to do everything that we can to keep that from happening, or at least stall it for as long as we can. They’re not in the parking garage, correct?” He shakes his head.

“No, they can’t get pass the gates,” he confirms.

“Well, just make sure her crew goes down in the express elevators. Have them leave by the service gates while we and at least four Audis leave by the front gates. What can we do about Helping Hands? We can’t have a media circus there tomorrow. Butterfly will kill that portion of the interview before she allows that to happen and I concur.” Jason rubs his chin as he ponders the situation.

“Diversion tactics throughout the night. Have Maria’s crew meet Her Highness separately at Helping Hands,” he says. “Send a decoy entourage to Grey House in the morning to lead the Paps away from the Mercer house. Once the coast is clear, Her Highness can head on to Helping Hands. It’s rare that she goes in on a Saturday anyway, so they won’t be expecting it. Sunday, though… they’ll most likely follow us to the gun range.”

“That’s not a problem,” I tell him. “I’ve already arranged for private access to the gun range on Sunday morning. She’s leaving for New York on Sunday afternoon. By then, we can make an announcement that we were shooting footage for a human-interest piece to be aired later and they can go on their way.” Jason nods.

“Let’s just hope everything runs that smoothly,” he says. I sigh.

“Let’s just hope,” I concur.


ANASTASIA

Maria absorbs the posh surroundings as she strolls through the marble halls of Grey House with me and my husband. I’ll admit that the workspaces are open and well-appointed to maintain employee morale and reduce attrition. We want the best, and we want to keep the best, we assure her. She’s still a bit starry-eyed by the splendor of it all, but who wouldn’t be. I mean, let’s face it. Even the view of the boardroom is sexy.

Partially into the tour, she separates me and my husband so that she can get a feel for me on my own and how I function in this setting. I get it. Am I the trophy wife that everyone thinks I am, right? I don’t advertise that I also have an education in business, so no one knows, but Ms. Sanchez quickly discovers that I know my way around my husband’s company when I take over the tour on my own, describing certain projects that are in the works, carefully brushing over any delicate details that shouldn’t be revealed.

She further puts me to the test by specifically asking if it’s okay for us to visit quality control, unless there’s something too confidential in the works. I laugh to myself, thinking about the XRC90 that just got Rollins fired a little while ago and agree to show her around the department. Needless to say, she’s thoroughly impressed when I engage the new department head, Omar Braxton, in a conversation about “that transmitter” and he anxiously wants to show me his data, but I must curb his enthusiasm for another time as this information is, in fact, proprietary. It goes without saying that Maria is convinced that I’m not just Mr. Grey’s pretty little wife.

Once the tour and today’s portion of fact-finding is complete, I discover that getting out of Grey House that evening looks like something out of Mission Impossible. Jason, Chuck, Christian, and I load into one Audi SUV while various members of security load into three other Audis. Maria and her crew are loaded into her two vehicles and directed to take the back exit precisely at that time that we are exiting the front gates.

“Why all the vehicles?” I ask.

“The Paps are on the scent that something’s going on, they just don’t know what,” Christian says, and I see the flashing cameras just as we pass. “If they corner Maria at the hotel, you won’t be able to get the spot at Helping Hands tomorrow, because they’ll follow her trying to get the scoop. She has strict instructions not to come to the Center if she’s been followed by the Paparazzi for obvious reasons.” I nod.

“Yes, that could be a disaster, but I’ll be driving to Helping Hands tomorrow. What’s to stop them from following me?”

“Our hope is that they won’t act as a team and coordinate strategies, in that they’ll maintain that ‘every man for himself’ mentality that we’ve become accustomed to. If so, there’ll be enough frivolous activity with the Audis going to and from the Crossing throughout the night and morning hours to various Grey properties to raise suspicions and act as decoys. I’ll conspicuously leave in the morning and go to Grey House, drawing the lion’s share of the attention. It’s well-known that you don’t normally go into the Center on weekends, so our hope is that you’ll be free to go to Helping Hands once I leave, and Maria will be able to meet you there.”

“You’ve covered every base, Mr. Grey,” I say, patting him on the knee.

“I try,” he says with a smile. “It helps to have the best security team.” I see Jason glance at him in the rearview mirror. “How did the rest of the tour go?”

“Very well, I think. I get the feeling she wanted to make sure that I wasn’t your typical social-climbing-bracelet wife. I can’t very well be called a ‘trophy wife’ because I’m a doctor and I had my own position in my own right. She’s asked to see the condo, so I called Courtney to be sure it’s presentable.” Christian frowns.

“Why does she want to see your condo?” he asks. I shrug.

“I’m sure she wants to see where I came from before we were married. I’m surprised she didn’t ask to see Escala, but there was no need for you to prove that you didn’t come from meager beginnings.”

“And there’s no need for you to prove it either,” he says defensively.

“Yes, Christian, there is,” I retort. “There’s always a reason for me to prove it. There’s no reason in your eyes, and of course, I love you for that, but to the rest of the world, I’m a gold digger. If we’re going to expose ourselves this way, we can’t be afraid to open the book.” He sighs impatiently.

“And how are you going to explain keeping the place so spotless after we’ve been together for two years?” he asks.

“The truth,” I tell him. “I love my condo. It’s a terrible market to sell, and I’ve been subletting it to a friend who takes care of it for me.” His hand runs through his hair. “What’s the problem?” He pauses for a moment before he speaks.

“I don’t trust people, Butterfly,” he says. “If they can spin something to make it look some way other than it actually is, I expect them to do just that.”

“We’ve vetted Maria,” I remind him. “We’ve seen her work. She doesn’t operate that way. She’s even forewarned us about the impression others might get about some of the footage and the story. I really don’t think we have anything to worry about. If I did, I wouldn’t take her.” He sighs.

“Very well. We’ll see how it goes.” He takes my hand. “I just don’t want this to backfire on us in any way.”

“Neither do I, but we can’t live our entire life behind a veil. We already know that some of it has to be kept secret just because of who we are, but there must be some aspects of our lives where we aren’t constantly looking over our shoulders and waiting for something bad to happen or waiting for ‘the spin,’ or something else. We’re never going to get to that place without a little exposure. Remember what we agreed? Remove some of the splendor? The unified front?”

“Yeah, yeah, I know,” he says, squeezing my hand. “Just know that I’m still not against putting you and the kids in a bubble… and don’t think I can’t do it.”

“I know you can, Mr. Grey,” I say, rolling my eyes.

*-*

Both Carrick and Grace show up Helping Hands on Saturday morning. Carrick isn’t looking for any camera time, but he does want to make sure that his wife isn’t subjected to any undue stress. We’ve agreed not to discuss the accreditation fiasco on film—just the fact that accreditation is pending and what we hope to accomplish once it’s established. We walk Maria through what a normal day looks like at Helping Hands, careful to only show faces of low-risk families and only with their permission, doing an interview or two with mothers who agreed to be on camera and wanted to discuss how the Center is helping them.

By mid-afternoon, Christian’s diversion tactics are proving stellar as the Paps are nowhere in sight, and Maria, her crew, and I head to my condo. A quick 30-minute tour of my luxury digs overlooking Elliot Bay draws a few questions from the journalist about how such a young woman, a successful psychiatrist though I may be, came upon such lavish accommodations. I tell her the story about the bitter divorce and my stroke of luck in landing the coveted piece of real estate and that even though it was a steal for the price, it wasn’t cheap by any means.

She questions my décor, including the very masculine guest room. I could easily dismiss it with the fact that the apartment is being sublet and that could be the decorating style of the current tenants, but I feel no need to lie to her and dishonesty always comes out in the wash. So, I tell her the truth about Al being my best friend, this being his crash bedroom, and him having a key to my apartment for emergencies. When she furthers questions and discovers that this is the same Al that sat in on the meetings the prior morning as GEH’s attorney, she insists on riding back to the Crossing in the Audi with me to get more information on the relationship.

 

As I fill her in on the development of our little group, starting with me and Al as children, then adding Val and Gary in college, Maxie during my internship and Phil bringing up the rear as our Document Services guy at CCFW, Maria jokes that we sound like an episode of Friends. I humor her, but I totally disagree. Although there are six of us and six of them, I see no similarities in the personalities of the individuals or the dynamics of the group.

It’s early evening by the time we get back to the Crossing, and my boobs are ready to explode. I must excuse myself for a little while to pop a tit in the mouth of my babes or there’s going to be a flood to rival the days of Noah any second now. Mikey is more than ready for me when I get to the nursery and Minnie is just getting ready for her bath. I’m only to happy to silence his protests with an aching mammary that I am so surprised didn’t leak well before now. I relax in the rocking chair an accommodate his eager little sucking mouth, his little hand squeezing my mound as if he hopes to produce more milk. I sigh with relief as I feel my breast quickly begin to empty at my son’s coaxing, rocking him while gently humming the lullaby I often sang to him and his sister while they were inside me. He nurses for several minutes, seemingly taking only a few breaths for fear that the milk may escape if he stops suckling for even a moment, but after a short while, he calms to a steady rhythm drinking more evenly now that my breast is emptying and he’s beginning to get his fill.

I watch as his blueish-gray eyes lose their focus a bit and his little lids relax only slightly, not in weariness, but in comfort, and I can’t help but laugh to myself. He looks like his father, right after he’s had an orgasm and he’s basking in the afterglow. I don’t know what made me think of that, especially right at this moment while I’m feeding my son, but that look of contentment in his eyes couldn’t be compared to anything else. I guess it’s just that way with men… like father, like son.

I get the sneaking feeling of being watched, and just as I’m about to investigate why I feel like I’m being examined, Keri comes from just behind me with a clean and expectant Minnie Mouse, who was probably glaring at me all the way from the en suite wondering if her brother was going to suck up all the goods.

“Do you want me to give her a bottle?” Keri asks, looking down at Mikey.

“No,” I say, shaking my head. “I think Sir Michael is content. You can burp him and if he needs a little more, he can take the bottle. There’s a whole other breast that needs to be emptied.” I dislodge Mikey from the teat and adjust the emptied boob back into my bra. My chest actually looks lopsided, now. I release the other exploding mound from its prison and swap babies with Keri. Minnie latches on immediately, emptying the right boob even faster than her brother emptied the left.

“She must know she has an audience waiting,” I jest. Keri chuckles.

“I guess soh!” she says as she pats Mikey’s back, trying the help him give up gas. She takes him to the other rocking chair and we finish our task in relative silence, making sure the children are content before we take them down to the family room.

curly locks

Michael Allen Grey

Those blue eyes... (photo by Kim Jew) #toddlers

Mackenzie Anastasia Grey

The children make their television debut under the protective eyes of Christian and me, not to mention a mass of security. Maria jokes about how it’s not fair that two gorgeous people should produce such stunning children, and we don’t know if she’s only saying these things for the cameras, but we’re certainly smitten with our babies, so we can’t be unbiased. Christian took the liberty of showing Maria and the camera crew around various parts of the mansion and the grounds while I fed the children since we were running short on time and still had portions of the home interview that needed to be shot.

Elliot managed to steal some camera time, although Val opted to steer clear. She hasn’t really liked the limelight since her medical issues and such. Grace only capitalized on a moment or two to help publicize the work of Helping Hands while I was at the Center and Carrick stayed incognito, much like Val. I think he stayed out of sight because we still don’t know why he was being followed. Mia and Ethan are somewhere buried deep in wedding whatnots and never even made an appearance.

All things work and interview come to a halt for dinner and we feed the crew and staff while we eat. We then continue the interview in different portions of the house, different settings, and different topics, before calling it a night. The final segments will be shot tomorrow at the gun range and by now, the Paps are on that something’s definitely up with the Greys. There are only a few of them at the gate when Maria and her crew leave for the hotel in the evening, but we’re sure that there will be an entourage in the morning.

Unfortunately, that’s not all that’s waiting for us in the morning…

*-*

“Ana, Christian, before we begin, is there someplace quiet where we can talk?”

We didn’t have much trouble getting to the gun range in the morning. Even less trouble getting in when we get here. The Paps knew that the true story was with Maria, so they stuck to her for the night. Unfortunately for them, she had a back-up plan to get away from them as well—decoy vans to head in one direction and harmless, rented, soccer-mom-looking minivans to bring equipment and staff to the gun range. There were a few Paps who were smart enough not to fall for the decoy trick twice, but not enough to cause a problem, and they still couldn’t get past the private barricades once they got to the gun range.

Now, Maria stands in the lobby of the West Coast Armory, her face concerned, but not grave, requesting a private audience with us before we shoot the last segment, pun intended. Christian frowns.

“One second.” He goes over to the owner and has a quick word. I want to question Maria about exactly what’s going on, but I know it would probably only antagonize her and the situation further.

“We can use this office,” Christian says, gesturing us towards a door behind the counter. When we enter the office, Christian switches on the lights. There’s a desk directly in front of us and a table near the far wall. Maria gestures us over to the table and we all take a seat. She pulls out an apparatus of some kind that looks like a mini-handheld television.

“Apparently, there was a staff member that was added at the last minute to replace one that was injured—a grip from another set. Although he signed all the necessary documentation and passed all the background checks, he wasn’t sufficiently briefed on all the protocol surrounding this particular interview. Keeping in line with our agreement for full disclosure and only using pre-approved material, there’s something that I should show you.”

Maria pushes a button on the apparatus she’s holding, and the screen comes alive with a rough and uncut scene of me in the nursery with Mikey. I’m in the rocking chair and you can only see the back of me and the top of Mikey’s head, but it’s clear that I’m breastfeeding. I’m humming our lullaby to him, occasionally singing portions of the song and lovingly looking at my son as he nurses.

“I… I remember this… I came upstairs to feed the children. Who…?” I frown as I continue to watch the footage and this grip, who apparently knows his way around a camera, zooms in on my private moment with my son. Keri walks in and blocks his view of me and he curses. That must have been when we swapped Mikey for Minnie. Thank God Keri was standing there, or he might have gotten a picture of my bare breast! My fingers touch my lips and I feel myself flush for a moment, which doesn’t get by Christian.

“Butterfly?” he says, softly, causing Maria to her gaze to me. I’m still watching the screen, waiting for even the slightest slip. Christian’s hand is gently caressing my back as I remain in attentive silence.

“Butterfly, what is it?” I gently silence him by holding up my hand as I watch the footage until Keri moves. Minnie is settled, and I’m rocking and humming again. This scene plays on for a few minutes more before I hear other voices, the grip guys curses again, and the camera jolts before the footage ends.

“That’s it,” she says with a sigh. “That’s all of it. I’m really sorry. I’ve worked with every person on this team for years and nothing like this has ever happened before. This was a new addition the day we were flying out and I was assured that he had been briefed. Apparently, he had not.” I’m still sitting with my fingers on my lips. “Ana?”

“I was breastfeeding my children,” I say, finally, raising my eyes to her. “You saw, I was feeding my son.” I turn to Christian. “Mikey was on this breast and when Keri moved, Minnie was on this one.” I demonstrate moving my children from breast to breast. “What was he looking for? What was he trying to do? He sat there watching me feed my children for at least… what, 10 or 15 minutes? What was he hoping for, a nip slip or something?”

Christian’s jaw tightens as he turns his glare to Maria. He wants an answer to my question.

“I don’t know what his intentions were,” Maria says. “I could speculate and say that he might have been hoping that the bonus material would secure him a position on a more coveted show or even a promotion of some kind. He knows that our contracts and agreements are airtight and there’s no way that he could have sold the footage to anyone outside of the network without immeasurable repercussions. There’s no way he could have profited off this footage, so I have no way of knowing what he was trying to do.”

“Oh, there’s one way,” Christian retorts, his voice betraying his barely suppressed anger. “Haul his ass in here and ask him point blank what the fuck he was getting at!” Maria sighs.

“I don’t think that’s a good idea, Christian,” she says, her voice dropping a bit.

“And why not?” my husband nearly roars.

“That’s why!” she says, gesturing to him. “You’re passionate and ready to rip someone apart, and I have no doubt that you can. We don’t want to give him any kind of grounds to take action against you.”

“Action against me!” Christian says, struggling to maintain his composure. “He took unauthorized footage of my wife in our children’s nursery and we’re talking about action against me? I must be hallucinating this conversation!” Maria sighs again.

“Please listen to me,” she says, her voice firm, but soothing. “I’ve been in very close proximity to the two of you for nearly every minute of the last 48 hours. I’ve watched you eat; I’ve watched you work; I’ve watched you together; I’ve watched you apart; I’ve watched you with family and friends, with your children, and with your colleagues and subordinates. I’ve watched you in just about every setting that a person or couple could be in and it wasn’t until about five minutes ago that I discovered that you call her ‘Butterfly.’”

I look over at Christian and frown. He doesn’t take his eyes of Maria. He didn’t call me Butterfly around her? I hadn’t even noticed.

“From the expression on Ana’s face, I take it that this is a regular occurrence. Yet, you have been able to keep it from me for two days. That’s because you’re a man of control. You control yourself, your surroundings, and you definitely control the release of information about you—and that’s something that you either didn’t want made public, or you hadn’t decided yet.

“Now, your wick has burned all the way down to the wax and there is visible dynamite underneath—dynamite that I haven’t seen in 48 hours—and you want me to bring in the powder keg,” she concludes.

“You said it yourself,” Christian says, his voice even, “I’m passionate about my wife and my family, and I have a right to confront him about what he did.”

“I understand that,” Maria replies. “However, while I must protect you and your privacy, I must also assure his safety while he’s on the job. You must see how you’re putting me in an impossible situation here.” Christian sucks his teeth and nods.

“Why tell us about this at all, then?” Christian says with an angry shrug. “You could have handled this between you and your staff and your station and just trashed the footage. Why bring this to my attention if I have no say-so in it?”

“You do have a say-so in it,” Maria disputes. “I can’t, in good conscience, shoot anything in your home of you or your family, your business, your life, without making you aware of it or without your permission…”

“And you can’t use it without our permission,” I pinpoint. That’s what this is all about, isn’t it?

“I wouldn’t use it without your permission,” she says succinctly. “I have no intention of using it at all. It wasn’t part of the agenda we discussed,” she says pointedly, not taking down to my obvious accusatory tone. “However…” her voice trails a bit. And here’s the clincher. “This footage was shot on my watch. I have to take responsibility for it whatever happens to it. It’s now the property of the station, and whether it’s used or destroyed, I have to make you aware of it.”

“So, what you’re trying to tell us in a veiled manner,” Christian begins, “is that you can still use this footage, correct?” That’s what I’m getting at.

“We could, yes, but not legally without your permission,” Maria repeats. “Remember, you asked,” she says, pointedly. “You asked why say anything about it? Why not just destroy it? This is the answer. You have to know about it. I have to make you aware of it, even if I destroy it, because it was shot by one of my staff on my watch in your home. There’s no hidden agenda here, guys. This is not a reality show. I don’t set up bad situations so that I can catch you in candidly horrible moods and compromising positions. What you see is what you get. I don’t operate in shady techniques, so if there is a question or a concern or a suspicion that you have, come on out with it!”

I think the broadcast journalist lady is getting offended.

“My only question, concern, or suspicion is why I can’t confront the man who snuck around my house and filmed my wife in a semi-exposed state!” Christian huffs. “You talk about protection of our privacy and being on the up-and-up, but how would you feel if this were you? What if you found out that your privacy, your rights had been violated in the confines of your own home and the person who did it is being squirreled away and protected from you because of something someone thinks you’re going to do and you don’t even get the right to question him? How strong would your faith be in that organization?”

Maria examines Christian and then me for several moments, then rolls her eyes around the room in contemplation.

“I want you to know that I have never been in this position before,” she confesses. “I’m going to ask that you and Ana please move to the other side of the table.”

Christian and I look at each other. In any other situation, I think we would be offended. Under the circumstances, it doesn’t seem like such an unreasonable request. We stand and walk around the table. Christian pulls my chair out and I take a seat. As he sits, he immediately pulls out his phone as does Maria. They both talk in hushed voices, and in the next few moments, Jason and Chuck enter the room and stand near the desk. Oh, shit. A minute or two later, two other guys enter the office. One stands near the desk with Chuck and Jason while the other comes over to the table and takes the seat next to Maria.

“Ana, Christian, this is Reginald Blanke,” Maria says. “He’s our substitute grip guy and the one who shot the footage.”

“The unauthorized footage of my wife breastfeeding our children in their nursery in an otherwise off-limits portion of the house, correct?” Christian asks, glaring at the grip guy.

“That’s correct,” Maria says.

“I’d like to hear his answer,” Christian retorts, still glaring at Grip Boy.

“I… think I should probably have legal representation present,” he says, his voice small.

Wrong answer.

“Oh,” Christian says, his voice taking on sarcastic surprise. “Now, you want legal representation. You didn’t seem to think that was a problem while you were filming my wife and her exposed breast in my children’s bedroom. So, maybe we should just end the questions and the interview right now, withdraw our consent for this whole thing, and sue you and your network until I’ve decimated you and all your hopes and dreams, hmm? Then you can go on and seek your legal representation.

Christian sits back in his seat and waits for Grip Boy’s response. He’s pale and looks like he wants to speak. His lips are moving, but nothing is coming out of his mouth.

“Reggie,” Maria says, calmly, her head down, “answer the questions. You don’t have a leg to stand on and this man will bury you so far into obscurity that they will never find you with a birth certificate, full bio, DNA, and hound dogs.”

I almost want to laugh at the accuracy and the comedy of the statement. Yet, inside, I feel… angry. Why is he sitting here all afraid and bashful? He was behind the camera yesterday cursing at missed opportunities, so why is he sitting here today all anxious and timid? And what was he going for? If all he wanted was quiet and private moments, he got at least ten minutes of that, but he cursed when Keri blocked his view and when someone interrupted him. So, what was he looking for? What footage was he really trying to get?


CHRISTIAN

Blanke pulls at his collar a bit and adjusts in his seat while Maria mumbles something to him that I can’t quite hear. It doesn’t really matter, because I’ll pull the plug on this whole thing and just go about showing the world in my own way that my wife and I won’t be victims anymore. So, this little opportunist has about five seconds to open his mouth before Operation-Papa-Bear-Grey-Has-Lost-His-Ever-Loving-Rabbit-Ass-Mind goes into effect.

“Yes, sir,” Blanke mumbles, barely over a whisper.

“I’m sorry, I didn’t catch that,” I say. I expect submissives to be shy and retiring, not intrusive, perverted opportunists who try to get partially naked pictures of my wife. He clears his throat.

“Yes, sir, I took the unauthorized footage,” he says, but won’t elaborate.

“Why?” I ask. He sighs and starts talking, his face buried in his chest. I can’t hear anything he’s saying.

“Let’s play a game,” I interrupt him. “Unless you want to repeat your entire story twice, let’s pretend that my face is that camera lens that you were looking through when you were recording my wife, and try telling that story one more time, shall we?” I fold my hands on the table and allow him to start again. When he makes eye-contact with me, I realize that he’s really just a kid. He’s probably only 23 or 24 years old, but I don’t give a fuck, because his dick is fully grown!

“I was just trying to get some cutting-edge footage from behind the camera so that they would consider putting me on more assignments,” he says. “I get stuck on the local stuff and the fluff pieces, shorts and stuff and I don’t get any kind of credit or anything. I just wanted to show Maria that I could get some real material.”

“And you did this without any consideration for the contracts you signed?” I retort. “We were very specific about the coverage that we wanted to use. We made our specifications completely clear to Maria and to your company before we invited you into our home, into our lives—and if you were unsure about what was acceptable and unacceptable, then you should have cleared it first before you went rogue trying to make a name for yourself!”

“I knew she would have to tell you, Mr. Grey,” Blanke defends. “I knew we would need your permission before we used any of the footage…”

“You would need my permission before you shot any of the footage,” I clarify. “Even the location of candid shots was cleared with us. Although the nursery was cleared with us and that footage already taken, my wife breastfeeding our children therein was not!”

“I took the footage straight to Maria this morning,” he defends. “I haven’t shown it to anyone else or did anything else with it.”

“You very well better hope you haven’t!” I snap. “Because if that footage shows up anywhere else, life as you know it is over.” Maria leans in to him and mumbles, “I told you.”

“You. Shot. Unauthorized. Footage. Of private. Moments. Of me. With my. Children.”

The growling, deep, menacing voice is coming from my Butterfly that silences everyone in the room. I was so focused on this Blanke motherfucker that I didn’t notice that she’s been sitting here this entire time simmering. I look over at my wife and I can see that her temper is now holding on by a spider’s web.

“You snuck around my house like a prowler; you lurked in the doorway of my infants’ bedroom and you filmed video coverage of me and my exposed breast with my babies without my permission like a sick peeping tom. You violated our rights, our privacy, our trust, and your contract. Now, besides the fifty or hundred million dollars that it would cost me for doing so, which I would gladly pay right now just for the opportunity, you give me one good reason why I shouldn’t leap across this table and rip your eyes out of their fucking sockets right now!”

Good. Fucking. Grief. She is scaring me. I reach over to touch her to try to calm her. Her fists are clenched, and the portion of her hands that are exposed—her knuckles—are like ice. She doesn’t react at all to my touch. I throw a cautionary glance towards Maria, whose brow furrows questioningly at me.

“I… um…” Blanke swallows, his eyes darting warily between me and my wife. Her fist still clenched, she addresses him again.

“You took the liberty of wandering through my home until you located me—alone, in my children’s bedroom, with my babies, in a state of partial undress. You say you were looking for cutting-edge footage. What kind of cutting-edge footage, Reggie?” She injects a heinous amount of venom into his name. “You got a solid ten minutes of a mother nursing her child. That’s real cutting-edge. I’d say that’s a whole lot more cutting edge than watching me fire my nine at the gun range, wouldn’t you?” She adds, her sarcasm evident.

A small sheen of sweat starts to bead on Blanke’s forehead and he looks to Maria for guidance, but gets no assistance from the journalist.

“You cursed when my nanny blocked your view of me,” she points out, “when we swapped the babies and I swapped breasts. You sat there for several more minutes… waiting—until somebody’s voice interrupted you and you had to flee. You got several minutes of footage of nothing but my back and me singing to my babies and you cursed both times you missed the chance to get something else. What. Were you. Waiting for?”

We all know the answer to that question, but Butterfly is trying to get him to admit it. He’d rather chew nails than admit that he was hoping to get a glimpse of her bare breast for whatever purpose—to sell, to use as leverage, for his own perverted thrill—but that was his goal, and everyone in the room knows it.

Butterfly’s fists open, and her hands flatten on the table. Her jaw tightens, and she takes in a breath and releases it. If I didn’t know better, I would swear… oh, fuck.

I turn to face my wife in the vain hope that my movement and proximity will distract her. I place one arm around the back of her chair, gently stroking her back and the other on the table just behind her elbow. I’m leaning slightly forward, my legs parted, my feet flat on the floor, my weight shifted towards my calves. I can move quickly if I must, and this fucker is not answering fast enough.

“I was feeding my son, for God’s sake!” she shoots. “I know women do it in public. I’ve done it in public, but I still cover up when I do it! I wasn’t in public; I was in private—behind closed doors, and you were deliberately trying to get a glimpse! On camera, no less!” she accuses finally. His eyes widen.

“I was no… I was…” He looks like a floundering fish searching for water.

“Don’t try to deny it!” Butterfly retorts. “You won’t admit it, and nobody here will say it, but I know. You sure as hell wasn’t looking for ten tender minutes of me nursing my babies because you got that! So, what the hell were you looking for, you fucking perv? There was no reason in God’s name for you to be in the private living area. What the hell were you doing on the second floor anyway?”

Related imageI see a huge question mark appear in Maria’s eyes almost like a cartoon and the gentleman who had been quiet and standing with Chuck and Jason chooses now to speak.

“Come to think of it,” he says, “I sent you to get shots of the aquarium on the ground level. Did you ever get those shots?”

“Y-yeah… I got… I got those,” Blanke responds.

“So, I try to give you a chance—let you out of my sight for a few minutes to get shots of the aquarium, and you go wandering around the house, taking shots of the Misses?” the guy asks incredulously. Blanke starts to squirm again.

“It wasn’t like that!” Blanke defends. “I got back on the elevator to come back to the main shoot, but I wasn’t paying attention and must’ve pushed the wrong floor. When it opened to the second floor, I heard her voice and saw her going towards the room, so… I decided to follow and… just hope for some candid shots…”

“Liar!” Butterfly’s voice reverberates off the walls and her gloved fist comes down hard on the surface of the table, causing a loud, thunderous crashing sound to rumble through the room, silencing everyone in the office and in the lobby outside. I refrain from leaping at her when I realize that she hasn’t risen out of her seat.

“Ana, he’s trying to explain…” Maria interjects.

“He’s lying!” Butterfly interrupts venomously, turning her gaze back to Blanke. “The center elevator was locked. Security made sure of it. That means he had to take the elevator on the south side of the house, at least 800 feet away. Now, unless he has the hearing of a bat and Superman’s x-ray vision to see through walls, he’s lying about hearing or seeing me go to my children’s nursery, and even if he had, what gave him the right to come snooping in on my private time with my babies? He still hasn’t answered that question!” she spits. “I am not. A piece of meat!” she spews. “And it’s because of the thinking of assholes like him that I can’t escape that goddamn stereotype!”

For the first time, I see Maria lose her composure. Her fingers rub roughly at her eyebrows and her decorum flies out the window.

“Oh my God Reggie how could you be so fucking stupid!?” she hisses in a vicious whisper all in one breath. “He told you to get panoramic footage of the aquarium… the goddamn aquarium! The only live subjects you had to shoot were the fish!” She sighs an exasperated sigh and never raises her gaze from the table… and I suddenly get a brilliant idea.

“Use the footage,” I say, flatly. Everyone’s head shoots up at once.

“What?” Butterfly says, incredulously.

“Use the footage,” I repeat. “It shows you in your best light—unrehearsed, candid, beautiful. You didn’t know the cameras were rolling. You were perfect with our children—gentle, attentive, caring, what every mother should be… totally oblivious to the fact that anyone was watching you. Anything that we did over the last three days could have been staged or rehearsed… except that.”

Butterfly still looks uncertain while the wheels are visibly turning in Maria’s head. I decide to sweeten the deal a little to help ease my wife’s fears a bit.

“I have a few stipulations,” I continue. Maria’s back straightens.

“They are…?” she asks.

“First, once this conversation is over, he’s off set,” I say pointing to Blanke. “A member of my security staff stays with him until you all board the plane. I don’t trust him anymore and that’s the only way you and he avoid a lawsuit for his breach.” His face pales.

“Done,” Maria agrees, which won’t be difficult since this is the last shoot we have to do. “Next?”

“Anything he has filmed is unusable. No matter what it is, if it needs to be filmed again, you need to let me know before you leave Seattle. If he worked as a grip, fine. If he was behind the camera, no.” Maria nods again.

“He’s probably only gotten landscapes and maybe backgrounds here and there. Grips don’t do any shooting. Like he said, he was hoping to get a foot in somewhere. Maybe now, he’ll stick to rolling the dollies,” she says.

“Good. Then that makes my third stipulation much easier. He gets no credit for the footage.” Butterfly perks up with that announcement. Blanke’s mouth falls open.

“Of course,” Maria says, with no hesitation.

“But I shot it,” Blanke protests, “and you’re using it! You have to give me credit!” Maria’s head jerks violently over her shoulder at him.

“We still have an interview and you’re not being sued, Reggie. Now, shut up and hope you still have a job when we get back to New York!” she spits. Blanke zips his lips at Maria’s command and she turns her attention back to me.

“Anything else?” she asks.

“I think that about covers it,” I say, sitting back in my seat and folding my arms. Maria nods and turns her attention to Ana.

“How about you, Ana? Are you okay with that? Is there anything you’d like to add?” Butterfly purses her lips before speaking.

“Thank you for asking me,” she says, her tone firm. “No, that’s fine with me,” she says as she stands from the table. She entwines her fingers together to press her shooting gloves down between them on each hand, and strides out of the room, those black jeans hugging that beautiful, round ass. Even with her hips swaying seductively from side to side, her entire garb and demeanor—from the bulletproof vest and black baseball cap to the black Timberland hiking boots—labels her as a force to be reckoned with and causes every man in the room to silently step aside as she exits. Maria groans almost inaudibly under her voice and I roll my eyes and sigh, causing Maria to turn her attention to me.

“Get ready for some fancy shootin’,” I say, in one of the worst deep south accents I’ve ever heard, causing Maria to involuntarily scoff a laugh before shaking her head at me. She looks back at Blanke and stands from the table.

“Get ‘im outta here,” she says dismissively, pointing a thumb behind her back to no one. I nod at Jason, signaling him to make sure that someone sticks to this asshole until he leaves the state. I pop my neck and prepare for a tense morning, hoping that Butterfly’s anger and aggression at this situation doesn’t shine through on camera. It’s not the image we’re trying to portray. Nearly everyone has left the office and Maria and I are the last to exit.

“Christian,” Maria stops me before we go out to the range. “You have to tell me something.” I turn to face her. “You know I call it like I see it. While Ana was talking to Reggie, you tried to come off as attentive and protective, but you looked more like the tackle ready to sack the quarterback… or was I misreading that?” I scratch my stubble before answering.

“Maria. My wife’s father is a Marine. If you do any research on any of her years prior to meeting me, which I’m sure you already have, you’re going to find some horrendous things. My wife got terrible news while we were on our honeymoon that she could do nothing about. My security staff and I took turns—15-minute non-stop sessions—of her whaling away at mitts on our hands with boxing gloves on hers until she wore herself out. It was a very painful experience for all of us. You saw the heavy bag in the workout room that now takes the brunt of that abuse.

“When I first met my wife, before we started dating, I discovered that we worked out at the same gym. I practice kickboxing. She practices Krav Maga. I watched her put her instructor—a martial arts specialist the size of one of my bodyguards—in a submission hold, and have him banging on the mat begging for mercy. His crime? He attacked her from behind. It took three men to coax her off him, because she wasn’t letting go.

“This part is off the record,” I preface, and she nods. “I had a crazy ex show up at my penthouse. She wouldn’t take ‘no’ for an answer and she was very disrespectful to Butterfly, who wasn’t my wife at the time. She was in the kitchen cutting vegetables at the time. The crazy ex threw some flippant threat at my wife as she was leaving. Butterfly launched that knife at that woman, which sliced her split ends and landed point first in the door right in front of her.”

Maria’s eye’s pierce as I tell the tale of Elena’s last visit to the penthouse.

“Oh, that’s not the end. When the crazy ex left, and I scolded Butterfly for throwing the knife, indicating that had she not missed, she could have killed the woman, she assured me that she hadn’t missed and proved it by opening the drawer and launching two more knives at my front door, both of them lining up perfectly next to the first, not a centimeter apart. Had I not ceded that I got her point, there would have been more holes in the door—which, if I remember correctly, she promptly repaired with a nail file and caulk.”

Maria is still in awe, but tries not to scoff at the last statement.

“If you saw me about to sack the quarterback, you were right, because had she leapt at that man and got her hands on him, God save him. That woman is a lethal weapon. She may be registered for those guns, but she should be registered for a whole lot more. She’s deadly gorgeous, she’s smart and intuitive, she’s strong, she can operate basic projectile weapons, and she holds a Ph.D. and knows her way around the human body and mind. She’s a whole lotta hell in a small package. She’s someone I’d want on my team in any fight—mental or physical. I was never your worry… she was.”


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

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

 ~~love and handcuffs

Fifty Shades Golden: Chapter 6

This is a work of creativity. As such, you may see words, concepts, scenes, actions, behaviors, pictures, implements, and people that may or may not be socially acceptable and/or offensive. If you are sensitive to adverse and alternative subject matter of any kind, please do not proceed, because I guarantee you’ll find it here. You have been warned. Read at your own risk.

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

Chapter 6

602b4a7d8922ca2529a14d3a0119243a

GOLDEN

 

I can’t lie. It was hard not returning to Crimson for the first few weeks. As much as I didn’t want to admit it, I wanted to see him. No one had ever pursued me so fervently—he could even verbally spar a bit like no one else would even dare. It was that power that I noticed in him that I allowed to break me down—not completely, but enough to let him get in even if only a little. Elena must be ecstatic that she has Crimson all to herself now. I haven’t seen her at any of the other clubs I frequent, not even once. I can operate in peace…

Without her…

Without him…

I was just fine before I met him, and I’ll be just fine once I get him out of my mind.

I’ve been sticking to meeting my clients at The Incubus, Temptation Station, and Club Syndrome. Those fuckers were so happy to see me back in those places that I might as well own the joints. This is what I’m accustomed to. I know word will get out that I’m frequenting these clubs… and he’ll probably come looking for me. I’ll just go to another club when that happens. I can’t risk running into him. Even the strongest of us must admit a weakness—and he very well could be mine. But I’ll never give him the chance to find out.

Blake has noticed a change in me and has shown some concern about it, particularly since I’ve been cooking more often. Cooking has always been one of my pastimes, I just stopped doing it as much when I found my… place in the lifestyle. Now, I feel the need to get back to my roots.

My roots. Fuck. I don’t have any roots.

Aunt Sheila taught me how to cook the only way I know how. I was too young to learn when Mom was alive… and Mom didn’t cook soul food.

It was so hard getting used to the food Aunt Sheila made when I first moved in with them. My uncle thought I was in mourning and that’s why I wouldn’t eat, but Aunt Sheila figured it out and started separating my food before she got heavy with the seasoning for the rest of the family. Gradually, she introduced more spices to my food. I hate to stereotype the Steeles—or myself, for that matter—when it comes to the “differences” in “white people food” versus “black people food,” but there was a difference. At least to me, there was, and Aunt Sheila understood immediately. I can’t help but wonder why she didn’t come for me… didn’t ask about me after I disappeared. My cousins saw me almost every day. Nobody cared what was going on with me? Where I was living? How I was living?

Cooking always brings these thoughts to mind. That, and the fact that my uncle is still harassing me to speak to him. Why? Why does he want to speak to me now?

I turn the fried chicken in the frying pan and check the potatoes boiling in a pot nearby. I always make enough food for an army, then eat one plate and send the rest home with Blake. He eats some of it and gives the rest to the homeless. He jokes that they’re very happy to see him coming in various tent cities and under the bridges and viaducts. Blake is a good man who has made a very big mistake, and he can’t let himself off the hook. He’s an impeccable dresser, a total gentleman, and one of the most tortured souls I’ve ever met.

Much more tortured than me.

I’m only dealing with disappointment and disillusionment. Yes, it’s on a massive scale, but that’s still all it is. Even the incident with Lester didn’t traumatize me—it just pissed me off. I wasn’t hurt or scarred… unless you count not allowing anyone to fuck me. It’s not that I don’t want to fuck. I just won’t give it up that easily. It doesn’t matter my fetish or how I choose to exercise it. That part of my body is sacred to me and it always has been. I dish it out the way that I want and nobody has the right to take it. I gave it away in college until I realized the power of holding it back.

It’s mine. I decide, and contrary to my last encounter with a certain copper hottie, I still choose.

I hear Tupac “Changes” playing on the counter and wipe my hands before I retrieve my cell phone. I don’t recognize the number and my first inclination is to let it go to voicemail, but why bother? If I don’t want to speak to whomever it is, I’ll just hang up. I swipe the screen.

“Hello?”

“Ana?” I don’t recognize the voice. It’s male and sounds somewhat familiar, but I can’t tell you who it is.

“Yes?” I reply.

“Ana… it’s Kevin.” I pause. Kevin. I still don’t know what to say to him after what happened in the gym.

“Hi, Kevin,” I say. What else there to say?

“I… just wanted to make sure you were okay. You haven’t been to the studio in three weeks. Even your friend Elena is wondering what happened to you.” I just bet the fuck she is.

“Well, I’m fine,” I tell him, “and she’s nosey, not concerned.” He’s silent for a while.

Well, I’m concerned.” I don’t reply. “I’d like to take you to dinner,” he says, finally.

“I don’t date,” I reply.

“Who said anything about dating?” he counters. “I said I want to take you to dinner.”

“And hope for a payout afterwards?” I ask, honestly. I made him come hard and I know for sure that he would like a repeat. He sighs.

“It was great, Ana. I won’t lie about that, but right now, all I’m asking for is a meal and conversation. Is that alright with you?”

What’s his game? I know he wants pussy. They all do, but I’ll take his food.

“I’ll meet you somewhere,” I finally agree. “Where and when?”

“You decide,” he says. I think about it for a minute.

“Simply Soulful,” I reply. He’s quiet for a moment.

“You sure?” he asks, uncertain.

“It’s where I grew up,” I tell him. I hear him scoff quietly.

“That explains a lot,” he comments. “Okay, Friday night at Simply Soulful, then.”

*-*

“We can go somewhere else, if you want,” Kevin says as we examine our menus. I know what he’s referring to—the table of sistahs sitting next to us glaring at me like I’ve violated the terms of the Geneva Convention.

“I’m fine,” I tell him. “You have no idea how accustomed I am to the Mad Woman Stare Down. I get it more than you know.” I leave the obvious descriptive word out on purpose to avoid a public scene that I know is forthcoming anyway and turn my attention back to my menu. One of the girls at the next table scoffs loudly.

“She must be a prostitute,” she says, loud enough for me to hear.

“Yo’ momma’s a prostitute,” I say, loud enough for her to hear me without taking my eye off the menu.

“You talkin’ to me?” she barks directly at me.

“You talkin’ to me?” I retort.

“You must want yo’ ass kicked!” she counters, rolling her head at me.

“Here it is. Get to kickin’,” I taunt with my arms open. That just pisses her off.

“White trash bitch!” she hisses.

“That ain’t what yo’ daddy said,” I throw back at her. One of her friends whimpers to hide a laugh while the other gasps loudly with a long intake of breath in complete shock.

“Say something else about my parents and I’ma kick yo’ motherfuckin’ ass!” she snaps at me.

“Something else about your parents,” I taunt. At first, it flies right over her head until her girls start snickering again. Then, she rises from her seat.

“Take it outside, Rayjene,” someone says from behind the counter. “You always startin’ some shit.” She narrows her eyes at me.

“I’ll see you outside,” she says.

“Gon’ out there and wait for me, bitch,” I tell her. She clenches her fists and storms out of the restaurant. Her two friends remain at the table glaring at me. I turn me attention back to my menu.

“What you gon’ do?” Kevin asks. I raise my eyes to him.

“She wants to beat my ass? She can wait right there until I’m finished eating. She’s a damn bully, and she thinks I’m going to back down because I’m white. Backing down from a bully because I was white is the very fucking thing that changed my life, and I’ll never back down from a bully again. I want to see her try to beat my ass, but not until I’ve had my meal.” I look down at my menu and wait for the waitress to come over.

I can feel the eyes at the next table boring into me. I don’t turn to them because I don’t want to give them the satisfaction of my attention. When the waitress comes to our table, I place my order.

“I want the combination catfish and chicken wings with macaroni and cheese, collard greens, and corn bread.” The waitress glares at me for a moment.

“Where does all that food go?” she asks.

“I work out a lot,” I answer honestly. “I grew up on this food—my dad’s family was black.” Kevin’s eyes pierce at me.

“You never told me that,” he says.

“You never asked,” I reply, handing the waitress the menu. She looks at Kevin.

“I’ll have what she’s having,” he says, handing her the menu.

“Anything to drink?” she asks.

“Do you have sweet tea?” I ask. She nods.

“I’ll have a Coke,” Kevin says. When she leaves the table, he turns his attention back to me. “You said, ‘was.’” I frown.

“What?”

“You said that your father’s family was black. What happened?” I clasp my hands on the table in front of me.

“Well, of course, they’re still black, but my father died when I was young. He and my mother were killed in a car accident, so I went to live with his brother and their family. We lived around here.” That’s all I say about the matter. He nods but doesn’t press the issue.

“Why haven’t you been back to the studio?” he asks. I shrug.

“Didn’t feel like it, I guess,” I say pulling a napkin from the dispenser.

“Was it because of what happened?” he asks. I look up at him and only just realize how handsome he really is before dropping my eyes.

b7c18b3ba1ea9266bfcf1a1779dcd372“It was a mistake,” I say. “It shouldn’t have happened.”

“Then, why did you do it?” he presses.

“I don’t know. I wasn’t myself.” It’s the truth. Under normal circumstances, there’s no way in hell that would have happened, but right now, I have no good explanation for why it did.

“Yes, I know,” he says, frankly. When I raise my eyes to his, he raises his eyebrows challengingly. I can’t argue with him. He does know. He’s been flirting with me for months and I suddenly break down and give him a blowjob.

The waitress comes back with our drinks and the bill for the table next to ours, the one with the girls looking down my throat and hanging on my every word, so I stop talking. Kevin notices and turns conspicuously glaring at the girls at the next table. Once they note his displeasure, they quickly make their exit, taking their bill to the counter.

“Now maybe we can talk,” he says, taking a swallow of his soda. “I know what she does,” he adds. I raise my eyes to look at him.

“Hm?” I question.

“Your friend, Elena,” he says. “I know what she does.”

“How do you know?”

“She propositioned me once,” he replies. “You do the same thing?”

“I’m in the same arena,” I tell him, “but what she does and what I do is not even close.” He nods.

“I can imagine,” he says.

“I take it you declined,” I say. He looks at me puzzled. “Elena… you declined?” He sits back and sips his soda again.

“It’s not really my thing,” he answers. I nod.

“Yes, it’s an acquired taste,” I say, sipping my tea.

“Interesting choice of words,” he counters, never taking his eyes off me. “How is what you do different from what she does?” I sigh.

“You’d have to understand the lifestyle to understand the difference. It’s too hard to explain otherwise.”

“Educate me,” he says, leaning forward on the table and giving me his undivided attention. I chuckle and shake my head.

“It’s no use, Kevin,” I say. “People outside the lifestyle almost never understand the concept of what we do or why we do it. More than once, I’ve heard people refer to it as ‘a bunch of crazy white people beating each other,’ and they have no idea the diversity of people who practice, what all they engage in, why they practice, what they get from it…” I just shake my head. The dynamics of even a few facets of the BDSM lifestyle are just too intricate to cover with a civilian over catfish.

“I’m not asking you to give me a Ph.D. thesis on why you do what you do. I’m just asking for a little education on what it’s about.” He sips his soda again.

Okay, fine. I can try to give him a little information on the lifestyle without having him run away screaming.

“There are many aspects to the BDSM lifestyle,” I say quietly, “so many aspects that there are way too many to cover with you right now. I will tell you that they can range from kinky sexual fantasies to seemingly downright inhumane and brutal practices that would churn your stomach. No matter what the practice, the entire concept of the lifestyle is built on mutually satisfying activities that are considered safe, sane, and consensual… although some people—myself included—might question the sane part in some of the activities I’ve witnessed.” I stir my tea with my straw.

“Is that why what you do and what Elena does is so different?” I look up at him and he’s looking at me with genuine interest, like he’s hanging on my every word.

“No,” I say honestly. “The reason why what she does and what I do is so different is because she does what she does for her own enjoyment. I do what I do for mutual satisfaction. I get satisfaction from seeing the intense reaction of my… partners, while she gains satisfaction from total domination, if you can call it that. Anybody can teach a puppy how to speak and when to roll over. That what she does. That’s how she treats her pets.”

“And you?” he asks. “What makes you different? How do you treat your pets?”

“I don’t treat them like pets in the first place,” I say squarely and his eyebrows rise. “They’re people… with specific needs and desires… They’re singular and particular, and I pinpoint those needs. I enhance them, I satisfy them, and yes, I exploit them. As a result, they’re loyal. They come back to me, and each time, I read them, and I give them what they need. Often, it’s better than it was before, because I pay attention. I tweak my techniques based on how they respond and I aim to take them higher each time they come to me, and they thank me handsomely for it.” That gets his attention.

“They pay you,” he says, and it’s a statement, not a question.

“They give me gifts,” I correct him. “They come in many forms… jewelry, clothes, trips, favors, and yes… sometimes money.” I stir my tea again. “I don’t have a price, Kevin. I never have. I know my worth—in the courtroom and in the playroom. I don’t have a menu where I perform an act and you pay up. I take them on mind trips—bring them out of their bodies, make them transcend sensation more than they ever thought they could. In return, they give me what they feel is appropriate, and I can say that I’ve never been shortchanged. It’s an exchange that I’d never be able to explain to you. You would only understand it by experiencing it yourself… and no, that’s not an invitation.”

“I know it’s not,” he says matter-of-factly. “Like I said, it’s not really my thing. I’m not just saying that. I speak from experience.”

You could catch a fly in my mouth right now. What the fuck? Kevin is familiar with the lifestyle? I don’t get a chance to rebut as the waitress comes over with our food and begins to put the plates on the table.

“You need hot sauce?” she asks.

“Yes, please,” Kevin says.

“She alright?” she asks, gesturing to me. I shake the shock from my face and run my hands through my heart.

“Yes,” I say absently. “Mind blown. Sorry. Hot sauce, please.” She chuckles and shakes her head.

“Comin’ right up,” she says with a snicker. She leaves the table and quickly returns with a bottle of Frank’s RedHot sauce.

“Y’all let me know if you need anything else,” she says before leaving the table. I turn my attention back to Kevin.

“You practiced the lifestyle?” I ask, intrigued. He nods.

“Only for a little while,” he says, smashing his cornbread into his collard greens. My cousin Tracy used to eat them that way.

“Were you a Dominant or a submissive?” I ask. He looks off for a moment as if pondering the question.

“I think I might have been a little of both,” he says, mixing the greens and cornbread. “It was mostly kink for me, but there was some bondage involved… blindfolds and a little flogging.” He raises his eyes to me. “I’ll admit that I like a good, hard fuck, but the bondage and discipline thing just didn’t appeal to me as much as I thought it would, so…” He shrugs and shakes some hot sauce on his chicken and fish before offering it to me. I take it from him and shake a good amount over my chicken, fish, and greens.

“Yeah, you grew up in the hood,” he chuckles after swallowing a mouthful of his greens and cornbread mixture. “So, from the description, you’re more into the S&M part,” he says, nearly cleaning the meat from the ding of a wing with one swipe of his large lips.

Geez, man.

“Yes, I am,” I tell him, “as is Elena, only…” I sigh. “If you want a dog to keep doing what you want it to do, you give it treats. That’s why she has to pay her subs. If you’re satisfied with your service, you leave different types of gifts—like tips and praise. That’s why I’m so popular and she and I are so different.”

“You don’t think it has anything to do with the fact that you’re just sexy as fuck?” he says frankly.

“Well, you can’t do what I do without sex appeal,” I retort. “At least you can’t do it well. Seriously, Kevin, who wants to look at a dog while they’re coming to orgasm?”

“Point taken,” he says as I take a healthy bite of my fish.

“Mmm,” I say, groaning while I chew and swallow my food. “This is so good!”

“So, um, what’s with Elena?” he asks. “She acts like you guys are so close, but I knew before you told me so that you weren’t cool with her. What’s her deal?” I ponder the answer while a swallow another mouthful of my delicious food.

“Did you ever see the movie Bring It On?” I ask.

“Ironically, yes,” he says. “I have a thing for Gabrielle Union.” I nod.

“Do you remember the red-haired head cheerleader captain who graduated, but kept coming back to practice because she couldn’t fucking let go?”

Kevin almost chokes on his food and I can’t help but laugh.

“Um, she was named after gum or something,” he says after he takes a swallow of his soda.

1438977673-tumblr-m8ezu8jgia1rw5yn2o1-500“Big Red,” I say. He nods as he’s pointing at me, his mouth full of soda. “Yeah, that’s Elena. She needs to get the hell off the field and let go, but she keeps coming in trying to bump hips with me and move me out of the way when we’re not even playing the same game!”

“I’ll say,” he confirms, placing his soda on the table. “No offense, but it’s obvious y’all in two altogether different leagues.” I hold my hand up.

“My point exactly. So, trust me, there’s no concern there on her part. She’s picking your brain for information.”

“Well, I haven’t seen her for a couple of weeks now,” he says before shoveling more food in his mouth.

“That’s because she’s certain that I’m not coming back,” I tell him. “I haven’t been to the club that we normally frequent and I haven’t been to yoga, so she’s wondering what the hell is going on.”

“What the hell is going on?” he asks.

“I’m just going to different clubs,” I confirm.

“And different studios?” he asks and waits for an answer.

“You know why I wasn’t coming into the studio,” I confess. He nods.

“Um-hm. I know,” he says.

We carry on conversation about Elena and BDSM, why it wasn’t his cup of tea and why I like it, until we finish our dinner and the waitress asks if we want desert.

“I want some banana pudding,” Kevin says. I almost agree with him until I see something in the dessert choices that I haven’t had in years. It’s a recipe that I’ve never perfected, so I would rather not try it than to fuck it up.

“Ooo, gimme some of that sweet potato pie!” I say, damn near drooling in anticipation. The waitress smiles and goes to retrieve our dessert choices.

“You are a black woman trapped in a white woman’s body!” Kevin declares playfully.

“I take that as I compliment,” I say with a hearty laugh. When I look up, I see someone at the counter staring at me… so hard, in fact that our waitress is trying to get his attention to take his food and his eyes are trained on me.

Fuck. It’s Jake.

60e9e4e4257eb8c4e6a8ca904a641762Kevin turns around to see what has caused me to stop laughing and stare behind him. Jake snaps out of his trance when Kevin turns to look at him.

“You know him?” Kevin asks, turning his attention back to me. I shrug and look down at the table.

“Yeah… long time ago,” I say, somewhat flippantly. I know him, and I used to like him a lot, but I stole a candy bar from his family’s party store while a bunch of spiteful bitches busted up his dirt bike and he never spoke to me again after that. “Old childhood sweetheart,” I admit truthfully.

“Well, don’t look now, but…” and he trails off. I look up and Jake is on his way over to the table. What the hell? I mean, is that proper protocol… to crash someone’s date? True, we’re not on a date, but Jake doesn’t know that.

“Hey… Kev,” Jake says, speaking to Kevin first. Yeah, do that. Pretend like he’s the reason you came to our table. I fix my eyes on his, steeling my stare in a mixture of stoicism and disinterest. I was only disarmed for a moment, but I’m back.

“Hey, Jake. How’s finance?” Kevin asks. I hadn’t even noticed that Jake is wearing a matching gray vest and slacks with a black tie and white dress shirt. He looks like he just stepped out of the office and took off his jacket.

“It’s good, as usual,” he says, occasionally turning his brown eyes back to me. They’re cloudy around the edges, like a storm coming in through a sunset. “Ana,” he says, by way of greeting.

“Jake,” I reply, nothing more than he gives me.

“I thought you moved out of these parts,” he says, now ignoring Kevin.

“I did,” I say… and again, I give him nothing else.

“What brings you ‘round now?” he asks.

“Home cookin’,” I say. He stands there staring at me for a while and I have to admit. He’s just as good-looking now as he was all those years ago.

“Jake…” Kevin says, his tone a bit warning. Jake turns his attention back to Kevin.

“Sorry, man,” he says, before throwing another glance at me. “I guess I’ll see ya ‘round,” he says, still looking at me.

“Yeah, see ya,” Kevin says, his voice sharp. Jake looks from me to Kevin, then leaves the restaurant with his dinner. I look at Kevin in awe and jest.

“Alpha male much?” I tease, but Kevin’s face is still serious.

“He was outta line,” Kevin retorts seriously. “He didn’t know what was going on here. Yes, we’re having a friendly dinner, but he didn’t know that. That was rude!” I twist my lips and ponder. I was thinking the same thing when Jake walked over to our table.

“Yeah,” I say, “I have to agree with you on that one.” He shifts uncomfortably in his seat. “I guess I should apologize, too.”

“Naw,” he says, waving me off. “You were just trying to be polite.” I shrug.

“Pretty much,” I reply.

“You guys got history?” he asks. I shake my head.

“Not really,” I say. “I mean, he didn’t hit it or anything like that. He just reminds me of a time in my life that I’d much rather forget.”

“Is that why you do what you do?” he asks, showing the same interest he did before we were interrupted. “To forget?” I shake my head.

“No,” I reply. “I do what I do because I like it… a lot. I know people have a lot of different reasons why they do this, but I think mine is the best. I just really enjoy it.” He nods.

“I think yours is the best, too,” he says. Our waitress brings our dessert to the table along with our check.

“I hope y’all enjoyed your meal,” she says with a smile as she leaves the table. Kevin digs his spoon into his banana pudding as I sink my teeth into some of the yummiest sweet potato pie I’ve tasted in years.

“So… why don’t we do this?” he begins. “You come back to the studio and get your yoga on and we’ll use this conversation to squash all that awkwardness. Then, you let me take you out for a meal and some sweet ‘tae-ta pie once in a while and… that’ll be that?” He shovels another spoonful of banana pudding in his mouth and just like that… I think I’ve made a friend.

“That’s cool, Kevin,” I say, digging into my sweet tae-ta pie.

I guess the girl who wanted to kick my ass found better things to do with her Friday night than to wait around for me to finish my catfish, because she was gone once Kevin and I had left the restaurant. He saw me safely to my Range Rover, kissed me on my cheek, and waited for me to drive away before he got into his car. I have a feeling that he really was hoping for more from this dinner, but knew it would be impossible once he confirmed that I actively practiced in the lifestyle. At least he was a gentleman about it instead of trying to find a way to get around my wishes and still get into my panties…

… like a certain copper-haired god I’d much rather forget.

Blake is at the door when I get home and I can’t say that I’m surprised. With my uncertain schedule, he usually just stays at my house over the weekend in the quarters that I had built for him.

“You’re too good to me,” I say, when I walk in the door while he holds it open for me. He says nothing, and I pick up on his mood immediately. He probably thinks tonight was a date since I’m dressed like a civilian and coming home at a decent hour. I turn around and look at him. “Blake?”

He raises his gaze to me and his eyes say it all. Blake needs someone to need him and if I find love, he feels like I won’t need him anymore.

5086-javier-bardem-pb“Blake,” I say softly, “don’t you see how much I need you? Don’t you see how much I wouldn’t be able to function without you.” He smiles a small smile.

“Yes, Mistress,” he replies, his voice melancholy, “but it won’t always be that way.” I smile at him.

“We live in the real world,” I reply, touching his cheek gently, “and nothing last forever… but I need you now, and I don’t see that changing anytime soon.” His smile widens infinitesimally.

“Yes, Mistress.”

*-*

“Oh, for God’s sake, send him in.”

My uncle has been harassing me at my office every day for weeks and now, he’s at it again. Seventeen years… seventeen fucking years, absolutely nothing. Now, I face off against him in court and he just has to see me. After seventeen fucking years. What’s so goddamn important now?

He hasn’t changed a bit in seventeen years except that he was balding at the time and now, he’s completely bald. When he walks into my office, I stand from my desk and finally face off with this selfish fucker.

“Why. Are you. Harassing me?” I ask, my voice controlled.

“I’m not harassing you, Ana,” he answers calmly. “You’re my niece, and I’m just trying to talk to you.”

“No, I’m not,” I say firmly. “I’m not Daddy’s biological child, so you have no connection, no obligation to me. Daddy loved me. Daddy gave me his name and welcomed me into his family out of love, but you don’t have that obligation. It died with my father, and any obligation that would have passed down to you would have been passed down through love. You don’t have that, so you have no connection to me.”

“Goddammit, Ana…” he begins.

“What?” I hiss. “Does that bother you? Does that hurt you to hear? Love—do you have any idea of that concept, Uncle Richard?” I speak venomously. “Do you have any idea the capacity of love that it takes to welcome a child into your heart that doesn’t belong to you and give her your name? That’s the capacity of love my Daddy felt, and that’s the love he showed me every day until his very last breath. And when he left this earth, he took that love with him to heaven. So, don’t worry. I know how it feels, but that love and obligation died with my father. You haven’t broken any rules, Richard, only broken trust.” He looks down at the floor as if to gather his thoughts.

“I didn’t know what to do, Ana,” he says, “I was confused—really, and young…” Is he serious?

“Oh, God, please stop,” I say, putting both hands in the air and using them as a barrier between us. “Are you really here to plead your case why you left me out in the cold when you knew that I had no one and nowhere to go?” I ask incredulously. I glare at him for a moment, but don’t give him a chance to answer. “I was fifteen… I was fifteen fucking years old and my mommy and daddy were dead. I was a good kid, a really good kid, and you have no idea what I went through after you left me. And you have the nerve to stand here and try to explain it with that ‘I was young’ bullshit?”

As he stares at me now, all I can think of is the disgust in his eyes when he shook his head and walked out on me that day. That wasn’t inexperience in his eyes. That was disdain! I have no idea what was going through his mind at the time, but I know that he wanted to be anywhere but there… anywhere but with the little white girl his dead brother adopted…

“Was I not perfect enough, Uncle Richard?” I snap, my control disappearing. “Do you have any idea what happened to me after you walked out that day? Do you even care? Do you even know the whole story of what happened? Did you even bother to find out?” I laugh tragically. “God, I hope you didn’t, because if you did, and you still left me out in the cold…” I shake my head and roll my eyes. “Get out of my office.”

He gazes at me like he wants to say something, but he just stands there for several moments. A shroud falls over his face—something like defeat—and he turns and walks towards the door.

“Your aunt Sheila is dying,” he says, his hand on the doorknob poised to turn it. “We don’t know how much time is left. Breast cancer—very aggressive.” He turns his head to look at me. “Stage four.”

That’s not why he’s here. It’s just a piece of information he threw in there. I have no idea why he’s come and I really don’t care. And no offense to Aunt Sheila, but in seventeen years, she never came for me either. Nonetheless…

“You have my condolences,” I say flatly. “Now, leave.”

He drops his head, his shoulders rising and falling in a heavy sigh before he turns the door handle, opens the door and leaves my office.


mcsteamy-eric-dane-464227_267_400

TREY

Six weeks in a goddamn cast after that bitch hurled that fucking potted plant at me. Six goddamn weeks—I was too uncomfortable to even fuck properly.

That’s okay, though, because so was she.

After security cornered her ass at her car that day, I had them call the police. They had to… that bitch fractured my fucking arm. And I had her ass arrested for assault and yes, I’m pressing full charges. I don’t know what that pot was made of, but I swear to God it must have been cement. I’m still trying to figure out how the hell she lifted that damn thing off the ground!

The entire incident made the news, of course. She was portrayed as a scorned lover in some articles, a hysterical socialite at the end of her rope for losing her businesses in articles that got it right. I really didn’t care. She posted bail and now, she’s waiting for trial for second degree assault charges. I wonder what her precious Linc will have to say about that?

She might get off with probation since this is her first offense, but I’m hoping she does some time. It won’t be much—three to nine months for first offenses—but I still want her to do some time. If I hadn’t sacrificed my arm to protect my face, the bitch would have killed me or at the very least, I would have ended up a fucking vegetable. What is it with psychotic women trying to kill or maim me?

That, of course, brings my mind back to Golden. Back to Golden… who am I kidding? My mind was never off Golden. She’s all I fucking think about. The more I try to forget her, the more I think about her. I haven’t seen her in over six months—no word, no mention, not even a whisper in the club. Yes, I’ve returned. I’ve been to others around town, but I’ve occasionally returned to Crimson with hopes of just getting a glimpse of her. I’m a glutton for punishment.

When the day finally arrived to get this fucking cast off my arm, I almost wanted to celebrate. I had to go through a couple of weeks of physical therapy, but I really needed to start working out again. Working out meant that I get my strength back and I could wield a cane or a flogger again, grip a hip and fuck some poor pussy senseless.

That was my total intention—to get a hold of Caramel and fuck her within an inch of her life. She ruined that for me, though. Three weeks after the cast came off, Caramel showed up at Escala in a gold raincoat. I thought it was just coincidence, though I suspected that she knew she was a substitute despite all the time that we had been fucking. I knew that it wasn’t a coincidence when I ripped that fucking raincoat off and there was a golden negligee underneath.

She’s fucking with the fantasy. The fantasy is abstract, not direct. If I wanted something that trite and insignificant, I’d hire a fucking lookalike. It irritated the fuck out of me that she dared make this kind of statement to me, and I made sure that she knew it.

I never punished Caramel. She never got a flogger or a whip or a paddle because that wasn’t her purpose. That night would be no different. I wouldn’t dare mar that beautiful skin, but she was punished—sexually and emotionally.

I fucked her so hard and so many ways that I almost felt sorry for her. I wouldn’t let her put my dick in her mouth. To me, allowing her to suck my dick was a reward because it gave her power. I didn’t want her to have that power. She wasn’t as good as Joyce at it anyway.

No, I needed to bury my dick in that pussy and that ass in every way imaginable. I made her bounce hard on it, backwards and leaning over me until I was nearly ready to blow. Then I pushed her off of me while I watched my dick throb almost painfully until the orgasm fell away before I turned her over, locked her arms behind her at the elbows with my hand and fucked her doggie style to the brink of insanity again—repeating the process over and over and over until she’s damn near delirious. I don’t know if she fucking came or not. That night was all about me and my dick and making up for six weeks of fucking celibacy…

…And six months of never being able to get this woman out of my fucking mind…

…And one night of this silly little cunt thinking she had control.

Once I had enough of tormenting myself with pleasure and I was ready to come, I put her face down on the bed and I crouched over her. I lubed her up and fucked her hard and deep in that ass. I made her hold those cheeks open so that I could get my dick into that asshole all the way to the hilt. I fucked that ass like a goddamn wild man… no fucking mercy. It was outstanding! And when that insanely painful orgasm that had built up for weeks now intensified through hours of fucking and denial began to blast through my dick, I reached down and squeezed and caressed my balls roughly, forcing every bit of cum from my nuts as my fingers dug into her hips. I nearly howled through the blinding pleasure.

I collapsed breathlessly on top of her, pushing us both down into the bed as I continued to stroke my pulsing dick in short strokes into her ass, drawing out every fucking last moment and drop of this powerful climax. I don’t know if it was because I waited so goddamn long, her ass was so fucking tight, I built it up so much or I was angry and I took my aggression out on her, but that felt like the best, longest, and hardest nut of my goddamn life. As it waned, I rolled my hips around so that the walls of her ass rubbed against the wet skin of my dick to remind me how that shit felt moments prior. It was fucking amazing.

Now it’s over, and I lay here next to her, wanting nothing more than to get her the fuck out of my house.

I roll over with my back to her and relax into the pillow and the comforter.

“I won’t need you anymore, Caramel,” I say coldly. “You can leave, and don’t come back after this.”

I can feel her staring at me even though I’m not looking at her. She has to know why I’m doing this. She has to know she crossed a line. We had no commitment and no rules, but she had to know this was unacceptable. I feel her throw the covers off and get out of bed. Next, I can hear her gathering her things. I hear the door open and she pauses.

“Tammy!” she says harshly, tears lacing her voice. When I look over my shoulder at her, she’s only wearing her thong and she’s carrying her nightie, coat, and shoes, her large eyes trained angrily and sadly on mine. “My name is Tammy!”

I say nothing as she lingers a few moments more at the door before exiting without closing it behind her.

She knew what this was. She couldn’t expect more. When it’s over, it’s over. It’s that simple. It’s like that movie, Nine and a Half Weeks. When the thing was done, it was done. No matter who was hurt, it was over. If you caught feelings, wrap up your little broken heart and get the fuck out of my face. I’m not sorry that I’m not all tortured by her departure like Mickey Rourke’s character.

She was never the one torturing me in the first place.

*-*

“Hello, Christian.”

Well, I guess I should have expected this call. It took him long enough. Shit, the bitch could be dead by now for all he knew.

“Lincoln,” I say impassively. Elena’s absentee husband has finally contacted me. I’m wondering if he’s calling in a sad attempt to cock strut, or if he’s trying to pay me off to drop the charges on his wife.

“I hear you had my wife arrested,” he says coolly.

“You hear correctly,” I retort.

“May I ask why?” he says. Is he being fucking funny? Where the fuck has he been for the past several months—hiding under a goddamn rock?

“Google it,” I reply with the same coolness that he’s giving me.

“I’ve already heard what the press and the rags have to say,” he responds. “I want to hear your side of the story.”

My side? My side was plastered all over the newspaper when the ambulance took me from Grey House. Fuck this. I’m not feeding into this asshole.

“You’ll hear it in court, that is, if you can be bothered to stick around to see what’s happening with your beloved wife.”

“You and I both know that trials take forever, when you can just tell me what’s going on.” Boy, he’s really working with a pair.

“Then talk to the police,” I say impassively.

“The police can only tell me what happened, but they can’t tell me why.” Sucks to be you, then.

“If you have any other questions, contact my attorney.”

“Hiding behind a lawyer, Grey?” Linc taunts. “That’s not your style.” I won’t bother to ask him what he means by that because he’s trying to lure me into some bullshit. When I don’t bite, he continues with his bait. “What I don’t understand is why Elena was at your office that day in the first place.”

“Have you been gone that long, Linc?” I say. “Have you forgotten that we were once friends?”

“Were?” he continues.

“Yeah, having someone break your arm tends to put a bit of strain on the relationship.”

“So… you’re saying that before she broke your arm, you were still friends.” I see where he’s going. He’s trying to get answers from me that he can either use against her or that he hasn’t gotten from her yet. And I’ve had enough of his fucking game.

“Lincoln, why the fuck are you calling me?” I say, my voice sharp. “You should already know that I’m not telling you shit. So, if you want answers, you’re asking the wrong person. Ask your goddamn wife or talk to my attorney. I shouldn’t even be talking to you considering the fact that your little Misses tried to fucking kill me.” He chuckles.

“I’ve never heard of anybody dying from a broken arm,” he taunts.

“She threw that thing at my fucking head!” I hiss. “I blocked it with my arm or otherwise, that would have been my goddamn face… and I’m done talking to you.”

“Come on. What’s a chat among friends?” he counters insincerely.

“Nothing, except we’re not friends and we never have been. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have business to tend to.”

“Just one more thing,” he presses. “Why did she throw a potted plant at you in the first place?” Fine, fucker. You want it, you got it.

“Oh, that one I’ll answer for you,” I say in my own taunting voice. “Her business failed… did she tell you that?” I pause for several moments and his silence tells me that she hadn’t told him that. “Yeah, the fall of Esclava, Salon to the rich and famous. That’s been all over local news. She came to ask me for help and when I refused, she got it into her demented head that somehow, I was the cause of her demise. While I’m trying to figure out how the fuck she came to this conclusion, she starts hurling shit, so I had the crazy broad arrested.”

“Careful, Grey,” he hisses threateningly. “It’s not a good idea to talk about my wife that way.”

“Then keep that psychotic bitch on a leash and stop harassing me!” I end the call before he has the change to retort. Linc should know better than to try to fucking cross me. What’s his major malfunction? I summon Taylor to my office.

“Sir,” he says as he crosses the threshold.

“Linc is back in town,” I tell him, “and he’s none too happy about the situation with his wife. Be on alert in case his ass forgets who the fuck I am, and feel free to send him a little reminder if necessary.”

“Yes, sir,” he says before leaving my office. Lincoln almost found out about me and Elena back when we were fucking. I’m sure he’s still suspicious, even though he never caught us or found any real proof. He sent me a warning in the form of an ill-placed rumor and the press knocking on my door asking about the nature of my relationship with the lumber king’s wife.

My response?

Three of his sawmills shut down in Germany and acquisitions of four of his U.S. operations—one debarking and bucking operation, two processing and seasoning plants, and one paper mill—all within twenty-four hours of his little stunt. His only hint that it was me, a black card delivered to his main offices with only the words, “Keep fucking with me.”

Linc is the last fucking thing I want to think about now. I let Caramel… Tammy go and now I need a new pastime. Joyce was boring me well before Car… Tam… fuck it, Caramel even came on the scene and nothing has changed. Good head can only get you so far in this world.

Elena did have a way of finding the tastiest little morsels. She’s how I ended up with Caramel in the first place. Now, she’s out of commission and anyone in her little coven right now will be desperate for a Dominant.

I don’t do desperate.

For the first time in years, I log onto my Fetlife profile. I need another new flavor, like Caramel. I’ve probably only fucked two black women in my life and I must say, I loved Caramel’s big ass. Pounding into her from behind was one of the hottest pleasures I can remember. That meat would slap hard against my dick while I dug my fingers into her skin for a good grip and held on while those cheeks wobbled and rolled and smacked. Fuck, I’m getting hard just thinking about it! And I sent her away…

I fucking had to. Every time I would have fucked her after that, I would have just resented her ass. It’s only now that I’m realizing that I don’t think I’m going to remember too much what she looks like. I think I’ve only looked at her face twice… once when I first fucked her, and again when I sent her away. Even now, all I can remember is that ass.

Big asses… nice, big, round asses. Maybe that should be my next type. I could definitely get into that.

I browse around Fetlife for a little while, but I’m sure that I won’t find what I’m looking for there. Hell, I didn’t really like trolling Fetlife even when I first got into the lifestyle. I don’t know what made me consider going on there now. I do have a newsletter of private and semi-parties sent to my alias’ email though. Maybe I can find my new flavor there. I get a little thrill just thinking about it. I’ve always looked for pretty girls—preferably petite, that could take a good beating. Now, I’m searching for thick girls no matter what nationality that can take a good fucking with a little Domination thrown in.

For the first time in a long time, I’m actually looking forward to something.


A/N: Tupac was a revolutionary just like his mother Afeni Shakur, but unfortunately, the only thing most of America saw was the “Thug” rapper. And I know someone somewhere is going to bring up that sexual assault conviction, but I’m personally only TOO AWARE of how the “Just-them” system can put the wrong person in the hot seat, so we ain’t going to even discuss that. Let’s just say that if I contend that you forced me to do something in a club that I didn’t want to do, I’m not going to end up in your fucking hotel room… but I digress. I won’t preach, but I will ask that if you get an opportunity, you look at or listen to the lyrics to “Changes,” and you’ll see that in the 21 years since his death, a lot still hasn’t changed. Ana chose Tupac as one of her heroes, one of her mentors, because of what he stood for. His music guided her through life and still does. Get to know him if you’re interested. You might be surprised.

I’m expecting to lose a few more readers after this…

“Changes” is on my Pinterest page at https://www.pinterest.com/ladeeceo/fifty-shades-golden/, and the link to Tupac’s page is https://2paclegacy.net/ for anyone who may be interested.  

The
Hate
U
Give
Little
Infants
Fucks
Everybody
Inside my mind, couldn’t find a place to rest. Until I got that THUG LIFE tatted on my chest.” -2Pac

For those who may not know, the “descriptive” word that Ana was talking about was Mad BLACK Woman. It would take forever to explain, but in short, it’s a movie by Tyler Perry that started out as a play about a sister who was dealt a very raw deal by her man and she was pissed. Ultimately, the term ended up spreading across the whole of “sisterdom” and was applied to any black woman who was upset for any reason whatsoever, including black women who just acted out and had bad attitudes. Many brothers have often tagged it as the “Mad Black Woman Syndrome,” using it as their excuse for turning to other races as wives. There’s no shame in finding love in other races; but when they use this made-up syndrome as an excuse, it just creates more Mad Black Women. In the end, the “Mad Black Woman” was supposed to represent the Black Queen who was tired of being mistreated by her Black King, and the term just ended up getting a bad rap. 

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

~~love and handcuffs

Raising Grey: Chapter 22—Submissive

I do not own Fifty Shades Trilogy, or the characters. They belong to E. L. James. I am only exercising my right to exploit, abuse, and mangle the characters to MY discretion in MY story in MY interpretation as a fan. If something that I say displeases you, please, just leave. If you don’t like this story or me, please don’t spoil this experience for everyone. Just go away. For the rest of you, the saga continues…

Chapter 22—Submissive

CHRISTIAN

I can feel myself rising to full height before I even get out of the car. The ride back to the Crossing was silent and I haven’t heard a word from my wife, which is a bit surprising considering she spent part of her morning with one of my prior submissives. I, on the other hand, spent the afternoon grilling an uneasy Jason on how Sandra Beasley was able to get so close to my wife so easily. I also set Alex to the task of finding out exactly what the hell happened to one Ashanda Beasley—information that I plan to keep on tap in case I need it to deal with Sarah Bradley in the future.

My wife isn’t home when I arrive—another fact that I find surprising, but it’s still a bit early. I head to my office to try to finish some work, but I’m widely distracted by the events of the day and the fact that Anastasia still isn’t home yet. Early in the evening, Jason requests an audience.

“I have an answer for you, sir,” he says, as he marches across the open area of my office. He hands me the file on Ashanda Beasley, a preliminary background check requested about ten days ago as protocol for the interview. Initially, everything is standard and nothing is cause for concern except for a red flag for age and date of birth. Further investigation required was returned as the outcome. I raise my gaze to him.

“This report came in this morning, sir, right before the interview. She decided to do it anyway.”

She… my wife.

“Why wasn’t I notified?” I ask.

“We didn’t know who she was,” he says. “As far as we knew, she was Ashanda Beasley with a flag on her birthdate. It could’ve been a typo. We were still investigating and as quickly as the information was filtering in, I was processing it and giving it to you. The moment I discovered that Beasley was Bradley, I turned on that cable channel. That’s when I came to your office.”

“So, we knew something wasn’t right before she went to the interview. We just didn’t know what it was.”

“Correct.”

“And because we didn’t have all the information, and this small thing got past us, she made the final call to do the interview,” I summarize. Jason sighs quietly.

“Correct.” I nod. I can’t blame him. It was a small security issue, so we thought, and he was working to handle it. My wife, who can be a force to reckon with, is the one who decided to break protocol and proceed with a yellow light on the background check.

“Thank you, Jason.”

“Sir…” I raise my gaze from the report. “You should know that this happened before.” I glare at him.

“What?” I nearly hiss.

“We had one other instance where Her Highness proceeded with an interview before a final report came in. We had a preliminary background check and we were awaiting confirmation of a few more details. It was one of the larger networks where security definitely wouldn’t be a concern and in the end, the complete background check came through okay—after the fact—and there weren’t any issues. It turned out to be a situation of a judgement call which worked out in her favor, but nonetheless… sir—protocol.”

“I get it, Jason,” I say, turning my gaze back to the blaring red flags on the preliminary background check in my hand. “Thank you.”

He leaves me alone in my office to wait… so I wait. Wait for my wife to arrive so that I can hear her side of this story.

I don’t have to wait long.

“I’m surprised you didn’t call me,” she says as she marches a bit indignantly into my office.

“I’m surprised you didn’t call me,” I retort coolly, and she’s a bit taken aback by my tone.

“You sound displeased,” she says, crossing her arms as she reaches the front of my desk. Displeased… I test the word.

“Curious,” I say. Displeased doesn’t quite describe one of the emotions that I’m experiencing right now. “That was a very uncomfortable situation with Ashanda Beasley.”

“Very,” she confirms, her voice sharp, and now I know why her tone didn’t sit well with me when she was in the studio right before she left.

She knows. And she’s cross with me. Interesting. I rest my elbows on the armrests and entwine my fingers in front of my chest.

“So, what’s your take on it?” I ask. She scoffs a sarcastic smirk.

“My take?” she says, sardonically. “Well, how about yet another catty little misinformed bitch trying to get information?” I nod.

“Perhaps,” I concede, “not to mention the curiosity of a spurned ex-submissive,” I add. She raises her brow.

“Oh,” she says, in surprise, “we’re being forthcoming.”

“I see no reason not to,” I say matter-of-factly. Her eyes narrow a bit.

“I had been saying that I had an interview with Ashanda Beasley for days. It might have been useful to know that I was facing off with one of your ex-submissives,” she says, her voice crisp.

“Well, I might have been able to forewarn you had I had any clue in the world who Ashanda Beasley even was,” I say nonchalantly, my hands still casually clasped in front of me. “That’s not even her real name, but then again, those kinds of things are revealed in thorough background checks.”

I gaze knowingly at her and wait. I can see the moment the penny drops. Thorough background checks.

“Right now, I’m trying to ascertain who’s responsible for this,” I say calmly. “I agreed that you be able to do these interviews if we take the necessary precautions so that you aren’t exposed to danger, discomfort, emotional blackmail, or being ambushed and in one way or another, I think you’ve gotten some of all of those.” I know I’m right and she can’t even argue with me. She’s standing there trying to find a rebuttal, but she’s knows I’m right, too.

“Right now, what I want to know is who dropped this ball.” She doesn’t know that I already know who dropped it. She’s going to have to tell me. “Rapping with Rob, there was no way to know that asshole was going to sit there with a pussy in your face. The ratings whore, they’re everywhere. That’s a chance that you take sitting in anyone’s seat. But an ex-sub… that can be found with a little digging. It apparently didn’t take you or me long to figure out that’s who you were sitting with this morning and a little due diligence would have told us that before you sat in that seat… so who dropped the ball, Anastasia?”

My voice is eerily calm and even and she raises her eyes to me.

“You already know,” she says.

“Do I?” I ask. “What is the protocol when you plan to do an interview? Who gets notified first? What’s the chain of communication? What’s the approval process so that we know that it’s safe for you to be sequestered in a booth with another person… or other people? Who gives the go-ahead or the red light on such actions? How do we know you’re going to be okay? Who. Dropped. The ball?” She takes a deep breath and releases it.

“I did,” she says, though unapologetically.

“You were adamant about being a part of your own security,” I remind her. “You wanted to know the protocol; you wanted to be informed; you even wanted to be present in some of the security meetings. Suddenly, you’re going into the public eye to discuss intimate details of your life and security isn’t important anymore?”

“It was a small cable station in Lynnwood. It was the last interview I agreed to do. I wanted to reach a small community of people who may have thought there were no resources available to them. I didn’t see the harm in it…”

“Except that there was harm in it,” I say finitely. “There was a predator lying in wait for you and although she wasn’t aiming to physically harm you, she was aiming to harm you—to defame you on her little show and expected you to sit there and take it. It could have been avoided had you followed protocol and waited for the clearance, and now I find that you did this more than once.”

I sit quietly and wait for her response. She stands defiantly gazing at me, not challenging me, but not taking down either.

“That’s twice,” I say, standing from my chair and walking around my desk, “twice this past life has come back and smacked me in the face in less than two weeks, not to mention the many times it’s smacked me in the face before now.” I clench and release my fists and pop my neck while looking at the floor, my control hanging on by a thread. I’ve got to do something about this.

I’m weighing my options carefully. My old methods aren’t effective anymore. Out of sight, out of mind means that opponents—in this case, these fucking ex-submissives—grow more and more brazen when you’re not in their faces all the time. Sarah Bradley was married and had moved on. She was supposed to be the least of one of my fucking worries. Hell, I have two ex-submissive that I don’t even know where the fuck they are! I’ve got to do something I haven’t done before. I’ve got to throw some water on this fire somehow or it’s just going to get bigger. But tonight…

I raise my eyes to my wife. My wife, who can’t follow simple instructions put in place to guarantee her safety. Her expression is a bit more contrite now that mine has hardened slightly, but only slightly.

“We agreed on a protocol when you decided to do these interviews and you didn’t adhere to it,” I say, flatly.

“I did adhere to it,” she retorts. “I only strayed a couple of times.”

“It only takes once to fall into the wrong hands, and you did,” I counter.

“I had Chuck with me the entire time,” she defends. “You saw that.”

“And what if this had been someone desperate, like Elena when she had your gun?” I shoot back coolly. “At that close proximity, would Chuck have been able to save you?”

Her face pales and I know that I’ve made my point. I turn away from her to indicate that I won’t take a rebuttal to my next statement.

“We’ll address this more later,” I say finally and wait to hear her leave the office. It takes a moment, but she leaves. I release the breath I’m holding and pop my neck again, that fragile control still teetering on the head of a needle. I sit down at my desk, steeple my fingers over my lips, and ponder my next move.

*-*

“Activate two-way communications.” Ding. “Locate Anastasia Grey.”

“Ana.”

“Mrs. Grey, may I see you in our bedroom, please?” After a long pause.

“Okay.”

“End two-way communications.” I go into my dressing room and retrieve a box that I’ve had for a while containing an object that I’ve only recently acquired. I come back into the bedroom and wait for my wife. She enters a minute or two later, a curious expression on her face.

“I am who I am,” I begin. “I won’t change. I’ll always require structure and control. When something interferes with that, I struggle to maintain balance.” I pause. “You broke the rules today in a big way. What’s more, you’ve done it before and you know that’s unacceptable.” I hand her the box in my hand—a large, black velvet box that can easily be mistaken for jewelry. However, she jumps in surprise when she opens it to reveal something quite different.

“Oh!” she gasps. Then she examines the object inside carefully. “It… looks like… you,” she says, her voice soft and incredulous. What she sees is a life-sized dildo—a perfect replica of my semi-erect dick.

“Yes, it does,” I confirm. “I’ve had a mold for years. I only had them made for… special submissives. I’ve done some pretty deviant things with them in the past and now… I’ve had a fantasy for a long time of doing some things to you… with you. This is the perfect opportunity.” She swallows hard. Yes, my love, you should. “I want you to shower—thoroughly—with the natural coconut body wash and the microfiber towels. Miss nothing, and I mean nothing! When you’re done, your garments will be on the bed. Put them on and come to the playroom.”

She swallows again, then drops her eyes before walking to her en suite. Good girl. I go to my closet and retrieve the bag of items I purchased a while ago for just such an occasion—a pair of black lace thongs, a short black silk robe—deliberately too short to cover anything, and a pair of sky-high black Louboutins. Yes, I know that she has several pairs, but this pair is mine! Solely for my use, pun intended. It’s a simple pair of shoes, really—whole pumps, patent leather, red-bottomed platforms. I take the rest of the items in the bag to my dressing room to change into my uniform.

If she’s as thorough as I told her to be, I’ll have plenty of time to set up. After I’ve changed, I go to the playroom to make sure all of the new items that I’ve been dying to use on her are ready to be broken in. I have a shit-ton of new toys that have been crying for my attention and today, I’m going to finally put them to use.

I’m a patient man. I place my oils, flogger, crop, wrist restraints and various other items in clear view. I want her to know that her body is mine and I plan on playing every inch of her skin like my goddamn piano tonight. Oh, the things I plan to do to her… the anticipation is succulent!

I hear her before I see her—those sky-high stilettos announcing their approach across the wooden floor outside the door. It slowly opens and there she stands. I can smell the coconut all the way over here, or maybe it’s the coconut oil I brought in with me. Nonetheless…

“Come in, Anastasia,” I command her. She walks into the room and her eyes nervously dart to the floor as she attempts to see whatever she can see without raising her head.

“You can look around, Anastasia,” I tell her. “I want you to see what I have in store for you.”

She raises her head and her eyes scan the room. She’s seen most of the things before, but I don’t think the sex sofa or the spanking bench were here before. The sex chair, the bondage chair, and some of the mechanical masturbators may be new editions as well… all waiting for you, Mrs. Grey. We won’t use them all… tonight, anyway.

I approach her and as I get closer, her eyes drop to the floor. I stroke her nipples, protruding from the silk robe and her lips part. I pull the belt holding the robe together and untie it, allowing it to fall open and reveal her beautiful breasts and that sexy thong. I begin to circle my prey.

“If you have never believed me before, believe me now when I say… I’m going to fuck you senseless.” She gasps loudly at the revelation. “I’m going to have you in every way possible, in every orifice that I can fill—several times. I’m going to bring you to your very wits ends. This will be like no workout you have ever had in your life.”

Her breathing increases as I pull the robe from her shoulders from behind her and let it fall to the floor. Yes… that ass… that beautiful, juicy, alabaster ass… well, not for long.

“You’ll feel pleasure and pain, ecstasy and torment. You can make noise—you’ll have to, trust me—but you can’t speak unless you safeword. Only two tonight. You won’t need the third, because you’re going to come so many times that you’ll be delirious before the night is over.” I lean into her and speak right in her ear. “What are your safewords, Anastasia?”

She jumps when I ask her, then in a breathy voice, says her safewords.

“Bells and whistles.”

“Bells and whistles. Very good.” I quickly attach leather and fur cuffs to her wrists. “Now, I’m going to punish you a bit for your disobedience. Then, I’m going to use you and fuck you until I’m satisfied. Don’t. Forget. Your safewords, Anastasia.” I say the words firmly. I’m going to take her to the very edges of pain and pleasure, of control and insanity. If it becomes too much for her and she doesn’t say so, I’m going to be fucking pissed. I believe my tone has communicated my drift.

“Yes, Sir,” she acknowledges. “Bells and whistles, Sir.”

“Very good.” I move her to the portable deluxe bondage frame and attach her wrists to it above her head. I twist her hair in a messy bun and secure it with a hairclip. Time for a few lashes…

“Ah!” she cries out as the first lash of the flogger wraps around her body. It was a bit of a surprise. I should have warned her, but I wanted the element of surprise. Her body responds immediately. Her breath is wild and ragged. She’s flushing in parts of her body that I haven’t even struck and she has already started to sweat… that erotic sheen that shines over her body when she’s aroused.

Anastasia likes the flogger.

She told me from the very beginning, from the first time we discussed my involvement in the lifestyle, that the flogger fascinated her. Every time I’ve used it since that day, she has responded spectacularly.

I strike again, allowing the straps to wrap around her hip and slide off her ass. She jerks in her restraints, but gasps and moans like the sexual nymph that she is. I strike again, two times quickly. Her fists clench and he head falls back. Her mouth is open, gasping for air. I strike her again and again and again, reigning blows on her back and ass. Her skin is slightly pink… and beautiful. Fuck, I’ve missed this! We haven’t been in the playroom in so long and I have fucking missed this. I strike her a few more times until her moans sound a bit tortured, then I drop the flogger, my dick literally about to explode out of my goddamn pants. I walk to the front of her panting body hanging from the frame.

I’m horny to the point of pain. She’s panting and I take her chin in my hands, lifting her face to mine. I think she started to enter subspace and I need to bring her back. I need you lucent for this session, Mrs. Grey.

Wakey, wakey, Mrs. Grey. We haven’t even started.

“Open your mouth.” She obeys without opening her eyes, and I insert a fairly large item into it.

“Suck,” I command as I walk behind her and admire her now hot pink skin—not yet as red as I want, but getting there. I pull a blindfold from my pocket and apply it to her eyes, depriving her of sight. This should be interesting… and intense.

“Stick your ass out, Anastasia,” I command. She bends slightly and sticks out her ass.

“Farther!” I bark. I know she has to stand on her toes a bit and stretch her arms to stick that ass out like I want it, so do as I fucking say! Like magic, her ass is out and ready for me.

“It’s so fucking beautiful,” I tell her, caressing the cheeks and squeezing hard. “Yes… it’s lovely.” I kneel behind her and kiss each cheek. Then I rip the lace thong from its place and toss the pieces somewhere out of my way. I kneed and kiss her ass, parting the cheeks and blowing a long gust of air against her rosette. She gasps and it puckers then pushes back out to greet me. I like that. I blow again and somehow, the heels of those sky-high stilettos lift off the floor. I knew you could bend over more, Mrs. Grey. Let’s see how far you can go.

I lick the rim of her rosette with just the tip of my tongue. She gasps loudly and lets out a surprised whimper. When I do it again, she trembles a bit. Yet another thing I know that she loves—anal play, but she’s never had it like this. I open her wide and lick deep, massaging her rosette repeatedly with my tongue. I’ve never done this to her before and she gasps, and squirms and pulls on the restraints. Her voice is high pitched, ecstatic, surprised. She loves it, but doesn’t know how to handle it. When she seems like she can’t take it anymore, I stop and come around to the front of her.

“Open your mouth,” I tell her, hardly able to contain my own arousal. She opens her mouth and releases the large butt plug I put there, one with the big black fluff ball on the end. The last time she had one of these things in her ass, she drove me out of my goddamn mind! I can barely contain myself now. I hope I don’t come in my goddamn pants.

I walk around to the back of her and slowly start to insert the large plug into her ass.

“Huhh, huuuhhhh,” she starts to whine a bit, trying to relax and remain still. I slowly push it in a bit farther and a bit farther, watching her nipples getting harder and harder until they’re almost red. When her ass accepts the plug and swallows it up to the fluff ball, I have to stop and take a moment. I’m breathing almost as hard as she is.

‘Oh, that’s beautiful,” I groan, rubbing my dick through my pants and admiring her ass. I pick up the flogger again and run it up her legs and between her thighs so that she knows what’s coming. I reign a few strikes over her body—just her back and the back of her thighs—occasionally pulling and twisting the butt plug. Her noises are so fucking carnal that I almost come just listening to her. It’s time to move on.

I release her from one frame and attach her to the adjustable frame that I have over the sex sofa. Not really a sofa at all, this wonderful piece of machinery is a super hands-free sex machine, made to accommodate two women at the same time. Though I never intend to have two women on it, I liked its versatility better than the one-person machine. It’s fitted with a masturbator, but not just any masturbator. This custom baby has 27 settings, ranging from moderate vibration to damn near electric shock, slow and circular stroke to rabbit fuck, and not only can the ribbed base move independently to massage her clit in the right position, but the shaft can be adjusted to any angle to accommodate whatever position I place her in.

Oh, but here’s the best part—it accommodates any dildo with open-end attach ability, and it has expanding sides and a lube release function. I have attached the ChrisDick dildo to it, so she will truly have the sensation of my live dick inside of her. This damn thing cost a fucking fortune, but I’m hoping it’ll be worth every penny.

“Climb aboard,” I instruct her. She can’t see anything, so I have to guide her, verbally and physically, to climb on to the sex-horse portion of the sex-sofa, then guide a dick to her opening that’s technically mine, though not attached to my body. I position her backwards on the horse and very close to the edge as the front of the machine has the seat for the second “girl,” and I want to have access to all sides of her.

“Slide down on it, Anastasia.”

Her breathing is rapid as she slides down on the life-like dildo. She has to take her time because although it’s the same size as my semi-erect dick, when it swells, it may be a bit bigger than me.

“Sit,” I command her. “All the way down.” She swallows hard and sits on the dildo, and I know that it’s filling her. Now that she’s on the horse, her arms aren’t stretched as much as they were before. Now, it’s time to test the settings.

With the controls in my hand, I start with a low hum and a small circular grind.

“Haahhh!” she breathes passionately. Fuck, she’s so goddamn sexy. I only leave the setting there for a few moments before I intensify the vibration and the stroke. She whimpers helplessly and throws her head back. I experiment with several combinations, watching her body squirm and listening to her cry out as she pulls on her restraints. Occasionally, I push and pull and twist the black puff ball hanging out of her ass, and watch her shiver.

“God, I wish you could see yourself,” I groan. “You are so fucking hot!”

I set the masturbator at a medium stroke and vibration with no clitoral stimulation. I don’t want her to come too soon. While she’s still bound I move the restraints on the frame so that her arms are straight out to the sides and slightly raised. The ChrisDick is slowly circling inside her. She tries to regulate her breathing, but watching her and knowing that she is so turned on that she can barely stand it is making me hard as a fucking rock. I oil my hands thoroughly with the coconut oil so that I can touch her. I can’t wait to get my hands on that body. I’m going to torment the fuck out of her tonight; use her sexually in every way possible; make her come until she completely surrenders and then, if I’m not quenched, make her come some more.

I stand next to her trembling body. Her legs are open on the horse, so she has no other choice but to absorb the pleasure, absorb the punishment. I look over the front of her and see ChrisDick—pink and veiny just like when I’m ready to fuck all night—sliding in and out of her, slowly teasing that sweet pussy. The way that I have her bound on the horse, she has no purchase to move. She can only sit there with her legs open and let the dildo fuck her… or so I thought.

I slide one oily hand behind her upper back, stabilizing her. She gasps at my touch. Oh yes, sweet girl, we’re just getting started. With the other hand, I spread the oil generously on her breasts, kneading and massaging them expertly by cupping the mound and with a gentle squeeze and upward rub, caressing the oil into her skin and closing my hand over the nipple before allowing each finger to run over the nipple against my thumb with a brushing pinch before I release the breast. I repeat this move several times on each breast and her breath quickens uncontrollably, pushing those soft, ample mounds into my hand with each pant. I can feel the electricity surging through her body every time my full, oily hand rolls over the nipple. I know I can make her come this way, and I torment her for several minutes while I watch her breasts pink up and pebble in my hands. She slowly starts to grind her hips into ChrisDick, imitating—and I can imagine, complimenting—its circular motion. So much for no purchase to move.

“You like that,” I groan in her ear and my voice causes an immediate tremor.

“Yes… Sir,” she pants.

“Still,” I command softly as I admire her breasts in my hand. She stills immediately, panting as if she’s run a marathon and whimpering in frustration. Oh, I could do this all night—watch her tremble and her beautiful glistening breasts, but I guess I should move on. There are so many other ways I want to torture her.

I indulge myself a little more with her breasts as I move the other oily hand from her back to her ass, spreading the oil across the cheeks and into the top of her crack. The puff hanging out of her ass is bobbing with each heated breath and I pull on it, just enough to make her rosette pucker outward a bit with the pressure. She throws her head back and cries out in unfettered ecstasy. I push the butt plug back in and turn it, then pull gently again and hold it against her puckering ass. She cries out again, like a trapped animal.

“Sir… please… ladybug!” she squeals.

“I told you not to use that one,” I warn her, still pulling on the plug and massaging her breast while ChrisDick rolls inside of her. “If you come, you come, but if you come before I tell you to, I’ll punish you.”

I hear her whining in her chest, fending off her orgasm which I make her do for a few more long minutes—not long, but probably an eternity to her. I guess it’s time for her first orgasm. This body has been through a lot and I don’t want her to be too wrung for what I want to do next.

I adjust the bondage frame and move her restraints so that her arms are above her and bent now. She breathes and audible sigh of relief when I release the butt plug and cease the breast massage. Only a brief moment to catch your breath, Lady Anastasia. She’s now slightly tipped back and I have to adjust the masturbator so that it tips with her or the stroke can be quite painful. She’s leaned back like she’s in a reclining chair, not a lot, just enough so that the horse can push against the butt plug and her clit is exposed.

“Oooooohhhh,” she laments, no doubt feeling the sensation of the butt plug inside of her.

Hold on, Mrs. Grey. I’m about to blow your mind.

She will have to use her muscles to counteract discomfort in this pose. She picks up on that quickly and grabs the frame to hold herself up. I adjust ChrisDick to a slow stroke and swell—the orgasmic pulse she’s accustomed to when I’m about to come.

“Oooooooooooooooooooooooooooo!” she cries, long and loud, her ab muscles tightening and her own juices beginning to coat the dildo. She’s so close.

“Fuck it,” I command. “Let me see you grind it.”

She moves her hips and that beautiful ass against the slowly pivoting dildo that looks like my dick. I could just watch this for hours, it’s so fucking hot! I quickly step out of my shoes and socks, drop my pants, and unbutton my shirt. Taking my dick in my hand, I stroke it gently, mimicking the move of the dildo and pretending that it’s my actual dick sliding in and out of her making that delicious wet sound. There’s still a little oil on my hand, so when I run it across the head, the sensation is torturous! I don’t want to come in my hand, so I stop the stroke and roll my examination stool right up to her trembling body on the horse.

“You can come, now, Mrs. Grey,” I command, and I latch my mouth onto that tender throbbing, waiting clit. The sound that rips from her is feral and primitive as I watch her ab muscles tighten and she shamelessly strokes into my mouth and against the dildo and the butt plug, restraints be damned! Oh, my fuck, this is too much even for me! I reach up and massage and pinch those aching pebbled nipples. With the sensation onslaught—her pinched nipples, the butt plug being pushed into her ass by the horse, ChrisDick slowly pulsing and fucking her like I would, and my hot mouth clamped down on her pulsing pussy while my tongue flicks her pebbling clit—she erupts into one of the most violent and explosive orgasms I have ever seen. Her biceps and forearms flex impressively as she pulls herself in a continuous chin up. You could break bowling balls on her tight abs right now, and I can visually see the muscles thumping in her pelvis.

I move her body back to an upright position after the first orgasm and the cock moves with her. She’s wheezing and breathless as I remove her blindfold. I take a few moments to admire her gorgeous body, covered in sweat and wrung from her first orgasm. Having her at my mercy revives a bit of that control I felt slipping earlier… and arouses the fuck out of me.

“Look at me,” I nearly growl as I touch my body, she slowly raises her head a bit and her hair splits like a curtain as her eyes land on my body. My muscle tone isn’t as sharp as it could be, but I’m still very well defined, and her eyes feast hungrily on me as I outline the sinews of my abs. I caress my stomach with one hand while pouring the coconut oil down my chest with the other, allowing it to drip slowly down my body undisturbed until it reaches my dick.

Her head bobs with each breathless pant, and she raises it a little more to get a better view of me. Still bound to the frame, she’s looks like a starving, horny, wet nymph hanging from a cross and gazing at a feast. I rub the oil over the skin of my stomach, causing it to glisten and my abs to look more defined. Even from here, with her hair partially blocking her face, I can see her pupils dilate. I pour more of the oil down my stomach while she watches and I see her hips start to move. The dildo is still fucking her.

My dick starts to pound, so I take it in my hand. I grip it hard and spread the oil up my shaft starting from the base and all the way up and over the head. Fuck, it feels so good as I fuck my oily hand, and I close my eyes for a brief moment to feel the burn in my cock. I can’t help but groan as I reach down and caress my tight, aching balls while pumping my rod slow and hard, punishing the sensitive skin of the head with every pass.

I open my eyes to see her focused on my cock, literally drooling and licking her lips and still fucking that dildo while she watches me masturbate. It’s almost my fucking undoing.

I quickly release my cock and watch it jut upward angrily, spilling a bit of precum in protest.

I adjust her position on the sex-horse and angle her body and the dildo so that she’s still bound to the frame, but she’s now lying forward, face down with her head hanging off the horse. Perfect.

While I set ChrisDick to an upward Doggie-style circular grind and thrust behind her with an occasional squirt of female lubricant and a gentle vibration on her clit from the ribbed base, I adjust my examination stool directly in front of her so that my dick is right at her face. I have a joyous time fucking her mouth in this position. She’s completely helpless and I get to watch her body sensuously and wetly thrusting and grinding on a hard, pink replica of my dick. I gather her hair at the nape and guide her head over my cock, thrusting slowing into her mouth and feeling my orgasm burning hot and fast in my balls. I watch that pretty round ass and that ball of fluff bouncing on the horse and I know that she’s about to come at any moment. I want to reach down and grab that butt plug one more time, but I’m too busy concentrating on these masterful jaws locked on my cock. I cup her chin and cheek at the same time and bring her mouth down onto my dick over and over, the sensation causing a freezing stillness in my spine until…

“Good God!” I grind out of my throat as I explode hard in her mouth, my knees shaking hard with the release. I squeeze my eyes shut as my dick pulses in her mouth and when it’s finally over, I open my eyes and bring my gaze down to see my wife coming a second time. Right in the middle of her orgasm, I reach down and pull the butt plug from her ass, causing her to scream and nearly weep around my dick. I always wanted to do that while she was coming. It’s such delicious torment and ecstasy at the same time and I know it intensifies her orgasm.

Her body is convulsing as she begins to descend from her climax and my cock is reloading for the next round. The Dom is alive and well and ready for action. Although it’s obvious that she’s my lover—and I’m loving the fuck out of her—tonight, she’s completely my submissive and no matter what we do, she’ll spend this night in cuffs.

I climb on the horse behind her and hear her whimper in what sounds like dismay. I squeeze the coconut oil on her ass and watch is slide over her cheeks and down her split. I rub the oil in, paying attention to her sensitive rosette and her skin still pink from the flogger. Now, that shit turns me on.

I grip my cock and spread the oil on my hand over the pink skin. I concentrate on the head for a moment, then direct it to her rosette, using her asshole to increase the stimulation of my sensitive skin. She’s a bit open from the large butt plug and I groan as my head slips in—a slow, but easy, wet, oily, hot insertion.

“Ugh!” I lament as she closes around me, enveloping my head and causing the rest of my dick to harden instantaneously. I love Anastasia’s ass. When I say I love Anastasia’s ass, I mean I fucking love, love, love Anastasia’s ass!

I grasp her hips and sink my fingers into the meat, pulling her ass back onto my dick over and over and watching the head reappear and disappear inside that gorgeous tight hole. When my dick is hard and thumping and has to be deeper inside her, I adjust her to sit up and lean back against me.

“Fuck us both,” I command her, and she grinds against my cock in her ass and the dildo in her pussy the same time. The whole time, I’m grasping her hips, rubbing her body, and tormenting her nipples at the same time, enjoying the feeling of her coming apart in my hands… which she does, exploding in orgasm once again around both my cocks.

I keep my dick in her ass, but I lift her from ChrisDick from a moment. I’m still not done torturing her, though. With my dick still pulsing inside of her, I’m able to reach to a nearby table and retrieve more tools—nipple clamps and a smooth, silver vibrator. I torment her nipples from behind her for a while, making sure the nipple clamps are one setting too tight to heighten each orgasm from this point forward. She’s more sensitive now, so she’ll need more stimulation in order to come. Once her nipples are ready to pop like squeezed berries, I turn the vibrator on and stroke it up and down her tender clit—stroke, then remove… stroke, then remove… stroke, then remove. Too much stimulation, and it’ll hurt instead of arouse.

I can hear her getting wet again; I can smell her arousal; and my dick is still hard and buried in her ass. So, I start to stroke. I thrust deep, fucking her ass, stroking her clit with the dildo, and tormenting her tits. I’m so ready to blow that I rise very quickly and, to my surprise, so does she. She’s keening with each stroke, then moaning, then crooning. Several strokes later, she tightens like a fucking vise on my dick and comes quite violently—tears springing from her eyes and sweating like crazy. I grab her tits and hold her down onto me as I blow hard into her pulsing, gripping ass.

Now, I have to wait. Her ass always knocks me out for the count, but not this time. Oh, it was magnificent and explosive, but Dom Dick is still alive and kicking. He’s just pulsing like a fucking monster. She could use a break and I need to clean up before Dicky Boy can see any more action. I slide out of her ass and adjust her—restraints and all—to lie down on the sex-horse. I use the leg rests to get off the horse and come around to her face.

“Don’t get too comfortable,” I say to her panting, weeping face before I proceed to the en suite. I almost feel a little guilty for putting her through the paces this way… almost. I close the door and take my time, washing and sanitizing my dick with soap and water and personal wipes. It doesn’t stand down, but it relaxes a bit, and the pulsing stops. I really don’t want it to stand down. I’m just trying to give her clit a little break. I moisten two clean washcloths with cold water and go back into the playroom.

bdafcb1a1580b33a0b8113faa16fb629She’s not panting anymore. She looks motionless. Is she asleep? I approach her face to see that she’s awake, but quite subdued. I adjust her on the horse again so that she’s sitting up. I scan the floor to find the clip that has long since escaped her hair, leaving her ridiculously long tresses falling wildly over her head like that girl in that one horror movie.

We can’t have that.

I find her clip over by the wall underneath the table that holds an assortment of toys. God only knows how it ended up over there. I retrieve it and gather her hair behind her head again, clipping it loosely in the hairclip.  Her eyes are downcast and her arms hang listlessly from the wrist restraints. She’s shredded, but submissives often are during a good workout. I lift her chin and wipe her face with one of the moistened washcloths. Her skin comes back to life as I clean the salty treks of tears from her cheeks.

I move behind her and remove ChrisDick from the sex-horse. It’s time for position two, my friend. I attach it to the second masturbator at a right angle to the “sofa” portion of the sex-sofa. I imagine that it’s only called a sex sofa because the seat reclines a bit. Nonetheless, I get ChrisDick into position and oil him up so that he can take her ass while I enjoy the walls of her succulent core.

I come back to my wife and release her from the bondage the frame. While she’s still on the sex-horse, I retrieve ankle cuffs and attach them to her ankles. I take her hand, help her off of the sex horse and lead her to the sex sofa.

“On your knees, Anastasia.”

She situates herself on her knees on the seat and I attach her ankle cuffs to loops the leg rests on either side of the sex-horse. There are slots in the headrests that were perfect to insert a chain, so her wrist cuffs are fastened there.

I slap her still-stripped-pink ass and command her to back up onto ChrisDick as I guide it into her anal opening. She inhales sharply as the head of the dildo breaches her rosette.

Now, it’s my turn to get into position.

I attach the control to ChrisDick to a slot on the seat next to where I’ll be sitting and crawl into the seat underneath her. Now, she’s no longer on her knees. She’s lying on top of me, in my arms, and she’s looking very vulnerable. This is intimate… too damn intimate to just be fucking, and just like that, the submissive is gone.

I gaze at her for a moment, into the eyes of the woman that I love, and I kiss her softly. Surprise registers on her face, so I kiss her again, and again, and as I deepen the kiss, I starts the dildo in a slow, torturous motion, in her ass. She moans softly in my mouth and I grasp her cheeks, opening her more to the dildo and its penetration. She whimpers and her body responds, her tongue tangoing sensually with mine. I’m getting hard against her belly and I feel her grinding against me. I don’t want her to go without me, so I adjust, pull my hips back, and slide into her. She gasps in my mouth and I gasp right along with her as I thrust into the heat of her core.

“Oh, good God, this is fucking perfect,” I hiss as I cling to her hips, find the right position, and thrust up unto her. She writhes on top of me so perfectly, so lusciously, my dick aching inside her almost instantly. She’s so hot and so beautiful and we fit together so perfectly on this goddamn machine.

“Talk to me,” I say, softly. “Tell me what you feel.”

“So good,” she breathes, “it feels… so good…”

“Good,” I say with a quick wet kiss. “Good,” another wet kiss. “That’s what I want.” I kiss her deep and sensually and continue the slow fuck in front while ChrisDick runs that beautiful ass. I can feel the push and pull through her walls; the tremor of her ass and I wonder if the front and back orgasms will be simultaneous.

I don’t know if they’re simultaneous, but I feel one of them in this position. I think it’s vaginal, but I can’t tell. I just hold her close and keep fucking her because her body feels so good against me. I don’t move into a faster stroke. I maintain a slow, deep grind and keep the same grind with ChrisDick in her ass, unrelenting even when she comes a second time on top of me. Her body is weak and I know it, but she won’t tap out. She won’t give in, and I’m glad that she won’t because I’ve only had one orgasm in this position, and I want to keep loving her this way until I’ve had my fill.

I don’t know how long we’ve been at it, staring at each other when she could hold her head up; kissing softly, then sensually; me rubbing her hips, her back, anywhere I could touch her; deeply and slowly sexing her pussy and holding her cheeks open while ChrisDick fucked her ass; marking her on her chest, shoulders and neck below her collar-line. I swear I’m nearly ready to tap out when I feel that familiar ache in my lower back that signals the approach of a paralyzing orgasm.

Fuck, we’ve been working towards this one all night.

I fight not to quicken the pace, but can’t help deepening the stroke. My wife responds immediately. I have unwittingly clamped my hands tighter on her hips and ass cheeks, holding her immobile as ChrisDick and I drill relentlessly and deliciously into her. She closes her eyes tightly and moves the only part of her body that she can. Pushing off the back of the headrest, she lifts her upper-body from mine and throws her head back, her face frozen in a horribly painful sex grimace.

She stays that way for several long moments as the growing ache in my back now traveling through my tailbone and my rectum to my prostate causes my hips to thrust a little harder. Just as the ache begins to burn lava in my nuts, she stiffens like steel and releases a blood-curdling scream from her very soul. Her body tightens around me and I only have moments to pump wildly into her and chase my own pleasure before we lock together like mating dogs and her vacuum syphons pulse after agonizing pulse of madly climaxing ecstasy from my body. I can’t even describe these sounds I’m making. I hear them, but I can’t describe them…

Long, primal animalistic, grunts? I have no fucking idea.

I hear momentary popping in my ears, probably from my wife’s screaming, or maybe from my own primitive noises, but my body is spent. If she doesn’t safeword, I’m going to.

I float down to Planet Earth and realize that I won’t have to. My wife’s body has fallen limp on top of mine. She’s no longer in any kind of kneeling position and ChrisDick is no longer inside of her. He’s just thrusting uselessly back and forth, occasionally kissing an ass cheek with the tip of his head. I push the controls to stop his thrusting and turn my attention back to my wife. She had an orgasmic tear-burst earlier, but now, her full weight is pressed against my body, her head turned so that she’s lying on my shoulder facing away from me, and she’s weeping freely and deeply, her body shaking slightly with her sobs.

I slide my arms around her to comfort her, my dick still pulsing inside of her vibrating walls, and allow her to weep.

*-*

“You’re quiet,” I say to my wife as we ride into Grey House on Tuesday morning. She’s looking out the window at the scenery as it passes by before she turns to me. I can tell that she’s searching for her words, but instead, she shrugs one shoulder and turns back to watching the buildings pass by out the window. I reach over and gently caress her hand, garnering her attention once more.

“Are you okay?” I ask, concerned. “Did I hurt you?”

“No, Christian,” she says, “of course not.”

“Did I upset you?” I ask, still searching for the answer to her melancholy mood.

“No, you didn’t upset me,” she replies.

“Then, what did I do?” I ask, “because I know I did something.” She throws a quick glance at the back of Jason’s head, a gesture that tells me two things. One, she doesn’t want to discuss anything in the car with Jason and two, I’m right… I did do something. Resigned to the fact that I’m just going to have to wait to find out what’s bothering her, I bring her hand to my lips and place a gentle kiss on her skin, which elicits a small smile from her. I place our clasped hands in my lap, where they remain for the rest of the ride into Grey House.

She’s quiet the entire time—through the walk through the lobby, the long elevator ride up to the top of the ivory tower, down the hallway to my office… and I never release her hand, afraid of what I’ve done to put her in this mood. We stop momentarily at Andrea’s desk where I give her instructions to have Mac meet us here in half an hour and Butterfly greets Andrea and Luma with a wave and a smile.

I usher my wife into my office and close the door. She finally releases my hand and walks over to my desk. Even though we were both thoroughly well-fucked last night, watching her walk in these suits that she wears to Grey House that are supposed to be business suits turns me on to no end. The fact that she pairs these suits with the sexiest stilettos known to man doesn’t help the matter, either. That Hugo Boss suit looks as if it were tailor-made for her body and that jacket is cut just short enough to give me the perfect view of that ass.

Focus, Grey.

“Tell me what’s wrong,” I say, cutting the silence. “What have I done?”

She sets her purse in one of the chairs in front of my desk and releases a sigh.

“I don’t know what to think about last night,” she says, her voice uncertain. My brow furrows.

“What do you mean?” I ask. “I thought you enjoyed yourself.”

“I did… for the most part…” I cross the room and close the space between us.

“There was something you didn’t enjoy?” I ask. She shrugs one shoulder.

“Not as such,” she says hesitantly. “I felt… and you said…” She sighs. “There was some punishment,” she says finally. “I don’t really know why.” I raise my eyebrows at her.

“You don’t know why?” I ask. “But we discussed it. You clearly broke protocol…”

“But is that why I was being punished, Christian?” she says, turning around to face me. “This meeting that we’re having, the conversation that we had yesterday, the entire tone of our scene last night and the fact that I slept in cuffs—all of that speaks to a larger intent, not a breach in protocol.”

She’s getting flustered as she speaks. I’m looking for some kind of defense and I’m finding none. I was angry that we didn’t know beforehand that Butterfly was going to be interviewing live with Sarah Bradley, but angry with whom? Sarah Bradley, yes; maybe my security staff for not keeping a closer eye on her; maybe myself for not being more diligent about background checks before Butterfly made appearances, but she’s right. Her breach in protocol may have been what brought this to light, but it wasn’t what really set me off. What really set me off was my lack of control over the whole situation…

Over these subs who keep popping up like recurring fucking nightmares…

Over my security staff who would have alerted me the second that inconsistencies showed up on a background check, but didn’t because there were only moments to make a decision and Anastasia had already made it…

Over my wife, who didn’t follow simple instructions put in place for her safety and as a result, put herself directly in the line of fire…

For one moment, I missed the unquestioned order of my old life and I needed to have it back. My wife is a smart woman. She’s a doctor—a psychiatrist at that, and as I play back the conversations and events of last night, besides what she’s already pointed out, I know what the clues were that led to how she’s feeling right now.

“I am who I am. I won’t change. I’ll always require structure and control. When something interferes with that, I struggle to maintain balance.”

“I’m going to punish you a bit for your disobedience. Then, I’m going to use you and fuck you until I’m satisfied.”

My thoughts about how much I missed flogging her, about being with a submissive. They obviously came out in my actions. I even made a mental note that she would be a submissive all night and subsequently had her sleep in the wrist and ankle cuffs. I know the moment I felt my control slip and the moment I got it back… but I wasn’t open with her about the reason for the scene, and she knew it.

I fucked up.

I run my hands through my hair. I don’t know how to explain this. I could easily tell her that it was my need to regain control over the situation—but that’s not what I said. I said something else and that’s not what she felt… and that’s not good at all.

“I’m sorry,” I breathe heavily, leaning against my desk, my chin in my chest. I feel like shit. Our relationship is never supposed to have this type of undertone—never—even when then physical outcome may be pleasurable. I can feel her staring at me, but I can’t even look at her right now.

“I should have said something,” she says, after a long silence. Yes, you should have. I wasn’t in the right mind and yes, we both enjoyed ourselves, but last night could have gone wrong in so many ways and if it left her feeling this way, it did go wrong. I don’t know if I’ll be able to use any of the toys or apparatuses on her from last night again.

“I’ll… be more careful,” I say. It’s all I can think of, but it hardly seems like enough. I almost feel like I’ve battered her or something.

“Look at me, Christian.” I can’t. I can’t even raise my head. “Christian, look at me!” I know I have to or I’m punishing her for my bad behavior again. So, I turn my head to meet her gaze.

“You didn’t hurt me,” she says, trying to assure me. “It was intense and very pleasurable, but your reasons… you have to be careful.” She walks over to me and puts her hand on my cheek. “As your submissive and your wife, I have to be able to know why you’re doing the things that you’re doing to me. I have to be able to draw the line in my mind between our activities.” I nod.

“I accept that,” I say firmly, “but as your Dominant, I need you to tell me when you’re unsure. Just like you have a problem with me imposing something on you after the fact, revealing something like this to me after the fact is unacceptable. That’s why you have safewords, Ana.” I drop my head again. This is one of the fundamental rules of BDSM—trust. She trusts me with her body and limits and I trust her to tell me when I’m going too far or breaking the rules… and she didn’t.

“I’m… sorry, too,” she says, her voice small. I can’t comfort her right now. As her husband and Dominant, I’m a combination of angry and disappointed… in us both. Neither of us handled the mechanics of this situation well at all and although it could have turned out much more disastrously than it did, the psychological impact on our relationship could be a bit intense. What’s going to happen the next time we decide to play? The next time a punishment is issued? Has her trust in me been shaken to the point of questioning my intentions each time we engage? What about my trust in her to tell me if something is unacceptable or beyond her limits?

Am I reading too much into this?

We must have stood there pondering the concept for much longer than we thought, because my intercom buzzes and Andrea tells me that Mac and Josh are here for our meeting. I tell her to give us a minute and stand up straight to face my wife. It’s only now that I realize that she’s been crying.

“I didn’t mean to do this to you,” I say, wrapping my arms around her waist. “It’s a sorry excuse and I know it, but that fucking control thing, and I didn’t exercise it the right way.” She nods as she takes in a shuddering breath.

“I know,” she says. “I know you well enough to know that’s what it was. I just needed you to realize that… and recognize that’s what it is before we start… and not label it as a punishment, because it’s confusing for me. I don’t know what to think and I don’t know how to process it… and when I question punishments…” She trails off and looks up at me, letting me know that I haven’t made it easy for her second-guess my decision to punish her, and she’s right. I nod.

“Point taken. We’ll both do better… okay?” I say, my voice beseeching. She nods and I kiss her gently on her lips. “Now, go wash your face before Mac and Josh think I’m a monster.” She nods and I kiss her again before sending her to the bathroom. When she’s in the restroom, I summon my publicity team to my office.

“Well, either you’ve just been fucked or you’ve had a rough morning,” Mac says. What the fuck?

“What?” I nearly hiss at her.

“Your hair looks like a goddamn Wildman,” she says, pointing at my head. I run my hands through my hair in a futile attempt to tame it.

“The latter,” I say, taking a seat behind my desk. “You’ve seen Ana’s interview by now.”

“We have,” Josh says, moving Ana’s purse to my desk and sitting in the chair. “I would ask what that was all about, but there are so many answers to that question.”

“I don’t think my wife is going to be doing any more appearances,” I say, “by her own choice. However, I feel that if we allow that to be her final public appearance, it sends a negative message to the media—that she can be frightened away, and I know that’s not what she wants.” Mac twists her lips and nods.

“I see what you mean,” she says. “She needs to do at least one more.”

“It needs to be strong, controlled,” I tell her. “We can’t have any more Judd Rossiter, Random Ratings Whore, local cable chicks trying to piggyback off of her. This has got to stop. She’s going to have to lay low for a while until I can find a way to gag Rossiter. With charges against him for assaulting Ray, he’s going to be talking to anybody who’ll listen and getting a gag order is proving to be harder than I thought.”

I’m considering gagging this fucker my own way.

“We could do a taped interview,” Mac suggests.

“That’s what I was thinking, but I have a bigger agenda in mind.” Butterfly comes out of the restroom, looking refreshed and ready to face the world—nothing like she did moments ago.

“How do you make everything you wear look so good?” Mac says. Butterfly smiles.

“It ain’t easy,” she replies. “So, I know my husband has a plan in light of the bitch who cornered me yesterday. Has he let you in on it yet?”

“No,” Josh says. “I think he was waiting for you.”

“I was,” I say as I bring her over to me and coax her onto my lap. “There needs to be one more interview—television. Local or national, I prefer national. It’s going to be pre-approved material; it’s going to be pre-recorded; and it’s going to be both of us.” Mac’s eyes widen.

“Are you serious?” she exclaims. “Why would you want to do that?”

“For a lot of reasons,” I begin. “First, if we give them a little of what they want, we take away some of the splendor of what they’re looking for. Remember the press conference in 2012? Things got a little quiet after that. Now, my wife has been doing these appearances and dropping little tidbits. All the while, other cans of worms are being opened along the way. Give them a tiny peek into our lives, how we met, who we are—take away some of the mystery. At the same time, press a couple of our own agendas.”

My wife looks over at me and realization dawns. She gets what I’m trying to do. Not only do we need a unified front, but we also need to send a message to stop fucking with us.

“She knows something I don’t know,” Mac says about Butterfly. Butterfly turns to Mac.

“Just like GEH knows that the Greys stand together as an impenetrable unit and enemies and oppressors will fall at our feet, my husband wants to send that message to the world.”

“And you agree with this?” Josh asks.

“Wholeheartedly,” she responds without hesitation. “I’m tired of being under attack—emotionally, physically, and figuratively—so much so that I’m willing to stand at the front gate of my mansion with a loaded AK-47 to prove it.” Mac frowns.

Physically?” Butterfly’s eyes widen.

“Hello? Car smashed into me in November? Coma for twelve days? Lost memory?”

“Oh… yeah… sorry,” Mac apologizes. “So, you’ll have your choice of networks. Any preferences?”

“I’ll let you get started on that, first. Let me know what you come up with and we’ll narrow it down,” I tell her. She nods.

“Let’s start putting together a platform, then,” she says and takes a seat in front of my desk. “This should be interesting…”


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

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

~~love and handcuffs

 

Becoming Dr. Grey: Chapter 43—Eye to Eye

 

eye-contact

I do not own Fifty Shades Trilogy, or the characters. They belong to E. L. James. I am only exercising my right to exploit, abuse, and mangle the characters to MY discretion in MY story in MY interpretation as a fan. If something that I say displeases you, please, just leave. If you don’t like this story or me, please don’t spoil this experience for everyone. Just go away. For the rest of you, the saga continues…

Chapter 43—Eye to Eye

CHRISTIAN

“Arrogant fucking son of a bitch!” I fuss at no one as the Audi SUW drives up the I-5 to Helping Hands. Fucking asshole shows up at my place of business demanding that I tell him where his damn wife is and she had to run away from him because her baby was hungry. How blind and selfish can you be that you would let a baby suffer that way, let alone your wife who just gave birth…

“You heartless fucking savage!” I could strangle this asshole with my bare hands. He comes rattling that 1919 Ford P.O.S pickup truck with the broken and bouncing hatch sporting more rust than paint up to the front door of GEH, fresh with a black and white escort! Thank God the paps weren’t out, although I can almost guarantee that somebody got a picture.

“Somebody ought to strip him naked, tie him up, and leave him in that house for a few days!” Then maybe he’ll understand how that helpless baby felt all this time—cold, hungry, helpless! “Fucking asshole.”

It takes far too long for us to get to Helping Hands for my taste and I’m opening the door before the car even stops.

“Boss!” Jason stops me. What the fuck do you want? “Maybe we should wait and let him talk to his wife.”

“The hell I will!” I say, stepping out of the car and slamming the door behind me. Snow crunches under my Cesare Paciottis and they’re probably ruined for life as I barrel down the walkway and brush past the asshole to get to the door before he does.

“Watch your step, Grey!” he threatens.

“Fuck you!” I throw back at him, my eyes burrowing through him and waiting for a response. Receiving none, I open the door and go in search of my wife. I spot Lawrence first standing at the guard’s station with two of the armed guards.

“Where’s Ana?” I ask in a menacing voice.

“She’s in her office with…” His voice trails off as he sees Radcliff coming in behind me. He’s never met the man before, I imagine, but his stance indicates that he knows what he’s dealing with. He makes square eye contact with Radcliff and folds his arms. “She asked me to stay here with the guards and make sure that no one becomes disruptive and needs to be removed.”

“Good man,” I respond. He’s adopted his no-nonsense tone of voice and I have no doubt that he’ll bounce this motherfucker out on his ass while the cops watch. It’s a good thing Chuck’s not here… Radcliff would probably be dead by now. “Would you please let her know that we’ve arrived?”

“Smitty?” He calls to one of the security guards behind him without taking his eyes off Radcliff. “Please call Dr. Grey and let her know that her husband is here.”

“Yes, sir,” the uniformed guard responds and goes off to retrieve my wife. There’s a bit of a stare-off between Lawrence and Radcliff for a moment, before Radcliff says, “Why are you staring at me?”

“Just making sure that you don’t need any of my special attention,” Lawrence replies.

“I don’t need anything from you,” Radcliff snaps.

“See that you don’t!” Lawrence retorts. His words are sharp and his eyes are sharper. If I didn’t know any better, I’d swear that they knew each other before this encounter and that meeting wasn’t good. Radcliff doesn’t retreat, but clearly yields and never says another word to Lawrence, nor does he make eye contact with him.

A few moments pass and I see my beautiful wife come around the corner. What a welcome sight. Beside her is a much healthier looking Thelma Radcliff than I saw yesterday—still frail, but she’s wearing clean clothes. Her hair is pulled back in a ponytail and her cheeks have more color than they did before. Butterfly hovers protectively near her, and my mother is behind them both. Mrs. Radcliff doesn’t say anything. She just looks impassively at her husband.

“Get Jimmy. Let’s go!” he orders her. She frowns at him.

“No,” she says firmly.

“No?” he asks, bemused.

“No,” she repeats. “What are you even doing here? Aren’t you supposed to be at work? You know, that job that’s supposed to solve all of our problems?”

“Yeah,” he retorts, his hands flailing, “and thanks to this shit, I might have lost it now.” Mrs. Radcliff glares at him.

“This shit!” she nearly shrieks in disbelief. “This shit! You’re right! You’re absolutely right! Your wife and son living in a cold, dark house in the dead of winter, freezing and nearly starving to death is shit! Having to walk six miles in the snow in sneakers with my son wrapped in towels because I can’t even afford bus fare, that’s shit! Having a husband who will turn down good food, warm clothes and new furniture because he’s too damn proud to take a handout, that’s shit! This whole damn situation is shit—shit shit shit!” She is livid and losing control, but I get the feeling that she has needed to lose control for a long time.

“Watch your mouth,” he says in a menacing tone.

“Watch yours!” she shoots back, unmoved by his tone.

“Thelma…” Butterfly says. Mrs. Radcliff takes a few deep breaths to calm herself.

“That’s enough of this now, Thelma,” Radcliff says. “Let’s go.”

“Didn’t you hear me the first time, Jim?” she says, now calm and raising her head to her bully husband. “We’re not going anywhere, least of all, back to that cold, dark house with no food. My son is sleeping—in a crib. He drank a bottle today, the whole thing, and then he burped and went to sleep. He didn’t cry himself to sleep because my breast wouldn’t give him milk. I took a nap today on a real mattress, not a busted up piece of cotton and springs stuffed with whatever clothes we could find. No, Jim, we won’t be going back to that house with you.”

“So this is how you treat your husband?” he scolds. “You defy him and belittle him in front of other people. My opinion means noth—“

“Oh, save that submissive wife crap, James, it’s getting old!” she growls. Butterfly and I glance at each other for a moment, but realize that the whole submissive concept that she’s talking about is completely different than what we practice. “You still haven’t answered my question. What are you doing home in the middle of the day? You barely have two pennies to rub together to keep that bucket of bolts running back and forth to your job once a day, let alone twice, so what was so dire that you had to stop and come home?”

Yeah, come to think of it, what was so dire? Was he bringing food to his family? He’s not answering her question, so she folds her arms. “Well?” she says, expecting and he still doesn’t answer. Butterfly looks at me, questioning.

“He said he was coming home for lunch and he found them gone,” I say to my wife, but loud enough for his wife to hear me. “That’s when he showed up at my place of business with the police and basically accused me of kidnapping.” He narrows his eyes at me like I’ve said something wrong and he wants to beat the hell out of me. Go ahead, make a move, Sport!

“You came home for lunch?” Mrs. Radcliff says, bemused. “There’s nothing in the house to eat! Why were you…” A look of cold realization comes over her face. I know that look. I know it well. Her feelings are clearly reflected in her eyes—the same feelings I had when I discovered that the Pedophile had controlled me for 14 years. She’s had an epiphany—a horrible, soul-shaking, life-changing epiphany.

“You came back to make sure they didn’t return,” she says, her voice cold, “to make sure they didn’t bring me anything.” When he doesn’t respond, she looks down, shakes her head and sighs. “We would have died in that house,” she says, more to herself than to anyone else, but we all hear her. “We really would have died in that house. Unbelievable,” she adds with a tragic laugh. “UN-fucking-believable.” She turns to Officer Lockhart and squares her shoulders.

“I’m fine, officer,” she says. “My son and I weren’t kidnapped. I came here on my own free will. I asked Dr. Steele-Grey and Dr. Trevelyan-Grey to please take my baby if they couldn’t take me because he was starving and I could no longer produce milk. Dr. Trevelyan-Grey assured me that she could help us both, so we will be staying here until I can get on my feet and take care of myself.”

“The hell you will!” Radcliff barks. Lockhart looks at him, then back at Mrs. Radcliff.

“Ma’am, are you being abused?” Lockhart asks.

“Does she look like she’s being abused?” Radcliff barks.

“I said ma’am. Are those cuffs looking good to you again?” Lockhart glares at Radcliff. He frowns back at the officer, but quiets immediately. He turns back to Mrs. Radcliff.

Ma’am,” he repeats, “are you being abused?”

“Physically, no,” she responds, “but my baby and I are being denied basic necessities like food and a warm, comfortable place to live in winter. My husband can’t provide these things right now and he turns away any help that I secure for us. It’s my understanding that if I can’t provide these basic necessities for my son that the state can take him away from me. So I’m meeting with a social worker today to secure food, proper medical care, housing, and financial assistance for me and my son.”

“You’re right, ma’am,” Lockhart says. “The state can remove the child if you fail to care for him.” Mrs. Radcliff nods.

“Another welfare mother,” Radcliff hisses. “Well, not my son. She can’t keep my son from me and he’s not staying here. She can stay if she wants, but she can’t have my son.” Lockhart looks to my wife and my mother.

“Is there any kind of custody order in place?” Lockhart asks.

“No,” Butterfly says, “Thelma will be speaking to a social worker in about twenty minutes, where she will be describing the squalor and famine that she escaped this morning to save her son’s life. Her statement along with Dr. Trevelyan-Grey’s statement concerning her examining Jimmy and his physical condition and my statement of my examination of and session with Thelma and her physical and mental condition will become part the record and testimony should this situation go to a court trial. Let it be known that we were matched to this family by the Greater Seattle Adopt-a-Family Coalition. As a doctor, I’m bound by law to report any cases of abuse or neglect of a child that I witness. When I saw the living conditions of that four-week-old child, I was calling Child Services this morning just when Thelma walked in the door begging for help.”

“So?” Radcliff retorts defiantly. “What does that mean?” He turns to the officer.

“It means that by law, we can’t force her to give you the child,” Lockhart says.

“And the short translation of the rest of what the good doctor said,” Santiago adds, “is that in twenty minutes, she’s starting a paper trail to show that she’s been living in squalor and trying to take care of her son and you’ve been hindering her so that if you attempt to petition the court for custody, it won’t look too good for you because this information will be a matter of record.”

“On the contrary, her paper trail started in October when she signed up for the Adopt-A-Family coalition,” Butterfly interjects.

“Oh, it goes back further than that,” Mrs. Radcliff laments. Just how long have they been living like this? What kind of monster is this guy?

“Oh… really? Well, then I think you get the idea,” Santiago says dismissively to Radcliff.

“So what happens if I just go through this place, find my son, and take him with me? Just like I don’t have a custody order, neither does she. That means you can’t stop me from taking my son.”

“Let’s say for the sake of argument that you did that,” my mother says, coming around from behind me and Butterfly and moving next to Mrs. Radcliff. My mother somehow stands taller as she steps in front of me. Peeptoe high-heel sandals make her legs look longer in a wine-colored pants suit with cigarette legs and a short jacket. She folds her arms and faces off with Mr. Radcliff.

“Let’s say that I, as the director of this center, am telling you that you are not allowed beyond this room without express permission from the proper personnel; that if you decide to go beyond this room tonight or any moment hereafter that you will be guilty of trespassing. Let’s say that you forego that information and choose to attempt to proceed beyond this room anyway, at which point, any one of the numerous security personnel that we have on staff here as well as any one of these well-trained personal bodyguards would most likely tackle you to the ground face first and hold you there until the police can arrest you and charge you with trespassing. Seeing that you have already brought the police with you,” Mom gestures to the officers, “we can assume that process won’t take long.

“However,” my mother continues, shifting her weight to her other foot and now moving her hands to her hips, “let’s just say that by some miracle, you still managed to get past all of the security personnel and trained bodyguards and you scooped little Jimmy up from his warm, comfortable bed and took him back to that hell that you call a home. You would no sooner get your foot past the threshold before the police and child services would be there to take him away from you. At that point you would be charged with child endangerment and willful neglect and would have to find some way to make bail. Then your beautiful baby boy would end up in foster care instead of with his loving mother who is doing her very best to take care of him because you so selfishly would not allow anyone to help you or her.

“So just for the sake of argument,” she now clasps her hands in front of her, “that’s what would happen if you just ‘went through this place and took your son,’ but make no mistake, Mr. Radcliff. I am not remiss to tell you in front of all of these witnesses that I will personally put this stiletto heel right through your throat before I would allow you to take that newborn baby back to a cold, dark house with no food and I will gladly spend time in a jail cell because if it!”

“Mom!” I exclaim before I can catch myself.

“Quiet, Christian!” she shoots without breaking her glance with Radcliff. “What’s it going to be, Mr. Radcliff? You can go toe-to-toe with any one or several of these men, but in the end, you’ll still have to get past me.”

He won’t even get to you, Mother, but I’ll let it go for right now.

anti_bullyingRadcliff looks at my mother with an expression that I can’t quite read. It’s… curious, I think, like he doesn’t know what to make of her. The bully, it appears, has left the building. His power has been stripped from him and he’s like a fish out of water. He looks beyond all of us and his gaze settles on his wife.

“So this is really how you want to play this,” Radcliff says to her.

“No, James, this is how you want to play this,” she replies. “I never called the police—you did. I just went somewhere that would help my baby. You would really let us live like that? Your wife and newborn child? No food? No phone? No heat? In the dead of winter?” Everyone in the room is now either staring at Mrs. Radcliff with sympathy or glaring at Radcliff in disgust. Wait a minute… didn’t he say yesterday that they had heat?

“I tried to get help and every time I tried, you turned it away—why? Because you’re too proud to accept a handout. My baby was sleeping in a dresser drawer. I was sleeping in a bed with springs poking me in my back four weeks after delivery, yet you turn away a brand new bed and crib. I’m washing my baby’s clothes in the sink with cold water and face soap and you turn away a washer and dryer and laundry supplies. Luckily, they had this center to take that months’ worth of food you wouldn’t accept even though it appears that I’m starving and 20 pounds lighter than my pre-baby weight less than a month after delivery—or have you been too blinded by your pride to even notice?”

Food, a bath, and a change of clothes have given Mrs. Radcliff the strength that she needs to stand up to her husband and tell him what she really thinks of him—how she feels for what he has put her and their baby through. He stands silent, listening to her rant about not eating for days and sneaking food from the neighbors so that she could produce milk to keep their baby alive. She prayed that the hospital would keep them for just one day so that she could get a decent meal. She stole food from the hospital trays and rationed it out—that’s how she survived for a few days until the food ran out. The whole story is really sad and pathetic.

“I was drawn to your strength once,” she tells him. “I felt that you would always hold me up. You would always have my back and never let me fall. I never knew that strength meant that if things got rough, you would let me die before you let me ask for help.” Radcliff’s face softens for the first time during his wife’s tirade, and I think she has finally hit a nerve. “Is this what you meant?” she asks, her voice cracking. “Is this what you meant when you told my mother on her deathbed that you would take care of me?” The tears fall freely from her face now and Radcliff suddenly looks broken.

“Thelma, no…” he says, his voice cracking as he reaches for her, but the damage is done. She raises her hands, avoiding his touch, weeping openly as she takes two steps back—away from her husband.

“I took care of Jimmy,” she says through her sobs. “Whatever happens to me, I took care of Jimmy. Dr. Grace says that h-he’s healthy and I d-did a good job. I a-asked them t-to t-take Jimmy and take c-care of J-Jimmy because m-my milk stopped a-a-and I c-couldn’t take c-care of Jimmy… anymore and th-they took us b-both.”

“Baby, please…” Radcliff tries to appeal to his wife, but she’s having none of it.

“No!” she squeaks through her tears. “Dr. … Dr. Ana says that… i-if I eat right and… e-exercise that I might gain my healthy weight back in a month or so and… I should be producing m-milk again in n-no time. They c-could have taken m-my baby away f-from me. Th-they could have s-said th-that I was an unfit m-mother, but they di-didn’t. They s-saw that I n-needed help and they h-helped me. So you ch-chose your p-pride over us… and I choose my baby over you!”

She spits the last part out before she turns around and buries her face in Grace’s chest and weeps bitterly. Grace holds her protectively, like a broken child, one hand on her hair and the other around her back. She’s glaring at Radcliff, not in a threatening way, but in a manner that warns him that it wouldn’t be a good idea for him to try anything unwise. He stands there silently gazing at his weeping wife. Lockhart puts a hand on his shoulder.

“Mr. Radcliff,” the officer says, gaining his attention. Radcliff turns sad eyes to him. “You should go now, sir.”

Radcliff looks back at his wife, then at the officer and nods.

“If I may,” Santiago adds. Radcliff raises his eyes to him. “My opinion may not mean anything to you, and that’s fine if it doesn’t; but if you want any hope of salvaging this situation and I’m not saying that there is any, you better learn the meaning of one very important word—humility.”

Radcliff stares for a moment, then he bows his head and leaves with no resistance. The officers talk briefly with my mother, Mrs. Radcliff, and Butterfly before they follow Mr. Radcliff. My mom nods to Ana and takes a still weeping Mrs. Radcliff away somewhere in the Center. I can’t help but gather my wife in my arms and hold her close to me. How could he be so selfish? So cruel? His wife and child were dying—how could he not see that? I could never… but I did. I did once… when Ana was falling apart right after the fundraiser fiasco. God forgive me… please don’t let me ever do that again.

“We men can be such assholes,” I murmur in her hair as I kiss her head repeatedly.

“Don’t beat yourself up,” she says, looking up at me. “It doesn’t last… usually.” I smile at her and kiss her nose.

“I love you so much.”

“I love you, too.” I hold her hand and walk her back to her office.

“Tell me what happened with Courtney,” I say when we get there.

“The same thing, minus the threats,” she says as she slowly sits in her seat. “I think she wanted to cooperate—to be my ‘slave,’ so to speak…” She makes those finger quotes to drive her point home. “… But that was never the purpose of the exercise. If she could have seen this woman, how she stood up to that man and got help for her child, she would have understood what I was trying to show her. He never touched her, never beat her, but he had her in a mental prison. She didn’t want to leave because in spite of everything, she loves him and wants to be a good wife. But he couldn’t be a good father and husband, so she chose being a good mother over being a good wife—and it broke her heart.”

“You’ll never have to make that choice, baby,” I tell her, still feeling the need to wring Radcliff’s neck.

“I know,” she says, sweetly, “but we both know that women, mothers, families are struggling every day. Most people aren’t born with a silver spoon in their mouths and quite frankly, I hope Courtney chokes on hers, although that might not be an issue soon.”

“Oh?” I ask, curious.

“The main reason that she showed up today is because her grandmother is not speaking to her. She hasn’t been since Saturday. Add to that her little tête-à-tête with you and she’s scared shitless. I’d wager that Addie is about to send her back to her parents.” That would be fantastic, although I would still keep that bitch under watch.

“Serves her right,” I say. “She doesn’t know how to behave around normal people, send her back to the riff-raff she’s accustomed to dealing with.”

“Where does she come from, Christian?” I shrug. I don’t really know where she comes from, but if she’s going back, I better find out so that I can have security keep an eye on her.

“I know she’s from some terrible place back east because the Wilsons always made it seem like they rescued her from a fate worse than death, but I never found out exactly where—somewhere in Kentucky, I think. I’ll have Welch find out for sure. Of course, you know, I still don’t trust the bitch.”

“I don’t care about her anymore,” she says. “She left here crying.” What?

“Crying? Those crocodile tears like when she accused my sister of stealing?”

“No, I think I really hurt her feelings. Take that back home with you, Melon Girl.” I nod.

“So now, I’m really going to find out where the hell she’s going.” Butterfly frowns, waiting for elaboration. “Baby, on top of possibly stripping her of her fortune, you stripped her of her pride.” She scoffs quietly.

“She stripped herself,” Butterfly retorts, “but I know what you mean—she won’t see it that way. She’ll blame me. Do what you must, husband, and I’ll be ready.”

“That’s why I love you.” She smiles. “Have you had lunch?”

“No, I haven’t. Would you like to take me somewhere?”

“Shouldn’t you wait to speak to Mrs. Radcliff’s social worker?” I ask. She frowns in recollection.

“Oh, yeah, I forgot,” she laments.

“We can have something delivered. Unlike some husbands, I would love to spend my lunch break feeding my wife and children.” She giggles sweetly and nods. Just then, my mother comes breezing into the office.

“She’s talking to the social worker now,” Mom says. “She’ll have us paged when it’s time to talk to us. I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to interrupt.”

“On the contrary, Mother,” I say, standing from my chair, “What was that? Were you trying to get me arrested? If that gorilla had even flinched in your direction, I would be in cuffs right now. What’s the deal with egging him on?”

“I wasn’t egging him on, Christian, I was challenging him,” she corrects me. “Most bullies aren’t accustomed to people standing up to them, so when it’s time to put up or shut up, they usually shut up. He’s a classic bully. He uses words and bravado to push his way into situations, and most people back down from him. With Thelma, his weapon was her love and loyalty. However, when it comes to Jimmy, her love and loyalty is stronger. And for the record, young Mr. Grey,” she folds her arms and takes that stance again, “you all may not know it, but I hold a black belt in Tae Kwon Do.”

What. The. Fuck. Who is this woman and what has she done with my mother?

“What?” I exclaim. “Since when!?”

“Since I was sixteen,” she says, flippantly. “Why do you think I insisted on an instrument, a language, and a martial art—just to keep you flexible?”

“When do you practice?” I ask.

“Every weekend,” she says. “You just assumed that since I’m your mother, all I do is fix children and bake, but no… I confront and take down bullies, too. Trust me, he wouldn’t have gotten past that doorway, but I’ve seen his kind before. He wouldn’t have even tried.”

“So why did you let Mia off the hook?” I say with my hands on my hips. She frowns.

“Let her off the hook?” she asks, bemused. “I was under the impression that you enjoyed kickboxing, Christian.”

“Well, I do, but you still said that we all had to take up a martial art, and she didn’t have to…” I protest, like it’s going to do any good now.

“I couldn’t twist her arm,” Mom retorts. “If she wasn’t going to fight, what was I going to do—force her? Besides, she eventually came around.”

“Since when?” I ask incredulously, my voice several octaves higher than its normal tone.

“Since she saw me take my trainer down in the backyard once summer and decided that she wanted to be bad ass like her mom,” Mom says with a smirk. Son of a bitch—little, playful Mia. No wonder she effortlessly beat the hell out of the Pedophile last year. She was probably practicing.

“How proficient is she?” I ask.

“She’s a brown belt now,” Mom says. How did I not know this? “You underestimate the women in your life,” Mom adds, as if she were answering my question. Butterfly clears her throat, but doesn’t raise her head.

“Lunch, Mrs. Grey,” I order.

“I didn’t say anything,” she defends.

*-*

I go into the community room of the center in search of Jason. I run into Lawrence first.

“Where’s Jason?” I ask him.

“He’s over there.” He points to a small area off in the corner that looks to be another guard’s station—or it used to be a guard’s station. “He’s having a heated conversation with the vessel that delivered his child.” I frown.

“That’s a colorful and not very flattering way to refer to her,” I say with little sincerity.

“I’m being as respectful as I can only because she’s Sophie’s mother. Jason is supposed to get holidays with Sophie and apparently after ‘Thanksgiving with the Greys’ was foiled, Shalane is throwing a monkey wrench into Christmas.”

“She’s using us as a reason to keep him away from Sophie?” I ask, appalled. He shakes his head.

“No,” he says, “she’s been doing this for years.” God, that’s got to be torture! I can’t imagine having children and not being able to spend the holidays with them because my ex-wife is a spiteful, vengeful…

“Mrs. Grey would like a chicken Caesar salad. Any ideas where she can get one around here?” I ask.

“I’ll take care of it. Anything for you, sir?”

“If you can find it, a stacked club sandwich and some fries… and bring us some cola, lemonade, and some ginger tea if you can find it.”

“Will do.” He turns to leave.

“Do you mind if I ask you something, Lawrence?” He stops and turns his attention back to me, a little shocked by my question.

“Yes, sir?”

“Why were you so cold to Radcliff when you first saw him? Not that he didn’t deserve it, but you hadn’t even seen the guy before that moment.”

“I didn’t need to see him,” he replies. “I saw her.”

Okay…

“That baby, man,” he says, familiar… like we’re old friends. He’s shaking his head in disgust. “That baby would not stop crying. He was in pain. He was cold and hungry and suffering. Of course, your first instinct is to put a bottle in his mouth, but I thought he was going to chew the nipple off with no teeth.” He shakes his head again. “His little fingers were white… almost blue. All she wanted to do was get a bottle in his mouth. She was almost dead herself. What kind of…” He trails off. “No human being should be forced to live like that! Nobody! But a newborn baby? A mother just after giving birth? I didn’t need to see him. I saw them!” And that’s all he needed to say.

“I completely agree,” I say, patting him on the arm.


ANASTASIA

The meeting with the social worker was brutal. Poor Thelma has to basically cut all ties with her husband and draw a battle line in the sand in order to get the assistance that she needs from the state. He has effectively become the enemy and they have to treat him like a “deadbeat dad.” No better for him, allowing his wife and son to live that way!

The issue is that the requirements of the state dictate that either you’re for me or you’re against me—there’s no in between. I’ve often taken issue with “the system’s” tendency to villainize an absentee father, but in this case, they are spot on. Radcliff’s actions in turning away assistance at every turn to the detriment of his wife and child were clearly not in the best interest of his family. So, as it stands right now, Mr. Radcliff is looking at a future of visitation and child support.

This does not mean that the family is irredeemable, of course. There’s always therapy, marriage counseling, and reunification meetings if the couple decides that’s what they want to do. Ultimately, the goal is the mother and father being together and raising the child successfully as a unit, but the operative word here is successfully—the other is unit. The conditions that she was living in were deplorable, and I mean to ask her how she found herself in that situation. She mentioned something about being a submissive wife, but surely, she couldn’t have been talking about the kind of lifestyle that Christian and I practice. Her situation shouldn’t be imposed upon a dog, let alone a faithful submissive that bore your child!

In the early afternoon, Christian and I enjoy lunch at the Center while he gives me a delicious massage of my ankles and feet. They are in torment today and I don’t think I’m going to able to endure this swelling much longer. I nearly fall asleep until he reminds me that we have a session with Dr. Baker before we go to Lamaze this evening. I have to admit, I’m not looking forward to this session, but I think it’s necessary. I can’t remember the last time I spoke to Dr. Baker just now. I just remember that we usually see her on matters about our marriage. He had another therapist before… I went to him for help once and something bad happened…

Floyd…?

I remember breaking dishes and a cold park.

Quinn…?

He didn’t like me and he made it known the first time he met me. No matter—we don’t see him anymore anyway.

The session with Dr. Baker was a bit harrowing… like swallowing nasty cough syrup that refused to go down and just kept coming up in the back of your throat. I had to rehash my feelings about the spanking and explain why I put the coats at every door. Apparently, she didn’t know that part. She agreed with Christian—and Ace—that this was behavior of someone that was traumatized and she was glad to hear that I removed the coats on my own. I admitted to her—as I did Ace—that I’m still remiss to go outside without a coat, because even though the coats are no longer at every door, there’s still that mental barrier that reminds me of what happened the last time I did it. It’s not like I break into cold sweats or anything. I’m just reminded not to go outside without a coat in inclement weather. Christian didn’t like hearing that and Dr. Baker is of two minds about it. I maintain that I went outside in the cold without a coat and endangered my health and indirectly, that of my children; this is simply a reminder not to do it again. Dr. Baker agrees that, in strict construction, this is true, especially in the context of our relationship.

“However,” she adds cautiously, “if going near an external door immediately makes you think of the consequences of a spanking, I’m sorry to tell you, but that’s PTSD, Ana.”

“PTSD?” I nearly shriek. “Okay, no offense, Dr. Baker, but you’re being a bit dramatic.”

“You said it, Ana, not me,” she defends. “You’re a doctor, too. How would you define it?” I’m so glad you asked.

“Exactly like I did,” I retort. “I’m not standing at the door, trembling, shaking, unable to move, and having flashbacks of being abused. I’m reminded that when it’s cold outside, I need a coat. Yes, that memory came with a spanking, but like you said—that’s the context of our relationship. If what you say were the case, every memory-recall incident that I have is PTSD, and I have a lot of them. In case you forgot, I recently lost my memory.” I glare at her.

“You’re too close to the situation, Ana. It’s hard for you to see it.” Now, she’s placating me.

“That’s exactly why I can see it,” I reply, “because I’m in here, and you’re out there. I’m not frozen with fear and indecision when I come to an outer door, Dr. Baker. If I look outside and it’s sunny and 80 degrees, I’m not going to say, ‘oops, coat.’ That’s PTSD. The fact that it’s cold outside and I say, ‘hmm, I need a coat,’ that’s not PTSD. That’s common sense. Yes, I failed to do it once; and yes, my husband spanked me, but it’s still common sense.”

“Why are you so defensive about this?” she says in that shrink tone that I’ve sworn that I would never take with a patient. It’s that “I’m right, and we’re going to talk about this until you realize that I’m right” tone. So I’m going to stab that tone right in the throat.

“Because I’m a doctor and you just misdiagnosed me!” I say, frankly, throwing her smarmy tactic right back in her face. She sighs, knowing that she’s caught and that tone won’t work with me, but she’s still not willing to admit defeat so easily.

“And this is why doctors make the worst patients,” she laments.

“You’re right,” I concur, “doctors do make the worst patients, but you were wrong, Dr. Baker. When a doctor gives me a diagnosis that I don’t like, I may frown and get angry, but I won’t contradict them if the diagnosis is correct. I will begrudgingly accept ‘traumatized,’ because had we been talking about someone else, I would have said the same thing, but right now, you’re wrong.”

“Ana, you’re the patient. How can you be so sure?” she says, emphatically. She’s so positive that she’s right, and suddenly, his name comes to my head.

Flynn! His name was Flynn!

Well, she’s no Flynn, I’ll give her that. She’s just incorrect right now. We all make mistakes and I’m about to drive hers home. I reach for my purse and open it to the middle compartment. Christian calls my name, but he’s too late. I’m already holding my purse open so that the good doctor can see my Beretta.

“I know PTSD,” I say slowly and in a low voice while she observes my gun, then makes eye contact with me, maintaining an impassive gaze. “I have PTSD, but not with this.”

The room is silent for a moment as I close my purse and sit it next to me. I take a deep breath and look at her again.

“I was raped, brutally beaten, and left for dead at 15 years old. I was in a coma for three weeks, my guardians at the time couldn’t have cared less if I lived or died, and many days, I wished I had. I’ve lived with that and dealt with that for nearly 15 years. The situations have infiltrated every facet of my life, but I’ve managed to maintain a full, healthy life nonetheless and help others in the process. However, I don’t have that inbred sense of ‘everything’s gonna be alright’ that everyone else does. Anytime anything really scares me, I mean really spooks me, I reach for my guns. I’m trained by a Marine and a 6th Dan martial arts specialist the kill or maim a man in several ways and I can disable an assailant in six seconds no matter what his size, even while eight months pregnant. Just after we first met, Christian watched me nearly kill a man for attacking me from behind.”

She looks over at Christian and although I don’t look at him, I know he’s nodding or something in the affirmative.

“I know PTSD, Dr. Baker. Unfortunately, we’re old bedmates, and this. Is not. PTSD.”

One thing I remember about Dr. Baker is that she’s not easily intimidated, not that I was trying to intimate her. She’s also not easily impressed or swayed. So this conversation that I just had with her had no effect whatsoever.

“While I understand that horrible experience you had left you suffering from a clear and obviously severe case of PTSD, this much less traumatizing situation has left you with a few symptoms of the disorder as well. While it may not be as severe a case as what you already encounter, it is still a slight form of PTSD.”

I shake my head and smile. She’s not letting down and neither am I. She’s all or nothing. She reminds me of a doctor who wants to prescribe morphine for a splinter.

“I disagree,” I tell her, “and I’m going to leave it at that, because we are two mental health professionals that have differing opinions on this issue. The difference is that I have personal experience with this condition. Do you?” I wait for her answer. She gives none. “I didn’t think so.”

“I didn’t say ‘no,’” she says impassively.

“You didn’t say ‘yes,’” I retort, just as impassively. “I expounded on my personal experience with PTSD. As a patient and as a professional, I told you why I feel it doesn’t apply to this situation. Your turn.” I clasp my hands and give her the floor. She examines me for a moment, then speaks.

“You’re right, Dr. Grey, I don’t have any personal experience with PTSD, but that doesn’t make my diagnosis any less accurate.” I shrug.

“Well, again, I disagree with your diagnosis, both as a patient and as a professional, but I’m not going to argue with you further.”

“Understood,” she says, and just like that the conversation is over.

And when I say over, I mean over.

She and Christian continue to talk about how the punishments have affected the marriage and our communication and lack thereof. While I show no hostility, I offer absolutely no participation. After about ten minutes, she acknowledges this fact.

“Nothing to say, Mrs. Grey?”

“No,” I say, matter-of-factly. Christian looks at me.

“Baby?” he says, examining my eyes. I give him a clear, guileless expression and he doesn’t know what to make of it, so he turns to Dr. Baker.

“Mrs. Grey has shut down,” she announces, kind of like it’s a shortcoming on my part, but I don’t even feel any animosity about it. He looks at me again, his brow furrowed.

“She’s right,” I say flatly and Christian gasps a bit. “You see, what we should be talking about right now is that I punished you based on one set of facts that you gave me. You left out some crucial details that would have affected the punishment that I imposed, most likely making it less severe. I’m having a bit of a problem with that because we agreed on ‘no punishment for punishment.’ Yet, it appears to me that you withheld facts from me knowing that it would most likely result in a more severe punishment as a means of alleviating your guilt for punishing me. Now, with me saying that—which you already knew—there’s no way for us to productively move forward with this conversation with her operating under the premise that I’m suffering from PTSD from your original punishment. To the observer, that totally skews my intentions for punishing you… to the left or to the right, depending on how you look at it. Did I hold back because I was afraid of retaliation once my time on the submissive seat came again? Or did I go completely gung-ho because of what you did to me when I was the submissive?”

“Very perceptive, Dr. Grey,” she admits. I turn to her.

“Don’t praise me just yet, Dr. Baker,” I say unmoved, “because I feel that this exercise is the equivalent of cutting open a patient and looking for cancer when he really has an appendicitis. You’ll never get to the bottom of what’s really wrong because you’re looking in the wrong place and worst of all, you’re not listening to the patient. If the patient tells the doctor, ‘hey doc, my foot is hurting,’ the doctor’s not going to go looking for a dislocated shoulder.”

“Oh, now, you’re being dramatic, Dr. Grey!” she retorts, and it’s the first bit of emotion I’ve seen from her all afternoon.

“Okay, let’s put it in a better perspective then. Earlier this year, I vomited all over a defense attorney in a courtroom full of people then passed out on the stand. I went home and took a pregnancy test that came up positive. I went to my doctor and I told her, ‘Doc, I vomited, I passed out, I took at test, it came up positive—pregnancy is a real possibility.’ What do you think she did, told me I had a hernia?” Dr. Baker sighs heavily, exacerbated.

“See, your reaction says a lot,” I tell her, now more animated, “because the difference between pregnancy and this thing…” I point feverishly and repeatedly at my temple, “… is that we’re talking about the mind. You can’t see this. You can’t point to a problem and identify it. The mind is complex and beautiful and terrifying and none of us knows what’s going on inside of it at all times—none of us—which is why. You have. To listen. To. Your patient!”

And suddenly, I’m Stoley. He didn’t know what was wrong with him, but slowly discovered what wasn’t wrong with him and was ready to end his life because he couldn’t figure out what was wrong with him. Everybody slapped a label on him, whatever conveniently fit, and they were all wrong. It was something so simple, and they were all treating the wrong thing—just because nobody wanted to listen.

I listened, and that’s all he needed… and it saved his life.

So, excuse me, Dr. Baker, but no—while you may be able to help my husband, you can’t help us.

“Well,” she says, folding her hands in her lap. “I guess we’re done for the day, then.” She looks at me, awaiting a response. She’s expecting surrender. I have nothing to say, lady. I’ve said it already. “Mrs. Grey?”

“Dr. Baker?” What?

“Do you have anything to say?”

“I’ve said it,” I reply. “Did you not hear me?” She shakes her head and chuckles, then proffers her hand to Christian.

“Good luck, Christian,” she says. Good luck? Smarmy bitch. Christian takes her hand and shakes, her shot not getting past him.

“Dr. Baker,” is all he says, looking at me in his peripheral. He stands and helps me to my feet. She clasps her hands in front of her, certain not to proffer her hand to me. No worries, there’s always a place for my hands. I rest them on my baby bump.

“Dr. Grey, it’s been…” she trails off.

“Enlightening,” I complete her sentence.

“I certainly hope so,” she says, still trying to jab at me.

“I know so,” I reply, but not for the reasons you’re poking at, doctor.

“Baby…” Christian cups my elbow. He’s had enough of the standoff. Quite frankly, so have I.

Knowing that we would most likely talk about what happened in the session on our way to Lamaze, Christian drives one of the Audi sedans while Jason and Ben follow in one of the SUV’s.

“That could have gone a bit better,” he says cautiously after an eternity of silence.

“A bit,” I say icily. Then I sigh, realizing that he’s not the bad guy here. “Christian, it’s important that we don’t lose sight of the goal here. That session was a bit disastrous at best, but ultimately, it’s most important that we understand why we needed the session in the first place.” He sighs.

“I felt like I abused you,” he says softly, “like I needed to be punished for what I did to you.”

“Then you should have talked to me,” I tell him, “because I now feel like the true reasons for my punishment were now all lost in translation…”

“I know, and I’m sorry,” he interrupts me. “I can assure you that they were not. I promise you that your messages came through loud and clear. I didn’t think of spanking you during my punishment. I thought of all the ways that my behavior with Cholometes cost my family; I wasn’t thinking of the pain that I had caused in your punishment until the end, when it was all over. I think I may have subconsciously left out those details, I don’t know. I was hoping that Dr. Baker could help me work through that, but…”

“But what?” I ask.

“Well, you two just had the stand-off at the O.K. Corral,” he states.

“So?” I say. “I just don’t appreciate her misdiagnosing me. By her logic, every action that has ever bought about a reaction or a consequence has resulted in some form of PTSD, because let’s face it—we only learn that bad decisions are bad decisions because of their consequences. So the hundreds of billions of people who have lived and died and walked this earth and continue to do so and have had learning experiences from their mistakes, big and small, are simply walking, talking, breathing, functioning cases of PTSD. Her strict construction doesn’t allow for anything else. Do you see why that bothers me?”

“Yeah, but…” he trails off again.

“But, what?” He’s starting to irritate me.

“I can’t keep firing shrinks, baby,” he laments. Where did that come from? I look over at him.

“Christian, if I told you to start seeing Dr. Culley, would you do it?” he frowns.

“No!” he says in an obvious tone.

“Why not? She’s a doctor.”

“She’s a… lady doctor… I mean… a female… I mean, a gynecologist!” he’s stumbling over his words.

“Meaning she doesn’t really specialize in what you need,” I help him.

“Ya think?” he says, a bit horrified.

“Not every doctor fits every patient, Christian,” I tell him. “Dr. Culley’s my doctor, but she’s not a very good fit for you. I didn’t tell you to fire Dr. Baker. She does fine for you, but she’s no good for me. If you’re ever in a situation where I feel like you need to speak to someone and she’s not helping you, trust me, I’ll tell you if I see it, but I don’t see that yet.” He looks at me for a moment, blinking several times.

“Did you have to go through the whole gynecologist thing to make that point?” he says, obviously uncomfortable. I can’t help but laugh.

“Sorry,” I say insincerely.

After Lamaze, we have the Davenports over for dinner again and Chuck couldn’t be happier. It’s like he has a new lease on life. He’s moving around more without the wheelchair, still keeping it nearby since he doesn’t want to overwork his ribs. He’s really doing great, though. I can’t wait until he’s back on his feet again.

Tuesday is Christmas Eve and who’s left of the Davenports are pouring into Seattle. I have no idea how Nelson and Christian have managed to keep this away from Chuck, but they have. I’m only spending half the day at Helping Hands to make sure that everyone is settled in and ready for the holiday, then I’m going home. I really hate the fact that I can’t do my cookie bake this year, but my ankles say that it’s a definite no-go and it’s just too much work. Still, I miss my traditional Christmas Eve, for so many reasons. I don’t have long to lament my situation when Grace comes into my office with a strange look on her face.

“What?” I say. I know this is going to be bad, weird, or both.

“I know this is going to sound very strange coming from me, but I think you should give Courtney another chance.” My brow furrows. Who is this woman in my office pretending to be Grace Grey?

“Excuse me?” To say that my tone is incredulous is an understatement.

“Believe me, I’m the very last person to be a proponent for her and I can hardly believe I’m doing this myself, but I don’t think I’ve ever seen that girl contrite in my life. I don’t know where she came from or what’s so bad about it, but I believe that she would rather shovel manure than go back there.” I shake my head and shrug.

“I can’t fix her,” I tell Grace. “She’s irreparable. She doesn’t want to be fixed. She wants to walk around in this little Courtney bubble doing whatever the hell she wants and treating people however she wants with her skewed view of reality. She’s waiting for her grandparents to die so that she can collect their fortune. That’s probably why they’re sending her back to East Hell or Midwest Purgatory or wherever the hell she came from. Maybe that’s what she needs. Maybe that’ll teach her to appreciate her life and the opportunity that she’s been given. She’s so callous, whatever situation her parents are in, I bet she doesn’t even speak to them. Addie sure doesn’t talk about them. Is this her son’s child or her daughter’s child? I don’t even know.” I shake my head again. “Let that situation fix her because I sure as hell can’t.” Grace pulls a chair up to my desk.

“Ana, there’s something else. I don’t know what it is, but there’s something else.”

“I don’t care what else, Grace. It’s not my problem anymore…” Just as I’m finishing my sentence, Courtney comes around the door frame. She looks like hell! Well, I shouldn’t say that she looks like hell, but she doesn’t look like the bratty little bitch that I know. She’s wearing a pair of plain jeans and a plain gray sweatshirt. She looks like she’s been crying for days.

I would normally look at someone in this condition and feel some kind of sympathy, but right now, I feel absolutely nothing. I don’t think I’ve felt this kind of stoic nonchalance of someone’s obvious pain since… since…

… since my mother came to Seattle.

“I don’t know why you’re here,” I tell her. “There’s nothing I can do for you.” I look back down at the documents on my computer. I see movement and then I hear Grace’s voice.

“Just talk to her, Ana… please.” Grace has surrendered her seat to Courtney. How can she expect me to talk to this woman? I want nothing to do with her. Seriously! There’s no vendettas, I don’t want revenge. I don’t want to see her suffer. I don’t care if Karma kicks her in the ass or not—I simply want nothing to do with her.

“Mom?”

Oh, hell. As if Courtney’s day wasn’t bad enough, I hear Mia calling for Grace. I so badly want to call out “She’s in here, Mia,” but like I said, I really don’t want revenge. I just want this girl gone. Much to Courtney’s dismay, Mia soon locates her mother.

“There you are, Mom. I tried to call you, but you wouldn’t pick up and I have a bit of a crisis that needs…” Her words trail off as she turns to her left and sees Courtney sitting in the chair in front of my desk. It’s clear that she truly can’t believe her eyes. She’s stunned silent for a moment—something I’ve never seen before.

“Hi, Mia,” Courtney says in a soft, mousy voice. Mia’s eyes sharpen and wider.

“It spoke!” she exclaims, pointing at Courtney. “Oh, my God! Did it speak? To me?”

Mia…” Grace chides gently in that way that often brings Mia to heel, but not this time. Mia turns her glare to her mother.

“Mom! Really?” Her only two words and Grace is sent into knowing silence.

“It’s okay, Mrs. Grey,” Courtney says. “She has a right to her feelings.” What exactly did her grandparents say to her?

My feelings!” Mia scoffs. “You mean the feelings half of the general populace, right? Most of which, you’ve fucked.”

“Mia!” Grace is no longer gentle.

“What? Are we now pretending like you’re not a flaming, evil, wretched bitch?” Mia continues, ignoring her mother’s warning tone.

“That’s enough, Mia!” Grace snaps. Mia glares—and I mean glares—at her mother.

“I’m sorry, Mom, but when have my feelings for her ever changed?” Mia shoots, angrily. “When have I ever not made it clear that I can’t stand the air that she breathes?”

“That does not give you the right to be crude and classless!” Grace scolds.

“I’m crude and classless!” Mia repeats in disbelief. “Well, I guess that’s better than being a whorish, nasty, easy, thirsty, thieving sure thing that will sleep with anything with a pulse!” she snaps at a dismayed Courtney before turning back to her mother.

“Don’t worry, Mom. I’m done being crude and classless!” she seethes before turning on her heels and marching out of my office and down the hall. We never even got to the reason why she came looking for her mother in the first place.

“Boy, you really don’t have a fan club, do you?” I hiss at Courtney, who just looks at her hands and remains mute. I look back at Grace. “I don’t know what you expect me to do because I tried to help her and it didn’t work. I don’t have any more time or energy for this. I’m ready to enjoy Christmas with my family. I don’t want to deal with her.”

“Courtney has made it clear that she has learned her lesson and she really wants to be a better person. Against my better judgment considering my experience with her and my daughter, I believe her.”

“I realize that she made things uncomfortable for Mia, but she threatened me! Security is on full alert and I’m carrying again because we didn’t know what to expect from her!”

“I know,” Grace admits and I just glare at her. Who told her? Oh hell, who cares? She and Addie are friends, Christian’s her son…

“And you expect me to help her?” I squeak incredulously. “To even want to be in the same room with her? Mia gave her daggers. I have much worse in my repertoire and the ammunition to back it up!”

“Please don’t make me go back there,” Courtney finally speaks, her voice breaking. I’m staring at her like an alien being. “Please! I’ll do anything you say. I’ll sort garbage; I’ll clean; I’ll shovel snow. Just please, don’t make me go back.”

My eyes narrow. What the fuck is this?

“I don’t have time for your Academy-Award-winning performances, Courtney!” I hiss, remembering the wailing act Grace described from Nordstrom’s. She drops her face in her hands and begins to weep.

“Please…” Her cries are pained. “I’ll do anything! Please, I swear! I swear, I’ll do anything! Just don’t make me go back!” Her voice portrays agony and her tears are sincere. She’d walk through fire rather than go back to wherever the hell she came from…

And I still don’t feel a goddamn thing.

“So all this time,” I say, folding my arms and sitting back in my chair, “all this headache, this haughty attitude, this ‘I’m the Queen of the World’ bullshit…” Grace makes to say something and I hold my hand up to silence her. For one, I’m not Mia; and two, I’ve got the floor. I’m talking to this chick and she’s going to listen. “All this time I’ve been threatening your trust fund and all it took was the real possibility that you would go back to where you came from?”

She drops her hands in her lap, still sniffling and crying… and nodding.

“You threatened me and my safety,” I nearly growl. “You put my entire staff on full alert for your ass. My husband was ready to crack you in two with his bare hands!”

“I… know,” she confesses in stuttering breaths.

“Oh, you have no idea, young lady!” I snap.

“Yes, I do!” she says, raising serious—though red and puffy—eyes to me. She does. He sent her one hell of a message. Ha! Go, Baby, go!

“Yeah, you do,” I acknowledge, and just like that, this threat is neutralized. “I don’t need a damn slave, Courtney. You weren’t doing me any favors being here. I was trying to teach you something, to show you how the other half lives so that you could understand the magnitude of the lifestyle that you live and be grateful for the opportunities being afforded to you, but you already know, don’t you?” My voice is harsh and unforgiving. She chokes and covers her mouth, nodding as she cries into her hand. I roll my eyes.

“You can go now, Grace,” I say. I’m not playing with this chick and I mean it. I don’t have time or energy for these fucking games. Grace quietly leaves the room.

“What do you want?” I nearly growl at her. I don’t trust her and I don’t want her around me. She raises wary, watery eyes at me.

That doe-eyed shit doesn’t mean a damn thing. I reach into my purse and pull out my Beretta. I lay in on the desk, pointed away from either of us, the magazine in my other hand out of her sight. Her eyes grow wide.

“I don’t bluff, little girl,” I tell her, “and I don’t make empty threats. If that’s what you were doing, I advise you to stop right now, because this is what yours caused.” She swallows hard and stares at my gun. “Not a Magnum, I know. After the meeting with my husband and our security team, we decided that six bullets just may not be enough.” She raises her eyes to me again. “What. Do you. Want?”

“I…” She reaches for my desk and I snatch my gun. In three seconds, the magazine is in and a round is in the chamber. I never take my eyes off of her in the process. She starts to shake.

“T… tissue!” she says, a shaky hand pointing to the tissue box on my desk. I shake my head infinitesimally and twist my lips. Totally empty threat—amateur.  I pick up the tissue box and throw it at her.

“A bit of advice,” I begin as I release the magazine from my Beretta. “Don’t make any sudden moves in the direction of someone’s firearm…” I slide the chamber and release the final round. “… Especially after you’ve threatened them. I could cost your life if you’re dealing with someone with less control.” I load the single round back into the magazine and place the gun and the ammo back in my purse. “How ridiculous does that look?” I say. “I’m a pregnant woman—a very pregnant woman—carrying twins and about to blow any second, and I’m walking around with a goddamn Beretta. Isn’t that fucking ludicrous?” I stare at her and wait for her to tell me what the fuck she wants from me. She dries her eyes and her face and holds her head down.

“I’m sorry, Ana,” she says in a small voice. And? So? Yes, you are, very sorry. Extremely sorry. Now what? She’s quiet for a moment, but I’ve said everything I have to say to her. It’s her turn now. Noting my silence, she raises her eyes to me.

“My parents live in squalor. They always have. I didn’t know how bad it was until my grandmother showed up and took me away from it. They always told me that she was rich, but that she didn’t want us. I never believed them. Why would she not want us? So I convinced myself that it was a lie, that she didn’t exist… until she showed up and took me away.

“When we first got to Washington, I was still thinking like I was in Chuktapaw.” Chuckawhat? She smirks sadly at my expression. “Don’t even strain. It’s a little broke town in Kentucky. You won’t even find it on a map. When I put that shirt in Mia’s bag, I was going to tell her about it later. I had spent all my money and I really wanted it. I didn’t expect for us to get caught. When we did, I panicked. That’s why she hates me.”

“I know,” I say, stoically. Get to the point, Melon Girl. I don’t have all day.

“I can’t go back there, Ana,” she says. “Drugs and filth and crime and… I can’t go back to living that way.”

“You’re an adult,” I reply flatly. “You’re 24 years old. You can live wherever the fuck you want.”

“No, I can’t,” she retorts. “It’s like you said, I have nothing—no skills, no experience… I never held a job. I haven’t gone to school. I have nothing, ‘no human value whatsoever except parts.’” She drops her head again. That last part was recited, I can tell.

“Where did you get that tidbit of knowledge?” I ask sarcastically.

“My grandmother,” she chokes, just above a whisper, holding her head down.

“Wise woman,” I spit before I can catch myself, but then the meaning of the words floats back to me. Her grandmother told her that she has no human value whatsoever except parts. Parts. That means that she would have to die and her body parts be divvied up—then, and only then, would she be of any value whatsoever. That’s pretty damn harsh.

Yet, I’m still finding it hard to locate that sympathy button.

“I already know what you’re trying to teach me,” she admits. “I know about the misfortunes of the people on the other side of the tracks. I used to be one of them. I need to learn something else.”

“What?” I snap. “What do you need to learn?” Her eyes are glassy again.

“I don’t know,” she squeaks, “but I need something else… anything else, but I need something else! Please!” And it’s the first sincere thing I feel she’s said all day.

Fucking fucking hell fucking shit hell fucking bitches fucking hell!

“You owe me,” I say through clenched teeth. “You stole my peace and you fucking owe me. Why should I help you now?”

“You shouldn’t,” she says, somberly. “Hell, I wouldn’t, but I hope you will anyway.”

I am literally grinding my teeth.

“C’est vraiment des conneries!” I exclaim. This fucking brat bitch! Way to ruin my goddamn holiday! “Merde! Merde! Merde! Putain! J’en ai ras-le-bol! …”

I have no idea how long I ranted in my native tongue—from a prior life, I think… or something like that—but it must have been a while. When I look up, Marilyn and Ben are both cautiously peeking inside the door and Courtney is looking at me like she has just seen Jesus.

“Go find somebody to help in this joint for the next two days,” I say to Courtney through my teeth. “I don’t care who! I don’t what you do! Just find a fucking purpose! I don’t even want to think about you until after Christmas!” She nods and stands. She turns to thank me, but thinks better of it when I narrow my eyes at her.

“Courtney!” I bark her name as she gets to the door and she turns around to face me.

“If you cross me again, just one more time, you’re gonna get a three-man beatdown, because I swear to God that me and my babies are going to beat your motherfucking ass! Are we clear?”

“Yes, ma’am,” she says without missing a beat and leaves the office. I’m nearly taken aback by the show of respect, but too pissed off to care.

Christian is not going to like this.


A/N: I know that everyone was expecting a showdown between Radcliff and Ana. However, there couldn’t be a showdown between Radcliff and Ana. It had to be between Radcliff and his wife, because he wasn’t listening to anybody else. He wasn’t even listening to his wife in the beginning. His only power over her was in the fact that she stayed and listened to him. He never beat her, but she stayed and obeyed. The only way that she could get him to hear her was to leave.

Not only that, but as big and bad as Radcliff pretended to be, Christian had him sweating and shaking before they left Grey House. He didn’t dare cross Ana too hard.

Don’t bother trying to translate Ana’s ranting. She’s just cursing a lot.