Raising Grey: Chapter 42—Unbreak My Heart

I have to admit that I was surprised to see so many people express a tone of disappointment in Ana’s feelings. I’ve had times and events in my life where I had to get up every day and push myself just to get to the next minute—where I felt like the world was just going to gobble me up, and I couldn’t talk about it. Talking about it gave it life and I was just trying to deal with it so that I could have the strength to open my eyes the next day. I really thought most people would be able to relate to that… to that feeling of, “My God! What else can go wrong in my life? The minute I sit down and get comfortable, something else happens.” I guess I’m the only one, or at least in very lean company. It’s sad that I appear to be one of the seemingly very few that can empathize with that, but I guess it’s a good thing that the vast majority apparently hasn’t had that experience.

So, this is my second to last prewritten chapter, but the Muse is finally stirring a bit, so I wouldn’t worry about the future.

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 42—Unbreak My Heart

ANASTASIA

I spend more time venting and crying with my friends, trying to release the anguish and the hopelessness I feel about the situation. I cry and cry and cry with my best friends holding me for I don’t even know how long. I’m exhausted when it’s all done and glad that Christian didn’t walk in on the display. I’m broken from the self-pity and mourning by the two-way coming to life and telling me that one or both of my children have stirred.

“I’ll go,” Val offers as she stands from the sofa.

“No, I’ll go,” I say, standing behind her and drying my eyes with my sleeve before Al gives me a handkerchief. Those two little bundles of love are the light and joy of my life. Right now, I don’t want to miss a moment with them… even if some evil monster is waiting in the wings to snatch them away from me.

“I’ll come with you, then,” she says with a smile before looking at Al.

“I’ll clean up and put the leftovers away,” he says, his brow furrowed as he examines me. “I’m worried about you, Jewel,” he adds. I smile sadly, my eyes tender from crying.

“I’ll live, Al,” I reply before leaving the parlor.

I’m glad that Keri and Gail didn’t get to the nursery before I did. I really didn’t want to enter into the room to inquiring minds about my obviously red and puffy eyes. We walk in and both children are unsettled. Val gestures me to Minnie’s crib while she goes to Mikey.

“Hey, little man,” I hear her say. “What’s all that noise?” She lifts him out of his crib and quickly checks his diaper before taking him to his changing table. I do the same with Minnie, cooing at her and taking comfort in her beautiful cherubic face with my blue eyes staring back at me under a mop of Christian’s red hair. I had noticed that just in the last month or so, both my children gained their eye color, and Minnie definitely has my eyes while Mikey sports his father’s under my deep mahogany hair. Minnie is happy to get that soiled diaper off her bottom and I let her skin air out a bit before putting another on her.

“Mmm,” Val says, “I love changing diapers.” I grimace as I look over at her and she laughs. “Not the dirty diaper part,” she says. “The part where they’re all clean and you get to use the powder and stuff and they have that new baby smell.” It causes me to chuckle and I welcome the warmth of laughter. As I’m closing Minnie’s onesie, Gail and Keri enter with fresh warmed bottles for the babies. Val throws a look at me and I keep my back to the door. Reading my actions, she takes over.

“Take a break, ladies,” she says, sweetly, heading them off at the door. “We’ve got this watch.”

“Oh,” Gail says in surprise. “You’re fine?”

“Sure,” Val says confidently, “but thanks for the vittles!” The ladies all laugh good-naturedly before Gail adds, “Okay, call us through the two-way if you need us.”

Not wanting to seem rude, I look slightly over my shoulder without revealing my face to them and say, “Thanks, guys,” as normally as I can and attempt to throw them off by concentrating on cooing at my baby. “Is that Mommy’s precious girl? Yes, you are…”

It works.

When Keri and Gail clear the room, I sigh in relief that I didn’t have to convince more people in my life that I’m okay when, in fact, I’m not.

“Thanks,” I say to Val, lifting Minnie into my arms and setting up shop in the window seat with my baby and a bottle since I just had wine. The window seat is what I’m accustomed to, now.

“Don’t mention it,” she says, sitting in Mikey’s rocker and testing his bottle before giving it to him. “Why don’t you come and sit in the rocker? It might help to break old habits.” I look down at my nursing daughter.

“Maybe next time,” I tell her. “I don’t want to disturb Young Miss when she’s eating,” I lie. The truth is that the seat gives me some form of familiarity and comfort now that I’m no longer watching the bridge. I just don’t feel like explaining that to everyone. It would be like telling them that the cliff where I fell is now my favorite spot. It was once, but now, I’ll just be reminded that I could have fallen to my death on a drunken binge.

Val distracts me from my own problems by telling me more about her and Elliot’s Caribbean cruise. I wasn’t surprised that the cruise took them to St. Maarten but not to Anguilla. The boat would probably be larger than the island. She told me about Harrison’s Cave and the beautiful 17th-Century plantation houses and it made me long for our trip to Anguilla. I definitely need a vacation right now to cleanse my body and soul of what’s going on in my life. We had to postpone our Italian vacation, probably until next year since we plan to stay for quite some time. I can’t lie, though. A cruise to anywhere for a week or two would be right up my alley right now.

There’s a tap at the door and Val and I look at each other. It’s one of the men, we already know, but Christian would have just walked in. So, it has to be Al or Elliot. Jason and Chuck would already know that their women are not in the nursery. The door opens and sure enough, there’s my best friend, but behind him is my husband—my tall, beautiful, muscular husband… the cause and cure for my distress all wrapped into one.

“Hey, ladies,” Al says. “How’s it going?” His bad attempt at nonchalance coupled with Christian’s deeply examining gaze on me lets me know that these two gentlemen have been talking… about me. Al is only concerned about me and I love him for it, so I sigh in resignation.

“Better,” I say, unable to hide the crack in my voice from my earlier crying. Christian is obviously uncomfortable looking at me, and I think it’s the window seat. It has definite connotations, and he and Val would much rather that I not sit in it. He stops at the rocker on his way over to me.

“How are you feeling, Val?” he says, placing his hand on her shoulder. She smiles up at him.

“Good,” she nods. “The vacation was fantastic—just what I needed.”

“I’m happy to hear that,” he says to her, genuinely. “You look very well.”

“Thank you,” she says, sincerely and they both turn their eyes to Mikey.

“Hey, Mikey,” Christian says. “Have you been taking good care of these ladies?” Mikey squirms and coos as if in response to his father’s question. Christian gently strokes his hair and turns his attention to me. He walks over to the window seat where Minnie and I sit, Minnie gazing dreamily up at me after being fed and changed. That look would make me move mountains for her. Christian looks intently at me before turning his attention to his daughter.

“Hey, Mouse,” he says, softly, stroking his daughter’s hair like he just did his son’s. He looks longingly at her for a moment before kissing her forehead. Then he gazes at me and does the same, stroking my cheeks where tears stained earlier. He examines me wordlessly before saying, “Al, can you take over? I’d like to talk to my wife.”

“Absolutely,” Al says. “Give me that bundle of pinkness!”

“Oh, no,” Val chides. “You take our godson. I want a little time with our goddaughter. I haven’t seen them in a month!”

“Fine by me,” Al says, relieving Val of Mikey before she comes over and takes Minnie from my arms. I ache a bit when she leaves my grasp but follow Christian out of the room nonetheless as he leads me by the hand. When we get to the hallway and he closes the door, he embraces me solidly and kisses me deeply, catching me totally by surprise. I gasp at the longing, giving nature of the kiss, my hands falling lazily at my sides as his hand flattens against my back, pressing me firmly into his body. My head lulls back and I let him have my lips, my mouth, my tongue—feeding me while he feasts on my kisses. I don’t know if I’m breathing or not, but I bask in the warmth and safety of his arms, the tenderness yet firmness and possessiveness of his kiss… giving and taking at the same time. When our lips part, I can feel the breath between us. I keep my eyes closed to commit the moment to memory—for cold nights when…

“You know how much I love you, don’t you?” he says, his lips only brushing mine.

“Yes,” I breathe, my eyes still closed, drunk and a bit wobbly from his kiss and his presence.

“Good,” he breathes, taking my lips again.

After an intense, but quick impromptu make-out session in the hallway, Christian leads me to our room. I moved back in a few days ago, realizing that it didn’t really make much sense to sleep in the guest room anymore. I still have problems getting to sleep, but it’s getting better. It’s especially easy when Christian finds that I can’t rest and finds some way to worship my body until I’m tuckered out. I can really see that he’s trying. I wish I could just settle into the comfort.

Instead of stopping at the bedroom, he leads me right into my bathroom and lifts me up onto the marble vanity. He turns on the cold water and retrieves a clean washcloth. After wetting the washcloth and wringing most of the water out of it, he stands in front of me, lifts my chin and begins to sponge my cheeks.

Can’t hide anything from Mr. Grey.

I close my eyes and the cool cloth moves to my eyelids. The relief on the swollen orbs is immediate. I hear him moistening the cloth again and this time, he holds my head all the way back and places a compress over my eyes. A few moments later, a second cloth is sponging my cheeks, my jaw, and my neck again.

“Your cheeks are still tear-stained,” he says softly, “and your eyes are red and puffy. You look tired.” I don’t respond. I just sit on the vanity and let the protector and caregiver have his way, savoring these moments and committing them to my mental Rolodex. He let me sit there for several minutes—or at least it felt that way—replacing the compress one time, and letting the cold water soothe the ache from my eyes as he gently sponges my face with the other washcloth. He stops at my lips and sponges them gently. He’s now caressing my lips with his fingertips and the cloth and my breath catches. He adds gentle kisses to the mix and I melt at the sensation. My senses are all hyper-focused on my lips and his lips and his fingers when his mouth softly covers mine again, molding gently into them and against them.

Somehow, I feel this is not enough for him.

His arms move to my waist then quickly up my body, lifting my arms and placing them demanding over his shoulders. I immediately take my cue and wrap my arms around his neck, thrusting my hands into his hair. He gasps into my mouth and wraps his arms around me again, curling his body around mine while taking and giving feverish kisses. My body is alight again as he holds me and kisses me, melding into me and devouring me and I wrap my legs around his hips. He pulls my shirt out of my jeans and caresses the skin on my stomach and back.

My back… the garden.

I blaze like fresh, new embers as my body fires with arousal. My breath quickens and his tongue leisurely and sensuously explores my mouth until I feel that I can’t take it anymore. He pulls back from me and gazes into my eyes. Seeing whatever it is that he needs to see, he lifts me from the vanity, my body still wrapped around him, and takes me to our bed.

Lying me down on my back, he removes my hands from his neck and places them on the bed, holding them down in both of his while he kisses me. I can barely stand it; I’m suddenly so goddamn needy again. His lips travel from my lips to my neck while his hands slide down my arms to the buttons at my breast. I leave my hands by the side of my head. I keep my eyes closed as his lips follow his fingers, unbuttoning my shirt, down my breast, my torso, my belly.

Christian…

That familiar yearning swells up in me and I can hardly breathe. I want him to make it right—take away this feeling of fear and sadness… make it like it once was between us… please, make it like it was…

He unhooks the clasp of my bra between my breasts and pushes the cups aside, gently cupping my breasts while he kisses the mounds. His tenderness is driving me mad. I’m almost dysfunctional with need.

He kisses along the waistband of my jeans as he opens the button and unzips my pants, kissing along the waistband of the hip-hugger panties underneath. I bite my lip to keep from making a sound, taking deep breaths to control my passion and my body. There’s a bit of movement on the bed, and then he pushes his hands into my jeans, grasping the waistband and pulling them and my panties off at the same time, pushing my ballet flats off my feet before my pants and underwear pass my ankles.

There’s a pause for a few moments, but when he climbs back up to me, I feel his skin against mine—his whole body. He’s naked. I feel his erection against my thigh as he lifts me from the bed, kissing me deliciously while pushing my bra and shirt off my shoulders. He lays me back on the bed, his face never more than a breath from mine. He kisses me again as his hands run down my body, caressing my sides and hips until he reaches my thighs.

He pulls them up, roughly opening me to him, his rock-hard erection pressing into my stomach. God, I want him so badly. I need to feel him, need to put another moment in the reservoir—another cherished time… please… hurry.

He slides his arms under mine until he’s cupping my shoulders in either hand, then he nestles his erection between my legs, between my lips. God, he feels so good. I throw my head back as his lips find the valley of my breasts and he grinds the length of his shaft up and down along my lips, my labia, my clit…

Oh, my God… Oh, my God, this is torture.

Neither of us says anything or makes a sound. He just continues to drag his length up and down as he kisses wherever his mouth can reach. When he clamps down on a nipple, then teases it with his tongue, I feel my orgasm building, knocking at the door in no time flat. Just as I think it’s about to blow, he stops and rises off of me a bit. He looks hungrily into my eyes and pushes my legs open farther with his body. Simultaneously, he takes both of my hands and plants them above my head, my arms bent with his fingers entwined in mine, while raising his hips to position the head of his long hard cock at my vaginal opening.

He pauses for a minute, holding my gaze while his hips are suspended in the air. Without warning, he thrusts all the way into me, balls deep, pulling my hands down at the same time for leverage. A searing pain rips through me like I’m losing my virginity all over again, but it’s quickly replaced with the pleasure that left my loins only moments ago. He trembles at the first drive into me, both of us still managing to remain silent through what was obviously a very powerful feeling in our nether-regions. Three strokes later and I’m gasping through my orgasm as Christian pushes slowly and deeply into me, kissing my cheek, my neck, the corners of my mouth.

I’m whimpering out the aftershocks as he settles his weight onto me and begins to make love to me, holding my hands down and pushing into me, his full body lying over mine, his skin rubbing against me as if he needs as much of it to touch as possible. His mouth covers mine and he bestows upon me the most delicious, succulent kisses my soul can take. I’m lost in him and he’s owning me, pushing himself into me—mind, body, and soul. I relish in the feeling, absorbing every stroke and every emotion—the hot, hardness of his dick; the meticulous concentration in his stroke; the possessiveness of him holding my hands down; the luscious kisses that give and take from my lips. It’s only minutes after the first orgasm that the second one begins to creep into my loins. The onslaught of sensations overwhelms my senses and my second orgasm burns against his cock once more, this time leaving lots of juices to coat his erection.

He finally releases my lips and I can feel his gaze on me even though my eyes are closed.

Open your eyes.

I think I heard it, but I’m not sure. Nonetheless, I open my eyes, my gaze no doubt swimming in satisfaction from my prior two orgasms.

You’re so beautiful.

Again, not sure if I heard it, but I see it in his eyes and feel it in his delicious grind. I feel myself rising again and wonder how many times I can come in quick succession. God, it feels so good, and this one decides to give lubrication before it strikes.

“Oh, God, baby,” he says softly in my ear, “your so wet… so hungry for me…”

“Yes, Christian,” I breathe as my third orgasm quickly creeps up on me, “only you.” He raises his eyes to me, never losing his rhythm.

“Say it again,” he whispers.

“Yes… Christian…” I gasp as the feeling crawls through my thighs and up my pelvis, “only you.”

“Again… please…” His stroke deepens, and my pelvis threatens to implode. I throw my head back in sweet agony as it approaches quickly… almost… almost…

“Only… Christian… only you…” He groans, sweet and deep, his face buried in my neck, pushing me so high, so deep, my God…

“Please…” he beseeches me deep from his chest, “… again!”

I can’t withstand it any more.

“Ho… ho…” I try to speak as my third orgasm crashes down on me. I grip his fingers tight to force the words out of my mouth. “Ho… honly… y-you…Christian… only… only you… only you!” I cry out as my orgasm rips through me again, bringing passion and relief that I didn’t feel with the first two. My back arches and my hands tighten as I helplessly repeat the last two words through a climax blasting through my extremities and leaving me helpless to its wrath.

“Jesus!” he bites out as I feel him stiffen and empty hard, throbbing, and thick into me. His teeth grit and the same noise comes from his throat as he presses hard into me, unable to move through his paralyzing orgasm. He squeezes my hands until it feels like the blood flow stops and I lay there, allowing him to use me as the vessel that he needs right now and savoring every moment of it—his weight pressing down on me; his hands painfully gripping mine; his breath caught and held in his chest as his body is pulled taut, stretched like a rubber band and helpless until his passion releases him.

“Jesus… Jesus, Jesus…” he gasps as the orgasm finally releases his muscles. He showers my neck with kisses as he catches his breath, his cock still throbbing inside me, my core still throbbing around him.

“I didn’t…” he begins as he gently massages my hands. “Did I…?”

“No, no,” I silence him as he continues to catch his breath. He still kisses me as he moves to roll me on top of him.

“No, please,” I beg, wanting to feel his weight on me a little longer. He looks down into my eyes and I gaze back at him, beseeching him not to move. He lies back down on top of me, one hand cradling my cheek, the other still holding my hand over my head while he kisses my exposed cheek softly.

“And only you, my love,” he says softly, between kisses. “Only ever you…”

*-*

“This wasn’t my intention when I pulled you away from our children,” he says, caressing my stomach gently in our post-orgasmic haze.

“No?” I say, turning my gaze to him. He shakes his head.

“I really did want to talk… really do,” he replies, “but I saw you in the window and at first, I just wanted to get you out of there. Then, when the light hit your face, I knew that you had been crying. Al told me that you were upset, and he told me why, but he didn’t tell me that you were crying. I just wanted to wash your face and get rid of the puffiness in your eyes… but most of all, I just don’t want you to cry anymore.”

That’s not likely, dear. The fates are even using you against me right now. That’s why I’m internalizing every good moment, every precious and tender moment, every sensual moment, so that I don’t lose my mind when they decide to attack again.

“Jason and Gail want to have another… session with us, if you’re up to it. They were waiting in the den when I came to get you. They’re most likely off doing something else by now. Do you want to talk or would you rather not?” I sigh. Again, I know he means well, but right now, I don’t see that talking will help me.

“Sure,” I concede, wanting to appease him. I move to get up and he stops me.

“Not yet,” he says. “Just a few more minutes.” Fine by me.

“Okay,” I say softly, relaxing into his touch.

As agreed, a few minutes later, we rise and get back into our clothes. He takes me by the hand and leads me to the elevator. He stands behind me with his arms protectively wrapped around me while we ride to the ground floor. We go to his den, intent on calling Gail and Jason, only to find them tangled in each other’s arms, kissing passionately on the sofa. Though they are fully dressed, the distinct smell of sex hangs in the air. Christian stands there frowning for a moment and I’m in stunned awe. They didn’t even hear us come in. Christian clears his throat and although Gail jumps a bit, Jason just looks over at Christian.

“You better not have fucked on my piano,” he says, leading me into the room and examining his piano for—I don’t know, ass marks?

“No, we didn’t fuck on your precious piano,” Jason says. Gail hides her face while I stifle a laugh. “I won’t bother asking what took you so long. You look fresh as a bunny.”

“You should talk,” Christian says, satisfied that there was no coitus on his baby grand. “Don’t fuck in my den, Jason.”

You should talk,” Jason retorts. “Is there any room in this house you haven’t fucked in?”

“Yes, there is, and that’s beside the point,” Christian replies. “I fuck in my den. You don’t fuck in my den!”

“Okay, boys, that’s enough,” Gail says, after her face has turned fifty shades of red from pastel to crimson. “We got in a quickie while we were waiting we’re sorry it won’t happen again!” She spit it all out in one breath without raising her eyes to me or Christian and I’m fighting with all my might not to break out in hilarious laughter. I’m immune to this. Among other things, last year, I walked right in on these Neanderthals settling a bet on whether or not Christian and I were upstairs fucking. I remember leaving Chuck with a visual he’ll never forget. I also won’t embarrass her with the time that I was shoved under Christian’s desk pleasuring him when Jason walked in unannounced and it was my disembodied voice that convinced him to leave. I’m not modest about our sex life, but apparently, Gail is modest about hers.

“You should take a page from your wife’s book about humility, Mr. Taylor,” Christian says. “Thank you, Gail. It’s quite alright. Butterfly and I did take a while. We apologize.” She nods quickly, obviously anxious to change the topic. “As requested, we are here, though a bit detained.”

Gail straightens her clothes and sits up on the sofa. Jason sits up, too, and zeroes right in on me.

“You don’t talk much anymore, Your Highness,” he says, examining me. “Are you afraid that you’ll say too much?”

I shrug. I didn’t realize that I wasn’t talking. I just don’t have much to say.

“I… uh, it’s not intentional. I just don’t have much to say.”

“That’s not the Ana I know,” he says. “The Ana I knew before this whole mess was outspoken and had a lot to say. You’ve turned into a bit of a mute and you’ve missed four appointments with your therapist.” My eyes widen, and I glare at him.

“Are you keeping tabs on me?” I accuse. He looks at me with a surprised, horrified look on his face.

“Um, yah, that’s my job!” he retorts. “I knew what you were doing even when we weren’t here.” He gestures to himself. “Head of personal security? Everybody reports to me? Chuck, Ben, Chance, Rebe, Tate, Lurch… they all report to me?” He’s saying this waiting for me to catch the hint on how ridiculous my question was, which I do… I shrug and shake my head, murmuring my apologies.

“Accepted, but you still haven’t answered my question,” he says. “You haven’t seen Ace and you haven’t seen Dr. Baker,” he points an accusing finger at Christian. “What’s going on?” I turn my gaze to Christian. He hasn’t seen Dr. Baker?

“I see Dr. Baker on an as-needed basis, not regularly,” he defends.

“You don’t think it’s needed?” he asks.

“She can’t help me in terms of my marriage,” he protests. “Butterfly feels that she has a completely distorted view of what’s going on with her and that affects what advice she can give me about our relationship.”

“But what about what’s going on with you?” Jason asks him. Christian frowns.

“What do you mean?” he retorts.

“You thought your wife was cheating on you. You cut her off and ran away to the other side of the world without giving her the chance to explain. You don’t think that’s a problem on your part, like for instance, your trust issues? Your ability to give the woman you love the benefit of the doubt? Being able to control your anger reflex and ‘snap’ response?”

“I’m dealing with those things,” he says, running his hands through his hair. “I admitted that it was the wrong thing to do…”

“But it doesn’t stop it from happening again,” Jason says, interrupting his excuse. I hold my head down and wait for him to tear into me. I didn’t have to wait long.

“And you,” he begins. Here it goes. “You were seeing your therapist weekly before any of this happened. You shocked him so much that he showed up at the door! What gives?” I shrug again, noncommittal.

“I haven’t found the words,” I say, honestly. “I’d be wasting his time and mine.”

“So, you’re just going to sit here and let this thing tear you apart day by day where we can all see it,” he says. “You think I’m the only one who’s noticed that you’ve changed? You are a force of nature, Ana. You have the ability to move mountains with the flap of your little Butterfly wings, but lately, you’ve been as mute as a church mouse and as affective as a drizzle. You’re not talking to anyone, not even your therapist, and you as a mental health professional don’t see this as a problem?”

I don’t know how to answer him. The feelings that I have right now, nobody can fix, and talking about them just lays them out on plane for everyone to see and makes me feel like shit. When I don’t answer, Jason turns back to Christian.

“You say that you don’t need your therapist,” he begins. “What do you say about her not seeing hers? Is everything honky-dory between you guys?”

“I wouldn’t say honky-dory,” Christian admits. “I know she’s holding something back.”

Holding something back… you all want me to release? Fine, I’ll release…


CHRISTIAN

“Things aren’t terrible, but I can still feel a little distance between us,” I say honestly.

“Ana?” Jason prods, “What do you say to that?” She doesn’t raise her eyes.

“I would never want to leave him or anything like that, but…” She trails off.

But? There’s a but?

“But what, Ana?” Gail presses. “You have to be honest or you’ll never move forward.” She sighs and drops her head.

“I’m scared,” she says, softly, barely audible. “I’m afraid that as soon as I let my guard down and try to be happy, something horrible is going to happen. I never would have thought for a moment that something like this would happen between my husband and me. I thought our bond was unbreakable and unshakeable and could withstand anything. I thought that no matter what, no one would ever come between us—that when and if that crucial moment ever presented itself, we would both know that there was no room for anyone else and there was no way that someone would be able to work their way into our space. But when the time did come, I was wrong…”

“How were you wrong?” Jason asks. “That someone did work their way into your space?”

“No,” she says. “Liam never worked his way into our space. My eyes may have been stricken with what I saw, but that man never made it to my heart. Hell, he barely made it to my mind until he was in my sight or unless I was pissed about his presence. He never stood a chance. There was no room for him. So, what? He’s attractive. He’s not the first attractive man I’ve ever seen, and he won’t be the last. Have you met my therapist? My best friend’s husband? My brother-in-law? All attractive men that made me do a double-take when I first met them, but I never ended up in their arms or in their beds.

“When that man made a move on me, I stopped him. I did not see my husband and I stopped him. I didn’t have my arms around him pulling him in for a kiss—I stopped him. And the reward I got was that my husband left me for two and a half weeks and didn’t speak to me. The truth is that I can beat myself over the head for what I could have done differently over and over again, but it won’t mean anything. It won’t do anything. I didn’t meet this man at a hotel or even make a date for dinner. He invited me out to lunch and I turned him down for just this reason… for the speculation it could have caused. I can pick this situation apart more than I already have, and you know what I’ll get from it? The same thing that I already got…

“Don’t step wrong, Ana.
“Look straight ahead, Ana. Don’t look left or right…
“Don’t get comfortable, Ana. The moment you do, all hell is going to break loose.”

“You’re sounding a bit like the martyr, Ana,” Jason says. Butterfly laughs ironically and does a disbelieving nod.

“Of course, I do,” she says, defeat and resignation lacing her voice.

“Don’t discount her feelings, Jason,” Gail defends. “She has a right to her feelings.” Jason turns to look at his wife and back at Butterfly.

“You’re right,” he says. “I’m sorry. Maybe you can help me understand what it is that you’re feeling.” That’s pretty insightful. Butterfly looks up at him with a sad smile.

“I can understand why you feel that way, because if I wasn’t sitting in this body—in this life and mind, experiencing this shit first hand—I would feel the same way. This is one of the reasons why I don’t want to talk about it… none of it. It won’t make a difference.”

“Please, Ana,” Gail presses. “Tell us.” Butterfly shakes her head.

“Every time I got comfortable, something happened,” she says, still smiling. “Every time I thought I was going to be happy and I could sit back and take a breath and relax, something happened. Every single time! I’m a walking tragedy,” she says with a laugh. I don’t see what’s funny, but I think she may be going a little hysterical.

“It can’t be every time, Ana,” Jason protests. She laughs again, this time, with tears threatening her eyes.

“No?” she says, still sporting a wide smile and threatening to cry at the same time. “Let’s review, shall we?

“Right when I thought my mom and dad were happy, my mom suddenly became dissatisfied and left my dad. It only got worse—she ripped us apart deliberately, so set on hurting him for not being what she thought he should be that she didn’t care that she was destroying me, too.

“I was miserable at first, but I coped with it until I was able to settle comfortably into obscurity. Then what happens? The most popular boy in school pays attention to me and I was foolish enough to believe that he liked me… until he raped me. We all know how that turned out.

“Yes, I wanted to die, but I didn’t. Then Daddy came and got me, took me away from the horrible nightmare that I was living and nursed me back to health for a few months. I was right at the promise of tranquility—it was right there in arm’s reach—and they came and snatched me back to hell.

“I finally escape—finally escape—come back to Washington and start my life back over again… from scratch… all on my own. During that time, I meet this guy. He treats me like a princess. The cutest, most considerate guy I had met to that point and what happens? He turns out to be the goddamn spawn of Satan! My already shredded heart was put through such hell that it took years—years—for me to let anybody near me.

“Enter Christian Grey. After a tumultuous beginning, we fall in love only for me to find out that he has a psycho, stalker, pedophile ex-lover and—oh, yeah, Satan’s spawn is hanging in the bleachers waiting for his chance to attack!

“Crazy pedophile wreaking total havoc on our relationship and me and Mr. Grey have a brief falling out. The moment I come to my senses about the cause of the fallout, Satan’s Spawn kidnaps me and his fucking psycho sidekick damn near beats me half to death while I’m cuffed to a bed.

“I’m rescued! Yay, right? Only we go to Anguilla and shit happens where I lose my mind there, too—more than once!

“So, we get back and announce our relationship to the world, and the crazy blonde pedophile continues to wreak total fucking havoc on our lives for months… restraining orders; crashing my father’s wedding; kissing my boyfriend; trying to kill Jason; trying to kill Christian; trying to kill me…”

This is playing out like a goddamn Greek tragedy. If I hadn’t been present for most of it, I’d swear she was exaggerating.

“In between there somehow, I apparently mistakenly thought my wedding was called off and escaped to Montana, rethinking my entire purpose in life, only to return to the whole aforementioned murder-death-kill scenario.

“Oh, and let’s not forget Mommie Dearest!”

Yes, let’s not forget her.

“Once we finally do get married, halfway through our honeymoon, Satan’s Spawn pulls a hole card and we have to come back and I discover the most joyous revelation of my life after vomiting on the prosecuting attorney and passing out on the goddamn stand.”

At least she didn’t mention me having a spy at her bachelorette party.

“Then comes the hacker and the fundraiser fiasco, and immediately after we put those things to rest, I get T-boned by a fucking ex-sub who almost kills me and Chuck! Nearly a year later, I still don’t have all my memories back.

“After more hiccups than I care to count, I finally bring two healthy babies into the world, a joyous occasion that was overshadowed a few months later by Val’s tumor and Pop’s unfortunate passing—not things that directly happened to me, but deserve inclusion due to the fact that a) when Pops’ died, my husband turned into an emotional infant and locked me out of the bedroom that we shared, b) I sat for days wondering if my best girlfriend was going to die after we had treated each other like shit for months and c) they were both cause to postpone our Italian vacation.

“A few months later, I find that all my hard work for Helping Hands is being questioned by a spiteful, vindictive bitch with an ax to grind and then, the last thing… the very last thing I ever thought could happen happened! I feared that maybe one day, my husband would seek something that I wouldn’t be able to give him and might look for it in the company of another, but I never, ever thought that another man would come between us. It was never on my radar, not even in the furthest recesses of my mind. And then…” She holds her head down and shrugs, shaking her head and still chuckling sadly.

“I know I’ve forgotten something, but I think you get the idea,” she adds, still laughing tragically. “I. Am a walking. Fucking. Tragedy. I’m the goddamn damsel that’s always getting tied to the fucking railroad tracks in those badly made, corny, black-and-white silent films. And what a horrible thing to happen—being tied to the railroad tracks and seeing your demise coming at you full speed and hoping and praying that someone’s going to save you because you can’t save yourself. And trust me, the train has run me over more times than I’ve been rescued, yet there I am… dismembered on the railroad tracks, trying to put myself back together again. Those attacks and accidents weren’t even merciful enough to kill me… just scar me forever—physically, mentally, and emotionally—then set me back in this ragtag, patchworked body with my ragtag patchworked heart and my ragtag patchworked mind to fight another day.”

She laughs again, but by now, tears are streaming nonstop down her cheeks. She shakes her head and drops it before she adds, “For when they shall say, Peace and safety, then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape.”

Now she’s quoting scriptures? This is really getting bad.

“Ana, can’t you see that this is exactly why you need to talk to Ace?” Gail tells her, leaning in like it’s a one-on-one conversation. “You can’t stop bad things from happening. You might be right, the fates may be cruel, and they may be waiting for things to get great so that they can drop another test on you, but you can’t spend your life waiting for that. You can’t do that to yourself… or your children. What kind of freedoms can they have if you’re always waiting for them to get run over by a bus?”

Butterfly sighs, now fully weeping while listening to Gail.

“I lived in mourning for many years after God gave me a wonderful man and then decided to take him back. We have no children and now, I can’t bear any children of my own. Lo, and behold, another wonderful man happened into my life.” She looks over at Jason.

“He was the worse person for me,” she laughs. “We work together; he has a dangerous job… but those damn fates…” She looks back down at her hands before she raises her eyes to Butterfly.

“He was almost killed, and I thought that destiny was going to punish me again, but he wasn’t. He came back to me and even though it happened in a pretty cruel way, he even brought me a daughter.”

Jason’s gaze softens, and I don’t think I’ve ever seen more love in his eyes… except on their wedding day in Anguilla.

“And then you welcomed me into your family—even against the wishes of my employer…” I drop my head and twist my lips. She’s right. I didn’t want to blur any lines between me and my staff, but Butterfly had different plans from the very beginning. “…And you had two beautiful babies, and I get to help raise them. So, I didn’t get to bear any children of my own, but I sure as hell have a family.

“One thing that I learned from losing my Douglas and living in mourning for all those years before I found my Jason, gained a beautiful daughter, and a beautiful family is that yes, bad times are always going to happen for as long as you’re alive. But think about it really hard… The bad times don’t follow the good times. The good times follow the bad.”

Butterfly raises her eyes to Gail, her lip trembling. She swallows hard.

“I want to believe that so badly,” she says. “It would make all of this so much easier to bear… I just can’t see how to get past this huge, crashing abyss I feel in my soul.”

“I just want us to get back to being us,” I say, disappointed, “but… from what you’re saying, that might not happen.” She shrugs, smiling sadly.

“I love you too much to lie to you,” she confesses. “Give it time. You never know. Maybe I’ll see what Gail is saying. I’ll go back to Ace and maybe… maybe I’ll get comfortable enough to forget this feeling of impending doom.”

It’s not until this moment that I fully realize what my leaving really did to her. It shook her foundation in everything she believed in. Maybe there was too much of her inner security wrapped up in me, but didn’t I make it that way? Didn’t I make her the most important thing in my life, bumping heads with her several times on matters of her security, safety, and well-being? I’m Christian Grey—self-proclaimed possessive and controlling asshole. I must have everything important to me encased in this protective bubble so that I know that it’s safe. She was in that bubble—figuratively and literally—and that’s what she became accustomed to. I took care of her life, her body, and her heart, and she expected me to keep doing that…

And then, one day, I didn’t.

I left her out there in the elements without any shelter and she had to fend for herself against the foul weather. As a result, she got a really good look at just how bad the hurricanes, tornadoes, monsoons, typhoons, blizzards, avalanches, sandstorms, wind and hail could really be. Every bad thing that ever happened to her all came back at     once and all the progress that she had made in all of her therapy sessions went down the drain. A lot, if not all, of her safety and progress was directly linked to me and I took it away in one fell swoop…

I was the one who opened the door to finally finding out what happened in Green Valley.

I was the one who swooped in with my whirly-bird and rescued her from the clutches of the bad guys.

I was the one who held her as she cried when she cut ties with her mother.

I was the one who stood by her side and fought her friends when she was catatonic for several days.

I was the one who was there for twelve days when she was in a coma and waiting when she woke up, even though she didn’t know who I was.

Then, she turned around looking for that safety net at a very crucial moment in our relationship, and I wasn’t there… I was gone… and she fell, and she might still be falling.

I’ll make it up to you, baby. I swear I will.

“I guess I just have to work harder at showing you that everything’s not impending doom,” I say, matter-of-factly, “at making sure that you know that I realize that I wasn’t there when you fell and I’m really sorry for that; letting you know that I know I’ve shaken your trust to the very core and it may take me the rest of my life to get it back, but I’ll fight that long if it means that in the end, you know that I’ll never let you fall again. I don’t care how long it takes… I love you and I want you to trust me again, trust us again, trust life and love again. I’ll do any and everything to restore that trust. It may take a really long time, but I don’t care. You won’t have to forget that impending doom, because I’m going to chase it away. I’m going to spend every day of my life chasing it away until you trust again. I made a horrible mistake, Anastasia. I ran when I should have listened. As a result, everything we’ve built has been destroyed. Please, forgive me. Please, please, forgive me.”

“Not… everything,” she says, her voice small. I raise my eyes to look at her. “I still love you… with all my heart…”

“But you don’t trust me,” I say. “That is everything, but I’m not giving up hope. I’ll do everything I can to make you trust me again.”

I suddenly ache inside. That pull—that connection that we’ve always had suddenly feels stronger than it ever has, and I feel that if she doesn’t come to me now, I just may pass out. She leaps from her seat and launches herself into my arms. She’s as light as a feather and as heavy as lead at the same time and it feels like the wind has been knocked out of me as I hold her to me with all the inner strength I can muster.

“I don’t know…” her small voice begins, her face buried in my neck.

“Sssh,” I soothe, rubbing her back and holding her close to me. “I do…”

*-*

I’m sitting at the breakfast bar resting my face in my hands and watching Gail put the finishing touches on an exquisite homemade seven-layer German chocolate cake. Only moments after our emotionally taxing discussion, Butterfly excused herself and went to take a nap before dinner. I immediately felt that hopeless feeling again and only wanted to make things right in her life… when I suddenly made a horrendous discovery.

“Today is Butterfly’s birthday,” I lament right after she leaves the den. Gail and Jason look at each other and back at me.

“Fuck! It is,” Jason responds, slapping his hand to his forehead. “We fucking forgot. How could we fucking forget?”

“Look at everything that’s been going on,” Gail interjects. “My birthday would be the last thing I would be thinking about in the midst of all this shit!”

“I’ll bet that’s not how Butterfly feels,” I say, pulling out my phone to see if Al is still in the house.

“Yep,” he says when he answers the phone.

“Today is Butterfly’s birthday,” I say into the phone.

“Yep,” he says, with no surprise. I roll my eyes.

“You didn’t think to remind me of this when we talked?” The line is silent.

“Are you serious?” he asks. “Are you fucking kidding me? You’re her goddamn husband and you forgot her fucking birthday? Now you wanna blame me? Seriously?” Oh, shit, I’ve pissed the man off.

 “Look, I’m sorry. There’s a lot going on, okay?” I apologize.

“No shit, Sherlock,” he replies.

“Did she mention anything while you all were visiting?”

“Not a word,” he says. “I think it’s the furthest thing from her mind.” Like Gail said.

“Are you still here?” I ask.

“Yes, but she just went up to bed. I think she’s down for the night…”

“No, she’s not. She’s taking a nap. Come to my den. I need your help…”

I used to sit in the kitchen and watch my mother like this on those few occasions when she would make something special. She was a very busy doctor and she didn’t get to cook much until we got older. She spent as much time with us as possible when we were kids instead of in the kitchen. She’s the reason that I don’t want my children raised solely by nannies. My mom was the best, and even though I may not have acted like she was the world to me, she really was. There was this one time when she made this chocolate cake for me from scratch. It was just for me, and I remember how special she made me feel making that cake just for me…

“I need you to do me a huge favor and I don’t want you to laugh at me.” Gail’s eyes widen as she puts the cake spatula down on the counter and turns her attention to me.

“Okay,” she says, waiting for my request. I sigh heavily and spit it out.

“I want you to teach me how to cook a nice meal for my wife,” I say finally. “I’m not trying to be a master chef. I just want to cook her a nice meal and I’m afraid that if I try to do it alone, I’ll burn the house down.”

I raise my head to look at her and she’s glaring at me like she’s just seen a ghost. I try to understand that this is a strange request but give me a fucking break here. I’m trying to do something nice for the woman I love.

“You want to cook?” she finally says, astonished. I nod.

“Yes,” I reply, already afraid that this will be an impossible task. Gail sighs.

“It takes patience, Christian,” she says. “You’re not a very patient man.”

“I at least want to try,” I say. “I just want to do something nice for her. I buy her shit all the time. This will be different, something I can do myself. It doesn’t have to be a gourmet meal—I know that would take forever, but something nice… and edible.” A small smile plays with Gail’s lips.

“We’ll try,” she says. “When do you want to do this? You all are always home at the same time, unless you don’t care if she knows.”

“No, it has to be a surprise,” I tell her. She nods.

“Sophie has been asking to learn to cook a few dishes. You’re in luck, we’ve only just started. I can kill two birds with one stone if you don’t mind a teenager in your cooking class.” I sigh again. I don’t care who’s in the cooking class as long as she agrees to help me… and Butterfly doesn’t find out.

“Thank you,” I breathe. “I’ll come home early, when Sophie is getting off school. We’ll work out some form of communication so that I’ll know if Butterfly is at home…”

Just like that, Gail becomes my co-conspirator.

Having unlimited resources affords you the luxury of not only being able to put together a birthday party in only two hours, but also to be able to secure the perfect gift that’s not only thoughtful and somewhat extravagant to the average person, but also utterly necessary. As luck would have it—bad luck, that is—I’m the only person in the inner sanctum that forgot it was Butterfly’s birthday. Everyone else had presents at the ready and was only looking for a good time to “engage,” so to speak. So, when Al activated the contingency and managed to get Butterfly’s closest friends to the Crossing on short notice, everyone came bearing gifts. Mine is an Australian cruise that we’ll be taking in December, no excuses or postponing.

At 7pm sharp, I send Val to rouse my Butterfly from her slumber and bring her to the dining room. As much as I’ve promised that birthdays will no longer be a day of angst for my wife, this one was nearly ruined again—this time, because of me. Three birthdays this woman has spent with me and not one of them have gone off without a hitch. Oy vey!

After fifteen minutes have passed and still no sign of my wife, I begin to worry until I see a beautiful vision in sunshine yellow bend the corner around one of the large columns.

“Surprise!” everyone yells. The gathering is small, not everyone that I would have hoped but enough of our closest friends and family.

“Wha…?” Butterfly is stunned. An impromptu Food and Libations with the Scooby Gang and plus ones, the extended family from the Crossing, and my parents made it, too. A small table is set up with the gifts and the German Chocolate cake made by Gail and decorated with large chocolate flowers and the words “Happy Birthday Mommy.” The twins sleep in their Pack-n-Plays on either side of the table, guarding the cake and gifts from possible interlopers. Little Mindy occasionally peeks into the Pack-n-Plays under her mother’s watchful eye. Little Harry had just been put down to sleep and as I am told, has been battling a small cold. So, even though Ray is here, Mandy and Ana’s little brother couldn’t make it.

“I couldn’t let her come down when she first awoke,” Val apologizes. “She looked like she had been attacked by wolves. She never would have forgiven me.” I walk over to my sweet, stunned bride and put my hands on her forearms.

“I want to say that we had this elaborate plan, but we didn’t. We all just wanted you to know how much we love you.” She looks around the table at her friends and the family we could gather before she throws her arms around me and buries her face in my neck.

“I totally forgot,” she breathes in soft sobs. “I love you, too.”

*-*

She had a wonderful time. She spent the evening listening to what was going on in everyone else’s life since it was already known that the last month of her life had been a complete disaster. Having spent most of the summer taking care of Val, then being there for me and my family when Pops died, followed almost immediately by Mia’s wedding then yet another event that we’ll come up with some horrible nickname for, there hasn’t been any time to connect with her friends on the frivolous and fun level that friends should.

After two years together, Marilyn and Gary have decided to move in together. There are still no wedding bells on the near horizon, but they’re both so busy that they don’t spend nights apart at all and, according to them, it makes no sense to pay rent in two places when they most often only stay in one.

So… Courtney and Vickie are a real-life couple. Yeah, that’s news to me. I wouldn’t have been surprised that they were fucking around, but a couple… yeah, I’m surprised. Courtney’s going to school for social work, which is a real shocker to me since she was truly a lost cause a year ago as far as I was concerned. But, I have to admit—Aunt Tina, Mom, and Butterfly were right. She has changed significantly. I don’t think her grandparents would even recognize her now.

Valerie and Elliot will be moving into their house next weekend. The house is ready, but they didn’t want to come straight home and then have to prepare for packing and moving. Valerie’s things are all in storage since she let her apartment go right after her diagnosis and Elliot’s refusal to let her out of his sight. Elliot still has his apartment, but he’s going to be shedding most of his bachelor gear—as is my understanding—for new furnishings in the new house. They should be ready for a housewarming in a few weeks.

Maxine announces that she has decided to open her own practice. She feels that it’s time that she offers her services in a different arena without being under someone else’s payroll. Butterfly encourages her to do that and jokes that she will come and see Maxine should she find herself in need of a job again. A scoff and a dirty look come from both my mother and me to the party’s amusement. Butterfly also informs her friend that she owns an office building downtown with empty office space. I had completely forgotten that I had gifted Butterfly’s office downtown to her and there is currently space for rent. So, Maxine now has the new location of her practice.

There’s no sex tonight. The day was just too heavy, even with the successful joviality at the end of the evening. Butterfly and I watch Disney movies in the family room with the twins in their Pack-n-Plays. She finally falls asleep somewhere after their midnight feeding and I lay in bed with her in my arms staring at the ceiling, thinking how close I came to losing it all over a terrible misunderstanding.

My wife could have died when she fell off that cliff. Chuck saved her life yet again. She may never recover from this impending doom syndrome. I can see it in her eyes. She used to be such a free spirit and now, she’s approaching everything with a level of emotional caution that’s clearly visible to everyone around her. She’s agreed to start seeing Ace again. I’ll give Dr. Baker a call, too. Somebody’s got to help us out of this situation in which we’ve found ourselves or we’ll never be able to get ourselves back.

Having laid awake next to my wife for about three hours with no hope of falling asleep, I slide out of bed and go to my old faithful companion in hopes of calming my nerves enough to find slumber. I stop at the bar in the entertainment room and pour myself a brandy, then stop in my office to get my voice recorder before escaping to my den and my baby grand.

I never know how to verbalize my feelings, which is why I ran my cowardly, selfish ass to Madrid instead of staying here and communicating with my wife. I thought I had come so far during the time that we’ve been together. I’ve come a long way, granted, but not nearly as far as I need to if I can come this close to losing her because of this. I start the voice recorder and just start playing. At first, I have no idea what I’m doing, what I’m playing, or why I’m recording… but I do. I just keep playing, keep recording… and keep singing.

You look at me and I begin to melt, just like the snow when a ray of sun is felt…

She’s so broken, and I broke her. Just like she always does, she put on a good face for the rest of the world, but deep inside, she’s fragile and afraid. Somehow, I—or something else—always exploits that fear and that vulnerability. I have to make sure that she knows that I’ll never be the one to do that to her again. I have to know that I’ll never do that to her again. She can’t take it. She won’t survive going through this too many more times.

And now that your rose is in bloom, a light hits the gloom on the Grey…

Yeah, I know that’s not the Grey the song meant, but that’s how I feel—lost without her and so found when she’s near me. Song after song flows from my soul, my fingers, and my mouth. I don’t really know the purpose. I just sing and play what I’m feeling, what I need her to feel.

And when you smile, the whole world stops and stares for a while…

How I could have thought that for one second her thoughts and heart would stray to someone else is beyond me. Even now, playing the probable kiss over and over in my head, I no longer see her gazing in his eyes. I no longer see him closing in to touch his lips to hers. I only see her hand on his chest, pushing him away, fending him off from our bubble, our life and our love…

I knew I loved you before I met you, I think I dreamed you into life…

I have to get her back… back to the sassy Dr. Steele that I met in that community center, the woman who calls me Grey when she’s cross with me, the woman who cries adrenaline tears when she’s pissed and wants someone to pay for whatever has her feeling that way instead of shrinking into sofas or in fetal positions on the floor—not for myself, but for her… and yes, for me, too…

If ever I believe my work is done, then I’ll start back at one…

She has to know that I love her, what she means to me, what she’ll always mean to me. She has to know that, yes, there will be some bad times—some shadows and some tears, we can’t avoid them—but I’ll always be there to love her and hold her, to make sure that she’ll never feel the way she feels right now ever, ever again. God, I love you, Butterfly. I love you so much. I’ll spend the rest of my life proving to you that I love you and I’ll never let you down like this again… never again…

I never knew what my life was for, but now that you’re here, I know for sure…

I have died every day waiting for you, Darlin’ don’t be afraid, I have loved you for a thousand years…

You make me feel so brand new and I want to spend my life with you…

All of me loves all of you, love your curves and all your edges, all your perfect imperfections…


A/N: Ana’s quote about sudden destruction comes from the Bible: I Thessalonians 5:3

Here are the songs that are referenced in Christian’s midnight serenade.

On the Wings of Love—Jeffrey Osborne
Kiss From A Rose—Seal
Just The Way You Are—Bruno Mars
I Knew I Loved You—Savage Garden
Back At One—Brian McKnight
Spend My Life With You—Eric Benet ft. Tamia
A Thousand Years—Christina Perri
Let’s Stay Together—Al Green
All Of Me—John Legend 

Other songs that were on the recording, not mentioned in the chapter:
Nothing’s Gonna Change My Love for You—George Benson, Glenn Medeiros, Westlife… take your pick
I Will Be Right Here Waiting for you—Richard Marx
Thinking Out Loud—Ed Sheeran
Because You Loved Me—Celine Dion

Not sure if anyone cares, but years ago, I used to watch a sitcom called The Facts of Life. One of the characters—Tootie—wrote and performed a dramatic reading that I never really understood until I became an adult and people were always expecting something of me. When my Muse deserted me (and believe me, y’all, she deserted me—I thought I was going to be wrapping up the Butterfly Saga), Tootie’s dramatic reading came to me. To me, it translated into, “You can’t expect for me to just keep churning out shit when you need it and just take what I can get when you’re ready to give it to me.” 

These last few chapters, my Muse took a beating… and she shut the fuck down. 

Now I know people may look at this and say, “We can’t say what we want to say or she’s going to stop writing.” That’s not necessarily true, but people do need to understand that creativity is a lot of hard work, and I’m feeling what’s being said. As many times as I’ve tried to explain things logically, my Muse—as is anybody’s—is as “at will” as they come. She was like, “I don’t have to explain shit! and took the fuck off. 

For those who think she’s overly sensitive, do me a quick favor. Start from chapter 37, and don’t read anything else but the comments(suspicion started in chapter 33; the “embers” started in chapter 37; the blaze started in chapter 38) . Start from the first comment in chapter 37 to the last comment in chapter 41. Read it first with an open mind, then picture that this was a piece of clay that you worked on months ago for several weeks, and these people are talking about your piece of clay. No matter how thick your skin is, no creative soul can walk away from that unscathed. 

If you’re interested in Tootie’s dramatic reading, it starts at the 15:45 mark and it’s only about a minute long. 

I’m done. I apologize for subjecting you all to my diatribe. I’ve actually lost readers for that. 

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 in the menu our you can click 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

 

Upcoming Events In The Life of The Goddess

So, just by means of notification, I want to let everyone know a few things.

First, I’m feeling much better. Thank you all for your well wishes!

Second, I’ll be moving (physically) soon, so that means that I’m packing and cleaning and won’t have a lot of time for writing. However, that’s not the only thing that’s going to be affecting my writing schedule…

Third, I’m looking at another job change… Same location but different position. More money (yippee!), but this job comes with a LOT of training. I am in the pre-training stages right now and if everything goes as planned, my writing schedule will be SEVERELY affected. I didn’t even know if I was going to get this chapter posted this weekend because I should really be studying or packing right now—even my current work schedule has changed and I haven’t even changed jobs yet!

So, as you can see, there’s a whole lot going on in Goddessville right now. I will keep you guys posted. I won’t just leave you hanging if the story has to be put on hiatus for a while. As you all know, my story is my refuge—my release, my stress reliever—so I won’t be able to just leave it and not post, but I might not be able to keep up the weekly posting schedule while all these transitions are going on.

TO THAT END, I HAVE ONE VERY IMPORTANT REQUEST…

I’m on social media everywhere!

I have three Facebook pages:
—a personal one that I try to keep for my family, but because it has the word “BronzeGoddess” in it, sometimes people get attached to it and I try to direct them to the others.
the BG Holmes social page where I just interact with everybody, and
the BG Holmes author’s page that is usually all things writing.

I have a Twitter page;
I have a Tumblr page;
I have a Google+ page;
I email;
I do author’s notes;
I do additional updating posts;
I’m even still on Fanfiction even though I don’t post on there.

Why am I saying all of this?

There are people in India who know when I sneeze, in Nigeria who know when my grandson was born, in Australia who know my bra size, and in Germany who know what I did on New Year’s Eve. You know why? Because they read the emails. They read the notes. They follow me on one of my social media profiles. They keep up with me. They know that when something is going on with me, I always update my readers and let them know that there may be a delay or I’m having a problem or I’m sick or the sky is falling or whatever the issue may be. They can tell you what’s going on with me at any given moment, like Falala can tell you what makes me laugh and Seralynsmom can probably tell you how much weight I’ve lost, just to name a couple (not to put you guys on the spot).

I’m saying that to say this—if you choose not to follow me on any of the social media outlets (I don’t update Fanfiction, I’m just there), or read emails or author’s notes or additional posts in the BG’s World link on the menu to the left, that is your option. However, during this time of my real-life transition, I will be sure to keep my readers and friends in the loop as much as I possibly can. But if you choose not to take advantage of one of these many venues that I utilize to keep my faithful followers and friends in the loop, please do not send me emails and messages asking “Um, when will the next update be?” or “When are you going to post another chapter?”

I don’t mean to hurt anyone’s feelings, but I don’t post my social sites just so that I can harvest followers. Most of my sites are connected to each other so that if I post something on one site, it posts on another. This is how I reach out to people—how I keep them informed. This is why I invite people to my Google+ or ask them to connect to my Facebook or Twitter or send a request to like my author’s page. I even post in the several groups of which I am a member. While I appreciate the fact that people love my story and miss me when I’m gone, I have to say that I found it very irritating and somewhat insensitive that even though I made it clear in posts and messages in various areas that I had been sick that I still had people sending me messages asking me “Where’s the next chapter?”

My first reaction was “What the ever-loving fuck!?”

Then I had to chill out and realize that everybody’s not connected to everything and everybody may not know that I’m sick. I mean think about it—if I’m not well enough to post a chapter, am I really well enough to do another post about not being well enough to post a chapter besides maybe a quick blurb on one of my social media outlets? Then, if I happen to post a chapter without sending the accompanying email because I was in a rush or, heaven forbid, too sick or tired to do the email, then I’ll get 99 messages saying “I didn’t get an email…”

But did you see the chapter?

Granted, if you didn’t get an email, yes, I do want to know because something might be wrong with my mailing list that I need to correct. However, if I have been posting in social media or in post, messages, or something that I’ve been sick or I’ve been really busy, I would like for people to please take that into consideration when they don’t see a post or an email. If you have not connected to at least one of my social media profiles, please connect to at least one of them. That’s how I reach out to you guys. If you are not on any of the social media outlets that I am, but you are on a different social media outlet that I am not on, let me know and I will consider getting on that outlet and connecting it to my other social media outlets.

I don’t want to assume that people are just sitting around and waiting for me to churn out chapters and don’t care about my life and what’s going on it. I am going to assume that people are asking about the ETA on the next chapter instead of saying “Hey, BG, I notice that we haven’t seen a chapter yet—is everything okay?” because they don’t know what’s going on in my life. So, here is your opportunity to connect to one of my social sites so that you will be one of the first to know if something has gone awry in the life of BG and the immediate cause of any posting or chapter delays. (And for the record, yes, there are several people who do send messages asking if I’m okay because they haven’t seen a chapter.)

Again, I hope I haven’t offended anyone and I do ask that everyone connect to at least one of my social media outlets so that you can stay on top of things. I do know that I have developed relationships with many of you, but with others, I would like to think I’m more than just “the next chapter.”

Chapter 43 is on the way shortly…

Love and handcuffs,
Lynn X
BG Holmes

 

CG is not happy… (Open Discussion)

logolistener_lead

YOU MIGHT WANT TO READ CHAPTER 28 BEFORE YOU READ THIS OR PARTICIPATE.

So, I know y’all gone think I’m crazy (and yes, I know that’s not proper English), but I told you that these people were alive and well and living in my head. Once I started to read the comments and they went from “Wow, that was really interesting” to “Ana’s a drama-loving, combative, defensive, etc., etc.,” Ana and Christian have now planted themselves on either shoulder screaming in my ear “What the hell, BG?” So, I’m like “Wait, wait, calm down, don’t get upset…”

Now Ana’s standing there with her arms crossed over her baby bump, tapping her stiletto-clad foot on my shoulder blade impatiently asking “Where did she get that from?” “When did I say that?” “What the hell brought that on?” Christian, on the other hand, is leaning on my head with his feet crossed at the ankles, bending down and whispering in my ear, “You’re going to fix this, right?”

On the third hand, I’m looking left to right at both of them expecting me to make everything rainbows again like, “Dude, people have opinions. I may not agree with them, but they’re still opinions–what am I supposed to be making right?”

So, while I’m sitting here trying to figure out what these two want me to do, Christian (yes, Christian) came up with a very logical question:

jamie-dornan-fifty-shades-of-grey-set-101314-1-640x426CG: Every time my wife and I have a difference of opinion, does that mean that it is necessary for people to pick sides?  Does there ALWAYS have to be a “right” person and a “wrong” person, or can there just be a disagreement? When Ana and I don’t see eye-to-eye, it’s either Ana’s wrong and I’m right, or Ana’s right and I’m wrong. There’s never just “Hey, they don’t agree.” 

Even when we were arguing with my family, we stood together against something that we didn’t want. There was chapter after chapter after chapter–day after day after day–of family love, unity, overcoming obstacles, breakthroughs, hot sex, human concern for friends and family… and then we get one chapter–ONE CHAPTER–of a disagreement between me and Ana and all of a sudden, my wife is drama-loving and hormonal and crabby and defensive and bitchy and… SERIOUSLY? SERIOUSLY?  

So I guess what I need is for someone to explain to me how real couples fight so that the husband is not always accused of being insensitive or inconsiderate when the masses don’t agree with him and the wife is not always being accused of being a hormonal, selfish drama queen who doesn’t care about her husband’s feelings or responsibilities when the masses don’t agree with her.

 There are some times when Ana is really wrong. You all have seen them. There are some times when I am really wrong. God knows, you all have seen them. This is one of those times where we just didn’t see eye-to-eye. Our opinions didn’t match. It happens in real life–or at least I THOUGHT it did. Maybe that’s where I need someone to explain this to me, because you guys know that I’m new at this whole relationship thing.  So please, make me understand why one of us is right and one of us is wrong when all we did was disagree. I really need someone to explain that to me.

ANA: And I would like to know how I became the crabby, hormonal, disagreeable, drama-loving bitch when all I did was walk away!

BG: (in a scolding tone) Ana…

ANA: No! I deserve to know! When my husband said that he didn’t want me to do the interviews, I went to my corner. Yes, I pouted, because I wasn’t happy that he didn’t consult me about it–but I didn’t berate him, I didn’t nag him, I didn’t say another word about it. I took his decision as final and I went on with what I had to do. Yet, because I wasn’t doing cartwheels and throwing parties because of his decision, I became the bad guy and I want to know where that logic comes from! 

BG: (twisting my lips in contemplation) Fair enough. I can’t argue with that. 

And there you have it. Christian and Ana both have logical questions about why my readers felt the way they felt about their behavior…

Ana: And none of that “Ana is always…” or “Christian is always…” bullshit! That shit drives me nuts when I see it!

BG: (horrified) Oh, good God, Ana!

CG: No, she’s right. That drives me apeshit, too. If you can’t explain your point of view without that “generality” shit, save it. Feel free to use specific examples to allow us or someone else to rebut, but those blanket comments about my actions or Ana’s behavior… no. Unacceptable. 

BG: (now folding my arms and tapping my toes impatiently) Any other rules? 

Ana: Just the usual–don’t insult me or my husband. 

BG:(rolling my eyes) May I continue now? 

CG: Be our guest.

(After a long sigh…)

So Her Highness and the Master of the Universe have spoken. The floor is yours. Open discussion below, and I will take part.

 

For the record, I was about to go to bed. I read a few comments and decided on an open discussion. The introduction into the open discussion was supposed to be a paragraph of about three sentences when THOSE TWO PEOPLE UP THERE hijacked the post. When I tell you that they are alive and well and living in my head, you might want to believe me. 

Love and Handcuffs!
Lynn AKA BG

Didn’t She Say She Was Going To Publish?

Didn’t She Say She Was Going To Publish?

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

“When are you going to publish?”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

~~Patrick Dempsey

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

~~Private Scandal Murder

 

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

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

Love and Handcuffs,
Lynn X

 

 

 

 

I Have To Admit… They’re Winning.

I Have To Admit… They’re Winning.

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

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

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

That’s the part that hurts.

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

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

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

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

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

How many people won’t even read this?

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

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

Lynn

My Second (?) Deleted Comment/Review

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Love and handcuffs,
Lynn X aka Bronze Goddess

Are You Afraid of the Dark?

 

It’s 2:00 in the morning and I have to go to work… so you KNOW I must have something to say…

So, in last week’s comments, there was a lot of controversy in people’s differing opinions about the contents of the chapter, what they thought I should do, where they thought the story was going, on and on and on. I have no problem with extreme emotion, things that make you think, even differing opinions offered in a respectful manner. The biggest controversy, it appears, is that some people are speculating that the Strauss money could originate as far back as Nazi Germany.

I’m going to be honest and say that I don’t know much about Nazi Germany and I have no desire to do any research on Nazi Germany. However, if I had decided to take my story in that direction, it would have been my prerogative. People who come from “old money” don’t have to be alive when the wealth was initially acquired. Also keep in mind that Edda never said how old she was—Christian guessed that she’s at least 70 years old.

Having said that, I have to say that for those of you who don’t know by now, I am a black woman—a baby-boomer, in fact. That means that even though I may not be learned on the entire history of Nazi Germany, I am familiar with some of it’s most infamous facts. I don’t want anybody to think I didn’t comment because I didn’t care. I didn’t comment because I was getting pissed off and there was nothing that I could say that could have been said in a constructive way.

The first comment that I remember reading was from someone who suggested that the Strauss money may have come from Hitlerjugend (did I spell that right?) or something of the sort. She was stating an historical fact about a dark time in World History as well as an opinion about how this could have been where Edda’s family’s money came from. The next thing I know, I’m reading insensitive “yawn” comments and stuff about slavery and I’m sitting here like “How the fuck did this happen???”

I am writing a story about two people who are going up against extraordinary obstacles because they are both extraordinary people! If the extraordinary is too much for you, leave!

I have to say that I did not commit to memory who wrote what comments—I just have pieces of the comments in my head. I threw a mental dart at the countries that might fit in the storyline and the dart hit Germany. Should I have thrown the dart at another country to alleviate this issue? Because no matter where the dart landed, there was going to be a dark past of some kind. It’s the nature of the world being around so long! I didn’t feel like navigating around bad history just to prove that Elena is a sick bitch that was most likely mentored by another sick bitch—nor did I think I had to!

The age of consent in Germany is 14. I can’t remember if it was comments or emails, but the next thing that I knew, I was getting comments/contact me/emails about the age of consent and German law. I had to pull out my research and prove that I had done my homework on how old a child had to be before you could fuck ‘em! I’m like, “Do people think I just open my hat, pull out a rabbit and put it in my story?” I may not have been correct on German slang, but I do know that the age of consent in Germany is currently 14.

It is also 14 in Austria, Portugal, and Italy.

The next thing I know, I’m getting facts about if you’re 21 & 7/8 years old and you have sex with someone 14 years 3 months 9 days 6 hours and 37 minutes old that you can be sued by the state and if you do the hokey-pokey backwards while rubbing your head and singing “Zippity-Do-Dathey can put you in jail and don’t walk the wrong way down a one-way street after midnight on a full moon or you might get a ticket and… I didn’t ask all that! Neither did I say all that! Edda said… wait for it…

Age of consent in my country is 14!”

That’s all she said! That. Is. A. Fact. Whatever other prelims and statutes and police rights and restrictions are placed upon it, that particular piece of information is true.

The age of consent in Germany is 14…
and that’s what I said…
and that’s what Edda said.

For those of you who still choose to refute me, please see  I . § 176 of the German Criminal CodeThere’s a PDF of it on that page if you would like to read the whole thing…

No offense to my German readers, but many of you came out either in comments or email to tell me what I got wrong when the only thing that I really got wrong was that I said that a piece of German slang was more common than it actually is. And the callousness about Nazi Germany… I’m physically ill. That’s all I have to say about that.

It is totally fine to speculate about where you think the story may be headed—I still contend that the comment that started this was just an opinion about where the money came from and what may have influenced Edda’s upbringing. However, to eliminate this situation in the future, I ask that if you feel the need to make any comments about issues that could possibly lead to a discussion about Nazi concentration camps, Native American reservations, the African slave ships, Rwandan genocide, Japanese-American internment camps, the thousands and thousands and thousands of black men, women, and children who have been shot, stabbed, hanged, burned, beaten or dragged behind cars in lynchings and during the civil rights movement from the late-18th to the mid-20th century, Middle Eastern honor rape (among other countries), South African Apartied, the many protestant tortures and deaths under the Spanish Inquisition, African female genital mutilation, the millions of female babies killed, left at orphanages, or sold into prostitution or slavery because of China’s one-child policy, or any of the other dark moments in world history, that you kindly make them somewhere else and not on my page. That’s not what I write about and that’s not what I want to see over here.

One more little piece of enlightenment while we’re talking about dark moments. This very day, we Americans still contend with the Ku Klux Klan and white supremacists who made Hitler’s model their mantra and currently walk around with swastikas on their clothing and tattooed on their bodies. So I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but while Nazi Germany was dark, it’s not so much past over here on these shores.

BG