29 July 2012

Chapter 27 Purgatory Part 1 - Eternal Darkness


Once Anastasia has walked out of my playroom, I just stand there, stunned and at a loss to comprehend what has just happened between us.

It was her suggestion that I punish her to demonstrate how hard it would be. I checked with her again before she entered my playroom, and she still gave her consent. At no time did Ana ask me to stop, neither did she use either of the safewords, or give me any indication that she didn't want me to complete the six lashes with the belt.

And yet she reacted so badly afterwards, looking at me with pure hatred, as if I was the devil incarnate when I tried to congratulate her for being so wonderfully brave for me. What is she thinking now? Where has she gone? Has she run? 

What do I say to her?

I should have known better. My gut instinct was to slowly work up to this point, and yet I rashly leapt straight in with what she clearly deemed too harsh a punishment, although I wouldn’t have categorized it as such. I thought I took it pretty easy on her, compared to how Elena treated me when I first became her sub. But I have to keep reminding myself of how inexperienced she is, how I'm taking her to a dark side that she is totally ignorant of - she is still such an innocent in the world of BDSM.

Ana was crying and sobbing, so I know she was upset, but she also sounded angry and well... almost disgusted with me.

This is what you really like? Me, like this?’

I try to work out how I feel about this. Of course I hate to see her upset and distraught. But the honest truth is that I enjoyed hitting her immensely. I always enjoy giving a well-deserved punishment; it gives me an unequaled high. That’s the way I am. I need it. I just wish she’d taken it better. I really thought she had, seeing as she didn't protest at the time. She just obediently remained in place for me to complete her punishment, so how was I supposed to know?

Well, you are one fucked-up son of a bitch.’

I can’t deny that she’s right. I am fifty shades of fucked-up. I warned her repeatedly, so she could still walk away, although I desperately want her to stay, because I am so selfish. 

But she didn't. 

This was the third time that she voluntarily went into my playroom. This is what gave me hope that she could adapt to my needs.

‘Don’t you dare ‘Ana’ me! You need to sort your shit out, Grey.’

She’s right again, of course. But the trouble is, mine is the kind of shit that can't be sorted out. I know this, because I’ve spent years going from therapist to therapist, shrink to shrink. Even the good Dr. Flynn, who is by far the best I've seen, can't straighten me out, despite his best efforts.

I know I can't just stay here in my playroom, wondering what to do. Taylor hasn’t contacted me, which means that no exit alarm has been triggered. So I'm assuming she’s gone back to her bedroom, and I must go find her to check on her and make sure that she’s alright. The welfare of his sub must always be the first priority of a Dom, because she has placed her trust in her Master to take care of her and know what is best. 

I have to see if there is still a way forward for us after this. Or is it the end? I can't even contemplate that thought, so I have no option other than to try to console her and smooth things over. 

Perhaps this will be like the first time I spanked her and she was really upset. Once a little time had elapsed, and she’d had time to think about it, she admitted that it hadn’t been so bad after all. Then she went on to let me give her a really awesome erotic spanking, with the silver balls in place, which she told me she really enjoyed. She is such a brave girl, there has to be a way we can get over this. There has to be.

~~~

I change out of my ripped jeans into PJ bottoms, then go and find Anastasia. She’s in her bedroom, where I thought she’d be, curled up on her side, facing away from the door. I put down the Advil and arnica I’ve brought in for her, then gently ease myself into bed behind her. She doesn’t respond to my presence other than to tense up.

“Hush,” I murmur, as she just lies there stiffly, silently resisting my attempt to get close to her.

“Don’t fight me, Ana, please,” I plead. I can't bear her being like this. She’s always been so warm and tactile with me, and now she’s being so cold.

I manage to gently pull her into my arms, then bury my nose in her hair, and kiss her neck. Her scent is as intoxicating as ever, and I cannot let myself even begin to contemplate the thought that this could be my last fix if she runs.

“Don't hate me,” I plead again.

Ana responds by crying, wave after wave of silent sobs shuddering through her body. All I can do to try and console her is to hold her and kiss her softly, but she remains cold and distant. I don't know what else to do or say. No words can explain how much I want to put this right between us, how much I want her to stay with me and work this out.

But as more time elapses and Ana remains aloof, I’m truly fearful that I'm not going to be able to fix this. I don't have the necessary skills. So we just lie there together, neither of us speaking, neither of us sleeping, but at least she finally cries herself out and relaxes slightly, just as dawn is breaking. 

Eventually, I speak.

“I brought you some Advil and some arnica cream.”

Very slowly, Ana turns and faces me, and rests her head on my arm. I’m not sure what to expect, so I don't say anything. I just cautiously watch and wait for her to say something, do something, anything to give me a clue as to her state of mind.
When she reaches up to gently caress my cheek, and then runs her finger tips through my stubble, I relax a little and let out the breath I didn't even realize I was holding.



“I’m sorry,” she whispers.

Sorry? Sorry for what? Shit, sorry that she’s leaving me?

“What for?”

“What I said.”

“You didn't tell me anything I didn't know.” Thank Christ for that, she’s just apologizing for her harsh words, not saying goodbye. “I am sorry I hurt you.”

“I asked for it,” she shrugs. Then she swallows and takes a deep breath, and I truly fear what might be coming next.

“I don’t think I can be everything you want me to be,” she whispers. No, no, no, don't talk that way, don't start making your excuses to leave.

“You are everything I want you to be.” And more. Much, much more.

“I don't understand. I’m not obedient, and you can be as sure as hell I'm not going to let you do that to me again. And that’s what you need, you said so.”

This is my worst nightmare. She’ll never be able to cope with extreme needs like mine. I’ve been fooling myself all along. She deserves a far better man than me. I have to stop being selfish and let her go. I don't know how I'm going to do it, but I have to, for her sake. But it feels like my world is ending.

“You’re right. I should let you go. I am no good for you.”
I see her eyes fill with tears again, as her sweet face crumples up.

“I don’t want to go,” she whispers.

“I don’t want you to go either,” I whisper back, struggling to keep control of my emotions, as I tenderly wipe a falling tear from her cheek. “I’ve come alive since I met you.”

And it’s true. As I gently trace my thumb over that wonderful soft bottom lip of hers, I know that she’s touched me in a way that no one else ever has, or probably ever will again. But it’s all been in vain. I can't be the man she wants or needs.

“Me, too,” she whispers. “I’ve fallen in love with you, Christian.”

“No,” I exclaim in horror. No one can love me. No one should love me. Even my own birth mother couldn't love me, could she?

I’m shocked to my very core by her words. Fuck, no! This is just not possible. No one can possibly love me, she can't have fallen in love with a depraved, fucked up man like me, surely she can see that, especially after this evening? Love only happens to good, deserving people like my mom and dad. They have pure hearts, so they can give and receive love. I don’t, so I can't. It's that simple.  Anastasia is deluding herself if she thinks otherwise.

“You can't love me, Ana. No… that’s wrong.” Don't waste your love on me, Anastasia. I don't deserve it.

“Wrong? Why’s it wrong?” She doesn’t understand. You have to make her understand, Grey.

“Well, look at you. I can't make you happy.” This is the truth of the matter.

“But you do make me happy.” She frowns.

“Not at the moment, not doing what I want to do.”

“We’ll never get past that, will we?” she whispers very quietly.

I shake my head.

Ana’s right, of course. I wish I could dispute this, but I can't. I will always carry this need to punish around with me. I will always want to beat her, whip her, cane her. Much as I might regret my actions tonight, it’s always going to come back to this, isn’t it?

Elena realized straight away it would never work between Ana and me, because she understands the depths of my extreme needs, and she tried to warn me didn’t she?

'You have to be honest with her, and if that scares her off, then she’s not for you, and it’s best that you know this sooner rather than later.'
'You have to make her understand; don't hold anything back, be totally honest and show her, demonstrate to her exactly how extreme your needs are. Trust me, that’s what you need to do, if you’re going to stand any chance of making things work with her, if that’s what you really want.' 

That's why she usually helps me to select a new sub by screening potential candidates for me. She knows the type of girl that will suit me, and her selections are the ones I usually invite for an interview.

It’s clear to me now that I can't possibly make Ana happy, even though I really want to, more than anything.

“Well, I’d better go,” Ana murmurs, unable to look me in the eye as she sits up in the bed. She winces as she puts some weight on her bottom. All your doing, Grey. Proud of yourself?

“No, don't go.” Fuck. I don't want her to go. I can't let her walk away like this.

“There’s no point in me staying,” she sighs wearily. She seems resigned to our fate, as she gets out of bed.

“I’m going to get dressed. I’d like some privacy,” she says coldly when I try to follow her.

So I let her go.

What other option do I have? I can't give her what she needs. I want to scream and shout, to howl in protest at the unfairness of it all, but I can't. I just feel numb, and scared. 

It feels as if the whole world is closing in on me. Life without Anastasia is just too bleak to contemplate at this moment.

~~~

I’m hanging around in the lounge waiting for Ana to return, when my fucking cell buzzes. I want to ignore it, but I see it’s Welch, so I take the call. I’ve instructed him to keep me informed about any intel on Leila the moment he gets it.

“What’s the latest?” I snap.

“Turns out Miss Williams – or rather Mrs. West, ran out on her husband about three or four months ago, which he omitted to tell us the first time we contacted him, even though we informed him that there was  a strong possibility that she could harm herself. Now he’s saying he was well shot of her; that she was a ‘fucking mental bitch’ to quote his words.”

“He said what? Well he could have told us the fucking truth. Welch, this is a real fuck up. Just find her.” I terminate the call. This is all I need right now.

I glance up to see Anastasia has come back into the room. She looks even paler than usual, and her eyelids are puffy, no doubt from crying most of the night. She looks dreadful. This is what you’ve brought her to, Grey. You’re no good for her.

Ignoring me, she walks over to the couch where she’s left the backpack she took to Georgia, and starts rummaging in it. She takes out her MacBook, and heads towards the kitchen. I wonder what she’s doing, but when I see that she’s putting her cell and her car keys on the worktop along with the Mac, I realize she’s intending to give them back to me.

I’m horrified. Why does she feel the need to do this? How will I be able to contact her? I have to have these links with her, she can’t cut me off like this. And I want her to have a safe car. I still want her protected and safe. Why would she think otherwise? Subs always get to keep anything I've given them, and she’s more than a sub. She’s my girlfriend. Or rather, she was.

Then Ana turns to me, and cool as a cucumber, she says,

“I need the money that Taylor got for my Beetle.” Just keep the Audi, for fucks sake.

“Ana, I don't want those things, they’re yours. Please take them.” 
Why the fuck does she even think I’d want them back?

“No, Christian. I only accepted them under sufferance – and I don't want them anymore.”

“Ana, be reasonable.”

“I don't want anything that will remind me of you. I just need the money that Taylor got for my car.” She’s acting so cold and unfeeling. How can she be like this?

“Are you trying to wound me?” This isn’t my sweet Ana, this isn’t like her at all.

“No. I’m not. I’m trying to protect myself,” she whispers sadly.

“Please, Ana, take that stuff.” For fucks sake, just take it.

“Christian, I don't want to fight – I just need the money,” she stubbornly insists, refusing to back down.

“Will you take a check?” Okay, I’ll play along.

“Yes. I think you’re good for it.” Very funny, Miss Steele.

I head off to my study to write out a check. I know Ana has very little money in her account, and I’ve been looking for an opportunity to get some additional funds in there for her.

 So now I write the check out for as much as I think I can get away with her accepting. I’ll come up with some cover story about her old piece of shit car being a collector’s item. 

Actually Taylor told me that it was, but no way did it go for the amount I'm going to give her. But it’s just pocket money to me, and I hate the thought of her struggling and going short, whatever the situation between us. I put the check in an envelope, so maybe she won’t see the amount and we’ll avoid yet another argument.

Then I call Taylor into my study. He’s dressed, but isn’t wearing a tie or jacket at this early hour.

“Miss Steele needs a ride back to her apartment.” I keep my face impassive to try and hide the rising panic I’m feeling.

“Very good, sir.” He shows no surprise at this request at such an early hour of the morning, although I can tell he’s surreptitiously studying my face to try and gauge the situation. I imagine that some of the horror of the last few hours must be reflected on my face for him to see.

“Her covert surveillance team will need to be updated as to her revised whereabouts, and… change of circumstances. She and I are no longer…” I can't bring myself to put anything more than this into words, but Taylor gets the picture.

“I see, sir. But you still want the surveillance team to monitor Miss Steele?”

“Yes, absolutely. Her safety and well-being remain of paramount importance, no matter what the situation... regardless of what has… changed…. between us.” I am just about holding myself together at this point, because it all seems totally unreal. This can't be happening.

“And Taylor, I’m going to advise Miss Steele that you managed to get $24,000 for her old classic Beetle. That was the correct amount, wasn’t it?”

“The exact figure slips my mind. But I’m sure you’re correct, Mr Grey.”

Taylor understands where I'm coming from, and will go along with whatever story is required of him.

I return to hand Ana the envelope.

“Taylor got a good price. It’s a classic car. You can ask him. He’ll take you home.”

Taylor is standing impassively in the doorway behind me, having put his tie and jacket on, in accordance with my insistence that staff adhere to a smart dress code at all times.

“That’s fine.” Ana takes the envelope without looking inside. Good. “I can get myself home, thank you.” Not so good.

“Are you going to defy me at every turn?” She is so fucking exasperating. The least she can do is let me make sure she gets back safely, so I know where she is. And give us some time to scramble the surveillance team.

“Please, Ana, let Taylor take you home.”

“I’ll get the car, Miss Steele,” Taylor commands authoritatively, then leaves. Good man, Jason. Don't take any of that crap from her.

So this is it. Ana stands a short distance away from me, and I just want to touch her, to hold her, but as I step forward, she steps back.

This is all wrong. How has it come to this? How did we get to this point of no return so quickly? How can I let her just walk away from me? How do I do this? But what choice do I have?

“I don’t want you to go.”

“I can’t stay. I know what I want and you can't give it to me, and I can't give you what you need.” Yes, I know this is true, but... I can't let you go like this. I just can’t.

I try again. I want to take her in my arms. I need to hold her. I move towards her.

“Don’t, please. I can't do this,” Ana states brutally, as she holds her hands up to stop me in my tracks.

She picks up her suitcase and backpack, and heads for the foyer. I follow warily at a distance, since she’s made it crystal clear that she does not want me to touch her in any way.

I press the elevator button, and the doors open. She steps in.

“Goodbye, Christian,” she whispers, looking up at me with those wonderful blue eyes of hers, that look so sad and haunted now.

“Ana, goodbye.”

Somehow I manage to get the words out. The light in my world is about to be extinguished, but I just watch, paralyzed with horror, with fear, as the elevator doors close and Anastasia disappears, out of view and out of my life.

~~~

The pain is indescribable. Far, far worse than anything else I’ve ever experienced. I can hardly breathe, the pain in my chest is so excruciating. It’s as if someone has clamped my heart in a vice. An ice cold vice.  

All I can think about is that I’ve lost  Anastasia. I’ve let her slip through my fingers, after having her within my grasp. I’d even let myself think about more with her. Now everything has turned to dust. What did I expect? I don't deserve a beautiful, sweet, innocent girl like her.

I guess I'm in a state of shock, because I'm still sitting in the lounge in just my PJ bottoms, when Taylor returns. I don't even notice him until he discreetly clears his throat.

“I… er… thought you’d like to know that Miss Steele made it safely back to her apartment, sir,” he informs me when I look up.

“Right, yes, good. I’ll leave you to liaise with her protection team, Taylor. Just ensure I get the usual updates.”

“Of course, sir.”

“I’m going for a run. Not sure how long I’ll be,” I tell him. I need to get out of here, to somehow get some air into my lungs to be able to breathe properly.

“I’ll get changed and come with you,” he states.

“No,” I snap at him. “I’m going on my own.”

“Sir, it really would be advisable for me to…”

“For fucks sake! Can I make it any clearer? I said I’m going on my own. ”

I can see that Taylor is alarmed by my mood, but I can't help it. I need to be on my own. I just have to get out of here before the walls close in around me and I start screaming. 

Like I do when I'm having one of my nightmares. Except I'm awake. This is not a bad dream that I'm going to wake up from. This is the fuck awful reality. My whole life has just turned into a fucking nightmare now that Ana’s gone. 

All hope of anything more in my life has disappeared with her. There’s nothing except a yawning chasm of emptiness stretching ahead of me to look forward to. Eternal night and endless darkness.

“Very well, sir. Can I just say…” I glare at him, assuming he’s going to try again about coming running with me. 

“Miss Steele… she was very upset, you know, in the car on the way back.”

He looks at me with what seems like concern. Or maybe pity.

I very nearly lose it then. A wave of despair washes over me. I don't know how to handle this. I've never let myself feel for anyone in this way before, and now I know why. It sucks.

“You can take my calls,” I say, as I throw my cell at him, and then head for my bedroom to get changed into my running gear.

I’m stopped in my tracks as I see something on my pillow. A cardboard box, with a note on top.

It’s from Ana.




This reminded me of a happy time.
Thank you.
Ana

It’s a modeling kit for a Blahnik L23 glider.

I sit on the edge of the bed staring at the picture of the glider on the box. Taking Ana soaring was a happy time for me too, it was one of the best times of my life. No, correction - it was the best time of my life. We had so much fun together. She was so happy. I made her happy and she laughed, and that made me happy. I had so much hope then. 

I should have known it couldn’t last, because even on that day, my bad shit caught up with me, when Leila tried to kill herself. Another life you screwed up, Grey.

It’s a typical, sweet, thoughtful gift from Ana that probably only cost a few dollars. But it’s priceless to me. I can feel myself getting choked up, and I'm horrified to realize that I'm about to cry. That can't happen. I don't cry. Ever. 

There you are, you little shit. Don't bother hiding, because you know I always find you. And it's no good crying for your mommy. She’s not going to help you is she?

I put the box back down carefully on the chest of drawers. I can't deal with this now. I’ve got to get out of here. I quickly throw on my running gear, and head out of the room.

Taylor is hovering in the lobby, clearly waiting to intercept me.

“Mr. Grey, at least take your cell with you, in case you need backup,” he protests, but I just ignore him. Frankly, right now I’d welcome being attacked or mugged, because then I’d be justified in kicking the shit out of someone. Trouble is, I’d probably kill them.

Once I’m outside, I get into my stride and run at a punishing pace. Everything is still going round in my head. I can't run away from that. I suck in great lungfuls of air to try and breathe properly.



Why the fuck was I so reckless and stupid to ruin everything with Ana? But why didn't she stop me, why didn't she safeword? What was she trying to prove?  I believed her when she said in her sleep that she’d never leave me, but she was still out of that door when things got too hard for her. When you got too hard for her, Grey. Don’t blame her.

But what does it matter anyway, because she had to know. My needs were always going to surface at some point. No normal, sane person could be expected to cope with me.

She said she loved me. Is that what she was trying to prove, is that why she let me hit her? If that’s the case, then I've desecrated her love with my depraved needs. That’s why I’m not deserving of love from someone like her. That’s why it’s all pointless. There is no point in going over it. 

I have to let her go, so that she can find real love, not the twisted perverted type she might think she could give an undeserving, fucked up individual like me.  

But I want her. I want her with all of my soul, with all of my being. What is the point of feeling like this if it’s just to let her go? But that’s just it. There is no point any more. No point to anything. 

Life is now pointless.

Without realizing it, I’ve followed my route to Flynn’s office. But it’s Saturday, so he won’t be there. And what could he do anyway? He doesn't have a magic wand to make everything right again. He can't make me into the kind of man that Ana should have fallen in love with. No one can.

So now I head back to Escala, pushing myself even harder. I'm not timing myself, but I’d say I've done it in a new record time by the time I’m walking back into my apartment.

I see the look of relief on Taylor's face when he sees I'm back. He tries to intercept me as I make my way through the lounge.

“Just going to take a shower,” I cut him short as he starts to speak, but then Gail appears.

“What would you like for breakfast, Mr. Grey?” she asks.

“It’s the weekend. What are you doing here?”

“Oh, I was around and at a loose end, so I thought I might as well make myself useful. You know I always like cooking for you anytime,” Gail smiles at me. There’s that look again, same as Taylor earlier. Concern – or is it pity?

 Clearly Taylor’s filled her in about Ana leaving me.

“So what’s it to be? Your usual, sir?” Gail presses me.

Food is the last thing on my mind, but it’s easier just to go along with her I guess.

“Yes, thank you.”

“It’ll be ready and waiting for you when you’ve had your shower then, Mr. Grey.”

I go to my bedroom and head for the shower.

I quickly strip off and stand under the scalding water. Just like Ana and I did yesterday. I glance over to the wall where I took her in such an urgent manner yesterday, when she'd just arrived back from Georgia. She made me feel calm again, once she was back here with me. I'm never going to feel that calmness again.

I’m never going to have her again. I'm never going to touch her or hold her again. I'm never going to bury myself deep within her again. I'm never going to hear that wonderful sound she makes when she comes, ever again. I’m never going to breathe in her sweet scent again, and I'm never going to wake up lying next to her again.

The shampoo bottle I'm holding is suddenly flung angrily out of my hand and smashes against the wall opposite, breaking into a million pieces. I quickly rinse off and make my way out of the shower, scooping up the pieces of glass and putting them in the trash bin as I do so.

It’s so unfair. Call it whatever you want; fucking, or making love, but we were so amazingly good together, even the vanilla. And she wanted me just as much as I wanted her. She was a virgin, she was waiting for me, I was the first man to take her, it was meant to be. We were so drawn to each other, that bond, that electricity. I’ve never experienced anything like it before. So what was that all for, if it’s just going to end between us in this way?  You screwed it all up, Grey. You and your need to beat the living shit out of her.

I dress in my standard weekend attire of white linen shirt and black jeans that I automatically grab out of the closet without even thinking about it.

Another wave of despair washes over me when I realize I'm going to have to tell Mom that Ana and I have split up. She’s going to be so disappointed, and it’s all my fault. I’ve let her down again. Mom was deliriously happy that I’d finally gotten myself a girlfriend, and she really liked Anastasia – well of course she did, because she’s pretty much perfect. My family will probably assume we’ve broken up because I'm gay, and I’ve just been in denial about it. They won't know it’s because I'm a depraved, evil pervert.

Despite my run, I still feel as if I have a ten ton weight on my chest and can't breathe properly. I open the doors to the balcony and step out there. It’s windy, but it’s a bright, clear day. Not a place to be if you don’t have a head for heights, as even the balustrade under the handrail at the edge of the balcony is made of glass, to allow an uninterrupted view of Seattle.


I walk over to the rail and lean over to look below. It’s a long way down. The people look like little ants as they go about their everyday business, while I'm up here in my ivory tower. 

Is this how things looked to the poor souls trapped in the Twin Towers on 9/11? What must have been going through their minds before they took the decision to jump? Once they leapt off, that must have been the ultimate soaring experience, a few seconds of total freedom before a quick end. Not such a bad way to go, considering the alternative of being burnt alive. Better than facing being trapped in purgatory. That’s what it feels like I'm facing now. Purgatory.



“Mr. Grey. Christian. Please move away from the edge.” 

Taylor’s quiet voice interrupts my thoughts.

I turn to look at him in surprise. What is he doing here?

He slowly starts walking towards me, never taking his eyes from my face, never breaking eye contact.

“Just come back inside now. Please, Christian,” he calmly continues, as he reaches me and clamps my arms in a vice like grip.

As I let him guide me away from the edge of the balcony, I can't help casting one last lingering look over the edge, but Taylor pulls me away and guides me back into the bedroom, where Gail is standing waiting, with her hand over her mouth. I see her take a deep breath and force a smile on her face.

“Let’s get you sorted out, shall we, Mr. Grey?” she says, looking at my hands. I look down to see the front of my shirt is covered in blood, as are my hands. I must have cut myself on the glass from the broken shampoo bottle. 

Taylor hasn’t let go of me, and continues to guide me towards the kitchen. He nods his head at Gail, and she goes over to the patio door, locks it, then puts the key in her pocket.

“Did you get through?” he asks under his breath.

“He’s on his way. About twenty minutes,” she replies. Who?

In the kitchen, Gail cleans up the cuts on my hands – they’re only minor, they just bled a lot to make things look worse than they were. She gets a fresh white linen shirt for me to change into, then serves up a white egg omelet with bacon, and some orange juice. 

Taylor sits at the bar next to me, sipping a cup of coffee, while Gail disappears off with my blood stained shirt. For the first time, I get why Ana doesn’t always feel like eating; but my ingrained hatred of waste makes me robotically eat the food, even if I don't really taste it.

“I didn’t know how to cope when my wife left me,” Taylor says, as he stares into his coffee cup.

My fork full of food stops half way to my mouth. Taylor has never volunteered any kind of personal information to me before.

“She didn't like the way I was, the type of man I’d become because of the job I did.”

I recall that Taylor was in the Special Forces, a Green Beret. It was one of the reasons I didn't hesitate to hire him. They don't come any more highly trained than a Green Beret.

“I said I couldn’t change, that she had to accept me as I was. So I lost her. Stupid thing is, after that I left the forces and I had to change, to adapt to life in the outside world. But by then she’d found someone else. Now he gets to be Sophie’s dad every day, while I’m just her occasional weekend dad, if her mom chooses to allow it.”

“I see. And your point is?”

“All I’m saying is, I regret not making an effort to change while I still had the chance of working things out with her. Don't make the same mistake that I did. Like I told you, Miss Steele was very upset when I took her home. So maybe there’s still hope …”

We both look up as Gail walks back into the kitchen – accompanied by Dr. Flynn.

“What the fuck are you doing here, John?” I ask, shocked to see him.

“Good morning, Christian. I thought it was about time I got to see the inside of this luxury penthouse of yours. And very nice it is too - you can give me the full tour later. Oh, and don't worry, I’ll be putting an additional charge for a weekend home visit on top of my normal bill,” he says in his cool, calm British accent, as he comes and sits at the bar and helps himself to a cup of coffee.


I don’t own any of the Fifty Shades Trilogy or the characters therein. They belong to E L James. I’m just borrowing them for fun and not for profit. Please refer to the Legal’s page for further details. This work is not to be copied or reproduced in any way without permission. 

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