11 January 2013

Chapter 51 - The Birthday Party



I can’t believe that Anastasia left me hanging the way she did about my proposal, when she’d already decided to say yes before we even went in to see Flynn for our appointment.

All that worry, for nothing. Even though I basically tried to torture an answer out of Ana at the Mile High Club, teasing and tormenting her after getting her to take her panties off, leading her to believe I was going to fuck her right there – and trust me, I was sorely tempted to do just that - she still stubbornly refused to give me her answer, so I continued with my plan. I ensured I didn’t lay a finger on her all evening, knowing it would drive her crazy.

Despite all this, she still let me believe that she was trying to make up her mind; she still let me believe that she might turn me down. That was pretty cruel of her, and so I don't feel in the least bit guilty about getting so downright dirty with her in the elevator on the way out.


Fuck, that was so awesome. Finger fucking Ana in the elevator, bringing her to the very edge of orgasm while she had to pretend nothing was happening, surrounded by people who didn’t have a clue what I was doing to her, was such a turn on. 

It provided me with another excellent way of exerting control over her, which is something I will always need – it’s part of my makeup and an element of me that is never going to change.

Of course, it also took a considerable amount of self-control on my part, and truthfully I'm surprised we managed to make it as far as the apartment before I fucked her. I did seriously consider taking her in the restroom, or the car, but decided to stick with my original plan and save those pleasures for another time. 

Good job I’d planned to take her on the first available surface in the foyer when we got back, because by then I was at the very limit of my self control. I had to take her right there, on the table that had so efficiently been cleared of the flower arrangement earlier by Gail as she followed my orders. 

 I love acting so outrageously with Ana, the way I did in the elevator, when she is helpless to prevent me, but what I really fucking love even more is how she always responds so amazingly when I push her limits like this. 

She never disappoints, because I've discovered little Miss Steele also has a filthy, dirty, sexy side too, which I am taking great delight in unleashing. It means we’ve got so many variations of all kinds of kinky fuckery to look forward to.

I'm really enjoying planning out all these new places we can fuck, and it’s turning out to be just as stimulating for me as planning out a scene in my playroom. It’s a new and exciting area where I can give full reign to my very active and vivid imagination, and what’s so great is that the possibilities are endless. 

Shakespeare was right. The world is our fucking oyster. I’ll just have to ensure we don't get arrested for lewd behavior.

~~~

Without doubt, my twenty eighth birthday is turning out to be best of my life, although that isn’t hard as I’ve never taken any pleasure in celebrating my birthday before. 

But this year is different. Anastasia has made it different. I’m still on cloud nine because she has agreed to marry me. Nothing can top that. But she still manages to add to it. The sex between us is always amazing, but more than that, it’s getting better and better.

Being able to let her touch me has created a special and unique bond between us. Ana is still very tentative and mindful of my phobia. She is sweet and loving and tender as she seeks my permission before touching me anywhere on my forbidden zone, and so little by little, I’m learning to let go of my fear. 

I've never had this before, I’ve never experienced the pure joy of making someone else happy and letting them make me happy. It’s incredible. I know I don't deserve this wonderful, healing love of hers, but after the Charlie Tango incident forced me to confront my own mortality, I’ve decided I'm just going to grab everything she gives me with both hands, and then make sure I give her back everything and more that she deserves from me.

We had a wonderful long, hot shower together last night. It started off as a cold shower as I carried her in with us both still fully clothed, but things soon heated up between us, even though I was exhausted after the horrendous day I’d had.



But it’s always there between us; the sexual chemistry always kicks in to give me the energy to fuck her, so I took her in the shower as she clung to me and wrapped her legs around my waist. And as an added bonus birthday present, I didn’t have to use a condom. To feel her wonderful silkiness gripping my cock, with no barriers to lessen the sensations, was beyond fantastic. I shafted her as slowly as I could, so I could feel every ripple and rub of her tightness gripping me, as I stroked in and out, over and over, as we kissed and caressed each other.

We didn’t fuck this time. We made love. Sweet, gentle, love. And once we’d both found our release, both had a wonderful orgasm, we collapsed together on the floor of the shower and sat there under the hot water for a long time, too tired to move. I told her I won’t ever let her go. She told me she doesn’t ever want to go. So that was that sorted out. I just hope she really means it.

~~~


When I wake in the morning, Ana’s already up. It’s very unusual for her to be up before me, but then I recall that we have a guest. José fucking Rodriguez stayed the night, and I can hear voices in the kitchen. She’s with him. 

Suddenly I don't feel like lying in bed any longer. I know he didn’t make a move on her last night, but who is to say he wouldn’t have done if circumstances had been different? So I decide to take this opportunity to reinforce a few facts to him. I want him left in no doubt whatsoever that Anastasia is off-limits to him, because she is totally and utterly mine, and not just because I'm rich.

Ana is such an open book to read, and I can always tell if she tries to fib to me. This makes her a terrible liar, which I really love. What she’s thinking shows on her sweet honest face, and I'm going to use this to my advantage right now. I know she likes my body – a lot. Well, I do take care of it by regularly working out, so I know I’m in pretty good shape.

I put on a pair of pajama bottoms, but I wear them low, really low on my hips so I'm only just decent. I grin to myself, because I know this will have Ana literally drooling, unable to take her eyes off me, because that’s just how it is between us – we are incredibly physically attracted to one another. And this fact will be totally obvious to photographer boy too. I'll prove to him it's me she's attracted to - not my money. 

First off I just stand quietly outside the kitchen for a while listening in – hell, I didn’t listen to them talking last night which was unusually restrained of me, but now I want to know what they’re talking about.

“You really like him, don't you?” I hear him say.

“I love him, José,” Ana replies, and I find myself smiling widely at her open declaration to him.

“What’s not to love?” he asks, and I guess he’s referring to my luxurious apartment. I take it he’s just joking. He’d better fucking well be. I'll show him.

“Gee, thanks!” Ana responds, sounding annoyed. You tell him, girl.

“Hey, Ana, just kidding. Seriously, I’m kidding. You’ve never been that kind of girl.” You’ve got that right, so I guess you do know her quite well.

“Omelet good for you?” Ana asks, and I decide it’s time for me to make my presence known.

“And me.”

 I casually walk in, and Ana doesn't disappoint. Her face is a picture as she takes in my torso, and I know Rodriguez clocks her reaction too.

Make no mistake, I'm the Dominant Alpha male here, and this is my territory, and don't you ever forget it, lowly beta male.

“José.”

“Christian.”

“I was going to bring you breakfast in bed,” Ana says.

She’s rather flustered and I know she understands exactly what my game is. But it’s such a fun game to play, so let’s wind the poor guy up even more.
I wander over to Ana to put my arm around her, and make a big show of kissing her loudly on the lips as I firmly hold her chin. See? Mine. Not yours. Mine.

“Good morning, Anastasia.” 

“Good morning, Christian. Happy birthday.”

She’s blushing furiously. Good. Let’s give her something to really blush about shall we?

“I’m looking forward to my other present,” I say with a suggestive grin. It works. Ana is now a deep shade of bright red, and I think Rodriguez is going to be sick. I know you don't want to know this, photographer boy, but truth is, we fuck a lot. All the time in fact. Because she wants me. Because she is mine.

But I can still be civilized, now I think he has undoubtedly got my message loud and clear. I ask him about his plans for the day, and as we talk, it transpires that his father and Ana’s father are old army friends. 

I frown. How come I wasn’t aware of this? It means he and Ana have a separate connection, and I'm not sure I like this, but there’s really nothing I can do about it.

However, as we start talking the universal male language of fishing, I find myself warming slightly to José. Any guy who knows his fishing can't be all bad, and I can't argue with the fact that he has excellent taste when it comes to falling in love. 

It’s just his misfortune to have fallen in love with my property. As I tell Ana, I can tell he still really wants her, big time. Well, I just hope he gets used to living with disappointment.

~~~

So Anastasia wants me to do rude things to her?

I love the little blue solar-powered helicopter she’s already given me. It’s so clever and thoughtful, just typical of Ana, and it’ll take pride of place on my desk next to the model glider she gave me. At least this one was much easier to assemble. 

I was at the lowest ebb of my life when I put the little glider together, and it serves as a constant reminder to me to never take Ana for granted. I never want to revisit that time in my life ever again.

But for some reason, she’s really nervous about this second present,  this large box  she’s given me, having intriguingly said that she’s not sure if it’s for her or me. 

Fuck! When I open it up and see what’s inside the box, and realize what she’s giving me, I can hardly contain my excitement. But is she sure?

“You want to play? For my birthday? You’re sure?”

“Not the whips and stuff,” she says quickly.

“I understand that.”

“Yes, then. I’m sure.”

So, without further delay, I take her by the hand and head straight for my playroom.

I check with her again before we go in, and ask if there is anything she doesn't want to do. Her answer puzzles me.

“I don't want you to take photos of me.”

Why on earth would she say that? I’ve never suggested it, not with Ana, it’s never been necessary, unlike in the past…And why does a look of what I can only describe as revulsion pass over her face as she says it? 

Has someone said something to her? 

There’s no porn or anything that she could come across in the apartment, except…but they are locked up in the safe. But quite frankly I don't want to open up yet another can of worms to spoil things just at the moment, so I file this away in my head under ‘to be followed up later’.

I unlock the door to my playroom, and we enter. This will be the first time we’ve played in here since she left me, so I want to make sure Ana has a really wonderful, positive experience in here, to try to wipe out those terrible memories for both of us.

I haven’t got any kind of a scene planned out as she has taken me by surprise with her birthday gift, but I'm more than happy to rise to the challenge of making things up as we go along. I start by selecting some nice erotic music to set the tone for us.

“Are we in here because you think I want to be in here?”

I need her reassurance that she isn’t forcing herself just to please me. That’s not what I want any more.

“No. I want to be in here, too.”

Her answer blows me away, because I can see by the way her eyes are already dilated with excitement that she is being totally honest, and her deep husky voice is always a giveaway sign that she is turned on. 

So it’s really true. She has her own dark side too, but in a good way. It means we can match each other, pleasure each other, enjoy each other in so many fantastic ways. I can do without the extreme shit, because there is so much more to gain this way.

I get her to slowly, erotically strip for me, so I can enjoy looking at her delicious body. She is so beautiful. She has such a great sexy body. I can't stop greedily feasting my eyes on her as she lets her silk nightdress drop to the floor. I am so fucking lucky that she is mine.

I pick out the first item from my birthday box of delights. My favorite silver gray tie. I'm guessing it’s also her favorite too, so I decide I’d like to see her wearing it for a change. I tie it around her neck with a perfect Windsor knot, making sure the end of it just fails to cover her modesty, as it hangs between her breasts. Nice, very nice indeed.

I tug on the tie to pull her to me so I can kiss her really deeply, and I grip the cheek of her fantastic ass in my hand. We’re both so turned on that even the slightest touch between us is electric. But I have to slow down or this whole session is going to be over before we’ve even got started.

I pull away, and turn her round so I can braid her hair. I love her long hair, and I never want her to have it cut short. At least Franco knows better than to risk my wrath by daring to do anything more than just trim it. I just have to make sure she never lets anyone else touch it.

I love my birthday box of kinky fuckery delights, but Ana’s lack of experience means she hasn’t selected the most appropriate items. I’m beyond thrilled to see she’s included a butt plug as part of her gift, because it means that she’s finally ready to let me claim her anal virginity too. 

But the butt plug she picked out is too big, and I wouldn’t risk using it on her. Anal sex can be immensely pleasurable but only with meticulous preparation and extreme care.

I guess I was pretty brutal when I took her virginity originally, but that was different.  The female hymen is meant to be broken, a small amount of bleeding is natural and it heals very quickly. Anal play should never cause any kind of bleeding. So I explain to her that I’ll start off by using my smallest finger, as I hold it up to demonstrate.

Ana gasps in shock, and a look of fear passes over her face. I guess she’s thinking about all the more extreme things like anal fisting we originally discussed before I knew how totally inexperienced she was. That seems forever ago, but actually it’s only a few short weeks.

“Just finger – singular,” I reassure her, and she relaxes again.

The nipple clamps she’s selected are far too vicious, but I'm really pleased she wants to try clamps. I think they will really work for her as she has such incredibly sensitive nipples. I haven’t forgotten that I gave her her very first orgasm just by working on her nipples, which was pretty amazing. 

I select a more appropriate pair of clamps for us to use, ones that are adjustable, so that I can start things off gently for her. I love that I can lead and tutor her like this. It’s what I'm good at. It’s how I like to do things – to be in charge.

Even if I'm not her Dominant now, she is still a very lucky girl to have such an expert lover to guide her. Her own private sexpert. I am still her Master in all things sexual, and I always will be, so I am going to do everything in my power to make this a truly mind blowing experience for her. I want us to celebrate the occasion of another first – our first shared birthday.

But fuck me, Ana actually seems disappointed that I'm no longer acting as her Dominant, that I want to be her lover instead. I want her to laugh and giggle and smile freely with me. That’s the free spirited Ana that José saw and pictured. That’s why his pictures of her are so stunning – he totally captured her spirit, her essence, and I don't want her to lose that.

But I guess if she wants me to act the part, who am I to complain? I can play along if that’s what my girl wants. I had Taylor dispose of my collection of canes, so there is no danger of me forgetting myself and using one – not that I think I would now, but canes were always my preferred method of punishment. 

I decided they had to be the first thing to go, as Ana specifically named them as something that scared her, and now she’s said about whips, they will be the next thing I’ll let go.  And you know what? It really doesn't bother me. I can do it – for my Ana.

I get her kneeling up in front of me on the table, so she’s at the perfect height for what I’ve decided I'm going to do with her today. I cuff her arms behind her back so her breasts are pushed forward, and perfectly positioned for clamping.

I have to tell her off when she starts nuzzling my stubbly jaw, because it distracts me. At this rate, it’ll all be over before I’ve even begun to play with her. I threaten to gag her. 

I’d like that a lot, actually. I also threaten to spank her. Christ, I’d really like to gag her and spank her, and I think she might actually let me, by the secret little smile she tries to hide from me. I'm so happy that she trusts me now. It means there is so much fucking fun for us to look forward to.

Next I slip a mask over her eyes. This will make the whole experience more intense. Then I remove my tie from her – I don't want it ruined by the oil I’m going to massage her with, because I want to wear it again. I think it’ll be a great reminder of these fun times when I'm sitting in some interminable, boring meeting. 

I enjoy massaging her soft silky skin with the oil, and by the pleasurable sighs and moans coming from Ana, she is enjoying it too.

“You are so beautiful, Ana. And soon you’ll be my wife. To have and to hold. To love and to cherish. With my body, I will worship you. Mrs. Grey.”

I can't wait for us to stand in front of the whole world and make our vows to each other. I can't wait to put the ring on her finger. I can't wait for her to be my wife. I can't wait to be her husband. I hate fucking waiting.

But at least I have something to occupy me for now.

As I expertly use my fingers to great effect on her clitoris, I put the vibrator I'm shortly going to slip inside her in her mouth first to warm it up and lubricate it. It will also intrigue her as she doesn't know what it is yet. It will hitch up her anticipation another notch.

Then I work on her breasts and nipples. I want every part of her body to be stimulated. I want her orgasm to be literally mind blowing. I prepare her nipples by  rolling them with my fingertips, before applying the first nipple clamp. The bite of it makes her groan even though she still has the vibrator in her mouth. 

The clamp looks amazing on her and I lick and kiss that nipple as I quickly apply the second one. She will be feeling waves of exquisite, stimulating pain intermingled with pleasure now.

I re-oil my hands, then take the vibrator from her mouth.  Ana tenses as she feels my hand move to her ass. She’s clearly still nervous about losing her anal virginity. That’s okay, I understand, so I gently reassure her that I’m not doing anything there yet, and I feel her relax again.

I kiss her sweet mouth while I work on her G spot with my fingers, then I slide the vibrator in her and switch it on. Ana nearly jumps off the table in surprise and shock. But I'm not done yet. I'm going to push her very hard to accept even more intense sensations. I tug gently on the chain that’s attached to the nipple clamps, to increase the pleasure/pain sensation for her.

“Christian, please,” she cries out.

“Hush, baby. Hang on in there. Feel it, Ana. Don't be afraid.”

I know I'm pushing her to the very limit of what she can take, but it will be so worth it.

I can feel her trembling and shaking as her body reacts to everything I'm giving her, and I know she is feeling overwhelmed, but that’s good. I want her overwhelmed with pleasure.

I'm holding her steady, keeping her safe as her orgasm builds, waiting for the perfect moment to send her over the edge with the next step. I knead and caress the perfect cheeks of her bottom, so excited by what I'm about to do to her.

“So beautiful,” I murmur.

Then ever so gently, I push my well-oiled little finger carefully inside her tight little rose bud ass, very slowly easing my finger in and out. I know this will feel wickedly strange for her, but it will also feel incredibly wonderful too. 

Another fantastic first.

The music, the blindfold, the arm restraints, the vibrator, the nipple clamps, and now my finger. Everything, all at once. She screams loudly as she explodes into an intense orgasm. I can feel her convulsing and clenching and shuddering, so I release the nipple clamps to send her even higher with the sweet pain that will surge through her. I hold onto her tightly, because she is beyond supporting herself, as her orgasm goes on and on.

Her response is fucking amazing. She never fails. I tug the vibrator out of her next, which makes her scream out again, then remove my finger as her body continues to pulse relentlessly.  She’s flown so high, she’s breathless and totally out of it. 

I unstrap her arms, and as she collapses onto me, I carry her over to the bed and gently lay her down. I massage her to ease any stiffness in her muscles from the unnatural pose she’s been kneeling in, then lie down next to her as I take her mask off. She doesn't even open her eyes. I loosen her hair as I wait for her to come back down. Finally she manages to open one eye to look at me.

“Hi. Rude enough for you?” I whisper, as I brush a strand of hair from her face, and softly kiss her lips.

“I think you’re trying to kill me,” she mumbles.

“Death by orgasm. There are worse ways to go,” I joke, but then realize I can't bear to even think about Ana ever dying. 

We spend the rest of my birthday morning making sweet, sweet love instead, as ‘The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face’ by Roberta Flack plays in the background. 

Then we spend a long time just talking, and talking and talking, about nothing and yet about everything that exists between us. I have never had this closeness with another human being in my life before and I treasure every second of it.

~~~

The real world.

I can only escape from it for so long. Anastasia and I have had an amazing morning, but now I have to get back to work, to catch up on everything I missed when Ros and I were MIA.

While Ana goes to prepare some lunch for us, I head for my study. With both Ros and I unavailable yesterday, inevitably there are hundreds of emails to work through, but I prioritize them and only deal with the most urgent for now.

One of the most important is the background check from Welch that I ordered on Dan McAllister. The contents are very interesting, and basically confirm everything he told us yesterday. There’s no doubt about it – he is in dire need of some assistance. I will be speaking to Ros about the best way to proceed shortly. But first, Taylor joins me to discuss the recovery of Charlie Tango.

“Of course my ex-wife had to choose yesterday, the day that I should have fucking well been here, to overreact about our daughter,” he says, grim faced and clenching his fists in frustration.

“Taylor, it wouldn’t have made any difference to what happened, even if you had been here. Your ex-wife was right to contact you. If it had turned out that your daughter had appendicitis, you would never have forgiven her if she hadn’t told you.”

“I suppose you’re right about Sophie, Mr. Grey. But as I always monitor Charlie Tango when you fly her, I would have known the tracker was not responding as it should and insisted that it was checked out before you took off. Then we might have picked up on whatever the problem was that caused both engines to malfunction. I have to say it all looks highly suspicious.”

“I agree. As you can see from the log book and maintenance records that Welch has forwarded, no problems or issues with the engines or the tracker have been logged, and he says Griff is the best mechanic there is, so he doesn't think that’s where the problem lies. 
However, he has picked up on an issue regarding security lapses at the airfield. In a cost cutting exercise, it seems the authorities have recently cut the number of security patrols on the airfield, specifically against the terms of the agreement we had with them. It basically means that anyone with half a brain would have had no trouble gaining access to Charlie Tango.”

“They kept fucking quiet about that, didn’t they? Hoped we wouldn’t find out I suppose, while they were still pocketing the full fee for a service they weren’t providing. It must have been a very recent change if neither Welch nor I had picked up on it, because we run regular spot checks to test out security at all the locations we operate from,” Taylor says.

“I guess so. I'm going to insist in future that we have our own security team in place, seeing as we can't rely on outside companies to maintain appropriate standards. But for now, we can't really do anything more until we recover Charlie Tango and have the experts from Eurocopter examine her. I'm waiting to hear back from them about how soon they can send someone over. Have you managed to locate her from the information I gave you?”

“Yes, sir, and the recovery team is on its way. She should be back at Boeing Field late tonight.”

“Good. We’ll take it from there once she’s back and we can see how badly damaged she is. So, the next thing I wanted to ask you about is how the plans for increasing the size of your security team are progressing. In particular have we got an operative that can be assigned to Miss Steele yet? I think you were hoping to get Sawyer back weren't you?”



“Yes, Luke Sawyer would be perfect, and he’s hopefully about to sign on the dotted line to commit to us on a permanent rather than ad hoc basis.”

“Increase the offer if needs be. I want to know we’ve got him on board. I also want you to see about hiring a female operative too, maybe that one we used to monitor Miss Steele in Georgia? She seemed pretty efficient and on the ball.”

“You mean Prescott? I’ll make some enquiries, see if she’s available, and if she would be prepared to relocate.”

“I expect she would if the price was right, so see what you can do. Make it a priority, because things are about to change around here, meaning there are going to have to be some major adjustments.”

“Change? In what way, may I inquire, sir?”

“I’ll be announcing at the party this evening that Miss Steele has consented to be my wife,” I say proudly. I fucking love being able to say this, after all my recent worries that she was going to turn me down.

“I see, sir. May I offer you my deepest congratulations?  That is wonderful news,” Taylor says as he proffers his hand, and actually smiles gruffly as we shake - he has a very firm grip, I notice. “Gail will be delighted too. I’m sure that you and Miss Steele will be very happy together.”

“Thank you, Taylor. But my concern is that once this information gets out into the public domain, Miss Steele will immediately be placed at high risk for a kidnapping attempt. Therefore, as soon as it can be put in place, I want her to have round the clock protection, 24/7. I want her protected at all times when I’m not with her, and I believe a female officer is going to be an essential member of her protection detail.”

“Of course, Mr. Grey. I will coordinate with Welch to give it my fullest attention, now that you have apprised me of the forthcoming change in your personal circumstances.”

“Thank you, Taylor.  Just keep this news under wraps for now would you? Our families don't know anything about it yet.”

“As you wish, sir. But I think it would be prudent to allow me to let Gail know, and of course you know she can be relied on for total discretion.”

“Yes, I know I can trust her, so if you think it best, you can advise her.”

“Thank you, sir. Because I think she’d fucking kill me if she found out I’d kept this news from her.”

I shoot a look of surprise at Taylor, as he looks straight ahead and maintains a totally straight poker face.

“Can’t have that, can we?” I chuckle wryly, as I picture the scene between them. “So fine, go ahead and tell Gail. And there is just one more thing; Dan McAllister, the truck driver who gave Ros and me a ride back yesterday. He told me his son had been killed out in Afghanistan. Turns out the guy was a fucking hero. He died saving the lives of his comrades, and he was awarded a posthumous medal for his actions.”

“Sounds like he was a very brave soldier, one of the best.”

“Exactly. Yet his parents don't seem to have any kind of help or support. Isn’t there some kind of veterans group that offers support for families that they could benefit from?”

“Indeed there is. I’ll get all the boy’s details from Welch. Leave it with me, sir, and I’ll see what I can turn up.”

“I’d appreciate that, Taylor. I think that’s all for now.”

“Very good, sir.”

Ana still seems to be busy in the kitchen, so I make another call.

“I do hope you’re being a good girl, and haven’t been tempted to light up, seeing as how you’ve now quit smoking for good.”

“Fuck off, Christian.” Ros laughs. “And mind your own fucking business.”
So she has started smoking again. I guess I knew she would. Gwen and I have both tried numerous times over the years to get her to give up, but she always stubbornly refuses. Strange really, because in all other ways she is such a strong willed, gutsy woman. I guess we all have our faults and weaknesses. Yours is being a sadist. Far worse than smoking, wouldn’t you say, Grey?

“How are the blisters?”

“Sore, but on the mend. Remind me next time I catch a ride in your helicopter to pack a pair of flats in my purse, so when we crash land and I have to walk fucking miles I'm better prepared.”

“So you’d come up in her again with me? You haven’t been put off?”

“Christian, you had to fly by the fucking seat of your designer pants yesterday to get us down. And you did it, cool as a cucumber. So what else could possibly go wrong that you couldn’t cope with?”

“I guess when you put it like that. Anyhow, the reason I’ve rung, apart from the delights of hearing your raspy, nicotine laden, smoker's voice, is to talk to you about McAllister. You got your copy of Welch’s report, I trust?”

“Sure did. Christ, he’s in a shocking mess with his finances, isn’t he?”

“That’s an understatement. So, I want you to take on McAllister Trucking as your new project. First off, I want all his debts and loans totally cleared, as of next working day which will be Monday now. I want his current account to show $50,000 in credit. I want you to track down an expert to advise the best energy efficient truck for his needs, although if you ask him, McAllister probably already knows exactly what he would choose. Once that’s established, I want him to get his new truck a.s.a.p. Then I want you to set up a meeting with him to organize a simple business plan that he understands and can keep to, to enable him to take on the most profitable contracts in order to make a decent living.”

“You don't want much, do you Christian?” Ros says dryly.

“You got a problem with any of this? McAllister saved our asses yesterday, when nobody else gave a shit about us being stranded on the side of the road. And don't forget, I saw the look of total bliss on your face when you were digging into his jelly sandwiches.”

Ros roars with laughter.

“Don’t worry, Christian. Of course it will be my absolute privilege to sort him out and enable him to get back on his feet. His type are the salt of the earth, and there aren’t many of them left. What about his wife, Betty? I’d really like to do something to help her too.”

“Already on it. I’m going to ask my Mom to recommend the best specialist for her to see, and I have no doubt she’ll help me organize an urgent consultation for her when I fill her in with the details. And I'm going to ask my Dad to look into the possibility that McAllister was mis-sold his loan, because the interest rate he’s paying is quite frankly criminal  - it's exactly the kind of injustice Dad loves getting his teeth into. 
And I also want him to dispute any hefty penalty clauses these sharks try and insist on clawing back for paying off the full amount early. It’s not about the money; it’s about the fucking principle of ripping off decent people like Dan McAllister.”

“Oh, trust me, I’m fully behind you on this. I imagine once the sharks see an impressive law firm like your father’s getting involved, they’ll soon back down. They’d be pretty stupid not to, wouldn’t they?”

“I’d certainly say so. Dad knows his shit, I’ll give him that.” Even though we don't always see eye to eye.

“So, is it going to be ‘Grey Trucking’? Are we officially going to take over?”

“No, no rebranding in this case. Let him keep his pride and joy. McAllister Trucking will have a new silent partner, and we’ll just monitor him once he’s up and running successfully. Let him choose whatever colors and logos he wants for his new truck.”

“What if he says no to all of this? He’s a very proud man, he might refuse to cooperate.”

“Well that’s your job, isn’t it, to persuade him. And maybe you could remind him what he told me. What’s the world coming to, if one person can't do another a good turn? He helped us in our hour of need, so I’d like to help him out in return. If you want, you can let him think it’s you running the show, not me, if that helps at all.”

“Really? That’ll be fun. Don’t worry, I’ll do my best, I’ll engage him with my best winning ways,” Ros promises. 

As she’s never let me down yet, I’m confident she’ll win him over. That’s why she’s my second in command. She took a huge gamble when she gave up a very good position to come and work for a cocky young twenty one year old who was just setting up his own business, and I’ve never forgotten that. She could see the potential in me, because she has an unerring instinct in these matters. 

Ros and Gwen were unstintingly supportive of me at a transitional stage in my life when I’d dropped out of Harvard to start up my own business. It was a difficult time for me because my parents, Dad in particular, were very disappointed and didn’t agree with my decision not to complete my course, so I couldn't turn to them for advice or help initially. 

That’s partly why I don’t use my dad’s legal firm, although things have improved enough between us now that I am able to ask his advice. I still think it’s best to keep my business matters separate from my family though. 

My dad’s firm might not take too kindly to the way I operate - I am a very demanding client.

“And one last thing. For fucks sake make Dan an appointment to see a dentist, so he can get a set of decent dentures sorted out. Maybe then we’ll treat him and his wife to a slap up steak dinner. What do you think?”

“I think that’d be perfect,” Ros laughs again. “You really do think of everything, don't you Christian?”

“That’s what got me where I am today,” I say, as I finish the call.

Next I call Andrea, and amongst other things, instruct her I want to see my lawyer first thing Monday morning. I want to have my will rewritten. As things currently stand, if I had died yesterday, Ana would not have been provided for, so I urgently need to rectify that situation. She also confirms that the transfer I ordered of $50,000 into Ana’s account has gone through. Good. It’s only a small amount of money, but it should be sufficient to cover any emergencies that might crop up.

“So how did the press get hold of the fact that my helicopter had gone down?” I quiz her.

“That was due to the search and rescue teams being sent out, sir. Sam tells me reporters constantly monitor their activity as a potential source for a good lead. We tried to keep a tight lid on things, but once they got hold of the story, it was more a case of damage limitation, although I have to say that Olivia did a brilliant job of playing dumb to keep them in the dark for as long as possible.  
That was how we ensured your father was informed before anything went out on the media, so he could contact the rest of your family to put them in the picture first. We didn’t want them to learn that you were missing from TV reports.”

“No, quite right, and I appreciate your efforts.”

I'm thankful that Andrea knew my Dad was the right person to contact, because I know he would have remained cool, calm and collected.

“And then when Taylor got back, he and your father based themselves in his office at your apartment to work together with the authorities, while Sam, Olivia and I worked together from Grey House to cover things from here.

“Quite the team effort. Just a shame it got blown up so unnecessarily. That’s the fucking media for you.”

“Can I just say, sir, that we were all very relieved indeed to learn that you were safe. Yesterday was…well it was the worst day of my life when we all thought…” Her voice begins to wobble and she doesn't finish her sentence.

“Oh for fucks sake Andrea, don't you start with the fucking waterworks as well. I might have expected it from Olivia, but not you. I don't pay you to cry on the job, do I?” I snap at her in my usual irritable manner, but I think she knows I'm not really mad at her.

“Oh, Mr. Grey, it’s so fucking good to have you back,” Andrea, the original Ice Queen PA, half laughs and half cries down the phone line at me.

I’m quite shocked. Of course I swear at Andrea and especially annoying little Olivia all the time, but they never swear back at me. But I let it pass as I conclude the call. 

It’s my birthday. I nearly died yesterday. So what are a few fucks here and there?

Email banter from Ana informs me that lunch is nearly ready, but there is one more urgent call I must make first.

“Mia. I need you to do me a favor.”

“Hello, Christian. I’m fine, thanks for asking. You may have miraculously returned from the dead yesterday, but it still wouldn’t hurt you to remember your manners. In case you have forgotten, I’m your sister, not one of your business associates, so a few pleasantries wouldn’t go amiss you know.”

“I don't have time…Look, this evening, I've arranged a little surprise for Ana, in the boat house, and I need you to…”

“Surprise? In the boathouse? Why?”

Perhaps I should have asked Mom to help instead.

“Will you just listen? Ana might come in at any moment. I need you to let the florists into the boat house when they arrive, so they can get on with arranging the surprise. It’s just a few flowers, that’s all.”

“Ooh, that sounds exciting! I could help them if you like. I love surprises, and I love arranging flowers. But why in the boathouse? That’s not very romantic; it would be much nicer if…”

“And if you get the chance, would you mind distracting Ana soon after we arrive so I can go check out the boathouse for myself?”

“Sure, no problem. And as it happens, I do have something I want to get Ana’s advice on anyway, so that’ll be cool. And if you told me what this surprise was all about, I'm sure I could handle all the arrangements with the florist for you.”

“Just let them in and leave them alone. Do you understand, Mia?”

“No need to be like that. I'm only trying to help. Of course I understand, I'm not stupid. I’ll just let them in, if that’s what you really want.”

“Good.”

I look up to see Ana standing in the doorway, miming eating.

“I do hope you’re looking forward to our little family gathering tonight.” Mia giggles, so I know she's been up to something, but I don't have time now to question her further. Well, I have a surprise of my own for my family tonight.

“I’ll see you later,” I tell her as I hang up. “One more call?” I check with Ana, and she nods, as I notice the dress she is wearing is very short; in fact it’s almost indecent, showing off her great legs and only just covering her delectable ass.  

What's on show should be for my eyes only. I don't like other men being able to feast their greedy eyes on her, but Ana points out that we’re at home, with no one but the staff, so I let it pass. Taylor knows better than to be seen looking at Ana's legs.

My last call before lunch is to Ray, Ana’s stepfather. I want to talk to him before I go ahead and make my announcement tonight, although nothing he says is going to stop me from marrying his daughter. If he proves to be difficult, I’ll just have to use all my considerable negotiating skills to talk him round and get him onside. 

I know that he and Ana are close, so I really want his approval, because I know it will be important to her. Hell, it’s important to me too, because I really respect the guy who is going to be my future father-in-law.

“Mr. Steele, Christian Grey here. I’m glad I’ve caught you. Is it a convenient time to talk?” I start off the conversation.

“Hi, Christian. What’s up? Is something wrong? Is Annie okay? I saw about you on the news yesterday – are you okay?” He sounds worried at my unexpected call out of the blue, and I hear him turn his TV down.

“I’m good, and Anastasia is fine, there’s nothing wrong. I’m calling because I have a very important question I need to ask you. I’m sorry I can’t do it in person as I would prefer, but it’s rather urgent that I ask you today.”

“Oh? What do you mean? What question?”

“Mr. Steele, I’ve asked Anastasia to marry me, and she has accepted my proposal. So I’d like to ask for your permission to marry your daughter. I’m asking you for her hand in marriage.”

“Marriage! This is all a bit sudden isn’t it? You kids have only known each other for a short time. There isn’t a reason why you need to get married so quickly, is there?” he asks suspiciously. I recall that Ana’s mom was pregnant when she married her first husband, so I guess I can see why that thought might spring to mind.

“No, sir, nothing like that. It’s just that now I’ve found someone I want to spend the rest of my life with, I don't see any need for us to wait. As you may appreciate, I'm in the fortunate position of being financially very secure, so you can rest assured that I will be able to provide very well for your daughter, and I promise to always take very good care of her.”

“Is Annie there? Can I speak with her please?”

“Of course, I’ll put her right on.”

I head off to the kitchen to find Ana. Maybe I should have warned her I was calling her dad first, but it’s too late to worry now.

“I have Ray for you,” I say as I hand her the phone.

“You told him?” she hisses in alarm, obviously pissed with me, so I just nod.

“Hi, Dad,” she says, and as they start to talk, she disappears out onto the balcony, out of earshot, and I guess I have to respect her privacy, although it nearly kills me as I wait impatiently.

 After a few minutes, she marches back into the room, and hands me the phone with a scowl marring her beautiful face. She still looks so cute though, even when she’s angry. I take the phone and head back into my study.

“Mr. Steele, it’s Christian again. So, I trust now that you’ve spoken to your daughter, you are reassured that she feels the same way that I do about us getting married, and that you feel able to give us your blessing?”

“Well, son, seems she’s made up her mind to marry you, and with Annie, I know from experience that once she’s made up her mind, there’s no stopping her. So I guess I have to go along with it.”

“So, Mr. Steele, are you saying that I have your permission to marry your daughter? Can you confirm that we can go ahead and get married with your blessing?”

“I suppose that is what I’m saying. So yes, you have my blessing to marry my daughter, Christian. You seem a pretty decent young man, and I guess she could do a lot worse. Just make sure you make her happy, and that you take real good care of my girl for me, won’t you?”

“As her husband, I promise to always look after Anastasia and keep her safe, Mr. Steele. There is nothing more important to me than her happiness and her welfare.”

I totally respect the fact that Ray doesn't give a shit about the fact that I’m a billionaire- that isn’t influencing him in my favor at all. He just wants to be sure that his daughter will be happy and that she will be safe, and I'm happy to reassure him on both counts.

“Very well, Christian. You have my blessing. But one thing?”

“Anything, Mr. Steele.”

“Enough with the Mr. Steele. It’s Ray. Please call me Ray. And maybe we could take in some fishing one of these days?”

“I’d really like that, Ray. Looking forward to it.”

I wander back into the kitchen, feeling very proud that a decent man like Ray Steele is happy for his daughter to marry me.

“I have your stepfather’s rather begrudging blessing.”

Ana’s bad mood evaporates as she looks at me and then giggles, and I grin back at her. I'm glad I did things by the book and asked for her hand in marriage. I like the feeling of following time honored traditions. It makes everything seem more real and solid between us somehow, and that’s a very satisfying feeling for a control freak like me.

So then we enjoy the delicious lunch that has been lovingly prepared by my fiancée. What a great word that is.

But I still need to get to the bottom of why Ana asked me not to take her photo earlier, so I ask her outright. Her reaction worries me. She sits and stares down as she twists her fingers in her lap, the way she always does when she’s feeling insecure. I don't want her feeling like that with me.

“Ana, What is it?” I command her to answer me. I have to find out what on earth has made her feel like this.

“I found your photos,” she whispers. Shit. By the way she's acting, I know she must mean my insurance pictures - the explicit ones of my previous subs.

“You’ve been in the safe?

“Safe? No. I didn’t know you had a safe.”

I know she’s telling me the truth, so how the fuck have those old photos found their way out of my safe? She tells me she came across them in my closet, in a box under my jeans.

There’s only one possible explanation. 

Leila. 

And the only possible way she could have gained access to the contents of my safe is by having gone through everything in my study, all the cabinets and drawers to find the code. 

She knew all about the pictures in the safe because I remember her asking where I kept them. She was proud of her pictures, and I figure she’s left them with my playroom jeans as a message, a reminder. 

My theory is that she’s telling me she would sub for me again, that I can have what those pictures depict with her. Because of her spying activities, she must have known that Ana wasn’t willing to be my sub, so she felt she could offer me something that Ana couldn’t. And I’d lay money there will only be pictures of Leila in that box, because I'm certain she’ll have destroyed all the others.

Knowing how insecure Ana has felt about not being able to give me everything I need, I don't tell her my theory. I open up and tell her the whole truth about the photos; just not my theory about why Leila has done it. I’m going to ask Flynn to find out more about this first, get him to question Leila about it.

I’d forgotten all about the photos, shut away as they were in my safe. I have no need of them anymore, and will destroy them immediately. Now I have to try and limit any damage that has been done with Ana’s paranoia about my needs.

I hold her head in my hands, so I can look her straight in the eye, for her to see that I'm being totally sincere.

“I don't want that life. I want our life together. Ana, I thought we exorcised all those ghosts this morning. I feel that way. Don’t you?”

She blinks, and lets my words sink in for a minute.

“Yes. Yes, I feel like that, too,” she agrees, as she smiles at me.

Hopefully that has averted a crisis. But I have learned a very valuable lesson. 

Keeping secrets is never a good idea, because the skeleton in the closet, or in this case the safe, will always come back to haunt you.

~~~

I love it whenever Ana climbs onto my lap, and I love how she curls herself up on me like she’s a little kitten. I guess she is my little sex kitten, which is why we inevitably end up having yet more sex when she comes into my office, where I have been working hard to catch up for most of the afternoon, and sits herself on my lap wearing that sexy short dress that we argued about her wearing when she went out to the shops.

Of course I love the fact that she is happy for us to fuck while I remain sitting at my desk with her straddling me. Happy times for me to recall when I'm working here in future.

And I love that she bakes me a delicious chocolate birthday cake. Such a loving gesture from her, to actually bake it herself rather than buy one, and she is a very good cook too, I'm happy to say.  I love her personal touch, how she makes me blow out the gold candle she puts on it.




I make a wish. I wish that we will always be as happy together as we are today, that we will be together forever, because I love her so very much.

Then I spend the rest of the afternoon working, so I can really relax and forget about work this evening. I want everything to be perfect.

~~~

It seems Miss Katherine Kavanagh is determined to thwart my plans for a perfect evening right from the outset, making me wish she was still away on vacation in Barbados. She launches her attack virtually the second we step through the door of my parents’ house.

But her sabotage attempt is successfully averted by a surprisingly assertive Ana. She tells her friend in no uncertain terms that she is fine, more than fine, and that the copy of the email concerning the submissive contract from the early days of our relationship that Kate found is no longer relevant and none of her business. I'm relieved to learn Kate hasn’t told my brother about her discovery.

How ironic would that be – my family finding out about my secret life, just as I'm giving it up. I guess I can appreciate that Kate is being protective towards Ana, and once she is reassured that Ana is fine and very happy and that I am about to announce our engagement, she finally backs down and even apologizes to me, before Mom comes in to see what the holdup is, and we head on out to the party. 
  
Mom gives me a big birthday hug, and tells me again how happy she is about my news.

Mom rang earlier, just before we left, and after I'd taken the opportunity to ask her about recommending a specialist for McAllister's wife, she warned me that Mia had excelled herself. She said there were going to be a lot more guests than I was probably expecting at my party, but not to worry because they were all good friends of mine. 

Mom knows how much I usually hate surprises and she was worried that I might react badly if I wasn’t prepared. So I think she was rather taken aback by my reaction.

“That’s cool, Mom. Actually, I'm pleased they’ll all be there, because I’ll be making an announcement.” I told her, unable to resist sharing my good news.

“Really? An announcement? What kind of an announcement?”

“I asked Ana to marry me, and she said yes. So I’ll be announcing our engagement.”

CHRISTIAN! That’s wonderful news. You and Ana, getting engaged! Oh I’m so happy for you both, darling.”

“Thanks, Mom. Just keep it to yourself for now, wouldn’t want to spoil the surprise for everyone.”

So now when we walk in and I look around, I see Mom was right; I'll have quite an audience for my announcement - Mia has indeed excelled herself. 

Apart from all my family, Flynn and Rhian are here, Ros and Gwen, Claude, Mac - how the hell she got hold of everyone I really don't know.

Also here is Elena, and I can immediately feel Ana tense up when she spots her. I’d rather she hadn’t been included, but as she is an old family friend I suppose it was to be expected. 

To be honest, just lately Elena has been making a nuisance of herself. I don't need or appreciate her constantly trying to check up on me. There were three messages from her on my voice-mail yesterday, and I’ve ignored her calling me three times again today.

Of course Elena makes a beeline in my direction once she spots me.
I can see her looking at the way I’m hugging Ana closely to me. This is not how she thinks one should act in public, and that she doesn't approve is clear, but she has to acknowledge my girlfriend if she wants to talk to me.

Ana is looking gorgeous and sexy and beautiful in the green dress I helped her pick out earlier. It has a wide belt that shows off her slim figure to perfection. Elena is wearing her usual black. I used to think black was elegant – now I think it’s just plain boring, and Elena never wears any other color.

“Ana, you look lovely, dear,” she says insincerely. The terms ‘lovely’ and ‘dear’ are an insult from Elena.

“Elena, thank you,” Ana responds, equally insincerely.

But at least they appear outwardly civil. That’s all I can hope for I guess, and I’ll just try to keep them at a distance from each other.

Elena is making it clear to me that she does not appreciate the fact that I didn’t reply to any of the messages she left. Tough shit. I had more important matters to attend to. So I cut her short, telling her that I need to make an announcement.

Then I proudly announce to everyone that Miss Anastasia Rose Steele has consented to be my wife.

Naturally my exuberant family make a huge fuss, hugging and kissing both of us. I even get another fucking hug from Elliot – two in as many days. He is definitely turning into a big girl. I blame Kate.

My Mom is beside herself with happiness, and that makes me feel good. It’s an extremely rare occurrence, my actions making her happy, so I guess I can let her make the most of it.

“Oh, Ana – I am so delighted you’re going to be family. The change in Christian…He’s…happy. I am so thankful to you.”

Ana blushes deeply, but I can tell she’s thrilled by Mom’s reaction, and I'm really happy about it too.

“Where’s the ring?” Mia wants to know.

Why doesn't that annoying sister of mine use her brain for once – what does she think the surprise flowers are all about? I don't want her to spoil my plans.

“We’re going to choose one together,” I tell her through gritted teeth as I glower at her, trying to get her to shut up, even threatening to run off to Vegas when she trills on in her usual insensitive way, asking us all about our wedding plans, which even we haven’t discussed yet.

I move on and speak to Flynn, and after introducing Anastasia to Rhian, and as the ladies chat, I quietly ask him about Leila. He reassures me that she is good and responding well to treatment, and can hopefully move on to an out-patient program in a couple of weeks.

“Ask her something for me,” I say to him very quietly – I don't want us overheard. “Can you ask Leila how she accessed the contents of my safe? Somehow she got in there to remove some intimate photos she knew were there, and left them where she knew they’d be found. I think she was leaving me a message.”

“Really? That’s extremely obsessive and manipulative behavior. Are you sure it was Leila?”

“Had to be, John. There’s no other possible explanation, unless I’ve got another freaky stalker going through my things that I'm unaware of.”

“I sincerely hope that’s not the case, Christian. But this is a disappointing disclosure, as Leila hasn’t been forthcoming about any of this, and the whole point of the therapy program is to open up completely. It’s a set back, as it means she’s still holding back from me, and I thought we’d got beyond that,” John sighs loudly.

“Well, will you ask her about it? See if she’ll tell you anything more about what she was doing in my safe, how she gained access?”

“I can ask her, Christian, but I can't guarantee she’ll be forthcoming. I’ll certainly keep you posted.”

“I’d appreciate that, John. And thanks for taking her case on. At least I know she’s in good hands.”

I can see Ana look at me curiously, wondering what I'm having such deep discussions with Flynn about, so I’m happy to change the subject when Ros and Gwen come over to talk to us, and I can introduce them to Ana.

After we’ve spoken to several more people, Mia collars Ana in the hallway, and winks at me as they disappear into the dining room together, as she says something about needing her advice.

With Mia safely distracting Ana as I asked her to, I can go and quickly check that everything has been prepared in the boathouse as I ordered. I gave very detailed and very specific instructions to the florist, which I hope have been followed to the letter.  

Luckily, I’m pleased with what I find. In fact what they have achieved has exceeded my expectations. I just hope Ana likes it.

I check my pocket for about the hundredth time that evening, making sure I’ve definitely got the ring in my pocket. Taylor took delivery of it for me this morning, after Cartier organized a courier to bring it to the apartment. 

As I was rather tied up with walking back to Seattle yesterday, I didn’t get round to collecting the ring as I’d arranged, and there were several worried voice mails from Josh Andrews at Cartier asking what was happening, as I’d been so insistent that ring had to be ready for collection on Friday, and then hadn’t turned up as expected.  

When I return, Ana is still nowhere to be seem – what the fuck is Mia talking to her about that’s taking so long? I only needed her to be distracted for a few minutes. While I’m waiting, I speak to Mac about arranging for Ana to be trained so we can go out sailing together, just the two of us. He doesn't think there should be any problem in arranging this as soon as we like, so I'm pleased about that.

Then I decide it’s time to go and find Ana. I don't want her drinking too many of Dad’s lemon martini cocktails that I noticed Mia was clutching as they went off together, because they are pretty strong, and she’s already had two glasses of champagne. Ana has a low tolerance threshold for alcohol anyway, so it’s certainly not a good idea for her to be mixing drinks. I don't want her comatose before I get a chance to see my plan through.

I’m surprised when I can't open the door to the dining room where they went, so I shove hard to make it give way.

I expected to find Mia and Ana talking girl talk. What I actually find is Elena with a soaking wet face, with whatever it is dripping down onto her dress, and Ana ashen faced and shaking with fury. It would appear that Ana has thrown her drink in Elena's face for some reason.

“What the fuck are you doing, Elena?” I yell at her, as I instinctively move to stand between them, feeling an overwhelming need to protect Anastasia, who looks so petite and young compared to Elena, who towers over her.

“She’s not right for you, Christian,” she whispers, as she glares at Ana.

“What?” I shout at her. “How the fuck do you know what’s right for me?” 

How dare she assume she knows what’s best for me?

“You have needs, Christian,” she says softly, thinking she’s playing her trump card. My needs. The needs she introduced me to, got me addicted to. 

She was my BDSM pimp.

“I've told you before – this is none of your fucking business,” I roar at her. 
"What is this? Do you think it’s you? You? You think you’re right for me?”

Elena goes back to basics. She pulls herself up into her Dominatrix stance as she takes a step towards me, and tries to intimidate me as she once used to.

“I was the best thing that ever happened to you. Look at you now. One of the richest, most successful entrepreneurs in the US – controlled, driven – you need nothing. You are master of your universe.”

I step back, unable to believe the arrogance of the woman. She wants all the credit for my success, because she believes it’s all down to her?

“You loved it, Christian, don't try and kid yourself. You were on the road to self-destruction, and I saved you from that, saved you from a life behind bars. Believe me, baby, that’s where you would have ended up. I taught you everything you know, everything you need.”

“You taught me how to fuck, Elena. But it’s empty, like you. No wonder Linc left. You never once held me. You never said you loved me.”

It could all have been so different. It’s taken all these years, all these empty years for me to have found my Ana, for her to start undoing all the damage that was inflicted on me, to mend me with her love. And now Elena dares to say that she is not right for me?

“Love is for fools, Christian.”

“GET OUT OF MY HOUSE.”

We all turn to see Mom standing in the doorway.

Fuck, it’s my mother.

How long has she been standing there listening? Obviously long enough to know Elena and I were lovers. No, that’s not true. We fucked, that’s all. We were never lovers.

I’ve never seen my Mom so angry. Her face is white with rage. Her uncontained fury blazes from her eyes as she marches across the room to stand in front of Elena.

Then she slaps her hard, really hard, right across her face. The sound of it resonates loudly round the room.



I can't believe it. Mom just bitch slapped Elena. I’d never have believed her capable of doing what she just did, if I hadn’t seen it with my own eyes. It's like I'm watching a scene from some soap opera. 

Ana appears to be in a state of shock, as she just stands there gaping.

“Take your filthy paws off my son, you whore, and get out of my house – now!” Mom hisses at Elena, venom dripping from every word.

At first Elena just stands there blinking, until she collects herself and hurries from the room clutching her cheek, which is now glowing bright red from Mom’s impressive slap.

Now it’s my turn to face the music.

“Ana, before I hand him over to you, would you mind giving me a minute or two alone with my son?” Mom says in a quiet, fury laden voice.

“Of course,” Ana whispers, then hurriedly makes her escape from the room. 

I wish I could join her, but I know I have to stay and take what’s coming to me. I’m sorry Ana’s had to witness everything, but perhaps it’s best she saw it for herself. No secrets. That’s the best way.

“How long, Christian?” Mom asks me in a deceptively soft voice.

“It was a long time ago,” I reply evasively.

“How old were you?”

“Like I said, it was all a long time ago.”

“Tell me. How old were you when this all started?”

I realize she’s not going to give up until she gets to the bottom of things. I might as well just get it over with, so I take a deep breath.

“Fifteen.”

I hear my Mom’s sharp intake of breath. She’s shocked. It wasn’t what she expected to hear.

“You were just a child, Christian.”

“No, I wasn’t Mom. I was an angry, out of control young man. You remember how I was?”

“Yes, of course I remember. But you were still a child. In the eyes of the law, and in my eyes too. How did it all start?”

“You really want to know this stuff?” Maybe it would be better just to move on and not delve too deeply, but Mom is having none of it.

“Yes I do. I need to know how I couldn’t see what must have been going on right under my nose.”

“It started that summer I did some work for Elena in her back yard. She came on to me. Made me stop drinking and getting into trouble, in return for….sexual favors.”

Mom closes her eyes and takes a deep breath. I’m guessing she’s picturing Elena’s sexual favors. Thank Christ she has no idea of the true nature of Elena’s version of sexual favors.

“You and Dad thought I was taking extra curricula activities at school, but I was seeing Elena.”

“I remember. I remember how thrilled we were because we thought that you were finally joining in some normal, healthy school activities. But now I find out that all along you were lying to us and sneaking off to see that… trollop.”

“I’m sorry, Mom. Truly I am. But at the time, it just seemed right, and it worked for me. You and Dad were happy that I settled down and didn’t get into fights any more. I started working hard at school, because that’s what Elena told me I had to do. Everything in my life became a lot calmer and easier to cope with, because of her.”

“But Christian, don’t you see, she was taking advantage of you. She was an adult, a married woman, and she pretended to be my friend, when all along she was…seducing my son. She knew it was wrong, but she manipulated you and took advantage of you because she knew all about your issues through me. That’s despicable. It’s truly evil. So how long did it go on for?”

“Until I was twenty one.”

“Six years! You were seeing her for six years? So in all that time, she prevented you from forming any kind of a normal relationship with a nice young girl? That was the real reason you never brought any girls home?”

“That was never going to happen was it, Mom? Nice young girls weren’t interested in me. Not with all my issues and problems. ”

“We’ll never know will we? You were never given the opportunity to find out, because that vile woman had her claws so deeply into you. Why did it finish? Who broke things off in the end?”

“It finished when Linc found out. In all honesty it was over by then in any case, and we ended up as just friends.”

I’d outgrown being Elena’s submissive, because I’d discovered my true Dominant nature. But Mom doesn't need to know that.

“Linc found out? Is that why they divorced?”

“They would have divorced anyway, but I guess it was the catalyst.”

“Christian, surely you knew what you were doing was wrong? We brought you up to know right from wrong, didn’t we?”

“Of course you did, Mom. Don't go blaming yourself. It was me, just the way I was.”

“If I blame anyone, it’s Elena. She’s a whore, a slut. No, worse than that, she’s a pedophile.”

“That was Ana’s reaction too,” I murmur. “She’s really struggled to understand and come to terms with the relationship we had."

“So Ana knows all about Elena?”

“Yes, we have no secrets. I've told her everything.” Absolutely everything. And yet she’s still with me. She is such an amazing woman. My salvation.

“Well, I think that’s very wise, and the first sensible thing I've heard you say in all this. So what happened tonight?”

“Some sort of a disagreement between them. I was just trying to get to the bottom of it when you came in, but I know Ana loathes Elena with a vengeance.” 

“I’m with Ana on that score. I loathe her too, now. The evil bitch was trying to break you and Ana up, wasn’t she? She’s jealous of Ana. I knew something was wrong when I saw her with Ana earlier. Elena had a really fake smile plastered on her face, and I couldn’t figure out why. Now I know.”

“Something like that maybe. Elena’s always looked out for me, so I guess she’s finding it hard to let go.”

“I heard her telling you that love is for fools. You know she’s wrong about that, don’t you?”

“I do now. Now that I've found Anastasia. She’s shown me the true meaning of love. I know now it was just empty sex with Elena.”

“I think you’d better go and find your sweet lovely Ana, and make sure she’s alright. And I think I've heard just about all I can take in right now. I’m still mad at you for deceiving us for so long, but I’m far angrier at Elena for corrupting my son, an innocent and vulnerable young boy.”

“All I can say in my defense is that it didn’t seem like that to me at the time, Mom. But you’re right. I need to go and find my girl. Just one thing though – do you have to tell Dad?”

I can just imagine the lecture I'm going to get from Dad when he finds out about this. He’ll treat me like a teenager all over again, and we’ll end up rowing just like we used to all the time. I’d rather avoid that if I possibly can.

“Yes, Christian, I do. No secrets. Just like you and Ana, your father and I have no secrets in our marriage. I have to tell him. But otherwise, we’ll keep this just between us. Your brother and sister don't need to know.”

“That’s what I thought you’d say,” I sigh, as I leave the room to go and find Anastasia.

~~~

Ana is nowhere to be seen. Luckily all the guests at our party are oblivious to the drama that has just unfolded in the dining room, but I can't find Ana. 

Where could she have gone? Suddenly it hits me. Of course. I know exactly where she will have gone. I head upstairs, and meet her as she is making her way down. I was right – she had escaped to my old bedroom.

So we sit together at the top of the stairs to talk. Ana totally gets where my Mom is coming from about Elena. They feel exactly the same way about her - that what she did, the way she took control of me was wrong, whereas I've always believed that she was a force for good in my life. Now I'm beginning to see that maybe Mom, Ana, and Flynn are right when they insist that Elena manipulated me to see things that way. Maybe I wasn’t such a clever young man after all, because I believed that I had a clear picture of how things really were, when all along maybe I was being brainwashed by Elena without even realizing it.

Maybe I was blinded by sex. Extreme, violent, sadistic sex. I didn’t know about any of that shit before she showed me, did I? And I never learnt about any other kind, because Elena told me it wasn’t right for me, and I blindly accepted what she said.  

So maybe it was Elena that turned me into an addict, although unquestionably I was a very willing convert. It suited my nature perfectly. 

But what if I had met someone like Ana back then, who had shown me love instead? I honestly don't think I was ready for that then, I couldn’t have accepted it. I was still far too angry and out of control. 

But however much I rehash the past, there is no question that my relationship with Elena is over. There is no place in my life for her now, so I tell Ana that I will set in motion proceedings to terminate our business relationship when I speak to my lawyer on Monday.

“No more Mrs. Robinson?” Ana asks.

“Gone.”

Ana’s wide smile of delight is all I need to know I’ve made the right decision.

~~~

“Come – I want to show you something.”

Everyone has finally left, and my family are all either occupied singing karaoke in the family room, or eating and drinking in the kitchen.

It’s time.

I lead Ana out towards the boathouse. It’s a perfect night with a half-moon shining brightly over the bay, the lights of Seattle twinkling in the distance.

“Christian, I’d like to go to church tomorrow.” Ana tells me solemnly.


“Oh?”
“I prayed you’d come back alive and you did. It’s the least I could do.”

“Okay.”

I said a few prayers myself yesterday, so I think maybe I need to settle up with the Almighty as well.

Ana takes her heels off as we wander along the lawn hand in hand, and she asks me where I'm going to put José’s pictures of her. She’s surprised when I tell her I want to hang them in our new house.

“You bought it?” she asks incredulously.

Shit. She doesn't sound too pleased. Did I get this wrong? I signed the papers yesterday morning before I left for Portland.

“Yes. I thought you liked it.”

“I do. When did you buy it?”

“Yesterday morning. Now we need to decide what to do with it.”

Thank fuck for that, she does like it. I guess she’s not used to the way I do things, to deals going through so quickly, but as I bought the house cash, there was nothing to hold things up. 

I didn’t want to risk losing it – it’s very rare for such an ideal location overlooking the sound to come up, so I knew if I didn’t snap it up, some other fucker surely would. Once I authorized the money transfer, the house was a done deal. Our future home was secured.

“Don't knock it down. Please. It’s such a lovely house. It just needs some tender loving care,” Ana pleads with me.

“Okay. I’ll talk to Elliot. He knows a good architect; she did some work on my place in Aspen. She can do the remodeling.”

Whatever Ana wants she can have. I’d have chosen to knock it down and start afresh with a brand new place, but if she wants to keep the old house, then that’s what we’ll do. Anything to make my girl happy. 

Gia Matteo was a competent architect, so I’d have no problem contracting her services again - just as long as my brother remembers to act professionally and resist fucking her this time round. 

I don't think Miss Kavanagh would take too kindly to him rekindling their brief affair, and I don't want to have to deal with the fallout, or have the bother of finding a new architect half way through the project.

Ana suddenly realizes where we are heading, and remembers what happened last time I took her to the boathouse. So do I.

“Oh that was fun. In fact…” I remember how much I enjoyed carrying her in, so I scoop her up over my shoulder again, which makes her squeal loudly.

“You were really angry, if I remember correctly,” she tells me breathlessly as she hangs upside down, her long hair sweeping against the legs of my pants.

“Anastasia, I'm always really angry.”

“No, you’re not.”

I give her lovely ass a nice, loving smack as we stop outside the boathouse, and then I let her slide back down to the ground.

“No, not anymore,” I agree, as I kiss her. She’s dispelled so much of my anger to replace it with love.

This is it. I hope my surprise is going to make her happy. I really hope she likes it. I've never done anything like this before, so I'm way out of my comfort zone and I just hope I've got it right.

She seems to sense that I'm anxious, so she reaches up to tenderly caress my cheek and touch my lips. Her touch calms me, as it always does.

“I've something to show you in here,” I murmur. “Come.”

I open the door to lead her in and up the wooden stairs. At the top I open the door, stand aside to let her in, and then hold my breath, waiting for her reaction.





Her mouth drops open as she looks around at the masses of flowers filling the attic. I specified to the florist that I didn’t want to be able to see the wooden walls; I wanted it to seem as if the room was constructed out of flowers. 

And I wanted pretty lights mingled in with them, so that Ana would see all the flowers even in the dark, rather than have to put on the harsh fluorescent light which would spoil the effect. I wanted the flowers to be real, natural wild meadow flowers of every possible type and color, not artificial, stiff bunches of fake flowers.

Ana turns to look at me, unable to take in what she’s seeing I think. So the surprise part of my plan has worked. But does she like it?

“You wanted hearts and flowers,” I whisper quietly, in case she doesn't get it.

I told her when we first met that I didn’t do hearts and flowers, that I wasn’t that kind of a man. This is my way of showing that I’ve changed – for her.

“You have my heart…”

“And here are the flowers,” she whispers emotionally, as tears fill her eyes. “Christian, it’s lovely.”

I tug on her hand to pull her right into the room. When I proposed before, she told me it was a rubbish proposal. Not very romantic, I think was what she said.  So now I want to do this properly.

Following the time honored tradition, I go down on one knee in front of her.
I reach inside my jacket pocket to produce the ring. I look up at her, gazing right into those beautiful blue eyes that have beguiled me from the very first time I saw her when she fell into my office. 

When she looked up at me then I was already lost, although I didn’t know it at the time. Now those same blue eyes are looking down at me, shining with love for me.

“Anastasia Steele. I love you. I want to love, cherish, and protect you for the rest of my life. Be mine. Always. Share my life with me. Marry me.”

“Yes,” she says, as tears pour down her face - tears of joy and happiness. 

Welcome tears, because they prove she loves me as much as I love her.
I'm so happy, as I carefully slide the ring onto her finger. 

Finally she is wearing my ring, and I’m relieved that it’s a perfect fit.  It looks stunning on her hand, exactly how I envisaged it would, and the shape of the diamond is perfect. 

Now the whole world will know that she is mine.



Diamonds are forever. Our love is forever.

“Oh Christian,” she sobs, as she falls down on her knees with me. 

We kiss, as she twists her fingers in my hair, and I hold her tightly in my arms, never wanting to let her go, wanting this moment to last forever, because I know that we are going to live out our very own version of Happy Ever After.

*The end of Book 2 - Fifty Shades Darker*



With grateful thanks to V for the bitch slap gif.



AUTHOR’S NOTE
Going forward into Book 3 - Fifty Shades Freed, I will be concentrating on filling in the gaps from Christian’s pov, rather than slavishly following the book, which ELJ has already written so brilliantly. 


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.