AUTHOR NOTE: I haven't lost my mind, (honestly!) Yes this story was originally uploaded between August 2014 and January 2015 but after it got nominated for the Fan Fiction best crossover story in May 2015 (a fact which still leaves me speechless!) I decided to read it through from beginning to end to try and see for myself what people saw in it. Having read it – I was genuinely appalled! I found numerous glaring errors, not to mention a cringe worthy amount of typo's I had missed the first time round, so considering that this story has always been my main event – the one which had been building and in my mind for a long time I couldn't, in good conscience ignore that so I spent a few weeks painstakingly going through it and tweaking it to hopefully eliminate the typo's, errors and the plot holes. This job has now been completed a while and it has been ready for a while to upload and replace the version already on the site but is only being uploaded now because of the issues I have had namely no computer to do it on.
I have also given it a damn good edit and condensed chapters so there are fewer but longer chapters, which now average around 4,000 words rather than the 2,000 I originally aimed for. It now only has 88 chapters rather than the original 149, but with the rewording of certain parts the word count of the story has actually gone up slightly! I have deleted all the lengthy author's notes I originally put in, to answer to comments at the time so the story flows better now. The story itself hasn't changed just the wording here and there to make it read better and odd bits have been re worked to eliminate the plot holes.
Having said all that, the characters are all the same, the main points of the story are the same and the general idea of the series of links and journey of discovery between the four main characters of Gideon, Christian, Ana and Eva remain untouched, it hopefully just doesn't look like a five year old wrote it now and I apologise sincerely for the atrocious amount of errors I missed the first time around.
It's Day 3 post Christian Grey and I am feeling pretty good actually, I gave myself a pity party after I left him and cried all the way home, and cried myself to sleep but when I woke up Sunday morning I decided enough was enough, no man was going to treat me like that, what the hell was I thinking he had too many deep seated issues for me to conquer I hope he manages to find happiness one day but it won't be with me, I can't and wont be what he needs.
I head to work at my new job, I push the cheque Christian gave me for Wanda into my purse, I will pay that into my bank account at lunchtime and then I can go car shopping after work. I saw a nice little compact for sale nearby and for a fraction of the amount Christian gave me, I looked up the value of Wanda and Christian lied about what Taylor managed to get for her, by over $10,000 yes Wanda was a classic but she wasn't worth $24,000 so I am keeping what she was worth and sending the rest back to Christian, even doing that I will have savings for the first time in my life.
Kate left me her car to use and as I drive to work I am thinking through my plans for the future, I have a job, I will have a car of my own again hopefully soon, I am going Portland on Thursday to see Jose and see his exhibition. By the time I reach the office I am eager to put Christian Grey behind me. I take my cell phone from my purse and cancel the call divert which I had set up to the Blackberry which Christian had given me.
After an interesting and fulfilling first day I make my way home stopping off for some groceries at the local supermarket. I decide to leave car shopping until the weekend. I am making myself some tea when the intercom buzzes.
"Hello" I say
"Delivery for Anastasia Steele" a bored voice answers.
I press the button and wait, moments later there is a knock at the door, I answer and take delivery of a large yet very light box.
When I open it I see a beautiful bouquet of roses and a small card its from Christian, I shake my head and toss the box and the card in the bin without reading it, but I don't have the heart to dump the flowers they are so beautiful, so I hunt for a vase for them before settling down with my tea. After tea I call Jose.
"Hello" his familiar voice makes me smile.
"Hi Jose, how are you?" I ask
"Ana! How are you? I'm good, are you still coming on Thursday?" He asks excitedly
"I sure am" I reply, "What time does it start, I have to drive from Seattle and I am working now so won't be leaving until 5pm and it's about a 3 hour drive" I say with an apologetic tone.
"That's ok it starts at 7:30, so if you leave at 5pm you'll be here just after 8pm"
I smile at his laid back reaction, we chat for a few more minutes I tell him about Kate holidaying in Barbados and my new job, I mention I'm not too keen on my new boss Jack Hyde and that he makes me feel uncomfortable, but that I love my job. When I have finished I call my dad, just to check in.
"Hello Annie how are you?" he says to me, that kind reassuring voice makes me smile
"Hi I'm good, I have a job and I love it" I say, my call is pretty one sided as always with my dad, he doesn't talk much and I get the impression he is watching the football or something.
"How's Christian?" my dad asks suddenly
I stop and think for a moment, "I don't know, we broke up, it wasn't working out so I called it quits" I say firmly
There is a silence before Ray finally responds, "Oh I see, you broke it off? He didn't hurt you did he?" he asks eventually.
I close my eyes, yes he did, but I am not going to tell my dad that, "No, it just wasn't going to work we wanted different things" I say
There is another silence and then he simply says "Well ok as long as you are alright Annie?"
"I am" I state firmly
We talk a while longer and then I go for a shower before heading to bed.
By Wednesday I am into the routine of the office I arrive, get my instructions from Jack and give him his coffee, as I fire up my computer I look through the pile of manuscripts which Jack has just handed me to read. I am lost in my work when my email beeps drawing my attention to a new message in my in box. I glance at my watch its way past lunch time I look at the email and my heart sinks as I see it is from Christian.
From: Christian Grey
Date: June 8 2011 14:05
To: Anastasia Steele
Forgive this intrusion at work. I hope that it's going well. Did you get my flowers?
I note that tomorrow is the gallery opening for your friend's show, and I'm sure you've not had time to purchase a car, and it's a long drive. I would be more than happy to take you – should you wish.
Let me know.
CEO, Grey Enterprises Holdings, Inc
I shake my head and sigh. I know it's only polite to reply so I think carefully about what I want to say. I have the response worked out in my head when I hit reply I pause and then start to type.
From: Anastasia Steele
Date: June 8 2011 14:25
To: Christian Grey
Thank you for the flowers, I did receive them, they were lovely.
With regard to Jose's show, thank you for your kind offer. However, I have the use of Kate's car while she is in Barbados so I am able to drive myself to Portland tomorrow when I finish work.
Thank you once again.
Assistant to Jack Hyde, Editor, SIP
I read through it before I hit send and then I delete Christian's email to me from my inbox. I quickly grab myself a bite to eat and then return my attention back to work.
The next day I am so excited about my trip to Portland, I haven't heard from Christian again and I am very relieved about that. The day flies by and soon it is time for me to leave, I am out of the office at 5pm and I jump into Kate's car and take the interstate to Portland. I am excited to see Jose again, I have missed him.
Traffic is kind and I arrive shortly after 8pm when I arrive I am met by a tall woman with short blond hair and bright red lipstick, she smiles at me and talks to me as though she knows me, I walk into the first room and see Jose, he leaves the people he is talking to and comes over to me and pulls me into an embrace.
"Ana, how are you? Thank you for coming, you look good"
I smile and hug him tightly.
"You made good time" he says brightly
"I came in Kate's car tonight" I reply, but I don't mention that I don't have Wanda any more.
Jose is called away to talk to the press and I wander into another room where I am confronted by huge photographs of me, I gasp at them, not sure what to think of them, I am speechless as I stand staring at them I hear a familiar voice behind me.
"Seems I'm not the only one who finds you intriguing Miss Steele" I spin around and am confronted by a pair of Icy grey eyes. I am speechless; I just stand there my mouth hanging open staring. When my brain finally catches up, I frown at him.
"What are you doing here?" I ask rudely glaring at him.
Christian stares back at me, "you invited me Anastasia" he replies simply.
"That was before we broke up" I snap, I go to walk away and he grabs my elbow.
"Anastasia please" he says
I yank my arm out of his grasp "No Christian, we broke up" I say and walk away, leaving him standing there watching me. I have to admit that I am a little unnerved by his behaviour. I move into another room and look at the pictures Jose has taken, I am impressed he has bags of talent and I am so proud he has realised his dream.
"What do you think?" a voice whispers in my ear, I turn and I am facing Jose grinning widely at me, he hands me a glass of fruit juice, I smile and take it from him with a word of thanks.
"It's amazing I am so proud of you" I say, "but...a little warning of the photos of me would have been nice" I add.
Jose's smile slips, "Oh shit I forgot, I'm sorry Ana I meant to tell you, but someone likes them they have all been sold, you're a poster girl!"
I gape at him, why would anyone want to buy photographs of me? I shake my head, "Obviously someone with more money than sense" I say and as I say it Christian pops into my head, I quickly dismiss the idea, we broke up what would he want with pictures of me?
The evening is huge success and after a couple of hours I regretfully say my goodbyes, explaining I have to get back as I have work tomorrow. I look at my watch, If I leave now I should be back shortly after midnight. Jose hugs me tightly and tells me to stay in touch. As I go to climb into Kate's car I perceive someone behind me, I turn and am confronted by Christian Grey, I had thought he'd left hours ago, but obviously not. I quickly turn away and get into Kate's car without a word and drive away.
The next day I follow the same routine at work I am loving this job I am still on my guard with regard to Jack he makes all my internal alarms go off and I know I don't want to get into a situation where I am alone with him, he reminds me of husband number three and I shiver at the memory. I am drawn from my thoughts by the man himself who pokes his head out of his office.
"Ana go get me some lunch will you?" he says with a grin "My usual" he adds and then disappears again. I head out to the deli and grab his lunch and take it back to him. When I go for my break I head to the post office with a cheque and small note for Christian. I look at the envelope before I mail it, I feel better now, I have done the right thing and cut all ties to him, I have no obligation to him and I can move on.
As I push it into the mailbox I think about what I wrote.
Please find enclosed a cheque for $12,500 which is the overpayment for my car which Taylor sold. I looked online and found the real value for a car of Wanda's make, age and condition.
I understand your motives for doing this were genuine and I thank you but I don't feel right about keeping the money.
I pull a second envelope out of my purse and look at it and smile, this one is also going to Escala but is addressed to Taylor and inside is the laundered handkerchief he handed to me when he drove me home I have enclosed a small note with just the word thank you written on it as I don't think anything more needs to be said. When I have completed my errand I head back to work and finish up with the days work. As I am ready to go, I feel a hand on the back of my chair. I turn and see Jack standing there.
"Ana, you have has a stellar week, would you like to join us for a drink?" he asks
"Us?" I ask
"Yes a few of are going to Fifties, the bar round the corner" he says
"Yeah sure why not" I say, if there are a few more people there I feel safer than if I was alone with him.
The evening is good, I get to talk to more of the staff of SIP and they are all friendly and forthcoming, I feel I could be friends with Clare, she pulls me to one side and warns me about Jack, and tells me some pretty disturbing stuff about him, its all hearsay and rumour but as she said why do his assistants only ever last about a month at the most and none are ever retained by the company. I knew there was something about him I didn't trust, now I am warned and I know to keep my distance and not allow myself to be alone with him.
I am talking to Clare and Jack comes to stand with us, he stands way too close and makes me feel uncomfortable I take a step back and push him away, he drapes his arm around me and I remove it immediately.
"Please don't do that Jack" I say firmly
"Oh come on Ana" he replies, he is clearly on the way to being totally drunk and he unnerves me, he lunges towards me and I push him away.
"I said NO" I say firmly
"But Ana" he whines
"The lady said no" I look up at see Christian standing a few feet away, his hands balled into fists and anger emanating from every pore, Jack turns and looks at him and smirks
"And who would you be asshole?" he slurs
I immediately reach out and put my hand on Christian's arm, as he takes a menacing step forwards "Jack!" I exclaim, I am pissed off at Christian for stalking me yet again but then again Jack isn't behaving like a gentleman either I introduce the two men to each other "Jack, this is a... 'friend' of mine, Christian, we...erm...dated for a while, Christian this is my boss, Jack" I stare at Christian pleading with my eyes for him not to do anything stupid or cause a scene.
Christian stares at me, with that damned impassive look on his face, he seems to be working something out in his mind, eventually he holds out his hand to Jack, his eyes are as hard as flint and when he smiles but it doesn't reach them, he is still burning with rage, I can tell. Jack assesses him and accepts the handshake, I watch carefully as the two men circle each other, and it's like a pissing contest. I shake my head and take the opportunity as they face off to move away from both of them.
My phone buzzes and I've received a text from Kate, my heart leaps and I open it and read it.
Hi hope you had a good first week at work, coming home next week – Ethan returning Tuesday. K x
I quickly send a reply,
Hi all good here, see you next week! A x
"Ana" I hear my name called and I look up, and see Christian approaching me. I shake my head holding up my hand to stop him coming any closer and I turn on my heel and leave the bar.