AUTHORS NOTE: Well this is it, the final chapter, well I say 'chapter' this is actually the epilogue. I have to say I am a little bit sad as this story ends, as the original idea for this crossover and the general premise for this was in my head rolling around since before I wrote my very first fan fiction story back in 2013 (which if I remember correctly was my first FSOG fan fiction 'The Lost Baby' which rapidly grew into a trilogy and then into a set of six stories and a final one shot). When I first read the Crossfire series I was struck with how similar the stories were and how the characters lives could so easily be entwined, these initial musings grew and I started to think what if...?
I have already admitted that I preferred the Crossfire series to the FSOG (even though this series is yet to come to a conclusion) and my initial plan was have Ana end up with Gideon, but as I was writing it, it just didn't feel right and it didn't flow and I looked at what I had and re-wrote a number of chapters to put Ana back with Christian, all the main events of the story such as all the links between the two men and the final acceptance of their pasts and them both finding their inner peace have been in place since the start, but just tweaked slightly to incorporate the arrival of Eva, who I had initially planned not to have in the story at all and to accommodate the fact I now had two couples rather than my original plan of one with Christian alone on the sidelines.
I have to say I am totally staggered by the response this story in particular has received, as I have never really put much value on any of my stories, to me they are just ideas I happened to write down as a way to relax when I came home from work. I have always thought there were many more much better fan fiction stories than mine on the site (for example off the top of my head: Fifty Shades of Post Partum, Tea on Tuesday at four, Hell hath no fury, and Who shot the bitch troll by Helen Mira, Ana & Christian having a baby and After the boathouse proposal by lillian121, Fifty Shades Fast and Furious and Fifty Shades Slow and Steady by Mrs Fraser and Lessons in Texas (the story of husband number 3) and Walking down the aisle by Hollylikes2write). As far as I was concerned mine were just there to make up the numbers. Never in my wildest dreams did I expect so many people to read any of them let alone follow and favour them. I would like to take this opportunity to publicly thank everyone who took the time to write to me privately via PM, to offer their views and encouragement. So to everyone who read/PM'd/publicly commented/reviewed/followed and favoured this story (and all the others I have written) a huge and sincere thank you.
NEW YEAR'S EVE...
We are sitting in the huge sitting room at our home in Aspen, I am curled up in a large comfortable chair by a roaring fire, it has been snowing heavily all day outside and I am feeling drowsy I take a moment to look around me, my husband catches my gaze, our eyes meet and I feel his love. He eventually looks away again, his attention taken by something Elliot has said, he is standing a few feet away talking with Gideon, Christopher and Elliot, they are laughing about something and are clutching bottles of beer.
I watch as Kate walks over with some food and offers it to Elliot I giggle as she protests when Christian and Gideon also dive in uninvited like gannets and take some, Christopher just watches and Kate offers him some and he politely accepts. Kate and Elliot have finally decided where they are going to get married, they had the choice of all Gideon's hotels and the list was extensive they eventually decided that they are going to Hawaii to Gideon's Crosswinds Hawaii resort marrying there and then staying on for a honeymoon, we will all fly in for the ceremony which has been set for May and then leave them to enjoy their honeymoon in peace.
I continue to look around the room all the Grey, Cross and Vidal family are here all as far as Gideon and Christian are concerned one big family. Ireland and Mia are sitting in deep discussion about something, I hear the words Neimans and Gucci mentioned and realise it must be shopping related it generally always is when it comes to those two. I see Eva's father - Victor, my father, Chris Vidal, Carrick and Grace they are all happily chatting together, sipping their drinks and relaxed in each other's company and then I notice Christian's Aunt Denise appear and join them, she sits down beside my father and he hands her a drink. Eva walks in carrying Denise who immediately gets everyone's attention when she shrieks loudly and holds out her arms to Gideon as soon as she lays eyes on him, he immediately steps away from his little gathering and takes his daughter from Eva.
"Hey pumpkin you want to see in the New Year with daddy" he says and presses a kiss to her cheek, I smile as she flings her arms around his neck and deposits a wet slobbery kiss on his nose. Eva turns to me and speaks.
"Ana, Phoebe was awake when I fetched Denise so I'm guessing she will be squealing shortly!" Eva hardly gets the words out of her mouth as Phoebe makes her presence felt. I go to stand up but Christian shakes his head.
"You stay there baby, I'll go" he says.
A few moments later the door opens and he returns holding a smiling Phoebe who is holding on to him firmly. As he stands with her in his arms I can't take my eyes of either of them, Phoebe actually has my features but her startlingly sharp grey eyes and copper hair are all Christian, I look at Gideon with Denise, now that little girl is all Gideon, there doesn't appear to be anything of Eva visible.
"Hey everyone look at the time!" Denise points to the large clock it is nearly midnight, I get out of my chair and walk over to Christian and he wraps his free arm around me, we all gather in a huge group, we all have our drinks and we wait for the New Year to start.
It is going to be a busy one for us, there is of course Elliot and Kate's wedding, Ella's Lodge's have exceeded all expectations and Gideon and Christian are getting enquires from practically every state to fund the opening of similar safe houses throughout the US. Detroit is leading the way; it was the first and has helped over 200 children and young people in the short time since it opened. New York is hot on its heels and there was a waiting list for the Seattle safe house of people waiting for shelter and help as soon as it opened.
At the beginning of December Denise told us that her father had died, Harold McIntyre had died suddenly of a heart attack, he died alone in his huge house with no family around him, and Denise was informed as his next of kin and out of respect for her alone Christian attended the funeral. In the end Harold McIntyre had tried to make amends for his past actions, he left Denise some money and personal effects and he requested that his house and the rest of his extensive estate be sold and the proceeds go to Ella's Lodge (Detroit) a gesture which shocked us all. He left Christian some personal effects and a hand written letter sincerely apologising for his past sins and Christian was moved to tears when he read it and it had said that Ella would be proud of the man he had become.
Gideon and Eva are totally solid now and from what they have told us Corrine although still lurking in the background will not ever come between them. They gave us the best news ever at Christmas, Eva told me and Gideon told Christian that they were now sleeping the entire night together. Gideon finally coming to terms with his past, has been totally nightmare free for nearly six months, he will obviously never forget what happened to him but he is coping with it now and appears to have got closure on certain aspects of it, he still takes the medication which Dr Flynn prescribed as insurance for his night terrors and he is still in therapy with Flynn but you can tell by just looking at him that he is a much happier contented man now. Gideon has also totally embraced Grace as a surrogate mother; he even calls her mom much to her delight. His relationship with his step father Chris has flourished and gone from strength to strength and Gideon now calls him dad which I know means a lot to Chris. It's a shame but it appears he will never build a relationship with Elizabeth but there was just too much water under the bridge, she has moved on and after the divorce from Chris was finalised she left New York and has started a new life in California. None of her children hear from her or see her now and I know that really hurt Christopher and Ireland in the beginning as they had had a good relationship with her growing up and they had felt abandoned by her but they both have Chris who is of course their biological father and a good man taking on the role of both mother and father to his children and Grace in her usual motherly way has supported Chris in this role and embraced Gideon's siblings as her own and she has become a trusted confidant to them both.
Christopher and Gideon are closer than they have ever been and it's a joy to see these once enemies now building a future together as loving brothers, Christopher has also become astonishingly close to Christian and Elliot and as far as they are all concerned they are all brothers and as such they have each others backs. Mia and Ireland are inseparable, they have a mutual love of everything material and they both take full advantage of the fact they have two older over indulgent and protective billionaire brothers. The biggest surprise was my dad and Christian's Aunt Denise getting together recently, that one surprised us all, as they are two supremely independent people, but Christian asked Ray to do some work for the Detroit Safe House as Elliot was busy working on the Seattle one and didn't have the time to do it or have anyone spare from his team to send and Denise had requested some wooden furniture; my dad had flown out to the Safe House and well... I was so pleased for them both. My dad has taken a huge leap he has sold his house in Montesano and now lives in Detroit with Denise, he has a new lease of life and he has taken the role of handy man at the safe house turning his hand to all the jobs which need to be done. Victor is still single and a SoCal cop, but he is happy and makes a point of joining all the family get togethers which happen, he is firm friends with my dad and they spend weekends away fishing and hunting when they can.
I look at the huge family portrait hanging on the wall taken at Gideon and Eva's Wedding Vow renewal on the beach, everyone who is in this room is in that photograph, it's a lovely picture I stare at it, it captured a moment in time which although now gone for ever will always remain on view in all our homes and copies of this picture also hangs in all Gideon's homes. Gideon was overjoyed with the photo albums he received from the photographer, the candid shot album gets pulled out at every possible opportunity and we all frequently relive that weekend. Gideon has also had copies done of his favourite shots and had them framed and all his homes now are full of photographs of his family proudly displayed everywhere, the one which created the most reaction and comment was a candid shot of Gideon with Christian, Elliot and Christopher, which Gideon had blown up and framed they are all very drunk and singing karaoke at our joint birthday party. I still have the footage of that night on my phone and Gideon also has a copy of it.
Family is incredibly important to all of us, but none more than Gideon who lived for years feeling unloved and alone, alienated from his own family. Since finding out about Christian being his brother and getting closer with Chris, he insists on these huge get togethers where the whole family come together at every possible opportunity, he is incredibly close to Christian now and they talk daily on the phone and we visit each other regularly. His mantras are 'family first' and 'there is nothing more important than family'.
It is no surprise that Angus is here with us celebrating as Gideon looks upon Angus as family. Jason and Gail are not here they are on vacation, and they are spending New Year in New York with Sophie, Christian giving them the use of our New York apartment. Luke is here deputising for Jason and overseeing security but tonight he too is enjoying the celebrations at Christian's insistence.
"This is it guys" Christian calls out and I glance at the clock which starts to chime the hour. Christian pulls me close and kisses me soundly. "Happy New Year baby" he whispers in my ear.
"Happy New Year Christian" I reply.
I watch everyone hugging, kissing and wishing each other a very happy New Year and we all raise our glasses and Christian speaks.
"Here it is, Happy New Year everyone and I hope it's a good one for every single person in this room – my family, happy New Year!" he says
"Happy New Year!" is the resounding response.