Chapter 40 – Epilogue - Ten years later
"Give the ones you love wings to fly,
roots to come back,
and reasons to stay"
"Anastasia Rose Grey! For the love of god will you just please stop laughing? This is not funny." I glare at her but that only makes her laugh even harder.
"Oh my god…" Ana wipes the tears from her face. "You should have seen your face when Doctor Torrey told us that we were expecting another girl." She leans her head back against the seat and giggles. Her hand laying protectively over her belly.
"Well this means we will have to try again." I say matter of fact. Ana's smile disappears immediately and now she is the one glaring at me.
"No way Grey…no…no…no!" She waves her finger in my face and before I know it she is gripping on to the lapels of my jacket sending my head towards hers.
"We. Made. A. deal." She says and fuck if she doesn't sound scary.
"We did?" I squeak. I vaguely remember something…but I pushed it back…way back.
"We. Did." She says annunciating every word. "After Felicity was born you wanted to try for a boy…when I finally relented I told you that it didn't matter if this baby would be a boy or a girl but that you would get the snip." I swallow and nod meekly. My hand automatically reaches for my dick and I wince.
"Really? You would really would let someone put his or her hands on my dick?" I ask. I give her one of my pouts…this usually works…today it doesn't. Fuck!
She simply nods her head. She totally would. "I pushed out three little human beings out of my body Christian, I think you don't really have any reason to pout." She hisses. "Besides." She starts and I see her shoulders relaxing. "It is just a simple procedure Christian…they first numb you with local anesthetic and they use a scalpel to make two small incisions…"
"Anastasia stop right fucking now…"
"There is a little cutting… a little sealing and voila…the job is done. And from what I read you can resume sexual intercourse within a week." She grins at me. Ana reaches for my hand and brushes her hand over my knuckles. The grin has disappeared and it is replaced by worry.
"You are happy aren't you Christian?"
"What do you mean? Of course I am happy!" I pull my hand free from her grasp and cradle her beautiful face. "I don't care if we have four girls or ten…as long as they are healthy and happy…"
She giggles. "Ten girls would put you into an early grave Grey…"
"They probably would. I mean we have three now and one on the way and they have me wrapped around their little fingers. But really Ana, I wouldn't want it any other way."
"Neither would I…" Ana sighs and leans her head against my shoulder.
"So another girl huh?" My brother grins at me and brings the bottle of beer to his mouth. "You just can't make boys apparently…" He says smugly. Stretching his legs in front of him he stares at the sea in front of us. Bainbridge Island. We come here often. Despite the fact that our house in Seattle is much bigger than this house, Ana loves it here. Just like our daughters and myself. Besides this is where it all started. Tradition has been for the last decade to celebrate our birthdays here on Bainbridge Island.
"Shut the fuck up Elliot."
"Just saying man…I mean four girls…" He winces and turns his head to look at me. "They are beautiful though…when they grow up you will have to add a few more CPO's to each one of them…"
"Will you just shut the fuck up!" I growl this time. But he's right. Just the thought of my eldest daughter announcing to us within a few years that she has a boyfriend or wants to go on a date gives me fucking nightmares and panic attacks.
"Hey dad." Zackery says as he approaches to where we are sitting. "Hey Uncle Christian." He gives me a smile. "Where are the girls?"
"Tree house." Elliot says and motions with his chin towards the massive tree house that he build for Alexandra's fifth birthday. The tree house is like I said huge and really cool. It even has running water and electricity.
"But it is only Alexandra and one of her friends…" I say.
"Oh…which friend." He asks and starts nervously shifting his feet. I hold back my laughter when I see his face turning a shade darker pink. Zackery Christian is ten years old and extremely tall for his age. His arms and legs are totally out of proportion when you compare it to the rest of his body. With his blond curls, big smile and blue eyes he is the spitting image of Elliot…however personality wise he looks more like Meghan. Zackery is thoughtful and sweet.
Three months after Zackery was born Meghan fell into a depression. At first we all thought that everything was too overwhelming for her…that until my brother put all the pieces together. She cried nonstop and she actually didn't want to spend time alone with Zackery. Meghan was diagnosed with postpartum depression. It nearly cost my brother his marriage. She was hospitalized for nearly one year. At that time my brother divided his attention between his wife and his newborn son. Zackery mostly stayed with my parents, but he also spend a lot of time with Ana and me. I can honestly say that Zackery is like a son to me.
During that year, Elliot asked Henri, Ana's uncle to handle Grey Construction. And he did. He told Elliot to focus on his family. Henry and Kelly are still married and living in Seattle.
"Uhm…I think the one with the short blonde hair." I say and gauge his expression. I guess that he doesn't like this friend since he looks indifferent.
"I will go and see what they are doing." He says and saunters of in the direction of the treehouse.
"What does the sign say that they hung on the tree house?" My brother says squinting his eyes.
I shrug. "It says Boys not allowed. They even painted a black skull on it."
"Zack…oooh…Zackery Christian Grey…can't you read?" Yup that would be my daughter.
"Come one Alex…don't be such a girl…"
"But I am a girl Zackery…And don't call me Alex…" She wines.
"Come on Alex…let me in…" Zack says again totally ignoring her.
"Alexandra…let him in!" I bellow.
We hear and exasperated squeal until we see Zackery's long legs disappearing into the tree house.
"Did it ever cross your mind, let's say twelve years ago, that you would be sitting here, married with an awesome chick, three daughters and another one on the way?" My brother says looking at me.
"No…I didn't." I clear my throat and focus my attention on the bottle of beer in my hand. "I never thought I would have any of this." I wave with my hand around me. "…until I met Anastasia…she made things better. My organized world started shifting on its axis and it just got better and better."
"Good man…" Elliot says silently.
"How about you?" I ask and smirk.
"It hasn't been all rainbows and unicorns, but I would never want to go back to my bad boy-whoring days." He admits.
We both look back when we hear someone approaching. It is Jesse. Kate fucking Kavanagh's kid.
"Hey Elliot. Hey Christian." He says casually.
"Hey bud…how are you doing?"
He simply shrugs and stares towards the ocean. "Where is Zackery?"
"Up at the treehouse. Let me warn you though…" Elliot says with a grin. "Alexandra and her blonde friend are there too…"
"Okay…" He shrugs again and saunters of in the direction of the treehouse.
"How is he doing?" Elliot asks when we see Jesse disappearing into the treehouse.
"He still spends a lot of time with Mia and Ethan." I say and place my now empty beer bottle on the floor. His mother is now CEO at Kavanagh Media. She jumped at the occasion when Ethan took a step back. Since then Jesse spend more and more time with us or Mia and Ethan. His father is a fucking low life who left Kate a year after Jesse was born.
"I sometimes run into his low life father…he is a son of a bitch." Elliot mutters under his breath.
I wholeheartedly agree with my brother. Even though Kate and I never got to be friends I really pitied her that day when she showed up crying on our doorstep telling us that Gregg had left for New York.
Kate recovered fairly quickly when her father asked her to come back and work at Kavanagh Media. She immersed completely in her job and Jesse was left more often than not with her brother and Mia. When Jesse was eight years old his father appeared on their doorstep and told him that he regretted leaving him when he was so small and told him that he wanted to get to know his son. Jesse simply told him to leave and to never come back again. He never mentioned what happened…he refused to talk about it. Jesse reminds me a lot of myself at that age. I know that he feels abandoned by both his parents. According to Ethan and Mia he doesn't cause them any trouble. He is just a silent, brooding child. He loves spending time with Ethan and Mia's son James. James…or Jamie as everyone calls him is five years old. Even though he has strawberry blonde hair and green eyes he has his mother's bubbly personality. He and Elizabeth get into a lot of trouble together.
What the hardest thing about being a dad is you ask? Well when I became a dad, today exactly ten years ago, in my experience, you become simultaneously stronger and weaker. Stronger because you have this new love. Weaker because you are suddenly vulnerable. There is this tiny bundle of joy that is outside you and I am responsible for her…or them. So, the hardest thing was when Alexandra got sick for the first time. And when she fell for the first time and nearly knocked a tooth and cut her gums…normally that would had send me into a full blown panic attack. But instead I had to stay calm and cope. Actually I didn't stay calm, but my wife did. She is amazing.
Ten years later and three daughters richer and one more little one on the way, I can truly say that I am a veteran in this parenting thing. I would have appreciated some guidance when this parenting thing started. First there are the poop diapers.
I can't even tell you how many times a diaper change has turned into a horrible massacre. Somehow the poop was blown out of the back of her diaper, made his way up the back of her onesie and sometimes even reached the back of her head. A simple diaper change suddenly turned into bath time. Believe me…it happens often. Since we are on the topic of diapers, here is my next advice; when changing a diaper make sure to always have a clean diaper in your hand. Always! Ana says it is caused by the fresh air, I say it is an expression of appreciation. Then we have the spit-up accidents. I will never, ever forget the first time I saw Alexandra smile. Like the annoying fucker I am I was on the floor raising and lowering her to my face, triggering a smile as our noses touched each time. It was fun, as long as it lasted. Because as I was lowering her to touch noses, she smiled…and then a volcanic eruption of spit landed on my face. A few things you should know about spit-up. It burns the eyes and it tastes awful.
I close my eyes, stretch my legs and lean my head against the recliner. I just need a little moment of relaxation before this house turns into a crazy mess of people and kids.
"Daddy! Daddy!" I wince when I see our four year old daughter Elizabeth running towards me. Her arms are flying around, as are her little chubby legs. Her soft, short, fiery red curls are in a constant disarray on her head. She used to have it longer, but then my daughter decided she needed a haircut and cut her hair off. My daughters are all the spitting image of their mother, but unfortunately they also share her clumsiness. Especially Elizabeth. "Hey peanut…" I hold my arms out to catch her and hold her against my chest. Immediately I bury my nose in those soft curls. She smells like… dirt.
"It is your birthday today Daddy!" She squeals. Her little, chubby and very dirty hands rub along my face while she crinkles her nose in that fucking adorable way. Her hands then move to my ears and she starts pulling. Her eyes are the exact same color as mine and I fucking love it. She makes silly faces as she keeps pulling my ears and a glint of mischief flickers into those gray eyes. Elizabeth Laura Grey is a force to be reckoned with. She came into the world one week overdue…and crying her lungs out. Ana was ready to pull her hair out…and mine. Elizabeth personality though is different from mine or Ana's. She is constantly getting into trouble and I am sure that she doesn't mean to…it just happens to her. Elizabeth is a little tomboy. She likes playing with dirt, climbing into trees and she finds, much to her mother's annoyance and horror, bugs utterly fascinating. The best way to describe Elizabeth would be sunshine mixed with a little hurricane.
"What is it that you wanted to tell me?"
"It is time for the present's daddy and I know a secret!" She whispers. Well she thinks she is whispering, because she sucks at it.
"Daddy loves secrets…" I wiggle my eyebrows and kiss the tip of her nose. "Why don't you whisper it in my ear…" Her face lights up like a Christmas tree and then she leans in with her little hands covering her mouth.
"Elizabeth Laura Grey!" Oh…oh…it is Anastasia. And she is using her full name that means that this little peanut somehow got into trouble.
"Oh darn…that's mommy…" She curses and hides her face in the crook of my neck. I should scold her for cursing, but fuck she is too damn cute.
"What did you do?" I whisper.
"It was just an accident daddy…and accidents happen…" She says indignantly.
"Elizabeth…" Ana is standing with her hands on both of her hips, her face red and her tummy swollen. I fucking love her when she is pregnant.
"Yes mommy…" It is briefly but I see Ana's eyes soften when Elizabeth lifts her face and looks at her with those gray eyes and pouty lips.
"How many times do I have to tell you that you are not supposed to paint on the walls…" Oh fuck.
Elizabeth opens her mouth but gets cut off by her very pregnant and very angry mother.
"And don't say that it was an accident…"
"I am going to be an artist mommy…and…and an artist needs a big canvass…" I really, really try not to smile, but I fail. Ana's eyes bore into mine. "Yeah you smile now Grey. You won't smile when you see what she drew on the living room wall." She takes a deep breath and sighs. "Fix it Grey." She points towards the house and then she spins on her heels. "Oh before I forget." She says again. "You won't be using any spray painter!"
Really it has been what? Ten years…and she still hasn't forgotten about that itty bitty accident with Alexandra's walk in closet. Ridiculous.
"So you want to become an artist now?" I set Elizabeth down on the ground and extend my hand. She immediately takes hold of it and walks with me towards the house.
"Yes…I do…" She nods her head and when the curls fall over her eyes she huffs and roughly pushes them out of the way.
"But last week you told me you wanted to join the circus." I look down at her and I can see the little wheels turning.
"Uh huh…but then you told me how dangerous it was…and that I wouldn't be able to stay at home. That I had to go far, far away and life with the clowns…" Yes, that's me a manipulating son of a bitch. Elizabeth hates clowns.
"And I really don't want to life with the clown's daddy…I want to stay at home. With mommy, daddy, Alexandra and Felicity…"
"And the new baby…"
"I guess so…" She shrugs and walks beside me holding my hand towards our house.
"I can't believe it dad. I am so humiliated." I look at my ten year old daughter and give her a smile.
"What is humiliating sweetheart?" Alexandra Grace Grey looks exactly like Ana. Her hair, her eyes, her lips…even her personality. Alexandra is considerate, sweet and extremely loving. She is also extremely stubborn. Like I said. Just like her mother.
"Have you actually seen what…what…" She looks with a red face towards her little sister and stomps her foot.
"Have I seen what?" I say impatiently. Christ, girls and their drama.
"What she drew on the wall!" She screeches. "All of my friends will be arriving in less than ten minutes and they will all see what this little…brat drew on the wall…" Overly dramatic she rolls her eyes at me and crosses her arms in front of her chest.
"What is it that you drew peanut?" I look down at Elizabeth who is looking too innocent. Her big gray eyes wide, however there is that little grin on her face.
"It was just a flower daddy…"
"It doesn't look like a flower at all Elizabeth!" Alexandra says annoyed. I feel Elizabeth hand slip from mine and with her little hands clasped on her hips she takes a step towards her older sister.
"It. Is. A. flower. Alexandra." She practically hisses at her older sister. Oh fuck here we go again. WWIII has started.
"It. Is. Not." Alexandra retorts without missing a beat. "It looks like a…" Her blue eyes dart to me and a blush creeps up her cheeks.
"Like what Alexandra?" I ask.
She crinkles her button nose and closes her eyes. "Just ask mom…"
"I am asking you young lady." Her cheeks turn even redder and when she looks at me I know that I am not going to like what she is about to say.
"Dad…it…well…it looks like a…penis." She whispers and looks over her shoulder to see if anyone else heard her say the word penis. What. The fuck? How does she even know how a…a…dick looks like? I mean this is my little girl. At the age of ten she is not supposed to say the word penis and she sure as fuck doesn't need to know how a penis looks like.
"Daddy…what is a penis?" Elizabeth asks pulling me out of my miserable thoughts.
At that same moment I see Sam jogging towards us. "Hey Uncle Christian." He smiles and looks at Elizabeth.
"Sam…what is a penis?" Elizabeth asks looking up at him. Her face a picture of curiosity.
Sam's eyes go wide as he stares at my daughter. "Ask your dad…" Brushing both hands through his hair he looks at me and shakes his head. "Good luck with that…she is like a dog with a bone." Don't I fucking know it.
"Hey Alexandra." He says timidly looking at my daughter.
"Hi Sam." She says shyly.
"Happy birthday." His eyes dart quickly to mine and then he gives my daughter a swift kiss on her cheek.
"Yeah…thanks…" Alexandra mutters. They both stand there awkwardly staring at each other until Elizabeth decides to speak again.
"Sam…what is a penis?"
Elizabeth's voice pull Alexandra and Sam from their staring stupor. Sam simply picks up Elizabeth and gives her a sweet kiss on her cheek. "Ask your dad rug rat…"
After putting her back on de floor he turns around and jogs back to the house. However I see him looking over his shoulder one more time to stare at my eldest daughter. What the fuck?
"Let us go inside." I say more gruffly than I intent to.
We enter the house and I immediately see everyone gathered in front of the wall. Or maybe I should say "the canvass"
"Oh dear God." My mother says. My dad who is standing beside her has his head cocked to one side and then I hear him chuckle.
"Oh God…this looks like a…" Meghan starts but then quickly takes a step back and looks at Elliot who is grinning like an idiot.
"Oh shit man…look at that…" Sam says to Jesse whose face is red as a fucking tomato.
"Language Sam…" His mother says.
"Sorry mom…" He says immediately and ducks his face. Probably hiding his laughter. I hear Ben softly snickering next to Dani. With just one look from Dani he wipes the smile from his face. Yeah, completely pussy wiped too.
Dani and Ben, the gastroenterologist, married about seven years ago. He is actually a good guy. He treats Dani as a queen and Sam like his own son. José fucking Rodriguez disappeared to Mexico after a catastrophic talk with his son. Sam, who had just turned five years old at that time, was terrified when he saw his father marked in tattoos and a gigantic beard. Right after that talk Sam started having nightmares again and wetting himself. It was heartbreaking to see him go through that amount of hurt. Ben however stepped up and starting acting like a father to him. Whenever his schedule allowed it he made sure to take Sam to school, swimming classes etc. When Sam got older he took him to the Mariner's game. Sam never stopped visiting us though. Sam has grown into a responsible fifteen year old boy.
"Daddy, why is everyone laughing?" Well probably because you painted something looking like a dick. Elizabeth is now standing next to me, her little, clammy hand holding tightly on to mine. I look down at her gray eyes and smile.
It can be that bad. I think to myself. I mean this has happened before. It is certainly not the first time that Elizabeth painted something on the walls. I mean what is the big deal? Taylor calls a painter and voila, problem solved. But somehow…something tells me that this is going to be different than all the innocent drawings she has drawn before.
"See that daddy?" Elizabeth tugs at my hand and points to the wall. "They are all looking at my drawing." She says excited her gray eyes shining with pride.
I clear my throat and watch everyone looking to where the sound came from. And holy mother of fuck. That is certainly not a flower. It look just like a huge deformed dick. Christ.
"Grandma Grace…what is a penis?" Elizabeth asks again.
Not feeling embarrassed or surprised by her granddaughters question, my mother turns around and gathers Elizabeth in her arms peppering her face with little kisses.
"Grandma I asked you a question." Elizabeth giggles. Sam is right. She just can't let go. She is like a dog with a fucking bone.
"A penis is a male body part used for urination." My mother says calmly.
"What is u…u…uri…" Elizabeth tries and sighs impatiently.
"Urination?" My mother asks smiling.
"Yeah…that…" Elizabeth says as she keeps her eyes on my mother.
"Urination is the same as peeing..." My mom says.
Elizabeth eyes grow wide as she stares at my mother. She then shudders and crinkles her nose. Her face turns to the gigantic dick she drew on the wall and then back at my mother.
"Grandma…Alexandra says that my drawing looks like a penis…but it is not a penis it is a flower…"
"A very exotic looking flower though…" My brother murmurs. "Dude just tell me that your dick doesn't look like that…" He whispers in my ear. I simply give him the finger. Asshole.
"I think it is a lovely…flower." My mother glances at the wall one more time before returning her attention back at Elizabeth. "I think the flower is lovely…however you know what mommy and daddy told you about drawing on the walls…" My mom says. Her voice is still soft however there is this tone saying 'don't mess with me.' Believe me…we don't.
"I promise grandma, it was just a surprise for daddy…and Alexandra…" She adds quickly looking at her still scowling and very embarrassed sister. "…because it is their birthday today…" She holds her hands in the air in an exasperated manner and sighs dramatically.
"Look who woke up from her nap." Gail says. She is standing with our youngest daughter, Felicity Rose, in her arms. My two year old daughter has her head buried in Gail's shoulder her favorite blanket tucked in her little fist. Felicity loves sleep. What she doesn't like though is to be woken up. Just like her mommy. If you think that Ana's morning moods were bad…well than you haven't seen nothing yet. When we wake her up we aren't allowed to speak to her. We simply smile, murmur a good morning and change her diaper. Felicity will only engage in talking after she has had her breakfast. Felicity is a quiet, sweet little girl. She loves spending time with me in my office where she will sit in my lap and simply stares at the laptop screen. She giggles when I get into a heated discussion and claps her little chubby hands when I smack my phone against the wall. Felicity loves books. She can spend hours on end 'reading' a book. She then murmurs unintelligent words while her little finger skims the words. She also adores her two sisters. Felicity has light brown hair with little streaks of copper woven through it. Her big blue eyes are almost too big for her face and with her little button nose and pouty lips she is like a mini-replica of her mother. She is just like her sisters…perfect.
I look at Ana who is looking at Felicity with only adoration and love in her eyes. "Do you want to come with mommy?" Ana asks softly. Felicity just nods her head and when she is settled on Ana's hip she rests her head on her shoulder. Scowling she looks at the people gathered around the fucking wall. I goofily wink at her and make funny faces until a little smile appears on her lips. Yeah, that is my girl.
It is three days later and we are back in Seattle. Taylor stops the car in front of our house and I sigh in contentment. I enjoy the few moments of silence before I step into the house.
"Have a good day Sir." Taylor says smiling. Yeah, he knows how crazy things can get in the Grey household. But what do you expect with three girls. Would I want it to be different? Nope.
"Thank you Taylor. See you tomorrow." Since Taylor is a man of few words he simply nods his head.
"Oh my God! Elizabeth what is that?" I hear Ana shrieking. Her voice isn't laced in anger…no it is fear.
I hurry my way into the living room where Elizabeth is holding something in a box for Ana to see. Ana's face is ashen as she stares in to the box. Ana's hand flies to her mouth and I see her waggling towards the nearest bathroom.
"Elizabeth Laura Grey." I say. "What have you done?"
"Daddy! You are home!" In her enthusiasm she drops the carton box onto the floor as she skips her way to where I am standing.
"Hey peanut." Lifting her into my arms I kiss her bottom nose as she giggles.
"Why is mommy upset Elizabeth?"
"Well…" She starts unsure. "I decided this morning that I want to become a doctor…just like grandma Grace…" She smiles brightly as she stares at me watching my reaction.
"So you don't want to be an artist anymore?"
"Nope…I want to become a doctor…so that is why I operated on Mr. Frog…" Say what?
"Who is Mr. Frog?"
Her brows furrow briefly and then she sighs. "Mr. Frog is a frog daddy…and Camelot was playing with him and then…and then Mr. Frog was not happy and he was hurt…so then I decided to operate on him…to make him better…just like grandma Grace does daddy…"
Let me explain…Camelot is one of Simba's offspring's. One day a few years ago Simba disappeared. We thought he had run away…I was delighted, Ana not so much. To my disappointment he came back one month later with company…another fucking cat. The cat just stuck with us, much to my annoyance by the way. Before I knew it Ana had called the cat…who happened to be a 'girl' Nala. Yup…that seems to be Simba's girlfriend in the movie The Lion King.
After a few days Ana found out that Nala was pregnant. Seeing the joy on Ana's face I simply couldn't kick that damned cat out of the house…so she stayed. Three kittens were born. Camelot, Snow and Shrek. Those damned cats are destructive and utterly annoying…but my wife and daughters love them. I however had a little talk with Simba and before I took him to a nice little trip to the vet.
Like the fucking king himself Simba is spread out on the couch. Tapping him slightly on the head he opens his eyes and looks at me with the same annoyance as I am looking at him. I grin to myself…yeah dude you don't know what is going to hit you.
"Hey dude…what's up man…" I ask and take the now gigantic cat on my lap. "You broke on of the rules you know that right?" Simba simply yawns and rests his head on my lap.
"You know right that the lady of the house saved your scrawny ass a few times…however not this time…" I lean closer to him until my mouth is near his ear. "She left this morning and she will be staying in New York for a couple of days. She won't be here this time to safe you…" I chuckle softly.
"Do you see that cat carrier over there?" I point to where the carrier is standing. But Simba really can't be bothered. "You don't care right? Well let me tell you something really exciting…in just a few moments I am going to put your ass in that carrier and drive you to the vet…there they are going to operate on you. They are going to castrate you dude…" I say. I still don't get any reaction since Simba is softly snoring. "You should have used protection man…or pull out…or whatever you cats do…" I scold him. "I understand that you saw Nala and wanted to jump her bones…but dude…getting her pregnant was not cool." I shake my head and brush my fingers over his soft fur making me almost feel bad for him. "Because now I am stuck with your kids…who are destructive. They poo and pee all over my house and that pisses me off…"
From the corner of my eye I see Nala approaching us. She stops and cocks her head to the side. She doesn't trust me one bit. Rightfully so.
"Hey Nala…I am taking your man to the vet…going to have his junk fixed…" I say and watch Nala as she sits down and just stares at me.
"I mean…he can't say I didn't warn him though…but he just wouldn't listen." I shake my head in disappointment.
And that ladies and gentleman was the day that Simba got castrated. I mean he got off the hook quite easily I have to say. I could have send him to China like I promised him many years ago.
Ana wasn't happy when she returned from New York and discovered that Simba was walking funny. I was in the doghouse for one fucking week. Wasn't allowed in sleeping in our bed. But honestly…it was fucking worth it. There will be no more surprises.
"Christian? Oh thank god you are home…" Ana says relief written all over her face.
"Hey baby…what happened?" I place Elizabeth on my hip and pull my wife into my arms.
"Ana just say it baby…" I say gently and kiss the top of her head.
Ana pulls away from me and pulls Elizabeth into her arms. "I am sorry mommy freaked out on you…but you really can't do things like that to frogs…" Ana says and it is pissing me off that no one is telling me what happened to that damned frog.
"It is Mr. Frog mommy and I just wanted to help him…" Elizabeth says in a really tiny voice.
"Christian you really don't want to look into the box…" Ana warns as I saunter towards the box in the middle of the living room.
And I really should have listened to her. But I am just that fucking stubborn and curious. In the box lays Mr. Frog…resting in peace or maybe I should say…pieces. Two of his legs are cut off and it looks rather disgusting.
"Elizabeth Laura Grey!" I boom turning around. "To your room!"
"But daddy…" She starts. I simply cut her off by pointing up the stairs and really my heart breaks when I see her little shoulders slumped and her soft red curls bouncing up and down as she walks up the stairs to her room.
"Where the fuck were you when she was…was…operating on that damn frog…" I whisper-yell at Ana.
"I was in the bathroom Christian. Felicity is upstairs playing with Alexandra. I promise it was just a matter of minutes…" She whispers.
"I am sorry…" I say pulling her against my chest.
"I liked her choice of being an artist better than a doctor…" Ana mutters.
"I wholeheartedly agree baby…"
"We need to talk to her Christian. I really believe that she wanted to help that poor frog…because when she came into the house she asked me if I had bandages…and then I looked into the box and I just freaked…"
"We will talk to her in a bit okay?" I say and hug my wife closer to me.
"I missed you Mr. Grey…" She purrs.
"I missed you too Mrs. Grey…" I take her chin in my hands and brush my lips against hers. At that same moment we hear someone calling our names.
"God fucking damn cock-blocking family…" I curse.
"Oh my God that is Melissa!" Ana claps her hands excitedly and turns around.
"Melissa…oh I missed you!" Ana walks to where my little sister is standing with Andrew right by her side.
"Hey sis…" Melissa takes my wife into a hug.
"Hey…what about me?" I say and make my way to my little sister and her…husband. Melissa married Andrew one month ago. Since the day that Andrew showed up at my parents' house with the flowers they were almost inseparable. Somehow things got weird when Melissa started at WSU and they broke up. Melissa told Ana that Andrew had some issues. He was afraid that Melissa would leave him for someone else…so he broke up with her. Andrew was then working at GEH…but really there was nothing I could do. I talked to him and the only thing he told me was that Melissa was better off without him. It took him three months to finally pull his head out of his ass and he asked Melissa for a second chance. Melissa made him work for it…but in the end they got together. From what I see and hear, Andrew makes her really happy.
Instead of becoming a social worker Melissa decided to study English literature. Ana hired her as an intern where she will start next week. Melissa will be mentored by Ana's grandfather who is now working part time at Lambert Publishing as an editor. Ana only goes to the office for important meetings or when an author explicitly asks for her. Mike still handles the day to day business.
Ana's grandparent's still live in Seattle. The days that Ana's grandfather is at Lambert Publishing, Nana spends the days at our home with Ana and the girls. I guess they are catching up on lost time.
"Hey big brother." She smiles and hugs me. "Thank you for the amazing honeymoon…" She says with teary eyes. "England was amazing."
"You are welcome." I say and take my little sister in a hug.
"Hey Andrew…" I shake his hand and clap him on his shoulder.
"Hey Christian. What's up? How are things at GEH?" He asks anxiously.
"You are still on vacation. And don't dare and call Barney he won't answer your calls. Monday morning Andrew…"
"Where are the girls?" Melissa asks looking around.
"Well Alexandra is with Felicity." Ana says. "Elizabeth is also in her room…" Ana stares at the box in that is still laying on the floor and sighs.
"Oh, we came here directly from the airport because I missed my girls. Can you send them down please Christian?"
"I will. I just need to talk to Elizabeth." I say looking at Melissa and Andrew.
As I walk the stairs up to her room I look at the pictures covering the walls. Everyone is represented…except Ana's mother.
Despite several attempts to dissuade Ana from talking to her mother she just wouldn't listen to me. She even wouldn't listen to her grandparents who thought that it was a horrible idea. Alexandra was three months old at the time when Carla started calling. In the end when Ana finally gathered the courage to talk to her, Carla begged her to let her visit. She told her she had changed and that she was working on being a better mother. Bull-fucking-shit. However Ana being Ana thought Carla fucking Adams deserved a chance.
I watch my wife as she is pacing the living room wringing her hands. She looks rather pale and every time she looks at me her eyes are big and questioning.
"Ana baby, you don't have to do this. I can still ask Taylor to escort her back to the airport." I say when I hear a car door opening and close.
"No…I want to do this…I need to do this. Maybe she is telling the truth and she has changed. What kind of horrible daughter would that make me if I didn't gave her a second chance?" Biting my tongue I pull her towards me and kiss the top of her head repeatedly.
"Mrs. Grey, Mr. Grey." Taylor says opening the door to the living room. "Mrs. Adams is here." Taylor gives me a pointed look as he steps aside to let Cruella enter the room.
"Anastasia…" Carla says. Her eyes frantically searching the room. She looks nervous and the smile she is giving Ana is fake.
"Carla…" Ana says nervously as she looks at her mother. "Please have a seat." Ana gestures to the couch. Ana herself takes a seat on the loveseat next to Alexandra's bassinet.
"Christian…" Carla nods politely. I don't even bother in replying. Because I can feel it in my bones…Carla Adams came here with a purpose and that purpose was definitely not to meet her first granddaughter or to make amends with her only daughter.
"Look mom…this is Alexandra Grace Grey…she is my little girl…would you like to meet her?" Ana says looking from the bassinet to her mother.
"Anastasia." She sighs. "All babies are the same." She waves her hand dismissively in the air and looks around boldly.
"Oh…" Ana says clearly hurt.
"Why are you here Carla?" I ask and take a seat next to my wife who looks uncomfortable and incredibly hurt.
"Straight to the point right Christian?" She says. "I like your house." Her eyes lit up in an unnerving way that makes my skin crawl.
"So, how have you been doing?" Ana says in an attempt to break the awful tension. "You mentioned that you were seeing a psychiatrist." Ana says hopeful. Oh baby.
Slowly Carla turns her head until her attention is completely focused on Ana. "Oh I did see a psychiatrist, but I just figured out that I wasn't really sure if I really wanted to be a mother…and God knows I am too young to be a grandmother, so I decided that I wanted to be free. I wanted…for once in my life that things would be about me…" She points with her finger against her chest dramatically.
"But it was always about you…" Ana whispers. "I thought…god I am so stupid…" She whispers.
"Just like your father. Always so gullible…so naive…"
"What do you want? Why are you really here if you don't want to meet your granddaughter?" Ana asks. Her voice trembling.
"I need money." She says matter of fact. "That is all you have to offer me Ana…just money…"
"Right…" Ana clears her throat and I see the tears in her eyes when she looks at me.
"Christian will you please get my checkbook?"
"Please…just trust me okay?" She says squeezing my hand.
When I return they are both sitting in silence. Ana has Alexandra, who is fussing in her arms whispering sweet little words into her ear.
"Here you are baby."
"Thank you." She says and hands me Alexandra after kissing her cheek lovingly.
While Ana is writing the check she looks one time at her mother. Every expression of sadness has left her beautiful face and is now replaced by determination.
"What are you going to do with the money Carla?" Ana says looking up.
"I am joining a commune in India…I want to focus on spirituality and…"
"Okay…I know enough." Ana says holding her hand ordering her to stop speaking.
"Here you go…" Rising from her seat Ana hands her the check. "That is all you are ever going to get from my husband and me. Don't ever come back again. Don't ever…ever call me." Ana takes a deep breath and crosses her arms in front of her chest. "You are right…I might be gullible and naïve, but I am glad that I am not an evil, egocentrically human being. I will always…and I mean always put my daughter first. I will make sure she knows that I love her…unconditionally, like a mother should love her children. I will make sure that no one will hurt her and I will always make sure that she knows that she can always count on me."
"Anastasia…but…this is …this is not enough!" Carla shrieks looking appalled at the check in her hand.
"Hundred and fifty dollars…that is not enough…" She continues.
"Taylor!" Ana calls out completely ignoring her mother's objections.
"Ana…" He says and looks worried from me to Ana. He scowls when his gaze stops at Carla.
"Will you please take my mother to the airport and put her on the first flight to India…oh and please let it be a single ticket."
"Anastasia…" Carla starts.
"Carla…hundred and fifty dollars is a lot of money in India. I would say…use it wisely…Goodbye."
We never discussed Carla Adams again. Every now and then I ask Taylor to check up on her. From the little information he tells me Carla Adams is still living in India. I don't think that she found her spirituality though…I think she had to find a …job. Carla Adams was kicked out of the commune after one week. Without any money or place to live she was forced to take on a job as a maid for a famous Bollywood actress. Being a maid here in the US or housekeeper is not so bad, however in India it is entirely different. The irony is that in India being a maid is not even considered a profession. They aren't even entitled to pension or post-retirement benefits.
Taylor made sure that Carla Adam's passport got 'lost' right after her airplane landed in India. One call to the US embassy guaranteed us that Carla will never ever will be able to leave India again.
I stop when I round the corner of the hallway that leads to the girl's bedroom. Alexandra is walking out of Felicity's bedroom with her little sister on her arms. Cooing softly into her ear she slips into Elizabeth rooms where she leaves the door partly open.
When I am sure that they won't see me I walk towards the door and peek through the opening.
"Hey Elizabeth…why are you crying?" Alexandra asks. I hear some rustling and some sniffling.
"I am not crying…" Elizabeth replies stubbornly. I roll my eyes. Christ that kid is stubborn.
"Oh okay…then why are you sad?" Alexandra tries. Smart kid.
"Because mommy and daddy are mad at me…and daddy yelled…and…and…he didn't let me explain…" She sobs. Fuck she is right. I didn't let her explain.
"Tell me what happened okay?"
"Christian?" I hear from behind me. "What are you doing?" Anastasia asks. I just bring my finger to my lips and point towards the door. Anastasia smiles and nods her head.
"Camelot was playing in the meadow…and I wanted to play with him." She sniffs. "And then…well I saw that he was playing with something…when I looked I saw that it was a frog…Mr. Frog…" I see her nodding her head wisely as she stares at her big sister.
"Hmm…okay and what exactly happened with Mr. Frog?" Alexandra says cautiously.
"Well poor Mr. Frog had lost two of his skinny legs…and then I decided that I needed to help him…like a doctor…like grandma Grace…" Elizabeth is pouting as she stares at her fumbling hands.
"So, I ran into the house and got a box from the storage room…I quickly ran back to the meadow and I placed Mr. Frog in it and I whispered to him that I would make him better. But then I asked mommy for a bandage…you know for his legs and she screamed really hard…" Elizabeth's bottom lip starts trembling and she throws herself into her sister's arms. As is watch my girls through the door my heart almost burst out of my chest when I see sleepy Felicity climbing to her feet and patting Elizabeth's head softly.
"And now…I think that Mr. Frost is with the angel frogs…" Elizabeth cries.
"Maybe it will be not so bad." Alexandra says.
"Will you help me make Mr. Frog better again?" Elizabeth asks looking up with teary eyes full of hope.
"Uhm…you see Elizabeth I am not really fond of frogs…just like mommy."
"Okay…I understand." Elizabeth says nodding her head. "You can't help it…" She sighs.
Alexandra giggles and hugs her sister again. "Oh Elizabeth…"
"Alexandra?" Elizabeth asks in a really tiny voice.
"Do you think I am naughty?"
"Well sometimes, but I don't think you do it on purpose. I think you just get really enthusiastic and then you don't think clearly…" Alexandra explains.
"Is that bad?"
"No…it is not. I think you are really brave and very creative. I never told you but I secretively really loved the flower you painted…"
Elizabeth's face breaks into a beautiful smile. "I liked my flower too!" She squeals.
Then as if she remembers something she gets sad again. "Do you think that mommy and daddy are going to send me away?" Elizabeth whispers.
"No! Mom and dad would never, ever do that Elizabeth. They love us to the moon and back!" Alexandra replies. "Why would you even think that?" Alexandra is holding Elizabeth's face in her hands.
"Well…Colt told me…he told me that I was a little terrorist and that mommy and daddy would send me away…"
"Colt? That new neighbor guy?" Alexandra asks indignantly.
"Well Colt is a big fat liar…and I am going to kick his stupid ass for telling you things like that!" That's my girl. Fuck that makes me proud as punch.
"But he is a lot older than you Alexandra! He is going to hurt you!" Elizabeth whispers.
Alexandra snorts and brushes the curls from her sister's face. "I am going to call Sam, Zackery and Jesse and then we are going to tell that stupid Colt that you don't mess with a Grey!"
"Okay…" Elizabeth replies.
"Come, why don't we lie down for a minute…until mom calls us for dinner." Alexandra says.
"But my bed is too small…" Elizabeth whines.
"We could go to mom and dad's room." Alexandra says.
"But we are not allowed to go into mom and dad's room Alexandra."
"Sure we are. They just want us to knock before we enter…but mom and dad are not in their room right now…they are probably downstairs…kissing…" Alexandra says making Elizabeth grin.
"Sam kissed you the other day." Elizabeth says looking up at Alexandra who starts to blush immediately. Instead of denying it Alexandra shrugs. "It was my birthday…" She replies simply. And then she sighs. "But he is really handsome…and silly…he makes me laugh all the time." Alexandra says with a dreamy look on her face. "I think that I am going to marry Sam."
I clench my fists at my side and scream in my head. YOU ARE NOT DATING UNTIL YOU ARE FORTY-ISH!
Looking down at Ana is see that she is giving me an apologetic look.
No one ever told me that girls dream about their wedding from the time they are toddlers. Actually, Ana told me but I simply refused to believe her…that is until Alexandra acted out a pretend wedding rehearsal in fucking detail. However…back then it was me she wanted to marry and now Sam has overtaken my place as groom-to-be. Well. We will see about that!
Because another thing that no one ever told me, is how irrationally crushed I would be the first time my little girl wanted to marry the handsome, silly boy that makes her laugh all the time, instead of me. Another thing that no one ever told me is how sappy I would get while listening to the "Butterfly kisses" song. No one ever told me how much I would genuinely enjoy manicures, pedicures and tea parties, but I do.
When I look down I see that Ana has tears running down her cheeks.
"Happy tears?" I ask brushing them away with my thumb.
Ana nods and buries her face in my chest. "They are perfect Christian. I think we did good don't you think?"
I nod my head, simply because I am too overwhelmed by what I just heard.
"I think our wish came true." Ana continues. "Our girls know how much we love them and we just have to make sure that while they walk through the rest of their lives they know that we will always be here for them, anyway we can."
"You are right baby."
If I could give my daughters three things, it would be the confidence to always know their self-worth, the strength to chase their dreams and the ability to know how truly, deeply loved they are.
Somehow, even though I made mistakes I must have done something right to deserve the unconditional love I get from my wife and daughters. They managed to turn my bland, boring life into something beautiful by making all the ordinary moments feel like extraordinary ones.
Hi ladies! Well this is the end of Wish…well sort of because I might add some one shots when inspiration hits me.
I want to thank you all for your support during these last few months. You all have been wonderful.
I will be updating "Someday" in July.