This is the last chapter in Part 6. I will continue to write shorts. I am working on a short story for Ana's birthday. I will never say that this is my last full length story, because I never know when Christian and Ana will speak to me. I will say thank you all for being with me on my journey. These past four years have been incredible and they would not have been possible without my readers.
IN MILE HIGH HEELS, Kate stands up from a corner booth and waves me over. Our favorite spread of not-so-good-for-you goodness fills the table. Along with two empty plates, silverware, napkins, two glasses of water, and to paper sleeves of chopsticks. I have always strived to use those darn things with finesse and no spillage. It is also one goal I have never achieved in spite of my many attempts.
I weave between the tables full of Seattleites out on their lunch breaks, all dressed in their office attire. At the end of the maze of business men and women, I am wrapped into a hug by my best friend.
"Love the skirt!" Kate says beaming at me when she pulls back from the embrace. "And the baby, love the baby." Now she's cooing and kissing at Phoebe who is staring up at her from her wrap. "You're the perfect accessory, aren't you baby girl? Your eyes are the most perfect shade of blue."
Phoebe puckers her pink lips up and blows out a stream of drool. "I think she agrees."
"Of course, she knows how beautiful she is."
"She most certainly does. Her daddy tells her she is beautiful every day."
An hour later the bowls and plates of food are noticeably less full. In contrast my stomach is about to burst. Phoebe has long ago become bored with the conversation between Kate and me. She is asleep in her wrap. Oblivious to the world around her. Teddy slept a lot at this age, but he was also very interested in people. Phoebe could care less about trying to keep her eyes open to take in the sights when she is tired. She is a little sponge unless she is tired. Nothing gets in the way of her sleep.
Kate slurps up the last noodle from her bowl. "Anastasia Grey stay-at-home-mom, I always knew this day would come."
"Ana, you've always been the maternal type. I've told you this before. It comes easily for you."
Being a mother comes easily to Kate too. She is perfect with Ava. "You're a natural too."
"I'm a natural blonde," she pushes the hair of her loose ponytail over her shoulder. "You're a natural mother. I love my Ava to pieces, but staying at home isn't something I have ever wanted to do. I need the nonstop vibe of a busy work day. Deadlines to meet, stories to cover, being where news is when it happens, I love the rush of adrenaline I get when sink my teeth into a good story."
She's right, Kate has always been on the prowl for a good story. If she can get to a piece before any other reporter does then it's even better.
"Elliot is cutting back on how hands on he is with the construction company for the next six months. When Ava is one he will pick back up on it. For now, he's staying at home with her."
Elliot Grey, much like his brother, wants to see his wife go after her dream. I am not surprised by the news Kate has just shared. Besides, Elliot's world also revolves around his baby girl.
"What happens when Ava turns one?"
"We are looking at the top preschools in the area. I've already toured two of them. We have two more tours next week and then I'll make a choice."
"Six months before you enroll her?"
"Of course, silly," Kate laughs, "I have to get her on a waiting list."
A waiting list for preschool? My best friend and sister-in-law is looking at me like I should have known that preschools have waiting lists. I'm looking at her like…well like I'm in shock to find this out. It's a preschool for goodness sake not a preparatory school. By the way she's acting she is filling out enrollment papers for Ava to attend Yale or Harvard.
"You haven't looked at preschools for Teddy?"
"No?" My answer ends with an upswing in my tone of voice. I'm answering her question with a semi question of my own. Should I be?
Ummmm….because I'm staying at home with him. That's the reason I'm staying at home and not going to work every day, to be with him. Why would I send him to preschool if I'm at home? This makes no sense to me. Mom stayed at home with me. Of course she had her occasional candle making or stained glass making venture, but she was always at home with me. Ray worked and Mom stayed at home. My subconscious looks up from her tattered edition of What to Expect: The Toddler Years and nods at me in agreement. I will stay at home with my children until they are ready to start Kindergarten. Don't you think you should include Christian in this conversation? Now my subconscious is questioning my one handed manner of dealing with this.
Christian will want our children to have the best education possible. He will also want them at home with me. I am certain that we can find a happy medium in all of this, we always do when it comes to Teddy and Phoebe. For now there is only one answer I can think to give to my best friend, who is currently staring me down waiting for me to speak.
"Because I'm staying at home with him." I give her a much simpler answer than the dissertation I just spoke to myself in my mind.
"Oh," is her initial, and short, response. "There's nothing wrong with that, Ana." She is quick to continue speaking. I think she's covering up her true feelings about the matter until her facial expression shifts to her warm Kate smile. "You're going to be the perfect stay-at-home-mom, but then I've already told you that."
"Thank you, I hope so. This little one and her brother will keep me on my toes."
"There will never be a dull moment."
"Never," I laugh and think about the little boy in my dream. I keep the vision of him, the third baby trailing behind Teddy and Phoebe, to myself. There's no need to share that with her right now. The time for that will come soon enough.
We finish spending the small amount of time we have together talking about other things. No more serious talk is needed today. Just the small talk and chit chat between two best friends resides between us until it is time to leave. We exchange hugs and Kate kisses her sleeping niece.
"I'll call you next week?"
"Sure, I think Grace is planning a Sunday barbeque for next weekend."
We say goodbye and part ways. Taylor waiting in the car for me and helps me with my things, as I secure Phoebe in her seat. "Where to, Mrs. Grey?"
"Home, Taylor." I settle back in my seat and allow my eyes to close. Teddy will be up to his usual mischief when I arrive. It is best that I try to get a small nap in now while I have the chance.
AN AFTERNOON OF LAUGHTER, toddler sass, baby cries, smiles, and a few stubborn Teddy Grey foot stomping moments give way to a quiet evening. Tucked in the crook of his daddy's arm, the once zippy and energetic, Teddy is now rubbing his eyes in an attempt to stay awake. He wants to hear the rest of the story that is being read to him.
"I did have a mother, said the baby bird. I know I did, I have to find her."
I love the way Christian manipulates his voice when he reads a book. He brings the pages to life for our little boy. He's so much better at it than I am. I suppose that's why he is Teddy's chosen bedtime story reader and I am not. I don't mind the rejection. I would rather listen and allow my lips to be busy smiling. When I hear my husband read to our babies my face almost aches with glee. He's more. He is so much more. My more.
"My mudder, Daddy. Mommy is my mudder." My Teddy bear shifts and points to where I am sitting in the chair nursing his baby sister. Phoebe's eyes open for a second at the sound of her brother's voice. She already recognizes when he is near. I love that.
"She is your mother, son." Christian kisses the messy curls atop our son's head, and continues on with the story. Not so long ago my Fifty would never have picked this book up and read it to himself or to our son. Even the dark night air surrounding us from the outside, this dimply lit family room glows with brilliant light. The light is not coming from the lap in the corner, but it is coming from within Christian's heart.
By the time he reaches the last line his audience has already drifted off to sleep. "You are a bird, and you are my mother." He closes the book and sets it down on the floor beside him noiselessly. "And he's asleep."
"Out like a light." I look over to my Ted and then down at my girl. "She is asleep too."
"Should we take them and tuck them into their beds, Mommy?"
"We should, Daddy."
GOOD NIGHT KISSES. NIGHT light. Lullaby music. Crack the door and tip toe down the hall. The nightly ritual and checklist for tucking Teddy into bed has been done. In our room I place Phoebe in her bassinette. She doesn't make a peep. She keeps on sleeping. I know she will wake me when she is hungry in a few hours.
Christian steps in front of me. He's a rumpled mess of deliciousness. Finely pressed seams, sharp corners, and the immaculate grooming of the CEO have fallen away over the course of the evening. All of those perfections have been replaced sleeves rolled up to his elbows, a few damp spots from bath time are still visible on the front of his shirt, and there's a spaghetti sauce stain near his right shoulder. Teddy reached out for a hug in the middle of dinner. I love CEO Christian, hell I love naked sexy dominate Christian, but Daddy Christian is my favorite.
"Good day, Mrs. Grey?"
"Good day, Mr. Grey." I stretch and yawn. I bring my arms down from above my head and walk into Christian's embrace, placing them on his shoulders. "The first of many good days to come."
"Thank you, Ana."
"For this. For our children. For being with them. For being their mother."
"I love them. I love you."
We could talk more about our days. I could tell him about my lunch with Kate and our conversation about preschools. I could gossip about Hannah and the ladies at work. There are so many things we could discuss, but in this moment I choose to do none of those things. This time is ours and I want to spend it on us.
"What do you say we get naked and get under the sheets, Sir?" I raise an eyebrow at my husband and bite my bottom lip. I know I'm driving him wild.
"Are you propositioning me for sex, Mrs. Grey?" He feigns innocence and shock. He's so fuck hot. I want him now.
"Call it a strong invitation." I toss back at him coyly.
"Call it," he puts his hands on my hips and jerks me forward. His voice is as forceful as his actions. I'm so close to him that there is no space between us. I can feel him and he's ready for me. "Accepted." He smacks my bottom hard and I giggle until we fall into a tangled mess on our bed.
There is an abundance of emotion and sensuality between us. Everything that exists in the world that is Christian's and mine can only be described as love. It is one word comprised of only four letters. It is so simple yet so complex. Love. It is what made my Fifty Shades Complete.