Twenty-two students are present on the very first day of class.
This particular classroom isn't typical on the sizeable campus of Stanford University. The room features a select group of elite individuals.
They are the brightest and best of the bright and best.
"How about we go around and introduce ourselves," the middle-aged male professor states in front of the class.
"Please state your name, where you're from, and tell us where do you see yourself…five years from now."
One student in particular appears to be aloof. He's always found these introductory icebreaker exercises to be especially lame. The copper-haired, blue-eyed young man would rather be out playing baseball somewhere than sitting here in this room with these 'narrow-minded people'.
Kicking off the introduction is a junior hailing from Iowa who speaks of his hopes of eventually landing a tech job in Silicon Valley.
'This ass munch has no idea that robots will be doing all of the programming soon,' the copper-haired young man laughs to himself.
As each student gives their introduction, the copper-haired kid mocks each one of them to himself.
Soon, his turn to speak arrives.
"And you?" the professor prompts the young man.
"My name is Ted Grey from Seattle, Washington – and five years from now, I am going to take over the world."
Everyone in the room laughs, but the young man keeps a straight face.
"Take over the world doing what?" challenges the professor.
"Everything under the sun. It's difficult to pinpoint just one thing in particular," he says in all seriousness.
"Oh, it's that Grey kid. He doesn't even have to work for a living…his parents are gazillionaires," another student scoffs in the background.
"Fair enough," Ted says nodding smugly with a tightened lip.
"However, I'm in college because I want to be. You're all here because you have to be. So who here has the most heart?" he challenges. His pretentious remark is met with a few chuckles, scoffs, and eye rolls.
"Mr. Grey…not only do you have heart, but you apparently have great balls to match. We'll find out by the end of the semester if in fact your heart also matches that big mouth of yours," the professor quips, borderline amused.
The classroom breaks out into laughter while Ted sits back with the same smug expression on his face.
No one had a clue that on the inside, Ted is actually the polar opposite of what he portrays on the outside. His pompous attitude is nothing like the fragile heart that resides within a thick and tough self-constructed shell.
Hidden inside is a young boy who desperately wants to please his father.
A young boy with big impossible shoes to fill.
I am now staring age 42 directly in the mouth.
As difficult as it was getting used to the fact of turning 40 this time the year before last, I'm clearly on my way deep into the dreaded 'over forty' category. Thankfully, many people often compliment me on how I don't look my age, especially my children and their friends.
My four kids are my entire world. The youngest two…the twins are turning 13 next month. Identical twins Beth and Brie are very difficult to tell apart. However, I'm their mother and the only person that they can't dupe. They are two peas in a pod and they simply adore their older sister.
Next up in line is Miss Phoebe. She reminds me a lot of myself at her age. She's 16 and entering her junior year in high school. Phoebe tries to keep to herself and read books, but for some reason people just gravitate to her like a magnet. Not only is she close to her little sisters, but she also has quite the bond with her big brother who's currently away at college.
That leaves my only son, Teddy. Just starting his second year at Stanford, he is a stellar student. At age 18, not only is he quite strong academically, but he also has the gift of gab. Theodore Raymond Grey can talk himself out of any jam…and he can also talk himself right into one in the very same breath.
For some reason, members on the Grey side of the family took major issue with Teddy choosing Stanford over Harvard and Yale. All three universities accepted my bright baby boy.
I have a hunch concerning the reason why Teddy chose to pick a school here on the west coast. Not only does he want to remain close to family, but there's also someone else.
Teddy will never admit it though.
Christian, my husband and Ted's father has the exact same hunch as I do concerning our son's true intention for staying out west. That's why Christian initially urged Ted to select an Ivy League institution…far away from Seattle.
Instead, Ted does the exact opposite of what his father wants. Christian often says that our son probably gets his stubbornness from me.
He may be right.
I arrive home from work just as Mrs. Taylor and the girls are preparing the table for dinner. We Greys always eat dinner together as a family.
It's a rule.
"Mom – after dinner, can me and the twins go to the mall right quick? There's this cute skirt I want," Phoebe asks.
Before I can respond, Christian breezes in while pulling off his tie. He kisses me quickly on the cheek and then turns to face our eldest daughter.
"Not tonight, Phoebe. You girls can wait until Saturday. It's late and a school night," Christian says authoritatively. Phoebe gapes at her father and then turns to me.
"You heard your father. Saturday," I say warmly.
Phoebe and her siblings know better than to pit their parents against each other. When it comes to the children, Christian and I remain a united front.
Phoebe pouts, but her loving father kisses her forehead anyway.
"Bethany…Brianna," Christian summons the twins by their proper names from across the room. They both approach their dad for a hug and then embrace me in turn.
"Let's eat," Christian declares, rubbing his hands together in anticipation.
Right about now, my family is probably gathered around the dinner table enjoying a wonderful meal prepared by Mrs. Taylor. I can see my little sisters laughing it up and having a good time with our parents.
I miss that.
On the flipside, there's me sitting in my dormitory eating a bowl of wretched cheap 'just add water' noodles. Yeah – it's quite hilarious if you ask me, being that my folks are billionaires and all.
My father refused to pay for me to have an apartment. He told me that living the dorm life would keep me humble. Quite frankly, I think it's the institution of curfews in the residence hall that was the most appealing to my father.
If I lived in an apartment, there would be no rules. However, I'm sure he'd just as well hire a henchman to keep his sights on me around the clock. Hell…who's to say that my father, 'The Christian Grey' – one of the world's most powerful entrepreneurs doesn't have one of his goons hot on my tail right this second? Perhaps he even hired the RA here in my residence hall.
I wouldn't put anything past my dad.
I also believe that I'm still living in a dorm as punishment. Me deciding on Stanford instead of Harvard was the ultimate 'slap to the face' for my father. I honestly don't think that he has any emotional allegiance to Harvard anyway. He fucking dropped out after his second year for god's sake.
What I do think is that he wants to keep me far away from Seattle. Ever since the day that my mom caught Sophie Taylor and I together, things were never the same between my dad and me.
A/N: The next story in this series is titled "Family Business." Like B&P, the tie-in will be 'life at Grey House'. The story will be told from both Ted's and Ana's POV.
I know a lot of you LOVE Christian's POV. However, since Christian will be a very powerful obstacle in the next story, I decided to let his thoughts remain a mystery. :D Also, I am currently writing "Taking Care of Business" from CG's POV, and writing from his perspective is not an easy thing to do.
There will be plenty of flashbacks in order to fill in some of the blanks, including the births of the children. I will try to interject a lot more humor in order to offset the very dramatic moments.
My hope is to post chapter one soon. However, please don't expect frequent updates until I conclude TCB.
Thank you so much for reading this story. I appreciate each and every one of my readers like you wouldn't believe.
Peace and Love – ST2
PS: Special thanks to my new beta Cypher7 for polishing up the epilogue. I look forward to working with you moving forward. :)