Disclaimer: I own nothing except for original characters and entirely made-up plot lines. No copyright infringement intended. The thoughts and actions of the characters do not represent my own beliefs. I hope you enjoy it, my lovelies.

I'm a little bit nervous about posting this but hey, now is as good a time as any!

Welcome to the sequel to Maîtrise!

This is a direct carry-on from Maîtrise. In terms of plot, Maîtrise ended in April 2012. The Vow begins in June 2012.

If you haven't read Maîtrise, I strongly recommend you do. You simply won't understand a word of what's going on here otherwise.

Stylistically, The Vow will be slightly different to Maîtrise. Whilst most of the story will remain in Ana's perspective, there will be some chapters written in the third-person POV of Christian. The reason for this will become clear as the story develops, I promise.

I will aim to update this story as frequently and regularly as I can. However, I am currently the main carer for one of my relatives who is unwell and, as such, there may be slight delays here and there. I have pre-written a number of chapters and hope that this will help me stay ahead. If there are delays, feel free to send me a polite message and I'll update you on when I'm likely to post a new chapter. If you are in any way bothered or upset by delays, I suggest you wait until this story is marked complete before you read it.

All guest reviews are moderated. Any abusive or rude comments will be deleted.

I really hope you enjoy this story. I have enjoyed revisiting our favourite couple.

Much Love,

Chelsea x


It wasn't the first time Kate Kavanagh had been summoned to her boss's office, so she rose from her desk with ease and not hesitation.

Since she began working at Grey Enterprises Holdings two months ago, Kate had spent a lot of time with the CEO himself. She had earned her stripes and proved herself as a vital cog in his thriving PR department.

On some level, she and Christian had also become friends. They had cleared the air and started from scratch, now understanding each other much better than they had in the beginning. They now had a shared interest and both wanted the same thing.

To make sure Ana was safe and happy, no matter what.

Kate smoothed down her figure-hugging skirt as she stepped out of the elevator. She bypassed the blondes on the reception desk who were guarding Christian's floor with their stern expressions and judgemental eyes. She went straight to Christian's door and let herself in, not bothering to knock first.

"You wanted to see me?" she called into the room.

She came to an abrupt stop as two sets of eyes fixed on her. Her skin began to tingle under the weight of a certain shade of blue.

"Thank you for coming so quickly," Christian thanked her. He was sat at the board table and pointed to the seat opposite his. "Come join us. There's something we need to discuss."

Gulping down her bout of sudden nerves, Kate teetered across the office and sat down. She tentatively placed her forearms on the table and let out a small puff of air.

"Is something wrong?" she asked, focusing on Christian. She couldn't bring herself to glance at the head of the table, where his brother was sitting. If she dared look at him, she knew her heart would start pounding and she needed to keep her concentration.

Christian slowly turned his head towards Elliot, his lips firmly pursed.

"What's going on?" Kate demanded. Her brows came together in the middle of her forehead. "Is it Ana? Is she okay?"

"Ana's fine," Christian nodded, quick to settle her doubts. He slid his hand across the table to where his cell phone was sitting. He tapped his fingers on the blank screen, as if it was a direct connection to his one true love. "I checked in on her just a few minutes ago. She's at work. She's fine."

Kate breathed a sigh of relief.

Since the incident at Maîtrise, even the slightest concern about Ana's welfare triggered anxiety in both Kate and Christian. Ana had been wrapped in cotton wool for a long time after the attack, but slowly Christian had succumbed to her wishes to finally start work at Seattle Independent Publishers. She was desperate to regain some control over her life and Christian was happy to oblige. He knew how important control was in the aftermath of trauma.

It didn't stop him from texting her a hundred times throughout the day, however. To some people that would sound excessive, but for Christian it was necessary. It was the only thing that kept him calm.

"But this is about Ana," Christian added. He turned his head to Elliot again, as if looking for moral support. "Something happened this morning and it's changed things slightly."

Kate forced her eyes towards Elliot, confusion beginning to consume her. He was slouched in his seat but despite his aloof mannerism, his eyes betrayed him. She found his usually boyish features impassive and serious.

As she had predicted, her pulse quickened. It pained Kate how much of an affect he still had on her. They had mostly avoided each other in recent weeks, but remained friendly when they were in the same room. Kate knew she wouldn't tread that line with Elliot again. He had put an end to their budding romance. That was all she needed to know. He clearly wasn't interested.

Elliot nodded at Christian, urging him to continue.

"I'm going to need your help with something," Christian began, drawing his grey gaze back to Kate. His eyes looked tired and more creased than usual. "I need you to keep an eye on Ana for me."

Kate's frown deepened. "Why?"

"Because I need to know she's safe when I'm not with her," he replied.

"Isn't that why she has her own personal security detail?"

"Yes," Christian sighed. "But it's important that she doesn't feel suffocated. I know she hates feeling like she's being watched 24-7. If you're with her, she won't feel like she's being checked on and I'll know she's safe."

While Kate appreciated his trust in her, she still didn't understand what was going on.

"I have something I need to deal with," Christian said coyly. "It's going to take up a fair amount of my time, so while I'm pursuing this I need to know Ana isn't being neglected in any way."

"Okay, I have so many questions," Kate shook her head at him. "But first of all, how am I supposed to be with Ana all the time when we're both working?"

"It won't be all the time," he said. "I'm not going to let anything come between me and Ana. But, on occasion, I might need to focus on this."

"And that's where I come in?"

He nodded.

"So what's going on?" Kate asked. She held his stare. "If I'm going to be a part of this, whatever it is, I need to know what's happening."

Christian inhaled a deep breath and glanced at Elliot.

"She has a right to know," Elliot told him. "She'll find out sooner or later anyway."

"I know," Christian huffed. He lifted his hand to his face and pinched the bridge of his nose. "I just wish I hadn't got that fucking call this morning."

Kate hesitated and looked between the two brothers.

If Christian was going to devote his time to something other than Ana, it would have to be serious.

A horrible feeling settled in the pit of her stomach.

"You're not sick, are you?" she worried, dropping her voice to a whisper. "You're not –"

"No," Christian grunted, shaking his head immediately. "No, I'm not sick. It's nothing like that."

"Thank God," Kate blew out her cheeks. At least that's something… "So what the hell is it then?"

Elliot stretched across to Christian and placed a hand on his forearm.

"You got this," he muttered.

Christian slowly lifted his chin and met Kate's eye. His jaw clenched.

"The woman who tried to kill Ana," he began. "She was my business partner."

"I know," Kate nodded.

"We had a sexual relationship," he sighed. Kate's brows shot up her forehead. "It ended many years ago, long before I met Ana."


"She seduced me when I was fifteen," he revealed. He reeled back his shoulders, preparing to say the words out loud for the first time. "She abused me."

"What?" Kate gasped, her hand flying up to her mouth. "Christian –"

"She controlled me for years," he continued. His voice strengthened the more he spoke. "She controlled everything – the women I had affairs with, my relationship with my family, my business deals. Everything. I didn't see it at the time but my eyes opened when Ana came into my life. She made me see that it was wrong."

"Is that why she tried to hurt Ana?" Kate muttered. Her throat had become dry, making her voice gravelly. "Did she know you and Ana were a couple?"

Christian nodded. "She saw Ana as a threat. She knew I was starting to pull away from her, so she decided that the only way she could keep hold of me was to get rid of Ana."

"Jesus Christ –"

He lowered his eyes to the table. Kate followed his gaze and saw he was staring at a black, leather bound notebook.

"When the police told me she'd died in the fire, I was relieved," he said. "I thought, finally, I can move on with my life. I identified her fucking body to make sure it was actually her. I smiled when I left that room, knowing that she couldn't torment us again."


"Like the monster she was, somehow she's found a way to fuck with me from beyond the grave," he grimaced.

"What do you mean?"

"That –" He nodded at the notebook. "It belonged to her."

"And why do you have it?"

"Her attorney called me this morning," he explained. "She had the foresight to organise a will and the bitch left everything to me."

"What? Are you serious?"

He arched his brow at her. Kate backed down, holding up her hand.

"She left everything to me. Her house, the businesses, all of her assets," he grunted, scrunching his nose in disgust. "She had a safety deposit box. Her attorney delivered the contents of it earlier. That notebook was the only thing in it."

"Why would she leave you a notebook?"

"I don't think she intended on Christian seeing it," Elliot piped up. He sat forward in his seat. "We read her will and it didn't say anything about the box and believe me, she listed everything she owned. I think her attorney just factored the box into her assets."

Kate paused, ribbing her lip between her teeth. Her eyes settled on the book, the mere sight of it making her skin crawl.

"What's in it?" she asked hesitantly.

"Details of every sexual relationship she had," Christian huffed. He rubbed his cheek with his fingers, the harshness of his touch making his skin turn red. "Names, dates, what she did with them."

"She kept details?"

"Graphic details," he nodded. "I'm in there."

Kate closed her eyes. She shuddered. She had never even met the woman and she hated her with a passion.

"I didn't want to look at it but I couldn't stop myself," Christian explained. "She listed everyone from me to the detective she was using. She also included our ages and personal details."

She slowly opened her eyes and met Christian's gaze once more. His eyes were a cloudy mix of sadness and anger.

"I'm glad I looked," he said. "Because now I know what I need to do. What needs to happen to gain some closure from this nightmare."

"You weren't the only kid she abused, were you?" Kate guessed.

Christian shook his head.

"She tried to seduce Elliot before me but he turned her down," he replied. "From what I've read so far, she preyed on at least two other boys after I ended our affair."

Tears began to well in Kate's eyes. She was sickened to her core.

"My God, Christian…" she sighed, shaking her head. "You need to take that to the police."

"After the way they've treated us?" he shot back, frowning hard. "The detective supposedly leading the investigation turned out to be her fucking toy boy. No, I am not letting those bastards handle this. I won't let them fuck this up. It's too important."

Kate shrunk back under the force of his words.

"I'm going to deal with this myself," he declared. "The police won't be able to do shit anyway. From the dates she had these affairs, it's past the statute of limitations… and she's dead. How can the police possibly help now, after all these years?"

"I don't know, but I don't think you should be –"

"I have to track them down," he said with a sigh. "I need to make sure they get the help they need. She fucked with my head, God knows what she did to them."

"But how –"

"Kate, she tried to kill Ana," he persisted, needing to justify his decision. "She tortured José. She was a fucking monster. I need to make sure that any of her other victims get the help they need. The help they deserve."

Kate nodded her head, understanding his urge to seek out these men. She looked down at the notebook and blinked slowly, a single tear tumbling down her cheek.

"Here –"

She raised her chin and saw Elliot reaching out to her, a tissue in his hand. He smiled.

"Thank you," she whispered. She dabbed the tissue to her cheek. "I had no idea about any of this. I knew she was evil from what she did to Ana and José but…"

"It took me a long time to come to my senses," Christian nodded. "I need to at least find these men and see if they need help."

"What kind of help do you think they'd need?"

"Therapy," he shrugged. "I've been in therapy for years but it's only recently I've begun reassessing my relationship with her. Before this I had only ever discussed my childhood."

Christian had revealed his childhood trauma to Kate during their interview, while Ana was in hospital. To know that he had suffered not once, but twice at the hands of an abuser… Kate didn't understand how he was still sitting there in front of her, seeming so normal and composed.

"Does Ana know about this?" she asked.

"She knows about my past and what happened with her –" he glanced at the book again. "But my parents don't know yet. I'm still trying to find the right time to tell them."

Kate looked across to Elliot and he nodded his head, as if trying to assure her that Christian wouldn't have to face that conversation alone. She had seen the two brothers grow close over the past few weeks, Christian's diary now full of meetings between the siblings.

"Ana doesn't know about the book," Christian confirmed. "I don't want her to know, either. She's still too fragile. I don't want to undo the progress she's made with her therapist."

"But this affects her too," she reminded him. "She's going to wonder why you're distracted, why you're not spending all your free time with her."

"I'll let her think it's just business," he said. "I won't lie to Ana but I will protect her from something that could upset her. I can't risk her health in any way."

Kate understood. They had all been watching Ana's mood, checking for the slightest change in her. Although she smiled and laughed every day, everybody knew she was harbouring deep guilt over what happened to José. She blamed herself for what happened to him.

Christian pursed his lips and fell into his thoughts for a moment. Doubt settled between his brows.

"Will she hate me for keeping this from her?" he asked Kate.

"She won't hate you," she shook her head. "But I think you should consider telling her about this at some point. She's been through a lot, but she's stronger than any of us give her credit for."

"I know," he sighed, agreeing with her. "I just want to free us of Elena Lincoln's ghost, once and for all."

"Then do what you need to do," Kate told him. "I'll help in whatever way I can. Whether it's keeping Ana busy or helping you find these men. I want to help."

"Thank you," Christian smiled. "I really appreciate that."

"I won't breathe a word of this to anyone," she promised. "And not just because you made me sign an NDA."

Her quip brought a gentle but much needed laugh into the room.

"Right," Kate announced, clapping her hands together. She inhaled a deep breath and released it hard and fast. "Is there anything else we need to talk about?"

"No, that was everything," Christian shook his head. "Thank you again."

"In that case, I should get back to work," she smiled. "My boss will have a bitch fit if I'm caught slacking."

"I have never had a bitch fit in my life!" Christian shot back.

"You have," Elliot chimed in, chuckling to himself. "Bro, you take having a bitch fit to a whole new level."

Christian rolled his eyes and pushed back in his seat.

"Get back to work, Kavanagh," he ordered, only just managing to suppress his smirk. "I don't pay you to sit around talking all day."

"Yes, sir," Kate saluted him and rose to her feet. She pushed her chair back under the table and raised her gaze to Elliot. "It was nice seeing you again."

"You too," he smiled back at her, his entire face lighting up.

Kate smiled and excused herself from the room, closing the door behind her.

The office remained still for several minutes, the brothers comfortable in the silence.

"I can't believe you told her," Elliot mumbled. "I didn't think you'd actually tell about you and bitchface."

"I have to start talking about it some time," Christian shrugged. "Sooner or later the truth will come out, whether I like it or not."

"Mom and Dad are next on the list," Elliot reminded him. "I'll talk to Mia, if you want. Save you having to tell her."

"Thank you," Christian sighed again, grateful for the reprieve. He knew how Mia would react to the news and he wasn't looking forward to her hysterics.

Christian stared at Elliot for a second, studying his expression. It was one he had recognised on himself in the early days of his relationship with Ana.

"You really like her, don't you?"

"Who?" Elliot frowned.

"Really?" Christian tilted his head. He gestured towards the door. "It's clear as day you like her. I thought you said it was just fun between you and her?"

"It was," Elliot shrugged. He leaned forward and dropped his elbows onto the table. "I don't know. I just can't seem to shake it off, you know? I can feel it in here –" He lifted a hand to his chest and rubbed it hard. "It's kinda painful how much I want her."

"That feeling doesn't go away," Christian snorted. "Believe me. The way I feel about Ana, it's the most painful feeling I've ever experienced in my life… but it's the most incredible one too."

"What is it with these girls? Worming their way into our lives."

"Ana didn't worm her way in," Christian shook his head. "She smashed through every God damn barrier I had up. She completely broke me with just one kiss."

Elliot was surprised to hear his brother speak so candidly. He couldn't help but grin.

"And she's helping to rebuild you," he nodded. He pointed his finger at Christian. "I swear if you don't marry her someday, it won't just be Mom you'll have to worry about."

Christian dipped his chin and smiled to himself.

"You know Mom's already shopping for a new hat," Elliot joked. "She's waiting for you to pop the question."

"I know," Christian hummed. "I could see wedding bells in her eyes the second she met Ana."

"It's because we can see what she's done to you. You're a different man to how you were before she came along."

Christian grinned.

"She's pretty special, isn't she?"

"She's the one," Christian nodded. He held Elliot's stare, his smile lifting higher across his face. "I know she's the one."

"What are you waiting for then?" Elliot shook his head. "Go get your girl!"