Fifty Shades of Flannel Chapter 15

They say all good things must come to an end.

I am still reeling from the demise of All My Children, Mademoiselle magazine and Twinkies.

My story has an ending too.

Unless you are interested in valuation multiples, future earnings, and knockwurst, you couldn't possibly want all the details regarding the (inevitable) meeting that took place regarding a joint venture between The Lady Cork and Lanz.

Let's face it, we were both in the lady comfort business. The Lady Cork and the Lanz accomplish the same end goal: man-repelling.

Following my surprisingly successful turn as a dancer at Black Widow, Christian and I realized that a natural partner for the Lady Cork, was right under our noses. Mine because it was elevated onstage above the Lanz people, and Christian's because he believed he was superior to all living beings.

Hammering out the details of the deal was concluded within a matter of days.

As I sat at our celebratory closing dinner at 21 (my choice this time) I felt a sense of pride in myself.

A short time ago, I was simply a Mom in a flannel nightgown, stumbling into the executive offices of a man who would turn my world upside down.

Not me, mind you. My world.

That first fateful day, ideas of future businesses, feathers on sticks, hot wax and rare wines weren't even in my thoughts. And now, I was on intimate terms with all of them. My version of intimate.

I had become a Mom/entrepreneur/stripper in a bespoke Lanz cocktail dress entertained by her investment bankers. Few can say that.

Maybe a few women in Greenwich and Montecito but that's about it.

The Lanz Herren had been quite impressed with my Lanz creations, and had signed me to a three-year design deal (on top of the Lady Cork business).

Christian was gazing at me over a snifter of amber-colored brandy. I picked up my own and swirled it. Only a few drops splashed on my upper lip. I licked them away knowing the effect it would have.

He motioned me to join him, and I rose to do so. Then I sneezed daintily as I am allergic to roses.

You are a marvel, Mrs. Steele. Christian toasted me with his snifter.

I couldn't agree more. I answered.

My newfound sense of self was showing. And so was my bra strap. Dammit!

I slipped the strap under the one-of-a-kind taffeta fabric printed in the familiar edelweiss and heart pattern.

You're leaving me. I can feel it. Christian looked hawk-like into the distance.

I remained wren-like and serene.

All good things must come to an end. I know this isn't the ending you had envisioned. I said.

Christian looked at me sadly.

No it's not.

I took his hand in mine and he looked shyly at me. I spoke firmly.

Your ending had me in the role of roped steer at the State Fair 4H Teen Roping Competition. But that's not me. I'm pretty plain vanilla. My motto is "Every Saturday night whether we want to or not."

Mrs. Steele, you are plain vanilla with more sprinkles than you would like to admit." Christian kissed my hand and was gone.

Sprinkles. Well how do you like that?

He was making frozen yogurt references and I was a Wall Street player.

Life is strange.

We had influenced each other. Christian and I had each changed. Probably for the better.

I reached into my bag and pulled out the surprise I had made for him that he would likely never see:

A pair of gleaming sliver handcuffs softly lined in flannel.

I debated leaving them on the table. But instead I put them back into my bag.

If I had learned one thing, it was that you just never know when something might come in handy.