FIFTY SHADES FORGOTTEN
~ CHRISTIAN ~
Blue eyes peer at me from just over the edge of the bed, mere inches from my face. The most lovely eyes to wake up to in the morning, save his mother's. I bring my finger to my lips.
"Shh, Teddy, don't wake Mommy." I roll back, my right hand feeling across the sheets, but the other side of the bed is empty. Shit. In her even-more-clumsy-than-usual state, how does she manage to do that?
"Mommy say Daddy UP!" Ted informs me, pulling himself up on the bed by his dimpled elbows.
"Oh she did, did she?" I yank my little miniature into my arms, tickling him mercilessly. He squeals and wiggles, feet kicking out. Stopping before his face turns too pink, I clutch him to my chest, breathing in his baby scent. My son. My beautiful boy, the light of my life. "Good morning, baby boy."
Teddy pushes off my chest and glares at me, his eyebrows wrinkled. "I not baby! Big brudder!" He bounces up and down on my bladder on every word to drive the message home.
I laugh, which is no better for my full bladder than the bouncing. I lift my son about the waist and plop him down beside me, trying and ultimately failing to look contrite. "Yes, you're a big boy. And you'll be a big brother soon, we've talked about this, remember? Soon, not yet." I kiss his chubby cheek.
Ana has Ted in his chair at the breakfast bar. His face is smeared liberally with peanut butter, and squares of toast are strewn across his area of the counter. How he manages to miss his mouth is beyond me; the boy loves to eat. Ana is leaning, as best she can with her ever-expanding belly, over the counter, making faces at our son. She's so beautiful, hair twirled and pinned, a few stray tendrils framing her face, her curves hugged by her gray flannel dress. She must have a meeting this morning, I suppose. She's preoccupied and oblivious to my musings, and I snake my arms around her from behind, my hands coming to rest on our growing daughter.
"Oh!" Ana jumps a bit, then relaxes into my arms. "Good morning, Daddy."
I smile into her neck, placing a soft kiss against her warm skin. She smells heavenly. "Good morning to you, Mommy. How did you sleep?"
"Not as well as you did," she giggles, turning in my hold to wrap her arms about my neck. She rises on her toes, rounded belly pressing into me, and plants a lingering kiss on my lips. Her rounded breasts brush my chest, sending waves of need southward. I taste peanut butter and a hint of blueberry. Good, she's eaten, my mind changes gear. One less thing to worry over. Ana is so right to label me mercurial, as she does so often. It never ceases to shock me how I can go from carnal need to protector/provider mode in the blink of an eye. I'd never have paid mind to most of my tendencies without her. "You were so out," she says. "Did you enjoy your wake-up-call?"
"I did." I slide my hands downward to clutch her behind as my thoughts take their previous turn. She kisses me once more.
"No antics this morning, Mr. Grey," she chides me, bringing her hands down to my chest and fastening my top button. "I have to go, can you finish up with him? Gail called, she's going to be a little late."
I glance out our back window at the clouds rolling in over the sound. My stomach clenches briefly, and I bury the urge to insist she stay home today. We've had far too many squabbles about her safety and my control-freakishness, and at the end she's upset and I'm angry, and then she's angry and I'm upset. Never a pleasant way to start things, even on the occasion I get my way. Turning back to my wife, I nod, pressing a kiss to her forehead. "All right." I bend and kiss her belly as well. "Wear your jacket, it's looking nasty outside."
"I promise." She fingers my hair lovingly, then trundles off to brush her teeth.
My son had managed to gobble up the last of his toast, making my job that much easier. I dabbed a washcloth over his face and hands, eliminating the sticky mess. His shirt was another story entirely. The bib remained largely unspattered. Oh, little boys and their organized chaos. I tossed the bib onto the counter and managed to pull the shirt over his head without redressing his face with peanut butter; it joined the bib in a pile. Teddy raised his arms to me and I lifted him, settling him on my hip.
"Wish me luck!" Ana breathes, re-entering the kitchen. She plants a kiss on Teddy's cheek, and then pecks my lips. My free arm captures her, pulling her to me. Even in her rush to get out the door, she's breathtaking. Her eyes are wide, her face flushed with hurry, but she fits herself to my side and I lower my lips to hers, our tongues greeting one another. Her minty breath joins mine, and we lose ourselves in the moment.
"Mommy!" Ted gasps. The indignation on his face is comical, and Ana giggles, breaking us apart. It's one of the loveliest sounds in the world. She puckers her lips at him, Ted leans forward in my arms and gives her a loud, smacking peck.
"I love my boys," she tells us, adjusting the jacket over her arm.
"We love you, too," I say. God, I love her, so very much. "Good luck today, baby."
"Love, Mommy!" Ted bellows, and Ana blows him a kiss. Sawyer holds the front door for her, and they're off.
And I'm left with the task of dressing my son. Again. With any luck, he'll remain semi-clean until Gail arrives. I sigh... in two more months, there will be twice as many little clothes to change. And I'll love every minute of it.
~ ANA ~
"Sure thing, Boss." My assistant bows out, arms laden with folders.
Boss. A title I both love and hate, and love to hate. The past two years as CEO of Grey Publishing has been a whirlwind, a learning experience, and a train wreck, but a profitable one at that. Actually, it's run quite smoothly, thanks in great part to the mix of veterans on my leadership team; it's me who's the closet train wreck. Most days I'd love to give it all up and play editor again, but there are some things that make it all worth doing, not the least of which is Christian's overwhelming pride and respect for me. I wouldn't be here if it weren't for him, and a handful of overwhelmingly talented writers would likely be lost in "The Pile" if it weren't for my position, so the value of what I do outstrips my occasional disdain for all things Executive. Hannah sneaks me the occasional manuscript to mark up, bless her, so it makes the rest a bit less stressful. I'm not sure what I'll do when she leaves to pursue her Master's Degree later this summer.
Post-meeting mental rant over, I sip my tea and log into my computer. There are four emails from editors, an event reminder from the ever-invaluable Jerry Roach, my right hand, and of course, an email from Christian. I smile.
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From: Christian Grey
Subject: This Evening
Date: June 19 2014 10:27
To: Anastasia Grey
I thought of something after you left. I'd like to discuss it with you over dinner. Gail has graciously volunteered Sophie to entertain our son when she arrives this afternoon.
Is this agreeable?
Hope your meeting went well.
CEO, Grey Enterprises Holdings, Inc.
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His formality makes my eyebrows furrow. It was like he went straight for the point, and then did the hot coals dance around it. He probably thinks I won't like it, whatever it is. And he's arranged for Teddy to be away, so he either thinks he's going to seduce me into whatever it is he wants, or whatever it is, I'll be upset, and he doesn't like for Teddy to see either of us upset. We've quarreled about that last part several times, too. Outright fighting in front of a child is one thing entirely, but sheltering Teddy from negative emotions could confuse him later. I sense another long discussion over this differing of our opinions on the horizon.
My phone rings.
"Grey," I answer.
Now I'm jolted. "Christian," I try, and fail, to hide the surprise in my voice. "I just read your email."
He sighs. "I hope you're not overthinking it." He knows me too well, but if I know him equally, he's running his fingers through his hair.
"And... you're running your fingers through your hair."
He snorts. "Guilty." I hear the half-smile in his voice. "Please don't overthink it; if you say no, then that's that. I promise I won't push the issue. Just give it some thought, please."
The dance continues. I wish he'd just get to the point. "What issue is there to push?" I press him. "Come on, love. Out with it."
"Not now. Later." The command returns to his voice.
I sigh, exasperated. "Fine. But it's your fault if I don't get anything done today. I'll have it on my mind until you tell me, whatever it is."
"Duly noted." There's a pause.
"Can I get back to work now, Sir?"
He laughs. "Of course, Mrs. Grey. I'll see you at home."
I smirk. "I love you, Christian."
"I love you too, Ana."
There's another pause.
"Hang up, Christian," I order.
"I don't want to."
"Count of three?" I suggest.
"As you wish, Mrs. Grey."
I giggle. "One..."
We're such teenagers sometimes.
"Thank you Sawyer," I say as he helps me into the back seat. I don't think I'll ever be entirely used to having staff waiting on me every minute of the day, but I am grateful for Sawyer. At the very least, he makes climbing into vehicles far less awkward.
Sawyer nods, closes my door, and climbs into the front passenger seat. He's still uncomfortable with appreciation, but that doesn't stop me from expressing mine.
Ryan pulls out into traffic, and I slump back into the leather seat, rubbing the stretched-tight skin over my belly. It's hard to believe I'm going to get bigger, but I am. I was positively cetacean with Teddy. My head rolls to the right, and my eyes unfocus, objects passing in a blur, mingled with the raindrops clinging and streaking from the tinted window.
The two bright lights pause.
I can't hear.
It doesn't hurt.