I hope you enjoy this chapter. I listened to your reviews and yes its time you learn the whole story about Michael and its possible impact. Please read and enjoy.
When ones company is pleasurable and when it is not.
I can hear the shower going when I wake up. Its past 8am much later than I usually sleep in but I am so tired from yesterday, even though I spent most of it in bed with Christian. I smile at the thought of yesterday and last night, I could still feel every inch that Christian had been and it felt magical. I start to close my eyes again when I sit up with a jolt, recalling that the kids wanted to do one more thing for their father to celebrate his birthday. I decide to get up and join him in the shower, so I can keep him upstairs for a little while longer giving them the time I know they will need to get everything ready.
"Good morning Anastasia." He says smiling and immediately grabs me and pins me to the glass. My pelvis automatically responds.
"I trust you had a good birthday?"
"Very much so, thank you for yesterday, all of yesterday in fact. I have been wondering though how long you had been organizing my birthday for?" He asks, now lowering his fingers and finding the apex of my thigh.
"For months, it was quiet the ordeal ensuring you didn't find out" I replied.
"I think I may need to keep a better eye on your activities from now on" He half jokes but the other half is dead serious.
"I think you're keeping a rather good eye on my activities right now." I say panting a little at his sexpertise. "Oh I almost forgot Ted and Hayley are here. Our children have planned another little birthday surprise for you and I promised that I would have you outside in the Meadow by 9:00am."
"Another surprise? I rather liked the one they both gave me last night and the one you gave me on a few occasions last night" Christian said very cocky. "What time is it now? He asks urgently now
"About 8:30" I say guessing.
"Perfect" He says as he starts to kiss me passionately. We had been intimate so many times in the shower but each time was better than the last.
Afterwards, we both got dressed and went outside to meet the kids. We could hear their voices and laughter. A large smile grew on Christians face as he realized what their plan was. From the minute they were very young we would always have picnics out here. We would sit on the large picnic rug and eat, then watch the kids run around. The kids had decided that since Christian had gotten a little nostalgic lately that a picnic in our old favorite spot would be a great idea. Ted was sitting with his legs criss-crossed with Hayley's. Michael was helping Phoebe to set everything up.
"You both are late" Phoebe says almost scolding us.
"Yes, we took a page out of your book" Christian says eying her off.
"Michael and I made you both breakfast" Phoebe said now grinning at her cooking achievement. Christian and I looked at each other knowing that our daughter lacked any type of culinary skills.
"Mom and dad don't worry, Michael helped there won't be any trips to the bathroom like last time" Ted said. Michael looked at Phoebe seeking an explanation. Phoebe just rolled her eyes.
"Last time I made pancakes I put salt instead of sugar in them and I misread the instructions and added like a cup of it or something. I didn't realize my mistake so I took them to my parents in bed. I was like 7 years old" Phoebe explained. Both our children were now laughing about the situation.
"Yes and our daughter sat there the whole time so proud of herself whilst we ate them. I even offered to let her go and watch a DVD, to go an eat sweets even from the jar in the pantry but even that didn't work, she just sat there watching us. It was horrible but so ever sweet. I have never felt so sick after eating anything before." Christian said seriously and now looking at the pancake in front of him right now cautiously
"It was rather hard to spend the next couple of hours feeling ill but also trying to hide the fact so Phoebe didn't feel bad." I explained.
"Yeah Michael, it might be best to put a lock on the stove from my sister. I recommend that she only ever make toast alone and even then that is getting risky" Ted said jeering and causing Phoebe to glare at him.
"Hayley are you sure you want to marry my brother in two weeks? He may seem witty but in reality he is just annoying" Phoebe commented back now smiling. The more the kids grew up the more I realized that things were still the same.
Phoebe put some food on each plate and gave everyone their breakfast. The sun was shining and it was the perfect setting and immediate family gathering.
"How is your summer internship going Michael?" Christian asked
"Good thought I have only just done a couple of days so far. I mean I am basically an assistant getting coffee though I am going to do some research this week for an actual case. Either way it's definitely the way to go for some experience in law. I was concerned about working in the same firm as my father but it has worked out for the best" He said.
"I wish you had said no, it is going to mean that you are going to be rather busy now during the summer." Phoebe said sadly.
"You could always come and do an internship at Grey Enterprise Holdings. It will fill your hours and cure your boredom" Christian offered.
"Yeah you could be my assistant" Ted said mocking her. Christian gave him a scornful look that even made Ted retreat his smirk.
"I think that would be too many Grey family members then. I think I will just spend my free time reading medical texts and going to the beach." Phoebe responds.
"Did you always have picnics out here?" Hayley asks looking around.
"Yes. Do you see over there, next to that little cliff?" Ted points out and Hayley nods. "That was mine and Phoebes best hiding spot. One day when we were having a picnic out here, we got up and were playing. We went over there so impressed that we found the perfect place to hide that we thought no one would find us, so we sat there and waited, however we both fell asleep. We were woken up a little later to a set of frantic parents. They thought we had been kidnapped or gone to the water and drowned or something." Hayley and Ted were laughing at the thought. Christian was yet to find any humor in this specific memory. I don't think I had ever seen him so scared, regardless of all the drama's that has happened in our lives.
"Relax dad, you got your own back." Phoebe says seeing the angry expression on Christians face. "After we were found, mom was relieved but dad was a mixture of frightened and furious. He grabbed us both, made us have our evening showers, get into our pajamas and put us in bed for the night even though it was 2pm. We weren't allowed to get out of bed until the 6:30am the next day." Phoebe added rolling her eyes.
"Well I could have spanked you both instead" Christian said outright!
"Ted I can't imagine you doing anything wrong as a child" Hayley said shocked.
"It was all my evil little sisters' influence" Ted says innocently.
"So how did I influence the time Stacey slept over without our parents knowing" Phoebe said and immediately put her hand over her mouth knowing she had said too much.
"What? And when?" I said before Christian could even speak. I looked over at my husband and he was perfectly calm about and not reacting. Shouldn't he be going thermo-nuclear? We just found out that our son as a teenager had kept a girl in his room without us knowing. Ted looked irritated; if he could wrestle his sister like they did as little kids then he would have there and then.
"Mom, please it's not what you are thinking. You know that Stacey was having a hard time when her parents divorced that she came over one night when you and dad were out and we talked. We just didn't stop talking until the morning that's all. Plus I went and told dad about it in the morning" Ted explained.
"Wait you had a girl stay in your room all night and tell dad the next day?" Phoebe asked confused and agitated.
"Phoebe, as you found out in your later teen years I am pretty all right guy when you tell me the truth and don't give me a reason to suspect that you are not being honest" Christian added, though deep down I knew that he did keep a different rule book for Phoebe, even if he refused to admit it.
"What else did you two get up to when growing up?" Michael asked.
"Normal stuff really." Ted said "I mean growing up the children of Christian and Ana Grey made things interesting but it was normal. We had birthday parties, did homework and all that stuff"
"With the exception of foreign trips and becoming black belt shoppers, it was very normal." Hayley added nervously demonstrating her unease with all that comes from marrying a Grey.
"In some ways I think it was harder being our children" Christian adds. "We, well I really, was constantly worried that the media would take photos of them when they were just trying to be kids or teenagers and have photos of them splashed over magazine and papers across America and therefore they both had to go everywhere with security."
"Even first dates" Phoebe said now looking at Michael smiling. Taylor had gone with her when she had dated Michael once when she was 16.
"It could have been worse" Phoebe reflects then gets this funny smile on her face. "One funny thing that I remember was when I was 5 I thought a monster was living in my wardrobe that each night I refused to go to sleep without screaming and yelling out for my parents. After a week of my screaming the house down, Dad came into my room and checked out my wardrobe and showed me that there was no monster, but I explained that it only came out during the night. I was so adamant and fearful that dad slept all night in my room, on the floor next to the wardrobe. When I woke up he had a large brown box and told me that he had caught it and it was getting destroyed." Phoebe told us.
"However, Phoebe then felt so bad that the monster had to get destroyed that she started to cry in preschool and the school rang me." I added. Everyone laughed at that thought. "Poor Phoebe you were so upset that we told you that it got relocated to a magical island". Phoebe smiled at the thought but was blushing.
"Okay dad, since it is your birthday and the focus should be on you, what is your favorite memory of us all when we were growing up?" Phoebe asked Christian. I could tell that Christian was enjoying remembering time when the kids were growing up.
"I actually rather enjoyed it all. Ted I actually really enjoyed it when you were around two and I would spin you around here and especially when we got interested in trains and cars. Phoebe I rather liked when you were a baby and demanded to be held as you had colic a lot. I would rest you on my chest as I worked at home. You would peaceful fall asleep with my arms around you" Christian said so somberly that tears could have escaped his eyes.
"I liked Phoebe best as a baby too" ted said and we all smiled.
"Really?" Phoebe said smiling and grabbing his hand.
"Yeah, you couldn't walk and talk then. Life was great." Ted commented humorously. Phoebe scrunched up her eye brows and moved toward her brother. Ted sensing danger stood up immediately helping Hayley get to her feet. Both of them were now running from the wrath of Phoebe. We could hear them jeering and laughing at each other. No matter what they were brother and sister and they definitely loved each other. Only Michael, Christian and I were left sitting down now.
"I am sorry for my children. Phoebe and Ted love each other greatly but they do tend to have somewhat of a relationship like my late brother and I did." Christian added.
"I know. Phoebe does miss him greatly at school and talks about him a great deal." Michael said now laughing at the scene and holding out his hand for Phoebe, helping her down after finishing chasing her brother. Hayley and Ted soon resume their spots on the picnic rug.
"Sorry about that" Phoebe says causing her and Ted to laugh. Christian and I looked at each other and smiled. If the kids were trying to make us nostalgic then that display did the trick.
"Your right Hayley you need to have an area like this at your house, especially if you two have kids. I think it's my my cherished place in my parents' house!"
"Yeah there are so many memories here but there are still so many to be made" Ted said holding Hayley tighter now.
"Well Michael I do have to say that you definitely have improved my daughters cooking" Christian said finishing his breakfast. Phoebe and Michael smiled at each other and it was obvious they were getting lost in each other eyes, though suddenly Michael looked down and looked sad.
"What do you four have planned for today?" I ask. Christian was excited at the thought of today as he got to play with his new yacht. We were taking Kate, Grace and Carrick for a leisurely cruise.
"Furniture shopping actually" Ted and Hayley say. We then look towards Phoebe and Michael.
"Nothing really, we may just hang around here for a while and then Michael needs to leave mid afternoon to prepare for tomorrow." Phoebe explains. Not long after we pack everything up and go inside, Hayley and Ted go hand in hand and we leave the house.
Everyone had left and it was just us two I the house, give or take a few security guards I chuckled to myself. I wonder if I will ever be really alone in a house ever. I know that I would never be in my parents' house and come to think of it I won't be so even in my own house as long as dad has something to say about it. Smith still lives with Hayley and Ted, though he has he own section in their Seattle and will do so in the new house.
"So what do you want to do?" I ask looking at him smiling.
"We need to talk" he said looking weary.
"Okay" I say now looking down. His face gave it away that this was not going to be good. "Let's go and sit in the living room" I said leading him into the room. I could feel tension building up and started to zone out from my surroundings that I hit the little table that was unfortunately in my way very hard.
"Oowww" I called out rubbing my why I side.
"Phoebe, come and sit down. Where did you hit yourself?" Michael said insistently and putting his hand over where I feel a bruise coming on.
"Leave it, its fine" I said feeling very stupid. That table had been there my whole life.
"What is it you want to talk about?"
"Phoebe I have to make an important decision and it was why I was a tad late yesterday. My father is threatening to cut me off if I don't end our relationship." Michael said sounding like he was in pain.
"Cut you off financially?" I asked shocked.
"If only. I don't care if I have to take out students loans, I would still want to be with you. You mean a lot more to me than money. However my dad said he would sever all ties with me if I don't end our relationship" Michael said with a heavy heart. I couldn't believe what I was hearing. Michael was being asked to choose between me and his own family.
My heart got heavy and I didn't know what to do. How could I ask someone to leave their family for me? I couldn't and I wouldn't, but I never wanted to let go of Michael.
"What do you want to do?" I ask meekly, trying to control my emotions.
"I don't know Phoebe, I just don't know." Michael says. Soon Michael is standing up and pacing around the room. "Maybe I shouldn't have come this morning"
"No don't say that. This is exactly where you were meant to be this morning" I respond but he isn't looking at me in the eye.
Before I know it he is standing in front of me and kissing me passionately and with purpose, but then he steps back and is breathing heavily as if he just ran a marathon. "Phoebe, I need to go. Let me ring you later?" He pleads
"Yes" I say and watch him start to walk out of the house. "Wait; is your dad STILL wanting you to break up with me because my dad questioned your dad over the adoption issue?"
"Yes" Michael said and then he walked out the front door.
I sit back on the couch, still and feel the tears flow down my face and I can't help but sob, though soon anger builds up. Why did my dad think that he can be master of the world at everyone expense? I get up and go into the home study and look around. I know dad keeps copies of people's background checks here. I go through each cabinet until I reach one that peaks my interest. I am shocked to find it isn't on the tab is the name Michael Fuller. I grab it when I feel a strong hand on mine and I look over with my heart in my throat.
"I don't think that would be a good idea" Taylor says now grabbing the file out of my hand.
"I need to know what's happening. Please give it to me" I beg of him.
"No. I am sorry, it's for the best" he says without emotion. Taylor then grabs a key from his pocket and locks the cabinet and walks out with the file.
Hours later we arrive home. The new Yacht is something to marvel and was a perfect day out. I got to play with my new toy with my father and my mom, Kate and Ana got to spend some time drinking champagne and enjoying the day. We walk into the house holding hands planning on simply having dinner and going straight to bed. We walk into the house and there is Phoebe, tear stained and furious.
"Phoebe, Angel what's wrong? Where is Michael?" Ana ask, walking towards and stretching my arms out, but she just steps back from her. I can't believe what just happened, Phoebe has never ever moved away from Ana. Shock and devastation comes over Ana.
"What's wrong? How about dad ruining my life? How about him destroying every chance of me being happy" Phoebe yells uncontrolled. Instantly I get angry and mad. Everything I have done ever has been to protect her and ensure she is happy
"Sit down Phoebe and calm down now" I order in an even harsher tone that she just spoke to me. "What is it that I supposedly have done now?"
"Ever since the flight to Boston and you giving Michaels dad the French inquisition over the adoption, Mr Fuller thinks we should end our relationship. Last night when Michael was late coming to meet us, his father threatened that if he didn't end our relationship then he cut him off completely." Phoebe said now crying. "How can I make him choose me over his family and what did you ask that has made everyone act so extreme?" She asks her me frantically.
My blood was now boiling. Would Clayton Fuller really threaten his own child in such a manner? It then hit me hard when I realized I had done the same. I threatened to cut Ted out of the company once, but never from the family. I looked at Ana how was in pain for our daughter and looking at me, begging me to fix it.
I looked at my daughter, her face and eyes reminded me of when she was little and always needed me. I was furious, that an external force would be able to have this effect on her. This is what I had been scared of. I watched as Phoebe finally let Ana hold her tightly like we use to when she was young. Ana took her into the kitchen and put a pot of tea and started to me our daughter a hot chocolate, though I know she would have probably liked a coffee or tea herself now.
As I passed Phoebe her hot drink I saw that she was playing with her ring. At times it looked like she would take it off and other times she was trying to ensure it wouldn't ever come off. I knew I had to fix this somehow. I walked out of the kitchen and rang Clayton Fuller and we agree to meet in thirty minutes at his office. Before I return to my wife and daughter, Taylor stops me and tells s me about what happened in my study. I ask him to meet me outside with the file.
"I need to go to the office, there's been an incident." I lie to Phoebe and Ana. Phoebe looks disgusted at me and Ana looks confused. I know there isn't time to ease the loathing my daughter is feeling towards me right now but I need to leave to find a remedy.
Taylor is outside waiting for me and we nod at each other. "Christian wait!" Ana calls out, running outside. "Are you going to see Clayton?" She asks.
"Yes I am going to try and sought this all out. Don't let Phoebe leave the house" I demand then kiss her. Ana agrees.
We arrive at the office and find Clayton waiting for us. I walk towards him and our expressions match. We face each other trying to stare each other down; neither of us is backing down.
"We need to talk about the children and your threat" I tell him. His mood or expression doesn't change.
"There is nothing to say! I have told my adult son what the choices he has and it's up to him to make it." Clayton says
"Cut the crap, we both know why you are doing this." I reply and hold up the file and pass it towards him. Clayton grabs it and sits down reading it. He starts to shake mildly but in true lawyer fashion recomposes himself.
"Have you told Phoebe or Michael about any of this?" he asks. His tone is reminiscent of my father when he was questioning witnesses in court.
"No but I will if you carry out with the threat" I tell him.
"The only reason I threatened my son was because I knew you were suspicious and knew something. I can't risk my family. This will destroy them" He says despondent but strongly.
"I don't want my daughter hurt by this either" I reply but he looks confused at me. "If there is something that will hurt Michael then it is likely to hurt Phoebe. She loves him and I believe they want to eventually get married."
Clayton gets up and pours us both a glass of an amber colored drink. I do not know what it is but at this point I don't care. He comes and sits down again, and looks through the documents obviously shocked that we have been able to accumulate as much as we have.
"There are some missing pieces of information. Care to fill me in? I ask but I won't leave nor will I let him leave until he tells me everything.
"Two years after my wife I and had our daughter I had a bout of cancer and the treatment meant that I wasn't able to father anymore children. I tried treatments, therapies but nothing worked. We looked at adoption and went to an agency. After awhile we found a couple that was willing to let us adopt their unborn child but then the deal fell through. We found another couple a year later but the same thing happened. It almost destroyed my wife. A couple of years later I was representing a client who had adopted but secretly paid for their baby and they gave me the contact details of the agency they used. They set up adoptions with young struggling single parents or couples, but you had to pay them off" Clayton stopped talking and took a drink. Why couldn't Welch find details of this? I think to myself.
"Where was this adoption agency?" I ask curiously.
"It was Nevada. I went there and spoke to them so after. It all seemed legit regardless of the money that would be passed under the table. I checked the agency out and the documentation seemed certified. I went home and spoke to my wife but we were concerned about our daughter, Clare. She was now 8 and old enough to know what was going on and we didn't want her hurt or confused should the adoption fall through or something go wrong, so we decided to send her to boarding school once we decided to go through with our plan."
Clayton was now looking at a photo of his daughter on his desk; he sighs and continues his confession. "After dropping our daughter off, Alison and I went to the agency and sent everything up. I paid the king's ransom that they wanted without my wife's knowledge. She was unaware of the money exchanged and still doesn't. The agency matched us up with a couple with similar physical attributes but we never met them. A few months later when our daughter came home over the Christmas break we told her we were pregnant. We pretended it was early in the pregnancy so the fact that my wife wasn't showing wasn't an issue. I went to see her once and awhile at school but never taking Alison. This way we could keep up the facade. Then in a matter of months our son Michael was born and we were handed him at the agency and took him home. We never met his birth parents."
"Was there a money trial?" I asked.
"None at all! It was all in cash and over different transactions as not to draw any suspicion by anyone. It was done to look all above board." Clayton said.
"So if you covered all that up then why all the secrecy and threats to our children's relationship?" I didn't say anything about the fake birth certificate to see if he would tell me the whole story.
"Things were wonderful and we pulled our daughter out of boarding school she went back into her girl's school here in Seattle. Life was amazing, but then a year later I was helping a fellow lawyer who was representing a client that was being charged with kidnapping. They had been." Clayton Fuller now swallows and shakes his head. "The client had been kidnapping children. Each time an agency gave him a specific list of what they were looking for; hair color, eye color, ethnicity everything. When I looked deeper I found that he had worked for the agency that we adopted Michael. The agency was now being investigated by the Nevada police force and I knew that Michael had more than likely been illegally attained. I went into overdrive, making up the story about my affair and had new paper work made up, fake birth certificates, everything. A number of months later, we were contacted by the authorities. Alison and I stuck by our new story and with all the right paper work at hand they seemed happy. We even had an employee pretend to be my mistress to answer the authorities' questions. We told them that we did look at the agency but when my mistress got pregnant we cancel the adoption. It worked and no other questions have ever been asked. That was until Michael found out accidentally about being adopted and when when he became involved with your daughter and you started to ask questions."
"You prevented the course of justice" I stated and Clayton nodded. I now knew why he could never let this come out. Numerous laws had been broken, he would lose his position and would be disbarred and worse of all his family would be shattered. If Michael was to learn of this he would be devastated and Phoebe would be affected too. I loved Phoebe too much not to protect the man she loved and loved her, but to not tell Michael the truth would be criminal too. I sat back in the chair and took it all in.
I left soon after and went straight home. I wanted to find Ana immediately. I went past my daughter's room and was happy to find her asleep. Ana was in our room on her iPad. She jumped up when she saw me. "What happened?" she asked. I sat on the bed and told her the whole story. At the end of the whole story she was shaking and I didn't blame her. "What do we do now?" she asked.
I didn't know what to do. Do we keep this secret in an attempt to protect the status quo and let their life's go unscathed but a major lie over them or do I let them know but risk destroying the happiness they now had found.
Hope you enjoyed this chapter! I feel bad leaving Christian and Ana with such an agonizing decisions and yes of course, please review if your wish.