NOTE FROM RIOTTORI: C AND A HAVE 2 PLAYROOMS - ONE IN ESCALA WHICH WAS TURNED INTO THE RED ROOM AND ONE AT THEIR HOUSE WHICH IS JUST CALLED THE ROOM IN THIS STORY. SORRY FOR THE CONFUSION.

Christian:

My heart quickens as I hear her approach the door. I'm already in, waiting for her. My faded jeans still fit – I found them in the back of the wardrobe in our house. I have only ever worn these with her. The feel of them immediately arouses me, brings me back down through the decades. I just hope she'll say yes, let me love her in here, let me show her her worth, what she means to me. We need this as well as vanilla.

The door opens and I see my wife, framed by a halo of light in the doorway, her hair tied up in a pony-tail.

And I know she has come back to me.

And I know we'll be OK.


Alice:

If I crane my neck, I can catch a glimpse of them together in the restaurant. They have aged well, the past ten years have been kind. She is throwing her head back, laughing at something he has said. His eyes never leave her. She is all he can see. The sight roots me to the spot. I lean forward for a better view, like an onlooker, left out in the cold, my face pressed against the glass. I thought about them recently when they announced the arrival of their third grandchild, their first grandson, in the paper – another Christian Grey. The Grey family expands, the loop of life continues.

My husband pulls at my hand, tries to get me to continue walking, to get home. It's a bitter night, the air bites at us, but underneath there's the sweet promise of snow. I let him drag me a little bit further, but turn back to them, away from him, pull my wrist from his grip. I need one last look.

He's sitting forward in his chair now, whispering something in her ear and her eyes are sparkling. They look like teenagers in love. Teenagers in lust. I realize I was foolish to think I could have ever had him. He was already under her spell.

My husband stands behind me, balances on tip-toes to see what I'm looking at.

"Who are they?" he asks, not able to hide the awe in his voice. He is constantly impressed by those who clearly have money. We often take this route home, past this expensive restaurant, but I normally turn my head away, don't want my face rubbed in it.

I turn away and start to walk, my words taken by the wind. "Just people from my past."

My husband catches up with me, throws an arm around me. And we walk home in perfect step.

THE END

NOTE FROM RIOTTORI: AND THAT'S ALL FOLKS. THANK YOU SOOOO MUCH FOR THE TIME AND ENERGY YOU INVESTED IN THIS STORY. I HAVE LOVED THE LIVELY DEBATES, THE INSIGHTFUL REVIEWS AND THE LOVELY MESSAGES OF SUPPORT. I DIDN'T MEAN TO BECOME SO OBSESSED WITH THIS STORY BUT IT WAS YOUR REACTION TO IT WHICH INSPIRED ME. IT REALLY HAS BEEN QUITE AN EMOTIONAL ROLLER-COASTER. THANK YOU FOR COMING ON THE RIDE WITH ME AND STAYING WITH ME TILL THE (NOT-SO BITTER) END! :)