First of all, I just wanna say thanks to all the positive reviews posted by all you wonderful readers. And thank you for adding me to your faves and following my story. Secondly, I'm not affected by the negative reviews but I'd appreciate it if you don't waste your time commenting on my writing ethics. I was stuck so I strayed. But I came back to it so I hope you guys enjoy this chapter. Thanks again : )
"Thank you, Amanda," I acknowledged my flight attendant as she sat my flute of champagne on the coffee table between me and Ana.
"Can I get you anything else, Mr. Grey?" she purred, batting her fake lashes at me. I frowned at the blonde, displeased by her gesture. Didn't I remind the captain to hire someone who was serious about the position? She clearly wasn't taking her job seriously. I looked to Ana who's sitting opposite of me as she finished rolling her eyes. She knew what I was pondering inside my head.
"No. And don't interrupt us. I'll call for you when you're needed," I ordered strictly without tearing my eyes off Ana.
"Yes, Sir," she answered sheepishly and left us in peace. Glad she understood her duty.
Ana snorted, shaking her head. "Honestly, Christian, I literally do get tired of witnessing all these women ogling at you."
"Do I sense a little jealousy on your part?" I responded smugly.
She pursed her lips and turned her face toward the window. "Just a little," I heard lightly. It was enough to arouse a smirk across my lips. The thought of Ana being remotely jealous was a huge turn on.
"Don't worry, darling. I've only got eyes for you," I asserted adding a wink.
"Yeah? Would you gouge your eyes out for me just to prove your point. I'd like to keep them to myself. Just in case."
"My balls are all yours," I joked, and a sinful grin followed. She shook her head in amusement before coughing up a giggle. A nice melody to begin the day with. "Come," I extended my arms, holding out my hand. She debated briefly before taking my hand and pulling herself up to sit across my lap. I rested my head over her chest as she curled an arm around my neck. My fingers snaked up her ruffled skirt and tugged on her panties. "What are we going to do for the next 5 hours," I muttered suggestively. Her heart raced against my ear, pounding strenuously, and I smirked as I envisioned myself between her legs for the remainder of the flight.
"What do you have in mind?" she asked flustering, her index finger drew irregular circles over my forearm.
Looking up and gazing sensually into her blues, I asked expectantly, "Have you heard of the mile-high club?" And just as predicted, her cheek turned a rosy hue, nervously biting her lips.
She turned away and deliberated on her answer, but to my delight, she returned meeting my carnal gaze, and raised the corner of her lips, muttering, "Where do I sign up?" My trousers immediately pitched a tent and poked her bottom. I cupped the back of her head and guided her glossy lips forward, pressing on to mine. It didn't take long when our kiss became deep and feral almost to the point where I wanted to fuck her right there and then on the spot. My fingers crept down her neck, brushing her soft skin with my thumb. She released a quiet moan as we immersed ourselves and tuned out the world. The plane was ours. Thousands of miles above sea level. Her and I alone, wrapped up tight in our little bubble and nothing could interfere or break our moment of bliss.
"Mr. Grey?" Arrrgh! Are you kidding me.
"What?!" I barked at Amanda for breaking our trance. Clearly she didn't understand nor did she take my demand seriously.
"Nothing," she squeaked, her eyes expanded, terrified as she scurried back to her designated area.
"Christian," Ana admonished, creasing her brow and slapping my chest.
I dismissed her action and shook my head in annoyance. "Once we land, she's fired."
"Who's gonna replace her?"
"I don't know. I'll have Taylor figure that one out," I grumbled.
"I've got an idea."
"Do you?" I asked skeptically, quirking a brow.
"I could wait on you." Hmm. I narrowed my eyes on her.
"Now why didn't I think of that?"
"Because I thought of it first."
"Unfortunately, I needed someone with experience," I joked.
"Watch me." She straightened herself on my lap, cleared her throat, and lifted her hand to her forehead in salutation. "Welcome aboard Mr. Grey! Please buckle your seatbelt as the jet will experience slight turbulence during takeoff." She leaned in and whispered seductively, arching her brow, "It's going to be one bumpy ride." My breath caught, stunned by the roleplay she'd left branding in my head.
"Fuck. That was hot," I muttered, swallowing a solid lump forming in my throat. Ana sexily parading around in a flight attendant's uniform could destroy me. A conspiratorial grin played across my lips, and knowingly, she mirrored it. This could absolutely work. Eagerly, I crashed onto her lips and plunged my tongue inside her mouth - claiming, sucking and stroking her tongue feverishly - before hoisting her up and carrying her into my private cabin. She giggled as I tossed her onto the mattress and positioned myself between her lovely legs. My lips caressed her lips, her chin, the dip between her cleavage, and descended toward her skirt. Lifting it up, her blue laced panties soiled by her arousal lured me closer. My mouth watered with anticipation. Parting it to the side, I lapped her clit briefly. She writhed and whimpered in response, her back arched. "You want more, Ana?" I asked hoarsely, staring at her succulent pussy.
"Mm-hmm," she moaned softly, her hips undulating. Her walls clenched, juices began trickling down her cleft and I wrapped my mouth around her folds, sealing her shut, greedily devouring the sweet nectar that's mine. Fucking delicious. She drew a sharp gasp, shoving all ten fingers into my hair, and bucked her hips up, striving for more. I reciprocated, sucking her with ardor, and watched her come apart before me.
Welcome to the club, baby.
The trip from SAV to Carla's house was nerve-wracking. Ana kept quiet throughout the entire drive as she peered out the window to reacquaint herself with the city.
"Are you okay?" I asked Ana, squeezing her hand in an effort to console her.
"I'm fine," she nodded gravely. Nothing was fine. She'd always dread of coming back to Savannah. The place brought back past memories that had plagued her indefinitely. If it wasn't for her mother's perseverance this moment would've never happened. And if it weren't for my company she wouldn't have had the courage to fly across the states.
Taylor entered a well-established neighborhood and turned into a quiet residential street. The closer we were to Carla's home the more anxious Ana became, tightly gripping onto my hand. She took a deep breath to ease the anxiety coursing through her system and I clasped my hand over hers, gently squeezing to help alleviate her stress. The car hadn't even come to a full stop yet when Carla vigorously breezed out of the house and down the steps to greet her daughter. Ana pushed the passenger door open and raced to meet her mother halfway, both throwing their arms around one another in a long and warm embrace. The heartfelt laugh emanating from the two was equally pleasing. Ana hadn't visited her mother for almost three years. The last time she saw Carla was more than a year ago when Carla flew to Seattle to visit Ray for his birthday. Ana was overwhelmed by her mother's visitation, but she was glad Carla made an effort to celebrate that moment with her. And I was thankful to have spent the day by her side.
Inadvertently intruding on their mother daughter reunion, Carla broke her embrace from Ana and flung her arms around me. "Christian," she smiled blithely, firmly rocking me back and forth with sheer gladness. Ana looked on as I returned her mothers gesture, enveloping her in my arms. She conjured up a small smile, but underneath the facade was a semblance of melancholy lurking up on her, and her eyes glazed over.
"How are you, Carla?" I asked as I held her at arms length.
"I'm even happier that you two finally showed up," she sounded ecstatic and soon enough her eyes glazed over. Just like Ana's. But unlike Ana's, her's weren't held back as tears spilled over and spiraled down her cheeks.
"Carla," I sympathized, wiping her tears with the pad of my thumb. She let out a sniffle and chuckled hoarsely.
"I'm sorry." She blotted the rest of the tears with the back of her hand, quickly perked herself up, and invited me inside the house. I followed her up the steps before entering the craftsman style home. Ana was already in the living room standing before the large wall consisted of past and present family photos.
"Have a seat, Christian," Carla insisted, and I complied, settling down on the loveseat. "Would you like anything to drink?"
"Water's fine, Carla."
"Sure." She disappeared into the enclosed kitchen.
I watched Ana as she continued to concentrate on the photos. Especially the ones including Ray. She gazed at them reverentially, skimming her fingers over the glass frame. Carla returned with a bottle of water and I thanked her before she joined Ana and reminisced over some of the photos, pointing at various ones. Their voices were low, indistinct chatters; meant to be shared between the two.
"Sir," Taylor alerted us, hauling in our luggage.
Carla turned around and addressed Taylor, "Oh. I'm sorry. Let me show you to your room." She motioned us to follow her and we all climbed upstairs towards the guest bedroom. It's eclectically decorated and cozy with plenty of charm. According to the souvenirs addressed in the room and on the walls, Carla and Bob were avid collectors of anything oriental.
"I hope this is okay," she said as we perused the room quietly.
"It's perfect, Carla. Thank you." I let Taylor in and he sat the luggage down before leaving the room. Ana noticed the extra bags.
"Actually, Christian... You don't have to stay here."
"You don't want me here?" I let out a tone of disappointment.
"No. It's just... I thought you might be more comfortable at a hotel."
"We've discussed about this Ana."
"I know, but..."
"I'd prefer to stay here if you don't mind. I'll take the couch if it makes you more comfortable."
"Oh, no - Christian," Carla interjected, "You can have my bedroom."
"No mom." Ana sighed in resignation. "It's fine. He'll sleep in here with me. If it's okay with you."
"Of course. That's perfectly fine with me." And the room became awkwardly silent as she glanced back and forth between me and Ana. "Well, um, why don't you two make yourself at home while I start dinner."
"Thanks, Carla." She hugged us once more before she vanished out of the room.
"How are you feeling?" I asked Ana, shutting the door.
She flopped back on the mattress and eyed the ceiling, dragging out a long breath. "Hopeless."
"Ana." I sat down beside her and sighed. "You're doing a great job."
She contemplated mirthlessly and pushed herself to her feet. "I wanna go for a jog."
"I'll come with you." She nodded her assent.
I sat on the soft white sand as I watched Ana jog nonstop for the past 30 minutes along the coast. She slowed her pace then stopped to gaze out at the sea, deep in thought, kicking the sand at intervals. Her fingers swiped the plane of her cheeks when the waterworks became uncontrollable. I wanted to rescue her from her misery, take the pain away, hold her in my arms and promise her that everything will eventually look up, but I knew she needed the moment alone. To let it all out. To purge her guilt from something she held no responsibility for.
I panicked as I saw her wandering absentmindedly into the water, sneakers and all. My heart pumped profusely as I jumped to my feet. "Ana!" I called out, racing after her. She drifted further in. "Ana!" I kicked off my shoes and splashed into the cold sea. She was in knee deep. Wading after, I caught up and threw my arms around her shoulders, thwarting her from drifting forward.
"I'm cold," she breathed, shivering once her body registered the drop in temperature. No shit. Hoisting her off her feet, I carried her out of the water, trudged the sand, and placed her in the SUV.
"What were you thinking, Ana?" I scolded, assessing her from the accent chair beside her bed. After rushing her back home, Carla was terrified to see her daughter in such a state. I had to calm her down and reassure her that a paramedic wasn't necessary.
Ana gazed in remorse, tucked comfortably underneath the sheets. "I'm sorry," she spoke lowly, a puzzling expression crept over her, "I'm...I don't know what happened... Please don't be mad at me."
I moved to sit on her bed and clasped my hand over hers that was resting beside her face on the pillow. "I'm not mad at you. I'm just concerned." Slicking her hair behind her ear, "I know it's hard. But I'm here for you... Talk to me." Her eyes pooled and averted their attention away from me. I had no intention on forcing her to open up to me, but I'd hope she did. A moment of silence drew a doubt in my mind, and I respected her decision. Raising a half-smile, I muttered, "You should rest. I'll be downstairs if you need-"
"No. Please don't leave," her voice cracked, tears escaped her drab eyes, staining the pillow. "Stay here with me, please. I don't want to be alone right now." She blinked back unshed tears as I wiped the moisture off her cheek, locking on to her gaze.
"If that's what you want."
"Very much." She scooted back and made room for me. I slipped under the sheets and pulled her against my chest. "Thank you," she whispered weakly, tightening her arm across my torso.
Dinner was tense. We kept the conversation light around the table. Anything from the mundane weather topic to the sea of people visiting Savannah during the summer season. Carla and Bob shared the experience they had while vacationing in Thailand for their anniversary. It seemed I was more cooperative in the conversation than Ana was. She remained listless and aloof, continuously pushing her mash potatoes around on her plate.
"Would you like me to prepare something else for you, Ana?" Carla asked understandingly.
"No. This is fine, mom. I'm not really hungry."
"Please eat something, Ana," I urged, glancing down at her untouched meal. "Unless you want me to force feed you."
"I'm not hungry." She pushed her chair out and left the room in a haste.
Standing behind the kitchen sink, I watched Ana through the windowpane as she swung to and fro on the swing hanging beneath the tree, gazing up at the starry sky.
"She still out there?" Carla asked, sidling next to me.
"She's safe out there," I responded, glancing over at Carla.
"I just don't know how to thank you enough for watching over her, Christian. She trusts you. No one understands what she's going through. I know it's hard for her."
"She's a strong girl." From the moment Ana encountered Ray in the hospital laden with cuts and bruises when the doctor announced his less than stellar chance of surviving to the moment he fell into a coma, Ana held up pretty well.
"How is Ray?" Carla's question came out hesitantly like she already knew the answer.
I sighed. "He's stable. And that's always a good sign."
"If he only knew how much Ana misses him." She broke out a sob. "God, I hate seeing her like this."
"Carla." I embraced her in my arms, rubbing her back. "She's fine."
"I'm sorry," she breathed shakily, her tears seeping into my shirt. "I just...I feel useless. Y'know, I just don't know how to help her. I thought maybe flying out here could ease her mind a little. Get her mind off her dad but..." She shook her head, unable to compose her thoughts.
I quieted her, shushed her, reminded her how much she'd done for her daughter's happiness. That Ana appreciated every bit of support from her. There's nothing more she could do. It's out of her hand. Everything was up to fate.
"How's the star?" I asked Ana casually, strolling toward her.
"They're not as bright as I remember," she answered faintly.
I squatted down before her, her eyes trained on me. "That's because the moon is brighter than ever."
She sighed despondently. "You know I kept replaying the what-if scenario. Like what if I stayed with him that week instead of flying out here. What if I hadn't changed my mind and spent my birthday with Ray. He wouldn't have gone out that day. We would've hung out at home and watched the game like we always did. And everything would've been fine right now." She paused and reflected back, wistfully longing for something out of reach. Her eyes welled up, and she erupted in tears. "Instead he's in some confined space, immobilized, wasting his life away."
Wrapping my hands over her thighs, I gave them a reassuring squeeze. "He'll come out of his coma soon enough."
"What if he never does?" she huffed out.
"What if he does? Have faith in him Ana."
"I just want everything to be normal again. I miss his smile. His laugh. His...awkward conversation. His... I just miss him. I would give anything just to see him wake up."
I cupped her jaw and brushed her check with my thumb, empathizing her pain, vicariously feeling the burden of losing a loved one.
"Why, Christian?" she whimpered, a torrential downpour broke out, streaming down her cheeks. "It's not fair. He's a good person."
"It's the reason he's still alive. He's still with us, Ana. He's given a chance. Do you understand?"
She nodded her head. "Yes," she uttered quietly and forced out a smile, a sad wavering smile, but nonetheless it was a hopeful smile. She slid down from the swing, falling between my legs, and threw her arms around my neck, enclosing me tightly. "He's still with us," she whispered against my ear, optimism laced within her breath, "it's all matters right now, right - that he's still with us."
"Yes." I embraced her in my arms, the stream of tears seeping into my shirt, aching my heart residing within my chest.
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