Fifty Shades…Full Circle
Bounding down the staircase I attach the back to my pearl stud and then finish tucking my white shirt in to my jeans. No one is up yet and I head to the kitchen to start the coffee. It's so quiet; I never have the house to myself like this. The smell of the brew begins to permeate the kitchen and I feel a yank on my ponytail as Christian wraps his arm around my neck and kisses my ear. "Here," I pour a cup and hand it to Christian who is also in jeans and a white cotton shirt.
"What time do we get the first wave?" he asks as he carefully takes a sip of the hot brew.
"Mmmm." I swallow a sip of my hot tea. "Dad and Myra should be the first. They said before lunch, but knowing Daddy I expect them about ten thirty. What time is the Gulf stream due from Charleston?"
"Around two or two thirty," he tells me swallowing his coffee.
"Want some breakfast?" I ask him.
He shrugs, "I don't care. Something light." He gives me a soft kiss on my neck. "I'll be in my office."
"Office? You're supposed to help me today, not work." I glare back at him.
"I just need to check my e-mail and make a call or two. Won't be long." He heads out of the kitchen with his coffee in hand.
Stirring the bubbling oatmeal that is cooking on the stove I hear a little voice. "Morning." A sleepy Teddy walks over and wraps his arms around my waist. I wrap my arm around him and pull him to me in a hug.
"Hey, sleepyhead. What are you doing up?"
"I heard you and dad get up and I just woke up. Whatcha' makin'?"
"Oatmeal. Want some?"
He nods. "Dad's in his office. Go let him know breakfast is ready."
Teddy heads out tugging his pajama bottoms up as he walks. "Remember to knock first," I remind him.
As I put two hot bowls of cereal on the breakfast bar, Christian walks in carrying a still sleepy Teddy kissing on his neck. "Stop it, dad. Men aren't supposed to kiss."
"We aren't men. I'm your father and you're my son and I'll kiss you any damn time I feel like it. And you will tolerate it. Got it?"
"Yes sir." Teddy grumbles as Christian deposits him on a bar stool.
"Here you go." I test Teddy's oatmeal to make sure it's not too hot and then hand it to him. I have already fixed it with butter, honey and some milk and cinnamon. "Stir it up good."
Stirring my own bowl I lean against the counter and begin to dive in. "Come sit next to me." Christian says and motions to the bar stool next to him.
"I'm good. Besides I have a lot to do today. No time to sit down" Finishing my bowl I rinse it and put it in the dishwasher just as Virginia walks in.
She takes Teddy's face in her hands and kisses his cheeks, "Good morning sweetheart." He makes a face then she does the same to Christian who winces at her gesture. "Tolerate it dad." Teddy looks up at his father and rolls his eyes.
"Dinggggg dongggg. The doorbell rings through the house.
"In coming!" I hear Christian yell from the family room as I work with Georgia in the kitchen getting lunch prepared.
"Brace yourself." I smile over at Georgia as I dry my hands and join the rest of the family as we head to the front door. Getting to the door, just in front of Christian I throw it open to see daddy and Myra standing there with Fred in tow. "Oh, Daddy." I fling my arms around him and give him a big hug.
"Annie. Awww you're lookin' good girl," he growls back in our embrace. "Myra. So good to see you." I release dad and give her a hug. "Come in both of you." Christian shakes dad's hand and welcomes Myra. He still isn't used to our housekeeper now being his step-mother- in- law. Jack greets Fred and so does Teddy after he gets a hug from Ray. "There's that Tommy boy," Ray smiles and reaches down pulling Tommy in to his arms giving him a big kiss.
"Grampa Ray, did you see my new shoes?" he sticks out his foot to let daddy see his new sneakers.
"Well those are fine shoes."
"Uh huh. Dey are blue. Mommy got dem for me."
Daddy gives him a big hug and kiss and sets him on the floor. "Where's my girl?" he asks looking around for Grace.
"She's in the family room. Come on in and relax. Staff will take your bags up to your room."
After introducing Virginia to Ray and Myra we finally get them situated on the sofa in the family room and a cup of coffee in their hands. "So. I hear I have a new granddaughter."
"Yes. She's down for a nap, but she'll be up shortly," I tell him. Grace crawls up between Ray and Myra situating herself between them on the sofa and taking in the attention. "She's my baby grampa Ray."
"Oh she is? I see." He chuckles at her and pulls her on to his lap. "Well, where did you come by this baby?" he asks her.
"Mommy and daddy got her. But she's mine."
"And where did they find this baby?" he asks her as she has his full attention.
"Dey went to da hopsital and dey had a extra one, so mommy and daddy got her and brought her to me."
"The hospital just happened to have an extra baby lying around?"
"Uh huh." She nods with her eyes like saucers sitting on her grampa's lap, telling her tale. Daddy is having a time listening to her story.
"Well that's not far from the truth actually." I break in. "She was abandoned at the hospital at birth and we just fell in love with her."
Christian's phone buzzes. "Excuse me. It's the office." He gets up and heads out of the room to take the call. "Yes. That's what I said. Twelve thirty. I know. Just send out the damn memo." I can tell he's exasperated. He turns his phone off and walks back in.
"Trouble?" I ask.
"No. I told Andrea to send out a memo to all employees that they could leave today at twelve thirty. For some reason a few of the department heads are questioning it. Can't even be fuck…um darned nice to anyone without it being questioned."
"Well it was darned nice of you. I'm sure they appreciated it." I give him a smile.
"So how's married life, Ray?" Christian asks daddy.
"Pretty great." Daddy reaches over and pats Myra's knee and gives her a wink. "I'm sure it hasn't been easy living with a crusty old bachelor like me."
Myra leans in to daddy and snuggles under his arm beaming up at him. "Ray. Don't be silly. You're not old." We all chuckle a bit.
I begin to hear a squeak coming from the area of the playpen and get up to get Ella before she breaks loose. Leaning over I look down at her stretching and yawning. I smile at her and tickle her tummy and she gives me a smile and kicks her feet. "Are you hungry?" I lift her out of the bed and wrap her in her blanket and take her over to daddy.
"Daddy. This is Ella better known as Mouse." I hand her over to him and he takes her in his arms cooing at her. Myra leans over to inspect her. He looks up at me, "You mean to tell me someone went off and left this gem at the hospital? Ought to be shot." He looks back at Ella and smiles, "Well it was just our good luck, huh princess?" After daddy rocks her a while, he hands her to Myra and she kisses her and rubs her head.
"Want to feed her?" I offer Myra the warm bottle.
"Um are you sure?"
"Yep. Unless you are uncomfortable…."
"No. I'll do it." Myra looks perfectly content cradling Mouse while she eats.
After a burp and a diaper change we put Ella in her swing and all sit down at the table for some lunch. Georgia has prepared a tureen of chowder and fresh baked bread with cheeses and tomato soup and grilled cheese for the kids.
"I like red soup." Tommy tells his grandfather with a big grin on his face and tomato soup from his nose to his chin.
"I can see that buddy. Looks like some mighty good soup."
"Uh huh." Tommy nods back at him. "It is." Tommy lifts a spoonful of soup up to daddy, "Want some?"
"I think I'll stick to chowder, but thanks."
Daddy and Myra have gone to their room to rest a bit and Virginia is napping in her room after lunch. Christian is lying on the sofa with Teddy, Tommy and Grace covering him reading them a book. Mouse is asleep and Georgia and I are just finishing up in the kitchen.
"It's so quiet," Georgia wispers to me.
"I know. Enjoy it while it lasts," I whisper back.
Georgia takes food out of the fridge to start getting dinner ready for the oven and I head in to the family room to relax for a few moments. When I round the sofa I look down and Christian is sound asleep with three sleeping kids covering him. Taking a moment I brush my fingers through his hair and bend down softly kissing his forehead before collapsing in a cushy chair in front of the fireplace. Everything that is precious to me is in this room and I take a minute to watch every breath that they take. I kick my shoes off and warm my feet in front of the fire, letting my eyelids close for a moment.
I jump when I hear the intercom in the kitchen buzz and Jeff announces to Georgia that Mom and Bob are at the gate and on their way up to the house. Forcing my eyes open I slide my shoes back on and walk to the mirror making sure my makeup isn't running and my hair is decent. Looking over at the crew on the sofa Christian is awake and trying to move off of the sofa without waking the kids. They are out cold, so he gets upright and extends his arm out to me to walk to the front door.
Christian and I get to the door and open it just as Mom and Bob pull up and get out of the car.
"Ohhhh. My little girl." Mom throws her arms around me and drowns me in a hug.
"Bob. Good to see you again." Christian shakes Bob's hand. "Hope you had a good flight."
"Yes. We appreciate the jet."
"Yes. It was so nice of you." Mama smiles at Christian. "Of course I was hopin' to get a ride in that new big one you got. I heard so much about it from Ana."
"We let Gail and Jason use it. They took Sophie to Maui for the holidays." I let her know. "Mama. It's so good to see you." I hug her again and try not to let the tears in my eyes escape. "I've missed you so much."
Christian reaches over and gives mom a hug. "Carla. So good to see you again."
"Christian…I do believe you get better lookin' every time I see you….if that's possible." Mom smiles at him then looks over at me. "Men just age so much better than we do."
Christian flashes mom that smile of his with a wink, "Come in. Can we get you a drink?" Christian offers.
"I could do with a scotch and soda," Bob tells Christian.
"Honey. It's early." Mom whispers to her husband.
"The man offered me a drink, Carla. I'm taking it. Besides, it's after five Savannah time."
"I'd love some coffee, sweetheart," Mom smiles over at me as I hang up their coats. "Where are the children?"
"Shhh. Taking a nap in the family room. Dad and Myra and Virginia are all upstairs resting before dinner."
After asking Georgia to bring in coffee and tea for everyone I nod to mom to have a seat. "Let's sit in the living room and maybe the kids will sleep a bit longer."
Everyone has a seat in front of the fire in the living room and to warm up after Georgia brings in the coffee and tea; Bob has his drink in hand.
"So. I hear I have a new grandbaby." Mom smiles as she sips her coffee.
"Yes. She's asleep, but she should be up soon."
"I swear, you and Christian are just the Brad and Angie of Seattle aren't you?" Mom giggles. "How many are you plannin' on?"
I open my mouth to speak and Christian barks in with his charming smile, "As many as our hearts will hold, Carla."
"Oh of course….I didn't mean…" Mom fusses with her hair trying to recover. "Um, so I hear your book is doing real well, Sweetheart."
"Well, it's not my book. I just edited it. But yes, it was number five on the Time's Best Seller List when it dropped." I take a sip of tea. "I'm really proud of it."
"I'm so proud of you sweetie." Mom reaches over and squeezes my knee.
"Yes. We all are VERY proud of her. She's amazing at what she does." Christian smiles and gives me a wink.
We hear a cry coming from the family room, "That would be Ella." I smile at mom. "Want to meet her?"
Mom and I walk to the crib in the family room and I reach down and wrap a stretching Mouse in her blankie and pull her in to my arms and put her on my shoulder kissing her cheek. "You want to meet granny?" I ask her and teasing Mom at the same time.
"Don't you dare ever refer to me as Granny," she fusses at me as she reaches out. "Give me that precious thing," and I hand the baby over to her.
Mom pulls the blanket back and, "Oh…I…"
"Oh, nothing. Um…you should have told me." She whispers.
"What?" I ask. "Told you what?"
"Nothing. I was just surprised that's all."
"About what?" I ask her.
"I was just surprised….I mean….I wasn't expecting her to be…you know… "
"No, Mom. I don't know." I'm getting angry now.
"You know. Different than the other children." Mom whispers. "Her…complexion."
"What about it?"
"Yes." She whispers. "I just mean her hair is so dark and her eyes are brown and her complexion is …..well she is just so different looking than the rest of the family."
"Yes, mother." I let out a big sigh. "Her mother was Hispanic. We have no information about her father. But she's our child just like Grace or Tommy or Teddy. They're all ours and we love each one of them with all our hearts." I can feel myself getting angrier by the moment. "Here. I'll take her." I reach over to take Mouse and mother turns away keeping a firm hold on her.
"No. I want to get to know her. I just wasn't prepared that's all."
"So help me mother, if Christian ever hears you say one word about this….I'll help him escort you to the door…and you won't be welcome back."
"Just calm down." Mom chides me as she coos down at Mouse. "I want to hold her for a while. She's my granddaughter and I want to get to know her."
"Mama. I've been looking so forward to this visit. Can you please just be grateful that Christian sent a private jet to fly you out here. I'm sorry it wasn't the big plane. And please just be happy that we have another child to add to our family?" I rub her shoulders with my hand and lean my head on her shoulder. "I love you mama. Please try to be grateful for what we have."
"I am sweetie. And I know I'll love this little one just as much as the others." She sighs, "It was just a long trip and so much going on. Let's go sit back in the living room."
"I see you've met my precious," Virginia hits the bottom stair and walks over to meet my mother.
"Mom, this is Christian's grandmother from Chicago, Virginia Douglas. Virginia…my mother Carla Adams."
"So nice to finally meet you." Virginia smiles at her as she strokes Ella's cheek. Ella is oblivious and trying to fit her fist in to her mouth.
"Where did you come up with the name of Ella?" mom asks as she settles in next to Bob with Ella in her arms.
"She was named after my birth mother," Christian chimes in.
"My daughter's name was Ella." Virginia tells her.
"Oh. I see. I didn't think Christian knew his birth mother," mom smiles over looking for an answer to her statement.
"I didn't. But since finding Virginia….or her finding me, I've learned a lot about both of my birth parents. I wanted my daughter to have her name," he explains.
"But you call her Mouse?"
"Yes. That's Christian's doing I'm afraid," I tell her.
"She was born early and she was so tiny and abandoned." Christian explains. "To be so small and so alone, she fought her way through, though. She was so strong and so I started calling her Mighty Mouse and the Mouse stuck."
"Well she is just precious and one lucky little girl. Isn't she Bob?" mom asks looking over at her husband.
"Mmmm. I would think so." He responds as he drains his glass. Bob never having children isn't exactly child friendly. He tolerates them for mom and me and I think he likes them, he's just not the jolly grandfather that dad and Carrick are. I think he's getting fonder of Teddy since he's getting older and turning in to his own person. Grace still totally baffles him… as she does most people.