For those who have read my cluster fuck story. I feel I should explain a bit about this one. I had never even heard of fan fic when I roughed this out. Originally it was a short story. A series of conversations between my original character Mckenna McGovern and Christian Grey. I thought it would be fascinating to watch two such guarded people form a friendship. Then I began posting it on Fan fic and the story just sort of grew. I wrote it before cluster fuck and the Ana and Christian in this story are closer to EL's characters. At heart it's a story about friendship. And I think what I enjoy most about it is the way the McGovers sisters with all their craziness work their way into Christians heart. It's also funny as hell. If I do say so myself.
Jason Taylor was starting to feel desperate. He stood, silent, and watched with increasing trepidation as his employer, Christian Grey, prowled around his cavernous office, like a caged lion, looking for somebody to maul.
He'd been working as Christian Grey's head of security for five years. A billionaire at twenty-eight, Grey ran the empire he'd built with near inhuman focus and discipline. His Seattle based, Grey Enterprises Holding Inc, was one of the largest and most successful privately held companies in the world. Over the last twenty-four hours, however, that man had disappeared. His boss was rapidly coming unglued.
"What the fuck are you telling me?" Grey roared,"Months this has been going on, and we know nothing, NOTHING?"
"Well, not quite nothing." Taylor responded, forcing a calm he didn't feel. "We have eliminated several suspects."
At that unsatisfactory response, Christian Grey, stalked the expanse of the office, stood in front of him nose to nose, and bellowed with enough force to rattle the windows. "They tried to kill MY WIFE! MY WIFE!" Then, the horror of his own statement exhausting him, he retreated, and sinking into the chair behind the massive desk, buried his face in his hands, "My wife. Oh God, my wife. Oh God Ana."
And here was the problem. Normally, Grey ran his empire with the unique confidence born of being its creator. Nothing fazed him. Over the last year, there had been several attacks on his businesses. A computer virus, and two explosions, one on a ship, the other at a shipping yard in Taiwan; and a fire, Taylor grimaced, it had been the only real casualty; one person dead, not that the guy was a great loss. Lincoln was a special kind of scum. But for the most part, these attacks had been dealt with efficiently and had minimal damage. The investigation, while progressing more slowly than Taylor would like, was overall, proceeding fairly well. Just a matter of time really; work the evidence, find the culprit, eliminate the threat.
All that changed yesterday, when a bomb was found on the under carriage of Mrs. Grey's car. When it came to his wife's safety, all reason left Christian Grey's head. Taylor had never seen anything like the man's complete devotion to his wife. His need to keep her safe bordered on obsession, and now that she was a very eight months pregnant? Hell, if they didn't get to the bottom of this soon, his employer was going to end up in a rubber room Yes, these were desperate times, so desperate action was required.
"I think I may know someone who can help."
Grey's eyes locked on him like twin lasers, "What? Who? How? Why am I just learning about this now?"
"Well," Taylor hesitated, searching for a way to explain what he didn't fully understand, "Alex Kane is kind of strange, brilliant though. Specializes in threat assessment and other forms of Analysis. I worked with Kane once when I was with Homeland Security. Never seen anything like it, has some kind of weird cognitive ability. Might be kind of hard to get a hold of though..."
"I don't care if he's bat shit crazy and lives in a fucking cave!" Grey exploded, "if you think he can figure this out, find him. Get him here. I'll pay him anything he wants."
"Yes sir, I'll attempt to make contact, but you should know..."
"Taylor!" Grey roared, as he released the death grip he had on his hair, slammed his hands down on the desk, and bellowed loud enough to be heard all the way to the Space Needle and back.."I. DON"T. CARE. JUST GODDAMNED GET HIM HERE!"
"Yes sir." Taylor replied. Yeah, desperate times.
Nirvana is a hot, steaming shower. After spending a week wandering around a damp castle in Northern England, I had begun to think I'd never be warm again. Whoever decided that October was the best time to hold an annual Medieval festival in the tiny town of Meklinburgh, was either a masochist or a yeti. The temperature never went above twenty degrees, and with the wind chill, never felt above zero. After a week of giving tours to cranky old people, stuck up yuppies, surly teenagers, and snotty nosed kids, I swear my blood has frozen in my veins. You'd think the thirty pounds of fabric that made up the authentic, period dress I'm forced to wear would give me some degree of warmth, - you'd lose that bet. And if that comment about old people and yuppies makes me sound bitchy, well I'm just too tired and frozen to care. I've had to do this gig every year since I turned eighteen, and one thing I've learned - put perfectly lovely people on a tour bus, and instantly, they become possessed by their evil twin.
By the time the plane touched down in my home town of Richmond Virginia, I had no patience left. My evil twin had taken up residence, and wasn't going anywhere until I could get a hot shower and a full night's sleep. Thank the fates I didn't run across any other evil twin types between touchdown and home. As I'm sure it would have set off a series of events ending with bloodshed, a mugshot, and my face on the late news.
I'd never been so happy to see my old row house and its noisy radiator heat. The thing could rattle like granny's false teeth, but it was toasty warm. Christy, my youngest sister and housemate, opened up the door for me before I could get my key in the lock.
"I've already pumped up the heat and put the kettle on." She took the large purse off my shoulder with one hand and grabbed my carry on with the other and ushered me upstairs to my bedroom and it's connecting bath, "You just jump in the shower. I've been watching the weather channel all week. I'm surprised you don't have pneumonia," she ranted on, handing me a towel and fishing my flannel pj's out of my dresser, "Those people are just nuts. October? I don't know how they get anybody to show up. I mean, if they were all a bunch of polar bears, well then it would make sense."
Yeah, cause polar bears love festivals of all kinds.
Christy paused her ranting to breathe. Taking advantage of her need for oxygen I jumped in,"Hey sis, good to be home. How was your week?"
She stuck her tongue out at me, "Just get in the shower and thaw out. You should listen to me. I'm a medical professional."
"You're a veterinarian." I pointed out, leaning over the old claw footed tub, and turning the shower on.
"Humans are animals. Class: Mammal. Species: Homo-sapien" she spouted her usual comeback, "I'll have the tea by time you get out. A special brew of mine, chamomile and rose-hips, with a touch of mandarin, it's good." My youngest sister pushed her glasses back up her pert little nose, her big blue eyes studying me. With her layers of brown hair floating around her face, she reminded me of a really cute owl. Then she broke into a smile, her short arms reaching up and pulling me down in a tight, tiny hug, "Welcome home sis." her fierce whisper warmed me from the inside out, and as she turned and left the room I could still hear her muttering about wind chill, pneumonia, and "The March of the Penguins"
And now, thanks, to the near blistering heat of the shower, I can honestly say I feel like a human being again, animal tendencies and all.
"Hey Mac, I've got your tea ready," Christy pokes her head in from my bedroom, "I've put it by the bed."
"Thanks sweetie, I'm coming right out." as warm as the shower is, I'm tired enough for the bed to be just as tempting. Shutting off the water, I towel dry, and ensconce myself in some truly fabulous flannel pajamas and take a moment to study my exhausted reflection. Ooh, worse than I thought. My always pale skin is looking downright pasty. Circles are hanging under my bloodshot eyes, and with their dark color, somewhere between green, brown, and black, and my auburn hair snarled around my face in a wet tangled mass...Shit, if anybody back in Meklinbugh saw me now, they'd tie me to a stake and light me up faster than you could say, "burn witch."
I enter my bedroom to see Christy in the corner, curled up in my favorite reading chair sipping her tea. She's looking a little worried and a lot determined. Offering her what I hope is a reassuring smile, I clamber up into the high four poster bed that's been in our family for over five hindered years and pick up my own cup.
"I'm okay." I say the words I know she's waiting for, cupping the tea in both hands and absorbing the warmth. But knowing little sister like I do, I can't help the suspicious glance I throw in her direction before taking my first sip.
She has the grace to not be offended, "It's just tea, I swear." she crosses her heart and looks carefully innocent.
Uh-huh, my youngest sister took to brewing like a cat to nip. By age ten, she was mixing up sedatives so strong one drop could knock out a horse in ten seconds flat. Add the pharmaceutical knowledge she now had and the years she spent "brewing" with my Great Aunt Talulah, a retired chemistry professor and our family's official brew-master, baby sis was downright scary.
"So, no little something extra to help me sleep?"
"No, just chamomile." her look is pure guileless innocence, which doesn't mean a damn thing. Both Allie and Christy have got that innocent "who me?" look down to a perfected science. Growing up, they always handled any necessary lying. I just can't pull off innocent and Lena looks devious in her sleep. "So where are the twins tonight?" I cross my fingers and hope the answer is a simple one, involving no riots, arrests or bloodshed.
"Well, Lena had that 10k marathon today, so she turned in early, and Allie has a date."
Okay, yes, I'm relieved.
"Um, the three of us were talking this morning about next year," Christy's hesitant voice floats over her mug she's staring into like it holds the secrets to the universe, "we... um.. don't think you should go alone next year.," she raised her head, her eyes pleading, "Please Mac, let us help..."
"NO!." I cut her off harshly and instantly regret it, seeing her eyes glaze with tears. Shit, I made my baby sister cry. I go to rake my hand through my hair and it gets stuck. Oh, yeah...snarly, "I'm sorry Christy, but I just can't... It would tear me up."
"But that's how we feel Mac, when you go alone." she sniffled.
"I know, and I'm sorry... but, no. I would go crazy."
We fall silent. This conversation has happened over and over for the last nine years. It always ends the same way. "I don't want you to see it." I finally whisper.
"I know." Christy sighed, "but I still don't like it." then, under her breath, "Those evil bitches. I can't believe they make us do this."
That makes me almost smile, "Evil bitches?"
"Oh, you know, those cranky old biddies on the historical society."
"Yes," my almost smile turning into half a laugh, "I thought that's who you meant."
"Well it's unreasonable is all." Christy's voice rises with old anger, "They could get anyone for the reenactment. Just put a long black wig on some woman, tie 'em to a stake and tell 'em to scream like hell. It doesn't take some Meryl Streep, Oscar worthy performance. Heck, one of the biddies could do it."
"Yes," my face splitting into a full grin at her outrage, "but why do that when you can get a direct descendent. After all, that's who all the people are coming to see. The great-great-great-"
"Great-great-great" Christy interjects.
"Great-great-great-great...was that ten or eleven?"
"Ten, I think."
"Should we keep going till we hit twenty-three?"
"Well, it's kind of late.."
"Yeah and I'm beat. We know what we mean - great-granddaughter, of the infamous Mckenna McGovern, evil witch extraordinaire."
A "humph" and a shrug was sister's only response. Her disdain for the 'cranky, evil, bitchy, biddies' is deep felt and well known.
"And of course, there's the agreement."
That got Christy's ire up again, "That stupid agreement. It wasn't like we had a choice."
"No," I grimace into my cup, "Our choices at the time were limited, and they knew it."
"They just want to get their hands on the castle." Christy's furious whisper fills the space between us.
My own rage rises to meet it, "Never. Gonna. Happen. Those bitches will never get McGovern."
More silence - and I know we're both thinking of the place we used to call home so long ago, before our world went up in flames.
Feeling my eyelids droop, I lie back into my pile of pillows and set aside my mug. I'm just too tired to hold it. It occurs to me that chamomile is a sedative. I glance over at Christy and wonder just how much she put in that tea. She's trying for wide eyed innocence while watching me like a hawk. So that would be a lot.
"Oh Mac, I'm sorry. Here I am keeping you up, rehashing all this old stuff. I've just been worried. I know it has to be awful, with what happened with Mom..."
And here it was, what it always came down to - the past. A past that for me was ever present, but for my sisters never existed.
"Christy," I sit forward, hold my sister's gaze, and lie through my teeth, "it was a long time ago. I'm okay. "
"Well, tired and a little cranky, but that is my okay"
That got me a smile, "Yeah, nothing new there."
"It's the past babe," I recite what has become our family mantra, "can't be changed, can't be undone..."
"and so we move on." she finishes for me.
"and so we move on."
"I just wish I could remember." Christy's haunted whisper twists my heart.
"Oh sweetie, I'm so glad you don't."
Experts say you get your best sleep in the early morning hours, and I was exhausted. So I was mightily pissed when my r.e.m. cycle was interrupted at four am by my cell phone vibrating on the nightstand, but as I'm a mature adult now, I answer it instead of slinging it against the wall.
"WHAT?" Proper phone etiquette does not apply between midnight and 6:00 am. It's written in a book somewhere. I checked.
"Kane?" Came the masculine voice one the other end, "that you?"
I knew that voice, sort of. "Nobody calls me Kane anymore, Turner."
A frustrated sigh, "It's Taylor."
"Yeah, right okay, well, nice talking to you, Taylor. You take care now."
"Wait! Wait, don't hang up. Dammit, Kane, you owe me."
Now, that got my attention. "Yeah, how do you figure?"
"You would have bled out, without that tourniquet."
That statement is so ridiculous a laugh escapes me before I can stop it, "Yeah, how 'bout since your idiot man shot me in the first place, we just call it even."
"You weren't suppose to be there."
"Really?" I snap. I just have no patience with people who call at ungodly hours and insult me. I'm a bitch that way. "Well, if Swanson..."
"Whatever. If he'd shown up on time, I wouldn't have been."
"There were plenty of men who could have made that drop. You were only there as a consultant. You put the whole operation in danger."
"You're delusional." I am amazed that someone can get me this pissed off while I'm still half asleep, "If your men had waited till the top of the hour like I instructed, everything would have been fine. But no, they stormed in like fucking Rambo and shot up people who were already dead."
Silence. Dead quiet on the other end. I can hear Taylor's mind working. Oh, this is not good.
Note to self: when awakened at four a.m., your lack of filter problem will get you into trouble when combined with your little temper issue. Conversations of this type are to be avoided in the future.
Taylor's voice, ripe with suspicion, interrupts my impromptu self help seminar,"Kane, what did you do?"
Now, that's a real interesting question with a mighty fascinating answer. I decide to evade, "Does it really matter now? Dead is dead."
More silence, Taylor's thinking some more, then, "No, I guess not." More silence for one heartbeat... two... "The fact remains, I saved your life." and he's all business again. "Listen, I've got a situation in Seattle. I need you to..."
"Oh, well, a situation in Seattle, why didn't you say so." I fall back on sarcasm, the last hope of a desperate mind, "I'll be on the next plane."
"Your flight leaves at 6:00 am."
Well...hell!He had me. We both knew I couldn't have him going back poking around in that mission. On the upside, at least I was still packed.
So eight hours later I'm in Seattle Washington in one of the swankiest offices I've ever seen, trying not to feel guilty about sneaking out of the house at five a.m. After all, there was no need to wake my sisters when a note would do. There - guilt assuaged. I distract myself by taking in the carefully impressive surroundings.
I'd already made it past one vast reception area, complete with sandstone floors, white leather chairs and an impressive desk with an impeccably dressed blond female behind it. I am now on the 20th floor in yet another immense reception area; more sandstone floors, white leather furniture, and a view of the entire city skyline - space needle and all. With not one, but two huge desks, each with it's own impeccably dressed blonde female. Whatever this place is, it's screaming money. I glance back to the matching blondes. Maybe they're cloning people. Either that or I've landed in some weird Stepford office scenario. God, I'm babbling in my own head. Jet lagged times two and only 4 hours sleep is not good for ones mental state.
I move from the bank of windows to plop down in an obscenely expensive chair. Odd really, spending that much money just so a parade of butts can plop down on it day after day. Yeah, still babbling. Sheesh, I don't even know where I am. I called Taylor after I landed and he gave me this address, but he's just the hired help. I should have gotten more information up front and normally I'd be full of questions, but I'm just too tired to care.
Looking over at the impressive double doors that lead to what I'm sure is the equally impressive inner sanctum of the impressive person I'm waiting to see, I just wish that whoever the hell it is, they would hurry the hell up, so I can get the hell in there and get whatever the hell this is over with, before I pass the hell out on the impressive marble floor, in the impressive reception area, with it's impressive space needle view; in front of the impeccably dressed, blonde, possibly cloned, Stepford twins.
The three men behind the impressive doors were in fact, in a rather tense discussion about Alex herself.
It started when the receptionist announced the arrival of Alex Kane and inquired if she should send her on up. Grey's eyebrows had shot up and he looked over at Taylor.
"Oh yeah, " Taylor grimaced, "Alex Kane is a woman. I tried to tell you earlier but..." he stopped speaking as Grey waved him silent.
"Fine, it's fine. Man, woman, like I said, I don't care if she's a vampire bat..."
"Humph, more like a wicked witch." Sawyer muttered.
"Sawyer" Taylor shot his number two his best 'shut up now' face, "that's uncalled for. You know as well as I do she's the best."
"Humph" was Sawyer's only reply, but he relented with a small nod of his head.
"Fine." Grey said, a small smile moving fleetingly across his features. "A witch then."
Taylor let out the breath he'd been holding. His boss still retained some sense of humor. That was fortunate. If his past experiences with Alex Kane were any indication, he was going to need it.
Grey didn't know what to expect when he met Alex Kane, but considering both Taylor and Sawyer's comments he thought it best to keep an open mind. Besides, he really didn't care about anything but her ability to identify the threat against his family. So he pasted a smile on his face and walked to the door leading into his office, ready to greet the strange woman, vampire bat, wicked witch, or whatever else and he couldn't give a fuck, but before he could get there the door swung open. He got a brief impression of a tall slim woman with long auburn hair, as without so much as a nod in his direction, Alex Kane walked briskly into his office, her long denim clad legs eating up the space in just a few strides, and plopped down in the nearest chair.
Then leaning her head back and covering her eyes with her hands, "Taylor, this had better be good. I've spent 17 of the last 24 hours on 6 different planes in 9 different time zones. I'm way beyond jet-lagged, and I've got a headache from hell. I need a Diet Coke and an Excedrin before anybody opens their mouth, and for fuck's sake, somebody turn down the lights. It's so bright in here, it's burning my brain."
What the fuck? Completely nonplussed, he looked over at his security team. Taylor was just smiling and shaking his head, already moving over to her and fishing a white pill out of his shirt pocket. He placed it in Kane's outstretched hand. She promptly popped it into her mouth, and opened one eye long enough to reach for Taylor's open can of Diet Coke. "Lights." she reiterated, taking a couple of large gulps before leaning back and once more covering her eyes.
Grey, even more confounded, looked over at Sawyer. His only response was to raise one eyebrow in what could only be called a "what did I tell you?" look. Taylor however, didn't seem fazed at all. After handing her the pill and soft drink, he walked across the room to dim the lights, looking questioningly over at him for the okay. Grey just nodded.
Taylor came back to his side, "Just give her a minute. She doesn't do well on no sleep. Get's kind of cantankerous."
"Humph," was Sawyers only response."
"Shut up, Swanson." Alex spoke from behind her hands.
"Sawyer" the number two bit out through clenched teeth.
A lazy "Uh-huh," slipped past her barely open lips. Then she sat up, opened her eyes, looked straight at him, and it was like someone flipped a switch. The sarcastic, exhausted woman disappeared and in her place? Well, he wasn't sure what replaced her, but whatever it was, it was damn disturbing. Shit, maybe she was a witch. She sure as hell looked like one. Not the ugly ones with warts, no, Alex Kane was strikingly beautiful, pale skin, dark auburn hair, classic features, and incredibly large dark eyes, which were locked on him in an intense, unblinking stare.
Christian Grey could say without conceit that women had been staring at him his entire life. He was used to it, but Alex Kane's stare was into him. He knew it, could literally feel it. The hairs on the back of his neck prickled. What was that saying, ' like someone was walking on your grave..'
A grave walking, vampire bat, witch. He straightened and shook his head. She was actually freaking him out, nothing freaked him out. Then, as if sensing his discomfort, she looked away. A slight blush staining her cheeks. When she looked back some of the intensity was gone. She smiled.
"You're Christian Grey." she murmured, nodding towards the name plate on his desk.
"Guilty." He acknowledged with a slight nod of his head.
"It was on the building outside, Grey Industries,...I didn't put it together..." she spoke to herself, shaking her head, "jet-lag." She closed her eyes, rubbing her temple, and took a deep breath. Then opening her eyes and focusing on him once more, she tilted her head, "My sister was right about you."
"Oh?" Where was this going?
"Yes, she said you were too good looking by half."
Well, he had no response for that.
"Hmm," Her gaze became assessing, "I'm thinking more like three quarters."
What the hell? He looked at Taylor, his temper rising. What the fuck was this?
Taylor gave him a tiny nod, "Just bear with it. It'll be over in a minute"
Grey relaxed slightly. So this was normal behavior for her. Well, he'd give her two minutes, then she'd be putting up or getting out.
"I know this young man back home..." her voice, soft and thoughtful, brought his attention back to her. She had abandoned her intense study of him, her gaze now roaming over his office.
"Really?"Now what was she talking about?
"He's an immigrant from Darfur."
"I see." he didn't see at all. One minute. Thirty seconds.
Finally her eyes settled on the wall behind him.
"She's lovely." Grey knew she referred to the huge black and white photo of his wife, he had hung behind his desk. Ana, his Ana. Fresh terror gripped him.
"You love her very much." she whispered her voice mechanical and distant, that assessing gaze trained on him once, her head tilting, and a little furrow appeared in her brow, like she was working a puzzle. She stared at him for nearly the entire minute she had left, then her expression smoothing out, "She saved you."
Holy Fuck! He looked over to Taylor who was watching her intently, obviously fascinated. Sawyer just looked freaked out.
"She's in danger." She went on in that strange whisper, her eyes now boring into his, "that's why you're so scared."
"What the fuck..." he said aloud before he could stop himself. He stared at her, as freaked out as Sawyer, as she rose and crossed the room to stand in front of him, extending her hand. He took it automatically.
"Mr. Grey," she spoke his name gently, and when he looked into her eyes he was surprised by the compassion he saw in their dark depths, "My name is Alex Kane. I'm going to help you."
She turned to Taylor, and turned to stone, "Get out, and take that moron with you." she demanded, waving a hand in Sawyers direction, muttering under her breath. Grey couldn't make out all the words, but damned if it didn't sound something like, 'not looking to get shot today,' What the hell?
"I need to speak to Mr. Grey privately." The strange and Grey now understood, brilliant woman went on. Then glancing back to him, her expression a sheepish, "I mean, if that's alright?"
He found himself smiling.
"Yes," he agreed quietly, "yes, that would probably be best." The woman was a mass of contradictions.
"Taylor," her expression hardened again, "you know what I need. Oh, and no one other than the four of us need to know why I'm here."
Her gaze darted back to him, "And your wife of course." she added with a little smile. Back to Taylor, "I'm assuming you brought in extra security?"
Taylor confirmed with a slight nod.
"Yeah, especially not them."
"Why?" Grey found himself asking, not that he didn't agree, but he was curious
"Oh," the query seemed to startle her. She blinked up at him and changed again. Confidence evaporating, and he found himself looking in the eyes of an insecure girl, "A couple reasons really...sort of," she hesitated, her hands twisting in front of her, "For right now, can we just go with I don't know them, so let's not trust them?"
He held her gaze, crossed his arms over his chest, and waited.
Alex Kane looked up at him for a second, lips twitching, and suddenly threw her head back and burst out laughing. Transforming again. Her laughter was throaty, rich, almost dark, and sexy as hell. Shocked, he glanced over at Taylor, whose mouth was hanging open. Sawyer looked downright scared. He should be. Christian beyond loved his wife, would never think of looking at another woman, but he understood sex more than most and could sense the dark, sexual energy she was throwing off. It was so thick you could taste it, and she wasn't even trying, she'd just dropped her guard. If she ever focused that energy... shit, he almost felt sorry for the guy on the receiving end. He wouldn't stand a chance.
Finally sobering, she shook her head, her eyes bright, "I'm sorry, it's just... I do that with my sisters." She waved her hand up and down his length, "that whole 'don't say anything and wait for the other guy to talk'. They hate it. Now I see why."
She tilted her head to one side, her smile increasing, "You're really good at it." then, under her breath,"They would love to see this." another little shake of her had, and she sobered, "To answer your question, Mr. Grey, I'm not sure why...sometimes it takes the "why" time to form..."
She drifted off, her hand going up to rub her temple, "That doesn't make sense does it. Uh, it's a right vs. left brain thing..." another pause, more temple rubbing, "I'm sorry, I'm afraid I'm not explaining well."
Grey studied the strange woman he was trusting to identify the threat to his wife and unborn child. She seemed genuinely distressed over her lack of explanation. He turned to Taylor, "I agree with Miss Kane, we need to keep this circle very small, just the four of us. After all, we don't know where the threat is coming from, no one else should know why she's here."
She smiled up at him, relieved, then turned to Taylor again, "Oh, and ... some of these guys are former military, black ops, blah, blah, blah, I'm sure?" Taylor confirmed with another infinitesimal nod. "So they've probably heard of Alex Kane. You need to drop it. I already did. It's McGovern now. Mckenna McGovern."
Christian Grey. Well, I'll be a witch in a well. While Taylor's favor might be in question, the favor I owe Grey is not. He saved a life; the life of someone I care about. The fact that he's unaware of it – not relevant. When a McGovern owes a life debt – we pay it. We Pagan, Goddess Worshiping, Scots take that shit seriously. That I don't choose to practice the religion of my heritage, yeah that's not relevant either. It's in my blood. Every ancestor I have would rise from the grave and kick my ass if I didn't pay the debt. And now that Granny Rose had passed, I wasn't about to take any chances. That woman could wield a wooden spoon like a ninja. My knuckles still tingled from the summers spent with her. Granny didn't care for cursing, insisting it was a 'lazy form of expression, that reflected poorly on one's upbringing,' and I guess I'm just lazy. So Granny could stay put behind that veil. Besides, if it's one thing I'm intimately familiar with, it's the driving need to keep the ones you love safe. It's led me to extreme measures more than once.
Sitting across from him now in one of those expensive chairs, assessing him, assessing me from behind his massive desk, I'm wracking my brain to figure out a way around the one obstacle blocking my ability to help him – Christian Grey himself. I need autonomy, silence, and isolation while I work. How to get Mr. Christian- I am Master of all I survey – Grey to leave me alone and let me do what I do, and for fuck's sake, don't ask me how, cause even I'm not sure how my crazy brain...
"How do you do it?"
Well hell, the man knew how to get right to it. I take a deep breath.
"The short answer? I have a brain disorder." Both his eyebrows shoot up. Yep, nobody ever sees that one coming. I sure as hell didn't. "The official name is," I pause, hold up my hand, and count off on my fingers, "Intuit Cognitive Dyslexic Memory Dysfunction Disorder." six fingers up. I got it all, possibly not in the right order but...
"I've never heard of it."
"Oh, well," I really hate this part, "that's probably because I'm the only one whose ever been diagnosed with it."
"Pardon?" he sits forward, looking as if he didn't hear me right.
"They … uh..made the diagnosis up, you see, based on my brain's unusual way of functioning."
Both eyebrows up, leaning back in his chair, and mouth open. Wow, I've shocked him. I bet that's not an everyday occurrence.
"I was ten years old. They took me to this research facility, my behavior had been...erratic. They ran a bunch of...tests." I close my eyes as memories assail me. Darkness, isolation the smell of my own fear, the scorching pain, my screams... Shuddering, I open my eyes, careful to keep my voice steady, "Anyway, I don't think even the, so called, experts understood it."
More like fucking psychopaths.
"They just sort of went with the 'everything but the kitchen sink' diagnosis."
"I see." He murmurs quietly, compassion resting in the depths of that assessing gaze, and I know he does see way more than I'm telling. "So, can you explain how you came to your earlier conclusions. All dead on, by the way."
"Okay yeah, that should make it clearer," I smile, "Good idea."
"I've been known to have a few." he responds dryly, but he's returning my smile..
"I got the end conclusion first. You were terrified. It rolled off of you in waves." I pause to see how he receives this. He just nods.
"So there was only one question, What would terrify you? The answer is always the same."
"Really?" he frowns, thoughtfully.
"Oh yes, everyone is terrified of losing what they care about most, always. For most people it's losing their own lives, but not for you. For you – it's losing hers." I nod towards the photo over his head. "You have nothing personal in this office except that huge photo of your wife. It was an easy one."
My gaze rests on the photo behind him once more. Something is nagging at my brain, and inside my head I hear chimes, sweet...clear. It's the sounds of Christmas. I study the picture more closely. Her eyes, she looks familiar. The chimes play again, and my nose tickles with the bite of pine, I close my eyes, and my mother's beautiful, laughing face appears. She's standing in front of a small chapel holding my baby sister's hand. The snow falling on her ebony hair. It's Christmas Morning. Mama loves Christmas. I take another deep breath, filling my lungs with the fresh cold air...
"Miss McGovern... Mckenna, are you alright?"
I blink away the memory and see a tall, very good looking man standing over me. His face is tight with worry, his hand on my arm where he's been shaking me. Grey, Christian Grey. I'm in his office. It's October 12, 2012. I'm twenty seven years old. I blink again. I'm cold. I start to shiver.
Grey gets out his phone, "I'm calling 911"
Thatbrought me back. "NO!" I grab his arm. "No Mr. Grey, please, I'm fine."
"You are not." His face is implacable.
I smile. "You got me there, but please, I can explain, it's nothing serious.
"You're white as a sheet and your lips are blue. You're shivering." he shrugs out of his suit coat and wraps it around me, "You need medical attention. If you won't allow me to call 911, then I am calling my personal physician." He starts dialing again. Shit, he's like a force of nature. I glance at his wife's picture. She must be a saint.
"Please, Mr. Grey, please listen."
"I can listen and dial, Miss McGovern."
Oh for fuck's sake."Mr. Grey, please, there is nothing your doctor can do," closing my eyes, I lay my head back on the soft leather. Maybe these chairs are worth it after all. "I'm alright. And while I'm sure any doctor you call would jump at the chance to study me, freak of nature that I am, I really do not enjoy the attention. So please, please, just...don't."
His easy compliance shocks me. I open my eyes, he's leaning against the edge of the desk facing me, his posture loose, his face concerned, but no longer rigid, "What happened?"
"It's not easy to explain."
"I have a disorder."
"So you've said."
"Sometimes, I have memory flashes. They're like a total recall. I smell, hear, and see everything, as if it's happening now. It can be...confusing."
"Like Post Traumatic Stress?"
"Yes, except more vivid." like by a thousand times.
One eyebrow pops up, "You're still shivering."
"When did you last eat?"
He's wearing that 'I want an answer' look. Man, I owe my sisters an apology.
"I had orange juice and peanuts on the plane."
"That's it?" He's up off the desk, and on the phone, mouth tight, "Taylor, we need an order from 'Bon Nuit'," he looks over at me, "Food allergies?"
"Uh...no." What the hell?
"Beef or chicken?"
I just blink at him.
"Beef and chicken, and I want all the sides, salad, and the fruit and cheese plate." He slides the phone back in his pocket, and leans back against the desk, crossing his arms over his chest. His eyes are solid silver. When he speaks, it's a royal decree, "You will eat."
Well...okay, so I'll eat.