Fifty Shades of Christian: Into the Light
This is a sequel to where book three left off, through the maturing relationship of Christian and Ana and the parenting of children. Christian can't give up his control or his D/S lifestyle, but it is now tempered by love. He needs to protect Anastasia from continued threats due to their high profile life. Ana rebels against the constraints of his security precautions. Through many long talks, negotiations and compromises on both sides, they stabilize their relationship and find what works for them. The story includes all the characters from EJ's novels. I do not own the characters but I enjoyed the books so much I didn't want the story to end when there was just so much more to explore. I have tried to be true to EJ's characters and the story line, except for the epilogue.
Warning: The story does not contain heavy BDSM, but Christian cannot maintain his "no punishments" vow to Anastasia. I believe that dominance is the very core of his personality and EJ gives us many hints that Anastasia likes that part of him. Several times Ana asks Christian to spank her and she admits that it arouses her. If you are uncomfortable with that, don't read this story.
I have a vague feeling of sticky warmth between my legs and my stomach hurts. I come awake slowly, confused about the unusual sensations. As my brain boots up, my alarm grows. Something is very wrong. I lift the sheets and am horrified to see that I'm lying in a pool of blood.
"Christian," I shake his arm. "Christian, wake up. Something is wrong."
The fear in my voice makes him come awake immediately and he leans over me, his frown showing the apprehension he feels. "What is it, baby," he says softly."
"Look." I hold up the covers to reveal the pool of blood. "I'm bleeding and my stomach hurts really bad. Something must be wrong with the baby."
Christian leaps into action. He presses a button the phone "Taylor, wake up. We need to take Ana to the hospital. Get Gail…quickly..yes…Tell Sawyer to get the car."
In less than three minutes, Gail is at the bedroom door in her nightgown and robe. "Find some clothes for Mrs. Grey and stay with her. I have to make arrangements." His voice is low but I can hear the panic in it. It scares me. What if something terrible is wrong with little Blip? I'm afraid to move from my pool of blood. I'm afraid if I move more, it will bleed.
Christian steps outside the bedroom door and I can hear him yelling at someone. "I don't care what time it is. You ring me through to Dr. Green. Tell her it's Christian Grey and that I'm taking Anastasia to the hospital…..good….thank you." Usually, angry Christian scares me but I'm glad he knows what to do. He'll take care of everything. He always knows what to do. Competent Christian. It's a comforting thought.
But I don't want to go to the hospital. My eyes fill with tears. What is wrong with little Blip? I pat my stomach to reassure him. I hear Christian's voice once more. He must have been on hold. He isn't yelling but he sounds worried. "I'm sorry to bother you so late Dr. Green but Anastasia is bleeding quite a lot and has pains in her stomach. I'm taking her to the emergency room. You need to meet us there." It wasn't a request, I notice. "Good. We're on our way."
He steps back into the room to check on me. Mrs. Jones has found some sweat pants and a sweatshirt, shoes and socks. She doesn't know quite what else to do and stands there with a questioning look at Christian. "Just one more call" he says shortly and steps out again.
"Dad, I'm sorry to wake you. Can you tell Mom that I'm taking Anastasia to the emergency room? She is bleeding a lot and in pain." There is a long pause and I assume Carrick is telling Grace. "Yes, Dad…oh good…I would feel better if she were there. Thanks."
"OK, Gail, I'll take it from here. I'll need a blanket to wrap her in."
"Yes, Sir. I'll get one." Mrs. Jones hurries out of the room closing the door.
"Baby, where do you keep the pads for your period?" Geez, how embarrassing. I like to pretend he doesn't even know about such things. He is a man on a mission, not to be questioned, focused.
"Third drawer on my side," I answer automatically. Why is this intimacy different from all the times he has fucked me during my period? I don't want him to see me like this. And I don't want him tending to my hygiene. How gross.
When he comes back to the bed, he has a wet washcloth, towels and a pad. "Ana, I have to help you get dressed. Just do as I say. Let me help you sit up." He places his hand behind my back and helps me sit up. "Can you lift up a bit?" It takes all my strength to lift my bottom so he can pull my nightgown up and over my head. He replaces it with my sweatshirt and gently lays me back down. At least I'm dressed on the upper half of my body.
He picks up the washcloth and I stop his hand.
"I'll do it." I say emphatically.
"Ana, we're in a hurry. Let me get you clean and dressed so we can go." He's impatient Christian now but in a comforting, kind way.
"No, no." I hold his wrists as tight as I can but I'm no match for my muscular husband. He grabs both of my hands in one of his and uses his other hand to roll me on my side and begin washing the blood off my bottom and legs. "I don't have time to argue with you about this," he says firmly. "Spread your legs, baby."
I'm mortified. With all the intimacy we've shared, this shouldn't bother me but it does. It's different somehow. Christian has no inhibitions when it comes to my body, he never has. He washes me and pats me dry, then lifts me and scoots me to a dry spot on the bed. When he puts the pad between my legs I blush. "Oh Christian, this is so embarrassing."
"Why, baby? I'm just taking care of you like I always do."
"I don't want to go to the hospital."
"Well, you don't have a choice." He slips my panties over my feet and up my legs. " Can you lift your bottom, just a little?" He pulls my panties up then puts on my sweatpants.
The cramping comes again, worse this time and I groan. "Oh god, it hurts Christian."
"I know, baby." He turns to the door "Gail?" he calls.
"Here, Mr. Grey. I have a blanket. May I come in?"
"Yes" he calls. "Lay it out at the foot of the bed so I can lay her on it" He puts me gently on the blanket and wraps me up, then picks me up and heads toward the door. Taylor is waiting there. For once, he is dressed in jeans and a t-shirt. He has already called the elevator. We ride in silence but Christian leans over and kisses my head several times. I feel safe in his arms. Everything will be all right, I pray.
Sawyer is waiting with the car and Christian slides in the back with me still in his arms. Taylor jumps in the front. "Take us to the emergency room Luke."
Christian carries me into the emergency room. How embarrassing. I bury my face in his chest so I don't have to look at anyone. "This is Anastasia Grey. Did Dr. Green call?"
"Yes, Mr. Grey, we have orders. Let me get a wheelchair."
"No, I'll just carry her. Show me where to go." Christian does drive hospital staff crazy. He did the same thing when I was hospitalized after the kidnapping affair. He makes his own rules, not necessarily the hospital's. He follows the nurse down the hall into a room and lays me gently on the bed.
"Would you please step outside Mr. Grey," the nurse asks politely.
"No, I'm not going anywhere," he says flatly. I would argue with him but I really do want him to stay with me. I'm scared. The nurse shrugs and begins to undress me, putting me in one of the ugly hospitals gowns that open at the back. By the time she has taken my vital signs, Dr. Green has appeared.
Two hours and a lot of tests later, Dr. Green comes into the room. Christian is sitting on the bed holding my hand. "Mr. Grey, Mrs. Grey, I'm sorry to tell you that the fetus is dead." She sounds sympathetic but I can tell she's done this many times before. Oddly, my thoughts go to her hands, her large ring. It must be a wedding ring. I wonder if she has children.
Christian is hugging me tightly. Wait, what did she say? My baby is dead. Little Blip is gone? The doctor is speaking but her words mean nothing to me. "We should do a D&C but you have the option to wait until you miscarry naturally. Why don't I let you be alone for a few minutes? We will be keeping Mrs. Grey overnight. We can talk about options in the morning but I recommend the D&C."
I'm stunned and it seems Christian is too. He has never been so quiet. I look up at him and there are tears in his eyes. Oh No, My Fifty is crying. I reach up to stroke his cheek with the back of my hand. What are we going to do? Our baby is gone. I was just getting attached to him. Neither of us say anything but Christian gently strokes my hair, looking lost in thought.
Just then Grace knocks on the door and peeks in. "May I come in?" I nod.
"I'm sorry my darlings." She wraps her arms around both of us and we all cry silent tears. Christian's voice is husky, anguished. "Mom, I don't know what to do. I don't know what happened. Do you think it was because Ana got hurt during the kidnapping?"
"No darling. These things just happen. It means this pregnancy was not meant to be. The fetus was not right and could not have survived. It happens more often than you know because people don't talk about it. It's very common in a first pregnancy."
"But how do we know for sure?" I ask. "What if she's wrong?"
"She's not wrong honey. I saw all the test results. We are very sure."
"Should we just do the D&C?" I don't know this Christian. He always knows just what to do. He is always so sure. I can't remember his asking for advice or even an opinion, from anyone, ever. Poor Christian. He has no control over this and he is lost. He holds me like I'm a lifeline.
"That would be my recommendation. You don't want to prolong this suffering."
"No!" I almost shout it. "I won't let them take my baby. I'm going home." I start to get out of the bed and Christian stops me. "Ana, stop it," he says forcefully. He looks at his mother pleadingly, and then suddenly finds his equilibrium. It's as if he realizes that I'm in pain. 'Empathy.' I remember that I didn't think he had any.
"Ana, baby. You must do this. We'll deal with it together, just like we've dealt with everything else. We love each other and our love will make another baby when the time is right. For now, we'll comfort each other and hold each other. You can do this. I'll be with you every minute." And then we both cry, holding each other in a tight embrace.
Grace gives us both another hug. She looks sad. Then I remember that she's not just sad for us. She's lost her first grandchild. And she was so incredibly happy about being a grandmother. "I'm going to leave you two alone. You are very special, both of your. You have a wonderful love. And someday, you will be loving parents. For now, you just need to hold on to each other. You will get through this."
Fortunately I miscarry in the middle of the night, thus avoiding surgery. It's bittersweet. Intellectually, I'm resigned to the reality that the pregnancy is over and little Blip is gone but it's crushing emotionally. Christian is a bear throughout the ordeal. He demands information, refuses to follow hospital rules, yells down the hall when the nurses don't answer my call light in seconds. Gad, I feel like I'm constantly apologizing for him. Everyone in his world jumps when he wants something and he isn't the boss here. I think it unnerves him.
"Maybe you should just buy the hospital" I smirk. "Then you could fix all these problems."
"If I were even remotely interested in hospitals, I would" he steams as he pours a glass of water. "We're not waiting any longer for someone to give us permission. Here, drink this." I'm thirsty and the nurse said to wait until the doctor gave the OK for me to eat and drink. How could it hurt? This place has more rules than Christian, and that's saying something. I drink, the cool water tasting so good.
"Christian, they have other patients too. Maybe they need the nurse more than we do. You need to learn some patience." I try to sound calm, rational and I smile my most encouraging smile.
"I don't care about the other patients," he says stiffly. "I only care about you." But he stops pacing and sits on the bed, taking my hand. "How do you feel, other than thirsty?" I take a long drink of water. "OK, but I wish this was tea."
Communicate, my subconscious tells me. We are trying to communicate better. We've promised each other. Dr. Flynn is helping us learn to express our feelings. Neither of us was used to pouring out our innermost thoughts, Christian because he was a dominant and me because I was naturally reserved. We've made progress because of the pregnancy but now it seems important to share my feelings. "Christian, if you want to know the truth, I feel empty, lost. Pregnancy is a real shock. I felt like a mother. I talked to little Blip and dreamed about the way he would look, what he would be like. I felt protective. Now he's gone and it feels so lonely." I put my hand in his and he squeezes gently.
Christian looks at me sadly. "I know I was not happy at first, but these last few weeks I've done a lot of thinking. I think my paternal gene kicked in. I wonder if nature takes care of that for reluctant fathers. I really rather like the idea of being a father. I started daydreaming about it, taking him up in Charlie Tango and teaching him to sail."
"You know it could have been a girl," I have said that many times in the past few weeks. It's become a joke. "Then I could have taught her to shoot a gun."
His eyes grow dark and he glares at me. "Over my dead body you would."
"Christian can we try again, this time on purpose? Do you really want children?"
He kisses my forehead. "Of course, more than I ever knew I did. But the doctor says we have to wait at least six months. We'll have to decide what to do about contraceptives again."
Dr. Green finally arrives back in the room. "Everything looks fine. You just need to take it easy for a few days."
I know Christian will translate this to mean I should stay in bed for a week. "Dr. Green, does that mean I should resume my normal activities but nothing too strenuous?" I look at Christian as I say this. Christian frowns at me. He knows what I'm doing. He always does.
"Yes, that sounds about right. Just no lifting heavy things or anything too tiring." I give my frowning husband a 'see, I told you so' look and he glares back at me. I'll deal with it when we get home, I think. Now I just want to get out of this place. It's over. Everything seems empty. We're not three anymore, we're just back to two.
Christian opens the back door of the Audi and I slide in. It feels good to be going home. I hate hospitals. Taylor turns to look at me. "Mrs. Grey, you have my condolences," he says warmly but awkwardly. "Thank you, Taylor. We'll be ok"
When we get home, Christian takes my arm and steers me to the bedroom. "Let's get you undressed and into bed." He takes a nightgown out of my drawer.
"I don' have to go to bed. I'm not tired. I'm not tired and Dr. Greene said rest, not go to bed.
"You do if I say you do." His mouth is set in a tight line and he glares at me, daring me to defy him. He begins undressing me, removing the sweatshirt and sweatpants I wore to the hospital.
"Christian, I want to be in the library doing my work. And Dr. Green said nothing of the sort. She said to resume my normal activities." I stand with my legs apart and my arms crossed, my stance for resolute stubbornness. I'm going to stop this right now, before Christian smothers me. I need to be busy. I don't want to think.
"Do I need to give you some incentive to do as you're told?" He has begun his metamorphosis, his body taller, his face reflecting that something I can't put my finger on that tells me Christian's alter ego has appeared. I know not to fight with this Christian. He puts the nightgown over my head and pulls it down.
"Does this feel like déjà view?" I ask. It seems this was the same fight we had when I came home from the hospital the last time.
"And you aren't any better at knowing your limits." He sounds thoroughly frustrated. "People don't walk out the door of a hospital after what you've been through and go to work. I'll never understand that about you, Ana. You have no sense about your health. Bed. Now." He points his long index finger at the bed.
Overprotective Christian has emerged with a vengeance. I remember how he was for weeks after the kidnapping episode. He hovered, insisted I take naps, and wouldn't let me return to work for a week. I don't have the strength to fight. I acquiesce, let him undress me and climb into bed.
"Come get in with me."
"Ana, you need your rest. And we shouldn't do anything for a while anyway. I have some work to do. I'll check on you in a few minutes. And you better be asleep." He gives me his sternest look but I can tell there isn't a real threat behind it.
I did manage to fall asleep for a few hours. When I get up, I go into the kitchen and pour some juice. I can drink again, I think. Maybe I'll have some wine tonight. It's a poor tradeoff. I've lost little Blip but now I can have wine. I would give anything to go back to abstinence and little Blip.
Christian hears me and comes to my side, pulling me into his arms as he gracefully takes the glass of juice and sits it on the counter. He's the most graceful person I know, especially for a man. "How do you feel, baby," he says quietly, nuzzling my hair.
"Just sad." I lean my face into his chest and my arms around his waist. We just hold each other for a few minutes, slightly weaving from side to side. Mrs. Jones comes in the kitchen and stops abruptly in the door. "Excuse me," she says, a little embarrassed. "No problem," Christian assures her. "When will dinner be ready?"
"Whenever you're ready," she answers. "Mr. Grey, Mrs. Grey, I'm so sorry for your loss."
"We know," I tell her. "It's hard but we'll be ok." I feel like I have to reassure everyone else of that when I can't be sure of it myself. Telling Kate was hard. So was telling my mother and Ray. I know it's hard for them to know what to say, how to console me.
That night when we get into bed together, Christian pulls me to spoon with him. We talk about little Blip, how we had both already started dreaming about being parents. How lost we feel, how lonely it feels. We fall asleep in each other's arms, clinging to the only real comfort each of us has.
After two days of pampering, Christian has decided to finally let me go back to work. Mrs. Jones is in the kitchen making breakfast and Christian is drinking coffee at the breakfast bar. "Good morning Mrs. Grey," Mrs. Jones says cheerfully. What can I make for you for breakfast?"
"Just some cereal please, any kind will do." Christian frowns. "Not hungry?" he asks. I can tell he's thinking how nice it was that I had an appetite when I was pregnant.
"I'd like to drive today." I try to sound resolute, commanding.
"Nope. Sawyer will take you."
"Christian, I'm really tired of your bubble. I want some freedom. I love my car and I want to drive." I can probably count on my fingers the number of times I've actually driven my wonderful R8.
"No arguments, Anastasia. Sawyer will take you." When he uses my full name, he means business. I decide not to make an issue of it today. Maybe tomorrow. My mother's words come back to me. "Chose your fights Ana. You can't win all of them."
Christian would have liked me to stay home another day but he couldn't find any rationale. Not letting me drive is his way of still controlling me. He can't let go just yet. I do understand him better. It's the way he copes, the way he's always coped.
"Feeling ok Ana?" Heather greets me warmly. "Yes, fine."
"There are some messages on the desk for you" she says.
No one at work knew I was pregnant so Christian just told them I was ill. It seems strange that everyone's life is just the same as it was last week but mine is so different, so sad. I feel like I'm apart from the rest of this bustling, purposeful place. I want Christian. I wish I was home in his arms and not here. We share this world of hurt that no one else is part of. I take out my Blackberry and remember how hard it was to use it instead of the computer right in front of me on my desk.
From: Anastasia Grey
Subject: My Car
Date: October 30, 2011
TO: Christian Grey
I want to drive my beautiful R8 that my generous husband gave me for my birthday. In what year do you think that might be possible?
Mrs. G X
From: Christian Grey
Subject: Your Car
Date: October 30, 2011
To: Anastasia Grey
Understood. How are you feeling?
Grey Enterprises Holdings Inc.
From: Anastasia Grey
Subject: My Lonely Car
Date: October 30, 2011
TO: Christian Grey
You didn't answer my question.
Mrs. G x
From: Christian Grey
Subject: Stop pestering
Date: October 30, 2011
To: Anastasia Grey
We'll talk about it tonight. 2030 sounds about right.
Protective Husband, Grey Enterprises Holdings Inc
From: Anastasia Grey
Subject: Stop prevaricating
Date: October 30, 2011
TO: Christian Grey
Me and my lonely car may just run away from home.
From: Christian Grey
Subject: Stop threatening
Date: October 30, 2011
To: Anastasia Grey
I would find you and you wouldn't be happy when I did.
Grey Enterprises Holdings Inc
From: Anastasia Grey
Subject: My keys
Date: October 30, 2011
TO: Christian Grey
Did you hide my keys?
From: Christian Grey
Subject: Your keys
Date: October 30, 2011
To: Anastasia Grey
Taylor has your keys. You can ask him for them.
Grey Enterprises Holdings Inc
I frown. Yeah, like Taylor will do that without asking you. Damn. He is so in control of my life. I want some freedom and I'm going to get my car back. I'll have to think this through. Getting around Christian is no easy task.
Christian greets me warmly when I get in the car at 6. He leans over and kisses me gently, then takes my hand in his, studying me carefully. "Would you like to go out for dinner or stay in? Mrs. Jones is waiting to find out."
I think it might be better to have the car conversation in a public place. "Let's go out."
"OK, I know just the place. Taylor, the Venu please. And tell Mrs. Jones we won't be needing dinner."
"Yes Sir" acknowledges Taylor.
I've never been to the Venu but it's a small, intimate place, very trendy with a sunken floor full of oak tables and elevated booths around the side. There's a small fountain in the middle of the circular room and indirect lighting gives it a romantic feel. "Let's sit in a booth," I suggest.
This should be relatively private for our conversation. Private but not so private that Christian will start shouting. Christian orders wine and hands me the menu. He suggests the salmon but he's letting me order. Hey, that's progress.
"So," Christian starts. "You wanted to discuss something."
I hesitate. Why does this always sound so easy when I plan it in my head and so intimidating when I actually do it? "I want to talk about driving. I love my car and I love driving it. But it doesn't do me much good sitting in the garage. I want to know why you don't want me to drive."
"Ana, there's a kidnapper out there. One who likes to abduct wealthy women, which makes you a prime target. I need to keep you safe. One close call was enough for a lifetime."
"Christian, there will always be some crazy or jealous criminal out there. I can't live my life in fear. I just can't. I never wanted all this wealth. I hardly ever buy anything. I just want to lead a normal life."
"Comes with the package, and you knew that. What I want to know is why you won't spend any of our money. You continue to use your old credit card and checking account. Frankly Ana, it makes me mad. I feel like you haven't really accepted being Mrs. Grey, being my wife."
Oh, damn, how did this conversation go from my driving to my using my own bank account? His diversion skills are almost as good as his sexual skills.
"Oh no you don't. I want to talk about my car first." I meet his intense, grey eyes with my own intense blue ones. Don't give up first my subconscious warns.
"Anastasia, you aren't eating. Pick up your fork." Will we ever have a peaceful meal? "You need to get your strength back."
I pick up my fork as ordered. We don't need to add a third issue to this argument. He looks satisfied as I take a bite of my food. "What about your car?"
"Don't be obtuse Christian. I want to drive it."
"I don't know. To work, shopping, to Kate's." I'm losing patience with his delaying techniques.
"Ok, I'll talk to Taylor. I MAY, and I'm saying MAY, let you drive a limited amount if Taylor follows you." He's staring sternly at me. That's as good as it's going to get for this round. "OK, I'll expect to drive to work tomorrow."
"Don't get ahead of yourself, Anastasia. I said I would look into it. We'll see what Taylor says. Now that we have settled that, let's discuss my issue. Why won't you spend any of OUR money?"
"I have money of my own. Money I earned. It feels better spending that than money I had nothing to do with, except falling in love." I give him my most loving and sincere look, hoping to lessen the sting of my words.
"You bought a dress and shoes in Aspen. I was happy about that and thought you had overcome your inhibitions about money. But you haven't touched the $50,000 I put in your account." He looks perplexed.
"First of all, I was under a great deal of pressure from Kate and Mia in Aspen. They chose that dress and shoes. They don't seem to have any problem spending your money. And second, what are you doing snooping in my personal accounts? Do you check my account on a daily basis?" I add sarcastically. I should be used to his stalking but it still really annoys me.
"First of all, it's OUR money, Anastasia. And second, you are my wife. That means we share everything and have no secrets. Isn't that what marriage is all about? You can look at my accounts and our joint accounts any time you want. They're all in my desk drawer. I'll give you the passwords and you can look them up real time on the computer."
Damn, he can make me feel guilty. How does he always do that? And I don't think I want to monitor his multiple accounts. I probably wouldn't understand his investments and whatever else he has if I did look.
"I think I'll close your checking account and credit cards so you're forced to use our joint accounts." He voice is low and threatening.
"Don't you dare"? I don't doubt that he can do this. His stalking tendencies are notorious. "Christian, I mean it. That's the only vestige of freedom I still have."
He stops eating and looks at me quizzically. "Do you really feel that way?" He is hurt and I can tell he hadn't thought of it that way.
"Yes, I do. I have to have something I can call my own, something I control. You take control of everything in our lives and I don't want to feel like an object in this marriage."
Christian puts his fork down and leans his chin on his hands. He is thoughtful for a minute. "OK, you keep your accounts. But please tell me you consider the money I put in your account yours. And tell me you will try to spend some of it. It would make me very happy." Sincere Christian is hard to be mad at. I know he means well. He wants to give me everything I want. It's just that I don't want everything. There really isn't anything I want.
"I have nothing to buy Christian. You bought me a car, a computer, an iPad, all the clothes I can possibly wear. What else is there to buy? And, I might remind you, I can't go anywhere so how can I even spend money."
"Good point, well made" he smiles his crooked smile and I can't help but smile back. "OK, I'll take you shopping." He gives me his leering look. "That could be fun." Compromise is new to Christian but he is learning. I need to meet him halfway. "I promise I'll try to spend some money."
Well, that was not much of a negotiation. I started with my credit card and checking account and no driving privileges and ended up in the same state. And I have promised to spend his money. I'm not the consummate negotiator Christian is. But I never needed to be before I met him.
"Now that we have all our issues settled, eat your dinner."
Saturday arrives and I enjoy the luxury of sleeping late. Christian is already gone when I awake. He told me he would be taking Charlie Tango to a meeting in Spokane. What shall I do? Mrs. Jones is off today. Shall I make breakfast? I leisurely put on jeans and a sweatshirt. I really don't feel like cooking for myself. I decide to go to the deli I saw on the next block and get fresh bagels. I don't want to bother Sawyer. Taylor probably went with Christian. Actually this is a great time to try my new plan, my bid for increased freedom. If I slip out on my own enough times, Christian will get tired of sending out search parties and give me some flexibility in where I go and when.
I remember that Leila got into the apartment from the service elevator. I have never taken it. I know there is a CCTV camera somewhere by the back entrance but doubt anyone is watching it. Whoever is here probably thinks I'm still asleep. I sneak through the kitchen to the back door. I wonder if it has an alarm. Guess I'll find out.
I open the door cautiously and see the elevator door. Closing the door without making a sound, I call the elevator. It arrives and I get in and push the button for the garage. I'm sure someone is on duty in the lobby and I don't want to be seen. Who knows what spies Christian has in the building.
The door opens at the garage level and I'm near the entrance to the street. Wow. That was easy. Feeling triumphant, I head for the deli on the next block and duck inside. It smells wonderful, of coffee and wood and sweets. I study the exhaustive menu written in chalk on huge blackboards on the wall above the serving counter. As I work my way to the front of the line, I think how normal this feels, like old times when I was free to do as I pleased. I'm feeling young again, euphoric. I order a bagel with sausage and eggs and my favorite tea. Winding through the tables, I find one in the back and sit down to enjoy my breakfast. I look around the room. It's filled with young people, many with computers or iPads on the tables, some with old-fashioned newspapers. It's all so normal. The bagel tastes yummy and the tea is perfect. I wish I had thought to bring my iPad so I could read too.
As I finish eating I look up and see Sawyer looking frantic, searching the block for me. Oh no, the end of my glorious freedom. He turns to stare in the coffee shop and spots me instantly. He's trained to do that, I surmise. He pulls his cell phone out of his pocket and makes a call. I know he's calling Christian to say he found me. Damn. He already told Christian I was AWOL. As I watch him talk, my consternation increases. Damn, damn, damn. Why does this have to be so complicated? I knew what I was signing up for when I married Christian but the reality is more difficult than I bargained for. I want my freedom.
Sawyer winds his way to my table in the back and looks down at me. "Mrs. Grey, Mr. Grey is not pleased that you left the apartment on your own" he says somewhat apologetically. "He would like you to return at once ma'am."
"I was rather enjoying my solitude." I snap. Immediately I feel guilty. Sawyer is only following Christian's orders. I can't blame the man. "Ok, I'll go. I'm finished anyway, " I say, the resignation evident in my voice. My foray into freedom was certainly over quickly.
As we walk out the door, my cell phone rings, the Christian ring. "Hello" I say brightly.
"Damn it Anastasia, You are in big trouble. What do you think you're doing?" roars Christian. "You promised not to leave the apartment without security."
I hold the phone out from my ear and Shouty Christian can be heard by anyone within three feet. Before he can go any further, I hang up and slip the phone in my hoodie pocket. Sawyer looks amused but stares straight ahead. He knows I hung up on Christian.
His lips are a tight, straight line but his chin is quivering. Damn, he's trying not to laugh. I look up and give him my most mischievous grin, my eyebrows raised. The phone rings again and I ignore it. I'm already in trouble. What difference does it make now.
"You enjoy living on the edge, Mrs. Grey?" he says while the phone continues to ring. I give him a conspiratorial grin. The ringing finally stops and two seconds later, Sawyer's phone starts. He has to answer it, I muse. He listens for a moment and then hands the phone to me. "Mr. Grey would like to speak to you Ma'am."
"Yes, Christian," I say brightly. "What can I do for you"?
"This is a very poor time for your sass, Anastasia. I am furious with you. I expect you to go straight back to the apartment. I'll deal with your defiance tonight when I get home. Be there." He hangs up.
"Mr. Grey seems to be annoyed," I smirk to Sawyer. If you can't beat them, join them. That's my new motto. Maybe things will be a little easier if I make the security shadows my friends. Christian won't be home for hours so the inevitable showdown seems far away.
When we enter the apartment I head for the library. Sawyer heads for the safety of Taylor's office. Poor Sawyer. He must have been read the riot act for losing me. I spend the next few hours catching up on the work I have missed lately due to my hospital visit. Then I wander into Taylor's office. Sawyer stands up when I enter. "Mrs. Grey, can I do something for you?" he asks stiffly.
"I was wondering, Sawyer, what your orders are in regard to my safety. I know Christian doesn't want me to drive my car but I thought it would be OK to go to a deli one block away." I sound as innocent as I can.
"Mr. Grey does not want you to leave the apartment without security," he answers firmly.
"I see. I'll remember that." I turn on my heels and go back to the library to read. My mind wanders and I'm reading the same paragraph over and over. I'm restless and bored. I don't want to think about little Blip. His loss hangs over me like a dark cloud, dulling my senses. If I really let the thought of him through my defenses, I'll cry again. And I don't want to do that. Christian can't expect me to stay locked up in the apartment for the rest of my life. I call Kate. "Kate, hey girl, what are you doing?"
"Nothing. Elliot's out of town making some kind of construction deal."
"Christian's out of town too. Let's go get some drinks and dinner." The thought lifts my spirits already.
"Oh Ana, I'd love to. I'll pick you up. What time?"
"I can be ready in half an hour. Can you be here by 5?"
"Yeah, I'm in jeans so let's go someplace casual, ok?"
"You got it. See you soon."
I put on some jeans and a blouse, comb my hair into a ponytail, brush my teeth and am ready in ten minutes. I casually appear again at Taylor's office. "Sawyer, I'm going out to dinner with Kate. She'll be here at 5. I assume you will need to follow us."
"Yes ma'am. I'll let Taylor know."
"Is that really necessary?" Why do they have to tattle to Christian every time I do something?
"Those are my orders, ma'am," he sounds almost apologetic.
I leave to get my purse and jacket and I can hear him reporting to Taylor. Kate buzzes the doorbell and I rush to open it the same time Sawyer does. I hug Kate as soon as she walks in. "I'm so glad you're here. Let's go."
Sawyer hands me the phone. "Mr. Grey would like to speak with you."
"What?" I snap into the phone.
"Don't be rude Anastasia. Can you please stay in the apartment with Kate and order out. I'm uncomfortable with you running around the city when I'm out of town. We're just boarding the helicopter to return to Seattle." Polite Christian is tipping his hand. He is asking, not telling, which means I have already won a small battle.
"No. Kate and I want to go out. We'll be fine. I'm taking Sawyer."
"Anastasia, so help me. You are pushing me to the limit. When I get my hands on you tonight, you won't be nearly so arrogant." His voice is chilling.
"I know." I say in a resigned voice. "But at least I'll have some fun in the meantime. Have a safe trip back." I say cheerfully and hang up.
"Mrs. Grey, Mr. Grey would like me to drive you. Miss Kavenagh," He looks at Kate. "Ryan will park your car and have it for you when we return."
I sigh. "Kate, it's easier than arguing. Christian is already mad at me."
We're seated in a quiet booth, right next to the one Christian and I sat in. Kate loves the ambiance. We order a bottle of wine.
"How are you doing?" asks Kate, concern evident in her voice.
"Physically the miscarriage wasn't too terrible. But emotionally, it's so much harder than I thought. Christian and I avoid talking about it as much as possible. I guess that's normal. It hurts too much to think about." I don't want to talk about it at any deep level. I know I'll cry and it seems too personal, too intimate to discuss casually.
Kate seems to understand and changes the subject. "It's so nice to be out together, isn't it? I've missed you so much Ana. How 's married life?"
"Since I've never been married before, I have nothing to compare it to." I laugh in the realization that it certainly wasn't what I dreamed that my married life would be like. "But with Christian, everything's complicated. He's obsessed with the kidnapper so security is tight and I'm rebelling. I went out alone this morning to get a bagel at the deli. Of course, Sawyer had to tell Christian I was missing. He was furious. He objected to our going out tonight."
"Then how come we're out?" Kate grins.
"Because I took a stand." I smile shyly. "I just said I was going."
"Ana Steele, you shock me! You have gone from the most pliable person I know to a girl who takes on the formidable Christian Grey. Honestly, sometimes he even intimidates me." She's looking at me with newfound admiration.
"How are things with Elliot? It seems like we haven't talked in so long."
"Well, I was lonely too. I'm glad we got to do this. I can't believe I'm asking you for advice about men but I do want to ask you a questions."
"What is it Kate?" She looks confused.
"Well, I know how Christian wanted your relationship to be" she lowers her eyes in embarrassment then adds hastily, "and I know that's not what it is. But I was wondering if Christian has ever….uh…you know…hit you." She finishes the sentences in a rush.
"Has Elliot ever hit you?" I'm aghast.
"No, but we have been arguing lately and he threatened to….." She can't look me in the eye. I can tell she is having trouble discussing this. It's newer to her than it is to me.
"Kate, if you mean does Christian spank me, the answer is not really, not in anger. But he has threatened it many times. I figure some day he's going to lose patience completely and do it." This doesn't even embarrass me. My subconscious is mortified.
"Well, it's the same with Elliot. I don't think I could love him if he did that to me. And I do love him so much. I don't know what to do when he says that."
"Have you tried seducing him? I just get all sexy and throw myself at Christian and he melts and forgets all about it." I sound so much braver than I really am.
"No kidding? And that works? Wow Ana. I'm going to try it. I guess marriage is the best teacher. Sometimes I can't wait for the big day and sometimes I think it's coming too soon. Did you feel that way?"
"Oh yes, and I had the added complication of dealing with Christian's mood swings. The hardest part for me is accepting Christian's wealth. Really Kate. I don't want any part of it. I wish he would sell all his companies and we could go live in a little house with a white picket fence and have two children and mow our lawn. It's nice not to worry about money, but instead we have to worry about getting kidnapped. It's not a fair exchange."
"I know Ana. I don't see how you put up with all the security 24/7. Do you think it will ever get better?"
"I don't know. Let's not think about it now. So, what's Ethan doing these days and has he decided what to do about Mia?"
We order a second bottle of wine and dig into our dinner. As we linger over dessert, Sawyer approaches the table. "Mrs. Grey, Mr. Grey would like you to come home now. He is back from Spokane." I roll my eyes at Kate. "See what my life is like? I better go. He' still mad about this morning."
"What happened this morning?" Kate asks.
"I had the nerve to walk one block to the deli and buy a bagel." It sounds so ridiculous I start to giggle and Kate joins in. Must be the buzz from the wine.
Christian is waiting in the great room when I get home. "So, you decided to defy me as soon as I left the city?"
"Hello Christian. Welcome back to you too." He is staring daggers at me, his eyes blazing. He crosses the room to stand over me, his arms crossed over his chest.
"You are acting very independent these days, Anastasia. Is it because I have promised not to punish you? Do you now feel you can do anything you want, regardless of my wishes?"
"I went to the deli for some breakfast" I reply nonchalantly.
"Don't get cute with me Anastasia. I don't need your smart mouth right now."
"Christian, you can't lock me up like a prisoner. I have rights. And this morning I felt like taking a walk."
"Anastasia, there is a kidnapper on the loose in Seattle. You promised me you wouldn't leave the apartment without security. You broke that promise. Right now I feel like spanking the daylights out of you. I can't do my work, leave the city, go to a meeting without you bolting. Are you trying to get me to break my promise and punish you?"
"No, I don't want you to punish me. I want you to understand that I have needs too."
"Your needs contravene your safety."
"That's your opinion."
"It's my opinion that counts."
"That's the problem with our relationship. My opinions don't count."
"Let's go to bed." Suddenly I realize that Christian is exhausted. I have caused him to worry yet again. I have no idea how to solve this problem. But for now, Christian will solve it the only way he knows how. We can't have intercourse yet but I'm sure Christian will be inventive. I look forward to a sensual trip down passion lane. I really don't want him to enter me there yet anyway. It seems like forbidden or sacred territory for some reason. I hope that feeling goes away in time. Now I just want our loving, sexy relationship back. I want the black cloud hanging over us to go away so we can live in the sunshine again.