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CLEARING THE AIR

Chapter Twelve

Christian

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I turn my head slightly to Kate at the house and she smiles, turns, and pulls Elliot inside. She knows we'll be okay. The sand is warm and comfortable, the dogs are back running around us protectively, and I finally have Ana in my arms. Everything is perfect.

"So, how you doing Mrs Grey? You've had me very worried" I utter softly as I brush her hair away from her neck.

As my fingers brush her warm skin, I feel the shiver that runs through her. Her head involuntarily tilts to the side and that's my que. I gentle nuzzle into her neck with a small smile playing on my lips.

"I love you" I whisper. "I've missed you so much" I breathe.

"Oh Christian, I'm so sorry, I've been so stupid. I thought... I thought... oh, it made sense at the time but I knew, I don't know how but I knew you wouldn't do that to me... It just all seemed so... I forgot... Forgot about luke... His place is being renovated, so I told him to use Gail and Taylor's old suite... I can't believe I... Are you mad at me?" she asks, her voice softens and her hands rub my arms comfortingly.

I can't hide the chuckle her word trigger, and I nuzzle in closer. Feeling her sink into my hold and relax a bit more, I smile. "I'm so mad at you" I whisper, in between kisses.

"You don't seem to be mad" she giggles.

"Oh, I'll show you how mad I am soon enough, I'll have Andrea clear a week for you... Oh say... In about three months, then you'll know for sure how mad I am, but for now, just nuzzling you to death will be your punishment, plus, I don't think your new friends would let me do anything else" I look up, to find a dogs face only inches away from mine.

Ana's body shudders with her laughter and I can't help join in. God, what a difference a hour can make.

"Speaking of friends Christian... Please don't be mad at Kate, or Elliot, I begged them to help me, I needed..." she's pleading in my arms and I can feel her tension building. Her hormones are racing, her stomach tightens and the baby begins to move.

"Shush baby, it's fine... No stress okay, don't worry, Kate's free to fight another day" I feel Ana begin to relax. "If you ever repeat what I'm about to tell you, I'll deny it to the death but... I'm quite proud of Kate" Ana turns in my arms to look me in my eyes, and I can't hold back any longer now that I can see her properly.

"I'm sorry baby, but I've got to kiss you now" I gush, and I don't give her time to respond.

With my palm cupping her cheek, my lips are on hers swiftly. Oh that feels good. I've missed my wife so much. Oh god, she's getting breathless. I pull back and smile at her while she catches her breath. Color floods her cheeks and she looks wonderful... My Ana.

She laughs softly, "You're proud of Kate, why?" she asks, shaking her head slowly.

I think she's trying to distract me, so I'll play along, even though I just want to kiss her. No, that's not true, I want to lose myself in her right here, right now. I need to feel close to her, let her know how much I've missed her... No, not now Grey. Shaking my head to clear it, I answer her.

"Ana, in less than two hours, your friend Kate, dodged everyone I had in place around you. She invaded our home, swept you away, and had you calm, safe and protected, all without breaking into a sweat. She even took me on" Ana chuckles.

"You're not mad at her" she whispers, and I shake my head.

"She's a good friend for you to have Ana, anyone would want her covering their backs and I'm glad you have her... but I promise you, I will never repeat that again, but don't worry baby, me and Kate are good... She helped me, she didn't believe it and that's good enough for me" I hug her closer into my chest. Her head falls back on to my shoulder.

"Are you comfortable enough? Do you want to go back inside?" I shift slightly to see her face better. It feels like weeks since I last looked at her properly, not hours.

'I'm fine" she utters, snuggling into me further. "Did Kate do this?" she asks, holding up her manuscript. I can feel my cheeks warm, no I'm blushing. Shit. I think she feels my shame and turns more in my arms to catch my eye.

"No... That was all me" I confess. "I know it was silly... But it was the only thing I could think of. Kate said I had to approach this slowly, no charging in, no stress, so it was all I could think of... Childish I know, but you've never been able to turn away a good book" I tease, to ease my embarrassment.

I smile, still feeling slightly silly. She laughs heartily and it's a wonderful sound and not one I thought I would hear. I thought I'd find her here broken, but she's so much stronger than I've ever give her credit for.

"We could always publish it you know" she threatens.

"Don't even think about it Mrs Grey... and you can't hold me to ransom over it either, as I've more than enough evidence of your crazy behavior lately" she looks up at me puzzled and I have to laugh. "Did you, or did you not, try to leave your office yesterday in pink fluffy slippers?" I accuse, and she blushes. "Also, you do realize don't you, that you've kept Taylor and Gail very entertained over the last few weeks"

"How so?" she asks quizzically.

"Well, there is putting your car keys in the fridge and..."

"What" she shrieks, genuinely shocked. "I haven't..." I just nod with a smirk.

"Gail found them, more than once, placed in the fridge, and there was an incident at breakfast with the orange juice..."

"I did, I poured it over my cereal... I have been feeling kind of out of it lately, but..." she mutters, looks slightly worried.

"Don't worry, Kate told me it's quite normal... How did she put it, yes, your brain is puddled, but I knew something wasn't right for you to believe all this. My Ana would have..." she cut me off quickly to defend herself.

"But Christian, it all fit. When I saw her in the car park she was beautiful... Just like..." I begin nuzzling her neck again, I need the contact, plus I want to keep her calm.

"Yes, she is beautiful, she..." I feel Ana tense in my arms at my words and continue quickly. "She's beautiful because she looks like you" I state truthfully and she relaxes, "You must have rubbed off on Sawyer, he has his own doppleganger. I would be worried if he wasn't getting married" I confess.

"They're getting married?" Ana asks, excitedly. I nod. "She never mentioned that. Oh, I am glad"

"He only proposed last night, over dinner apparently..."

"She was cooking, she dropped her wine" Ana interrupts. "But even the car Christian" I stiffen and I know she noticed "What is it?" she asks.

"Well, the car was actually yours... Well technically" her brow furrows. I kiss her forehead and she leans into me. "Remember after Leila damaged your Audi?" she nods. "Well, I'd ordered you another one remember, but then we picked out your Saab and well, I never got round to canceling it, so Sawyer took it off my hands a while back, he gave me a good price for it too, he obviously lets Madderson use it" I feel her head shake slightly.

There has been so many coincidences, I'm just glad Ana met her in the car park, I dread to think what could've happened if Madderson was already in the apartment and Ana walked in... I would probably be sitting by a hospital bed right now.

I move my hands and place them both flat on our bump. "How are you both really?" I ask, and can't keep the concern out of my voice. She rubs my arms reassuringly.

"We're fine Christian I promise, but... I'm sorry... I had to run, the way my body reacted when I was at Escala was..." she places her hands over mine and sighs softly. "He's to important to risk" tears well up in her eyes. I lean and kiss her softly.

"I know, Kate explained and I understand. You did the right thing" I assure her.

"I did?" she asks, sounds so unsure of herself.

"Of course you did, with all that happened, everything you were thinking and feeling your first and most powerful instinct was to protect our son, so how could that be a bad thing... Your both so precious to me Ana, I would never risk either of you, you must know that" I implore.

"I do, I did even then, but my emotions just took over and well I..." she shuffles on the sand while she recalls.

"It doesn't matter now baby, your safe, we're together and you look good... wonderful even... the beach certainly suits you, and Kate was right about you being well protected, because these two certainly like to hover" I point out.

The dogs have remained close to Ana during our reunion. One is resting near her feet and the other one is sitting beside us, watching me very closely. "Are they always this attentive?" I ask.

I'm beginning to feel a little worried. I don't like the way they're looking at me. I think I'm a little to close to Ana for there comfort, but I don't want to move. Ana giggles as she reads my expression. Her hand reaches out and she strokes one of the dogs.

"They've been great, very good companions, I've been safe. Bill, their owner, said they would be protective of me because of the baby, and I don't think he's wrong... Christian... After the baby comes... Now that we have a home with space... Could we maybe, get a dog?"

I can't help my deep belly laugh at her request. God, she's wonderful, such a big open heart that everything works it's way in.

"If that's what you'd like... Then of course baby" she sighs contentedly and wriggles onto my lap. I enfold her in my arms and hold her tight to me.

"I love you so much Christian... I'm truly sorry for running out on you, for not believing in you. I swear to you, I will never do that again... What you must have felt when you realized... I'm truly sorry, forgive me" her hands fly around my neck, and she nuzzles into my chest.

"Oh Ana of course I forgive you, I could never hold anything like this against you... It's over now, we can go home" I feel her stiffen in my arms and she raises her head to look at me. "What? What's the matter?" I ask.

"Christian, I can't go home, this house, Milly and Roxy are my responsibility until Bill gets back... So, how do you fancy a few days at the beach? It's beautiful here, especially after dark, very secluded, very private" she's blushing and wriggling as she;s trying to convince me.

I pick up on here mood instantly. Leaning down, I place small kisses along her jaw line and whisper close to her ear. "Oh, is it now... Well, if you're very lucky... I might just stick around" My lips find hers and we are lost, devouring each other, until we hear a low warning growl.

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