The car ride home is silent, which is to be expected. Phoebe is staring out the window. I doubt that she's enjoying the scenery. I have a strong feeling that her thoughts are elsewhere. We have music from her iPod playing softly through the speakers. I had called Dr Flynn this morning to see if he could see Phoebe this week, and I asked him to clue me in on ways I could help my daughter after such a traumatic experience. One of the things he told me was to keep her in a quiet and relaxed environment. No loud noises and no fast movements. That shouldn't be too difficult. Our home is pretty relaxed and quiet. I don't want her to think about the shootings. I need to keep her busy. I reach over and take her hand. At first she looks down at her lap and then she looks over at our hands. Think of something to say, Grey.
"Mom and Natalie will be home when we get there. I was thinking we could have a pajama movie day" I tell her. Her eyes are still focused on our hands. "It's been some time since we've done that. I'm looking forward to it. We can make some popcorn and some milkshakes…." I stop when I see that she has tears rolling down her cheeks. She brings her other hand up to her face to dry them. "Peanut, what is it?" She glances at Taylor and doesn't answer me. I leave go of her hand so that I could sit forward and talk to Taylor. "Taylor, ear buds please" I whisper to him. He does as he's told and continues to drive. I lean back in my seat properly and pull Phoebe closer to me. I keep my arm around her and I'm pleased that she doesn't pull away. "Please talk to me" I say to her softly.
"You're being so nice" she says softly and tearfully.
"I'm always nice to you. Why should now be any different?" I keep my tone light as I talk to her.
"What I did was so horrible. I hurt you." There is so much pain and emotion in her voice. I hate seeing her like this. I sigh and rub my hand up and down her side since my arm is still draped around her.
"Yes, you did hurt me. But I forgive you." I try to be firm with my words. She needs to let this go. I hate what she did but I don't want her to carry the guilt with her forever.
"It's too much to forgive." More tears drip down her face and she uses her fingers to dry them. I bring my hand over to cover the side of her head and kiss her forehead.
"Why don't you let me be the judge of that?" I say to her softly. I gently stoke my fingers through her hair. "Please don't cry. I need to tell you something." I wait until she is calmer before I continue. "I don't like what you did, and I'd rather you not do it again. But I think you've come a long way since you've been back." I kiss her forehead again before I continue. "I always knew that you cared about people, I've never doubted that. But now I can see that you are more aware of how your actions affect the people that care about you. You are more aware of people's feelings." She nods and wipes some more tears. I kiss her head once more and reach over for her seatbelt. I unbuckle it and pull her into my lap. She allows it and rests her head against my shoulder. I just want to keep my arms around her and hold her. I could have lost her yesterday. She's still my little girl. I don't care how old she is. I am so fucking grateful that she is still here with us. I don't think I could survive losing Ana or any of our children. That is why I work so hard to keep them safe. That is why I insist that each member of my family has security follow them. That is why I have rules and punishments for breaking those rules. Phoebe is alive, and now we need to help her survive this.
When we arrive home I slowly slide her off of my lap and help her out of the car. I take her hand and we walk into the house together. Ana greets us in the foyer and takes Phoebe into her arms.
"Hey sweet girl. I'm so glad you're home" she says to her with tears in her eyes.
"Hi Mom" Phoebe says to her as they pull apart.
"Hi Baby. Come on, come into the kitchen. Gail has been baking muffins."
I feel a smile grow on my face as I watch my girls and then follow them. The sweet aroma of blueberry muffins fills the air as we get closer to the kitchen. We see Gail and she also greets Phoebe with a hug. There will probably be a lot of that going on this week. I'm grateful to Gail for engaging Phoebe in helping her mix some more batter. I put my arm around Ana and we watch as our daughter relaxes and measures out the ingredients.
Our momentary peace is shattered when we hear the sound of gunshots being fired. Ana and I flinch and quickly look around the kitchen. Phoebe covers her ears and screams. We watch in horror as she lowers herself to the floor. Ana and Gail help her as I rush to the source of the sounds. They are coming from the main room. I'm in there instantly and I find Natalie standing in front of the sofa covering her ears. The television's surround sound and volume are turned up all the way and there is a movie playing with a gun fight. I find the remote control and quickly switch off the television. I run my hand through my hair and feel my heart racing. This is the last thing we need right now. I look down at my little girl. Her little hands are still holding her ears. She is looking up at me and she has a pouty lip. I know that scared her, and my reaction to it didn't help matters. I drop the remote and pick her up. She quickly wraps her arms around my neck. "Hey Sweat Pea. You're okay. Everything's okay." I look back at the television and notice that the DVD player is powered up. "Were you watching one of your movies?" She nods while her head is still buried into my neck. I rub her back to calm her. Her movie must have ended and then shut off. "It's alright, Baby. You didn't do anything wrong. Let's go find Mommy and get some juice."
I carry her into the kitchen and find my wife and daughter on the floor. Phoebe's head is rested against Ana's chest and Ana is stroking her hair. Gail quickly cleans the counter since some of the ingredients have spilled. "Gail, could you take Natalie to her room with her sippy cup?" I ask her softly. She smiles at me and takes my daughter into her arms. She takes her sippy cup out of the refrigerator and leaves the room. I sit on the floor and put my arms around my wife and daughter. "It's okay. It was just the television. I turned it off. How 'bout we go and sit?"
I help Ana and Phoebe stand and they walk to the main room ahead of me. I boil some water and prepare tea for them. I could go for some tea myself. Once the water boils I pour it into three mugs and carry them into the main room using a tray. I place it on the coffee table and sit next to it so that I can face my wife and daughter. I don't know what to say to her or how to help her. I don't know what I'm supposed to do. All I know is that the lost look on her face is breaking my heart.
"Phoebe I'm sorry" I say to her softly. That's the only thing that comes to mind. We stay silent until she speaks up.
"I want to know what happened" she says softly.
Ana takes her hand and squeezes it. "Honey, are you sure?" Phoebe nods but doesn't look at either of us.
"I don't think that's a good idea" I say to them. Ana looks me at pleadingly. She wants to talk about this?
"Please" Phoebe pleads as well. "I need to know. I need to know everything. I know you Dad, I know you had your people look into this. You probably know more about this than the police do."
She's right. I had Welch give me a full update this morning while she was still sleeping. But do I really need to tell her everything? She'll think it's her fault.
"Dad?" she pleads again.
"Okay" I make the decision. I will tell her. "Drink some tea first." I pass her one of the mugs and she starts to sip it. I pass one to Ana as well and take a sip of mine before I start sharing the information from Welch. "Phoebe, before I tell you this, you need to know that none of this is your fault" I say to her sternly. She looks up at me and we make eye contact. "Do you understand that?" She nods and I continue. "We know who had the gun, and the police know too. We know that she acted alone in the shooting, but what we don't know is if she had any help getting in and out of the school." I wait for Phoebe to drink some more of her tea before I take the mug from her, but she just keeps it in her lap. I take it from her anyway because I don't want her to spill it. I put it on a coaster in front of her so that she can reach for it at any time.
"Dad, who had the gun?" she asks me pointedly.
I sigh. "It was Rachel Wilson." I watch as my daughter's face fills with shock and then grows pale. "It wasn't just you she was after. She was after other people too."
"Who….. who died? You said people died."
"Five teachers, they were all male, and then seven female students. It seems she was after some teachers that gave her bad grades, and some teachers she had inappropriate relations with."
I watch my daughter's face twist into a disgusted scowl. "Uhh, she slept with her teachers?"
I rub my hands up and down my face. "So it seems. And the students, well, we assume she targeted them because they resembled her when she was a senior. Each were blond and slim, each were either cheerleaders or dancers."
Phoebe shakes her head. "How…. how could she do this? I thought she was in jail?"
"She was in a correctional facility for young women. She served two of her five year sentence for conspiracy to kidnap you."
"They let her go?" she asks me with disgust. "Why, why would they do that?"
"Shouldn't they have contacted us to let us know she was getting out?" Ana asks me as she squeezes our daughter's hand.
"I've asked Carrick about that. He said they issue a letter that we'll get in the mail. Rachel was released the day it was mailed, which was only a couple days ago."
"They should have called" Ana says frustratingly. I can't argue with that. Their fucking letter system gave Miss Wilson a good head start on going after my daughter. I rub my hands roughly over my face. I didn't sleep last night and it is starting to catch up with me.
"I need to know who died" Phoebe says with her voice cracking.
I pull my blackberry out of my pocket and retrieve the email from Welch with the list of names of the deceased. "Are you sure?" I ask her and she nods. I read off the names to her, first the teachers and then the students. I watch helplessly as tears roll down her cheeks again. I know she knew the teachers and probably all of the students. Those girls were seniors and they've done cheerleading with Ava. Some of them have danced but not with Phoebe. Ana rubs her back and passes her a few tissues. I'm at a loss right now. This is something she's going to remember forever. Seven of her classmates killed in her school. She wasn't exactly best friends with these girls, but she's probably known most of them since grade school. Ana and I know their parents. I may need to set up a few extra sessions with Flynn myself. How the fuck do I handle this?
I watch as Phoebe reaches for her tea and a takes the last few sips. "Would you like some more tea?" I ask her, and she shakes her head. "There's more that I need to tell you." My tone is low. I wish I didn't have to tell her this but she needs to know for her own safety. I purposely waited until we were home before telling her because I didn't want her to feel frightened at the hospital and during the ride home.
"What is it?"
"They haven't found her yet" I say softly. I watch as Phoebe's eyes nearly bulge out of their sockets.
"She's out there?"
She looks like she's going to panic. Her eyes glance around the room and I can see the horror and fear in her face. "Wh mm huh.. how? How did she get out? There were police all over that school?"
"We don't know yet, and we don't know if she had help. The police are still working on that, as is Welch. He's checking to see who she's had contact with as far back as a year ago" I explain to her. This does nothing to placate her though. I lean forward and place my hands on the sides of her knees. "She can't get to you here. Taylor has hired extra security to guard inside and outside the front gate. We also have extra security out on the water. She won't get to you here Phoebe."
She wipes some more tears from her face. She's angry now. "So, what does that mean? I can't leave the house? I'm stuck here until they find her?"
I sigh and shake my head. I'd prefer to keep her here until they find her, and a part of me thought Phoebe wouldn't argue with me on that point. "I think we should stay in today. And I'd like to be with you if you go out, just until they find her. I don't think she can stay hidden for long."
She nods and wipes her nose with the back of her hand. Ana wraps her arms around her and gives her a tight squeeze. She starts to calm down. "You know, being stuck in this house today won't be so bad" Ana says to her. "Why don't we get into our pajamas?"
Phoebe smiles as Ana gives her another squeeze. "Okay, but then can I help Mrs Taylor bake again?"
I manage to smile at her. "Sure Peanut. She should be finished getting Natalie to settle for her nap." I stand and kiss both of my girls before we leave the room together.
I am on edge about that girl still being out there. When we heard those gunshots from the television they sounded real. My poor daughter was so frightened. I'm glad we've managed to get her to calm, but I have a feeling that we'll have more episodes like that. Christian had sent me a text message earlier to warn me that we needed to keep the house calm, quiet and relaxed. That certainly wasn't calm, quiet or relaxed. Phoebe and I are in her bedroom changing into our pajamas. She didn't want to be by herself so I brought my pajamas into her room to change with her. Christian is in our room changing. It's probably a good thing that I'm changing with Phoebe. If I were with my husband, I wouldn't let him get dressed before a little play time. We would have been up here for a while, and I don't think it's a good time for us to be away from Phoebe for too long. I'll get to see him in his pajama bottoms all day. I just love the way they hang low from hips. I'm going to have to work really hard to control myself around him. God I want him. Focus, Ana. Focus on Phoebe. Not your sexy husband. Oh, but he is sexy. I need him. It's been too long. No, I can't think about that right now. I need to focus on my daughter.
We walk downstairs into main room and I see my blackberry light up. I pick it up and see that I have a text message from Teddy. He wants to skype with Phoebe.
"Sweetheart, Teddy would like to skype with you" I tell her. I retrieve my lap top from Christian's study and set it up on the coffee table. We fire it up and within seconds we see Teddy's face.
"Phoebe, thank God you are alright."
"Hi Teddy" she says with a smile. I start to feel relief with having my daughter next to me and my son on skype. It's almost like he's here with us.
"I can't believe this is happening."
Phoebe shakes her head. "Yeah, me neither."
"I wish I could be there with you. Rebecca says hello."
"Tell Rebecca I say hello back. And don't worry, Teddy. Mom and Dad are here and they haven't left my side."
This seems to placate Teddy somewhat. "Well good, you really shouldn't be alone. Phoebs, please don't be afraid to ask for help. I know how stubborn you can be." Phoebe and I both laugh at that. "I mean it."
Phoebe looks at me and then back at her brother. "I promise Teddy. I love you."
"I love you too, Sis. Mom."
"I love you too Teddy."
I'm starting to feel a little bit better after skyping with Teddy. Mrs Taylor is back in the kitchen and we have started preparing the muffin batter again. I love baking with Mrs Taylor. I don't get to do it very often since I'm so busy with volunteering, dance and now school. Speaking of school, I forgot to ask Dad about what will happen with classes. I really don't want to go back to that school any time soon, especially with Rachel still out there. I really hope they catch her soon. I stop stirring the mix and look at my arms. I have goose bumps and I'm shaking. I need to stop thinking about her. Thankfully my thoughts are interrupted by Mrs Taylor. She tells me that that is enough stirring and it is time to pour the batter into the muffin cups. She helps me do it to avoid a big mess. I can't help but smile. Dad slowly glides into the kitchen and he has a smile on his face. I smile back at him.
"Is that a smile Peanut?"
"Yes" I say and continue to pour the batter with Mrs Taylor. Once we are finished she puts the muffins into the oven and sets the timer.
"Thank you Mrs Taylor. Phoebe, are you ready for the first movie?"
"Can we still make popcorn and milkshakes?"
Dad smiles at me again. "Of course. Wanna help me?"
I retrieve two bags of microwave popcorn from the cupboard and set one of them up in the microwave while Dad gathers the ice cream, milk and syrup for the milkshakes. Mrs Taylor brings the blender out for us and leaves us to it. "Chocolate or vanilla?" he asks me.
"Chocolate it is." Dad scoops the ice cream into the blender and has me pour the syrup and milk.
"Not too much syrup, I don't want Natalie bouncing off the walls." I giggle as I remember something. Dad used to make chocolate milk for me since I didn't like milk. He would only pour a little bit of chocolate and I would frown. He would watch me as he poured a tiny bit more, and then a tiny bit more, and then a tiny bit more, and then his face would light up when he saw me smile at him. He was always so proud of himself when he was able to get me to smile. I would drink the chocolate milk and then become a ball of energy for the rest of the day. Forget taking a nap on the weekends, that didn't happen if I had too much chocolate. But as a result, I would be put to bed early.
I finish pouring the milk and then place the top on the blender. Dad mixes the milkshake as I heat the second bag of popcorn. I like this. First, working in the kitchen with Mrs Taylor and then Dad. Heck, I like anything I get to do with Dad. When he's not Mr Powerful CEO or Mr Discipline he can be really fun to be around. We put the popcorn into two big bowls and the milkshakes into three glasses. Dad pours some into a cup with a lid and straw for Natalie. We don't usually eat in the main room, but when we do we need to be extremely careful.
Mom and Natalie are already settled in the main room when we bring the snacks. Dad had put Natalie in her Ariel pajamas after her nap. Natalie is really excited about her milkshake. Dad pulls her into his lap and tells her that she can only drink it while she's sitting with him. Mom and I take the bowls of popcorn and share with Dad and Natalie. I relax and watch the movie, "Enchanted". I've never actually seen this one. I know Dad doesn't enjoy these kinds of movies but he sits through them for Natalie. I certainly don't mind this one. Patrick Dempsey is hot.
Once the movie is finished I feel an overwhelming need to pee. I can tell Mom does too. She gets up and rushes to the bathroom. I remember when she was pregnant with Natalie. She used to tell me that the baby liked to dance on her bladder. I internally giggle at the thought as I wait outside the bathroom for her to finish. I could very well go and use one of the other bathrooms in the house, but I don't want to. I'm afraid to be by myself. I can wait.
As soon as Mom emerges from the bathroom she is surprised to see me.
"Oh Phoebe, I didn't know you were waiting."
"That's okay Mom" I tell her as I work hard to hold it in. I really shouldn't have waited until the movie was over but I didn't want to leave the room alone. That reminds me. "Um Mom, could you just… wait here until I come out?"
I rush into the bathroom and I'm grateful that she doesn't question me. I just don't want to be by myself, even when I'm using the bathroom. I leave the door open just a crack so that I can have a little bit of privacy. I hurry up and finish, wash my hands and do a lousy job of drying them before I quickly open the door all the way. I think I held my breath the entire time I was in there. I see Mom and she looks like she has a big question mark on her face.
"Sweetheart, are you alright?"
"I'm fine, Mom" I say breathlessly. I walk past her and back toward the main room where I'm greeted by a friendly face. "Trevor" I say with a gasp. I walk toward him and we wrap our arms around each other. I feel his nose in my hair. I can't help but get emotional while in his arms. Just yesterday we were in each other's arms like this, cuddled on the floor under a table in the projection booth. I was so scared, and being in his arms was the only thing keeping me from losing it. We stay like this for minutes until I hear Dad's voice.
"Trevor, we'd like for you to join us for dinner."
Trevor and I slowly pull apart and look at Dad. "Thank you Mr Grey." He looks between me and my parents and has a funny expression on his face. "Am I overdressed?" I slap his chest and take his hand to lead him over to the couch.
Trevor joins us for the next movie. His arm is around me and Dad's is around Mom. Natalie is on the floor next to the coffee table playing with some toys. I wouldn't mind having more days like this. Just relaxing in our main room with a movie, and of course having Trevor here. He hasn't said much, but then again neither have I. I don't really want to talk about Rachel or what happened yesterday. Trevor knows about the things Rachel has done to me, from messing with my school records, to setting me up to get punished, to conspiring with Jay to kidnap me. I've even managed to tell him about what Jay did to me. We had a lot of time to talk while we were on the road trip. We weren't having sex, so we did a lot of talking. He knows about our pajama movie days, which is why it wasn't too big of a surprise when he saw that we were all wearing pajamas. He told me some things about his childhood. He also told me about his ex-girlfriend and why they broke up. I'm sure we will talk about the shooting when we are both ready.
After the movie we have dinner at the breakfast bar. As usual Dad is helping Natalie with her dinner. Natalie's been doing a pretty good job of eating most of her dinner on her own, but then she would get tired and Dad would help her. Natalie is so cute, I must admit. Since none of us are talking we are mostly focusing on her while we're eating.
Dad finishes and then blots his lips with his napkin. "Trevor, would you like to stay for a while and watch another movie with Phoebe?"
I look over at Trevor and wait for his answer. He looks surprised as he blots his lips with his napkin just as Dad has done. "Sure, thank you."
"Good. Phoebe, your mother and I will be putting Natalie to bed and then doing some things around the house."
Yeah right, who is he kidding? I know exactly what they'll be doing. I work to keep my expression serious as to not blush and feel embarrassed about it. "Okay"
After we bathe Natalie and put her to bed, I draw a hot bubble bath for Ana and me. The sun is just starting to set, so I have an idea. It's been a while since we've done this. I keep the lights off, light some candles and put a movie on in our bathroom. We also have some of the sunlight shining in the window so it's not too dark. Ana walks in and I can just make out the expression on her face.
"Christian" She is amused, and aroused. I can tell.
I walk over to her and gently caress her chin. "I believe you are wearing too much clothing, Mrs Grey." I slowly peel her pajamas off of her and hold her hand as she steps out of her pants. I then wrap my arms around her and undo her bra as I kiss her passionately. I need to make up for not being in bed with her last night. I am aware that her pregnancy is causing her to be insatiable. I feel her tongue start to explore my mouth as I lower the straps of her bra and let it fall to the ground. I take her chin between my thumb and finger as we continue kissing. My fingers trail down her body and find the waistband of her panties. I lower them and hold her hand as she steps out of them. My beautiful, naked and pregnant Ana. I shake my head as I take in the sight of her.
"See something you like?"
"Oh Anastasia, I will never tire looking at you." I guide her over to the tub and hold her hand as she steps in. Once she is settled I put on a little show for her and strip out of my pajamas. She gives me that sexy grin of hers and brushes her foot suggestively up her leg. I groan and feel myself harden. Once my clothes are off I climb into the tub and have her sit between my legs. She relaxes against me and we just sit and enjoy each other's touch.
I don't pay any attention to the movie. My mind wanders and all I can think about is how scared I was yesterday. Ana realizes that my mind is elsewhere and leans up so that she can look at me.
"Penny for your thoughts?" she asks me. I frown and look down as I run my fingers down her arm. "Christian, Baby what is it?"
I shake my head and I can feel the tears threatening. This is not how I wanted our special time alone tonight to pan out. I wanted to relax in our bath together and then make love in our bed, not sit here and cry my eyes out. I feel Ana's hand softly caress my cheek. She is wiping my tears. I didn't realize they have fallen.
"Please talk to me."
I sit up a bit more straight and move her so that she is sitting astride me and facing me. She places her hands on my shoulders and looks into my eyes. "I was so scared yesterday" I manage to say. She nods but she doesn't say anything. "Anastasia, we could've lost our daughter" I choke out. I am nearly sobbing. Just the thought that that could've happened is destroying me. The tears that I've been fighting continue to fall. "I couldn't take it, Ana. I couldn't handle losing you or any of our kids. Just knowing that somebody went into that school and shot at our daughter….. and almost killed her…" I can't even finish the sentence. My sobs are becoming more prominent now. Ana's hands move to the sides of my face and she makes me look at her. She has tears running down her cheeks as well. She lets me burry my face into her neck and I just sob. I let go all of the pain and fear that I've held in since yesterday afternoon. I can't remember the last time that I cried like this. Have I ever? I know I cried when Ana was in the hospital after Jack fucking Hyde kidnapped her. I was scared then too. I continue to cry as Ana consoles me. I can feel her hand in my hair, stroking and pulling at it gently. This feels good, being in her arms and letting go. I think she's crying too. I pull away so that I can look at her. Her eyes are swollen. I can imagine what my eyes look like right now. I gently rub my thumbs down the sides of her eyes. Next thing I know her lips are on mine, kissing me hard with so much passion and need. We need this. We need each other. We are all lips and tongues and hands and arms, until she lifts herself onto me. Her hands are now on my shoulders and she is riding me. I place my hands on the bottom of the tub to keep us from slipping. She starts to ride harder, and I can feel her building. I meet her thrusts and I know she is close. "Oh, Ana!" She throws her head back and lets out a groan. She climaxes first, and I follow after one last thrust. She leaves go of my shoulders and I quickly wrap my arms around her, pulling her back toward me and preventing her from falling backwards.
"I love you so much" she says breathlessly.
"I love you too Anastasia."
It takes some time for us to calm, but once we do I have her relax against me between my legs again. I enjoy having her in my arms like this, and having the bathroom nearly dark like this helps to calm my nerves. I gently rub my thumb up and down her arm and kiss her temple. She brings my other hand to her lips and plants gentle kisses. Before I know it the movie credits start to run. It doesn't feel like we've been in here that long. The sun is fully set and it is dark outside. The only light we see now is from the television and the few candles that are still lit. I kiss Ana's temple again and bring my hands down to her baby bump.
"We need to keep you calm too, for our babies. No stress Mrs Grey."
I plant a few kisses on her cheek before I gently push her forward and climb out of the tub. I dry myself, wrap a towel around my waste and then help Ana out. I help her get dry and then wrap the towel around her. She stands in front of me and leans up for a kiss. I kiss her and then gently bite on her lower lip. "Wait for me in bed?" I whisper to her, and she nods. I need to arrange for Trevor to get home safely and I need to make sure Phoebe is settled in her room for the evening before I turn in. I also need to see if there is an update on Miss Wilson.