Ch. 25 Crashing
I stare into the grey eye slits that belong to Edward. They're burning with a mix of emotions that I'd describe as wary, angry, wounded and confused. He literally rushes us out of a private door by dragging me with the tight grasp of his hand. Taylor meets us on the exit side of the auditorium. He leads both of us toward the hulking, black SUV parked nearest the door. He opens the passenger compartment of the vehicle with a look of concern on his face. I try to get his attention. However, Jason's looking anywhere but at me. I can understand his conflicted sense of duty.
I'm reassured that he's driving us back to Escala, at least. If things get out of hand with my date, I may need to call on him for assistance. Once we're safely ensconced in the rear seat, I take a deep breath and turn my head slowly to my man. He's lost in thought; caught up in some distant memory. At the moment, we're on two different planets.
That's when I decide to reach out to him. I tentatively place my hand on his right thigh. My touch seems to shake him out of his troubled reverie. I decide to plunge in head first with a question.
"Can you tell me what's going on with you at the moment?" I ask this of him with the softest voice I can manage.
He doesn't respond in any way. Edward's seething with utter fury as he ruminates. I rub my hand on his leg. He flinches a bit but doesn't push me away. I interpret that move as a good sign.
"I can see that you're upset. Do you want me to leave?" I'm sure Kate wouldn't mind if I stayed at her place tonight. She's given me permission to stay whenever I wish. Along with the entry code to her place.
My suggestion about leaving seems to reach Edward at last. He turns his head and looks at me with an expression of sheer terror on his face.
"No please, Anastasia. I need you tonight."
"Alright, good. I hope you'll tell me what's going on with your reactions tonight. I've never seen you this way before."
He shakes his head with a look of regret and disgust on his face.
"She's called up all my ghosts."
"You mean Mrs. Lincoln?"
"Of course. Did you see what she was doing during Charles' show?" His voice sounds nearly hoarse with outrage and shock. I nod my head and immediately feel a surge of jealousy.
"Yeah…I don't think anyone missed her moves. She's very provocative." I frown at the memory of her sensual and sexual display.
"She used to dance like that in front of me. That's how she lured me in when I was in my teens."
"Are you upset that she's using the same moves on Elvis?" I wonder if perhaps Edward's surprised to see that Elena's about to seduce another successful man. Maybe he's envious that she used those very same techniques in the past.
He huffs with frustration. "Of course not. She uses those moves on all her conquests. I'm upset because of all the memories her moves bring to mind. All the suffering she caused me."
"Do you want me to call Dr. Flynn?"
"Hell no. John knows all of this. I've spent years in therapy. Talking about all the abuse she subjected me to for years."
"I was her submissive for nearly three years. She had me at her beck and call with beatings and performance demands."
"I'm sorry for your pain, Edward. I can't imagine that someone like Mrs. Lincoln was a gentle and caring mentor. Do you want to tell me more about how you felt?"
"I certainly don't want to talk with you about it."
"Can I…try to make you feel better?"
I notice that his hands are gripped tightly by his side. Then he lapses into another faraway place. I hear the sound of his disturbed breathing. Once again, Edward's retreated to a place in his mind that can't be broached at the moment. His nostrils flare and that feral look in his eye frightens me to my core. I bite my lip and immediately regret my offer of help. That's when he unclasps his seatbelt and slides quickly to my side.
"You're all the same. You just want to use and abuse me." He no longer looks as if he even sees me. That's because he's in a full-out flashback beside me. I assume he's reliving some horror from their past.
Apparently, Elena's behavior tonight called out the past and put him back in crisis mode like nothing else could possibly have accomplished. My brilliant plan for sidetracking the troll had a side effect that I couldn't possibly have anticipated. That would be triggering a PTSD episode in Edward.
"You know that's not true of me. I'm nothing like her…Let me help."
He scoffs at my claim and while focusing intently on some other time and place. I realize that he's lost in some dreadful daydream. Of the past. He's lost to me at this time. I realize when he finally looks at me again that he's talking to someone else. There's a distant and perplexed look in his eyes.
"Edward. What can I do for you? Can I give you something?"
"You're damn right you can. I want you, right now. Suck me."
"In the SUV? With Taylor sitting in the front seat?"
"Get your head in my lap now. Do it, bitch." His grip on the back of my neck feels like a vice. I swallow convulsively. He tries to push my head in the direction indicated.
I stare at him with nothing but revulsion. I push back from him with as much strength as possible and move as close to the door as I can. I'm amazed to hear my own voice state in no uncertain terms.
"I don't think so. This isn't what your alter, Christian, would want and you know it. Not with me."
That's when Edward goes ballistic. What he says next convinces me that he doesn't even know where we're at or who he's with. The glassy look in his eyes suggests that he's reliving a frightening encounter. I assume it's from those teenage years. He looks utterly helpless. And in deep pain. There's no way to reach him.
"Dammit, Elena. You'll do as your told. Who the hell do you think you are anyway? Give me some relief. Suck me off."
He unzips his pants and forces my hand over his bulge. I make my hand go limp and look out the window. I shake my head back and forth and put the most determined look on my face that I can manage.
Edward isn't fazed by my resistance, however. Soon, he's got my seatbelt off and has forced his tongue down my throat. That happened in less than ten seconds. Both of his arms have pulled me onto his lap while he fumbles with removing my dress. The halter's straining against his gruff assault.
I know it's time for me to ask for help by then. I manage to free one of my hands. Then I start pounding on the thick glass separating us from Taylor. The barrier is not only bullet proof. It's soundproofed. The vibration from my signal can be sensed however. That's when Jason finally notices and flicks on the intercom. I can hear it activate along with the sound of classic music. That's audible from the front seat.
"Taylor, help. Please. Christian's not himself." I scream with fury.
Jason turns his head and watches us from his peripheral vision. He looks more than concerned and conflicted as he finally takes in the scene in the backseat of our vehicle. The term I'd use to describe Taylor's reaction would be scandalized.
"I've got this under control. Drive us to Escala. Now." Edward hisses out his command with a confidence that lets both of us know that I'm powerless to control my own fate.
I'm not about to accept that fate though. Not when my delusional date thinks I'm his ex from hell.
At this point, I'm nearly pushed down flat on the back seat of the SUV. My boyfriend's got me pinned beneath him as he attempts to have me. At last.
"No, Jason. Drive me to Kate Kavanaugh's place. Please." I'm nearly shouting with desperation as I get in a few breathless pleas. At least I've got a spare key for her condo securely tucked into my purse. She assured me I could use anytime I chose. It never crossed my mind that I'd be using it so soon.
The SUV comes to a screeching halt and pulls to the nearest curb then. I'm relieved that the paid help is actually coming to my aid. I'm guessing that's because Edward's behavior tonight is completely out of character. Even for him. At least as far as what as Jason's experienced.
"Sir. Your date's requested an alternate location for the evening. I think we should honor that need."
Edward's fury mounts as his plan for me and us encounters resistance. So he argues against us with a powerful motivator.
"I'm paying your salary Taylor. Take us to my place or I'll dock your pay. Got it?"
"I beg to differ, sir. It's Christian Grey who pays my wages. He'd never force this young woman to do something against her will."
That thought seems to stymie my would-be rapist for a minute or so. He looks away from my face and body as he speaks carefully into the intercom. That distraction enables me to escape from his clutches for a second. While Edward's conversing with our driver, I take the opportunity to squirm out from beneath the weight of his body.
"I'm taking charge from here on, Taylor. Escala. Please."
"I'm driving Ms. Steele to her friend's condo. Sir. That's what Christian would desire."
As a follow-up and additional motivator, I bite his hand.
"Dammit." He stares at what I've done and then at me as though I've stabbed him.
"Alright. Drive her to Kavanaugh's dump."
I say nothing as I grab my purse and sit against the door of the back seat. My aggressive boyfriend seems more than confused about what's going on. That's because he's not really sure who I am anymore.
"You'll regret this Elena," he promises me. Then he puts himself back together and slides back into his own seat.
"You're confused, Edward. I'm Anastasia. Not Mrs. Lincoln."
He stares straight ahead and says nothing more as Taylor resumes the trip. I notice that my savior has recalibrated the navigator. Now we're heading in the direction that I'd requested. I manage to breathe in relief. I'm shaking like a vibrator and on the edge of a hysterical crying jag however.
When Taylor finally pulls up in front of Kate's place and stops, I practically leap from the back seat. I say the only thing that makes sense at the moment.
"Thanks, Taylor" Then I turn my head toward the back seat and whisper, "Hope you feel better Edward." He stares at me with eyes that are nearly black with despair and disgust. But he shocks me with his parting remarks.
"Get the hell out of my life, bitch."
His words burn all the way to my very core. I know he's directing them to Elena. Nonetheless, it wounds and surprises me. He's utterly enraged and confused when his buttons are pushed. I had no idea how much his alter's been hurt. Or how powerful his DID issue might be. That's when I decide that I no longer want any part of him.
Just before I slam the back door and run to the entrance of Kate's place, I make a decision that seals his fate.
"Don't worry. We're done here. I can't handle this anymore."
I tell Edward this while staring directly into his face. Those grey slits function as a window to his heart. When my words sink in, I see agony and suffering written clearly there. I'm just praying that Kate and Elliott are nowhere around. I need time to lick my wounds and put my life back together. Without the craziness of Mr. DID in it.
The SUV waits until I've opened the entry door and then pulls away carefully. I march into the building and the condo with resolve. I'm relieved to discover that I've got the place to myself. Once I've secured the deadbolt lock, I turn on my phone and text Kate.
"I'll be spending the night in your spare room. OK?"
I don't get a response from her right away. So I use the time to take off my shoes and dress. My outfit looks wrinkled and soiled. I haven't got any spare clothes or necessities here but I'm hoping I can borrow a few things for tomorrow. I'd look ridiculous running around in my cocktail dress during the day. Then I hear my phone buzz.
"Of course. What's wrong? Did EL attack you at the resort?"
"No. She fell for Elvis in a big way. I just broke it off with Grey."
"No shit! I knew you'd come to your senses soon."
"I'm hurting. Can't talk about it now."
"Soon then. Take whatever clothes and stuff you need from my chest of drawers. Right side."
"Thanks. Think I'll call it a night."
"I'll be back tomorrow by noon. We'll go shopping."
"I'll need a ride down to Portland on Sunday. OK?"
"Whatever you want. I'm here for you."
After that I simply turn my phone off. I feel completely numb about what's just happened between Edward and me. One thing's for sure, I can't be with Christian or his alter until he's fused. That could take a while. Maybe forever. The only one I'd trust to make that happen is Dr. Flynn. That's when I realize that Christian's no longer my problem. I feel strangely liberated.
My dreams are filled with images of Elena and Elvis dancing and singing. But my nightmares are consumed with those dark grey eyes and the tortured being within them. I'm crying out during my restless sleep with despair. That's because of the aggressive moves and demands that Edward made of me in his SUV.
I'm determined to avoid having any contact with Grey. We both need some space. The wrenching pain in my gut is nearly impossible to ignore though. The next day I awaken feeling hazy and numb. That's due to lack of sleep as well as the angst of breaking away from the only man I've ever loved.
I refuse to respond to any of the texts or calls from Christian. He's sent at least sixteen messages to my phone.
When Kate returns the next day, I'm fairly locked down and in deep pain. She hugs me, then decides to buy me some new clothes for the summer.
"We need to distract you from that control freak. Wouldn't you love a linen sheath dress that flows around your body as though it's a scarf?"
"Not really. But I need to get my mind off Christian."
"I know you think you were really in love. So give it time."
"Kate, I'm totally and madly in love with the man. There's no doubt. It's going to take forever to give him up and get over it."
"Do you want to tell me why you're ending it, then?"
"He's very complicated and mercurial. That's all I can say."
"Gotcha. Elliott actually says the same thing about Christian. He's had mood swings since childhood."
"I can imagine. Considering what he's been through with his mother and then with Mrs. Lincoln."
"Yeah. She's totally bad news."
"Can we talk about something else now?"
"Would you like to go to a music festival with me? It's coming up in August."
"Anything to distract. Sure. Who's playing?"
"The headline acts are Jack White, The Killers, and FKA Twiggs."
"I'd love to go with you. How much are the tickets, though?"
"They'll be my treat Ana. You can stay at my place, since it's happening just outside Seattle."
We shop and talk music before Kate drives me back to Portland. I refused to call or text Christian for four straight days. He's sent me gifts, flowers, and countless messages. I choose to ignore them. Those first few days apart were sheer hell on earth. I endured them with a steely resolve.
Nights were the worst. That's when I tossed and turned in bed until my sleeping pills kicked in. I also ate high fat and sugary foods every day for energy. I had to feed that empty pit and inconsolable emotion boiling within me. I didn't care that my jeans were getting tighter with every passing day.
By Wednesday, I felt like a basket case with indigestion, weariness and overall misery. I planned to get drunk that weekend with JR. He knew things between me and Christian were tense. I said something to the effect that I was done with Grey. But refused to share any of the details with him. I'd never seen Jose look more pleased.
Wednesday was going to be more than difficult because of the M&A class being held nearby. So I completed my work for Dr. Hyde early that day and headed directly to my apartment after I was through. JR came down to my place to make me some tacos. We were stuffing our faces and watching some hot new program on TV when Christian came knocking on the door.
He started out by buzzing my apartment and calling my name gently on the old-school intercom.
"Anastasia. We need to talk. I understand and respect your reactions to what I did. Just please, hear me out. Then I'll let you go. If you wish."
I head to the device with dread and speak firmly. "I don't think we should talk Christian. It's not going to work between us." It's killing me to turn down the chance to fix our relationship. Just hearing his voice sends a stabbing pain through my chest.
"Can we at least make some kind of peace?"
"I'm not alone in here. No more deals. We're through." When I finish making that decision, I'm trembling and aching all over.
"I expected that you'd feel that way. I've got someone here who'll be able to referee things."
"Yes, John's here. We have something important to tell you."
That teaser opens me up, at last. Dr. Flynn's our gatekeeper and I trust him implicitly. I want him to help me process what happened with Edward last Friday night anyway. I should at least hear what he has to say about the entire episode.
I look over at JR with a pleading look on my face. "Sorry. Do you mind?"
He rolls his eyes at me but nods in assent. Then I smile at Jose with a grateful look. He just shakes his head back and forth and smirks.
"Alright. You two can come in to talk. It can't be for long though. I have tons of work tomorrow."
I hear Christian's breathy sigh of relief.
"Thanks. You can set whatever parameters you need, Ana."
And so it begins.
AN: Should these two needy young adults work things out with the help of Dr. Flynn? If so, how?