A/N: This chapter will probably get people all pissed off, but hang with me folks...it will end well. Hugs to all!
It's finally over. I am finally free of Elena and all her shit. For the first time in my life, I have peace. She can no longer control or hurt me or hurt those that I love. I sit at my desk knowing that all the evidence that connects me to that evil vile bitch has been destroyed. I just got the confirmation from Taylor that all is shredded and burned.
However, those memories are still in my head. Seeing those pictures and videos brought back all those memories. They are haunting me and telling me that I will never be free of them. Can I ever escape from that dark time? Can I truly walk away from everything that I know and live a life that is foreign to me? Is it truly possible for a fuck-up like me to have happiness and the love of a good woman? Maybe, I'm not good enough for Ana. She is so strong. She is accomplished. She is fucking amazing! What in the hell does she see in me? She knows everything about me and yet she stays. She wants to marry me. I can't get my head around that. Why in the world would such an angel want a dumb fuck like me? What can I give her? She doesn't need my protection. Fuck, she can take care of herself. She has family, friends, and the ability to provide for herself. Why does she need or want me? I will only be a source of frustration and heartache to her. I know I will screw this up. I don't think I can be the man that she deserves. What in the hell am I doing taking this beautiful woman as my wife? I don't know how to be a husband. I barely function as a boyfriend. What if those dark desires come back? What if I hurt Ana? Shit, fuck, damn…I don't want to hurt her. I love her! LOVE! I love her so damn much! I am fucking scared that she will leave me but I am terrified that if she stays with me that I will hurt her. Maybe…getting married this weekend is not a good idea…maybe we should wait a little bit more…but if we wait she will see what an ass I really am and she will want to leave me. Maybe it would be better for her to see what I am before it's too late and I ruin her life. The despair that is common for me is building in my gut. I am out of control. Everything is out of my control. I can feel that dark need swirling around me as if I am swaddled in a black sheet. She has to know what is underneath all this…this package that is Christian Grey. She said she would submit in the bedroom if I needed it. She said she would try. What if I WANT more? What if she can do it? I can have both worlds…merge them into our own unique relationship. Then, the ray of hope that I held onto slipped through my fingers. She said no beating, no humiliation…I can't take a cane to her. Will restraining her be enough for me? What if I NEED more? I can't do this to her. I can't hurt her. I just can't. Fuck me, this is driving me crazy. I have to get out of here. I need to run. I have to clear my head before I do something incredibly stupid! I will go running. I will run until these dark thoughts are purged from my head…but will they ever be purged from my soul? Can I really change? Can love really cleanse a troubled soul?
I ran for two hours and returned to Escala to find the woman that I adore asleep on the sofa in the library. My god, she is so beautiful. Even in sleep, she is extraordinary. I sit in a chair and stare at her. She looks like an angel snuggled into her blanket. I have to smile when I see the dropped book on the floor. She fell asleep reading. She deserves so much better than what I can offer her. I don't think I should marry her. I'm so fucking scared that I will destroy her. I love her. I want her. I need her. Nevertheless, I know that I am not good for her. I will only disappoint her, just as I disappointed my parents. I don't deserve any of these good people because there is no good in me. It's in Ana's best interests if I just end this now before I hurt her. I saw the real Christian Grey in those photographs and videos and I am a shit not worthy of Ana's love!
Ana woke up in their bed alone. She reached out to find her man, but grasped emptiness. She sat up and could tell that Christian did not come to bed. She frowned when she got up to use the bathroom. She fell asleep reading in the library and knew that Christian carried her to their bed. She wondered why he didn't come to bed. After relieving her bladder, washing her face and brushing her teeth, she found a robe and slipped it on. She expected to find him at the breakfast island, but only Gail was in the kitchen.
"Where is Christian?" She asked as she hopped up onto one of the bar stools. As usual, Gail has a cup of tea ready for her.
"He left early this morning." She said lowly. Gail turned away quickly but not quick enough to keep Ana from seeing sadness in the housekeeper's eyes.
"Did he say when he would be back? We have a lot to do if we want to get married this weekend." Ana said with a smile. She carefully sipped the hot tea.
"Christian left something for you in his office." Gail said lowly. She kept her back to Ana to hide the tears in her eyes.
Ana giggled as she hopped off the stool and made her way into Christian's office. She was expecting him to be in there wearing only a smile, but the office was empty. She went to his desk and saw an envelope with her name on it. She wondered what it was. Could it be they were playing a game of seduction and this was a list of things he wanted her to do? With a smile she opened the envelope to see the crisp handwriting of her fiancé. She read the first two lines and fell to her knees before the desk as tears blurred her vision. She was in shock! He left her! He was gone!
I am sorry for what I am about to do, but this is for the best. Even though I love you more than anything or anyone in my life, I cannot marry you. Baby, it would be wrong. You deserve so much better than me. I am not good enough for you and I know I will only hurt you. Maybe not today or tomorrow, but I will hurt you. I would rather die than ever raise my hand to you. No other woman will ever have my heart, Ana. You are the one for me, but I cannot risk your safety. I can't guarantee you the safe and sane relationship that you deserve. I can't explain anymore…I can't find the words that will make you understand.
You can have Escala if you want it or you can move back into the old apartment. You can stay there as long as you want. Enclosed is the lease for both apartments in your name. You can choose which one you want. Also, you will find ownership papers for SIP. It is now yours. I bought it for you as a wedding gift. All you have to do is sign the papers and it's yours. I know you will make it a successful company.
I am so very sorry for doing this to you but in the end, it is the best for you. You will find a man worthy of you and who will treat you like the angel you are. I will always love you, Ana. Always! I hope someday you will be able to forgive me and know that I did this to protect you from me.
Ana sat on her knees in front of his desk reading and rereading his letter. She couldn't move. Every pore of her being ached for him. How could he just leave in the dead of night? She wiped away her tears and slowly stood. She left the papers on his desk unsigned along with his "Dear Jane" letter and the engagement ring. She would leave with what she came with. She turned to leave when Gail stepped into the room and shut the door.
"Don't leave, Ana. He's just confused and scared." The older lady said with sad but kind eyes.
"You knew he left me?" Ana asked softly.
"Jason woke me this morning and told me what Mr. Grey was doing." Gail handed Ana another envelope. "Jason told me to give this to you after you read Mr. Grey's letter."
Ana's hand shook when she took the envelope. "I don't think I can take another letter." She whispered. She slowly opened it to find three words scribbled quickly on a scrap of paper. Elliot…Aspen…Now! "What in the world does this mean?"
"It means Ana that if you want your man you are going to have to go get him." Gail said. "And, Elliot is to help you."
Ana shook her head. "If he doesn't want me, I will not embarrass myself further by chasing after him."
"Don't let your hurt pride dictate what your heart wants and needs. You love him and he loves you, but he is not confident enough to deal with this. You are the stronger partner in this relationship, Ana. You will have to lead him." Gail stepped forward and gathered the young woman into her arms. "He is scared, Ana. He doesn't think he can do this with you…that he will fail you."
"He could never fail me…piss me off to no end, but never fail me." Ana said shaking her head. "That bitch really fucked his head up, didn't she?"
"Yeah…and she is still doing it. Are you going to let her win?"
"Fuck no. I took the bitch down once…and I will do it again." Ana hugged Gail warmly grateful that she had a friend in this wise woman. "Can you call Elliot for me while I go clean up? I am going to Aspen to get my man!"