Chapter 20

A/N: For those of you who missed it in the update I left on my review page, I happily share the very good news of my "FINALLY" finding gainful employment. I know that I shared that we were experiencing some financially dicey times and that was due to losing half of our families income when I was laid-off over two years...yes, years...ago. I am back at the job I left for the company that let me go. Life is always full of surprises and ups and downs. Well needless to say I am through the roof and over the moon happy, and more than a little relieved. The last several weeks have been jam packed, and crazy busy and I couldn't be more appreciative. So with my...what did RightyTighty call it...ah yes, "bubonic elbow" and newly employed status my writing has gotten even slower than it was before. Sorry ladies. But here it is, and I hope you enjoy. The bubonic elbow is much better and the work schedule will be evening out in the very near future.


~oo0oo~

Recap and narration: Ana bumped into Dr. Beau at his family's farm and winery, awakening some feelings that laid not so dormant. Christian wrestles with feelings as he once again has to return to Seattle without his family. Ana makes some decisions.

~Christian~

We've been in the air just over an hour and I am already missing my boy terribly. This weekend with Teddy was phenomenal; we had the best time. He is a great kid if I do say so myself. The only thing that could have made it better would have been having Ana with us for at least part of the time. I can't seem to shake the gloom of having to go back to Seattle without them yet again. This is not getting any easier to bear in fact it's getting harder. I've been thinking all weekend if they aren't coming back home anytime soon, that I want Teddy to come and spend some uninterrupted time with me, in Seattle, that is longer than two and a half days. Something more along the lines of two straight weeks, each month, fuck this weekend dad shit. He'll get to see and be with all of our extended family as well. Maybe Ray could put his animosity aside long enough to be a part of our male bonding and spend some time with his grandson. We can have a great guys time; a fishing trip, camping out, and sailing; the more I think about it the more I warm to it. I can just about picture the look on Elliot and Carrick's faces when I propose my idea. My mom will love it, and the thought of making her happy makes me happy. She hasn't seen her grandson since the day he left, with the exception of the pictures I've shown her on my return each week. But what about Ana, I can't gauge what her reaction may be. I sit rocking the ice in my drink contemplating how to best approach my wife with what I'd like to do. Since she's been in Georgia I have backed off significantly. Concentrating my attention on our son, I got the message loud and clear, she needed time and distance. But it's been two months and I feel like she is slipping further away. I have to let her know I am going to fight for what we had, what I threw away. The problem here is how, what do I do? What if she's not receptive? She won't be butthead; you are in for the fight of your life. I slump back into the leather letting my gaze wander out the cabin window and feel defeated before I've started. I flash on an idea for a gift for Ana, and it fills me with light. I am going to fight to my last breath to get my wife to feel for me what she felt when we first fell in love. I'm going to commission Trouton, the painter who painted the collection that Ana noticed in my office, that elicited the fateful "Raising the ordinary to extraordinary" comment that served to further pique my interest in the shy, clumsy beauty who set my blood on fire and would later turn my world upside down in the best way possible, to paint another series just as he did before. Only this time I'll request the series of items be objects that represent the tender moments of our life together. A still life of a bottle of Bollinger with two tea cups, a charm bracelet with all of the charms on Ana's bracelet, a mortar board, a cell phone, two wedding bands intertwined…the silver necktie. I want her to know what she means to me, that I haven't forgotten, and that I know how badly I fucked up. Shit, if Ana won't accept it I'd like to have it for myself.

"Taylor, first thing tomorrow get me the contact information for the artist Trouton, please." I am again lost in thought, my focus once more outside on the darkening sky. I don't know how much time has passed when I hear Taylor growl low and menacing.

"Whaaat, un-fucking-believable," both Gail and I zoom in on his conversation. This must be serious as he's taking this call on the cabin phone, instead of waiting until we land.

Instinctively I check my watch for the time, it's 8:21 in Seattle. What has happened now? I glare at Taylor willing him to look in my direction, when he does all I can think is….Fuck, what now!

~Ana~

*Thanks for showing Teddy a wonderful weekend. He couldn't stop talking about all the fun he had. He won't let go of the sailboat you got him. I'm so glad that through all of this your relationship with him is not suffering, as a matter of fact it seems stronger. I appreciate all the effort you are putting forth.* Ana

I finish tapping out my text to Christian and lay my phone on the night stand. Teddy is too cute; he hasn't let go of his new favorite toy and has insisted that it sleeps with him. He has his sailboat firmly in hand, won't even let me put it on the pillow beside him. Boys and their toys, I shake my head and roll my eyes toward the ceiling, so like his father. I'll just slide in here with him until he is sound asleep then set it on the nightstand. As I settle in next to my son I feel myself relaxing, letting out a contented yawn, I allow my random thoughts to tumble around in my mind. What's it called when you do this while writing…..uhhh, yeah, stream of consciousness.

This humid subtropical climate is something I don't think I'll ever come to embrace. It's just too fucking hot here. The oppressing humidity makes me crazy and lazy. I am much better suited for the rainy dankness of the Pacific Northwest, where the sun doesn't seem to be angry with the earth. So that settles it, I am going to return to Seattle, but the question is when, and what to do once I get there? Resuming my position at GP is out of the question. I think it's time I spread my wings and create something that I can call my own; life on my terms, on my time and my dime. Oooh, I really like that, for the first time in what feels like forever, I feel…optimistic, the simple act of making a decision has given me something to look forward to, a base to start to build a future on, one that I'll be in control of. I glance down at my sleeping boy and smooth back the lock of hair that has fallen across his face; hmmm, time for a haircut, I think to myself. Sliding off the bed I turn and kneel at the side, resting my chin on my folded hands as I gaze at my little angel in his sweet, peaceful slumber. The only time he can be described as angelic.

"Teddy Bear, you know what," I whisper. "I think we're going to be okay baby boy." I reach out and stroke his belly. It's been a long weekend away from him and right now I can't get enough of him. This is perfect, I can sit and drink him in and collect my thoughts. "Mommy decided that we're going to go back home…not exactly sure when, but soon I think, pretty soon."

He either likes what I'm saying or the angels are kissing him; because a smile flits and flutters on his lips as I quietly talk to him while he sleeps. He takes in a deep breath and lets out a long sigh as he sinks away to the land of nod and nightly dreamland adventures, his sailboat finally falling away, forgotten until morning. These are the moments I never want to miss. These are the moments that carve my heart and make me the saddest, because in the deepest part of my soul I wish that Christian were here to share this with me.

I shake the thought away; nothing productive can come of dwelling on that right now. Kissing Teddy's sweet cheek I grab the sailboat and sit it on his night table so that it is the first thing he sees when he opens his eyes. I grab my phone and the baby monitor as I quietly leave his room.

I'm in a strange mood tonight. Gone is the rolling pit of despair that has lived in my core for the last three months, gone is the lost feeling of tumbling head long into a future I was afraid to contemplate. I wonder, as I fill the tub, if this afternoon's interlude with the good Dr. Harper is the reason for my altered disposition. Hardly…well, maybe, I feel the beginnings of a secret little smile playing on my lips and a few butterflies take flight giving my belly a thrill at the thought of him. Hmmmm, what is that about?

Slow down Ana, don't get carried away.

Shut-up! Whose getting carried away, just some harmless fantasizing? Right, Ana?

Thoughts lead to actions.

I should hope so. We could use a little action.

Ugh, enough already! I snap at myself. Tipping the lavender vanilla foaming bath oil under the flow from the faucet and I watch as the water turns to mountains of white fragrant foam. It's then that the taste of a nice heady red wine entices my palate. Oh, this is decadent, a luscious bubble bath, a soothing glass of wine, and sinful musings. How could a girl resist, so I don't even try; brazenly I traipse off to find just the right bottle of wine. Yeah, I'm definitely in a strange mood tonight.

Atta girl, Ana.

Cloaked in bubbles and tipsy on red wine I feel 'ok' for the first time in a long time. The feeling has a silly little grin on my face; I acknowledge the grin as a giggle escapes me. And it strikes me that that's the first time I've heard that sound in ages. I'm sure it's not that it's the first time I've laughed since my world came crashing in, but it's the first time I've heard it, felt it, in months. I am blaming my strange mood on the wine, water, and aroma therapy but I know as I slide deeper into the bubbles and the hot water surrounds me that I am only fooling myself. The water and wine work their magic and my mind easily replays the 'en-counter?' with Beau.

~Taylor~

This job has its perks, and this weekend was one of them. Got to spend a ton of downtime with my ladylove in an honest to goodness step-back-time, picturesque city, soaked in southern charm. In all the times I have been to Savannah I haven't experienced it the way I did this weekend, with Gail, relaxed and casual. Watching the boss and his son bond and make incredible memories together. We have Ryan and Morgan in providing official CPO coverage, but I was there as back-up in case anything popped off. The boss was an actual human being this weekend, something only Ana and Teddy can coax out of him. He and Teddy are dressed similarly, khaki cargo shorts, and t-shirts. Mr. Grey is sporting his aviators, and Ted has on an engineer's cap that they got at the train museum that they visited on Saturday, after taking a ride on an authentic 19th century train. It was heartwarming watching Mr. Grey ride his son high on his shoulders when Teddy got tired mid-afternoon. Then sailing the little boat in the fountain seamed to revive the little guy, they both got a big kick out of racing the remote controlled boat around the fountain, drawing a small crowd of kids, big and little. Relaxed and regular seem to be the order of the weekend.

That is why the call from Price has caught me completely off guard. A bucket of cold water bringing me back to the reality we are flying into.

Ain't this just the perfect end to a pretty spectacular weekend? I scoff at my own sarcastic thoughts. Looking across the cabin I see that I have gotten both Gail and Christian's attention. Shit. I pin him with a menacing expression letting him know what I'm about to tell him 'ain't good news.'

"My office," he says rising from his seat.

I let him pass first and give Gail's hand a squeeze. "Everything is fine, I'll be back shortly." I try to sound nonchalant, but I know she's not buying it; my acting skills aren't that good.

Entering the tiny onboard office I shut the door behind me and tell him what I know.

"Miss Grey has been in an altercation." I say as diplomatically as possible.

"Mia was in a fight!" The boss growls his face a mixture of disbelief and horror. "With whom, where was Price, he's there to prevent just this type of incident." He's shouting now."Was she hurt, is she alright, where is Mia now?

"My info at the moment is sketchy. It wasn't exactly a fight, according to Price Miss Grey punched the other party in the mouth, splitting the other woman's lip. She is not hurt, and she is with your parents and Elliot. What Price could not tell me was why the incident began in the first place. And as you know your sister does not like to have her protection in the immediate vicinity when she is among her friends, so Price was posted at the gate, monitoring who was coming and going." I tell him evenly.

"Who did she punch in the mouth?

Now this is where it's going to get ugly. He's going to lose his shit in about ten seconds. I don't relish the thought of trying to contain him in this tiny space on board a plane in flight no less. I take an assessing look at him and decide he's a grown man and he set all this bullshit in motion, so I give it to him straight.

"Paige."

~oo0oo~


Thanks Anna

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