"You are terrible at this game," my wife says to me with a crooked grin, an empty bottle of local wine balanced precariously on the edge of the balcony table we're sitting at.
"I'm terrible?" I know I'm slurring a bit but the giggle I elicit from her makes the headache I'll have in the morning worth it.
"Ter," she hiccups, "rible." At that she laughs so hard she nearly falls out of her chair. When I reach to steady her she waves one finger at me, biting her lip before she scolds me. "Uh uh uh, Mr. Grey. You have to win this fair and square and you still haven't beaten me once. Now come on and play me."
So with one last swig of my scotch I slap down the card to initiate the sixth game of WAR of the night, all of which have stonewalled me from getting to take the plum colored lingerie off of the sexy ass woman who sits across from me, the chilly air making her nipples poke against the fabric. This started off fun, her prancing out in the sexy as fuck outfit with the promise of a reward if I could beat her at her favorite card game.
As much as I love a good challenge I was more interested in a good fuck than I was a good game but then she kissed me with her cherry flavored lip gloss and pouted, that delectable bottom lip jutting out so that I had to relent. That was three hours, a bottle of New Zealand's finest wine and a good six tumblers of scotch ago.
We started off laughing and teasing each other, me taking my shirt off to distract her while she pressed those perfect tits together to do her best to take my mind off the task at hand. But now? The game's not so fun anymore and truth be told, I'm dying to taste the paradise between her thighs but for the life of me, I can't win.
"Ana, I'm begging you. Begging you, please end this so I can lick you until you tremble, fuck you until you come and then hold you until morning? I'm tired as all hell and I haven't been inside of you yet today and frankly, that's unacceptable."
She snorts and stands, one hand on her slim hip, the other holding a handful of cards that she bends and pushes towards me so that they flutter everywhere. It cracks her up and gives me just the entry I need to lift her up and carry her to the bed.
Forty minutes later, body finally sated, mind finally at rest, cock finally deflated, we lie on our sides facing each other, hands entwined between us. We're both still a bit buzzed but a good session between the sheets has sobered us up enough so that we can have a coherent conversation.
"What are you thinking about?" I ask her. "Right now, answer without time to think, what are you thinking about?"
"How I prefer meat in my tomato sauce instead of plain marinara." She says it so seriously that I burst out laughing, rolling to my stomach so that I can throw my arm around her.
"Where in the hell did that come from?"
"We had marinara tonight. I prefer a bit of ground beef in my sauce. It adds something. And sautéed onions and mushrooms. I like chunky sauce I guess," she half shrugs, her naked shoulder rising enough for me to get the gist. "Can I ask you a question?"
"It's serious." I have nothing to hide anymore so what can it possibly be?
"I'm ready for it." She takes a deep breath and waits for me to roll back to my side, one hand propping up my head as I look down at her.
"Which do you prefer? Meat sauce or marinara?" Tipsy Ana, guard down Ana, carefree Ana; she makes me so damn happy I feel like jumping on the bed. I have loved this time together and all of the mundane things about her that I find so fascinating.
"I'm in total agreement. A good meat sauce is the only way to go." She giggles, murmuring about being the perfect match before she scratches her nose and furrows her eyebrows.
"Another question for you," she begins, shivering when I tuck an errant curl behind her ear and sighing when my hand continues down her back until it rests over the curve of her ass.
That ass. The one I claimed a week ago today. The one I obsessively watched hike Tongariro Northern Circuit. The one that nearly gave me a heart attack as I watched her rock climb a few days ago. The one I couldn't keep my eyes off of when she danced at the club last night. The one that presses up against me all night, a safe haven in a crazy world.
"What's your favorite junk food? Because it pisses me off that I eat chocolate all the time and you don't." This answer I have to think about because the truth is I don't eat junk.
"Well," I breathe out, "I like gelato and in the winter I like those coffee drinks with the peppermint in them but other than that, I just don't like crap to go into my body." Her hand reaches out, one plum tipped fingernail scratching over the muscles of my chest and abdomen.
"It is quite the body too, baby." I smile and kiss the finger she presses to my lips after it's made it's way along my torso.
"OK, my turn. Now that you've been to New Zealand, what place is next on your list?"
"Hmmm," she says, worrying that bottom lip between her teeth as she thinks. "Bruges and Ghent."
"Then that's where we'll go next." My baby wants to go? We'll go. Period, the end. "After Shanghai and the holidays we'll take a trip there."
"You know, I was thinking about the holidays. Christmas specifically." I wait, happy that we're making plans together. This shit is real. We are actually living our lives in tandem. "You know what would be the best?" My brows raise while she takes a tired breath. "Aspen. I'd love that." She groans, "I miss that glass domed library, Christian. I want hot chocolate, snow, slippers, a good book and that room."
"You got it. Christmas in Aspen it is."
"Yeah? You're ok with that? Do you think your family will mind travelling?"
"I'm great with it, Ana. I don't care where we spend the day so long as we're together. And my family will be thrilled that I'm actually celebrating it instead of moping around like every other year."
"That makes me sad," she whispers, her foot rubbing against my leg. She's not trying to be seductive, she's trying to comfort even though she's the one upset by my past, not me. It is what it is. Or was.
"Don't be sad, baby. It's all good now." But I can tell she's thinking about me being lonely so I encourage her to move on. "Any more questions or are you ready to call it a night?"
"More questions. I like this, getting to know you like this. I want to know everything I can about you, you're my favorite person in the whole world. Who was your favorite person growing up?"
"That's easy. Elliot. I could barely stand anyone else. If I'm being fair it's a toss-up between him and Mia but I was definitely a fan of his. Yours?"
"Ray." Of course it was. "We had a neighbor too, old Mrs. Crossley and she'd make us dinner or cookies all the time when it was just him and me. Ray was convinced she was trying to seduce him but I think she was just being nice."
"You should have invited her to the wedding," I say on a yawn. "I'd like to have met more of your past." Stupid! I see the flash of hurt at the mention of our wedding and what was missing from it. Carla has been quiet as far as my team can tell and as much as that's a good thing, I think for Ana's sake it would be nice if she at least called. Not that I want her to but I can't help but wonder if Carla showing interest wouldn't be good for Ana.
"Well, she died a few years ago. She was like, 101 or something." Her hand disentangles from mine and strokes over my face lovingly, the needy ache in my chest near the breaking point. No matter what I do I can't get close enough to her. No amount of sex or snuggling or anything is ever close enough. "What was your favorite TV show? I know you don't watch it now but growing up, what was it?"
"The X-Files. I had a serious crush on Gillian Anderson." She giggles, her thumb running over my ear lobe. Beneath me my groin begins the familiar tingle of excitement. "You look beautiful right now, Ana."
"Thank you, Christian, so do you." She says it so softly and sweetly that the ache bursts and pulses, my need for her so great that I react to it and pull her close to me so that our bodies press against each other, our lips a hairsbreadth apart. She smiles and runs one hand over my collarbone. "You love me don't you?"
"You have no idea, Ana." Around us the room is dark, the faint nature sounds from outside the open balcony doors the only noise. We stay like that for a few minutes, both of us feeling and appreciating the connection that runs between us.
"I do know, Christian because I feel the same way. Sometimes, I'm so overwhelmed by it that I want to cry. Does that make sense? Because it makes me feel crazy."
I pull her closer and press my lips to her forehead. "Then we're both crazy because that's exactly how I feel." She melts in my arms, her body relaxing into mine as she slowly drifts off to sleep. I watch her eyes close, her lips part, her chest rise and fall until just before sleep takes over, that moment where your body feels separate from your conscious she whispers my name and sighs, a smile playing on her mouth.
Yeah, I'm out of my mind crazy for this girl.
"Good morning, Taylor," Ana chirps from the living room where he's waiting to debrief me. I may not technically be working but my life as a CEO means I still need to be kept in the loop. I hear them speak briefly before Ana walks in, eyes half shut as if she were studying me. Is this a good thing or a bad thing? I'm still not sure.
"Yes," I answer nervously. I almost laugh. Me…nervous.
"What is this I hear about Gail and Heather flying out here on Friday?" I let go of the breath I was holding and grip her hips to pull her close, my nose finding it's way into her hair where I inhale deeply.
"Three weeks is an awfully long time for a man to go without his woman. I could barely stand four days when I was in London and since Taylor and Gail just got married and the resort we're going to is literally the most isolated place we could find, I thought the guys would enjoy some company since we won't need them."
"We won't need them? At all?"
"Nope. These two weeks have been great, lots of activity and day trips but when we get to the Maldives, it's going to be nothing but fucking, eating, and reading. I have no intention of even leaving the bungalow. So instead of them sitting and doing nothing for a week, I thought they could use a little company."
"You," she says, kissing my mouth quickly, "are," kiss, "the most," kiss, "wonderful," kiss, "thoughtful," kiss, "and generous man alive." Somehow we wind up on the bed, her legs straddling my belly as she shows me her appreciation. After a quick makeout session in which I manage to free her breasts from the bra and t-shirt she has on she stands, adjusts her clothes and motions for me to go to Taylor, her nipples pointing at me through the thin cotton just begging for me to suck on them.
"That's it?" I ask from the bed where I'm sprawled with my zipper half down and my shirt somewhere on the floor. "You're going to leave me like this?" I point to the tent in my shorts to which she just laughs.
"He's been waiting for ten minutes already! Go! Plus I want to call Heather."
"Uh uh. You aren't even going to see her. They will be on the main island, we'll be on a private one, and you will not see them or talk to them while we're there. You, Mrs. Grey, are mine alone until the wheels touch down in Seattle in nine days." She grins and cocks her head to the side, her lips pursing out as she tries to contain her smile while she watches me attempt to stuff my dick back in my pants. "Now get dressed, the guide should be here in about twenty minutes."
My good mood evaporates the second I close the bedroom door and see that both Sawyer and Taylor are waiting for me. I motion to the in suite office and shut the door behind me before I take a seat at the desk, one hand motioning for them to get to it.
"Elena Lincoln is being formally charged today with eleven felonies. The most serious are the sexual assault charges towards a minor and the charges being lobbed at her for tax evasion and fraud." Taylor clears his throat. "The assault charges carry more prison time than all of the other charges combined though." I nod, a dull whine beginning between my ears at the mention of her name.
"Will that be all of the charges then?"
"No, Sir. Detective Cantino has been following the investigation as closely as he can and expects that she will also face some sort of money laundering charge in addition to solicitation of a police officer." My head cocks to the side at the last one.
"During the initial investigation two officers were sent to her home to question her. According to Cantino it was obvious that they had incriminating evidence against her so when confronted with it, she offered to…service them if they would allow her to have said evidence so that she could destroy it. They declined."
I can't help it, I smirk. Because I know their rejection was probably more of a problem for her than the legal investigation. Elena is nothing if not an egomaniac.
"Cantino has continued to assist and stay on as an insider without promise of payment?" A nod from Taylor confirms what I already knew. That man is not just a vigilante but he's a good guy too. "And she's still being held without bail?"
"Yes, Sir. She's considered a flight risk plus she's broke now that her salons are belly up and her illegal accounts and assets have been frozen."
Elena. Broke. Sawyer clears his throat, meeting my eyes when I look over at him.
"There's more, Sir. This morning your mothers CPO intercepted a letter Mrs. Trevelyan-Grey was mailing to the prison where Ms. Lincoln is being held."
What. The. Fuck.
"Ms. Ross immediately contacted myself and Taylor to get approval to open the package. We tried calling you a few times to get your approval but your phone had been turned off and you didn't answer the room phone so we," he waves one finger between Taylor and himself, "gave her the go ahead."
"And what was in the envelope?" I feel a bit numb from shock at this very moment. What in the hell would possess my own mother to reach out to her? I catch the end of Sawyer's smirk, the telltale relaxation of his shoulders easing my mind a bit.
"Your wedding announcement in the Seattle Times, New York Times, Seattle Nooz and every other publication she could get her hands on. She had cut out the pictures but left the articles intact." His lips purse out in something of a smile while I try to process this.
"Did she write anything? Or just send the articles?"
"Two sentences on a sticky note attached to the top. 'And they lived happily ever after. You lose.' We of course sealed them back up and mailed them along."
"Um, what is that?" Ana asks, confusion evident on her delicate features as she steps out of the Range Rover.
"A plane." She nods once and bites her lip.
"Right. What is the thing attached to it?"
"A glider." Her eyes roll, my palm tingles, her eyes widen at my growl.
"You've earned ten spankings already today, baby. How many more do you want? Hmm?" The pilot makes his way over just as I touch that spot on her lower back that makes her shiver, my lips grazing over her ear when I whisper, "Because I'm not going easy on you tonight, Anastasia. You've been teasing me all day with those tiny shorts, flaunting the way the shirt hangs off of one shoulder, swaying those hips from side to side and for that, I will be requiring payment. And of course there is the condition in which you left me this morning."
"Mr. Grey!" The man booms just as she gasps, his hand outstretched to mine. "Welcome, welcome!"
"Thank you, Mr. Prindle. My wife, Anastasia. Ana, this is Michael Prindle, he owns this airport and is also a pilot. He'll be the one taking us up today."
"A pleasure," she says to him cordial as ever but I can sense the bit of fear radiating off of her.
"Beautiful day you've got for this. Why don't you go get yourself all situated and I'll go over the final details with my crew and get you lifted in time so that you can enjoy the sunset."
The minute he's out of earshot she turns to me sharply, green eyes boring into mine while she works out what it is she wants to say. I just smirk and wait, enjoying the mixture of confusion, fear, lust and surprise that passes in rapid succession.
"And what if I don't want to fly in that…that…thing?"
"Glider. And you will because I want you to."
"But look at that, Christian! It looks like something I built in Girl Scouts with Ray! No way am I getting in that thing!" I ignore her and steer her towards the glider until we're close enough for her to touch it. She takes one good look at the sleek lines and superlight construction and crosses her arms over her chest, one foot tapping on the grass below her. "Not gonna happen, Grey. Nope."
But I ignore her and carry out my inspections, asking quipped questions to the two mechanics standing by. It's hard not to laugh at her, one dainty hand on her hip, the other waving in the air as she mouths an argument that only she can hear.
"When was the last time the calibrations on the…" I start, looking up at the two men who are watching, no, ogling my wife's backside as she stomps off. The younger one's eyes literally dart back and forth with each sway of her hip as if he were watching a tennis match before he says under his breath to the older one, 'I'd like to fuck that', his hands in front of him as he air thrusts and mimics the actual act.
Rage. Blinding rage. Choking, strangling, suffocating rage takes over.
"Hey asshole!" I shout but he's so entranced he takes no notice of me or of my approaching fist. The older guy turns and takes off towards the hangar where Mr. Prindle just headed at a brisk walk, no doubt wanting to distance himself from this as much as possible.
"And if you think I'm going to let you kill me on our honeymoon," I hear just as I rear back, "Christian! No!" I look over at her, she looks at me, the mechanic looks between both of us and Taylor steps behind me, his palm covering my fist just in time.
"Sir," he barks in a tone I've only heard him use when he's had to wake me from a nightmare. Wisely the asshole whose face I was about to pummel breaks into a run towards the building, seeing the insolent rage he'd be wise to avoid. Too bad he'll be out of a job in five minutes.
"You," I say harshly, pointing at Ana, "get it the god damned glider now." Her eyes widen, Taylor winces and I get that flash of heat that tells me I just fucked up. Guilt? Regret? Is that what they call it?
"Get in the glider. Now!" Within seconds Taylor is gone, Ana is pressed against the side of the aircraft, my thigh pressed between hers, her hair wrapped around my hand. "I will count to five. If you're not in that seat, belt on, I will fuck you right here in this open field so that you can't even think straight let alone defy me."
"Defy?" she stutters, her eyes clouded with confusion.
"Anastasia!" That gets her attention. We both pause, her wide eyes searching mine. I don't know how I went from cool, calm and collected to on the edge of feral so damn quickly but I'm there and it scares the shit out of me. Because if Taylor hadn't stopped me, I'd have beaten that guy past recognition.
She stands as still as stone, my hands still gripping her ponytail while her hands rest on my arms barely anchoring me to humanity. Inside my heart is hammering out a dangerous rhythm so much so that I feel dizzy and light headed.
"Baby?" she whispers, one smooth hand cupping the back of my neck so that she can bring my face to hers. "What happened? Why were you going to hit that man? Why are you so angry?" Her words, the way she says them along with the light touch of her hand is meant to calm me but her questions pushe me over the edge.
"Fuck this," I snarl, pushing back from the glider only to grab her hand and drag her back to the car. "We're done here." Behind me I feel her trip as I pull her along but I don't pause to see if she's ok, don't turn to ask if she hurt herself, don't bother to slow down. I need her in the car, away from other men's eyes and alone. Thankfully she gets in without argument and does nothing when I slam the door after growling out, "Do not get out of this car."
It takes less than fifty strides for me to reach the hangars office and three more to barge into the office of the manager. The dick whose job I'm about to eliminate is nowhere to be found.
"Mr. Grey?" Prindle says, his brows knit in surprise. "I was just making my way out to start the plane. All things are in order here on my end, I just need to get my traffic controllers, they seem to have disappeared." I scoff, I'm sure those two idiots are long gone.
"No need. You have a mechanic on staff. Young. Mid-twenties. Red hair."
"Simon Daniel?" I wave because I don't know what the fuck his name is nor do I care.
"I want him fired and I want it done now." He sputters, looks from side to side and then holds out his hands.
"Does it matter? I want him fired. Fire him."
"On what grounds?" I take a deep breath to calm the storm that is beginning again at the obvious need to recite what it was he just said and did, my hands pulling at my hair so hard it hurts. The pain grounds me. Calms me. Placates me enough so that I tell him, in a low threatening voice exactly what happened not five minutes ago.
"I…I'm…I don't know what to say but you can be assured his job is terminated immediately." Of course it is. Because when a man with my power and wealth tells you to jump, you ask how high. If I tell you to fire someone, you do it promptly.
I nod once to acknowledge his words but I'm rooted to the spot, the anger so overwhelming that it's literally taken over my being. After a beat he takes a step towards me, one hand out in question.
"Will you be ready to go up in a few minutes? I have a second crew, I'll just need a minute to round them up."
"No. I won't be flying today." I'm far too out of control to be responsible for our lives right now, that much I know. I turn on one heel and notice Taylor for the first time, standing at the doorway. "Find him and bring him to me." But he does his job and gets me back in the car before I commit felony murder, keeping me safe even from myself.
The Range Rover spits gravel behind us when we leave, the dirt road bouncing us around as Sawyer drives quickly down the road, all of us silent. Nobody says anything until we reach the hotel at which point I point to Taylor and raise my brows. He may have done the right thing in refusing my order but that doesn't mean I'm not pissed about it.
"Good evening Mr. and Mrs. Grey, welcome back to Stoneleigh. Shall I send some refreshments up?"
"Fine," I say, never once looking at the woman when I walk past her, dragging Ana behind me.
"No thank you, Elisa, we're good for now." Did she just contradict me?
Like a good wife she follows behind, her shoes making tiny patter noises on the marble floors. I forgo the elevators and hit the stairs instead, seeking a physical release any way I can get it right now. She hasn't said a word to me since I pushed her into the car. I know she watched me on the drive back to the hotel but I didn't look over. I couldn't. The last thing I want is for her to see the monster that lives in me and is currently coming to the surface.
In the room she stops and waits for me to say something while I slam the door shut and then pace the length of the living room. She just stands there expectantly until I grunt back a scream and toss my sunglasses on the table in the foyer, hands on my hips and glare at her.
"You had to wear those shorts today?" Her forehead crinkles with confusion. "Do you want men to look at you Ana? Do you want them to fuck you with their eyes? Do you want them to think of you tonight when they jerk off?" Her head recoils as if I slapped her but it feels good to get some of the anger out so as much as I should stop, and I know I should, I can't.
"What are you talking about?" she chokes out on a sob. "You…you bought this outfit for me! You told me to wear it!" Again I scoff, I'm on a roll, may as well keep going. "What happened to make you so angry?" And god her bottom lip begins to quiver and it kills me but I'm so amped right now I ignore it.
"That guy basically bent you over and fucked you right in front of me, Ana! Do you really not know the effect you have on men? Are you that naïve?"
"Am I…naïve…what guy? Is that why you were going to hit him?" She watches me as I pace and slow down to a stop in front of her. What guy? She looks hurt and confused, blindsided and steamrolled. Her mouth opens and closes like a fish out of water as she struggles to piece together everything as I lob it at her, finally giving up. "What do you need, Christian?"
"What do I need, Anastasia?" I lean in, take her chin between my fingers and lift her face to mine. "A good, hard, nasty fuck. You ready to fulfill that need. Wife?" And that's when I see it. Hurt so blazingly clear that my anger pales in comparison. Her eyes swim with tears, her chin trembling in my hand and just like that the rage tempers, the monster retreats and the weight of my actions falls heavily onto my shoulders.
"Stop!" It's all she says before she raises a hand in front of her to put distance between us and then leaves, the heavy oak door blocking out the view of her walking away from me.
What in the fuck was that? What was that? Who was that? Sawyer appears out of nowhere and follows behind me. There's enough distance for me to feel alone but alone is not what I need right now. The lone woman behind the front desk smiles courteously and then takes in my mood, immediately shifting her eyes down to type on a computer.
I want a bar. A crowded, loud bar where I can get lost and just think for a few minutes but of course Christian has rented out the entire place so it's just us, our security and a skeleton staff. After a brief pause in the atrium I make my way back to the front desk and ask for a bottle of wine to be delivered to me. Rose, as her nametag says, directs me to a secluded spot on the back lawn where a few Adirondack chairs face the mountains in the distance and tells me someone will bring it out to me shortly.
I still have no idea what caused such a turnabout in our day but from the pieces I gathered, one of the guys that was answering Christian's questions did something or said something lewd about me and my husband found out about it. Which would explain the way the red headed man peeled out on his motorcycle when Christian stormed into the office after locking me in the car. But why be mad at me about it?
Sawyer appears after my second glass of wine with a sweatshirt, silently offering it to me. I gratefully accept it because it's damn cold here at night this time of year and then tuck my legs beneath me, asking him to sit.
"Ana," he starts, the casual use of my first name the first indication that he's here as my friend and not my body guard. "I'll sit but I can't drink."
"I know." We sit in companionable silence as I sip my third glass, the alcohol taking it's effect in the way of brain numbing relaxation.
"Do you get like this when other guys hit on Heather? Do you go all ape shit and accuse her of causing their behavior to be so bad?"
He looks out at the now dark mountains and slowly exhales, his hands twisted on his lap, long legs stretched out in front of him.
"You're going to make me talk about jealousy when the woman I was going to marry cheated and my new girlfriend is literally half way around the world from me and I haven't seen her in almost two weeks? You're cruel, woman," he jokes before resting his head back. "But to answer your question, yes I get jealous. No I don't go ape shit on her but I've been known to react without thinking as has every red blooded male on the planet. It's in our DNA to be territorial," he shrugs.
"What Christian did…how he reacted to that whole thing, which, by the way, I still don't have the full story on, was embarrassing and hurtful." I sip, he keeps his eyes trained away and then lifts his phone to text something back. "Let me guess who that is," I say snidely.
"He's just worried. I told him you were fine."
"Worried about what? We're in the middle of nowhere and there's no one here! What's he worried about? That God forbid a man thinks I'm attractive? Like he doesn't deal with that every second of the day. Women literally fall over themselves to get to him!"
"Look, I'm not about to get all Oprah on you and talk about your relationship because fuck if I'm about to jeopardize my job or my man card but right now, you both need to cool down. You need to lay off the wine there and he needs to work it out in his head. Because the reality is this; you are both insanely beautiful people. That's a fact. For a very long time you will both be leered at, hit on and eye fucked. He needs to calm his shit down and you need to learn to manage him because he may temper it, but he's never going to not be jealous."
"I need to manage him? How about him not acting like a cave man!"
"Ana," he sighs, running his hand over his face, "he's come a long way in a very short amount of time. This is one area that's going to take a lot longer because in his view, it holds the potential to undermine everything else he's worked so hard for." He waits for a response but I don't have one. "I'm not saying you need to let him berate you, because nobody is required to endure that. But you need to help find a way to talk him off the ledge." He laughs, "Hey, you married him so you need to work this shit out together."
"What do you mean undermine?"
"It's hard to explain to a woman." He takes a minute to collect his thoughts and leans forward. "He's a smart, driven, passionate man who has lived under the illusion that having total control means nothing can be taken from him. But he's only ever had control over things. Money, property, power. They can't leave him, they can only be taken. But you, you're a person with free will. You can leave whenever you want and as much as he trusts you, he still has a hard time seeing why you'd choose him when you could be with someone who doesn't carry around as much baggage."
"Furthermore, and this is a man just being a man, no husband wants another male thinking about his wife like that. Unless they're swingers or some kinky shit like that. To him you're something to be loved, not disrespected. Which is how he views it when another guy leers at you. Plus it's disrespectful to him. I mean, do you like the idea of some woman at home thinking about Christian while she butters her muffin?"
"Butters her muffin?" I spit out on a laugh. "Oh my god that's funny."
"But do you? Do you want to think about it?"
"No," I concede.
He leans back, hands up as if to say, 'See'? "OK then."
"Where is he right now?"
"My guess? Standing at one of the windows watching us. It's been two hours, go talk to him."
"I will but not yet." I refuse when he offers to pour me another glass and settle back to think about what he said. But how do you calm a man down who is hell bent on being pissed? "What does Heather do? When you're all stupid like that?"
He laughs and rubs his eyes, clearly over this heart to heart.
"I admit it's not often, mainly because I'm not with her often but the few times I've needed…intervention she's just talked to me. I call it a mom voice. That soft feminine voice that makes you really listen to hear it. And she touches me. Like on my arm or my back. But sometimes, Ana, a man needs to bare his teeth too. We just do. So work with him on it, ok? It'll make mine and Taylor's job so much easier." He rises, offers me his hand which I take and points me to the house. "I'm tired and you've made me miss my girl so can you please promise me you'll lock yourself up in that room of yours and stay there so I can call Heather?"
"Yes, Mr. Sawyer. Thank you." He grins, takes the stairs with me and motions a goodnight to me when Christian opens the door to our room. He looks haggard and pensive but I'm not here to fight. Luke is right, we need to figure this out because I can't do this every time some man checks me out. He says nothing, just steps aside so I can walk in and then quietly shuts the door and stands there, contrite and unsure of what to do.
His feet are bare and he's in basketball shorts and a tank top, his hair a disaster from whatever activity he was just a part of. My guess is he made good use of the workout room, evidenced by the sweaty mess he is. For a minute we just look at each other but despite his barbed words and the heated delivery of them, I can't help but see him as a man who needs a break.
So I offer him my hand and lead him to the bathroom where he stands and watches as I fill the tub up with hot water and my scented oils from some tiny boutique he took me to in Rome and then lifts his arms as I undress him.
"Get in," I say softly, surprised when he does without saying a single word to me. I know he's not mad anymore so his silence is born out of fear. Fear that he'll upset me more and the last thing I want, is for Christian to fear any sort of interaction with me.
"You are the only person," I start, unbuttoning my shirt, my eyes on his as it falls to my hips, "that I have ever bared my body to." The white lace bra goes next, my breasts almost aching for his attention. "You are the only person who has ever been inside of me." Bubbles or not, I can see the tip of his erection above the water line but outside of that, he doesn't move, just watches.
My fingers slide beneath the band of my shorts to reveal the white lace panties I have on, my body bending at the waist to push the shorts to the floor. "You are the only person to make me come, the only person who has heard my moans, the only person who has tasted me." At this, one side of his mouth twitches. When I skate my fingers over the lace covering my sex he visibly inhales and waits, the tips of his fingers turning white as he presses them against the tubs ledge.
"You know my body better than I do, Christian because I've given it to you. Totally," the lace whispers down my legs, "completely," my fingers glide back up my thighs and rest over my slit, "yours." I go to him then and step in the water, kneeling between his legs to face him.
He makes no move to touch me which is unusual but I think past it and continue on with my plan, leaning forward to press a kiss to his temples and the hollow of his throat.
"Now," I whisper, my belly sliding along his length, "I was thinking that maybe we could come up with a safe word for situations like today." He finally gives me a reaction in the form of his head snapping back. "It'll be something only you and I use and only you and I know about. A…social pause if you will." I kiss him then and while he kisses me back, it's lackluster, restrained. What in the hell is going on?
"I can't control how or what the people around me do, Christian and getting angry at me about something like that is unfair and it causes problems. So instead of you just being pissed at some random guy, you wind up pissed at everything and everybody including me which leads to us fighting and me being hurt by your words." At this his eyes close briefly, the acknowledgement of my feelings the only sign that he's listening.
"So, next time something like that happens and you start going off the deep end, I will say the word 'goldfish' and you will stop. Full stop, just like in the playroom."
"Goldfish?" he asks with a furrowed brow.
"It was the first thing I thought of," I shrug before settling my body on top of his. His arms and hands remain along the ledge of the tub and his legs remain straight in front of him. I feel rejected by him for the first time ever and I won't lie, it stings. After a few moments I begin to feel stupid. He's still hard but he's not touching me and he still hasn't responded to my suggestion. Instead he alternates between staring at my face and closing his eyes as if in thought.
"We can try that," he finally mumbles. When I look up at him his eyes are closed and his head is back. "I spent an hour on the phone with Flynn after you left." He swallows hard at that admission but I make no apologies for getting some distance between us. "He suggested something along the same lines and then told me basically to grow up."
At that I laugh, dip below the water and sit across from him. He watches me with the same intensity he always does but this time there's something just a little different about him. He seems guarded, almost like he's holding himself in check.
"So then, goldfish?" I venture.
"Fine, whatever you want to use is fine." He growls in frustration and begins to pull on his hair and rub his face furiously before pinning me with an intensity that takes my breath away. "I'm sorry, Ana. The way I behaved, the things I said, the way I said them, I'm sorry. I've always been a jealous man when it came to you but now, now that you're my wife…it just intensifies it. You are legally and officially mine to protect and keep safe and fuckers like that prick are a stark reminder that just because we're married now doesn't mean that the threat of someone else is gone."
He stands, hits the drain and pulls me up. "Come on, let's shower and get something to eat, I'm starving."
That's it? A quick, 'sorry, Ana'? Should I expect more? Should I be happy with that? This whole thing, his demeanor, my heart, none of it feels settled. But I take his hand anyway and let him pull me up but he doesn't pull me against him like he normally does and he doesn't smack my ass like I've come to expect. Instead he turns on the shower and steps inside, cleans himself while I watch silently and then walks out in a towel.
"I'm just going to order a burger from room service, what do you want?" he asks while he dries off.
"The same," I manage, stunned at the way he's acting.
By the time I get out, get dressed and get to the living room the food is arriving, a beautiful brunette woman waiting patiently for Christian to direct her as to where to put the trays. She's watching him, taking his beauty in but he doesn't notice any more than I did that guy this afternoon. When the doors close and he sits down I walk over to the place he's set for me.
"She was flirting with you and checking you out." I say it to make a point but he misses it entirely, his hand waving away with a 'so what' as he waits for me to sit so that he can start eating. "They all do," I deadpan. He stares at me and rolls his eyes. What in the hell?
I take a full thirty seconds before responding to his cavalier attitude. "But that's ok? It's ok if women eye fuck you as you like to call it." He drops his burger, wipes his mouth and leans back.
"It's different and you know it." His body leans back casually but he is anything but relaxed. "Did she stand behind me and tell her friend she'd like to fuck me? Did she gesticulate doing it?"
"Is that what he did?" I don't know why that embarrasses me but it does. He nods tightly. "OK, well I can see why that would make you react that way to him but why take it out on me?" His fingers pinch the bridge of his nose as he struggles with something internally before flattening his palms on the table.
"That was wrong of me, Anastasia. I've apologized for that and I'll do it again. I am very sorry I was so rough with you and more sorry that I continued on as if any of this was your fault. Because it was not. You looked beautiful today, he was just an imbecile. And I agree that my reaction is something I need to work on as do Flynn and Elliot."
"Yes, Elliot." He sighs heavily, runs both hands over his face and drops his arms to his side. "He rode me about this back before we got married." Again I'm surprised at not only the conversations that he and his brother have but that Elliot is so insightful. The dumb jock man whore he is not.
"Look," he starts, his hands pulling at his hair, "I'm doing my best here to remain calm. I'm doing everything in my power right now to stay in this room and not hunt that mother fucker down and though it may not seem like I'm doing a good job, this is a-fucking-mazing for me right now."
"You're right, I know it is. I'm proud of you for handling it the way you did." At this his hands drop and he looks at me skeptically. "Now that I know the extent of what happened, I get your over the top anger. I do. I'd have been murderous myself and frankly, I'm disgusted that someone acted that way towards me or any female for that matter. I don't begrudge you anything that happened. Except your animosity towards me. We're a team, Christian. You can't get angry at me and then shut me out."
"You know what the problem is, Anastasia?" He rises and begins to pace, stopping with his hands on his hips to face me. "Moments like that are when I realize that no matter how many safeguards I put in place, no matter how tightly I keep our whereabouts secret, no matter how many NDA's I get signed, I am not in control of what happens to and around you. To me," he starts to pace again, "you're this delicate angel that has been put into my care to protect and care for. You're so good, so incredibly sweet and kind and loving that when I see a guy eye fucking you it pisses me off. What right does he have to taint what is pure? What right does he have to imagine you naked for him? What right does he have to use you for his pleasure?"
"Let me finish. I need to work this out. I'm not promising that I'll fix this tonight but I need to start sometime and seeing you crying because I was a prick is a good enough reason for me." He stops, reaches for me and runs his thumb down my face. "I made you cry," he chokes out. "It was me who hurt you, not him, not anyone else. I'm your protector yet I'm the one who made you cry."
My hand touches his, my face turning in to his gentle touch. "I'm fine, Christian. I understand now why you were so upset. Just…think about who you're really angry at next time, ok?" Because I know that no matter what happens, there will be a next time. That's just life.
He takes a deep breath and holds my face in both of his hands, exhaling softly as if he were trying to maintain control over his emotions.
"You are mine, Ana. Mine to protect and cherish, to love and covet. And when someone disrespects you like that, it means I've not done my job well."
"You can't control other people. You can't. So stop trying." His lips turn up in a half smile, one thumb running over my bottom lip.
"You've proven that time and again." OK, joking is good. We're making progress.
"Has jealousy always been an issue for you, Christian?" He scoffs and steps back, leaning against the wall, one foot propped up behind him.
"No. I was jealous when Seth Ganding beat me in the home run derby in eight grade. I was jealous when Elliot won tickets to Metallica and didn't take me. But outside of that? Nope. This," he gestures with both hands, "is all new to me." His words are kind but the emotions radiating off of him are anything but.
"Tell me why you're still so angry about this then. You got him fired, you and I are good, you spoke to Flynn. We have a plan for next time...what else do you need?" His eyes flash to mine, his need as obvious as the nose on his face. He watches my face as realization dawns and then lowers his eyes to the floor. "You want me to submit. Sexually."
"I do," he whispers, his fingers tightening slightly on my face. "And I don't know if that's ok or not because I want to just be able to deal with these emotions like normal people do but this is what I know and this, for me, is what works."
At that I smile because he may think it's his only option but clearly it's not. But this is one option I can actually help him with. Happily.
"Christian," I start, my fingers trailing up the soft cotton of his t-shirt . "You didn't fly off the handle with me. You let me leave to cool down. You called John to talk it through. You acknowledged that you need to continue to work on it. You had an open dialogue with me about it. From what I can tell, that is a huge step for you. Now," I continue, stepping back and lowering my eyes to the floor, "I'll be in the bedroom waiting."
A few minutes later he finds me by the door, in position with nothing more than my panties on. I've braided my hair and have turned down the lights in anticipation of what he may want but nothing prepares me for the way my body responds to his when he's in this mode. Barefoot and shirtless he stands in front of me without saying a word.
"Look at me." I do, his voice unyielding but his face etched with concern. "Stand." He grins and reaches for my braid, running his fingers over it before pulling it in front of me to run down the valley of my breasts. "You please me," is all he says before circling around, his finger trailing around my waist as he walks behind me. His approval thrills me.
"Anastasia," he breathes, moving back in front of me, his hands on my hips lovingly. "I only want to do this if you want it too. I won't have you doing anything you aren't comfortable with, especially not this."
At that I just smile and bite my lip, a low growl emanating from him. The way I see it, this is a win/win situation. I get super hot sex with the twist of kink I've come to like every now and then and he gets to feel like he's in control for a few hours. Just long enough to get him back on solid mental ground.
"I want this, Sir." He lifts my chin up again and raises his brows in question. "Badly." At that he smirks, drops my face and walks to the sitting area, signaling for me to follow.
"On your back, naked, legs spread." The coffee table is cold against my heated skin but I obey and lift my head obediently when he slips a black silk blindfold over my eyes. In the distance I hear him make himself a drink, the telltale chink of ice against glass loud in an otherwise quiet room. I hear him sit on the couch directly between my legs, the soft sound of his swallow making me wet without so much as a touch. He doesn't speak, doesn't touch, doesn't move. Just drinks and stares.
"These are for me, baby," he says before I hear the click of the camera. "God you're so fucking sexy. I'm going to film us fucking in the ocean in two days, Anastasia. You, blue water, and my cock." I groan and clench my fists to keep from speaking or moving. I want feel him, grind on him, get some relief both physically and emotionally but he gives me nothing but heightened desire as each minute passes.
I have no idea how long I lay there but just as I begin to feel my body grow heavy with sleep it's jolted awake by the sensation of cold liquid being dripped between my breasts, over my abdomen and onto my slit. He chuckles when I yelp at the feeling and then shushes me when I whimper as he drags a cube of ice over each nipple before letting it melt slowly in my belly button.
"I made you cry today, baby." Metal clamps down on the sensitive tip of each breast, a low moan escaping my mouth despite my best effort to hold it in. "I regret that." I feel him attach a thin chain to the clamps before he carefully pulls, my back arching as he tugs at my breasts, now heavy with arousal. "You will cry again tonight but it will be in pleasure. Tonight, my dear wife, you are mine to do with as I please." He tugs again and then slowly slides an ice cube over one knee, my inner thigh and over each lip of my sex, pausing at my opening before gently pushing the ice inside.
"Mine, Anastasia. All mine."
"Thank you," I start, my fingers running along the line of her jaw, "for trying this again. I know you were less than thrilled at the prospect of gliding with me yesterday and after everything that happened…"
She smiles, takes a deep breath and closes her eyes. "Yes, gliding. Is that what you call it? Because I call it flirting with death." I laugh at her dramatics and then lean back, stretching my hips in the process.
"No, you know what flirting with death looks like?" She raises a brow waiting for me to continue. "What we did last night. I need to get back in a routine with Bastille because shit, my hip flexors are killing me today." Her eyes widen just before her face turns pink with that blush I love so much. "You liked the spreader bar didn't you, baby? And I know you liked the butt-plug because you came so hard you took skin off my dick."
"Christian!" I laugh because damn if she isn't funny.
"It's nothing to be ashamed of, Ana. Christ, if anything you should be proud of how flexible and accommodating you are." She turns the brightest shade of red at my teasing which just eggs me on. I stretch again, "But I think what did my flexors in was when I held you up against the glass doors with the bar still around your ankles. Damn, they're killing me!"
"Maybe we shouldn't fly then," she mutters, two fingers twisting her hair nervously.
But we do fly, her tiny frame climbing into the front seat of the glider so that I can strap her in. The click of the belt, the tightening of the restraints…it all just makes the experience so much more satisfying.
Once I'm in I lean forward and rest my hands on her shoulders. "Baby, there is nothing in this world that would allow me to put you in harms way. I know what I'm doing so just relax, trust me and enjoy the sunset."
"You're good at this?" she screeches as the plane takes us up, her knuckles turning white on the harness where she holds it.
"I'm the best!" I exclaim just as the pilot speaks into my ear that we've reached the proper altitude to disengage. "Here we go!"
She screams. Not the way she does when I'm pounding into her and not the way she does when Heather hands her a new bag of Reece's Cups. This scream is like the one she let out when I made her watch the Blairwitch Project. At first I feel guilty but within two minutes her hands loosen a bit, her screams lessen in volume and quantity and her head leans back as she tries to take it all in.
"Amazing isn't it?" It's a risk asking her anything right now but I need to know if she's enjoying herself.
"Unbelievable! This is…I can't believe you know how to do this!" Her laughter turns into a whoop, the joy of it making my insides churn with excitement. I knew she'd love it. "I want to do this again with you!"
"Anytime you want, baby! The world is yours, anything you want, anytime you want it. Just tell me and I will make it happen. I want to give you the world, Ana."
We race over fields of brilliant green and low hills following the curves and lines of the river beneath us before I yell at her to hold on and twist the glider around and upside down. She screeches and laughs until she gets the hiccups which in turn makes me laugh until my stomach hurts. Blindly she reaches back to hold my hand when I flip us around again but I keep both hands on the steering wheel. I won't chance her life for any distraction.
"Time to land. Hold on!" Her fingers curl around the harness again, knuckles white, the joyful sound of her excitement fading to silence. "Breathe, Ana. This is almost as fun as the gliding itself!"
I have a brief flash of fear at the realization that I literally have her life in my hands but I quickly regain control of the panic and run through the mental checklist necessary for landing safely. The ground rushes towards us, her silence betraying her concern over my abilities as the glider shakes a bit with the change in speed.
She lets out a small scream when we hit the ground and skid to a stop, her shoulders shaking with more laughter once I unbuckle first myself and then her. The glass dome pops up, Mr. Prindle and Taylor are already there to help us out. She waits for me and then jumps into my arms, her hands gripping my hair so that she can kiss me firmly right on the mouth.
"I take it you enjoyed it then," I manage to get out between kisses. We're only halfway to the car but she's recounted every minute of the flight with excited animation already.
"I loved it! Oh my god it was so cool! I want to know everything, when you started, how it came about, how often you like to do it. Everything. And I want to learn how to fly too."
"Fuck no. That will never happen, Anastasia." I expect a fight but she surprises me by just grinning and pulling me into the back seat of the Range Rover where she continues her assault on my lips until we're back at the hotel. I've all but carried her inside, our clothes scattered from the front door to the couch where I am now sitting, her hot, wet pussy teasing the tip of my cock.
"Put me inside you," I demand carefully, desperate to feel her after twenty minutes of kissing and groping. God, I am a fucking teenager.
"Teach me to fly," she says, her tongue ghosting out to run over my teeth. Oh fuck, she is not about to play this game.
"No," I grunt out, lifting my hips in a vain attempt to impale her.
"Yes," she whispers against my mouth, the lips of her sex separating around my shaft as she glides up and down with torturous slowness.
"Never," I say, my breath stolen as she flicks my ear lobe, "going to," another flick...what was I saying?
"I'm so wet for you, Christian," she pants right into my ear, the heat singing my resolve. "Can you feel that? How my pussy weeps for your cock?" Oh shit she's good. "I love how you stretch me," another glide, "how you fill me," and another, "how you make me so hot I want to touch myself." Holy Christ I'm going to come before she even puts it in.
"Baby, I'm doing my best but in about half a second, I'm going to flip you onto the floor and fuck the ever loving shit out of you if you keep talking and moving like that."
Slowly her head shakes. "No?" I question on a groan as she grinds that wet heat onto the base of my shaft, her hand reaching behind her to scratch my balls.
"Teach me to fly, Christian." And then, god help us all, she leans back, braces herself on the coffee table behind her and grinds her spread pussy along the length of me so that I can see just how wet she is.
"Yes...sure," I whimper, my hand pushing my cock towards her so that I can slide in. "Anything you want...I'll buy a gliding company..." For good measure she reaches up with one hand and pinches her nipple, her head falling back in ecstasy. "Yes! Yes! We'll get you lessons as soon as we land in Seattle!"
"Thank you, baby." Blinding white light and a pleasure that shoots from head to toe blasts through me when she finally takes me inside of her.
"Fuuuuuck," is all I can manage as I watch her fuck me, one hand balanced behind her, the other touching herself as I lean back and try to figure out what the fuck I just agreed to. And then she turns around, holds onto the couch behind me and rides me like her life depends on it.
And fuck it if I don't have Andrea set her up for flying lessons the next morning.