~Four Years Later~
I slowly open my eyes feeling the sunlight upon my face, morning has arrived. I smile as I slowly climb out of bed. I love the week-ends. I make my way towards the kitchen, start the coffee and prepare myself a cup of tea.
I want to make a big breakfast for my family. I grin as I get lost in my thoughts and prepare breakfast...Yes, life is good.
"Mmmm...that coffee smells wonderful."
I turn quickly and see him on the sofa reading the newspaper, "Geez, Quinn! You scared me. I didn't know you were up."
"Sorry, you were looking so focused. I noticed that you're making a huge breakfast. I didn't want to interrupt you."
"Uh huh, well. Now that you have interrupted me, you can come and help."
"No thanks, I'll just supervise from here, while I read the newspaper."
"Yes, of course you will." I say as I throw a dry tea bag at him.
He ducks and says, "Your aim is getting better, Ana."
"I'll get you Quinn, one of these days, I'll get you right between the eyes." I giggle.
"I won't hold my breath." Quinn replies as he goes back to reading his paper.
I smile again and cannot believe how happy I am.
I set the table and place sliced fresh fruit for all to enjoy before our breakfast of eggs, pancakes and bacon. The kids will be up soon and I know they will be hungry.
I smile again as I see the numerous place settings for our huge family.
Yes, life is good.
I feel his strong arms wrap around me as he whispers in my ear, "Ana, baby, this looks wonderful."
"You like?" I ask as I turn and kiss him on his lips.
"I love." He replies as he kisses me over and over, "I love you."
"I love you too, baby." I reply.
I continue to kiss him and gently bite down on his bottom lip, tugging, slurping and nibbling softly. I know what that does to him.
"Baby, please. If you continue to do that, I'll have to throw you over my shoulder and have my way with you. The hell with breakfast."
My eyes light up, I grin at him and say, "You promise?"
"Ana, Ana, wasn't last night enough for you?"
"I can never get my fill of you, you know that."
"Hey!" Quinn shouts from the sofa. "You two know I can hear every word you're saying."
Christian and I quickly back away.
"Sorry Quinn. It's the price you pay for drinking more than your share last night." I call out to him as I giggle, recalling how much beer he drank last night, never mind the vodka shots.
"Ugh, don't remind me. I never want to drink that much, ever again. Liquor and charades, it's a lethal combination."
Monica walks in the kitchen, still half asleep and rubbing her eyes, "Oh, please. Don't mention liquor. I need coffee, right away."
"It's ready, Monica. Help yourself." I state as I take a seat at the table and serve Christian and myself some fruit.
"Are the kids still sleeping?" Monica asks as she pours herself a cup of coffee.
"Yes, let's keep it down. Perhaps we can enjoy a nice quiet breakfast before the little ones awaken." Quinn says with a chuckle.
"One can only hope." Christian replies as he feeds me some fruit.
"I'm going to down this coffee and take a quick shower before the little ones wake up." Monica replies as she pours some cream in her coffee cup.
Yes, life is good.
How did we get here?
It seems like only yesterday, we were both at the cemetery, trying to come to grips with the cards that were dealt to us.
I had a miscarriage and lost my miracle baby and Christian's soon to be ex-wife, was killed in a car accident that injured Steel, Gail and Sawyer-their security guard who was on duty that fateful day. They were on their way home, back to Seattle when Claire stated that she wasn't feeling well. Gail said Claire's face became swollen and Claire panicked. She had a botox treatment earlier that day and she feared that she was having some sort of allergic reaction.
Sawyer attempted to rush them to the nearest hospital but on the way there, they were hit by a person who was texting while driving. The driver of the other car ran a stop light. Claire was killed instantly and as a result, Claire and Christian lost their baby. Gail and Sawyer suffered major injuries, thankfully Steel only received a few cuts and bruises. Everyone healed in time, but Steel suffered from nightmares, it took time for her to come out of her shell.
Once Christian and I discussed the actual timing of our losses, we realized that these tragedies occurred on the very same day, only a few hours apart. We both found that be rather eerie.
When Christian told me all of this at the cemetery, I was speechless. My initial thought was, what was Claire thinking? Getting botox treatments while pregnant? Of course I kept this to myself, she was gone and Christian lost his little angel. I stood there, jaw on the floor. Once I was able to form a sentence, and give him my most sincere condolences, Christian immediately asked about Quinn and Greyson.
I explained that once I lost my baby, I was on a downward spiral. I was suffering from depression, postpartum depression to be exact. I wasn't aware that one could suffer from PPD after having a miscarriage, but apparently it is possible. Not that my diagnosis really mattered to me, I only knew that I lost my miracle and all I wanted to do, was curl up and die.
I felt as though I was in some sort of catatonic state. I spoke and ate very little while healing in the hospital. Quinn was concerned about my not eating enough. I told Quinn that I would eat, only if he promised to hide me away. I refused to have contact with anyone. Quinn suggested that Kate might be able to help me that I might need a friend, but I refused to listen. I had Quinn disconnect my cell phone and we moved from Los Angeles to an affluent city in Orange County. The move worked out well for Quinn as his new project was in Coto De Caza, it was the type of neighborhood that Quinn had always dreamed of living in so of course, he purchased a lavish home in the heart of the area.
While Quinn and Monica arranged for the big move, I was relocated to a private hospital nearby. This hospital was well-known for keeping the anonymity of some very famous people, so hiding little known Ana Brady, wouldn't be a problem. It wasn't as though I expected anyone (aside from Kate) to be looking for me, as far as my mother knew, everything was just fine for Quinn and I in beautiful Southern California. Little did she know that her daughter was slowly losing her grip on reality? I still had enough sense to continue my divorce proceedings. I didn't want Quinn to be stuck with a crazy, depressed person, but Quinn wouldn't have it. Much to my surprise, neither would Monica.
They both rallied around me and helped me to recover. Once I was released from the hospital, Monica arranged for me to move into Quinn's home. I had my own bedroom and once I felt strong enough, Quinn and I started our divorce proceedings. It was very swift and once our divorce was final, I suggested to Quinn that I should move out. Quinn refused, stating that despite no longer being in love with me, he still cared for me, very much. The odd thing was, I found a friend in Monica as well. They both made sure that I went to my therapy sessions. There were often times that the three of us attended sessions together.
Monica was very open in therapy and expressed her concern about pushing me over the edge since she fell in love with Quinn and had feelings of extreme guilt. I reassured her that my depression had nothing to do with either her or Quinn. I think I secretly wanted to be depressed. I felt as though this was my punishment for my infidelity. I needed to pay for my sins.
Quinn and Monica both stood by me, never letting me back-slide into that dark place though again, I secretly wished they would both abandon me. I wanted to give up on life, not that I wanted to kill myself or anything of that nature, I just didn't have the will to do anything. I was surprised that Quinn found room in his heart to still care about me, despite what I had done to him.
He was quick to say in our therapy sessions that while he did not cheat on me, he was not fully committed to our marriage (while we were in Seattle) and that I was not to be solely blamed for the demise of our relationship. His words allowed me to slowly forgive myself. I mean, if Quinn could forgive me for what I'd done, I realized that I too, should forgive myself.
I slowly came out of my depression and again felt the will to get up in the morning, finding happiness in the sunrise. I was desperately looking for little things that would make me smile. Eventually, I did find happiness and I was no longer 'looking' for things to make me happy. They were moments that happened on their own, they weren't created for me, in order to make me happy. That was a huge step in part of my healing process.
Quinn and Monica did fall more in love during those therapy sessions and they both cautiously approached me with the news. I told them that I knew about it almost right from the start. Even when they both tried to fight their feelings, I knew in my heart that they couldn't. I've been there...with Christian.
Their love was not to be denied and far be it from me to stand in the way of that love. They were both shocked and ecstatic at my reaction. I explained to them that I knew what they were feeling and in one of our therapy sessions, I finally came clean to Quinn. I told him that my affair was with Christian Grey. What surprised me most, was Quinn's reaction to my revelation. He too, said he knew that there was 'something' between Christian and I. He said he could feel it. The electricity that we generated when we were together had enough power to light up the city of Seattle.
Instead of discussing this matter with me, he buried himself in his work. Denying what was happening right before his eyes. He knew, that what Christian and I had was...different and he was hurt. He didn't want to deal with his feelings so instead, he buried them and buried himself in his work. Quinn wanted to take the business world by storm and he was very determined. He would not fail at both his marriage and his career.
We told our therapist when we moved to Los Angeles, that we did attempt to reconcile but we both knew that it wasn't meant to be. We stayed together for appearances only and I felt that was the least I could do for Quinn after what I put him through. We were more friends than anything and as soon as Monica came into the picture, I could clearly see that they were both falling in love with one another. I felt relief, knowing that Quinn would be happy with someone and I had planned on giving him his freedom...that was the day, the day that I lost my little miracle and I almost lost my life.
It's crazy for me to think that I owe my recovery to my ex-husband and his soon to be wife at the time. What Quinn and Monica did for me was above and beyond what anyone could have ever done for me. Monica's mother is a lawyer, she specializes in adoption. As soon as I felt 'normal' and was given the 'green light' by my therapist, arrangements were made for me to adopt a beautiful baby boy.
I'm not sure how it was arranged, but by the time I held that baby in my arms, I really didn't care. He was mine. My son, my baby, my beautiful boy. His cloudy blue eyes and copper-colored hair made me think of him, so naturally, I named him, Greyson. Greyson give me more of a reason to wake up in the morning and while I know that isn't the only reason to go on, it is what helped me to slowly fully recover and allow me to come out from under the dark cloud that was hovering over me.
I eventually returned to the work force. I worked side by side with Monica and Quinn, helping in any and every way that I could. I worked limited hours in order to devote my time to my son. It was a perfect balance. I didn't stay employed there for very long. I eventually found myself and returned to a love that I had as a child, books. I worked at a small publishing company that was very family friendly. I quietly worked my way up to one of the senior editors.
One day, out of the blue, I took a chance and decided to call Kate. She screamed so loud she nearly popped my eardrum. She peppered me with questions and scolded me for my disappearing act and stated that she still takes a single rose to my father's grave site. I immediately started crying, Quinn was right. I should have called Kate. We spoke for over an hour, I filled her in on what's been going on in my life and I could tell that she had things she wanted to say to me, only not over the phone. I promised her that I would come to Seattle soon and we could catch up. It was so difficult to not ask about Christian, but I figured it was for the best. I hadn't done any type of research to see how he was doing, truth be told, I didn't want to know, it would hurt me too much so it was best for me to be left in the dark, so to speak. Kate was kind enough not to mention him either, it was the elephant in the room that we both chose to ignore, for the time being anyway.
Hearing Kate's voice did something to me. It brought back so many pleasant memories and I knew that I needed to come back home...home to Seattle. I spoke to Quinn and Monica and they both were surprised but supported me and my decision. I didn't move right away, what I did do was quietly go back to Seattle on occasion, in order to visit my father's grave site. At times Quinn and Monica would both accompany me, sometimes only Monica would come, but they never let me travel alone. They would watch Greyson at the cemetery while I spent some quiet time with my father. Eventually Greyson would come, calling out to me and I would quickly pick myself up off of the ground. There were times when I would visit and I would see a single rose on my father's grave site. I would smile to myself, knowing that Kate had recently been there, she had kept her promise.
On one of our last visits together, I told Quinn and Monica that I would be moving back to Seattle. I had already done my research. I found a nice place for Greyson and I and I had already landed a part-time job with an on-site day care center, one that would allow me to do the work that I loved while still being able to spend time with my beautiful boy. I was finally going to be on my own and I was looking forward to the move.
A few months after I quietly settled in, I called Kate to let her know that I was here, in Seattle. She was both happy and angry at me. Happy that I was here, but angry for not telling her as that I was here for well over three months before I informed her of my move. She quickly forgave me and insisted that we get together that very moment. I told her that I would be available later that evening. I informed her that her that while I greatly appreciate what she did for me, that her duties at the cemetery were no longer needed. I told her that Quinn and Monica were here for a visit and that I would be at the cemetery that afternoon. I eventually figured out that it was Kate who managed for Christian and I to meet that fateful day. Christian was there to leave flowers for Claire and for the baby that they lost. He was also leaving flowers for his birth mother. Only Kate would arrange for Christian and I to meet at what some would consider being a macabre place.
After our reunion at the cemetery, Christian and I agreed to go to therapy together before we started to date. It wasn't easy, but we both knew that we wanted our relationship to succeed, and since we started our original relationship under unconventional standards, an affair to be exact, we obviously knew that these actions needed to be discussed and worked out. Otherwise, our relationship would be a recipe for disaster. I wanted Christian to trust me and of course, I wanted to trust him as well. It wasn't easy in the beginning, especially since our therapist suggested that we not date for six months. We quickly shot down that idea so our therapist suggested a compromise, "How about casual dates, movies, dinners, etc., slowly get to know each other but...no sex."
I was surprised to find that Christian was more than ok with the "casual dates" suggestion. I too, was happy that we did the casual date thing. My concern was for Christian. Would he be able to date me without sex? I needed to know if he was really interested in me or if it was just the physical attraction that made him want me? Was it something more for him? Was it really love? Eventually, we both knew the answer and with his family's blessing, Christian and I married one year later. Kate was my matron of honor and of course, Elliot was Christian's best man. Quinn and Monica were both there, to celebrate my new life. Strange as it seems, Quinn and Monica are my family and I love them both, very much. Christian too, has become accepting of our relationship, knowing well, that if not for them, I'm not sure I would have come this far. Our wedding was held at They Grey's family home. It was perfect, it was small ceremony with only family and a few close friends, and our children, Steel and Greyson.
Yes, life is good.
We took a month-long honeymoon and we were both dumbfounded and over joyed (to say the least) when we returned home, only to discover that I was pregnant. Christian beat his chest and said he knew all along, that his super sperm would find a way to impregnate me. Christian flew in the best Doctors to ensure the health and safety of myself and our little miracle. Turns out we had double miracles. I was pregnant with twins. Our beautiful boys were born 2 weeks early but perfectly healthy. Jamie and Jax and are quite the handful but we have plenty of help with our daughter Steel and our son Greyson.
"Coffee...I need coffee..." Kate mumbles as she walks in the kitchen rubbing her eyes, wearing her robe and what appears to be some just fucked hair.
"Oh man, what time is it?" Elliot mumbles as he walks in behind Kate, wearing only his smiley face boxers.
Kate turns to face him and says, "Geez Elliot, put a robe on or something."
Elliot looks down and says, "What? We're all family here. It's no big deal."
"That's what I said this morning Elliot." Kate giggles as she spanks his bottom.
"That's not what you said last night baby." Elliot replies.
"Ok, this has gotten a little too comfortable for me." Quinn says as he stands and smiles. "I'm going to find my wife and we will be on our way."
"Are you sure you don't want to stay for breakfast Uncle Quinny?" I ask in my daughter Steel's high-pitched voice.
"Erm...no thanks, I've had my fill of kids for this week-end. I think Monica and I make a wonderful aunt and uncle and for now, we'd like to keep it that way. We'll stop somewhere and grab a bite to eat. I miss California." Quinn whispers quietly, in the hopes, I'm sure, that our kids don't wake up before he and Monica make their escape.
"Not fond of having pancake syrup all over your pants, eh Quinn?" Elliot jokes.
"No, I didn't mind the pancake syrup on the pants but when your little Ava offered me some of her pancake that was stuck in between her fingers, well...I couldn't say no to that because I couldn't hurt her feelings but, if she's not here to offer them to me, I can escape, still being a cool uncle."
I giggle at Quinn's statement, he isn't ready to be a father and maybe he never will be, I'm not sure how Monica feels about this, but for now, they are both happy to spend time with our kids, knowing that they can be returned.
We've all become good friends. Our social circle consists of my brother-in-law Elliot and his wife, my best friend Kate, my ex-husband Quinn and his wife, Monica and Christian and I. I never would have thought this would happen but then again, do you ever really know what's in store for you in the future?
Yes, life is good.
After Quinn and Monica quickly and quietly make their escape, the rest of us enjoy some much-needed down time. It's rare that our kids sleep this late, but we take full advantage. Kate and I are quietly planning our day while Christian and Elliot talk about The Seahawks as we all enjoy our breakfast.
"There's no way that the Saints can beat us, not when we play at home!" Elliot exclaims.
"Keep your voice down Elliot, the kids are still sleeping." Christian says as he drinks his coffee.
"Whoa, do you mean we can actually eat in peace? No kids, no noise, no mess?"
"Well, I don't know about the 'no mess' Elliot." I say as I show Elliot the mess in the kitchen that I made while making breakfast. I usually clean as I go...but not this time. Not after our little wager last night.
"Remember our bet?" Kate replies, if we won charades you guys would be in charge of the kids and all of the clean-up for today.
"I don't remember making that bet...and besides, I didn't know that Gail would be off this week-end." Elliot snorts.
"That's because you drank too much." Christian replies.
"Maaa...maaaaaa-meeeee." Steel shouts as she comes charging in.
She hops onto my lap and says, "My baby brothers are crying. I think they're hungry."
"Ok, baby girl. Let's go check. Did you sleep well?" I ask as I kiss her head.
"Yes, mommy. I sleep very good. No more bad dreams, mommy."
Steel doesn't give me an opportunity to reply as she sees her father and barrels towards him. "Hi daddeeee! I love you, did you sleep good too, daddy?"
Christian smiles and holds her tight, "I slept great baby girl. Are you hungry? Mommy made a big breakfast."
"Yes, I'm very hungry. Hi Uncle Elliot, Hi Auntie Katie, are you gonna play with us today? Do we get to keep Ava with us?"
"Hi, munchkin." Elliot says as he stands to kiss her head.
"Hi, my favorite niece." Kate replies as she kisses her cheek. "Your mommy and I are going out today but your daddy and Uncle Elliot are going to play with you all day long."
"Yay!" Steel shouts out as she sits at the table.
"Elliot, your niece is waiting to be served." Kate giggles.
"Ok, fine. No more bets, I didn't know I sucked at charades."
"Elliot, watch your words." Christian mumbles.
"Oh come on little brother, I just said 'suck' I mean it wasn't like I said..."
"Steel, is your brother up?" I ask quickly, changing the subject.
No sooner are the words out of my mouth when I hear, "Hi mommy, hi daddy, hi Uncle Elliot, hi Aunt Kate." Greyson mumbles as he rubs his eyes. He looks adorable with his floppy hair and his Seahawks PJ's.
"How are you doing son?" Christian asks as he lifts his son up in the air.
"I'm still sleepy daddy; can I eat breakfast and go back to bed?"
"Just like your mother." Christian laughs.
"I am not. I'm a boy and mommy is a girl!"
With that exclamation, we all laugh, then we hear little Ava begin to cry.
"Oh yeah, I checked on Ava and my baby brothers Jaime and Jax and boy, do they stink! I think they made poo-poo!"
"Eeeewwwwwww! Mommy, how can you and Auntie Kate clean them up? It's so gross!" Steel exclaims.
"Well, it isn't easy but it does have to be done." Kate replies as we both head towards the kids rooms.
"Wait!" Christian calls out. "Come on, Elliot."
"What?" Elliot asks, "Come on, Elliot, what?"
"The bet remember? We lost the bet."
"Man, this is going to be a long day." Elliot mumbles as he walks towards their room.
Christian smiles as he walks away, I quickly run over and stop him.
"Christian," I whisper as I wrap my arms around him, I nuzzle his chest and he holds me tight.
"What is it, baby?"
I look up, into those beautiful grey eyes and say, "I love you."
"I love you too, baby. Forever & Always."
Yes, life is good...
First and foremost, I must give a HUGE thank you to the Dynamic Duo, Vip and Toni for their BETA skills and for returning this update to me in record time. Thank you to momalu for reading this chapter and giving me feedback before I posted. Thanks babe!
Thanks for the reviews, the good, the bad and the ugly. They were all greatly appreciated. I really hope that I was able to answer all of your questions, but I am really sorry if I didn't.
I apologize if reading this story wasted your time and I apologize if it didn't live up to your expectations, but as I said from the beginning, this was an experiment for me.
Now that this train wreck is over, I'm going to concentrate on finishing HATC.