Disclaimer: The majority of the characters used in this story belong to the Fifty Shades trilogy. They are and remain EL James's property. Infamouschelsea is in no way affiliated with James or her publishers. Any recognisable brands, places, persons, music or film are the property of their respectful owners. No copyright infringement is intended.
Just a quick reminder that this story is a continuation from my previous, 'Happiness Doesn't Last for Long'. If you haven't read it, I would recommend doing so before picking this one up. There's a damn good chance you may not understand what's going on here.
This story picks up in March 2012. 'Happiness Doesn't Last For Long' ended in January 2012. Just a little time jump.
I really hope that you will enjoy this story. I will still aim for weekly updates as I did with HDLFL, but as I'm heading into my final year of university, there may be some delays. I'll try my best to avoid this where possible. Feel free to message me to check on progress.
You can find details of my twitter and pinterest accounts on my profile.
Much Love and Happy, Happy Readings,
Jane Austen wrote that there is nothing better than staying at home for real comfort. In essence, I think she was right, even if she did brush over specifics.
I love being at home. There's nothing like it. There is nothing tangibly comparable to it. But home means different things to different people. For Jane Austen, that may have been sitting in front of the fireplace with a novel, conjuring ideas for her own. To me, home is waking up mid-morning to find the sun high in the sky, blazing through the window opposite my bed and warming the apple of my cheeks. It's waking up to find my darling husband still wrapped around me, post-coital and dreaming. It's feeling his lips tickle and dance with my ear lobe as he wishes me good morning, while his hands explore my stomach to greet our unborn child who's still fast asleep inside me.
That's my home. But right now, that vision is so very far away.
I open my eyes wearily, letting out a whiny groan as I lift my head from the pillow. It's still dark outside. I don't need to check the time to know it's 5am or there about. I have a personal alarm clock in the form of a baby kicking the crap out of my ribs.
"Thank you, Blip…" I grumble as I roll onto my back. "Third morning in a row…"
When everyone around me started saying that babies are nocturnal and don't care whether you're asleep or not, I thought it only happened after they are born, not when they're still in-utero.
For the past three mornings my perfect, 32 week old Blip has woken me up at 5am with a strong frenzy of kicks and punches. Oh, and he's picked up an uncanny habit of head-butting my bladder. Who said pregnancy wasn't fun? I had to climb over Christian yesterday in order to reach the bathroom. I only just made it. I don't need to climb over him today. He's not there.
I push my hand out and run it over the empty space beside me. The sheets are cold. He hasn't come to bed at all. I pout my lips. When I came upstairs around 11pm he was still in his office, on a video call to an M.D in Tokyo. He said he wouldn't be long.
With a struggle, I hauled my ass out of bed and waddled over to the bathroom. These next eight weeks need to hurry up and pass already. I can't wait to hold him in my arms and have my bladder back. Being able to see feet when standing up would be nice, too. For the most part, I've enjoyed my pregnancy. The abrupt wakeup calls, needing to pee 24/7 and constant state of bloating will not be missed. Not one iota.
I didn't look in the mirror once I had relieved myself and took to washing my hands. I made that mistake yesterday, almost giving myself a coronary in the process. My hair was sporting an array of different styles – backcombed at the top, flat on the left side and permed on the right. My eyes were rimmed with mascara, and the right side of my face was lined with creases. I couldn't help but inspect the damage and wonder why the hell Christian is still married to me when I look like that first thing in the morning. It really wasn't a pretty sight. I never want to see it again. It makes me shiver just thinking about it.
I left the bathroom as quick as I could, knocking off the lights as I moved through the bedroom and out into the hallway. All of the lights are off downstairs.
"Let's go find Daddy…" I mutter, running my fingers under my swollen, wriggling bump.
All of the lower part of my stomach is bare. I threw on a pre-pregnancy camisole after my shower, teaming it with a pair of unforgiving sweats that just cover my dignity. I look like a hippo but it's comfortable. I'm fat and tired and I can either wallow in tears over the fact I no longer fit into one of my husband's t-shirts, or I can raid the refrigerator and scoff the Hershey bar I put in there for emergencies. I made a note to stop by the kitchen once I've found my missing husband.
I stomped my way down the stairs and through the bottom floor of the house, heading straight to his home office. I know that if I can't find him, that's where he'll be.
As I approached his door I heard shuffling of papers, followed by quick, frantic tapping on a computer keyboard. I didn't knock before entering. I flung the door open and stood in the divide. My shoulders are hunched forward and my expression is more than a little sour.
I found Christian curled around his laptop, engrossed in something on the screen. His monochrome office is plunged into darkness, the only light coming from a lamp on his desk and the blue tinge from his computer. It took him a few seconds to notice me standing there, and a few more to adjust to seeing the life sized cabbage patch doll in doorway.
He pushed back in his chair, sinking into it. He pulled his hand up and through his hair, pushing it out of his face. It needs cutting again. It's too long in the front.
"Hm…" I moaned back. My arms are lax at my side and like every other part of me, they feel heavy and drained.
Christian jerked his head to the side, gesturing me over to him. He slid out from behind his desk, revealing his white t-shirt and pyjama pant combo. He looks far from the CEO right now and I love it. His dark hair is as fucked up as ever, spanning all over the place. It always brings a smile to my face, whether I'm miserable or not.
I picked up my feet and pushed over to him, stopping between his parted thighs. He snaked his hands around my hips, palming them into the small of my spine. With a gentle pull, he tugged me closer to him. His tired, red eyes stared up at me.
"Again?" He asked, stealing his eyes between mine and my stomach.
I nodded and he sighed. His warm hands started to rub my back in slow, deeply penetrating circles. God, that's good… My head fell back and I whimper with appreciation, begging that he doesn't stop. I felt him lean forward and bring his mouth to my stomach. He moved one hand back to my front, lifting up my cami a little and exposing more of me. His breath warmed my skin as he spoke softly to our invader.
"I thought we had words yesterday, Blip?" He kissed just above my navel, feathering his hand up and down my side. "Your beautiful, sexy Mommy needs her sleep or she turns into the bride of Chucky. Neither of us want that, do we?"
I felt a punch jut out from the place he's lips were a second before. I hope to God that was a 'yes'.
Christian kissed again and smiled. "So do we have an understanding, baby? No more early mornings for Mommy because when Mommy's tired, Daddy gets his ass kicked."
"I'll be kicking your ass if you call me the bride of Chucky again." I snorted.
He looked up at me through his lashes and pouted his lips, begging for mercy like a puppy. He blinked wantonly until I caved and gave into him, slumping into his lap. I settled my head to his shoulder and draped my legs over his, my hand creeping under his shirt to steal his warmth.
"How come you're still down here?" I mumbled, nuzzling into him. "I thought you said it was only a quick call to Japan?"
"It was. I just got distracted with something else." He shrugged. "I had to deal with it."
"Is something wrong?"
"No, everything's fine." He said casually.
"Christian?" I pursued a little more.
"Everything's fine, baby -" He pushed his fingers into my hair, combing them through the tangled mess. His other hand lay over my thighs, propping me up on his lap. "You're tired. We'll talk about it tomorrow."
"Are you sure?"
"Absolutely…" He lightly kissed the top of my head. "We'll talk tomorrow… I promise."
I let it go and dropped the conversation. We just sat there for a little while, snuggling haplessly. I started yawning soon after, my eyes stinging from fatigue.
"Sorry I didn't come to bed sooner. I know how you hate sleeping alone." Christian apologised, holding me a little tighter to his chest. I shook my head.
"It's okay… I fell asleep pretty easy tonight." I broke into another yawn. "I'm hoping Blip will tire himself out soon. I'm exhausted."
"I'm not surprised. Waking up at 5am every morning and then heading to work for a full day is taking its toll." He massaged his fingers into my hair, repeatedly kissing the top of my head while rocking us gently. "Baby, you need to slow down a little."
"I know…" I reluctantly agreed with him. "I have four more weeks until I'm on maternity leave. It's just a little longer, I swear…"
Even I have to admit work has been super busy recently. I only have myself to blame though. I pitched the idea to have e-books up and running before the one year anniversary of Grey Publishing, formerly SIP. I didn't exactly bargain on how much energy and time this project would need, or the amount of paperwork involved. My office at work has become a haven for mountains upon mountains of files, agreements and disclosures. It's enough to give anyone a migraine.
"Actually, it's the wedding I'm talking about." Christian corrected me. I drew my head from his chest, narrowing my brows around my eyes. "I know you can handle the work at your office. You have a great team around you. But you're wearing yourself thin on wedding shit for Kate…"
"But I'm her matron of honour…"
After the non-accident car accident earlier this year, Kate and Elliot really got stuck into planning their wedding. With Elliot out of action for a few months with a broken wrist, he needed something to do, to save him going bat-shit crazy. In his own words, there is only so much porn you can watch before it gets boring and repetitive. And here I was thinking that was the point of porn.
So, while Kate had her list of picking dresses, flower arrangements and decorations, Elliot was responsible for compiling the guest list, working out the details for having the wedding at Bellevue like Christian and I did, and organising the ceremony.
For as long as I've known Kate, she's had her heart set on a May wedding. In college I had to endure long, blubbering speeches about how she wanted the sun to be shining, her hair to be the perfect mix of red and blonde, and for her groom to have tears in his eyes when he sees how beautiful she looks. Admittedly, these speeches came after a tragic breakup and a marathon of Desperate Housewives in ratty flannel pyjamas. When she and Elliot got engaged, they had planned for a May wedding.
On February 1, they had set the date for Saturday May 26.
Baby Grey's due date is Sunday May 20.
On February 11, after a long, heated discussion, Kate agreed to pull the wedding forward to April 14. There was a lot of shouting that day and a lot of 'Ana will go into labour at the ceremony' talk. I was willing to risk it, Grace and Christian less so.
With three weeks to go, Kate has become the epitome of a bridezilla. Her usual quick, fiery temper has intensified. It no longer takes her five seconds to get angry and snap. Last week Christian glanced at her in passing, and she looked ready to rip his throat out. She's driving all of us insane. I'm about two curse words away from immigrating to Mexico.
"I'll talk to Kate about all of this." He remarked. "She's asking too much of you and I'm not happy about it. You're exhausted all the time now. It's not fair on you or the baby."
"I agreed to this." I explained, running my hand up the inside of his t-shirt. "I'm only doing what she did for us. She helped us a lot when we were getting married."
"She wasn't seven months pregnant at the time, was she?" He arched his eyebrow at me. I huffed at him. I'll let him have that one.
"Well… We're going to your parents' place later. You can talk to Kate then." I stared him out, trying my hardest not to smirk. I know, along with everyone else in the family, that Kate and Christian are a match made in hell. They're too much alike in their forceful, argumentative personalities. They have been getting along better now but still, things are icy between them. "Just don't expect me to wait around and watch it pan out… There are only so many fucks I can handle!"
"That's not what you usually say."
Christian's eyes changed. They grew darker and deeper. I saw something flicker inside them.
His tongue escaped his mouth and traced the upper curve of his lip, running seamlessly over his teeth. I clenched my thighs together.
"Are you sure we have to go to my parents' house today? I can think of a better way to spend my Saturday…"
My mouth moistened with anticipation. I can already taste him - taste his tongue inside me, rolling around… I gulped hard and fast, taking my lip between my teeth.
"H-How?" I stammered, my voice hitching when he adjusted me on his lap, positioning me carefully. I felt his length stiffen and swell through his pants.
"You would be spread out across my desk…" He began, giving time to each and every sound. "I'd have you naked and wet…"
"Where… Where would you be?" I panted. I ribbed my lip hard.
"I'd be in this chair, baby –" The left side of his mouth rose to a smirk. His hand fell down my back, dropping to cup my behind. "I'll pull my chair to the desk and have my head between your legs, making you come until you can't bear it anymore…"
He leaned back in the chair and thrust his hips up, ordering me to feel him throbbing and grow harder with every breath.
"Do you want that? Do you want my tongue on you? Inside you?"
"God, Christian…" I licked my lips hastily. I dug my fingers into his chest. "Please –"
"What do you want, baby?"
"Fuck me… I want you to fuck me."
Sated and clean out of the shower, I tug my big white robe around my chest, tightening it as I move through the house. I set my sights on the kitchen and the heavenly smells infiltrating the air. I toss my sodden hair over my shoulder, letting it dry on its own this morning. I want to be able to say that it's because I'm trying to protect it but, in reality, it's because I'm too lazy to find my hairdryer.
As I approach the kitchen the deliciousness grows more and more intense, sending my invader into a frenzy. He's poking just above my navel, ordering me to feed him. He's a lot calmer than he was earlier. He settled down around 6am, courtesy of the gentle rocks of passionate lovemaking. Like father, like son…
I slipped through the doorway to see Christian perched at the counter, devouring his breakfast. Gail pottered around him, fixing another plate of… pancakes?
"Oh, good morning Ana –" She greeted with me with a wide, dazzling smile. She quickly wiped her hands on a nearby towel and picked up the plate she was working on. Walking around the counter, she set it in the space beside Christian. "Blueberry pancakes. Just the way you like them."
"Wow… Thanks…" I tugged my robe a little tighter. She waved off my gratitude, turning on her heel to clear up the mess. Her tightly bound hair swayed, the light sandy tones bouncing as she moves. "Gail, you know it's Saturday, right? You get weekends off."
"Oh I know, but I had some time on my hands and thought I would come and fix something for you." She grinned sweetly. I traced my eyes down her clothes, assessing her choice of dark, flared jeans and a long sleeved, white shirt. She's kind of dressed for the weekend, I thought to myself. "Jason's gone to collect Sophie. We're going out for the day."
Gail's cornflower eyes lit up as she mentioned Taylor and his eight year old daughter, Sophie. Her cheeks flushed a light rosé and she beamed an honest smile, small lines creeping out from around her eyes as she thought of them. Taylor has the same reaction when someone mentions her. Their love is palpable and sweet.
I climbed into my stool with a struggle, having to hoist myself with one hand on the counter and the other on Christian's shoulder. I'm reluctant to face the fact that sooner, rather than later, I will be banished to the dining or family room to eat my meals. I'm doing whatever it takes to hold out a little longer.
Christian barely fluttered an eyelid as I hauled myself into the chair. His eyes were concentrated on his fork and the continuous line of food he's shovelling into his mouth. I grinned as I watched him. He definitely worked up an appetite earlier.
"I'll come back and clean when you're done." Gail announced, leaving us to eat our breakfast in solitude. She pulled the kitchen door to a close as she left.
I paused for a moment before leaning over to Christian. I trailed my hand around the back of his neck and jerked his head to me, stealing a loud, wet kiss from his lips.
"Hi…" I grinned like a lunatic. I ran my tongue across my mouth, tasting Maple syrup and bacon.
His brows depressed around his eyes and he shot a confused, frantic look over his shoulder. "Excuse me, who are you and what have you done with my wife?" He exclaimed, feigning shock.
I rolled my eyes and turned my attention to my plate.
"Oh, there you are… I almost didn't recognise you." He joked, throwing a piece of strawberry into his mouth. "You're never this happy in the mornings. What happened?"
"I am so glad you decided to pursue a career in business and not comedy." I retorted. "You're really doing the world a favour."
"There's my charming wife and her smart mouth." Christian hummed. He dropped his fork and reached for his glass of Orange juice. "Are you feeling better now?"
"Uh-huh –" I mumbled through a mouth of pancakes and yoghurt. God, how does Gail do it? That woman is worth her weight in gold. "I really needed a nap."
After an avid embrace, I curled onto my side and drifted back off to sleep. Only this time, I had a very warm and very naked husband wrapped around me.
"So the three orgasms I gave you did nothing at all?" He arched his brow and took lengthy draws from his glass. I rolled my head to him and licked my lips.
"Hm… There were okay," I teased. I reached for his bowl of fruit and toyed with a cherry, bringing it to my mouth slowly. "I think we should do it again, though. Round two is always better…" I winked and sucked on the cherry, tearing into its skin and feeling its juices trickle from my mouth.
"Tonight. We need to be at my parents' house in an hour."
"I'll hold you to your word, Mr Grey." I told him as I tucked into my breakfast once more. I know that if we start fooling around again we'll never leave the house this side of summer. And I know for a fact that Katherine Kavanagh will hunt us down if we don't appear at the appointed hour.
I cleared my plate in record time, finishing up before Christian. I sat patiently for a while, until my eye was drawn to the pile of newspapers in front of us.
"Are those today's papers?" I asked, making an immediate grab for them. "Mia's advertisement should be in there."
Several months ago, the youngest Trevelyan-Grey set her heart on a career in party planning. At first, no one took her seriously and I don't think she could blame us, considering the amount of many other careers she's embarked upon since leaving high school. I'm ashamed to say that Christian and Elliot had a bet on how long she would stick to this latest venture – two and four months respectively. She proved both of them wrong. I laughed at them for being so judgmental.
Early last month Mia trademarked 'Aurore-Grey' for her company name, refusing to simply go by Mia. Grace and Carrick fronted enough money to start her off, with Christian investing shares in the business to support his baby sister. She's only had a few clients so far, but she's building a great reputation among the 'community'. While I was at work yesterday, she called and told me she had finally put together an advertisement for the papers. She made it clear that I had to see it when it's published this morning.
I lifted my behind off the stool and leaned over the counter. I just managed to get my fingers onto the corner of one when Christian lunged forward, taking my hand in his and steering it away. He took the newspaper for himself and held it close to him. I was about to growl at him when he uttered my name in a strong, possessive manner.
"Christian…" I swung my stool around to face him head on. I crossed my arms around my chest.
"Ana, when you came into my office this morning, I was working on something –"
"Yeah… you were on your computer doing spreadsheets or something." I shrugged my shoulders. "What has that got to do with me looking at the newspaper?"
I stilled for a second before making a rushed grab for it, narrowly missing him as he leaned back and maintained a distance.
"Christian, what's wrong?"
"Nothing's wrong -" He shook his head at me and peeked down at the paper, "Well I don't think it's wrong… I think it's pretty good, actually."
"Are you going to let me in on it, or is it a secret?"
"I wanted to tell you this when you came to me earlier, but you looked so tired. I thought I would wait until you were more alert to hear this." He began. His grey eyes maintained my gaze. "I guess I didn't expect them to print the story as quick as they have."
"Huh? I'm not following…"
He pulled the folded newspaper from his chest and handed it to me. He didn't smile or frown. His expression remained unpainted and fairly optimistic, if I'm honest.
I accepted the paper and turned it over, revealing the front page. It's the Seattle Times. Even now, I snarl as I look at it. I think of the ruthless editor who unceremoniously fired Kate when she refused to write an article about Christian allegedly attacking the mother of all whores, Elena Lincoln. I guess, deep down, I should be grateful Kate was fired from the paper, as it meant she came to work for me at Grey Publishing. Christian and I both offered her a job, but she chose me in the end.
Kate started out as a junior editor. A month ago, a position in PR became available and she was the best candidate we had. I don't see her as often as I used to, but she's still only a floor down if I need her.
I scan my eyes down the front page, and to the article dominating the whole of it. The photograph sits high and wide, in the centre of it all.
Cold, empty eyes stare into mine. The platinum of her hair has dulled and become ratty, thick grey roots making an appearance. Her face is pale and gaunt, hard lines around her eyes and mouth aging her twenty years or so. It's been months since I've seen her face. It still brings bile into the back of my throat.
I see a stern faced woman who terrorised my family – a woman who has abused and tormented too many people in her time.
She's also a guilty woman.
I read the headline.
ELENA LINCOLN PLEADS GUILTY ON ALL CHARGES
"She changed her plea?" I mouthed. My fingers shook the newspaper. "When?"
Christian nodded and a flicker of a smile appeared on his lips.
"Yesterday… I received a message from our lawyer yesterday afternoon, but I didn't pick it up until late last night." He informed me, slipping the newspaper from my hands. "She changed her plea at the last minute."
"Why? Why would she do that?" I pressed, gulping hard. "She's denied everything up until now. Why would she change it all of a sudden?"
When Elena was arrested back in January, she refused to answer anything. She refused to talk to the police or her attorneys. It took her weeks to find her voice, but when she did, it was only to deny everything.
She denied abusing and having any involvement in the murder of Danielle Wilkes – the innocent, naïve 28 year old who came to work for me, but was caught in the crossfire games of Elena, Richard Lincoln and Jack Hyde.
She denied abusing a minimum of twenty underage males. She denied even knowing Christian at one point.
She denied trying to murder me and my baby.
For all this time she has pretended she is innocent, and had vowed to prove it. Why would she change her plea now? Why would she change her plea on the second day of her trial?
"Our lawyer said it was an attempt to lessen her sentence." Christian dragged me from my thoughts. He cupped my hands between his, warming them in his palms. "She knew that she was going to lose… We had the best team in there and there was more than enough evidence in our favour. She changed her plea in hopes that the judge would reduce the sentence."
"How long?" I asked, my voice no more than a whisper. "How long did she get?"
"Indefinitely…" He said quickly. He hunched forward and brought my hands to his mouth. "She's been jailed indefinitely… She's never getting out."
"She's never getting out." He repeated slowly. "Elena's being transferred to Indiana Women's Prison on Monday… I was up late last night making sure our lawyers contacted the press and told them not to include any information about us in the articles. They've been made to sign NDA's."
I breathe a sigh of relief. We decided that we didn't want anyone to know what happened in Elliot's apartment on that Wednesday afternoon. I wanted to keep as much of it private as possible. There was no stopping Christian's family from knowing, but I was prepared to do whatever it takes to stop my Mom and Ray finding out. I didn't want to upset them, so I kept all information on a need-to-know basis. I told them I was in hospital because of my low iron count. When they insisted on coming to Seattle to see me, I deterred them. I told them I had Christian and there was no rush to travel here. After a little persuasion they gave up. They both expressed their love of Christian to me. Over and over and over again.
"She's gone for good?" I repeated. I needed clarification. I needed the irrevocable truth.
"They all are." He beamed at me, kissing the back of my hand. "Linc's dead, all of the fucking subs she used are in prison and now she's joining them... It's over, baby. It's officially over."
My heart raced madly in my chest, pounding with the butterflies in my stomach. It took a moment for the grin on his lips to transfer onto mine. I shook my head and squealed unashamedly.
"I can't believe it…" I laughed, crushing his lips to mine. "She's gone… It's over…"
Over the last month or so I have had serious doubts about the outcome of the trial. I wanted to believe that we did have the best team in the courthouse, but there was always that niggling doubt. But now…
"We're free…" I whispered.
"It's just the three of us now, baby." Christian sunk his tongue between my lips, lashing it against my own. "It's just you, me and the baby… How it should be."
"I don't think I've ever felt this happy before." I squeaked.
"I have." He issued. "Nothing will ever compare to the night you agreed to marry me."
"I love you, Christian."
"I love you, too… Now, get your ass upstairs and into something pretty."