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.
LA – Thank you, lovely LA. I'm really happy to hear you enjoyed the last chapter. I hope you had a lovely Christmas and New Year celebrations! Much Love, as ever! x
SuzB – Thank you! Things are slowly coming back to some sense of normality. Yes, I have every hope Christian will overcome this with Ana's help. I'm thrilled you enjoyed the last chapter. I hope you had a good Christmas, too! x
MX – Thank you for the prayers. Honestly, the support means such a lot right now. Christmas was strange but was as good as it could be. I hope yours was lovely! Thank you. Much Love! x
Tamster127 – Thank you! It's great to hear you liked it x
Happy New Year!
A little late on my attempts to post something before the end of the year. I hope you all had a fantastic New Year's celebration.
Sorry if I haven't replied to your review. I got confused with who I had already replied to and who I hadn't!
Thank you for the support. I never anticipated to have gained such wonderful, kind friends from writing. I'm continuously blown away by each and every one of you.
I hope you like this chapter.
To my delight and eternal gratitude, my week passed quickly and without too many tears from tired, angry eyes. Naturally, the only tears that ran came from me. The concoction of pregnancy hormones and continuously interrupted sleep proved lethal, ensuring several midday blubbering sessions in my office. I had to send myself to the ladies room for a while, attempting to calm my upset after struggling to word a single email to a client. It was safe to say that baby brain had well and truly taken hold of me.
Once Monday evening had passed, and my memory box had been placed in the bottom drawer of Christian's desk, the atmosphere changed. It relaxed, somewhat. Christian breathed a sigh of relief once he had shut the box away from immediate view. We were both exhausted after the days events, so instead of powering through the rest of the night catching up on work, we headed for a bath and then curled up in bed. Most nights this week were spent in this way.
As I begin to wake up, I stretch out under the comforter and smile. It's Friday. It's my day off.
Ever since I reached the twenty-week mark in my pregnancy, Christian has insisted that I take at least one day off from work. I compromised to begin with, alternating between Mondays and Wednesdays away from my office, choosing to work from home. About three weeks ago I shifted to a more permanent Friday away from all things Grey Publishing. I found myself needing the day to just catch my breath and rest. I seriously underestimated how hard pregnancy is on the body.
I untangle my leg from my body pillow and roll onto my back, thanking God for his marvellous invention. Since we picked it up while out baby shopping, it has saved my hips and back from a lot of unnecessary pain. It's also saved Christian from having to be my human cushion every night. I think I was annoying him with my persistent tossing and turning.
I lie still for a few seconds, toying with the idea of slipping back into a slumber. Through my eyelids I can see it's light out. Ahh… Sleep, oh how I love thee…
I shook my head with a grumble, feeling a whisper of something move across my forehead. I swatted my hand around me, thinking it was an errant lock of hair, but I stumbled into a pair of soft, puckered lips. I fingered around his mouth, enjoying the cleanness of his skin. I smelled a trace of shaving cream still on him. His lips curled into a smile.
"Sorry to wake you," He blew his peppermint breath onto my hand. "I just wanted to kiss you goodbye. I have an early meeting."
"You should hurry up then," I tell him. "Go to your meeting and then come home to me. Skip the rest of the day."
"I have back-to-back meetings." He declined with a gentle laugh.
"Cancel them?" I suggested. I kept my eyes closed, unwilling to fully embrace the morning sun, even though Christian is shielding much of the light from view. "Just cancel them and stay here with me. We can be hermits together."
"Nothing would please me more." He purred, pressing a kiss between my eyebrows. I sensed the 'but' before it arrived. "But I have to make us a lot of money. We're going to have another mouth to feed."
"We have more than enough money already." I whined. "We can be naked… all day…"
"Stop trying to corrupt me," He laughed. "You're a naughty little thing. But really, I can't miss my meetings."
I nodded as I gave up trying to persuade him. There was never a chance he would change his mind. Christian Grey does not miss work unless he absolutely has to. The last time he played hookie, he threw in the towel shortly before 11 a.m.
"I brought you some breakfast. I thought you might like to eat in bed this morning."
My smile returned for a moment before my stomach somersaulted. My nose wriggled in disgust. I shook my head at him, feeling a burn in my throat.
"Baby, you have to eat."
I felt another wave of sickness buzz inside me. It's a definite no from Blip –
He uttered my name with conviction. He was making a point. He only ever says my name that way when he's trying to make a point. Or if he's teasing me…
I prised my eyes open, finding both of his inches above me and burning a hole into my face. His eyebrow was arched with precision. I shook my head again. Defiantly so.
"Blip's not hungry."
"You need to eat. You both do."
"No shit," I quipped. "I have to eat every god damned hour, on the hour, because of the alien you put inside me. But I can't eat if I feel sick. So please, excuse me if I don't wolf down whatever crap you've brought me at 7 a.m."
I jerked my head to the side, checking the clock next to the bed.
"6:30 a.m. Even better," I correct myself, sighing under my breath.
Christian cleared his throat and then lowered himself around me, caging me to the bed. He placed his hands on either side of my shoulders, his knees at my hips. His eyes devoured me. He dipped his head, hovering just a breath above my lips.
"Now now, Mrs Grey… You know what happens when you let that smart mouth of yours run away with you." He said quietly, but the tease was as present as ever. His smirk burned my skin. "What happened to a simple, 'I'm sorry, honey. I'm not hungry right now. I'm feeling sick'? Huh?"
"That ship sailed a long time ago…"
"I should take you over my knee for that." He blinked slowly.
"I'd love to see you try." I snorted at him. "I'm way too big for that now, sir. I can't even bend over to tie my own shoes!"
"That's just a minor detail," He dismissed it casually. "I'm a man of means, my dear. I can find another method that will suit us both."
"Hm, please do." I puckered my lips playfully. "I really should be punished. Spank me. Fuck the paperwork for once."
I arched my neck and pecked my mouth to his. He was firm.
"Live a little…" I tried my hand at the art of persuasion once more.
"You are a bad influence, Mrs Grey."
"You're still going to say no, aren't you?" I asked.
"I'm afraid so," He offered a half-smile. He softened the inevitable blow with a kiss to the tip of my nose. "I will try to leave the office early but –"
"But no promises," I nodded, finishing his sentence. "I suppose you do need to earn more money. Especially seeing as I intend to spend a lot of your fortune this afternoon."
He corrected me as he peeled himself off the bed, rising to his feet. My eyes scanned the length of him. He's wearing his navy suit, complete with vest, and a black tie. I like his navy suits. They bring out the more coppery tones of his hair. He took to straightening his tie.
"You're going out this afternoon?" He questioned me, checking his cufflinks before picking up his jacket from the end of the bed. "You mean to say that you're not going to lie in bed all day?"
"I'm meeting Mia for lunch and then we're going shopping." I tell him. "I need to buy a few things. I need to buy some new underwear. I bust the elastic in another pair last night."
"I think you'll find that was my doing." He threw a smirk down to me, along with a wink. I shook my head at him. "What? It's fun. I like the sound when I rip them from you."
"I'm using your credit card." I threaten, pointing a lazy finger. "I will buy hundreds and hundreds. Hey, do you get a discount if you buy in bulk?"
"Buy as many as you want, just make sure they're sexy. Oh and lacy… I love you in lace." His mind drifted, his tongue peeking out of his mouth to follow the curve of his lower lip. "Buy some crotchless panties, too. I've never seen you in them. I'm sure it'll make quite the sight."
"Yes sir," I saluted him.
"Make sure you eat breakfast. You didn't eat much yesterday."
"I ate too much at dinner last night," I remind him. "And I had dessert."
"Yes, but you only had a slice of toast, two cups of tea, a bottled water and an apple before that." He reeled off without fault. "You're supposed to be eating for two."
I lifted myself onto my elbows and tilted my head. How the hell…
"The walls have ears…" He winked and swiftly turned away from me. He threw his jacket over his shoulder and reached across to my bedside table, retrieving his cell phone and keys.
"No, the walls have eyes." I huff. "You're a pain in my ass sometimes."
"All in good time, baby." He looked down at his phone before shoving it into his pocket. He walked to the door with a powerful stride. "I'm going to be late. I'll see you this evening."
"You seriously need to stop stalking me!" I called after him when he slipped from view.
"Absolutely…" He replied, starting to pound down the staircase.
"And get me a damn webcam, Grey. You promised me I could have one, too!"
"Absolutely…" He repeated, the same smirky tone filtering up the stairs to me. "I love you."
"Damn straight you do!"
As I stepped into the restaurant and spotted my curvaceous sister-in-law, I immediately regretted my decision to wear something comfortable instead of 'stylish'. Geez, the last time I was here I was dressed to the nines. Well, at least to my standards I was. At the time I was still dealing with post-vomit dewy skin 24/7. And I looked fat, not pregnant.
When I told Mia she could choose a place for us to have lunch, I was expecting a petite, delicious café somewhere, maybe even Christian's club. I was not expecting The Georgian and The Fairmont Olympic Hotel. I curse myself for not asking where she had chosen. I was blasé over the matter, telling her to pass the information to Sawyer.
I stole a glance at the other diners around me as I shuffled over to where Mia was sitting. The men were wearing suits, minus their jackets and ties. The women were dressed in smart-casual combinations, the kind I see Kate or Hannah wearing all the time. It's a look I've never been able to pull off.
Mia squealed and sprung to her feet when she saw me. She tittered to my front in her nude Louboutin's, throwing her arms open and around my shoulders, drawing me in for a tight hug. I could feel the crispness of her white shirt from the lobby. She had tucked it into an emerald green, knee length pencil skirt. It's leathery looking, and is clinging to her enviable curves.
"Oh you look so beautiful," She squeezed me into her chest before releasing me and holding me out at arm's length. "You look absolutely adorable in that outfit."
She was genuine with her remark but I didn't believe her. I fiddled with the hem of my blouse, feeling out of place.
When I finally dragged myself from the shower, I picked out the first items I laid my hands on. I stepped into a pair of super stretchy, navy leggings and tugged a long, white blouse over my stomach. The ruching detail on it sits just above my bump, defining my stomach a little, with the rest of the material hanging loosely around my swell. I added a cream scarf, a khaki jacket and some knee-length boots before leaving. The heel is miniscule. Christian has hidden all of my 'dangerous' shoes. In all honesty, it was a wise move on his behalf.
"I should've dressed up a little." I mutter. I take another glance around me, looking for the waiters. Can they ask us to leave because I'm not wearing something better?
"What do you mean? You look fantastic." Mia waved her hand at me and shook her head, making her raven coloured waves swish. Her hair's grown a lot in the last few months. It sits at her shoulder now.
"I don't feel it." I sigh and slip into the seat opposite hers. I shrug out of my jacket and undo my scarf, hanging it off the back of my chair. "I feel like a Walmart whale."
"Even so, you don't look it. I've never seen you look more beautiful."
"I've never seen you look like that." I nod my head to her.
"This?" She tugged her head down to evaluate her clothes. "I've just come out of a meeting with a client. I didn't have time to change."
"Did it go okay? Your meeting?"
"I think so. They seemed to like my ideas." She shrugged her shoulders. "It'll be my first event for clients who don't know Mom and Dad."
"Wow, that's a big move."
When Mia established her events planning company earlier this year, she stuck to the big fish in the Seattle 'community'. She took on benefits for her parents and their friends. No one can fault her. She's amazing at what she does. But she didn't have the confidence to spread her wings without having the safety net of Carrick and Grace's connections.
"What kind of party is it?" I ask her, mindlessly scanning the menu in front of me.
"A child's birthday party… But they want big. Like, ice sculptures, a zoo and Disneyland in their backyard."
"The kid's turning three." She added, leaning forward. My eyes shot open. "Three years old."
"That's a bit excessive for three, isn't it? Won't the kid be more interested in the cake than whether there's an elephant in the room?"
"Don't even get me started on the cake." She shook her head. "And I thought Christian was bad when he started talking about your baby's first birthday."
"What? He's spoken to you about that?" I jerk my head back in surprise. She nodded. "Jesus… I need to push it out first!"
"I said that to him," Mia laughed. She took a tip of her water. "I think it's kinda cute, really. He's just excited. I'm sure it'll wear off when he's knee deep in dirty diapers."
"You clearly don't know your brother. I think he's the only man on the planet who's relishing the idea of changing his first diaper."
I dropped my voice as the waiter approached us, ready to take our orders. He was a tall, slim guy with dark, tightly curled hair. He spoke with a stuttered voice. I detected a faint Southern accent.
He looked to Mia first, providing me with a few moments to pick something I want. My eyes gave way to the blur of words in front of me. There's so much choice… too much choice.
"Hm, I'll have the wasabi chicken followed by the Alaskan salmon." She closed her menu and handed it to him, an award-winning smile stretched over her maroon lips. "And a glass of sparkling water, please."
The waiter nodded and made a note of her order, soon casting his dark eyes on me.
"Erm, I… I'll have…" I flustered, furiously looking over the list of foods. I waited for Blip to give me some sort of sign as to what I should get, but he was quiet inside me. Perfect timing, baby!
There's a reason Christian always orders food for me! Unless it's McDonalds or IHOP, I have no idea what I want. I drag my eyes up to Mia, looking for guidance. She nodded and smiled sweetly. She reached over and took the menu from my hands, barely looking at it before handing it to the waiter.
"My sister will have the heirloom tomato soup and the seared tofu. And a sparkling water."
"Thank you, ma'am," He dipped his head and made what he thought was a smile, but it appeared as a grimace. He walked swiftly away from us.
"Thank you, Mia." I exhaled a long breath. My brows softened around my eyes. "I always get overwhelmed in these sorts of places."
"Don't worry about it. Christian orders for me, too, whenever we go out together." She smiled sympathetically, understanding my dilemma. "But he's already prepped us on what you're not allowed to eat. He made sure we all knew, just in case."
"And somehow I'm not surprised." I rolled my eyes. In a bid to move on from my obsessive husband, I changed the topic. "How are you and Ethan? It seems like forever since I've seen you both."
"We're good –" She nodded, running her fingertip around the rim of her glass. She took a deep, affectionate breath as she thought of her boyfriend. She sighed quietly. "He's been really busy with school and stuff. I haven't really seen him myself, but we're hoping to get away for a few days next week. Just the two of us, you know?"
"Of course," I agreed with her. "It's important you have some alone time together. I'm always trying to get Christian to myself."
"Still a workaholic, then?" She giggled. "Yeah, it'll be nice to get away from the chaos at home, too." Her expression grew grimmer as spoke. "I need a break from Kate. There's just no escaping her… It's not even as if I can go and stay with Ethan because he lives with her!"
"She hasn't moved yet? I thought the contracts on their new place were signed?" I asked. For months Kate was split between her apartment and Elliot's. When they got engaged they spoke of moving in together, but didn't finalise anything. After Elliot put his Avalon apartment on the market after the incident with Elena and Linc, they started actively seeking a place to live together – as a couple.
"They are, but the place is being renovated before they move in." Mia informed me. "It won't be ready for another week or so. I, for one, can't wait until they do… Don't get me wrong, I love Kate. I think she's incredible, but all this insane wedding crap? It's just too much."
I nod in agreement. "She is acting really weird. She's always been intense and a bit of a perfectionist, but she's like a totally different person now." I admit with reluctance. "I just don't understand it. I don't understand why she's being so over the top about every little detail."
"Have you talked to her about it?"
"Every time I see her all she talks about is the wedding." I shake my head. "I wish I could just sit her and down and pull it out of her – ask her what the hell is wrong."
"Do you think she's scared?" Mia speculated. "She could have cold feet and think that throwing herself into planning the wedding is a good distraction. Maybe she's scared of actually getting married?"
"I guess…" I shrug and nod lightly. "In the past when she's been worried about something she throws herself into cleaning. But Kate doesn't get scared that easily."
"Getting married is a huge commitment." She pointed out. She adjusted herself in her chair, squaring up her shoulders. "You were scared."
"I was scared about the wedding, not marrying Christian." I clarify. "I was scared about having to wear a stupidly expensive dress, knowing there was a good chance I'd trip up and make a fool of myself. I was worried maybe Christian would have second thoughts if he saw me fall flat on my face!"
"My brother is crazy about you. Like he'd ever let you fall! But seriously, maybe you should try talking to Kate about all of this. If anyone can get through to her, it'll be you."
"Yeah, I'll see what I can do." I smile. "I might be able to get her to calm down a little. Even though she's dumping a lot of the stuff on us, she's doing too much on her own. I don't understand why she hasn't asked you to help organise everything. I mean, it's your job."
Mia shook her head and waved her idea at the idea. She offered a semi-dismissive look, but I could see a hint of disappointment hiding behind her big eyes.
"It's her day, not mine." She said. "I only helped with your wedding because it was a rush to get everything arranged in time. I'm sure if you and Christian had have delayed it, you would've planned it yourself."
"I'd still have asked you," I reached across the table and placed my hand over hers. "I wouldn't even know where to begin! You did an amazing job for our wedding. I wouldn't change a single thing, and I'm positive baby Grey's first birthday will be a success as well."
"You're planning our baby's birthday?"
I almost jumped out of my skin as a pair of hands came to rest upon my shoulders. My heart sprung into my mouth, my lungs joining it.
"I think it's a little early to be thinking about that."
The tips of his fingers worked their way to the back of my neck, pushing my hair out of the way. He massaged my skin lightly as he placed his lips on my crown. I kept my eyes on Mia as I tried to force my organs back into place. Her lips peeled back to reveal a giddy smile. She came alive looking at him. It's been even longer since she last saw him. I have semi-regular phone calls with Mia. Christian doesn't.
She leapt out of her chair and slide around the table, flinging her arms open for him. He strolled into view, stepping into her arms whilst wrapping his own around her. I think everyone is taking advantage of his hugs now that he's more accepting to touch. He's still stand off-ish with some people, but with family he's okay. The only time he cringes at being touched is if it's a surprise. I'm the only one who can get away with that.
"Does Dad know you're wearing that shirt?" He asked. His voice was stern and protective. He pulled her out of his hold and looked down at her. I knew he was referring to the several undone buttons at the top of her blouse.
"He does, actually." She swatted his arm with the back of her hand. "You know, I feel really bad for your daughter. She's never going to be allowed to leave the house, is she?"
"Not until she's twenty-five years old."
"Twenty five?! You're kidding, right?" She gasped.
"He's not," I intervened. "But he's being generous with twenty five. He originally said forty."
Christian smirked, somewhat pleased with himself. He released Mia and turned back to me, running his hand through my hair.
"What are you doing here?" I asked quietly. His fingers caressed my scalp. "Are you stalking me again, Mr Grey?"
"Me? As if I would ever do such a thing!" He feigned insult, but he smirk grew wider.
"Because that's beyond you, isn't it? A man of your stature would never dream of keeping tabs on his wife, would he?" I winked playfully. Even though it bugs me that he's crossing the boundaries of privacy, a part of me likes it. I like the fact that I'm on his mind. That he's thinking about me.
"Are you joining us?" Mia pondered. She excited the idea for a second before Christian shot down her hopes.
"I'm here on business." He told us both, making a point of telling me. "I have a lunch meeting with my board. I saw Sawyer on my way in and realised you were here. I just wanted to come by and say hello."
"It's a shame you're not staying. You're going to miss out on all the boy and baby talk." I grin at him.
"I doubt I'll miss too much. You're going to talk about Ethan, me, and our baby… because that's the only baby that's coming into the family, right?" He shot a glance to Mia, horror consuming his face. She giggled at him.
"Don't worry, big brother. I have no intentions on making you an uncle any time soon!" She assured him. "I'll need a diamond ring first and we're a long way off that."
"Thank God for that," He breathed a sigh of relief. Mia rolled her eyes at him. "And with that delightful news, I'll leave you to your lunch. I hope you both have a good afternoon."
He stepped to Mia and kissed her cheek.
"Can you tell Dad that I will call him tomorrow?" He asked her, skimming his hand over her shoulder. "And try to fit me into your busy schedule. You still owe me dinner and a catch up."
"I'm sure I can find some time for you." She beamed at him. I love watching them together, seeing how close they are. They share so much love for each other.
Christian came back to me and lifted my face to him, holding my chin with his thumb and index finger. He held me still as he brought his mouth to mine. He gave me a sweet, chaste kiss.
"Take it easy this afternoon." He whispered so only I could hear him. "Go and buy some pretty things. Enjoy yourself, okay?"
"And don't forget what I said," He pulled away slightly, maintaining my gaze. "Lace, crotchless panties."
I shook my head. "I am going to buy the most hideous underwear I can find. Maybe they will remain in one piece if you hate them."
"Baby, if I hate them then it's more of an incentive to rip them off your beautiful skin."
"Hm, maybe I should just go commando then?"
"Sounds perfect," His lips parted into a grin. He stood up and adjusted his tie, resuming the CEO in him. "I'll be home at five, if not earlier."
"And keep your phone on." He said sternly, throwing 'the look' at me.
"It is on." I argued, my brows knitting together in the middle of my forehead.
"Yes, it is. But it's no use to anyone if it's kept on silent." He added. "Goodbye ladies."
He swerved on his heels and sauntered out of the restaurant. His hips rolled slightly, mimicking his shoulders as he moved. My eyes fell to his behind, enjoying a peek at him through his perfectly tailored pants.
When he disappeared I resorted to look in my purse, desperately wanting to prove him wrong. I pulled out my BlackBerry and unlocked the screen. To my annoyance he was right. Again. Three emails, four text messages, and a voicemail were waiting for me. Each of them from him.
I hide a smile as I switched my phone to vibrate mode and dropped it back into my purse.
My darling, panty ripping fifty…