A/N: Thanks to everyone still following my story.
One of the readers of this story is a midwife. I remember from the beginning of the story on one of the reviews. Please can you send me a PM as I need some advice?
Important: I do not own the Fifty Shades Trilogy or the characters. They belong to the very talented E.L. James.
"Christian, would you please sit down? Your pacing is not going to make anyone arrive any sooner." John has been pleading with Christian to calm down for the last twenty minutes.
"I don't think I can do this John. We just got back and Mia's wedding is next weekend. An upset family is not what we need right now. The ladies have a spa day tomorrow and I don't want Kate and Mia to be upset with Ana about this." And Christian has been trying to call this off for the last twenty minutes.
Me… well, I've been sitting here, pretending to be invisible, as my husband is nervous, stressed and scared. For Christian Grey, that is not a very manageable combination and since I can't really give him the outlet he needs right now, I will have to hope that this is over quickly.
"This is not about Mia's wedding, the ladies' spa day and what was the last thing? Oh, your family. This is about you and what you need to do. Waiting this long was not healthy and waiting longer will not make it any better or any easier. You need to do this, Christian, and you need to do this today. I can't tell you what their reaction will be, but we will deal with it together. For now, please sit down and calm down."
Finally, Christian takes a seat next to me and pulls me into his side. After two deep breaths, he is a lot calmer and when he sits back against the couch, I begin to relax as well. The last three days have been trying with Christian more stressed than I've ever seen him. For this reason alone, I'm grateful that he asked his family to come over first thing this morning to get this conversation out of the way.
"They're here. Why don't the two of you wait here and I will let them in?" I say, already getting up to walk to the door.
When I open the door, it seems that they all came together as Kate and Elliot are standing behind Grace and Carrick with Mia to their left. Mia will be staying at home until after the wedding next weekend.
"Ana, it's so good to see you. I can see that the vacation did you the world of good. How is my grandson?" Grace asks, putting her hand lovingly on my tummy.
"He's good and the vacation was wonderful. Christian made good on his promise and the first five days was just the two of us. Limited security, private beach and not even so much as a chef at the beach house he rented for us. It was heaven, but I will tell you all about it tomorrow at dinner. Why don't we go through to the great room?" I let everyone pass and then follow behind with Mia.
If I'm being honest, it feels weird not having her around all the time and when we came home last night, the house felt empty just knowing that she won't just pop in to say hello.
After hello's and polite conversation, Christian comes to stand next to me. His hand is running non-stop though his hair and I reach up to take it in mine. Judging by the nervous smile, if we don't start very soon, he is going to have a heart attack. Christian decided that it will be best to just talk with everyone at the same time and get it over with instead of having a discussion with Elliot and Carrick first. Sawyer was also asked to join as part of the family and is sitting next to Mia looking very uncomfortable.
"If everyone can take a seat, I would like to begin." Christian says as he sits down on the couch, pulling me to sit close to him. John on his right is not helping to reduce the tension that is suddenly filling the room. "I had a couple of sessions about this matter with John already, but he strongly feels that I should share my feelings with the rest of my family." He starts, not sounding anything like the man they know and I put my hand on his thigh to calm him down. Christian is good at reading people, which is why he is so successful. Unfortunately, that ability is also making him see their reaction before he has even told them what he needs to.
"Son, whatever you are struggling with, you can tell us. We will always try and help you." Carrick assures him.
"Thank you, dad."
"Is this about another secret, Christian?" Grace asks concerned and I'm sure she will wish it were by the time this is over.
"Actually, this is about… you, all of you." Everybody gets really quiet and even stop fidgeting. "I don't really know where to start and how to say this, but I would like you to know that I love you and I'm not angry at anyone. What I am is disappointed. Like I said to John, the feelings that I'm dealing with at the moment is not exactly what I want to, but it just is what it is. John asked me a while ago what I was feeling when I came home. Since I've been struggling with it for a while, the answer was easy. I was bitter and resentful and felt expendable and unloved."
Christian looks down at his hands and I look around the room. Everyone seems shocked by this and Grace seems hurt. I know they are awesome parents that did everything in their power to ensure that their children know that they are loved, so this must be especially hard for her.
"Christian, why would you feel like that? We love you and did everything to ensure that you know that you are loved and wanted. I don't understand why you would feel that way." A tear is falling down her cheek and Carrick pulls her closer to him for some comfort.
"Son, can you tell us why you feel expendable and unloved?" Carrick asks Christian, who slowly lifts his head. I take one of his hands in mine as a silent show of support and he gives me a slight smile.
"I'm bitter and resentful because you all seemed just too eager to accept my makes me feel expendable and unloved.I know it's not true, but that's how I feel. There was no body and yet all of you accepted my death without question. A police report was all that you needed as proof of my death and that makes me angry. I would never have done that to any of you. If it was anyone in this room, I would have done everything in my power to find out what happened to you and would not have given up until someone showed me a body. With all the money the Grey family has, there was no reward for information. No reward for my safe return." He is starting to get worked up and when he takes a second to compose himself, Elliot is the first to speak.
"I'm sorry, Christian, but that's just bullshit. I get that you feel we should have done more, but you were declared dead. What the hell were we supposed to do? The police declared you officially dead. They didn't exactly open the subject for a debate before making the decision. We were heartbroken. Mom cried for days. Mia took off and weren't seen for a week after your memorial. That day affected all of us and I hate that. I hate that this happened to us, but we can't change what happened." Elliot stood up and is getting worked up trying to defend their actions, but the rest keep quiet. When Christian lets go of my hand to get up, I look towards John and he gives me a reassuring look. I hope he knows how to handle the explosion I can feel about to happen.
"You know what I hate, Elliot. I hate that my family accepted my death so easily. I hate that Ana had no one to turn to except for our security team. I hate that Ana had to live in isolation because she was the only one in my family that believed that I weren't dead. I hate that Ana was told to move on with her life and there was no body. I hate that Ana had no support and you wasted no time to move on. How could you do that to me? You are my brother. You were supposed to have my back." Christian and Elliot are now standing in the middle of the room, both upset and both talking loudly. I look at John again and he does not seem to be concerned about the volatile atmosphere in the room.
"I do have your back. They told me you were dead. What the fuck was I supposed to do?" Carrick gets up to stand closer, but Grace pulls him back. Apparently Carrick and I are the only ones concerned with the situation between the two brothers.
"You were supposed to insist on a body. You were supposed to look for me. You should have supported Ana. What the hell did you think happened to my body? Charlie Tango went down over land, not water, and a body don't simply disappear, Elliot. You should have looked for me like I would have if it were you. I would never, ever have accepted that you were dead without seeing a body." Christian knows he is close to his limit as he steps back and closer to me. "You are an attorney, Dad. You believe in the evidence and facts. Where was the evidence when you accepted the death of your own son? A person can't be convicted of murder without a body, but you can accept that your son is dead without a body." And Carrick says nothing, but looks ashamed. Christian takes a deep breath and sits back down. Elliot has walked over to the doors and s looking out towards the meadow.
"I don't doubt your love for me and I know you care about me. I don't doubt that you were all sad and even that you missed me. What I'm saying is that it does not show in your actions of last year. You took the word of idiots that told you I was dead when a body don't simply disappear. I would never have done that to any of the people I care about. I don't understand how you could have written me off so easily. Am I not worth your time and money to search for?" After a moment of silence, he looks at all of them, "That's why I feel the way I do. I didn't want to say anything. I didn't plan on ever telling you, but John feels that you should know as part of my treatment." And once again there is silence. Everyone is trying to think of what to say to make this better even though the only possible thing to do is apologize.
"Christian… I love you… I've loved you since the first time I saw you… hearing that you were going to be declared dead was the worst day of my life. I'm sorry if you feel anything other than loved." Grace is now crying in Carrick's arms, who finally speak up.
"I'm sorry, Christian. I know it's no excuse, but we were all hurting. It was a huge loss to our family and then we lost Ana too when she withdrew from us. I can't change my actions, but I want to apologize for them. I want to apologize for not standing up for you when you couldn't stand up for yourself. I love you and I should have fought for you. I feel like I failed you the most and I know that you feel that way too. I'm deeply sorry for making you feel unwanted and unloved as that was never my intention." Carrick gets up and comes to stand in front of Christian, who also got up. "You are my son. You were from the day I saw you with your mother in the hospital. Just like your mother, I have loved you from that day and I hate that you felt anything but loved for any length of time since that day." The two men hug and everyone in the room is emotional and in tears, Christian is no exception.
"Ana, I'm sorry." I look at Elliot who is standing next to the couch we are sitting on. "I promised to take care of you and I failed you. Checking up on you to ensure you are alive is not taking care of you. I was supposed to look for Christian with you. Even though I've never told you to move on in words, that is exactly what I did with my actions. I failed you and I failed my brother and for that, I'm unbelievably sorry." Christian starts to slowly make his way to Elliot, "For as long as I live, I promise to never fail either of you again." When they hug, I start to cry.
This is it. This is where the hurting ends and the healing starts. The only way for us to look now is forward. Christian still has to attend sessions with John until he has worked through everything that happened to him, but this is a great start.
"Anastasia Grey, I swear I will pick you up and put you in the car wearing whatever you have on right now." I shout as I walk into our bedroom for the fourth time in the last hour. Can't this woman just pick something and put it on in order for us to leave? I stop when I see Ana sitting on the side of the bed in tears and only wearing underwear. "Baby, why are you crying?" I ask as I kneel down in front of her.
"The dress I wanted to wear doesn't fit properly and the rehearsal dinner is in two hours." I put my head on her knees and count to ten.
I've figured out why God made woman so difficult and pregnant woman next to impossible. It's for men to learn patience before the baby is born. If it's not morning sickness, fatigue, mood swings, cravings or headaches, it's crying and heartburn. Ana is almost 26 weeks pregnant and only picked up fourteen pounds compared to Kate's twenty nine. She really has nothing to complain about, but I'm not stupid enough to mention that. No, I do what every other loving husband will do and grab my phone.
"Mr. Grey, how are you?" I hear the friendly voice of the only person I can think of to help me.
"Ms. Acton, I really need your help. My sister's rehearsal dinner in two hours and my wife is not happy with her dress. Can you help me?" I sound very bit like the frustrated husband of a pregnant woman.
"Of course, but you will unfortunately have to meet me at Nieman's for in case we need to do some alterations."
"Thank you, we will be there shortly. Can you also prepare a back up dress for the wedding tomorrow? I would not want to bother you again tomorrow." Ana glares at me, but I smile and end the call.
"Baby, please can you get dressed as we will be really late now? Ms. Acton will meet us at Nieman's in order to get you a new dress for tonight and a back up dress for tomorrow."
She opens her mouth, probably to argue over something that I could in all honesty care less about right now, but wisely close it again and gets up to walk to the closet.
Ninety seven minutes later we are walking onto the patio where the rest of the family is already waiting. Mom had this idea that all her children, including Ana, Kate and Luke, would be lining up at the door to greet the few guests that is attending the rehearsal dinner, but that plan failed due to my emotional wife. I'm definitely thanking her for it later as lining up for a meet and greet is not something I'm comfortable with doing.
Everyone is chatting about various things, but I'm quietly observing Ana as she interacts with the rest of the guests. Mia's wedding tomorrow will have three hundred guests. For me, a wedding is supposed to be a private, intimate affair shared with close friends and family. This will be a bigger freak show than Elliot and Kate's wedding. I'm definitely the luckiest guy in the world to have a wonderful wife like Ana who knew exactly what I would be comfortable with.
"Ana, you never did tell us about your holiday. I don't even know where you guys went to." Kate pulls me out of my thoughts and back to the conversation around the table.
"It was amazing and perfect. We spent five days at the beach house in peace and quiet. Then we went to Paris for four days. We stayed at the Plaza Athénée and the view from the hotel was stunning. You could see the chestnut trees lining the full length of the Avenue Montaigne, the Eiffel Tower and the Montmartre. We stayed in the Eiffel Suites with a perfect view of the Eiffel Tower. You and Mia would have gone crazy over the designer shops on avenue Montaigne. There is Christian Dior, Chanel, Prada, Louis Vuitton and a lot of others that I don't know." Ana tells them and Kate and Mia's eyes are now shining. Shop-a-holics.
"Please tell me you actually went shopping. It would be a shame to have all those in walking distance and you wasted the opportunity." Obviously, this from Kate that earns an eye roll from my wife. She might be a lot more gracious with accepting gifts and even comfortable with spending money, but shopping for herself is still not high on her list of favourite things to do.
"No, we did the tourist thing. Christian took me to the Arc de Triomphe, the Louvre, the Grand Palais and we even had dinner at the Le Jules Verne in the Eiffel Tower. After spending four days in Paris, we spent three days in London and came back late last night. Visiting the museums and libraries were the perfect ending to a perfect holiday. We first went to the Victoria and Albert Museum and the collections they have is very rare. The British Museum was my favourite though… well, apart from the British Library which was just to die for. It has a permanent collection of over eight million works and it's among the largest and most comprehensive in existence. They also document the story of the human culture from its beginnings to the present.
The British Library holds over 150 million items in both print and digital which includes fourteen million books. Every year they add three million items. It was a dream come true to spend time in there and Christian was very patient with me during our visit. It really was the perfect vacation." She finishes and looks at me with a spark in her eyes and my special smile. Making her happy is really not difficult.
"You must be kidding me. You didn't go shopping in Paris, but you even know how many items are kept in the British Library? What am I going to do with you, Ana?" Kate asks appalled and Mia nods in agreement.
"Not every woman was born to shop ladies. My wife simply prefers not to spend her time shopping for clothes and accessories." I try to come up for Ana, but Mia holds up her hand.
"We are talking to Ana, Christian. Everyone knows that you hate stepping into a shop, unless it's for a surprise for Ana." Then she turns back to Ana. "Please don't tell me that you started buying books for Teddy already. The poor child needs to grow up playing, not reading." She says and I laugh thinking about the huge book shelf in Teddy's room filled with every popular children's book known to man. "Oh, you have got to be kidding me. Did you fill his room with books, Ana?"
"No, he only has one book shelf in his room filled with some children's books." She answers and Mia seems satisfied, but she hasn't seen the size of the one book shelf.
"Ladies and gentlemen, dinner will be served in about ten minutes. Can everyone please make their way to the dining room," Mom announces and I take Ana's hand to lead her with Elliot and Kate following behind us.
When we get to the table, Elliot insists on sitting directly across from me. After the family meeting last week, he has been exhausting. From the looks of things, daily phone calls and at least two personal visits a week, is here to stay. He is really trying very hard to make everything up to me. It's totally unnecessary, but Ana told me to just endure it and make the best out of it. When he hasn't phoned by eleven this morning, I almost phoned him, but before I could get around to it, the call came. He has no ill feelings towards me for speaking my mind last weekend and for that I'm grateful. I would have hated if being honest with them caused our relationship to deteriorate after we have gotten so close over the last couple of months.
"Christian, don't you want to go play a round of golf tomorrow morning. If we tee off early, we could be back here before noon and the wedding isn't until three." Elliot asks, but I don't even get time to consider it, never mind answering. My mom is glaring at the two of us like we have committed murder.
"Elliot, Christian already has plans for tomorrow, so do you." She says, taking her seat next to my dad. Elliot is confused and looks from me to mom.
"What plans? I don't have plans for tomorrow." He says and Kate pokes him in the ribs. Clearly she's also aware of plans that we clearly have no knowledge off.
"Boys, your sister are getting married tomorrow and your assistance will be required here tomorrow. Ana and Kate will be here from tomorrow morning to help Mia relax and get ready, so you might as well come over at the same time." Mom has that tone that warns us that she will not tolerate being argued with before turning her attention to Luke, "Same goes for you, Luke. You will unfortunately not be allowed in the house or anywhere near Mia, but you have to be here early as well." Then her attention shifts to dad and he takes a big sip of his whiskey, waiting for mom to give him his orders for tomorrow. "I will arrange breakfast for you guys in the boat house. When you are done with breakfast, I might need your help at the back to get things ready." Glaring back at all of us, she says with finality, "There will be no golf tomorrow for anyone."
Before dessert is served, Luke's father gets up to say a few words. I've only met him a handful of times and have never really spoken to him. He is very silent and intense, a direct opposite to his fun and outgoing wife. When Ana and I met, we were direct opposites and it caused a lot of drama in our lives, but we have grown as a couple and now complement each other. I know that we will be together until death do us part and if we can complete each other like the Sawyer's do after thirty years of marriage, it will be great. My parents are similar in most things, which make them a great couple as well. It's hard to decide which is best, to marry someone who is your opposite or to marry someone like you.
"Luke, as a teenager you drove us close to insanity. Going to military school brought about a change in you and the day you joined the military was the proudest moment that I would remember for the rest of my life. Even though I will still remember it for the rest of my life, it will no longer be the proudest moment. You are a remarkable young man and you chose a remarkable woman to spend your life with. We are proud to call you our son and will equally be proud to call Mia our daughter. The two of you have what it will take to have a happy marriage, but let me give you some advice, son. Women are not difficult, even though we love to say the opposite when defending our actions." To this, the men frown and the women all nod their heads, my dear wife included. "To keep your wife happy, all that will be required is your time, your love, your attention and your honesty. Don't keep things from your wife, no matter how inconsequential it may seem to you." Again, my wife seems to agree the most with this and when I glare at her, she gives me a smile before kissing me gently on my cheek. "We are all adults here, so to give you the secret to a really happy marriage in five words…" he starts, but before he can finish, his wife interrupts.
"Danny Sawyer! You will not finish that sentence." Seems she heard the magical five words before and now the men all sit forward to hear what the rest of the sentence is. Even I would like to hear this part. Judging by Mrs. Sawyer's reaction, it's sure to be entertaining.
"Calm down, honey. We are all adults." He says looking down at her before turning back to face the rest of the table. "As I was saying before my dear wife interrupted me, the secret to a happy marriage in five words are full disclosure and daily orgasms." Women are either gasping or giggling and the men are either nodding in agreement or like Elliot, saying "amen" to the magical five words.
I lean over to whisper in Ana's ear, "I like Luke's dad. Wise man. Maybe we should slip away to work in another orgasm… you know, to ensure a really happy marriage."
Yet again, my wife surprises me when she turns her head to whisper back into my ear, "Better safe than sorry. Your old room in twenty minutes?" and that is finished off with a quick bite to my ear.
My erection is instant and aching. Twenty minutes sounds so far away right now, but leaving during dessert will not go down well with mom. Then she puts her hand inconspicuously on my leg and starts to move it towards my dick. With every move, my heart rate increases and the blood running through my veins get several degrees hotter. When she reaches her goal and squeeze, I choke on my champagne.
"Are you okay, Christian?" Mom asks, immediately turning into Dr. Grey.
"I'm fine. Just went down the wrong pipe." She nods and continues her conversation with Luke's mother, but Elliot gives me a knowing smile.
"Baby, if you don't want to try and explain to our family why I dragged you out of here in the middle of dessert, I suggest that you don't play games. I want you badly right now and you know I don't care what people think of me." I whisper into her ear.
When her hand immediately moves back to my thigh, I smile and mentally kick myself at the same time. I'm smiling because of how well I know my wife and how good I'm getting at anticipating her response. One thing about Anastasia Grey is that she might not care anymore what strangers think about her, but what our family and friends think about her, is a whole other matter. Problem is that my smug smile is followed by the mental kick in the butt at the loss of her contact on my erection.
A couple of minutes later, Ana excuses herself to go to the bathroom and to make an urgent phone call. The second she steps out of the dining room, I excuse myself to check on her. With my constant need for control, no one will suspect anything with Ana's need to make an urgent phone call at this time on a Friday evening. I'm merely a concerned husband ensuring that nothing is wrong.
A/N: My apologies again for only updating now.