The soft blanket of sleep I was nestling into gets yanked away from me by consciousness, making me sit bolt upright as I stare at Christian in gaping shock.
Of all the things he could say right now, this was the last I expected!
“Uhm.” The sound echoes through my empty head, not a single intelligible thought to be found. My blinking eyes seem proof that I’m awake but a part of me is hopeful that I’ve slipped into sleep and was simply dreaming those bewildering words.
“Uhm.” My second try is no more successful as Christian’s full lips curls into lazy amusement, sober eyes watching my reaction – smiling but oh so perceptive.
He pushes himself up to rest on his elbow, with his other hand he draws idle circles on my knee, his touch finally helping my brain to plug back into my mouth.
“I’ve not given it much thought. It’s a bit soon don’t you think?” an involuntary giggle escapes me, the shrillness displaying the astonishment I’m trying to keep under wraps. “We got engaged this morning, got married this evening…” I shake my head, reeling at the break-neck speed of progression with Fifty, aiming my appeal at his rational side.
He calls me closer with a curving finger, amusement still colouring his countenance, “last night.” His gaze turns expectant, waiting for me to slip into his arms. At my confused expression he clarifies, “we got married. Last night – it’s almost 2:00am.”
Oh well then! That makes all the difference in the world! I think sarcastically, cranky from lack of sleep and the big, big day we’ve had. I sigh; against the better judgement of my tired, well-used body I stretch myself along his warm form, my back against his front. I don’t have the energy or the will to reason with him right now.
With his fingers he combs my hair out of his way and nuzzles my neck breathing deeply, “maybe not straight away but I want to see you pregnant, I want to feel my child move inside you, I want to hold our newborn baby.” There’s no mistaking the emotion in his voice, his whisper against my skin catches with it as his roaming hand comes to rest on my belly.
How can I deny him if I’m the one that withheld this from him in the first place? All of those things in the context of a loving marriage are bliss, necessary, normal.
I turn to face him, achy body protesting as I cup his cheek, “you deserve all that and more, it’s beautiful but it’s also very hard. Children, especially babies need so much from you. I just want us to be ready, I don’t want to screw this up again.” My hand follows a path from his cheek to his heart, my watch beseeching as I find his.
For a terse minute he looks away, ponderous before speaking again, “so it’s not a no?” his arched brow unwittingly providing a caution – I should tread carefully.
To prove my sincerity I brush my lips against his, “it’s not a no, we just need a bit of time.” There’s no exhalation with my words as I hang on to my breath – uneasy at the precarious balance of the moment.
His boyish smile has always been my favourite but this one, beamed at me in the soft glow of the candle light simply transforms his face, love and gratitude radiating like the warm rays of the sun. Impossible not to answer so I do – happily, before I embrace him, arms holding on with the fierce grip of possession.
“Let’s get you to bed Mrs Grey,” his bedroom voice that of a man who’s had his fill of passion for today.
He pushes himself up and pulls me with him, his grace becoming my own. Just as I find my feet he sweeps me up, grinning at my surprise as I slip my arms around his neck and hold on for the ride.
Christian makes a show of setting me down beside the luxurious bed. He pulls the cover away revealing fresh, crisp linens beckoning invitingly. Instantly I dismiss the shower I was hoping to have while I wriggle in beneath the pristine sheets, the high cotton thread count making it as slippery as silk.
He kneels beside the bed; gloriously graceful and unashamedly naked he brushes a hand through my hair wearing a look of adoration that’s so vivid it almost scares me – the intensity arresting, compelling. It’s a look that I undoubtedly mirror, my love easily matching his but it brings with it the sting of vulnerability, leaving me feeling uncomfortably exposed.
I swallow hard; it’s wondrous that he should be the one feeling equally comfortable baring his body and his soul to me yet I’m the emotionally reticent one now. It occurs to me that fear is still sprouting from my guilt, an ever present black hole shadowing my existence, threatening to pull me into its depths and destroying this precious tie.
His ash gaze penetrates the azure depths of mine, reading my thoughts like it’s written there, “don’t overthink this Anastasia, it is what it is. I’m scared too but compared to the emptiness of the last five years I welcome the intimacy, the shock of feeling something. It comes down to trust baby and that’s what we just committed too. Not to exploit those vulnerabilities.”
Wow, I think, he really does understand and of course, he’s right, we both hold the power to splay the other wide open – hopefully in the light of our matrimonial promises we’ll wield our power only to nurture, never to harm. My new vows will stand strong, unwavering against the bleak reminder of the ones I broke. It gifts me with a comforting new angle with which I can view my marriage – absolute commitment.
“Is that why you wanted to get married straight away? To have us both irrevocably committed?” Understanding is making welcome connections in my mind, timely insights that make for pragmatic future choices.
He grins, his features gentling with mirth, “that and because you belong to me.” He winks then looks away, hiding the sentiment burning in his eyes, “I want you and the rest of the world to know.” His casual shrug belies the underlying steel in his light-hearted words.
I giggle, relieved that the potentially explosive “baby issue” didn’t ignite into an argument and immeasurably glad that I am exactly where I ought to be right now – with the man who loves me.
Christian takes a few minutes to go through the villa snuffing candles before joining me in our king size bed. It may as well have been a single as our intertwined limbs form a lone being like an island of lovers in the otherwise undisturbed sea of sheets.
I become aware of light filtering though my lids but still encased in Christian’s arms I will myself to hold on to that ethereal state between sleep and wakefulness. Conscious enough to savour the memories of yesterday but still sufficiently removed to hide from reality’s harsh intrusion. I linger languidly on a plane hovering inches away from awareness for as long as I can before I forego the luxury of my dreams.
I turn my head, taking a rare opportunity to study Christian’s relaxed and sleeping face, marvelling at my stunning luck. Something in him senses my tender scrutiny and I’m rewarded with the clearest of grey gazes, eyes opening with the same fluid grace his body moves with. Soft and smiling and warm the twin windows of his beautiful soul blink with long lashes fanning over his cheeks before morphing with heat into a feral look of hunger.
The wolf-like transformation is thrilling as previously doting eyes flash with naked desire, a desire that seems to send a direct charge to my core. My slavish reaction to his rapid change is openly conveyed by the quick draws of my laboured breaths and the sudden wet slide of my parting thighs.
“Good morning Mrs Grey,” to call his words speech would be a lie, a husky purr, an unfailing trick of seduction would be more accurate. He slides a hand up my leg and hitches it over his hip, the hot tip of him already pushing for purchase inside.
The sound the air makes as I drag it into my lungs is my answer to him, “aahh!” My body arching to accommodate his eager intrusion, conveniently putting a beading nipple in front of his mouth. He latches on as he thrusts up sending us into oblivion.
“That’s some wake-up Mr Grey,” I tease him as we lay spent again in a tangle of bedclothes.
His naughty grin reminds me that where sex is concerned he’s a perennial eighteen year old. “We aim to please Mrs Grey.”
I laugh, awed and playful, “and please me you do Mr Grey.” I can almost feel the sparkle in my eyes as they come to rest on his affectionately.
He pulls me close, curling an arm around my shoulder I lay my head on his chest, “what would you like to do today Mrs Grey?”
“Mmh… I wonder…” I fake mulling it over knowing full well that he knows that I’m happy to spend the day in his arms.
My little joke spurs him into action and before I know what’s happening, he pins me beneath him, straddling my hips he tickles me mercilessly. He’s so strong and heavy I can only squeal and thrash about, arms and legs jerking and kicking as I try to get away from his torturing fingers.
“Let me go! I’m going to pee!” I manage through breathless, hysterical laughter and leaking eyes, my head rolling wildly from side to side as I try to buck him off. “Please Christian! Mercy, mercy!”
He lets me go with a roaring laugh, spanking my behind as I crawl off the bed in a rush to get to the bathroom. Through the half closed door I can still hear him chuckling, enjoying his roguish dominance way too much. I’m going to have to come up with an equally frisky plan for revenge.
After brushing my teeth and a very welcome shower I find Christian on the patio, a feast of breakfast laid out with taciturn James back in service and professionally attentive. Christian’s hair is damp and I realise that he must’ve showered in one of the many other bathrooms in the villa.
For once I’m glad to have had a shower for the singular purpose of washing. Who knows what we would have gotten up to if he joined me and even though I’ve enjoyed every minute of loving with him there’s no doubt that our rigorous passion has left its mark. My muscles are stiff, especially the ones between my legs, causing me to shift on my seat as I try to find the least tender spot.
Christian’s rakish smirk speaks of pride in causing my mild discomfort in spite of his worried words, “are you a little bruised this morning Mrs Grey?”
My wry smile comes with a good-natured, sarcastic retort, “I am though I’ve no idea why.” I look at him from beneath my lashes as I take a bite from a well-buttered piece of toast.
He makes a low, pleased sound from deep within his chest, “you know how I like to remind you of where I’ve been.” Half-lidded eyes reveal the warm granite of his irises trained intently on me.
The searing blush blooms across my features, the first one of the day. I’m amused and astonished to realise that, by the satisfied look on his face, he was waiting for just that.
Jeez, making me blush on purpose!
“Scoundrel!” I mumble, taking another bite of my delicious breakfast, too hungry to retort properly.
Not even remotely chastised he continues to watch me, “I love the healthy appetite baby. If this is what I can expect from you after a marathon night I’m going to have to oblige more often.” If his smugness is anything to go by, he’s taking great delight in the pleasure he knows his stamina brings me, as he quirks a lascivious brow at me.
Just as it was receding, the flush returns, heating my cheeks again – traitorous body! “Uhm…, Yes, well.” Though I love the bantering I had forgotten the blatantly sexual way he speaks to me sometimes, filled with innuendo like even our simplest conversations are preludes to foreplay. A round or two with a personal trainer should get me fit enough to keep up with his insatiable appetite while taking a leaf from his flirtation skills will help me keep him on his erotic toes.
Shedding my coyness quickly I reach across the table taking a fat breakfast sausage from his plate and hold it close to my mouth while I speak to him, “yes please Mr Grey.” My lashes flutter coquettishly as I sink my teeth into the plump flesh of the suggestively shaped banger.
His widened eyes and parted lips tell me I’ve hit the mark, encouraging me to play harder. Moaning in exaggerated appreciation of the titbit I just devoured I lick my fingers one by one, all the while gluing my bedroom eyes to his.
“I suggest you stop that if you want to make it to lunch with the folks and our son.” The crooked curve of his mouth holds a challenge that I’m not sure I’m ready to take up, there’s a hefty dose of dominant Christian in his bearing and his unflinching smouldering gaze.
Uh-oh! It’s doubtful my body can take the hammering his tone suggests – not before my pleasantly abused muscles have time to recover and I’m keen to see Chris. Even though I love kinky Christian, going down that road might not be the best thing for us right now – “walk before we run” is the Flynnisism that rattles around in my brain regarding this matter.
My bravado crumbles under his fierce sensual confidence inciting me to do the only thing I can to tame that particular libidinous beast in him. Making my way around the table, I slip onto his lap throwing my arms around his neck with a playful girlish giggle, “you’re such a brute!”
Disarmed by my child-like manner he crushes my chest to his, “I can never get enough of you.” His fevered reply ends with a long kiss pressed to my head.
I come away from him smiling like the smitten woman I am. “Ditto,” I say feeling the emotional weight of my words.
My prize is his shy smile, lighting his eyes with the sparkle of joy. “We have to get ready, we’re meeting them in about half an hour,” he murmurs after a lapse, both of us reluctant to leave the comfort that is each other’s embrace.
“Mmh?” I query, lost in thought. Sitting in his lap with a view of the whirlpool I was too busy replaying the mind-blowing tryst we shared in there last night, enjoying the way my skin was tingling with the amatory memory to hear him properly.
He senses my dreaminess and follows my longing stare, immediately catching on to the nature of my flashback. With a deft hand skating up my inner thigh he whispers wicked words into my ear, “did you enjoy the whirlpool Mrs Grey?”
My loud inhalation and the unexpected zing of his touch bring me back to the present. With a look still rooted in my sexy thoughts I breathe my answer, “very much so Mr Grey.” My teeth rake over the swell of my lip, pondering the bold thing I’m about to suggest, “I think we should get one at Escala. Maybe install some mirrored closet doors in the main bedroom.” To hide my timid glow I look down, walking my fingers slowly up the length of his chest, deeply aware of myself.
I feel Christian’s body stiffen but his intimate, rasping chuckle puts me at ease before I have time to dwell on his reaction. He presses his forehead against mine, “or…” he draws out the r, allowing the space between us to charge with possibility.
My pulse takes off with anticipation, or what??
“I still have the house.” With his quiet statement he pulls away flashing a touch of uneasiness in his cloudy watch before it turns guarded and carefully assessing.
The jog of my heart speeds up to a sprint, “the house on the sound?” try as I might I cannot keep the surprise out of my voice as I search his pensive expression.
He reaches up and tucks a spiralling lock behind my ear, “the very same.”
Though I know I should jam my knuckles into my mouth to stop the question barging out I’m too curious to fight it, “why?”
He shrugs, glancing away to shield his vulnerability. Realisation tears me apart; I’m responsible for the hurt I see there. Knowing that I have a lifetime of blame to face up to I cup his jaw, forcing myself to stare down the demon I created by looking deep into his conflicted eyes. “Tell me. Please.”
When he meets my gaze, the grey pools of solemnity offer me no respite, only confirmation of what I already know. “I couldn’t let it go.” He takes a shaky breath, “too many possibilities of us tied up with it.”
His words land like a powerful blow, winding me mentally and physically. Christian reacts instinctively when he sees me flinching, “no!” he grinds out the barking order, angry he grips my upper arms leaving me wide eyed, stunned.
“No secrets and no recriminations! You wanted to know so I told you but We. Are. Not. Going. Down. That. Road. Again.”
His mood is in stark contrast to the lightness of it a few minutes ago leaving me too bewildered to speak, the apology about to spill out almost choking me as I force it back.
Once my stupefied brain has worked through his reasoning I concede, “okay,” a small part of me still overwhelmed by the vehemence of his reaction.
His whole body sags, obviously relieved, “okay,” he agrees, the lines of tension leaving his beautiful face. In a softer tone, with measured, consolatory words he explains, “I don’t want us apologising and regretting for the rest of our lives, we’ve moved on, waisted enough time.”
It’s not the first time he’s brought this up. I nod, fervent eyes locked into beseeching slate, “okay,” again I have to bite back the “I’m sorry” that wants nothing more than to trip off my tongue to ease my guilt ridden heart.
Reassuring and strong arms encircle me, gifting me with that comforting closeness that only he can bring. Our togetherness provides the solace we need to forge forward as one we bask in it, forgetting for now, the many healing journeys we still have to take.
Phew – life with Fifty is intense.
After what feels like an age his voice penetrates my reflective frame of mind, “we have to go baby.”
Reluctantly I untangle myself from his embrace giving him a tentative smile. With two fingers he grips my chin, placing a gentle, reverential kiss on my lips. Mercurial to a fault he smiles in a breathtaking way that sets my world right again. “Will you think about the house?”
This time there’s nothing shy about my look, I beam at him, heart bursting with love, “there’s nothing to think about, I love that house! It’s the perfect place to raise a family.”
In a fluid motion, the grace of which baffles my senses he stands, lifting me with his hands bracketing the span of my waist and turns, spinning us around with an uncharacteristic whoop of joy.
My giggling, flushed face looks down at him adoringly, my hair spilling over my shoulders, shrouding us with an intimate chestnut veil.
“Anything you want Mrs Grey, you have it!” his gruff declaration infatuated. When he puts me down he leans forward, dipping me low so I have to hold on to his biceps. In this romantic, old Hollywood style clinch he kisses me with a mouth so hot and passionate that shakes me to my core.
We meet the parents, Mia and Chris at Café Bellagio, flushed with pleasure and thirty minutes late. Taylor, Collins, Brandon and Carl take up two smaller tables nearby where they have an unobstructed view of us. Their presence a glum reminder of the vague, unnamed danger that casts an unwelcome spectre over our lives.
Chris is excited to see us, giving us both big hugs he tells us all about the fun time spent with his new grandparents. Tonight he’ll be with my mom and Bob who are taking him to play mini golf.
The café is stunning; our table has a magnificent view of the azure hotel pool, the picture framed by a dramatically large window adorned with a lime green supporting post that divides the window into two panes. The clear day beautifully showcased and inviting – almost making us feel like were sitting in the sky.
The talk around the table is happy and relaxed as we discuss the wedding, especially Mia recounting the exquisite details with glee. To my right I hear Christian making suggestions to Ray about the Vegas sights to see.
When the food arrives it looks delicious but, try as I might, I can’t conjure up my appetite, having slept so late Christian and I only just enjoyed a very late breakfast. I glance surreptitiously at him, hoping not to get into trouble but he for once seems oblivious to my eating habits as he piles a plate for Chris.
Chris sits on my lap, eating, drawing, chatting and every so often, whenever he gets restless or for no reason at all Christian takes him – eager to cuddle him, content to just be with him.
When Carrick asks Christian what his plans are for the press about the wedding I drag myself away from a conversation with Grace to hear what he says. He looks over to me, giving my leg a reassuring squeeze under the table.
“I’ll have to issue a press release, throw in a couple of photos,” he waves a dismissive hand. “At least then we can control when and where the information is released.” He grimaces looking back to me, “it’s going to get ugly baby. You know what they can be like but there’s no way we’ll be able to keep this under wraps for too long.” He presses his lips together, thoughtful, “I’m sorry baby, I know how you hate the attention.”
Leaning in I kiss him, “for you Mr Grey, nothing is too much.”
We share a tender moment before Chris interrupts us, “why are you kissing daddy so much?” the cute puzzled frown is adorable, his messy hair calling for a ruffle.
Everyone around the table laughs then settles, I blush bright red when I realise that they’re all waiting for my reply, “uhm,” I think going with the truth here will probably serve me best. “Because I love your daddy just as much as I love you!”
He blinks at me, looking thoughtful for a beat, “oh okay.” Just as I think I’m out of the woods I hear him drag in a breath to ask another question, “but why are they so long?” he wriggles his nose, clearly disgusted.
I roll my eyes and giggle at him, “too observant for your own good!” I tickle him making him squirm.
Christian chips in, enjoying his inquisitive little boy, “every time mommy kisses me her lips get stuck!”
Chris’ eyes grow large, “can they get stuck on me?”
“Oh yes!” I interject, holding his head I press a kiss to his cheek making an exaggerated kissing noise and pretend to be stuck. Our family is watching us indulgently, amused.
Christian makes to wrestle him away from me, groaning with the “strain” of trying, “You’re. Stuck. Together. Buddy!”
Chris is laughing hard, wriggling to get free. I wink at Christian to cue his release before I let go. Christian pulls him away, feigning breathlessness at his effort. “You’re free champ! Wow, you were really stuck there for a minute!”
Chris eyes are sparkling, enamoured by the game, “again daddy, again!”
After another few rounds of our impromptu kissing game Chris mercifully moves on to something else and we begin to wind down our lunch. I’m a little miffed and surprised that Chris leaves us so eagerly, the lure of mini golf too great to resist. I grab him before he runs off, savouring his hug in spite of his playful protests.
We say farewell to our loved ones, embracing and setting a time to leave tomorrow then set off, hand-in-hand through the bustling corridors on the hotel. Oblivious to our security detail we make our way to the villa, stopping along the way to admire some of the art on exhibit at the Bellagio Fine Art Gallery.
One of the current displays is by a photographer whose black and white stills depict nude couples in the throes of passion. They are magnificent, a true study of love in the best of taste. Though they never reveal the genitals of the models they’re shockingly erotic, almost primitive in nature. The play of shadow and light, curves and limbs, the grip of an ecstatic hand digging into flesh beaded with a glinting sheen of sweat – all heavily suggestive and deeply arousing. Looking at them you can feel the desire rolling off the pictures in lustful waves.
I loose count of the amount of times I suck in a sharp breath, every one reminding me of what Christian and I must look like; hungry for each other in the near mindless chase to orgasm.
Christian sticks close to me, pulling me to him at every opportunity, watching me take it all in. Standing at the final grouping of photos he positions me right in front of him, splaying his hands across my hip bones. “I better get you home,” he whispers seductively next to my ear, his timbre husky and low, “let’s see if we can put these photos to shame.” The delicious shivers run like warm honey through my veins.
All the way home Christian stokes the flames of my raging desire, his every touch and word deliberate – heightening my senses, driving my need from him so high I fear that I might come without a single physical nudge off the edge.
Within seconds of closing the door and our watchful guards dispersing we’re onto each other, our bodies frantic, starved, wild with our need for release. There isn’t an inch of skin where I don’t want us to be connected. We’re arms and legs and hands and tongues, groaning and writhing in desperation.
Somehow we make it to the bedroom, the unwelcome barrier of clothes disappearing like a magician’s trick. Christian seems to share my obsession with full body contact, without missing a stroke of his tongue into my mouth he lifts me and pins me to the nearest wall.
With a hand between us he parts me, his throbbing length thrusting forward with such force that it tears a cry from my raw throat. Instantly the dam bursts, small quakes rippling into ever increasing ones, clenching around Christian like a fist, drawing him deeper and setting him off.
I feel the swell and then the pulse of him, bursting hot inside me. His threaded growl forced from his locked jaw, joining my serrated moan of release.
There’s a fitting epithet on the tip of my tongue but I’m too wrung out to say it. We lean our heads against each other, waiting to catch our breaths.
A sharp knock on the door jolts us back to reality, Taylor’s muffled call to Christian sounding urgent.
Cursing at the intrusion he throws me a dressing gown before reaching for his own, when I’m decent he opens the door and the look on Taylor’s face leaves little doubt that our mystery perpetrator has struck again.
Be kind and review, please.