Chapter 30

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Suddenly I’m living the adage, it all happened so fast. Mercifully Ray’s incessant drill to keep calm and think is all I can focus on, it keeps me from noticing the warm wetness that’s seeped onto my clothes.

Keep calm.

My thoughts are a line of dominoes being knocked over, one tipping the next and the next. The first one tells me I’m winded, that I need to breathe. Opening my mouth I gasp a lungful of air, tasting the metallic tang of blood from my split lip.

Keep calm.

The second is an awareness that supersonic crack I heard must’ve been from a bullet and that it came from outside the building, like that of a sniper.

What?! A fucking sniper?

Keep calm!

The third is the clenching of my fist as it’s curled around something. The buttons! Realising it’s the remote I stab unseeing at it, gasping again, this time in relief as the glass goes white, shielding us from eyes intent on harming us.

Good!

Keep calm, stay focussed.

The next are of Chris then Christian. Fighting down my panic I pray that Chris stayed in his room. At least I know Christian is alive, I hear his laboured breathing next to my ear. I try to untangle myself, away from Christian’s hold and his body blanketing me. He groans in response and the room explodes into activity.

In the background I hear Brandon shouting as Taylor runs up to us, crouched low with his gun drawn, his eyes darting in all directions, adrenaline making him hyperaware. “Mr Grey, Mrs Grey, stay down. Are you hurt?”

I shake my head, my words jammed in my shocked throat where I still lay pinned beneath Christian’s weight.

I hear Christian suck in a breath through clenched teeth as he pushes away from me, “Fine!” he barks at Taylor, “Get Anna out! Now! Have you got Chris?”

With the distance between us I notice the blood, my hand flying to my chest, fingers coated as I fumble to feel for an injury but finding none.

Oh no! Unwelcome realisation punches through the scatter of my thoughts: Christian! I watch in horror as the red bloom on his shirt grows at an alarming rate, the white nearly entirely overtaken by the spill of his precious life.

Taylor scoops me up. Half dragging, half carrying me while my feet slip and slide; failing to get a good grip on the shiny floor, now slippery with its scarlet trail. “Christian!” I yell as I see him stand, seemingly unconcerned by the fact that he’s hit.

“Do as Taylor tells you!” His warning is harsh and dangerous, never have I seen him look angrier, his faculties and actions guided solely by the fire of his fury.

I struggle in Taylor’s grip, trying to wrestle free to help my bleeding husband but he’s too strong. “Let me go! He’s hit! He’s hit!” my voice does not sound like my own, hoarse and threaded; I vaguely note that I’ve tears streaming down my face.

Taylor does the only thing he can to coerce my cooperation; he uses my son as distraction. “Brandon will get him; we have to get you to Chris.”

Oh no, Chris!

At the mention of my son’s name I scramble with Taylor, toward his study and the sanctuary of the passageway leading to my son’s room, torn it two. As we round the corner of his office I take in the open panic room door. The sight of Gail holding Chris, her face arranged in a plastic smile so as not to scare him, the best I’ve ever seen. I stumble into the small room, barely registering my relief as my mind zooms back to Christian again.

When I spin around to find him I spot him with Brandon looking at the bank of monitors before Taylor slams the heavy door in my face, the sound of the twin, four inch steel bolts locking soundly into place. Furious now I bang my fists against the solid door, hopeless, “Take care of my husband!”  I scream even though I know they can’t hear me anymore. Why are they letting Christian run around injured when he’s lost so much blood?

“Ana,” I feel Gail’s hand on my shoulder, “you have to be strong now. For him.” I’m not sure if she means Chris or Christian but I know I’m scaring my boy so I brush away my frustrated tears but keep my back turned to hide the stain on my front.

“Hey buddy,” I swallow hard, battling on keeping my voice even. “We’re all fine; we’re just waiting in here for daddy.”

Please, please, please let them take care of Christian’s injury before they go chasing some madman in the streets of Seattle, I mumble a fervent prayer in desperation.

“Mommy what’s going on?” apart from being pushed into the panic room by Brandon, Chris would have missed the chaos in the great room but the wobbly quiver in his little boy voice makes it all too clear that he understands all is not well.

I hate not being able to face him, to show him the reassurance my smile can give but I can’t let him see the blood on my shirt. “It’s okay baby boy. We’re safe, we’ll be fine. Daddy and Taylor will take care of us.” I hate lying to him but what else can I do?

“Take this Ana.” Gail pushes something between my body and arm. As I grip the soft fabric I grasp what she’s is trying to do. Grateful I tug her sweater over my head and gulp a new breath, ready to face my boy.

“Thank you,” I say as I turn, she’s always been a pillar for me. Chris immediately rushes forward, crashing into my legs. I don’t bother to brace myself. I go down with the force of his haste and embrace him with arms like steel. “It’s going to be fine baby boy. All fine.” Mostly I’m speaking to Chris but having him safely in my arms is no small comfort to me.

I catch Gail’s eye over Chris’ shoulder, her hand on her drumming heart. She too is experiencing the rush of blessed relief – we’re all mostly safe but her gaze still bears an edge of fear that’s barely hidden in its depths, as I’m sure is the case with mine – our men are out there.

And mine is hurt!

I tighten my grip on Chris as I stare into Gail’s eyes, the silent voicing of our shared concerns sounding through the hollow caverns of my mind. Nothing to do now but worry and wait. She drops down onto the floor with us as we settle into not knowing what’s happening out there.

What the hell just went down? It’s obvious to me now that we’ve underestimated the threat. This person is not only intent on destroying Christian’s reputation but the man himself, my very dear husband. Unless, I think, my heart coming to a crashing halt in my chest, that bullet was meant for me? As quickly as it came I shut down that train of thought before it leads me straight back to Panicville.

Focussing on keeping my choppy breaths under control I sit still, cradling Chris in my lap. I can sense the effort between Gail and me as we push down the urge that grows with every creeping minute for an update from our guys.

The sound of static spitting yanks me away from my scary thoughts as the two-way radio on the shelf beside my head bursts into life, the little red light blinking manically as Taylor’s voice cracks through the confines of the room, “Alfa Golf, can you read me? Come in Mrs Grey. Come in, over.”

My shaky legs jump up with a welcome spark of energy as the adrenaline pounds through my body for the second time today. My fumbling fingers are as eager as I for news but useless in their impatience. I grab hold of the slender black radio, knocking the plastic cradle onto the floor.

While Gail scrambles to pick it up I punch the call button and hold the thing close to my mouth, “Alfa Golf here, we can read you Juliette Tango, loud and clear.” My pseudo bravado along with all Ray’s training in radio contact fails me at this point as dark apprehension swallows me whole.  Abandoning all protocol I beg for information, “Taylor, what’s happening? Is Christian okay?”

I hear another crack/hiss before Taylor’s tinny bark, “Charlie Golf is being attended to.” A second or two lapses before he speaks again, this time his voice has a much softer edge, “He’s okay Mrs Grey, try not to worry. We’ll have you out of there shortly. Over and out.” The radio dies with a final hiss, its silence suddenly loud.

He’s fine, he’s fine, he’s fine! It’s the mantra I occupy my anxious thoughts with, no point in dwelling before I have the facts. Gail and I give each other another look, both eased by the news but the sympathy swirling in her eyes reflects what I’m thinking; with that amount of blood loss Christian is all but fine.

How long do they expect us to wait in here and if the danger is still eminent why are we still here? Why haven’t we been moved? How badly is Christian injured? These questions compete for answers in my head, fighting and shoving their way to the forefront of my overwhelmed mind.

I’m grateful that I’m in here with Gail, apart from Chris’ subdued chatter, we don’t say much however her level head and calm, no-nonsense demeanour is just what I need in a situation like this, it keeps me sane as nothing but time for wild imaginings stretches before us.

The wait seems interminable, the room so solid we can’t hear any tell-tale sounds until finally, my ears prickle at the slide and click of the opening door. Natural light, a blast of fresh air and a very pale Taylor greets us.

Behind him is my wounded husband, bound to a stretcher and already hooked up to a mobile heart rate monitor. A pair of paramedics is attending to him, their faces grim as they pass a concerned look between themselves.

I launch myself up with Chris still in my arms, my superhuman agility going unnoticed against the joy of seeing him in one piece. “Christian!” I reach his side and grab his hand, too scared to hurt him with a hug.

In spite of his heavily bandaged shoulder and the faint stains of dried blood still visible on the hard ridges of his abdomen he smiles when he sees us. “Baby,” he croaks, his warm hand squeezing back.

As the rest of the world comes back into view I become aware of Gail in Taylor’s arms, her eyes closed as she pats him down to make sure he’s uninjured. Off to the side Brandon is speaking to two police detectives, their badges prominently displayed in the breast pockets of their plain clothes jackets. Both have their heads down as they scribble notes in tiny booklets.

Good, I think. About time we get the professionals involved, this is too serious for in-house security alone.

The paramedics are packing up their gear now, an unmistakable urgency in their efficient movements and I realise it’s because they need to get Christian to the hospital. I wince when I see the blood on the surgical gloves the second one is pulling off his hands and the pile of red that was Christian’s shirt.

“Mommy, why is daddy sick?” I so love Chris’ curiosity but not for this. Right now all I want to do is save him from this nightmare; I wish I could keep him away from all the hurt in the world but especially this.

Briefly, I lock my watch with his, with as much certainty as I can muster I speak soothing, sure words to him. “Buddy, daddy, will be fine. We’ll visit him in hospital where grandma Grace will look after him. He’s not sick he just has an owee, like you get when you fall off your bike sometimes.”

He looks to me then cuts his eyes back to Christian, understanding dawning as he accepts my explanation. “Daddy, you need a Band-Aid and then some ice cream,” he gives his dad the cutest knowing nod.

Christian chuckles softly and I work on getting the lump in my throat to shrink. I allow myself to drink in the comfort of Christian’s warm touch before I let the questions roll. “How badly are you hurt? What the hell just happened? Are we safe?”

“I’m so sorry baby. I can’t believe I’ve put the two of you in harm’s way. I’ve underestimated this jerk’s hard-on for me.” In spite of his raspy timbre the last part of his sentence is spoken with so much venom, so much unrestrained bitterness I can’t help but flinch. Hopefully his comment went over Chris’ head.

“Christian, this isn’t your fault,” I say, my pitch squeaky with shock as my brow draws into a frown. The last thing I want to do right now is draw him into a debate about blame, not after he’s clearly waited to see us before heading to the hospital. “Please let these guys get you to the hospital.”

He answers me with a look that says he thinks otherwise. “Safe. For now. If it wasn’t for your quick thinking…” He winces with the effort to speak, letting his indebted words hang in the air.

“Call my mom to let her know. Meet me at the hospital and for heaven’s sake Anastasia,” he swallows, “please,” his slate gaze bores into mine, his pleading tone gravely and forceful at once. “Stay out of trouble and follow Taylor’s orders!”

The paramedic interrupts our exchange, that vibe of urgency still visible in the way they carry themselves. “We really have to go now Mr Grey, we’ve already waisted too much time.” Without waiting any longer they start to push the wheeled gurney across the room.

I shove Chris into Gail’s arms and half run to keep up with their swift, smooth glide to the elevator, “I love you,” is all I manage to choke out. With his pale face turned to me he lifts a bound wrist to wriggle his fingers in acknowledgement before the metal doors slip closed.

It’s beyond surreal to see him like this, not even the time he offered himself as a submissive to me compares to seeing him pale and injured. I find myself staring at the matte halves of the steel doors, wondering if it’s possible that I just dreamt this whole fiasco.

I find Gail and Chris still in Taylor’s study, it’s almost like we’re not ready to move through the apartment with ease, preferring to stay contained in an untainted space but I’m anxious now to get to the hospital. I place a quick call to Grace, dreading the news I have to share. She surprises me with her absolute calmness and a steely, decisive attitude. It leaves me feeling better than before the call, now that I think about it, I should’ve expected no less.

I’m certain that Christian won’t let us stay here at Escala so I take Chris’ hand to get him to help me pack a few things but halfway down the passage I decide to pick him up instead. The physical space between us too much for me after what happened today as the what-if’s begin to circle my mind, picking at my thoughts like ravenous vultures.

With bags packed for Chris, Christian and myself I meet Taylor in the foyer. Gail is also present and packed along with Bandon, Carl and Collins.

“Mrs Grey, I will escort you and Chris to the hospital, Brandon will take Gail to her sister’s but will follow us to the hospital. Collins and Carl will each be in a separate vehicle to make up the four car convoy. With the tinted windows no one from the outside will be able to tell who is traveling in which vehicle and we can sure use the extra sets of eyes.” He acknowledges Collins and Carl. “Once we get to the hospital Collins and Carl will escort Gail then return to join us. I’ve arranged a separate operative to keep an eye on Gail at her sister’s.”

I simply nod as Taylor gives me a pointed look, there’ll be no arguments from me. I don’t have the inclination to dwell on the curt nod I get in return; I just want to get going.

Downstairs we pile into the individual SUV’s, our security crew skittish and I guess a little trigger happy as they all keep their hands on the butt of their holstered firearms. For the first time I don’t feel like the heavy cloak-and-dagger stuff is overkill.

In the car it occurs to me that in Taylor I have access to information, “Taylor, bearing in mind we have little ears here, can you fill me in on Christian’s condition please?”

He catches my eye in the rear view mirror then cuts his gaze back to the road, “It’s a little unusual Mrs Grey, the wound is not consistent with what I would expect from a sniper rifle but he’ll be fine. He got hit in the upper arm and he’s lost a lot of….” Realising that Chis would understand blood he doesn’t finish his sentence.

In spite of suspecting exactly that and coupled with the serious expressions of the paramedics before they left the apartment I still feel my stomach heave before it twists itself into a tight knot of unease. What does he mean not consistent with a sniper rifle?

In the backseat I sit and brood over what he’s told me, not much but certainly enough to bring belly churning visions of shattered bones, nerve damage, scar tissue and burst arteries. The latter would at least explain why he bled so much. I can’t chance asking Taylor much more with Chris in the car even though he seems occupied staring out the window while I hold his tiny hand.

The thought of another mark marring Christian’s body is something I find so abhorrent that I stun myself with a flash of seething hatred for whoever has it in for us. Surely someone who’s this intent on hurting Christian would have an obvious motive, one we should be able to trace but regardless of the resources Christian has thrown at this and as far as I know, we’ve come up empty.

The ponderous silence in the car as well as the shock and worry suddenly brings the broken relationship between me and Taylor into sharp focus. Life is just too short. We’ve not been alone to talk since I’ve been back in Christian’s life and suddenly I feel compelled to at least state my case.

“Taylor,” my eyes fall to my lap, impetuously interested in my awkward, fumbling fingers. “I know you’re mad at me. I’m sorry for running, for the secret I kept.” All the emotions of the day come to a head, crowding thickly in my chest. When he doesn’t respond I plough on, hoping that getting it off my chest will make me feel a little lighter.

“I know how much pain I caused and I know how much you care for him. Indirectly I hurt you too.” My choice of phrase is hampered by Chris’ presence but I’m sure he gets my drift. In light of today I’m unwilling to leave these words unsaid any longer.

After a long stretch of silence I assume that he’s not ready to talk which I decide to resign myself too. At least I can tell that he’s digesting my overdue apology as the mood in the car turns pensive.

I startle when he speaks, even though his voice is low and measured, “Ana, if there’s one thing I wish for you to take from this is how damaged you left him, maybe then you can begin to understand how he feels about you.”

I catch another brief flick of his eyes to me in the mirror, his taciturn manner morphing into an icy barrier as his mouth presses into a hard slash. “I know he loves me.” I speak clearly, not withholding the defensive edge from my voice.

Wow. He’s still very mad at me.

Taylor gives me a mirthless laugh, more like a bark, “You have no clue.” Ruefully he shakes his head as he turns into the hospital grounds.

“How can you say that? It was hard for me too. My heart was shattered, for months, no, years. I was a ghost of myself.” Nervous about having said too much in front of Chris I look to him only to find that he’s nodded off, his copper head lolling to one side.

I see something unexpected cloud Taylor’s gaze, it’s there only for a second before his impassive mask slips back in place. “I know. It was plain to see.”

His statement snakes around my heart, twining and winding, punishing me with its painful squeeze. Taylor must’ve been involved in my surveillance. The realisation has me biting back a sob as my memories transport me back to that black time. Pregnant, heartbroken, depressed and with a man I couldn’t respond to, even if I bothered to try. All men seemed like half-men after Christian.

Taylor’s foresight and reach doesn’t surprise me as we park in an underground area normally reserved for ambulances and staff. He switches off the engine and turns to face me. “You never saw him with the others, the difference between them and you. He was always overbearing, he cares deeply for the wellbeing of others and that included his uhm… companions but with you…” Again he shakes his head, this time to clear his head in his search for appropriate words.

“I guess you didn’t know him long before you were married so you had nothing to compare his behaviour too but I’ve never seen him like that, he wasn’t just in love Ana he was overtaken and I don’t mind telling you, overwhelmed by his feelings for you.”

Maybe it’s because Taylor is straying from his usual reservedness to share this with me or maybe it’s the content of his speech but slowly a picture emerges in my mind, one that looks beyond the pain I was in, in those dark days and into the heart and mind of a broken Christian.

Obviously I knew that he was hurting and when I ran into him at the zoo and the subsequent days, I got a glimpse of how much but from what Taylor is saying Christian only ever allowed me to see the tip of his mountain of feelings for me.

In hindsight I hit a moment of paradigm-shifting clarity. Even in showing me his love and affection he was employing every measure of his considerable control, knowing that a full blast of that emotion on someone as young and innocent as I was, would probably have me running for the hills. I can’t deny that as it was, I was completely incredulous, astounded enough not to believe it and to run.

Involuntarily I gasp. If what Taylor is saying is true he must be holding back still. Suddenly so many little things fall into place for me. His forgiveness, his infinite capacity to be with me, never getting enough, the gobsmacking romance. He’s told me countless times, will I ever learn to read between the lines with him? Am I strong enough now to bear the full weight of his sentiments without feeling smothered?

I hope so.

Taylor purses his lips, seeing his message hit its mark, “So yes I am mad at you.” His voice softens as he looks into my sad face. “Was mad at you.”

I begin to crack a smile that he quickly wipes away by returning to his stoic persona, all chinks in his impenetrable emotional armour hidden under a front of chastisement. “Just don’t leave him hanging like that again. It was bad enough that you left but doing it without an explanation was downright cruel. In fact, don’t ever leave him again.”

I assume he’s done but just before I agree he speaks again. “At all. Ever.”

Okay, okay, I get the message.

I wait a beat then nod – cautiously as I keep my relief to myself.

He answers me with his signature head bob before he steps out of the SUV – talk over. He opens my door while scanning the underground parking with a trained eye. When he’s satisfied with our safety he follows me to Chris’ side. “If he doesn’t wake up you’ll have to carry him Mrs Grey. The boys will be with Gail and I have to keep my hands free.”

He rests his hand on the top of the car door as he holds it open for me. Before I bend to retrieve my sleeping boy I find his serious stare. “No problem. And Taylor?” I have just enough courage to place my hand over his, in time we’ll work our way up to a hug. “Thank you. For telling me and for looking after him.”

I watch his Adam’s apple travel down his throat he but says nothing, obviously touched. I know not to push too hard so before he feels obligated to say something I reach in and pick up my boy, noting that I won’t be able to carry his sleeping form for long.

Chris wakes as we enter the well-lit hospital and before long he slips from my arms but he chooses to stay close, gripping my hand in the new, strange environment. Even a child can sense that this isn’t a happy place.

Taylor is quick to navigate us through the maze of corridors and wards but when we get to Christian’s room a nurse tells us that he’s already in surgery. “I’ll just get Dr Trevelyan for you.” With that she scuttles off to find Grace and we walk the two doors down to the waiting area.

Taylor and I give each other a look, both surprised that she’s not in on his surgery. With my mind not otherwise occupied and my beloved husband in surgery my body gives in to a delayed shock reaction. I start to tremble, like my every muscle is shivering individually. I feel how my blood gets swept away, redirected to the overactive fibres, far from my face, my heart working in double quick time.

By Grace’s shocked expression I realise I must be pale as a sheet. “Ana, Jason.” She says as she engulfs me in a big hug, her eyes warm and concerned. It’s all I need to send me over the edge as I gratefully grab hold of her and sob into her white coated shoulder.

“There, there sweetheart. He’s going to be fine.” She strokes my hair in such a motherly way that I burrow deeper into her embrace, gratitude mingling with longing for the comfort of my own mother as my hands fist in the fabric covering her back.

Snivelling and juddering I force myself away from her, ready to hear the news concerning Christian.  “Thank you mom,” I say shyly, wiping my wet nose with the back of my hand.

Chris had his arm curled around my leg, shy and a tad insecure but now that his grandma is free he’s keen for some attention. Clearly shaken by the turn of today’s events he doesn’t say anything but holds his arms out to her.

She picks him up and presses him to her, “Hello gorgeous boy.” To a casual observer she looks pulled together and professional but I notice the strain behind her kind smile. She’s worried too.

“Listen angel boy, Lisa here will make you a balloon man if you go with her for a minute.” Grace tilts her head in the direction of the nurse’s station.

The nurse that spoke to us when we came in rounds the counter and holds out her hand to Chris. She smiles encouragingly at him, “And if you want we can draw a face on him.” It doesn’t take long for the lure of a balloon to convince him. Happily he skips into the supply room next door, holding on to nurse Lisa’s hand.

Grace offer’s me a quick smile when she sees the gratitude on my face. “As you know Christian is in surgery, he’s been shot in the left, upper arm and by the looks of things he was extremely lucky. He’s lost a lot of blood and it’s my understanding that he resisted appropriate treatment until it was almost too late.” Her lips forms a thin line as she presses them together, making her irritation with his irresponsible decision known.

My eyes grow large hearing that he put himself in danger like that. In fact, it makes me spitting mad even though I know that he was probably too hyped up on adrenaline and rage to pay attention to his injury. I can’t help it, how can he protect us if he’s gone? What’s more I need a lifetime to make up for all the shit I put him through, I’m not nearly done showing him how much I love him.

Grace and I share our moment of ire at Christian before she continues. “Because of the distance the projectile travelled it lodged in his flesh without significant damage to the bone though there is some splintering from the unusual mushrooming bloom of the bullet tip.”

She looks to Taylor as she explains the rest, “The cavitation wave of the bullet along with the high velocity should’ve created an exit wound but it didn’t because it got imbedded. This isn’t consistent with the clean wound of a full copper jacket from a sniper’s round but I can’t tell you why. Maybe the surgeon can shed some light on that when he’s done.”

“Dr Trevelyan, can I ask you to ensure that we get the bullet for ballistics, I’d much rather take care of it myself, I don’t want Seattle’s finest to drag their feet or lose valuable evidence.”

“Of course Jason, I think we’re all eager to get to the bottom of this.” She turns back to me, “You look very pale Ana, are you going to be okay honey? I’ll take Chris for a walk before I go back in for an update, maybe we can get an ice-cream.”

I give her a wan smile, “I think so and thank you Grace, he’d like that.” Just then he comes barrelling back to us. Excited as ever, he shows us a surgical glove that’s blown up into a make-shift balloon. Eyes and a mouth are drawn on to make it look like a person with punk-style hair. When he hears that he’s going for ice-cream he whoops and runs off with Grace.

Taylor and I take a seat and though I didn’t quite get everything Grace just shared I take comfort the important things I did understand – he was lucky, he’ll be fine.

I seize the opportunity to grill Taylor properly. “Please tell me what happened after you locked us in the panic room.”

Warily he eyes me before the cold blue of my gaze tells him that he doesn’t have a choice. He sighs, resigned. “After we secured you, Collins and Carl went to the building opposite to investigate. I knew from the estimated trajectory that the attack probably came from the roof. We stayed in radio contact with them while Brandon got the police and the medics involved. Mr Grey and I briefly scanned the security footage of the monitors but I worried about how much blood he was losing.”

He takes a sip from a plastic cup of water before he continues. “I made him lie down on my desk and applied a temporary pressure bandage with a towel to try and stem the bleeding but he’s so damned stubborn. The entire time he was flicking through the recorded footage to see if we could pick out a suspect. Just before the paramedics arrived he spotted the perp on the roof and I directed Collins to the location but by that time the shooter and any evidence was long gone.”

My heart stammers in my chest hearing the ugly, cold facts. Somehow the recount seems more real to me than the actual event did. “Do we know who it is, if you saw him on footage…”

“No ma’am, I could tell that it was probably a male, from the image he seemed a bit big to be female. He was dressed in black coveralls. He wore dark glasses, had a cap pulled really low over his face and a hoodie covering the back of his head. We couldn’t even see hair colour. The footage we have is also quite brief. It has him running, hunched forward on the rooftop for maybe five seconds and then off camera, to a point where our surveillance camera has a blind spot.”

How can we have a security camera with a blind spot that’s meant to be trained on a building that’s exactly opposite us? To me that seems like security 101 but considering the volatility of the situation I refrain from questioning him about it.

“How would he know where the blind spot is, wouldn’t having that information be a clue in itself?”

He does a slight double take, surprised at my observant comment, “It would Mrs Grey and we’ll certainly investigate that but at the same time we have no proof that he did know. The area of the blind spot also happens to be a convenient point from which to take a shot into the great room so that might be the only reason he chose it.”

I slump into my chair, dejected at another seemingly unanswered question. I dread asking the next one but I have to know. Steeling myself I force it off the tip of my reluctant tongue, “Who do you think the bullet was meant for?”

Be kind and review, please.

Link to chapter 31

129 thoughts on “Chapter 30

  1. s far as ur chapters in MEANDER .. i found it more descriptive and thorough (( as James had so fastedly completed her work in book 3 )) it always had me think that this book is very short ..but in your work i see it that u have made long journey for ana and christen .. and its good . since christen is not a man to be on ease so quickly.. and the way u hav touched the emotional side .. i like this meander more than the original … (( actually using and exploring every character ))
    i seriously feel you should go for your own writing .. since u are so descriptive …

    last one is to thank you for all the tours from miami to vegas .. and myself enjoying the places so far in my imaginations that i can’t visit…

    stay blessed and healthy … 🙂

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  2. I like your list of songs and their use with the chapters … love the songs .. love the whole thing you hav created ..

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  3. Meadow McGee says:

    Omg is Christian dead!?!?!? Once i read the part where Anna said “what the hell is going on in there,” i hurried down to see the comments before reading further.

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  4. Meadow McGee says:

    Oh, nevermind i see.

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  5. zeineb says:

    I still think it’s Leila and Jose, Leila knows the apartment very well since she knew the hiding spots when she broke in as she was ill

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  6. Prits says:

    Dear Monique,

    I loved this twist in the story.

    Also I noted few spelling errors.

    ** “We really have to go now Mr Grey, we’ve already waisted too much time.”
    “We really have to go now Mr Grey, we’ve already wasted too much time.”

    **Gail is also present and packed along with Bandon, Carl and Collins.
    Gail is also present and packed along with Brandon, Carl and Collins.

    **Realising that Chis would understand blood he doesn’t finish his sentence.
    Realising that Chris would understand blood he doesn’t finish his sentence.

    **Grace offer’s me a quick smile when she sees the gratitude on my face.
    Grace offers me a quick smile when she sees the gratitude on my face.

    I hope this is what you meant while writing.

    Love,
    Prits

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  7. Lila says:

    I love how you have developed the storyline.I often wondered how Taylor might have felt about Anna and Christian, taking into consideration all the subs he met. It would be so cool to read another book from Taylor and Gail’s perspective or even Christian’s, something along the lines of what’s at the end of book 3. Just a thought!

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    • Monique Lain says:

      Hello Lila 🙂 Thank you for your great comment. I’m thrilled that you are enjoying my take on FSOG. Jane Harvey Berrick has written a huge Taylor POV fan fic. I’m not sure if it’s still available but I’m sure if you check out her website she’d have it on there or at least a link to it. It may also still be on fan fic, but I cannot remember what it’s called.

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  8. Lila says:

    Your book is so well written that i could not put my tablet down for two days. The movie script could have been so much better had been you been involved. You are an extremely talented and gifted storyteller.

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  9. Louise says:

    Did anyone think to immediately put the opaque glass back up? That would be a natural action for security staff, just like drawing a revolver.

    Taylor sure takes a fine time to confront Ana! But I’m pleased to finally read the history of what happened while she was gone.

    With the development of this shooting, I’m starting to completely rule out Jose. I don’t think he’s crazy enough to go to these lengths to get even. That’s too simple for your obvious thinking pattern. It’s got to be more complicated then that.

    I must read on to find out!

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  10. MacMohair says:

    I know how difficult it is to proof read and this text has mercifully few typos. This chapter does though have one howler which grates for anyone who knows radio procedure. Radio requires only one person to talk at once or else the joint transmissions are garbled. Hence people say “Over” when they pass the right to transmit to another person or “Out” when the conversation is over. What they should never say is “Over and out” which is nonsensical and only used by Hollywood scriptwriters who know no better. Hope this feedback is helpful.

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  11. Shannon says:

    Ok I’m gonna throw out some.possibilities that floating around my head.. First would be the good Dr Shawn…but that seems to obvious. Next would be Jose..but I don’t think so. How about Jack Hyde? He hasn’t been introduced into the story as of yet, though he has been mentioned. Does he still smart from the unresolved vendetta? And finally, Sawyer. Does he hate Ana so much for what she did to Christian that he is trying to ensure she doesn’t have the chance to do it again? Here I come chapter 31…

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  12. Colette says:

    I just read a few sentences of of 31, my second guess is Joes’s father. He has a military background and she hurt his son. I like to think outside the box. Lol

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