Chapter 36

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It was definitely the shock but also the fact that I was still running on empty. The room blurred and tilted as I went down, dropping like a sack of potatoes. I know I wasn’t out for long because I was still in a heap on the lounge floor with a circle of concerned faces staring down at me when my eyes decided to open.

Barney and Carl helped me up, bracing me with their arms around my back as they lifted me onto the sofa. “Mrs Grey, do we need to get the doc again?” Carl looked as shaken as I felt.

Before I could answer I saw Chris being held by Collins, his bug eyes glossy with tears and his face pinched with fear. “See she’s fine buddy, mommy is okay.” He was trying his best to comfort him but those tears, I could see, were imminent. Like only a mother can, I put the recent drama aside and focussed on my boy, holding out my arms to him.

Like a shot he wriggled out of Collins’ hold and scrambled onto my lap, throwing his arms around me as he sobbed into my hair. “It’s okay honey, really I’m fine. Mommy should have eaten something. I’m so sorry baby.” My hug tightened around him as I willed him to feel the security of his little world that really didn’t exist right now.

I hate, hate, hate what this is doing to us. Anger and panic comingled with the blood in my veins brewing a cocktail that kept me edgy and now skirting close to a breakdown. The constant feeling of helplessness only made it worse.

Carl still stood before me, waiting for an answer while I could hear Collins on the phone behind me, probably with Taylor. “No.” My lilt reflected my irritation. “I’m fine.” He looked like he wanted to say something but snapped his mouth shut on the glare I gave him. “Stop worrying about me and find him.” I hissed, dismissing him as I jutted my chin to their work station.

I know that they didn’t deserve my impatience but I felt very little goodwill right now. He pivoted on his heel, joining his team, the dejected slump of his shoulders one I guiltily knew I put there.

For a brief moment the room was calm. I was fussing over Chris, doing my best to soothe him while Collins was debriefing Taylor on our latest saga – mercifully in low, mumbling tones. Carl and Brandon had their heads together, sharing a screen for whatever they were doing. I assumed that Sawyer was done with his shift and left for some shuteye and Ray, I knew, was on a quick grocery run.

I heard Collins blow out a long, shaky breath and then, even with the distance between us and the fact that he was on the phone I heard Christian’s voice yell down the line at him. Fifty was beside himself, like raging bull mad.

As quick as I could I scooted out of the lounge and into the backyard, the last thing Chris needed right now was to hear his daddy blow his top. I could understand why Christian was angry, he did tell them to go through the mail before they passed it on but the box was a bit of a grey area, not quite mail and I think we all thought that it was probably a gift that Christian sent to me via Barney. No one could foresee the twisted thing that actually happened. I didn’t blame Collins but boy; I wish I had heeded his warning.

I gave Chris a smile as he dangled himself from his legs on a monkey bar but my mind wasn’t with him. I was too busy figuring out what the flowers represented. There was no way they were dried, they were definitely allowed to shrivel up and die before they were sent and they weren’t waiting at Escala when we came back from Vegas. My guess was that they probably arrived yesterday. It would be easy enough to check when the doorman signed for the delivery.

Was it supposed to be for the shot that the bastard took, getting ahead of himself with his success or was it to be a warning of things to come? What sort of business sent dead flowers anyway? I would hate to be that florist once Christian decided what swift and crushing measure he would wreak against them.

As if he knew I was thinking about him my caller ID flashed his name as it tinkled the instrumental version of Somebody; the song he sang to me on our wedding day and his exclusive ringtone. I felt apprehension bubble in my gut – desperate to hear his reassuring voice but in no state to be yelled at. I guess he heard the crack in my voice that betrayed the strain I was under when I whispered my tentative hi.

“You’re upset. Baby, I’m sorry.” Pain and sincerity shone through his empathetic statement but I wanted so much more. I desperately needed to touch him, physical contact the only thing that could offer me the reassurance I needed right now. There was nothing like the threat of losing someone to make you want to cling to them with all of your might. The overwhelming urge ripped a sob from my throat even though I fought to force it down.

“Fuck!” His annoyance didn’t help matters, his spitting words only turning down the volume of my gushing tears. Much as I hated adding to his overfull plate my breaking point seemed to loom ahead of me with an inevitability that made me feel utterly despondent. Chris’ presence was the only thing that held back the impending melt down.  I turned my face away from my playing son so he couldn’t see the state I was in.

In the background I heard Taylor’s voice before Christian interrupted my silent cry, “Will you hold on a minute baby?” I sat there, legs drawn up to my chest feeling like a nutcase for resenting Taylor for taking even the merest moment of our time together.

Dragging in regular lungsful of air I tried to steady my warring emotions along with my shaky hands. The paleness of my trembling hands reminded me I still had to eat something. I brushed away the wet lines on my cheeks then sent Chris a comforting wave as he whooped coming down the slide.

“I’m back, all yours baby.” Through the fog of my misery I registered that his anger was bound to frustration. Frustration with our situation rather than with me but the anxiety I heard in the question that followed clawed at my conscience. It didn’t allow me to feel any better about his earlier outburst. “Please tell me you’re coping and you’re not thinking about running?”

Even if I managed to think it – which I didn’t – I could never. My lesson, at least that one, was well and truly learnt. “No,” I said, backing it with every ounce of conviction I felt. “I’m not going anywhere but I hate us being apart, if this runs its course and something happened…” I worked on a dry swallow before putting the unthinkable out there, “then this time apart is precious time wasted.” I felt ashamed not being strong enough to spell it out but by the hiss of air he sucked through his teeth I knew he understood the implication.

“Please, please don’t think like that. It tears me apart to hear you like this. I promised you that this will all be over soon and I’m not about to break that promise. Nothing – hear me baby – NOTHING is going to happen to you or to Chris or to me. Do you understand?” his tone is so soft, so gentle but unmistakably beseeching, it strangled my heart with how much I wanted to believe him.

It also made me angry, so fucking mad, “Stop saying that! How can you possibly know? How Christian? Much as you’d like it to be your will alone is not enough!”

From my tirade he only took offense to my anger, “Anastasia! Don’t you dare take that tone with me! We’re not going to spend our time arguing, you’re just going to have to trust me.” Even though he was admonishing his measured baritone reined me in, helped me hold on to the pieces of myself that were threatening to fall apart.

Still, shock winded me, maybe because I knew that he was right but between that and the fear staining my world it was hard for me to see a way out of this mess. The words I wanted to say sat, choking me while I wondered how trusting him was going to help us.

He let out a sigh, one that left me with little doubt that his patience was perilously close to failing but he made himself try one more time. “Please Anastasia.”

My bottom lip was raw, bearing the brunt of my indecision as I chewed it in vain hope that it might bring me some direction but concern for Christian’s sanity was the thing that sharpened my focus enough to give him what he needed. “Okay.” I let out my own sigh, feeling little assurance and all but defeated.

Much as I craved some sort of guarantee it wasn’t worth an argument especially if our days were numbered. With my heart in a chokehold of terror I dug for inner strength I didn’t know I had and forced myself to be in the moment with him. By his silence I knew he was deliberating with himself to accept my answer in spite of the obvious faith it lacked.

Mercifully he let it go, but his acquiescence was laced with scepticism in our truce. “Okay.”

I hated that we couldn’t get through a normal conversation without arguing yet I was going in for more, unable to help myself. Knowing what was going on afforded me a tiny bit of control over a situation that was otherwise dishearteningly unpredictable. “What has Taylor found out about the flowers?”

“Is this really what you want to talk about right now? Don’t you think you’ve been through enough crap for one day?” The holes in his patience were beginning to show but before I could insist he fed me the facts in a curt, gritting tone. “The flowers were delivered yesterday but judging by the state they’re in, sending them was planned in advance. Taylor and I agree that it was meant to arrive on the back of the shooting. The police will question the florist owner today; we’ll see where that takes us.”

“Thank you,” I whispered, breathing a little easier knowing that the event it was linked to was over and, more importantly, unsuccessful.

“How are you feeling?” I asked; my voice still holding a hesitant wobble.

“Fine baby, just…” He swallowed his confession, deciding against sharing he changed his words into something he must’ve felt was more suitable. “I miss you, I miss our son.” I could hear every bit of the restless fatigue in his voice. I could only sympathise, I felt the same.

“He’s right here, why don’t you talk to him?” I motioned Chis over, bright smile in place. He was the one thing I knew could cheer us out of our funk.

“I’d love to baby, put him on.” I loved that the thought of his son lifted his mood enough to bring a smile to his words.

“Hey buddy, daddy’s on the phone, he wants to say hi.” I helped him curl his small hand around the body of the mobile as he pressed it to his ear.

I could only hear Chris’ end of the conversation but it warmed my heart to see it was a happy one, Chris in full animation as he told Christian what he’s been up to on the jungle gym. Seeing his face light up like that was like a balm to my ragged nerves.

When Chris ended the call with a carefree I love you daddy my emotions got thick enough to slice. I’d bet anything that Christian’s did the same. It took us a minute to compose ourselves before either of us could speak.

Making a point to avoid any conversation regarding the perp Christian started on a safer thread, “How are you feeling about your appointment with Flynn?”

“Honestly? A little disconcerted but after this…” I waved a hand through the air, knowing that Christian wouldn’t need any further explanation, “I feel I need it more than ever.”

“Yeah, I understand,” he said his tone turning thoughtful. “Just go with it, trust him if you can. The quicker you open up the better your progress will be. I’ve seen a lot of shrinks and he’s hands down the best.” He left a pause before he added, “For what it’s worth baby, I’m glad you’re doing this.”

“Me too.” I said, meaning it but it did nothing to ease my apprehension. “Thank you for arranging it.”

We let a silence brew between us. I don’t know if it was just me but it felt unhealthy, too many things unsaid and uncertain. I felt it gather and like any building storm I was worried that it was going to destroy us.

Saying goodbye didn’t make me feel any better, the vibe between us was iffy at best. If this bastard wanted us at each other’s throats he was beginning to succeed and I, for one, would do anything to avoid giving him the satisfaction.

Ray appeared in the outline of the back door and I waved him over, my smile thin as it came into play automatically, no real joy behind it. As he ambled closer I clocked the newspaper in his hand together with the grim set of his face. Oh no! Realisation hit hard when the thought of press coverage barrelled into my brain – the shooting must be all over the news.

On top of my crazy meltdown Christian still had to deal with reporters and their wild speculations. This story I knew would be sensationalized to a gossiping riot, leaving the truth far behind in the dust.

Ray took a seat beside me, his worried expression telling. Apprehension turned a tighter coil in my belly as he made no move to show me the paper “Hi honey, you speak to Christian yet?”

I nodded, concentrating on keeping my breaths even.

Ray’s gaze dropped before lifting to find mine again, as if he was choosing his words carefully. “It’s all over the news, I’m not sure it will do you any good to see this,” he gave the paper a quick tap. “It’s mostly horseshit anyway.” He was watching me very closely, assessing the impact of his words.

After this morning’s chaos I was fairly sure that I didn’t want to see. “I’m not sure either,” I said honestly. “Maybe after my time with Dr Flynn?” my question was rhetorical, there was never going to be a clear answer for a decision like that.

Ray looked relieved and sat back on the bench. I made a metal note to e-mail my mom so she wouldn’t worry any more than she already was. “Did the guys fill you in on the flowers?”

“Yep.” His short answer was as telling as the harsh flash of ire I saw in his eyes in spite of the fact that he was so adept at hiding it. That and the fact that he kept his watch trained on a spot in the distance and the twitching muscles in his jaw betrayed how much this affected him.

I reached for his hand, giving it a squeeze, “I’m sorry dad.”

He returned my squeeze and pulled me into his side with his arm curling around my shoulders. “Don’t be.” He said simply and dropped a kiss on my head.

Just then Chris came charging up to us, delighted to see his grandpa back. “Mommy, Grandpa, look what I found!” With enthusiasm only reserved for little children he thrust his hand right up to our noses. In his palm he held a big, black, shiny, squirming beetle with tentacles flailing madly. He was so excited that he struggled to keep still as it crawled around on his little hand, tickling him.

It was definitely time to take my leave. As unobtrusively as I could I shifted out of what I guessed was possible beetle jumping range – just in case. My smile, I could feel was laced with a touch of horror. Much as I loved my son, adored his innocent embrace of all living things I didn’t share his delight with creepy-crawlies.

“That’s great buddy!” I feigned animation and slid my phone across the bench to Ray. “Have grandad take a picture then we can text it to daddy.” Ray gave me an amused, sidelong glance, snorting at my reaction. “I’ll catch up with you a little later. Mommy has some e-mails to send.”

I fled the scuttling beetle, shaking off my crawling shivers in the safety of the kitchen. Beetles are bad enough I thought – and hoped his fascination didn’t grow into snakes or spiders. I took a handful of dry, savoury biscuits, grabbed another bottle of electrolyte solution and headed for my bedroom.

When I passed the guys bent over their screens the earnest silence marked a stark contrast to their usual banter. My subconscious was quick to nudge me with an accusing finger, reminding me how rude I was earlier. I halted, clearing my throat to get their attention. “Collins, I just wanted to apologise for not thinking my actions through, I put you in an impossible position and I’m sorry you got into trouble.”

He gave me a lopsided grin, hiking up his shoulders in a single shrug, “It’s all good Mrs Grey. I understand but it would be good if you can learn to trust us to do our job.”

I pressed my lips together, knowing my shame was blazing red on my face. He was being incredibly reasonable, only showing up my thoughtlessness. I considered his request and found it really wasn’t excessive. “Will do.” I breathed, feeling sheepish as I shifted my weight from one foot to the other; I still had another apology to go. Satisfied he returned his attention to his monitor.

“Carl, I owe you an apology too. What I implied was completely unfounded. I know you’re doing everything you can to keep us safe.”

When he looked up to me he seemed so young, it surprised me that I didn’t notice before. They were all so big and strong and confident I lost sight of the fact that he was still relatively new at this and it seemed my opinion mattered to him. “Thank you Mrs Grey.” He scrubbed the back of his neck in a gesture that belied the assurance he normally exuded. “I would hate to fu…, uhm, mess up this job.”

I pursed my lips and nodded my understanding before giving him a reassuring smile. “You’re doing great. Thank you.” I noticed that Collins nodded his agreement, the older man’s eyes softening with what looked like pride. Carl clocked it then dropped his gaze, suddenly finding his keyboard very interesting as the red tips of his ears burned with his bashfulness.

I left them to it, feeling better for making amends as I nibbled on the dry biscuits and fired up my laptop. I decided to check my e-mails while I waited for Dr Flynn’s call. True to Christian’s word I had four e-mails from Julie Logan, all attached to chapters that I needed to edit. By her accompanying notes it seemed like a lot, too much to delve into right now but I sent a fervent prayer for resolution. Hopefully she hadn’t been too brutal. I was so deeply entrenched in my work, put so much of myself into it I didn’t know how I’d survive any harsh criticisms if at all.

Next I sent a mail to my mom in an effort to curb her worry though I knew that faced with the deluge of crazy press ahead it was almost impossible. I told her to call me whenever she felt she needed to.

When the familiar Skype tones rang I flushed as my heart skidded to a halt. Nervous fingers ran through my hair before clicking the connection to Dr Flynn. While I waited for his image feed to appear I wriggled up against the headboard with the laptop on my lap, getting comfortable for the long session.

“Ana, how are you? It’s so good to see you.” The familiar British accent along with his warm greeting and genuine smile instantly put me at ease.

I returned his friendly look, hoping that the private sharing I’m about to embark on won’t alter the easy relationship I have with him. Right off the bat I wanted to be honest so I started with the truth. “Hello Dr Flynn, it’s good to see you too and I am as well as can be expected under the circumstances.” I screwed up my face, the unease about my past and our current situation finding a way to express itself.

His eyes shone with unexpected surprise, his brows lifting to accentuate the sentiment. “Start as you mean to go on?” Though it was framed as a question it served as an observational statement about my intentions that I was pleased he picked up on. “I’m impressed Ana, listening closely enough to answer a question honestly and ignoring the social convention of simply saying things are fine when they are not is a wonderful start, especially in a therapy session.”

I looked down, flicking one nail beneath another, self-conscious about feeling so exposed. When I didn’t answer he chuckled gently, “But I see we need to work on making you feel comfortable doing that.”

I looked up, a wry grin in place. He really was good at reading people, I felt myself wanting to trust him. “That would help a lot.”

“Okay, think about it this way. You don’t strike me as a closed off person. In the past I’m sure that you’ve asked for a friend’s opinion on something or maybe asked for advice from a parent?”

I nodded, waiting for him to clarify.

“The people you chose to confide in are people you trust. You and I don’t know each other well enough for that trust to be inherent so it’s something we’ll have to develop and that’s completely normal but just as you’d confide in a friend think of me as that same friend only I have access to the tools that can really help you.”

I liked the point he was making, more often than not a friend’s well-meaning advice was driven by their own intentions and preconceived perceptions. If I was going to talk to someone it may as well be someone who could offer me something tangible in return and this way I never had to worry about the motive behind the help though I was still stuck with the asking-for-help-in-the-first-place issue. “That makes sense but what if I don’t know when I need help?”

“Ah,” he lifted his pen and pointed it at me. “That brings us to the reason why we’re doing this doesn’t it?” With one sculpted brow arched he scanned my face for clues, gauging my inclination to jump off this confessional cliff. “Why don’t we start by you telling me your version of what happened?”

Wow, he was good. Without even realising I was already knee deep in the session that I was so apprehensive about but his assessment made short work of wiping that awe off my face. It was time to start picking through all the profoundly stupid things I did to pin down the reasons my subconscious drove me to those choices.

At the mention of her name she bailed and hid under a bed, sending her prissy, winged spectacles flying. My inner goddess, harbouring five years of regret, was hot on her heels. She wasn’t going to let her get away that easily. I watched as she dived in after her, dragging her out by the ankles to haul her back into the spotlight.

With her hand shielding her eyes from the harsh light of introspection I recounted my sorry tale in all its gory details. I could only pray that I wasn’t heading for mega doses of medication or worse, a padded cell.

Dr Flynn’s attitude toward me, once I laid myself bare, was what finally convinced me that I was doing the right thing. There was no judgement in his eyes, no sour disapproval that turned down his mouth and no accusing fingers shaking at me. We ended the session with his calm assurance that I’ll quickly get to a place of peace if I continued to be so forthcoming.

Though congruency in my conscience was vitally important to me the pressing matter of the crippling fear I was currently bound to was even more so. If I couldn’t find a way to deal with it in an appropriate manner it was guaranteed to lead me down another dark path I didn’t want to get lost on. Encouraged by how well my first session went I mentioned it to John and landed myself a session a day for the foreseeable future. Clearly I had a lot of work to do.

I spent the rest of the day dividing my time between the fun craft activities I laid out for Chris and revising my chapters according to Julie’s very thorough notes. Once I started I got sucked into my words and found that the comments she made were sensible and easy to understand. I enjoyed the distraction, it kept my mind riveted and off the scary mental tangents my brain wandered on if it wasn’t occupied elsewhere.

Christian checked in with me on a regular basis and I was grateful that apart from a few brief but necessary exchanges of information relating to our situation we both made an effort to keep things light. The police interview with the florist yielded very little, the order was placed by phone and paid for with a disposable gift card that was purchased with cash but the owner did remember that the customer who placed the unusual order was male and specifically requested the accompanying card be typed and not hand written.

According to Christian the police had both the perp’s place of residence and work under surveillance and I had no doubt that we had our own men watching as well. I was more than a little surprised when he confided in me that he felt the police raid on the perp’s unlisted property had tipped him off and that now he was lying low.

By bedtime I had mailed Julie ten revised chapters and Christian’s e-mails and texts were beginning to show just how much he was missing me. His increasingly seductive messages left me flustered and frustrated. With Chris in the single bed a few feet away and a house full of people, half of them keeping a watchful eye on the closed circuit  TV system that guarded our immediate surroundings, phone sex was completely out of the question.

With Sunday’s arrival I gained a steady thrum of apprehension. It flowed through me unchecked, wreaking havoc with the scary thoughts I managed to supress yesterday. Christian was going back to work tomorrow and as far as I could see there was nothing I could do to stop him. That on top of a growing sexual frustration that was only fanned by another round of regular, dirty texts from my naughty husband left me with a burning, restless energy.

I had to work extra hard on keeping my mind on my pages and out of the mental gutter it kept veering to with the least bit of encouragement. If I wasn’t thinking about the many ways this could go wrong for us I felt the empty ache between my thighs.

Chris and I settled into our new routine with him play learning beside me while I worked on my book. I took him outside as much as I could, letting him climb the jungle gym but I was already feeling caged in. It was only a matter of time before he would be bored and become hard to manage.

Monday’s dawning did nothing for my terror except make it worse. I found it very hard to implement the fear fighting tools Dr Flynn suggested I try, especially in the face of the magnitude of our problems. I went through the motions of the day, starting at even the slightest of noises. When my phone rang it instantly cast my legs in jelly. Christian, as always, was attuned to my panicked state and did everything he could to keep me calm, even resorting to leaving his Skype window open so I could watch him work whenever my thoughts ran away with me.

I was so relieved when I spoke to him on Monday night, his and my day equally uneventful and him safely back at the Fairmont that I slept well for the first time in days. As the week wore on I began to relax, a tiny seed of hope sprouting in my heart. Maybe the police spooked him enough to scare him away for good.

Thursday afternoon I sat on my bed, researching some things for my book in a rare moment of peace and quiet. Ray promised Chris that they would build an ant farm and they had just headed outside to start their little project. If it had something to do with bugs I knew it would keep Chris busy for hours. I was grateful to Ray for a break, I was exhausted.

Christian was supposed to be in a meeting so I was surprised when his name popped up in a Skype message.

Hi baby, what are you doing? I miss you! I can’t wait to see you again.

I giggled, wondering if he was still in his meeting.

I’m researching something for my book, aren’t you supposed to be in a meeting? I miss you more.

I am but the world of mergers isn’t as riveting as your company and you’ve left me hanging every day so far. I’m not sure how much more I can take 😉

I blushed, in spite of being alone. What did he expect me to do I wondered, feeling the delicious stirring that’s been bothering me all week. Besides I thought with a smile curving my mouth, he started it. At least he had the privacy of his hotel room if he needed some release; here I had cameras and a little boy too inquisitive by half. I was stuck with my condition and too inhibited to do anything about it. Suddenly it occurred to me that, in a happy twist of fate, I was alone right now and he was stuck in a meeting, surrounded by suited bodies that weren’t aware of the sexy messages we were exchanging.

Emboldened and still high on my stunning hospital phone sex attempt I considered my options. My inner goddess’ eyes were bright with approval for my plan. For all the times he’s teased and taunted, stroked and stoked the flames of my desire and making me wait for orgasms I was desperate for I thought payback was in order.

Mr Grey, I beg to differ. You’ve been merciless in your erotic assault. I’ve been aching for you for days and with no option for release. I’m about to explode.

It was true. I’ve been strung out for his touch since the weekend. The constant surges of adrenaline over the last week, for me at least, always ended with desire. With every salacious text and e-mail my need built, even my panties excited me at this point. I don’t know how I managed without it for five years but now that he was back in my life, even a day without him was asking too much.

While I waited for his reply I raced to the dining room to retrieve the tablet that controlled the security cameras then locked myself in my room. If I wanted to stay brave enough to do this I couldn’t afford any distractions or interruptions. I opened the app then repositioned the camera in my room to stare up at the ceiling. If I paused to consider what the guys were going to think I’d lose my nerve so I pushed the thought aside in a lust hazed rush.

Mrs Grey, I like you begging. Tell me baby, what would you be begging for?

I could just picture his smug, wicked grin complimenting those smouldering, stormy eyes. Way too confident that I’d be the one squirming but I couldn’t rush this, what I really wanted was for him to tell me to turn the web cam on. For what I had in mind he needed to see me, and I him.

Mr Grey, I wish I could show you but I’ll make do with my words. First, I’d beg you to kiss me. Slow and long, stroking your tongue along mine, groaning into my mouth. I want you to press my body into to yours so I can feel every firm, unyielding plane of yours against every soft curve of mine.

I hit send with a hungry and delighted shiver quaking through me. Crossing my fingers I wished for him to take the bait.

Mmhh, I like the sound of that Mrs Grey. Are you alone?

My stomach did a little flip, my heart jumped into my throat. I knew what was coming.

I am Mr Grey. Chris just went outside with Ray to build an ant farm.

If he thought it was his idea he was far more likely to let it go on so I played dumb and waited for him to play into my hand.

Why don’t you lock your door and turn the web cam on? Keep your sound off. Make sure your CCTV camera is turned away.

I scrambled off the bed and got naked. I suspected that he expected me to turn him down, that he was going to have fun trying to talk me into showing him a little bit of skin. The thought of seeing his shocked face in a couple of seconds had me panting, already wet. I couldn’t wait to see the change in his eyes as they turned darker, hooded. I waited for his image to appear before I activated my own.

The instant saw him, staring intently at the screen, his steepled fingers resting on his sinful mouth I realised that his location was in my favour as well. He was in the boardroom at Grey house, at the head of the table with his back to the wall of windows that graced every side of his building. I knew that the closest person would be sitting down along the sides of the table, a good few feet away from him. My privacy was assured.

I arranged myself in front of the laptop in what I hoped would be the most revealing way. My back rested against the headboard giving him a view of my breasts but with the laptop standing on the bed his most direct vista would be of the slick folds between my spread thighs. I clicked my camera icon and waited for the image to stream.

The seconds felt like hours as I held my breath in nervous anticipation. I didn’t kid myself that I held all the cards here, he could very easily be mad and disconnect the call the second he saw me but I was a desperate woman, hell bent on payback with a window of opportunity that was too good to waste.

When the tiny PIP appeared in the top corner of my screen his eyes bulged and his jaw dropped. I revelled in the gleeful satisfaction of his reaction. I held my come-hither smile while he regained his bearings, darting his shocked gaze to his employees to make sure that he alone was privy to the image in front of him.

If I wanted his stunned daze to linger I was disappointed. Now that his assessment of the situation yielded no threat he was happy to play this game. His full lips curved into a knowing grin, the darkening irises tightening my inner muscles in a wanton clench.

Anastasia, I’m happy to see you baby. I like your outfit.

Gah! He wasn’t playing fair! If I was going to drive him wild I was going to have to take this all the way home.

I ran my hands over my breasts, closing my eyes as I imagined the path he would take. Finding my nipples I rolled then between my fingers, lengthening the straining tips with gentle tugs.

I’m hard for you baby. I wish I was there. Can you feel me pinch your nipples?

I pinched the tight buds in response to his message, my back arcing off the bed as the pain/pleasure ran a burning trail straight to my core. If I paused to think about it I’d be surprised at how quickly I shed my coyness but my mind was fixed on the steady hum of need between my legs.

Are you wet for me baby?

I nodded, heavy lidded I snaked a hand down my belly and parted my swollen lips with two gentle fingers. I watched him shift in his seat, readjusting himself as he sank his teeth into his lip. An almost pained expression crossed his features as his head tilted to take in the angle of what must’ve been a fairly close-up view of me spreading myself for him.

Fuck! I can see. Jeez, I think you’ve made your point.

His head snapped back, remembering himself and his surroundings. I know I had my skilled tiger of a husband by his lashing tail but I was too far gone to let it go. I wanted my release more than I feared his possible retaliation.

I shook my head, biting into my lip to stem a mewl as I brushed past my clitoris to slip a finger inside.

Are you trying to kill me Mrs Grey?

I gave him a coquettish smile and nodded, loving the way he seemed to be about to climb through the screen to come to my aid. I let my other hand join its mate, rubbing my clitoris in slow circles. For a moment my eyes flickered closed before latching on to his fierce gaze.

Okay, you’re going to have to be quick baby. Do as I tell you. Hook the finger inside to press against your wall.

I did what he said and instantly connected with a spot that sent a jolt through me. I threw back my head as the tension in my body coiled a little more, readying itself for the violent release.

Now baby, rub a little harder, a little faster.

I increased my rhythm as I watched him watching me. I felt so naughty, the risk I was taking heightening my senses, ratcheting my simmering burn to explosive levels. If it was weird that my husband was directing the way I pleasured myself I didn’t care, he knew my body better than anyone, even me.

For a moment the world stood still keeping me in limbo before the earth tilted on its axis and dropped me into a free fall of earthshattering bliss. My body shook and arched, my head thrashed as my hands strummed that tiny bundle of nerves into overdrive.

That’s it baby, feel it riding you. Even the ones you give yourself belong to me.

I blinked at the screen, coming to my senses and feeling very exposed and vulnerable. I pulled on my dressing gown wondering what the hell got into me. Christian was looking pleased with himself but I could tell that he was aroused, perilously close to the edge of his control. He looked ready to eat me.

Don’t go all shy on me now Mrs Grey. That was smoking hot!

I blushed, avoiding his hooded gaze that revealed all the things he wanted to do to me right then. The grinding orgasm I just had paled in comparison to the pleasure he could bring me and just like that the ache for him was back.

I miss you too much. Please come and see us?

My earlier vulnerability was sticking around, reminding me of our situation and the uncertainties surrounding it.

I know baby, we’ll see. Let’s talk about it tonight.

His expression turned warm, so loving it only made the ache worse. He glanced at the department heads still gracing his boardroom table before touching his fingertips to the screen in what had fast become our signature sign off. I touched back, aligning my fingers to match his exactly.

I love you Mr Grey.

He winked at me, dropping his hand to type.

I love you too Mrs Grey.

I smiled, my finger poised to end the call when the power went out in his building, plunging their boardroom in partial darkness. A moment later I heard the screech of an alarm. I saw the concern before he arranged his face back to his usual impassive mask.

He waved then shut the laptop, cutting me off, leaving me panicked and confused. What the hell…?

Be kind and review, please.

Link to chapter 37


138 thoughts on “Chapter 36

  1. CG obsessed says:

    CG is a man of multi tasking talents, boardroom commander while secretly directing his wife’s pleasures, very erotic, naughty and risky…i loved him telling her what to do, and claiming ownership of her pleasures thru his instructions, lol. As always he excels and must be in control in everyway it seems, hahha. Even though this is my second reading so I know that things will work out…I still find your cliff hangers captivatingly well placed…and exciting despite already knowing what next awaits.
    I found that the first time i read, i was starving for more so would read as quickly forward so excited that there were many chapters ahead but now I can savor each one more slowly and find all sorts of subtle info that I might have missed. However, if you are making any changes to these chapters then it will be like reading anew, sort of, again.
    Once more, Thank you for such enticing imaginative writings…I HOPE it never ends, this amazing love story.


    • Monique Lain says:

      Oh that’s good to know. The cliffies are super bad because the readers had to wait for the next chapter (a week) before they could take a breath! I’ve been dubbed the queen of cliffies… and worse… 😉 I was wondering what impact they would have in a single read, I’m so glad you mentioned that. Thank you! You’re like uber reviewer! 😉


  2. jeangb says:

    Just catching up with this site. very interesting to know your feelings on what happens next


  3. Cathy Frost says:

    Awesome chapter cant wait to read more 🙂


  4. tlance says:

    Wow very intense!


  5. LLama Girl says:

    I like CG Obsessed review above!


  6. samantha says:

    omg omg omg omg omg!!!!! what the heck is ogin on at grey enterprises?


  7. BarbarabSolotoff says:



  8. lewisvillegirl says:

    Scary ending! I love how these twists happen when we are least expecting them. Can’t wait to read the next chapter to find out what’s going on.


  9. Ingrid Singine says:

    there’s something about your writing that’s so much like the girl that did the “Virgins&Villains” twilight fanfic. idk what it is but its there


    • Monique Lain says:

      Hello Ingrid. Thank you for your comment. Personally I’m not a Twilight fan so I don’t read the fic on it but I guess it’s only natural that authors develop a style that falls into a certain category, writers in those same cats will most likely remind one of the other.


  10. vasantib2012 says:

    Well, that was kinda hot!!! But what happened all of a sudden? Can’t wait to read the next chapter. Many thanks


  11. Carissa says:

    WOW! I was obsessed with the trilogy, to find your site is fabulous! I’ve only been reading for 2 days and I’ve finished 36 chapters!

    You’re such a gifted writer! I am anxious to see the many twists and turns this takes. I was so certain Jose was behind all of this from the time the pictures were vandalized, now it’s a former employee… way to keep us on our toes! I love it!


  12. SalmaRadder says:

    I’m litrrally in love with the story so far ❤ good job!


  13. Louise says:

    Is someone as smart as Ana, and has shut off the electricity to snick up the service elevator?

    Building, building, building!


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