We arrive home much later than we would have; the endless questions by bored, nightshift officers devouring a huge chunk of our time. At least we found out that the journo’s presence at the club was a coincidence, not a premeditated ambush – but still – he was way too informed about our private affairs to make me complacent. Plus, I’m exhausted, feeling grubby from the grime of the cop shop, and the balls of my feet feel like they just might burst if I take one more step.
Christian sees me wincing as I step out of the SUV to make the short walk to the elevator, “Shoes?” he asks, grinning sardonically before scooping me up into his arms.
I squeal at the sudden movement, giggling as I wrap my grateful arms around his neck, “Thank you.” I press a kiss to the corner of his mouth, relishing his unique smell and his warm closeness.
When Collins and Taylor join us in the elevator Christian carefully adjusts my coat, chivalrously protecting my modesty. I hide my smile, snuggling into his strong chest, flexing as he carried my weight. In the apartment the guys bid us goodnight before Christian plops me onto the marble of the kitchen counter. We are finally alone, with Grace and Chris long ago relegated to dreamland.
“How are you feeling baby?” He’s playing it cool, the question casual while he turns to the fridge to pour us some juice, but I hear his carefully veiled tone of concern. It only takes a second for me to realize it’s another of those things that’s distressing to him only because of my past choices.
The ambient temperature in the apartment is pleasant, making my coat stifling. Unbuttoning it, I push it off my shoulders, letting it pool around me, and not caring for the fact that the dress rides too far up my thighs. It also buys me some time to think about what I can say to reassure him.
In the end I go with the truth, hoping that he can see I trust him enough to give it to him, “I’m fine, still annoyed that it screwed up our evening, but mostly, I’m just glad that it’s over.” Scrunching up my nose I wait for him to respond.
When he turns his eyes flash, raking over my body, first with annoyance then with heat as if a switch has been flipped, but he banks it, too weary of our run-in with the pap to unleash it on me. He hands me the glass and takes a long pull of his own before setting it down on the counter. I do the same, the tiny cells of orange pulp bursting on my tongue, reviving my mouth.
“Me too,” he says simply before skating the flat of his hands down the sides of my calves.
He wriggles his fingers into my shoes, pushing them off so they clang on the floor, “Silly, silly shoes,” he murmurs, scowling at them for hurting me.
Tenderly he positions my foot to rest against the defined mounds of his abdomen. It forces me to lean back, to support myself with my arms behind my back. With his thumbs he applies a gentle pressure to the swollen pad, massaging the bruised flesh back to life. I moan, loud and grateful, the sensation relaxing enough for me to forget about the pap and his intrusive questions.
“Do you like that Mrs Grey?” the grin on his wicked mouth says he knows that I do.
“Mmmhhhh,” I give him a throaty groan, tipping my head back in bliss.
He chuckles, evidently enjoying my reaction as he rolls every single one of my toes between his dextrous fingers. Like a woman starved for touch I shudder and gasp, taking a ridiculous amount of pleasure from his skilled ministrations. His hand moves to my instep, pushing into it with deep, long strokes before he moves to work on my heel. I don’t bother opening my eyes when he switches to the other foot, too caught up in the dreamy state of anticipation I feel for his magical caress.
“Maybe this dress isn’t so bad,” he rumbles in a low voice, making my eyes fly open.
The liquid heat in his gaze is fixed to the apex of my thighs; the nude scrap of fabric between my legs dampening at the sight, and open for him like an invite. He continues to knead the tired muscles in my foot, his firm pressure echoing in my core.
“So I can keep it?” I tease, my husky whisper punctuated only by my choppy breaths.
“No,” he replies darkly, concise, discarding the subject only to change it, “I want to see you. Show me.” Jutting his chin in the direction of my groin I flame, grasping his command.
Shifting my weight onto a single arm I hook my finger into the triangle of my panties, pulling it away to reveal the wet pink folds of my sex.
“Fuck,” he grits before swallowing, eyeing my freshly waxed lips. Slowly he leans forward, letting my ankle go so my legs dangle off the side of the counter. His hands smooth up my calves, curving in to settle half way up my inner thighs.
For a beat his eyes flutter closed. I watch his chest fill, expanding with a deep inhalation. I can hear the hiss of air flowing up his nose, “I can smell you baby.”
When he opens his eyes, the half-mast lids are weighted; drugged with need. The gritty need straining his voice is as powerful as any aphrodisiac, bursting through me with a searing jolt. I suck in a ragged breath, shuddering with the heady mix of oxygen and the tingles riding on the gruff sound of his baritone. I love nothing more than undoing him, tripping up the hold he has on his steely control.
After the pap encounter I was sure my sly scheme of seduction would have to be shelved, but seeing him now, I thrill in getting my way.
He adjusts the hard ridge stuffing the front of his pants. With a thready growl forced past his lust-tight throat, he uses the last vestiges of his slipping restraint to care for me, “Are you sure you want this Mrs Grey?”
Another wave of desire slams into me. That his primal urge is only overridden by his concern for me is an incredible turn-on, along with his gaze – unblinking, as his stare strokes my sodden opening.
“Yes,” I confirm on a breathy whisper, needy for the connection between us as much as I crave his reaction to me.
I barely catch his nod before he shoves my legs apart – roughly, then buries his face in my mound. My hips jerk, from the force of his ardent tongue, and from the electrifying sensation that darts right into my toes.
His hand grips my ass, shoving my behind closer to the edge of the counter, the other reaches between us, his thumb and forefinger parting my labia. His groan vibrates against my secret inner creases as he laves the sensitive flesh with hungry laps.
I catch a glimpse of the fine silvery ribbons of saliva and arousal that stretches between our intimate points of contact when he comes away from me, “You taste so fucking good, I just might come in my pants.”
With the heel of his hand he rubs himself over the taunt fabric of his suit slacks, like he’s trying to lessen an ache there. The storm in his eyes rage on; still fused to the wet cleft between the spread of my legs.
With one arm to support my weight, and the opposite’s hand baring myself, I’m trapped in my position on the counter, unwilling to move for fear that he might cease his current carnal appraisal. The slick glisten around his mouth is impossibly erotic; the blatant visual of where his mouth has been makes me feel rabid with want.
“Christian, please,” I mewl, unfulfilled my longing only deepens.
“Lean back baby, put your legs over my shoulders,” he coaxes in a low timbre that’ll have me doing almost anything.
Reluctantly I let my underwear go. I flatten my palms on the surface with both arms behind me, locking them before lifting my legs, placing my claves onto his shoulders. Christian grabs the sides of my panties, dragging them down. I lift my behind to help him ease off the scant barrier. I expect him to slip them off but when they reach his chest he stretches the elasticated scrap, lifting it over his head, effectively locking my ankles around his neck.
I watch a sinful grin spread over his face, “Now, where were we…?”
“Aahhh,” I grab a sharp, long breath, the feel of his wet tongue firing at my every nerve.
He rewards me with an answering sound, more animal than man, sending me ever closer to the core of the storm brewing at my centre. His left arm snakes over my leg to pin open my drenched lips, and the right comes from below, pushing into my empty hole. His clever finger drags along my tingling channel, igniting the sparks that will set off the fall. His licking grows stronger, faster – in time with my frantic heart I know he must be able to hear.
A series of thready O’s spill from my raw throat, louder and louder as the coil tightens. Christian senses my imminent surge, adding another finger he quickens the rip that will tear me free from myself.
“Now baby,” he mumbles against me, and on a louder moan I do, rapturing into a full body spasm.
He opens his mouth, sucking in the soft flesh surrounding my clitoris, taking it deep, he tugs, slowly, gently stretching it to hold me in the erupting moment of ecstasy. My head spins, stunned by the time I spend suspended.
“Mommy, what’s wong? Are you hurting?” Chris’ sleepy voice is like a sluice of ice, the sound innocently jarring.
Abruptly Christian’s hot mouth snaps away, leaving me cold and crashing from the ether, shocked at the two discordant moments clashing. I struggle to fight hysterical giggles as Christian tries to untangle himself from my legs’ hold, my restraining panties not cooperating with his need to break free. Mercifully our boy is behind me, not privy to the view of his dad’s tussle with my reluctant undies.
With as much measured tone I can manage I rasp what I hope is a reply placating enough to halt his progress around the counter, “Uhm, fine baby boy. Hold…, Hold on, mommy is coming.” I clamp my hand over my mouth to contain my snort, my word choice setting off another battle with the giggles.
My newly freed husband gives me a smirk. Wiping his mouth on his sleeve he strides away to intercept our son.
“Hey champ, mommy’s perfect. Why are you up?” Christian squats in front of him, his expression gentle, concerned.
“I had a bad dweam,” he declares, rubbing at his tired eyes.
“Aaahhh,” we both drawl, our voices thick with sympathy.
I slip off the counter, joining my guys, “Let mommy take you back to bed honey, I’ll lie with you for a bit.”
Chris nods, walking into my outstretched arms, “Such a brave boy coming to look for mommy and daddy after your bad dream,” I praise softly, thinking about the long walk down the corridor he made on his own.
I smooth his hair as he rests his head on my shoulder. He’s already so heavy; I doubt I’ll be able to pick him up like this for much longer. Catching Christian’s eye he makes an aaah cute face, his forehead drawing together with worry lines.
“Give me a minute to wash up. Will it be okay if I come?” His uncertainty reminds me of how little experience he’s had with Chris, his desire to do all of those things now- the fun and the hard things – such a potent sign of his willingness to be the best dad he can be.
“Of course,” I manage, smiling but barely able to speak past the emotion welling in my chest. “No one can keep bad dreams away as well as daddy can.”
Again our stares fuse as I watch an onerous crush of feelings shade over his face – from the hurt of his past he relived in his own dreamy hell to the hope he bears for our future – all on display when the history behind my words become apparent to us both. Together we swallow thickly, not needing any words for what passes between us, fighting to contain the sentiment painted memories that taint and colour our lives.
Chris lifts his head from its resting place to see what the holdup is, breaking into our trice.
Christian offers him a reassuring smile, “Wait up for me okay buddy?” He ruffles his hair before jogging away.
When Christian joins us shortly after, Chris’ little lids are already failing, heavy with sleep he lets go, turning into his dad’s arm when he slips in beside him. I watch the Hallmark picture of my son trustingly curled into the protective embrace of his father’s arm, the rightness of it striking me – the image beautiful.
Not one to let this treasured moment pass uncaptured, I head off to find my camera, blowing my husband a kiss as I go. When I get back, the picture is all the more precious with both my guys fast asleep. As I switch off the light I smile, shaking my head at my foiled attempt at full blown sex on the other day of every other day.
Saturday morning I’m yanked from my slumber by my rocking bed, and howl of delighted squeals. Opening my sleepy eyes I find my boy bouncing on the bed, jabbering excitedly about sailing. Behind him my gaze finds my husband looking smug, perceptibly pleased to be the source of his son’s joy.
“Mrs Grey, if you don’t get your delicious hiney out of bed I’ll leave my monkey here to torture you,” with a smirk he points to Chris who eagerly takes on the role of demented monkey, jumping around on the springy mattress, his monkey noises enthusiastic and way too loud for this time of morning.
I splutter, half laughing, half snorting at his turn of phrase, my mind making an unusual turn into the gutter, “Really Mr Grey? Hiney? And monkey?” I ask, full of mirth.
Wriggling his eyebrows at me, Christian’s grin turns dirty.
“What’s a hiney?” Chris interjects in between his primate calls.
It’s Christian’s turn to splutter, “Uhm…” his wide eyes fall on me, all but begging for help.
“Yes daddy,” I tease, enjoying his sudden fluster, “what exactly is a hiney?”
His stare grows larger; shocked that I’m messing with him, but mercifully it’s fleeting. Recovering quickly his mouth curves, taking it in the good spirit it was intended.
He lifts Chris off the bed, swinging him onto his hip, “I’ll tell you when you’re sixteen champ. All you have to know is that mommy has a great one.” He winks at me, and gives Chris a mock jab on his chin. “Let’s go wake-up grandma.”
“Hey!” I laugh after them as they turn to leave, “That, Mr Grey, is going to come back to bite you in the hiney!”
Christian’s parting chuckle and Chris’ whooping ring in my happy ears as I get up to get dressed.
In the SUV, on our way to collect Kate and Elliot, Grace recounts the previous night’s antics with Chris, her gaze glowing softly whenever she looks at him. Christian notices too, gently prodding me in the ribs with a proud beam when next she goes all gooey for her grandson.
Our meet and greet with Kate and Elliot takes much longer than we planned as we linger over coffee and pastries, catching up and generally grinning at each other like the happy fools we are for seeing one another again. Both their welcomes to me are warm, sincere, without a trace of the recrimination I know I deserve. It doesn’t surprise me so much with Kate as we’ve made our peace, but when Elliot hugs me, mumbling about how good it is to see me, I almost break down. Christian is quick to cover my back with his comforting, if not little possessive, presence, holding me to him with an arm across my shoulders.
“If you make my wife cry I’ll kick your ass,” he warns, for the most part good naturedly.
Elliot takes it in his stride, teasing right back with a cocky grin, “I’d love to see you try little brother.”
I watch Kate and Elliot’s interaction with Chris carefully whenever Mia is prepared to let him play with anyone other than herself. Now that I know the story of their struggle it’s bitter sweet to see. Apart from the obvious love, the longing is just as plain, twisting in my heart like it’s my own.
Chris is sitting on Kate’s lap, enjoying the attention, and the tiny pieces of pastry she breaks off to feed him. The two of them are adorable, like a mommy bird feeding a baby chick. Chris tilts his head back, waiting for her to put the morsel into his mouth.
“Mmmhh,” rubbing his tummy he smacks his lips in approval.
She laughs at his exaggerated appreciation, seeing right through his plan to get more, “Was that delicious?” She squeezes him around his shoulders in a you’re-too-cute-for-your-own-good kind of hug.
His face brightens, excited to share whatever suddenly occurred to him.
Sitting straighter he addresses us all, his little-boy voice clear for all to hear, “Daddy says mommy has a delicious hiney!”
The collective adult gasp sucks the air from the room as my saucered gaze swings to my husband’s. The blush I get doesn’t so much flush as it bursts across my cheeks, the flaming acute and mortifying. Agonising seconds pass in pin-dropping silence before erupting with deep, throaty laughter. Mia, Kate, Elliot, Grace, Carrick, even Christian is howling with it, streaming tears, and slapping thighs.
Christian leans closer, “Damn right,” he whispers, quickly nipping my lobe, thoroughly amused and enjoying the joke that was supposed to bite him in the ass.
The Grace is still magnificent, easily the biggest boat on the Marina, and fully restored from the vandalism she recently suffered. I push that unpleasant thought out of my mind as we board her.
Once Christian is satisfied with the safety checks, and Chris is strapped into his very own tiny life vest, he turns his attention to me. With deft hands he fastens and tightens the clasps on mine, making a low, humming sound when he tugs on the final strap. He presses a chaste kiss onto my lips, pulls back, then thinks better of it, and licks deeply into my mouth. My hands fist into the front of his sweater, his hunger fierce and unexpected.
He ends our kiss, looking at me with those mercury sheened irises that ooze desire, “Tonight Mrs Grey,” he purrs seductively, “and you owe me.”
I gasp, reminded of both our interrupted night and my impending ovulation. Goose bumps streak across my skin as tingles tease the ending of my nerves with anticipation. I can’t even begin to imagine what Fifty has planned for baby-making. Oh my.
I pin my lip with my teeth to curb the broad spread of my smile, “I do, and it’s a date Mr Grey,” I agree, knowing that his heat is reflected in my eyes. It’s very hard not to get excited for his sake. He wants this so much.
Out on deck the air is chilly as we prepare to get going. Kate and I get cosy in the deep upholstered bucket seats at the back of the boat while Christian and Elliot delight in taking Chris around, pulling ropes and shouting nautical terms over the wind.
With our threat still largely undefined, and the increasing attention from the press Christian is in no mood to take chances with our safety. Collins is accompanying us on the boat while Taylor and Carl follow us in the speedboat.
“I can’t believe we’re sitting here, talking like this,” I shake my head at Kate, giving her a shy smile. There was a time, not too long ago, where I believed that I’d never spend time with her again.
“Oh Ana, I feel the same! I’ve missed you, and he has too,” she looks to Christian, wistful for a moment before turning back to me.
I still find their friendship a novelty. It’s one of the few good things that came from my leaving.
“Don’t do it again,” she admonishes, carefully taking stock of my expression.
I leave my emotions unguarded, unchecked I give them free reign to bleed into my words. “I’ll never do it again. I regret nothing more than hurting him and keeping him from Chris.”
She narrows her eyes at me, a small V forming between her perfectly arched brows, “I mean it Ana. As your friend and your son’s godmother I will do you bodily harm if you so much as consider pulling a stunt like that again.”
I take a breath to answer her but quickly shut my mouth. Christian and I have never discussed the possibility of godparents. I blink, giving my head a small shake as I try to figure out what to say.
When the corners of her mouth twitch I laugh at her audacity, “Is that your way of volunteering for the position?”
She gives in to her smirk, “Maybe.” She bumps her shoulder into mine, “Whaddya say?”
My voice drops down to a whisper, suddenly stolen by my closing throat, “I’d like that very much.”
“Yay,” she beams, “run it past sir and let us know.” She gives me an exaggerated wink, nudging her head in my husband’s direction.
The reference to Christian’s Dom tendencies dissolves the lump in my throat, making way for a fit of giggles that we share just as we used to.
A comfortable silence follows, both of us watching the retreating shoreline, lost to our thoughts.
I turn to her when she speaks again, sad to see the glistening lines of tears on her cheeks, “We’ve been trying you know.”
There is no need for her to explain, instantly I understand that she’s referring to their fertility issues.
I press my lips together, taking her hand, “I can’t imagine how painful that must be for you. I’m so sorry.”
She wipes at the wet tracks with the back of her hand, expelling a long breath, “There’s hope at least. That’s what I wanted to tell you. Our news.”
I give her hand a squeeze, encouraging her to go on. In spite of the heartbreaking reality of their childlessness I’m touched that, after the long break in our friendship, she seems as eager as I am to pick up what we once had; sharing private confidences, relying on each other for support.
“We’ve fulfilled our contractual obligations for the project we were involved in abroad, so we’re coming back home to start out first round of IVF.”
“Kate!” I exclaim, “That’s fantastic right?”
She shrugs, “It’s going to be great to be back here, but I’m not so sure about the IVF.” From her look I guess that she’s lost a bit of the hope she claims to have.
“There’s no better place for you to be. You’ve got the support of your family, of Grace, of me,” I offer, hugging her close.
“Thanks Ana, I appreciate that.”
She fiddles with the hem of her sweater, quiet for now. I can sense how weary she is of the subject, and when she changes it I let it go – for now.
“Are you and Christian going to have any more?” If it hurts her to ask she doesn’t show it, instead she smiles warmly.
I gulp, wondering how to handle the potentially loaded question. Should I spare her feelings, be dismissive about our efforts, or tell her the truth?
Recalling her straight shooting ways I opt for the facts, “We’re trying at the moment,” I say carefully, gauging her reaction. I expect to see pain among the emotions in her eyes but it’s not there.
Her face splits with a huge smile, “That’s so awesome! Chris is a great kid Ana. You’d be mad not to make more if they come out like that.”
We laugh, “Yeah, he’s great,” I confirm, my mouth sliding into a wry smile. “A handful, curious…”
“Adorably inappropriate,” she interrupts, again bumping my shoulder playfully. “Isn’t that so delicious hiney mommy?”
Her teasing tone makes me blush, and I groan, covering my hot face with my hands, “You have no idea!”
She giggles, “What? What’s more embarrassing than your son talking about your backside in front of your in-laws?”
Debating whether to tell her, I peek at her from between my spayed fingers, “Mmhh,” I hesitate, already cringing with mortification.
She shakes her head, a comical, horrified expression on her lovely face, “Noooo,” she drawls, understanding dawning. “He walked in on you?”
I can only nod, blushing all over I bite my lip as I try to look beyond the shame to see the funny side.
She already does. Her laughter breaks, deep from within her belly she cackles delightedly, “Talk about coitus interruptus!”
The sound of her hollering with glee is infectious, making me snort, “It was more like lingus interruptus,” I chirp, no longer able to hold back my own amusement.
She laughs harder, “Oh no! Did you at least get to finish?”
We erupt into another round of hysterics with me laughing too hard to answer.
It feels good to laugh like this, with her and so completely. To have one of those hilarious moments where, even once the merriment dies down, it bubbles up the moment you think about it again.
Looking up we find Elliot watching us, clearly bemused, “I see it didn’t take you long to pick up where you left off.”
His gaze warms, seeing Kate enjoying herself, and it makes the strain of their fertility issues all the more apparent. We nod our heads, still spluttering but at least trying to maintain a shred of decorum.
“Arrr your captain has ordered you wenches to the galley. Your men demand hot beverages.”
We giggle at his mock pirate accent. We get up from our seats, and Kate steps into his arms. I leave them to have their cuddle, my heart warmed by their still strong connection as I make my way into the belly of the boat.
A few minutes later Kate joins me in the galley. As comfortable as ever we fall back into easy conversation, filling in the last five years’ worth of blanks.
“So,” she asks, something in the way she stretches the O sound, tells me she’s about to broach a more prickly subject. “How is the Red Room of Pain these days?”
I cough to hide my splutter. That’s Kate; I think ruefully, she always was direct.
“Shhh!” I admonish with a finger in front of my lips. I look around nervously, wondering where Collins is hiding.
It’s funny that she remembers the nickname I gave Christian’s playroom but I don’t really know what to tell her, “It’s closed. Very, very closed,” I say, giving her a meaningful quirk of my brow.
“Really?” her bug eyes betray her surprise. “Wow,” she breathes, “and are we happy or sad about this little detail?”
“Honestly? I don’t know what to think. I worry that he misses it, I wonder if he’s afraid…” my words fade out with a shrug of my shoulders.
“So what? It’s been plain vanilla with you guys?” She sounds disbelieving, and I can hardly blame her.
My cheeks pink at her indiscreet question, “It’s Christian,” I say as if that explains everything. “Nothing is plain where his uhm… skills are concerned. There’s been a little bit of kink but nothing like before.” I press my lips together, waiting for her reaction.
“Oh,” she says, looking thoughtful, “are you going to talk to him about it?”
“Maybe but I think I should rather do something about it.” Again I wait for her reply, eager to get an opinion on something that’s been bothering me for a while.
She nods, chewing on the inside of her cheek, “Yeah. I would too if I were you.”
Secretly I’m pleased with her answer. I do miss the kinky fuckery.
“We’re thinking of airing the BDSM laundry,” I blurt. I wasn’t planning on mentioning it, but it feels so good to have someone to talk to, someone I trust to give me honest feedback. I continue quickly, before I lose my nerve, “It’s like a sword hanging over his head you know? This constant threat of exposure.”
She doesn’t hide her surprise, “Shit Ana, that’s huge! How would you do it?”
“Nothing is decided yet but I was thinking high-end, glossy magazine spread. A cheeky article that plays down the hard edge of the scene, but puts the information out there.”
She whistles through her teeth, then speaks directly to my greatest fear, “I can see the obvious win here. To get rid of a potential blackmail threat would be priceless, but what about your marriage Ana? Do you think your relationship is strong enough to withstand the advances of women who would find that sort of thing irresistible? Is your self-confidence up to believing that your man will be faithful no matter who pushes their husband-stealing panties into his pockets?”
Thank you K for the quick response e mail grammar help! 😉
Be kind and review, please.