It’s not like I haven’t considered it, and if I’m honest with myself, the question is not about the strength of my marriage but rather my personal, emotional security within it. I know only too well how my perception of a situation can rule my thoughts and deeds, and it may very well have nothing to with reality.
I cock my hip against the galley counter, shame pinching my cheeks because I really can’t tell her that I am strong enough, “I don’t know.” With a puff of air I blow my bangs off my face, “I’ve no doubt that there’ll be some sort of backlash, but by the same token, he can’t keep living like this,” I make an all-encompassing gesture with my hand. “Reporters digging, hoping to find dirt that they’ll cast in the most unflattering, sordid light, who knows how many subs out there with little enough to lose from breaking a NDA. The impact of that on our lives will be far greater, irreparable even, than the discomfort I might endure at the hands of some over amorous female. At least this way we can control a lot of what comes out, and how.”
Kate chews the inside of her cheek, looking at me with her head tilted to one side, “I can’t fault your thinking Ana, and if you go through with it, it would be great if you could think about it as a way for you to make up for the past – if that’s what you need – but I think you may be underestimating the damaging effect a horde of admiring women can wreak on your relationship. All anyone has to do is plant a seed of doubt in your mind, and even if it’s untrue, wondering about your husband’s fidelity can only lead to more insecurity.”
Whoa! Damn Kate and her straight shooting ways.
Dropping my gaze I focus on stirring the mugs of steaming chocolate in front of me, “Do you think I need to make up for the past?”
“Oh Ana!” she sighs, exasperated. “No. I don’t, but I know you, and if you’re struggling with guilt, it’s a way for you to look at it you know? I just want you to think about it carefully. Stopping a threat, only to face it from another direction is pretty pointless.”
“I guess,” I mumble, feeling all kinds of foolish. I sprinkle the drinks with cinnamon, absentmindedly adding a dash of vanilla. “The way I’m seeing it, we’ll gain a lifetime of freedom from this particular threat whereas whatever happens around the time of the article, will only be temporary.”
“Hhmm,” she muses, obviously unconvinced.
With my thoughts on the subject as clear as muddy water, I drop it, asking her to give me a hand with the drinks.
Windswept, a little chilly and high on a day spent with loved ones we head home after dropping Kate and Elliot back at the Grey family home. Excited that they’re going to be around we make plans to get together soon.
On the backseat of the SUV, I cuddle into Christian’s side, his arm stretched along the seatback, “Thank you Mr Grey. That was a lovely day.”
He smiles down at me, looking relaxed, carefree even, and the sight of him in high spirits weighs in as another reason to do the magazine spread. How can his happiness not be worth any sacrifice?
He presses a kiss to my forehead, “It was,” he confirms, looking past me now to his drowsy son who may very well have had the best day of his life.
I giggle quietly behind my hand, turning to see Chris waging a mighty battle with his heavy lids.
A worried expression washes over Christian’s beautiful face, “Shouldn’t we try to keep him awake until we get home so he won’t miss dinner?”
I hide my smile, grasping the near disastrous proportions of a missed meal in Fifty’s book, “Even if we tried, there’s no fighting that.”
Both our heads cut back to watching our son. Not only has he lost the epic battle, but his head is slumped to the side, his little mouth gapes with the slackness of his relaxed jaw. He is as fast asleep as he’ll ever be, and I’m pretty certain that not even a trumpet blown in his ear will rouse him from his exhausted snooze.
“He ate a lot today, he’ll be fine,” I reassure him when I see the concern lingering in his ash colored gaze.
Not ready to shed his fatherly instincts just yet he keeps pressing, “But what about his bath? What if he gets hungry during the night?”
I touch his face, forcing his focus onto me, “Christian,” I breathe gently, “In case you haven’t noticed your son eats like a horse. Skipping a meal or a wash on occasion won’t hurt him, but if he wakes up when we get home, the yeah, we can feed and bath him before putting him back to bed.” I give him by finest mommy-knows-best smile.
Still unsure, he blinks, warring with himself. The way he loves and cares for Chris is so beautiful, so profound, but he’s adding unnecessary stressors to the already hard job of parenting.
“Hey,” I run the back of my knuckles down the sharp edge of his jaw, the short, spikey hairs grazing my skin in the most delicious way. “Rest is just as important as eating, and if he wakes up feeling hungry,” I shrug, then lace my fingers through his, “we’ll make him something, even if it’s in the middle of the night.”
The anxiety I thought a moment ago was going to be difficult to shift flees from his face. In its place a shadow of something else entirely graces his features, banishing any remaining air between us. The stormy grey of his eyes hardens with a gleam of desire so steamy I feel a wash of heat engulfing me. His unhurried, heavy-lidded blink is accentuated by the devilish curve of his mouth.
He shakes his head, slowly, deliberately, “No Mrs. Grey. There’ll be no interruptions tonight baby. Tonight every inch of that delectable body of yours is mine. I want to remember every second of knocking you up.”
His raspy voice slides over me like honey, the words seemingly waking every nerve and cell in my body. Oh my!
I finally remember to take a breath, I want to give him a sultry smile, but I only manage a squeak. Vaguely I think about cautioning him again, about keeping his baby-making expectations realistic but he sweeps it away with a whispering brush of his mouth. My lips part by their own accord, instinctively responding to their mate. With a quiet, deep groan he slants his head, slipping his warm tongue into my opening offer.
It’s one of those kisses, laden with intention and meaning, it’s searing, burning, melting, showing me every beautiful ounce of his adoration. Kisses like this are a gift from him, not a mere melding of lips and tongue, but a declaration. The firm press of his mouth, the sinuous stroke of his tongue, the possessive hand holding me to him, is all the ways he’s choosing to bare himself to me. Making himself vulnerable to support the words of love he showers me with.
I’m grateful for the SUV’s tinted windows when the vehicle jars us apart from the tell-tale jolt it makes driving over the speed bump at the entrance of Escala’s parking garage. I can only imagine the twisted kick the reporters would get from our backseat make-out session. I would hate for a breathtakingly beautiful moment like that to be sullied by salacious journalism for the sheer sake of it. I despise the way the gossip rags use a picture or a headline to imply something that turns out to be non-existent when you read the related blurb.
Blinking, my lips still tingle with the feel of the slow glide of his skilled mouth on me. I realize that we must’ve been at it for over ten minutes, and not once did he touch me other than holding me to him. This is his special Christian sexpertise skill, to engage me so completely I forget who I am; and where, not to mention the aching, dripping mess he leaves in my panties.
His knowing smirk is teasing, his lazy stare all but devouring when he mouths the word later to me. And it’s enough, as it always is, to drive me witless with need. I narrow my eyes at him, trying to recall if I saw anything in his baby-making research about an ideal time of day to conceive. My eyes dart to the SUV clock on the dash displaying 6:55pm, and for a brief moment I entertain telling him that 7pm is the magic hour for procreation, but Taylor steals his attention away from me.
“Sir, do you have time for a quick meet now?” He enquires looking back over his shoulder.
“Sure,” Christian replies easily. “Let me get Chris to bed, then I’ll meet you in my office.”
Taylor nods, unclipping his seatbelt, and we do the same. I undo Chris’ while Christian comes around the vehicle to pick him up. I watch him cradle his sleeping son to his chest, his gentleness belying his physical presence, and the strength of his beautifully muscled arms. I don’t think I’ll ever get enough of seeing the two of them together, of counting the ways in which he cherishes our child.
Chris doesn’t so much as stir when we put him into bed, or when I carefully take off the bulk of his clothes. Christian pulls up his covers, and we leave him with whispered good wishes and feathery kisses on his copper-brown crown.
With his arms banded around me from behind Christian walks me to the kitchen, “Mrs. Grey you’d better rustle up something for us to eat, you’re going to need your stamina,” he quips cheekily in my ear, the smile in his voice cocky.
Turning in his arms I arch a brow at him, “Barefoot and pregnant in your kitchen huh? Is that your game Mr. Grey? I should warn you that I’m not giving up my career to be a full time mommy,” I inform him with a grin, poking a playful finger into his hard pecks.
His laugh is rich and deep, humor lighting his eyes, “I told you before Mrs. Grey, I’ll take you any way I can get you, but there’ll be no negotiation on the pregnancy part.” Bending forward he flicks his tongue around the rim of my ear. He whispers, taking his time to enunciate each word carefully, “Maybe even more than one.”
“Ah!” I gasp, jerking my head back in shock.
With a chuckle and a wink he shows me how unfazed he is by my saucered stare. Eat, he mouths, then strides away, his gait that of a man who just got exactly what he wanted.
Ha! We’ll see about that!
Chunky cottage cheese, paper thin slices of honey glazed ham, and avocado with lashings of lemon dressing and freshly ground black pepper fills my rye bread open sandwich platter.
In a surreptitious bid to help Christian wrap up his time outside our bedroom sooner, I take the platter into his office to turn his meeting with Taylor into an eating one. Even though I’d like to stay and catch up with the information Taylor has garnered so far, I going to trust Christian to fill me in and rather use my time to titivate.
After washing the salt and the wind from my body, I brush my teeth and dry my hair. The flushed cheeked vixen looking back at me from the mirror is more than a little impatient to see how the night plays out.
Conceiving a child is monumental whichever way you look at it, but it’s something that seems to affect Christian on much more than just a physical level. The animalistic, alpha-male I shared my body with on Thursday night was a completely new experience for me. Sex between us has always been nothing short of earth-shattering, but it’s never been that raw, that primal. Mating is what comes to mind; his usual possessive streak taking on a whole new, primitive light.
In bed it’s hard to concentrate on the book I’m reading, my body still thrumming from his kiss as much as his promise. I all but jump out of my skin when he strolls into our bedroom looking delicious and cocksure. His grin is wolfish.
Leaning over me where I sit with my back against the headboard, he traces a line from my jaw to my ear with the tip of his tongue, “I’m going to have a quick shower baby,” he croons. “Think about me taking your body, pushing into you with every hard inch of me, then filling you with my semen. Think of you and me Anastasia, making a baby.” With a sharp nip of my earlobe he leaves me, smirking as he gives me a last look over his shoulder.
I feel lightheaded from holding my breath. If his intention was to change the rhythm of my heart he certainly succeeded, pumping my desire-thickened blood through my veins at double the speed. The heat rising to my cheeks makes me uncomfortably hot, my skin suddenly clammy. The slippery tissues between my legs contract, only heightening the sensation of aching emptiness there.
When Christian steps out of the bathroom I can add another reason to my list of why I’m in a slick, squirmy state. With only a towel wrapped around his lean hips, his torso is on full display, though what use the towel was, I’ve no idea. He’s still dripping wet, his skin glistening with moisture in the dimmed light. With a panther’s grace he pads across the thick carpet, every flexing muscle screaming of effortless sensuality.
My teeth tug on my bottom lip. I’m helpless, unable to tear my stare from his perfect male from. From memory I evoke the feel of his corded forearms under the touch of my hands, the dip that make up the divine join of his bicep turning into his rounded shoulder, the hollows that define the lines between the blocked muscles of his abdomen, and the twin indentations on either side of his hips, making a perfectly outlined V, like a sexy arrow pointing to a prize. And what a prize it is, already straining against the flimsy confines of the towel.
Christian catches me looking, “Mrs. Grey, do you see anything you like?” Turing he faces me head-on with his head inclined to one side, elbows bent he has his fists fixed to his hips.
I shake my head – slowly, contradicting the hungry look I know is burning in my blue gaze, “Not like Mr. Grey. Love.” I let my tongue linger on the edge of my teeth, drawing out the L sound.
I revel in the profound effect my words have on him. The soft gasp, the brief, startled flicker, flaming into something more as his eyes turn darker.
The blink of his lids grow heavy, lazy as his eyes meet mine, taking possession of me just like he would with his body. The connection between us is suddenly palpable, thick with our indelible magnetism.
I hear the hiss of the iPod dock as he clicks it to life with the remote in his hand, the sound suggestive, evocative. In my mind music is eternally bound to the start of so many scenes like this, but none as meaningful.
As the first stringing notes of Everything by Lifehouse pipe from the hidden speakers, I know that the playlist he selected tonight will be stirring and provocative, the deliberately chosen songs caressing my emotions like the loving touches we’re about to share.
Find me here,
And speak to me.
I want to feel you,
I need to hear you.
You are the light,
That’s leading me, the place,
Where I find peace again
I remain ensnared by his binding stare when he flicks the cover off the bed, tossing it aside. At some point in time I must’ve put my book on the bedside table because I find my hands empty, my fingers twisting in the sheet beneath me. The way he looks at me has the world and everything in it melting away. It’s just me and him on an ocean of pearly grey sheets. His towel follows the bedding, leaving him gloriously naked, the insignificant ice-blue silk of my slip the only barrier left between us.
From the far side of the bed he crawls to me, that predatory bearing unmistakable and oh-so thrilling. Not once does his gaze waver from mine, he hardly blinks. With forceful hands he grips my ankles. Opening my legs, he pulls me into the middle of the bed. He growls watching the fabric of my sleepwear riding up my body, bunching around my waist, and showing-off my pantyless state. He helps me lift my back off the bed, making quick work of ripping off my slip.
Seated on his haunches, between my splayed limbs, his head drops, and his full focus shifts to my bare mound. The intimacy is intense, almost unbearable. Every instinct tells me to cover myself, but I fight it, trying to lie perfectly still. After torturously long minutes he buries his nose between my spread thighs, taking a deep pull of my private scent. I convulse at the contact, my hips bucking into him.
When I open my eyes he’s poised above me, watching me shudder through the fleeting pleasure. He lets me feel his weight, the thick set of his rigid flesh trapped between our bodies as he supports himself with his arms at the sides of my head.
He settles himself back against me, satisfied with the skin-to-skin contact he runs his nose along mine, “Do you trust me baby?”
With just those words, need wrapped in a little fear whips through me, “Yes,” I promise on a scantly audible breath.
Now that he’s close my fingers tingle to touch him. Skating my hands over his broad chest, I do what I always do, commit each line and ridge to memory, feeding my senses with the details of him. Over his taut shoulders, as they take his bulk, I roam, marveling at how he closes his eyes, giving himself up to the sensation he used to dread. I love that he lets me, putting his plans aside for the moment.
When he opens his eyes I’m hit with the weight of emotion laid bare. The load crushing, forcing the air from my lungs.
“I love you,” he murmurs, his tone reverential, his voice catching.
I’ve known the soft glow of love in his eyes, but nothing like this. For a moment I wonder what’s changed, but then I remember my conversation with Taylor, at the hospital after Christian got shot. He said that I didn’t grasp the depth of Christian’s love for me. He implied that it was way more than what Christian allowed me to see.
If I wanted proof I was seeing it now, making me feel small and tall at the very same time. The bitter-sweet of watching his words come to life in his gaze is a powerful affirmation, and a horrid reminder of my stupidity.
“Christian?” I ask because I sense he wants more than just a return of that precious declaration.
He lifts a hand to my forehead, brushing back my hair, “For so long I wanted to show you how much I cared but I was too scared. Maybe if I did, things would have been different for us, but you’re here now, and you’re giving me this baby, offering me this unbreakable bond with you. I want to return the gesture Ana, to show you everything my heart hold for you.”
My eyes brim with tears, happy, overwhelmed ones that spill quietly down my temples. I smile, touched and so completely lost to him, “I love you too,” I all but choke past the dessert in my throat. Only the context of the moment makes the overused phrase take on the crater-deep emotions backing it.
With enough sentiment between us to last the length of two lifetimes, Christian slants his mouth over mine. He shifts his weight onto his elbows, lacing our fingers he locks our hands together. It’s so much more than just a kiss, we melt into each other. For the first time I understand what it means to become one with another.
By the time he lifts his mouth away from mine I’m drunk with sensation, high on the spirituality of wholly submitting to our union. Still unfocused, dazed our eyes meet, and in less time it takes to take a full breath of air, that achingly romantic trice brews into a storm. Something so vast, so powerful, a melding of lust, desire, yearning, instinct, hunger – all erupting into a driving force of carnal need.
With little time to compute what’s happening Christian has my wrists bound together and secured to the bedpost above my head. My blood that was sluggish moments ago with slow, syrupy contentment is now racing in my veins, lighting fires in its wake. My breaths are shallow and short, matching Christian’s urgent pant. My poor heart falters, skip-tripping over itself as it bangs against my ribs.
With a look as wicked at satan himself he nails me with a stare, “I’m going to kiss every inch of you baby. EVERY. INCH,” he stresses, “and then Mrs. Grey I’m going to fuck you into oblivion.”
I would gasp if I could, but my senses are stunned, my thoughts are scattered like the seeds of dandelion on a whim of the wind. I finally inhale when he’s hard body rises above me, the tight brown disks of his nipples hovering over my face as he sucks my ring finger into the searing heat of his mouth.
I squirm and moan, brining my knees together to squeeze my thighs, desperate for even the slightest release. My inner muscles clench, acutely aware of his torturous absence.
While I wriggle and writhe, twist and buck, mewl and beg, Christian makes good on his promise, every plea tripping off my tongue goes unheard. He kisses my palms, my wrists, licks his way up the insides of my forearms. He swirls his tongue and kiss along my bicep, my shoulder and lingers in my neck. He nips and kisses, groans in delight as he worships my skin, taking his fill of my scent and my taste.
Each touch stokes and slakes, driving desire ever higher, ever deeper, but it’s also insanely, tormentingly, erotically sublime.
From my neck he moves to my face, brushing, ghosting lips over my brows, my fluttering lids, my cheeks before he sinks his tongue into my mouth. I take his desperate plunder with relief, groaning into our kiss I feel like I’m drowning in the current of our joining.
It’s too much and it’s not enough. I die and am reborn. There isn’t an inch of me that isn’t aflame with need for him. As if he senses this, he restarts his sensual tour, but ads the slide of his palms over my needy flesh. Wherever his mouth is, his hands work in tandem, gently kneading, touching, squeezing.
My fist panicked thought, when his mouth hits the hollow of my throat, is that he’ll ignore my breasts, and for a second my muscles lock, jerking my body with a jolt. Looking up my torso he lifts his head, eyes as dark as I’ve seen them. There’s no smile, only the heart-stopping, raw want of my man’s slipping control.
He flicks my nipple with the flat of his tongue, watching me jar at the sensation, “I want to do this,” he rasps breathlessly, looking at my breasts with longing, “but you can’t come.”
I squeak a yes, marking my understanding but promising nothing. At this point I think a breeze in the air across my sodden slit will have me coming.
Mercifully his lips close over my neglected nipple while he holds the round swell in place, the fingers of his hand splayed wide. The other massages its mate, firmly plumping the touch-starved globe. On a cry I arch my back, relief and desire hitting my core with a quaking spasm.
“Christian!” I wail, “I can’t! Please!” My voice is a husky stammer, a thready whine.
I catch his gaze. He looks every bit as mindless as I feel. If the burning steel rod against my quad is anything to go by, he must be close to shedding the shackles of his control. I feel him rock his thick shaft against my leg, confirming my suspicion. In all the time we’ve been together I’ve not once seen him come close enough to losing it to need a stroke to tide him over. Knowing that it’s me, my body doing that to him is insanely arousing, pushing every hot button I have.
He takes a breath, gritting his teeth, seemingly regaining a bit of control.
“Ssshhhh baby, I’ve got you,” he soothes, lowering his mouth to my belly now.
I hiss, thrashing my head from side to side. The muscles in the legs stiffen; I would kick them if they weren’t pinned under his weight.
“Please, I’m so close!” I warn, almost sobbing.
He wriggles himself in between my legs, slipping his hands beneath me to cup my ass.
“You are so fucking wet,” he growls, digging his finders into the flex of my behind, but I’m already infinitely aware of the coolness in the crease of my thighs now that they’re spread wide. Teasingly he blows a soft stream of air over my drenched sex.
Like a stone dropped into a pond the rippling starts at my core, pulling my abdomen into a contraction.
“Unf!” The inarticulate sound is all I can manage against the barrage of sensation hurtling towards me.
Christian senses my impending fall, “No!” he commands, the word gruff and ragged.
I latch onto the authoritarian bite in his voice to pull me back toward myself while he eases the contraction in my belly with the heel of his hand, effectively rubbing it out.
He sits up, kneeling between my legs.
A wry smile tugs at his mouth, at odds with the wild, half lidded look in his eyes. “I think you’ve had enough Mrs. Grey,” he declares, taking in the sweaty sheen of skin, my frantic breaths, and flushed face, though his gravely grit betrays the cracks in his own restraint.
I gulp a reprieved breath, not revealing how close I just came to using my derelict safe word.
“Yes,” I whisper hoarsely.
With the ease of his fluid grace he hoists my legs over his shoulders. He takes an evanescent moment, leaning over me to untie my hands before fisting himself at the base of his stone-hard flesh.
“Are you ready baby?” he purrs, pushing the swollen crown just past my yearning opening.
If I had any fight left, I’d have given him a taste of my smart mouth just then, but I’m way beyond sass. I can only nod, bracing myself for the sublime penetration that’ll slake my quivering want. My hands curl around his wrists, steadying him on both sides of my head.
“Eyes on me,” he growls as he sinks into me, putting his weight behind the drive.
The incredible silky slide rips a craggy cry from us both, the primal satisfaction of being so connected, taken, possessed by the man that I love bolts through my very being.
“Jeez! You’re tight like this!” he grits through the clench of his jaw. His stare is locked to mine, fierce in its feral need.
If I was a step away from orgasm I race right back, verging on the very edge. Christian picks up his pace, fucking into me with pounding steady strokes. I watch lust tightening his expression, feeling the girth of his rigid shaft swelling with the load of his seed he so desperately wants to leave with me.
In this position, with him leaning over me, I get a delicious double drag of stimulation. With every thrust he grinds against the puckering pearl between the lips of my sex, along with the stabbing friction of his pulsing erection. In a matter of seconds I sense the telling clenches of the muscles in my slick channel.
“Not yet!” his voice is low, guttural but no less commanding.
My bloodless knuckles shake with the force of my grip as I concentrate to stave off my fall. I see the flare of his nostrils, his jaw locking in place. His eyes bore into mine, smoky and open he’s showing, sharing the lashings of pleasure shaking his body just as his soul. With a roaring growl that vibrates through my core, he comes. Yelling for me to follow, he bursts apart spectacularly, blowing into me his hot load.
Watching him sets me off and I fight to keep my eyes on him. I feel myself clamp onto his thick length, shuddering with the ever growing tremors that’s been threatening to jar my very foundations. Never missing a beat he keeps up the frantic pace of his pumping hips, and adds a thumb to the explosive button between my legs. Release pulses through me, my inner walls rippling, quaking with a searing, blinding delight. With a hoarse cry I shout his name, the vulnerability of the moment almost too much, too intimate.
Before I have time to regain my bearings Christian slips my legs from his shoulders, never breaking the join of our bodies, and guides us into the missionary position. Still hard he lunges into me with slow, measured strokes.
Just as my scattered thoughts regroup, coming to terms with the immediate start of round two, his mouth seals over mine. In sharp contrast to the urgent oral possession of earlier, with this kiss he pours his heart out to me, filling me up like he did with his sperm. With his body closely molded to mine he makes love to me, with me. Slow, romantic, passionate, all-consuming love, where neither his hands, nor his mouth, leaves me unattended for a single second.
Yes, I think, all but lost to the drugging sensations of his total possession. If ever there was a moment that was the perfect prelude to conception, this must’ve been it. If sheer desire and force of a husband’s will was all that was required I would so fall pregnant from this.
Thank you to the readers whose song suggestions I used in this chapter.
Be kind and review, please.