The searing connection of our lovemaking leaves us spent, panting when Christian withdraws, falling back onto the bed beside me. Dissatisfied with even the smallest distance between us he pulls me into his side, fitting me to his form. He kisses my head, but the gravity of the moment doesn’t lend itself to words. When our racing breaths slow down I catch him staring at me, his expression still baring the enormity of what we just shared.
I sense the weight of it around us, he’s overcome, so touched that it moves me to tears, but it’s the last thing I want to do. Affected as I am myself, I feel it should be an utterly happy moment. I smile, doing the only thing I can think of to lighten the mood. From beneath my head I grab the pillow, watching him, watching me, his eyes turning bemused as a little frown forms on his brow. Lifting my pelvis I shove the pillow beneath it, elevating my hips just like Christian’s collection of baby-making websites explained to do after sex.
I sink my teeth into the kiss-swelled fullness of my bottom lip, fighting the giggle trying to escape when his look turns to surprise, my own amused face telling him that I know all about his little illicit baby-making searches. After a fleeting second of bewilderment a sheepish grin cracks over his face.
He shakes his head, chuckling, “You got me.”
I give in to my welling giggles, letting them spill, relieved at seeing the ever mercurial shift of his emotions, “Baby-making research eh?”
Propping himself up on his elbows, he hovers over me, looking smug, “Uh-huh, I wasn’t about to let this opportunity slip through my fingers.”
Before I know what’s happening he captures my wrists, pins my legs with his and tickles my sides.
I squirm and yelp, giggling uncontrollably, “No! Stop!” I snort, trying to roll away from his persistent fingers. The gleam in his eye alone is proof that he’s enjoying himself way too much to stop.
“Stop!” I squeal again. “I’m trying to make a baby here!” Finally, with my eyes streaming, he relents to my breathless protests.
He lets go of my arms, his hands coming down to cup the top of my head, breathing hard, looking young and carefree and happy, “Yes,” he whispers, “and I can’t wait!” He nuzzles his face between my breasts, “I want to hold his tiny body against mine, looking into his face to see which of our features I can pick out. I want his tiny hand to curl around my finger. I want to watch the first time you hold him close, helping him latch onto you. I want to see Chris’ reaction to getting a lifelong friend, a brother.”
Moving words from my excited husband, but despite the beautifully romantic notion, and his absolute enamourdness with the idea, my mind just can’t help hearing the repetitive he in his words.
Reaching up, I run my fingers along the side of his handsome face, choosing my words very carefully, “I’m excited too. I want to share all of that with you, and Chris and our families, but there’s an equal chance that this baby, when I do conceive, might end up being a little girl.”
Even though he hides it well, the change in his pallor gives him away, “I know,” he says a little too forcefully, giving me the impression that the idea of a daughter might scare him. “Or her,” He corrects himself, his hard swallow audible as his Adam’s apple bobs up and down.
I give him a reassuring smile. We have time, I think. Once I’ve conceived and we learn the sex of the baby, he’ll adjust – hopefully.
Sunday is a deliciously lazy day for us, just the three of us spending time together. Christian is impressed with Chris’ progress on the piano, and I enjoy listening to them while I prepare our lunch. Only by the late afternoon, with Chris engrossed in an animated movie about a red racing car, do I get the opportunity to ask Christian about his meeting with Taylor, but I regret it the moment I do.
Sitting on the breakfast bar stool, his whole body stiffens, just as a black thundercloud settles over his head. Making sure that Chris is out of earshot he looks back over his shoulder before turning his serious gaze to me, the slate of his eyes take on a steely shade.
“All the staff from the Bellagio we could interview checks out, but there are two that we can’t seem to track down. For now, that’s a dead end if it doesn’t bring us closer to finding out who leaked the fact that we were there and to whom.”
I nod, my mind taking in his words, but I sense there’s more to his story, the change in his demeanor not equal to a problem we’ve been having a while. I wait, watching him war with himself about spilling the rest of the beans that has him in such a tense mood.
Fusing his inscrutable look with mine he pushes both hands through his hair, “Josè is playing hard ball with Chris’s paternity change.”
My stomach suddenly feels like it’s filled with lead, like the fingers of a ghost, dread creeps over my skin.
“But you are his father,” my thready, breathless whisper speaks of shock, and the fear I’d like to shove back in a box and forget about.
“Yes,” Christian agrees evenly, his complete focus on me, gauging, measuring. “He’s not going to let us change Chris’s paternity details without putting up a fight, and seeing that he isn’t really the father, that he’s never made any contribution to Chris’s upbringing, it’s very clear to me that he’s doing this to deliberately agitate an already volatile situation.”
The muscles in my belly closes around the lump of lead it holds, “Have you spoken to him?”
“No, he’s still out of the country but he’s enlisted a lawyer to waste our time,” he grits with no small amount of irritation. “The fact of the matter is he doesn’t have a leg to stand on, but Georgia’s laws require the consent of the named father for the change of paternity, and my subsequent adoption of Chris. He seems to be using this to complicate things for us. Once the paternity has been proven, the paternity order has been issued, and considering the background of the case – that you were divorced at the time of Chris’ birth – no judge will disallow the change, but his protest will slow things down considerably as we now have to go through a lengthy legal process.”
I know I must be pale, probably sheet white as I stare at him in shock and shame, “Why would he do that?” As the words leave my mouth I realize, deep within myself, that if what Christian just told me is true, then Josè is almost certainly our mystery perp.
Worry lines wrinkle his brow. Rounding the counter he’s quick to draw me into his arms, pressing my head to his chest, “I don’t know baby, slated, jealous, resentful, whatever the reason I want to be crystal clear on something.” Cupping my shoulders he pushes me back, staring into my watery, blinking eyes, “You will have no contact with him what. So. Ever. No-thing,” he enunciates slowly. “I will handle this.”
By his tone I figure he’s come to the same conclusion as I have, but I can hardly hear him properly, the sound of rushing blood in my ears jarring and loud, drowning out almost everything but the screams of recrimination in my head.
Unwilling, unable to make sense of it all just yet, I make a poor, last attempt at dispelling his news, “But I thought you said that the process of changing Chris’s name was almost complete.”
Again he holds me to him, tightening his arms around me, comprehending my reasons as well as the levels of my distress, “It should have been a simple matter, especially considering that Chris bears your last name – not his – but his contention has… complicated matters.” It’s easily the understatement of the year.
I am shattered, devastated at the implications. Until now I didn’t quite grasp how large the part of me was that still held onto the belief that Josè didn’t have this in him.
“Don’t go there baby,” he warns, sensing my withdrawal, the crush of my guilt. “In this, I’m just as guilty as you are. I refuse to let you dwell on something that’s done.” With both his hands slipping into my hair, he lifts my head, boring imploring grey eyes into me, “Don’t allow this to hurt us baby. Nothing’s changed, all the ugly is out in the open. I’m not going anywhere, no matter how complicated shit gets, and you sure as hell aren’t either,” he tells, no, commands me.
Gratitude is just one of many emotions washing through my overwrought system right now as I take in his point. We had our suspicions, and now they may very well be confirmed but it doesn’t change anything. Flynn and I have touched on the pointlessness of guilt so many times in the past weeks that I feel myself compelled to make an effort to let it go, and rather focus on fixing it.
Working my thickened throat into a swallow I nod, disconcerted, but at the very least hoping that I’m strong enough to withstand the inevitable storm. This whole thing only reiterates how important it is for us to air Christian’s BDSM laundry.
“I don’t want to hurt you or us, but you must know how sorry I am. I know you don’t want to hear it, but please, just tell me you know.”
“I know,” he breathes quietly, brushing away the stray strands that’s escaped from my hair tie, and in that way of his, where he always knows to say the exact right thing, he does, “and I know that I would do all of this again, have it happen just as it did, if it meant I could have you for the rest of my life.”
My inner goddess and subconscious swoon then faint while I stare wide-eyed and speechless at him. How did I ever get so lucky? My heart slows down; the gravity of his words, combined with his sincerity is undeniably powerful and oh-so healing. Words of thanks gush into my mouth but they jam there, a sticky, sweet mess that I can’t begin to express.
Tongue-tied, I’m forced to go with something simple, “You are a wonderful man and I love you. More than I can possibly tell you.”
By his answering beam I can tell that, for him, I got it right. He’s so easy to please, so easy to love. Literally throwing my arms around his neck I try to echo my words with the crush of my body. Long moments pass before we break the hold of our embrace, touched but smiling, gazing into each other’s beaming faces.
“I want you to do the BDSM fluff piece,” I blurt, surprising myself.
Instantly his face turns stony, “If this is the guilt talki…”
I press my finger to his lips, shushing him, and shake my head, “It’s not. It’s the best thing for us.”
He regards me for what feels like ages before he speaks, his voice quietly measured, “I don’t know baby. I would rather risk every cent and deal, every share and portfolio before I risk us.”
I rest my palm on his chest, feeling the reassuring pump of his heart, “And that is why you are so precious to me, precious enough to want this threat gone. Once and for all.” Even I’m impressed with the solid sound of steely conviction in my tone.
He covers my hand with his, holding both of us close, “Let’s discuss it, and when you have the full outline of the plan the publicist suggested, and you still feel you want to go through with it, I’ll do it.”
“Okay,” I agree, “sooner rather than laters baby.”
He grins at me giving him his own line, “I have something that will fill that smart mouth of yours Mrs. Grey.”
My girlish giggle turns to a blushing one when his eyes darken, scorching and sinful, his lids growing heavy.
With his thumb and forefinger he pinches my lip away from my teeth’s nip. Looking back over his shoulder, he chuckles quietly at Chris staring at the TV screen with rapt attention, no doubt thinking about our interrupted kitchen counter encounter.
“Hhm,” he hums, “better hold that thought for later.” With his bristly chin he nuzzles into my neck, scraping against my soft skin with the stiff hairs.
I shiver, momentarily trapped by my thoughts caught in a reel of flash-backs featuring my handsome husband.
“Let me show you the publicist’s proposal,” Christian’s clipped, professional voice reconnects me to the moment, leaving me blinking, watching his back as he retreats.
I shake off my little fantasy, and try to brace myself for the details of the plan.
A trice later He places his laptop on the counter, and pulls me to stand between his legs as he takes a seat on the stool.
He rests his chin on my shoulder while he explains the plan, “Obviously the details were kept to a minimum, but this is the plan he came up with.” He taps the screen, opening a document. “The idea is to start the campaign with a small blurb, something in a main stream, large publication like FHM magazine. They could do a spread on famous Doms, just a paragraph per person, and would feature me as one of the celebs.” He makes air quotes around the word celebs, earning him a nudge from me in the ribs. Much as he’d like to avoid it, the world is fascinated by him.
“Ouch,” he teases, chuckling, rubbing his ribs before continuing on. “This will create a perception that though it might not have been widely known; the information was available to those who went looking for it, not some big secret.”
I nod my head, already seeing where this clever path is headed.
“Then a high-end publication, something like GQ,” he kisses my temple, presumably because I suggested it, “would pick up the story from there, and run will a full two or three page spread.”
“I like the idea of putting the information out there, in a small bite first, before rolling the whole thing out,” I say, trying to wrap my mind around all the possible angles.
“Yes, I do too. He also suggested that I include you in the article with GQ, to keep it clear that I’m into married kink now.” Lacing his fingers with mine, he brings up our arms to just below my breasts, hugging me to him. I can hear the smile in his voice.
“Married kink huh? As opposed to kinky fuckery?” I tease, turning to face him. “The ol’ ball-and-chain holding you back huh?”
His smiles his breathtaking, panty melting, full HD smile, “Can’t think of anything I’d like to be held back by more Mrs. Grey.”
I can’t help the answering beam splitting my face. His joy is like sunshine to me, “Well then, I’ll be happy to hold you back as much as you like.”
With complete disregard to our son sitting not twenty feet away he kisses me, taking my mouth with the warm abandon of his velvet stroking tongue.
Groaning he comes away from me, “What you do to me Mrs. Grey,” he breathes in the low timbre that announces his arousal.
For a minute we stare at each other like fools, caught in the spell of our mutual love before a little voice pipes up with a request, “Mommy can I have somefing to eat?”
Though I’m flustered, Christian takes it in his stride.
Smiling he scoops Chris up with a strong arm, “Hey champ, what would you like?”
Chris’s face lights up, the unexpected treat of unrestrained choice piquing his interest, making me laugh because I can see what’s coming, “Ooh, Ice-cream, and crunchy chocolate balls, and chocolate sauce, and milk,” he informs Christian beaming, thoroughly pleased with his selection.
Christian splutters, shocked, and fast realizing his mistake. Stumped he looks to me, his expression arranged in a silent plea for help. It’s adorable.
“Or,” I say, playing up my enthusiasm, “I can make us all pink milkshakes!”
Chris sucks in a breath, weighing up his options before clapping his hands delightedly, giving in to the allure of his favorite smoothie that’s a million times healthier than his choice, even though he’s blissfully unaware of the substantial calorie trade he just made. Wriggling he jumps from Christian’s hold then heads back to his movie.
Christian cock’s an amused brow at me, “Milkshakes?”
I smile, “Strawberry smoothie, but don’t tell him that,” I whisper, jerking my head in Chris’s direction, giving him a conspiring wink.
He laughs, slapping his thigh, “Ah. Good one Mrs. Grey. Good one.”
After the loud wiz of the blender I pick up the thread of our discussion, “So what would the GQ article entail?”
“Naturally an interview. He suggested a very similar outline to your idea, a lighter piece, humorous, focusing on the kinky fun. He insinuated that it was almost fashionable to be associated with something quirky.”
Cocking my brow, I rake my teeth across my lip, “Quirky?”
He holds up his hands in mock surrender, bemused, “I’m just repeating the conversation.”
“And will I have to answer anything or just go with you?” I ask, pouring our drinks into glasses.
“The interview will definitely be with both of us contributing, as well as an accompanying photo shoot. Something spicy,” he says with a smirk before it drops off his face completely, looking at me, “but not too spicy. You’re mine.”
In these moments were he reveals his vulnerability, I melt. I want nothing more than to soothe his concerns away.
Walking around the counter I take up my spot between his thighs, liking my fingers behind his neck, “Yes Mr. Grey. Yours.” When I see his features settle I take the moment to call Chris to collect his drink before sitting on the stool opposite Christian.
“So interview and photo shoot,” I scrunch up my nose at the idea of posing for a photographer.
“You’ll be stunning baby,” he reassures me, “and yes, that’s pretty much it. Then the proverbial cat will be out of the bag.”
I nod, mulling it over, “So no mention of the past, Elena?” I ask carefully.
Weariness shades his features, “No. Absolutely not. How you feel about this is the most important consideration for me, and second to that is the complete certainty that this interview will not lead to further digging into my past.”
For me, apprehension is never far away when this topic is on the table, and already I feel it now, tightening my stomach in a knot. “How can you be certain?”
A dark look flickers in his eyes, “Taylor and I have had a look at the possibilities, from all angles, loose ends, everything we could think of, even my adoption records. The truth of the matter is that there are really very few people that know the whole story, and all of them, bar Elena, are close enough to me never to betray my trust. My early childhood neglect; and the subsequent adoption are already well-known facts that have been researched to death by many reporters. They aren’t going to dig up anything else about that time in my life.”
“Okay,” I say evenly, “but what about the subs, and Elena?”
“Apart from what was stipulated in the contract, I never shared any personal information with them. They wouldn’t even have known about my touch issue, never mind the why. Everything they were and weren’t allowed to do was in the contract, no questions asked, no explanations given. As for Elena, she stands to lose too much to betray me, and what she can be considered as a crime.”
I regard him for long seconds, amazed that he’s come to that realization, before resuming my role as Devil’s advocate, “How would you handle the issue of you breaking the NDA where they are concerned?”
“I’m not breaching the NDA by saying that I’ve practiced consensual BDSM, only if I name them would there be an issue of breach, and obviously I’m not planning on doing that.”
“Ah. Of course,” I say, feeling a little silly. “What if a sub steps forward, offering an expose, a glimpse into being your sub?”
A wry smile tugs at the corner of his mouth, “Well, apart from coming down on her with a ton of legal bricks, what can she tell them other than that I played Dom, which by then will be common knowledge?”
Wow, he really did think of everything.
Nibbling on my lip I offer him the last question that weighs on my mind, “And how do you feel about discussing this with the parents?”
Dropping his gaze he looks at the counter, toying with his glass, “It has to be done. It will be way worse if they don’t hear it from me.”
Knowing him I can sense his insecurity, that ever present fear that their love for him comes with strings.
Reaching over I join our hands, making him look at me, “Christian, they might not like the idea very much but nothing about you has changed, you’re still the son they know and love. I’ll bet everything I own that it will be no big deal.”
“You seem certain,” he mumbles, the plaintive look in his eyes is haunted, breaking my heart.
I call on every ounce of confidence I have to give him a reassuring smile, “I am Christian. Absolutely.”
When he says nothing I fill the silence, knowing that for now, that subject is closed, “I like the plan Christian. You have my approval and my encouragement. I want you to do it.”
With the reporters still hanging about as well as all our security issues we chose our time away from home carefully, only going out when necessary. On Monday I meet my Pilates instructor, a woman of course, that gets patted down and searched by Cindy who is doing well on her first day trailing me. Chris’s piano teacher gets the same treatment, though I don’t miss her admiring glace at the young, trendy rocker.
By Wednesday I feel the walls of the apartment closing in on me, and I decide to take Chris to the GEH day care, and arrange a meeting with Julie. It’s great being in my office again, getting to know the other people that work for Grey Publishing, and of course to run things by Julie, face-to-face.
Straight after our meeting I get stuck into my work, making the changes we’ve just discussed and generally enjoy being on my own without the distractions that come along with working from home. Cindy is keeping vigil from my office door, she’s pretty unobtrusive, and considering the peace of mind it gives Christian, I’m happy for her to be there.
A knock on my door steals my thoughts away from the plot of my book.
Looking up I find Derek hovering, “Hello,” I smile, motioning for him to come in.
His black hair is shiny as silk, his bangs long, artfully arranged in fingers, like a raven’s wing, over his forehead. His green eyes always look mischievous, like he knows something the rest of us don’t. His prominent nose adds to his features, adding character and making his face unmistakable masculine.
He grins, “Good morning Ana. It’s good to see you. Julie mentioned she had a meeting scheduled with you. How did it go?” Instead of taking a seat he walks to the window behind me, looking out onto the city.
Swiveling in my chair I face him, “It went well thank you. She always manages to wheedle more from me than I think I can give, but so far, she’s been right pushing me and my tidy little comfort zones.” I smile despite myself.
He chuckles, looking over to me, “She’s the best,” he quips, his tone holding a clear note of admiration. He turns his head back to my spectacular view, “I love watching the rain over the city,” he informs me, indeed looking lost to the sight.
“I know what you mean, there’s something so… renewing about rain.” My gaze follows his, watching the rivulets race down the glass. “Oh, how did your date go?” I ask, remembering the end of a previous conversation.
In a gesture of exaggerated despair he put the back of his hand to his forehead, groaning, “You don’t want to know!”
I giggle, “Can’t be that bad! Is this the woman you met at the gym?”
He takes a few steps back, resting his butt against the edge of my desk, his legs stretched out before him, and his arms crossed over his chest, “Yep, that’s the one and it was that bad! She brought a photo album featuring all her nineteen cats in various outfits that she had made them. Even the male cats were dressed in frilly frocks. I felt my nuts shrivel just looking at them.”
I splutter, shocked by his blatant remark but also laughing, shaking my head, “Noooo!” I drawl conceding, “That’s bad.”
He huffs, “I could still handle the cats but she spent the whole night complaining about her mother. She must’ve told me countless stories about how they don’t get along, and what she says, and when she calls…”
He’s lament is interrupted by a clearing throat, drawing our attention. Looking around we find Christian filling my doorway, his imposing form dwarfing the space from his size and his stature. Impossibly handsome in a charcoal suit, hugging him with the bespoke lines he favors, the jacket of which is currently buttoned up.
He’s wearing his impassive look, the one I’ve come to recognize as his inscrutable mask.
Without waiting to be invited he strides in, holding out his hand to Derek, “Christian Grey,” he announces, his tone cold, measured.
Derek all but jumps off my desk, turning to face his boss’, boss,’ boss, “Mr. Grey,” he takes Christian’s proffered hand, looking a bit flustered. “What an honor sir!”
I watch the exchange, narrowing my eyes at my sexy, overbearing, jealous husband, speculating on the serendipity of his visit, “Christian, it’s lovely to see you. What brings you by?”
With that sinuous grace of his he closes the gap between us, before wrapping his palms around my shoulders, planting a firm kiss on my startled mouth, “Does a husband need a reason to come and see his wife?”
Oh boy! I’ve no doubt that he’s laying on the Alpha male act. The only question in my mind is how he knew there was a man in my office.
I would like to thank Susan and Debs2000 for their invaluable help with the name changing/paternity legislation! My story is also available on my blog in Italian and Portuguese, see my profile for the link.
Be kind and review, please.