When the visions around you,
Bring tears to your eyes
And all that surround you,
Are secrets and lies
I’ll be your strength,
I’ll give you hope,
Keeping your faith when it’s gone
The one you should call,
Was standing here all along..
And I will take
You in my arms
And hold you right where you belong
Till the day my life is through
This I promise you
Wed 8 June 2011
Three days since we left Barbados, five days since I spoke to Ana, one month since I first slept with Elliot Grey, Adonis, white knight and superman all rolled into one and five weeks since I last had a period. Fuck! I scramble out of bed and race to my bag to find my phone. Locking the bathroom door I sit on the toilet seat and check myself, then the dates, then myself again. Shit, fuck, shit – oh hell, I am never late. Never. In fact, almost too regular, oh God.
A knock on the door. “Honey, are you nearly finished, I really need to use the bathroom.” Shit, fuck, Elliot. Don’t say anything that will alert him. Oh God, oh God, oh God.
“Just a minute, babe.” In the four weeks that we have been basically sharing a room I have never locked the bathroom door on him. Never.
“You, okay?” So you go back to being a fuckin’ mind reader now, Grey? Fuck!
“Yeah, sure, just women’s stuff. You know.” Locking the door after the horse has bolted, Kavanagh? Stupid!
“Oh, okay, can I get you anything?” Pregnancy test? time machine? I don’t know! With a great deal of reluctance I open the door, after all a man does have needs. All I can muster up is a little wan smile as I clutch my stomach, not for the reasons that he thinks.
“Cup of tea?” The eternal solution to every problem. Isn’t there some sort of tea you can take that can …no, don’t finish that thought. He wraps his arms around me protectively, gently. If I don’t pull away now I am going to cry. Moving away from the security of his body I stumble back to the bed and lie down facing away from him.
“I’ll have a shower and then I will go in search of whatever you need. If you want to stay in bed today I can let Liana know that you won’t be in.” Tempting but no.
“I’m not sick or dead. A cup of tea will work a treat, trust me.” I can’t even look at him. Hopefully he will just think I get grumpy with it and leave me alone to think. No sooner is he in the shower then I throw on the nearest clothes, his, grab my purse and race down to the hotel foyer pharmacy. I gather supplies, three pregnancy tests and some tampons just to make it look good. Feeling like I have raced a marathon as I let myself back into the room in record time, undress and climb back in the bed before Elliot finishes in the bathroom.
“My turn.” I grab a pile of clothes, hiding a test kit underneath them as I cross into the bathroom. He walks out with a towel around his waist, looking fantastically sexy and starts to get dressed. Just as I am about to open the box he pokes his head back through the door. I quickly hide it behind my back as I turn to face him.
“Anything else you need, baby?” You, gone, now.
“No, I’m fine. Actually, some toast with marmalade would be nice. Something with ginger, it would make me feel better.” What? What the fuck are you rambling on about Kavanagh? I smile my little smile because quite frankly it is all I can manage right now. He frowns as if he knows something is up.
“Okay, I’ll be back soon.”
Three tests later and I have to admit the truth. Fucking fertile or what, Grey? I start thinking through my options. First to tell Elliot or not. If I do then what – he might freak and run or he might suck it up and propose. Neither has much appeal in terms of long term happiness. Either way sucks – being without him or trapping him into marriage and fatherhood. Not good. I could run away. I wonder how far I would get before he found me, damn caveman. Get rid of the baby. I always thought I would be a career woman first and children would be much, much later. Babies don’t fit into my immediate future and despite my upbringing I do believe in a woman’s right to choose. Right now, my Catholic sensibilities are telling me this is the wrong option for me. I personally, can’t destroy a life.
Oh my God, this is a life, inside me. I start thinking back through all of the stupid and unhealthy behaviors of the past few weeks and wonder how much damage I might have done already. At least I wasn’t pregnant the night Elliot abducted me from the bar but that lay back the other night? Not smart.
No nearer a decision I move through the shower as quickly as possible and emerge just as Elliot arrives back with a tray. He actually went and got this himself? He could have just ordered room service. Placing the tray out on the balcony he ushers me into a seat and begins to assemble the tea just how I like it. Oh God, oh God, what am I going to say? I need to talk to Ana.
My fingers are dialing her number before I can stop myself and I listen once more while her phone goes to the message service. Damn, damn, damn. I can feel myself getting more and more upset, knowing that now is not the time to cry. Elliot is watching me carefully as if I am some sort of wild animal that might suddenly turns feral and attack. He might be right.
“Babe, what’s wrong?”
“I …” Don’t lie. “I have been trying to get hold of Ana for days and she is not answering. I am really worried, this just isn’t like her.”
Elliot studies my face for a moment then takes out his phone and dials a number. “Jason…Elliot…yeah we’re still in Port-au-Prince. Listen, have you been keeping tabs on Ana? Yeah? Okay, can you talk to Kate, she is really worried. Thanks.”
I hadn’t expected this and I hesitate to take the phone. “Hello?”
“Miss Kavanagh, Jason Taylor, Christian Grey’s body guard.” Stating the obvious, Mr Taylor, but carry on. I take it Christian’s stalking hasn’t eased up just because he and Ana broke up.
“Yes, Mr Taylor, I know who you are.”
“Miss Kavanagh, things have been tense here the past few days, as you can imagine.” Tense, Jesus, what does that mean?
“Could you please explain? What happened between them?” And don’t hold back on me Taylor or I will break both your legs.
“To be honest, I don’t really know. They seemed perfectly happy in Georgia and then we had a situation back here in Seattle that we had to tend to…”
“The rogue sub that tried to kill herself.” I hear him gasp. “Has that situation been resolved?”
“No, it hasn’t, mam. She is still unaccounted for but we are still searching.” Fuck, Christian, what good is all that money if you can’t find one girl?
“I see. So what happened on Saturday to change things. Did she have something to do with it?” I have visions of Ana arriving at Escala last Friday night to see Christian in the playroom with this girl.
“I don’t believe so. Whatever happened between Mr Grey and Miss Steele occurred here at Escala and as far as I know no one else was involved. Things were fine on Friday evening and then by morning it had all gone sour.”
“But it has something to do with the playroom?” Another sharp intake. Elliot has told me a lot more than Taylor obviously expected. Good.
“Yes, mam, I believe that it did, although I am quite sure that Miss Steele did not sustain any long term injury.” Fuck, what about her broken heart. That could be fairly damn long term. “Miss Steele seemed quite resigned to her departure. I take it from the conversation I overheard and Mr Grey’s subsequent reaction that this was her choice.” Good on you, Ana.
“What was his reaction?” That fucker has probably taken up with someone new already. Or someone old. Bitch-face Elena springs to mind.
“Devastation. He took three days to surface. During that time he barely ate or slept although Gail, Mrs Jones, the housekeeper kept leaving him food. He simply shut himself in his study and refused to talk to anyone except our security expert, Welch. When he finally came out of his study on Monday evening it was simply to transfer himself to the office at Grey House. I don’t believe he has slept in his bed since Saturday.” Oh. Christian seems to be having the same response to this break up as I would. Maybe he and I have more in common than I thought and I restrain from giggling at the sudden vision of Christian in pink flannel pjs eating B & J’s.
“I see. Do you have any idea how Ana is? I can’t get hold of her on her phone.” Or the apartment phone, or her email.
“Yes, I have someone watching out for her.” WTF? “She started working at SIP on Monday as planned. However, she also does not appear to be eating very much and she does not look happy. Of course, we are basing that on observations only.”
“I see. Do you have any idea why she is not picking up the phone?”
“She left her computer, the car and phone with Mr Grey when she left on Saturday. I am guessing that she did not remove the SIM card and her calls may still be being redirected to the Blackberry.” Shit, the car as well. Oh, that makes sense. Typical Ana, the richest man in Washington gives you shit and you give it back on the way out the door. “Mam, can I be frank?”
“Yes, Mr Taylor, I wish that you would.”
“I don’t believe that either of them are happy apart. Whatever happened, and I am not going to justify Mr Grey’s actions if he is in the wrong, but it seems that they both need to talk about it so they can move on. To be honest, I have never seen Christian, Mr Grey, like this in all the time I have worked for him. Ana means something more to him than his usual … relationships. He needs to apologize to her for whatever happened but I am not sure how that can happen. I don’t know how to get them to talk to each other.”
You may not know how to get them to talk but I think I do.
“When I last had contact with Ana on Friday she was going to ask Christian to take her to our friend Jose’s exhibition opening in Portland. Do you know if she did that?”
“This would be Jose Gonzalez, the photographer?” I guess you have a file on him too.
“I don’t know if she did, why?”
“I am going to presume that she doesn’t have a car now. She won’t want to miss that exhibition. Perhaps Christian needs to make himself available to escort her to that. It is a long trip to Portland.” I can almost hear the cogs turning in his brain.
“Thank you Kate, I will make that suggestion.” First name basis now? Perhaps I have just earned his trust. If he is Elliot’s friend then that is going to be important. Then I just can’t help myself.
“Understand this Mr Taylor, I will have your privates on a plate if I think you are defending any action that could put Ana at physical risk. I know that you cannot stop any activities in the playroom without justifiable cause but..”
“I understand Kate. I really like and respect Ana. More importantly I see how good she is for Christian. I will do everything I can to protect her. Even if it is from him. And Kate, thanks for the idea.”
“Yeah, just don’t make me regret it, Jason.” I like you too, Jason Taylor.
After I hang up Elliot pulls me over onto his lap.
“Thank you, babe, you are incredible.” I don’t feel incredible. I feel vulnerable and stupid and completely out of my depth. The upshot is that I still don’t have Ana to talk to about my dilemma but now that I have had time to calm down I think perhaps that is a good thing. Elliot and I have come so far in the past two days. If we are going to go further then I can’t afford to be scared any more. Whatever we do next, we need to make that decision together.
“Elliot, we need to …” Just then Elliot’s phone rings.
“Hold that thought babe,” He slides open his phone. “Elliot Grey, speak. Yes, Sir…Shit…And we still don’t know for sure if it is him?…Yeah…Okay, we will be on the first flight back, I’ll let you know when we are getting in.”
My senses are on high alert as he hangs up. “What, what’s happened?”
“That was your Dad. There has been another series of emails. My parents have their annual charity event this weekend at Bellevue. The Coping Together Mask Ball.”
“I know that event.” In the past I would have given anything to be invited to it. “But what does this have to do with our stalker.”
“He or she seems to think they have some monumental shit on my family. There will be a lot of press at the mask. They are threatening to release the information on the night. Your father thinks we need to get back to Barbados.”
An idea comes to me. “Do you think this might have something to do with this sub? Maybe she is going to break the NDA.”
“You could be right. It does seem odd that she has chosen now to become a loose cannon, just when Christian has found Ana.”
“Surely she would know that your Dad will take her to the cleaners if she does. Maybe we should call Jason back and stop him from doing anything to help Christian fix things with Ana. It might need to wait until after Saturday.”
“I don’t know. If this, Leila, is going to physically threaten anyone it could be Christian, or Ana. And if it is simply a case of giving information to the press then it is going to look better if Christian and Ana can present a united front, don’t you think? Ana might be better off under Christian’s protection. At least if they are together Jason has a chance of keeping her safe.”
I think about this for a moment. Whatever this is there is a chance that we could catch this person on Saturday night. I hesitate to suggest the one thing I know Elliot will reject straight away.
“Should we call the police?” At least he is thinking about it.
“I am not sure they would act on this. It would require letting Christian know what is going on because I am fairly sure it would take his financial clout to get any action. Besides, I know Christian would want to keep this in house as long as possible. It is just the way he is.”
Understandable really. The police would likely need to know a lot more than Christian would be prepared to divulge. A rational person would not want to say any more than they absolutely have to.
“Okay, well, we are going to need a plan and I am going to have to do some research. Can you get Jason to email me everything he can on this sub? Between Dad and I we can probably gather more evidence than most people, maybe even Christian’s security team.” I can see the hesitation on his face. “Babe, please, if we are going to help Christian and protect your family then we need to work together. I might need more information about your past to be able to put the pieces of the puzzle together.”
“Kate, I don’t know. Why would you want to involve yourself in this?” He is scared, I can see it.
“Honey, do you trust me?”
“Kate, I love you, I really do but you’re a journalist at heart. I can’t just hand this stuff to you on a silver platter. You might not want to use it now but somewhere down the line someone will ask you to go there just because you are part of my family. I can’t put you in that position.”
I stand up and walk to the edge of the balcony and stare out at the town below us. I am drawing on every amount of reserve not to feel hurt by what he is saying. My automatic reaction in the past would have been to accuse him, to fight him, to shout him down. Breathe, Kate, let the logic kick in. If you have an emotional reaction you are going to get an emotional response and that won’t get you anywhere. Trust in yourself.
“Elliot, one day soon, I am going to be Mrs Elliot Grey.” Still a fairly big assumption but run with it, Kate. Make him believe in you. “I didn’t expect this in my life, I didn’t think I would meet you yet. But I have and I am learning how to accept what that means. Your family will become my family and vice versa. That means loyalty to you, to us first and foremost. I am sure that in the future I am going to be pressed to run with a story that could hurt the family. When that happens, you and I will deal with our response to that together. Right now, we need to do everything we can to find this source and shut it down.”
His arms slide around me from behind and he rests his chin on my shoulder. This is beyond sexual. This is forever and I am beginning to understand what that means.
“I love you Elliot Grey. And I am starting to believe that Christian loves Ana. So if we are going to get to that happy ending, we are going to have to arm ourselves for this fight. And if my white knight is going to ride in on his trusty steed then you can bet your ass that he will have his lady by his side.”
“I love you, too, Kate. Thank you.” Turning in his arms I place my hands on either side of his beautiful face. His eyes are sparkling and clear, seeing right into my soul. Very slowly his mouth grazes mine, our lips pouring all the emotion of the morning into that simple kiss. The electricity is still strong between us, a sexual pull that is strong and needy. But now there is so much more. I don’t need his touch to feel him. Not when his heart is wrapped around mine.
Pulling back from the kiss , we hold each others faces, breathing each others breath. I still have to tell him about the baby, and I will, but right now we have work to do. We both start making calls and packing our bags. Elliot heads to the bathroom to start packing everything up while I pick up clothes from the floor. Two minutes later he calls out to me.
“Babe, can you come in here a minute?” Distracted I walk into the bathroom to see him standing by the rubbish bin with a plastic stick in his hand. Oh shit! His face is a picture of complete shock but as I move further into the room his anger is palpable as he glares at me. “Is there something that you want to tell me?”