Lies, dripping off your mouth like dirt
Lies, lie in every step you walk
Lies, whispered sweetly in my ear
Lies, how do I get out of here?
Why, why you have to be so cruel?
Lies, lies, lies, I ain’t such a fool
-Lies – The Rolling Stones-
My world has tilted on it’s axis and the only person who can clear my thinking is the one person who doesn’t trust the Grey’s, my father. I need to know what he knows so after an hour or so of complete angst over what may or may not be happening in Ana’s room I pick up the phone and call him. He and Mom are staying at the Heathman, rather than heading home to Seattle. I couldn’t guarantee that this conversation would be private and this didn’t make me feel any more confident. He picks up on the second ring.
“Daddy? It’s me.”
“Katie, what are you doing calling at this hour. Did something happen on the way home?” For all his bluff and blunder, my dad is a caring father. His concern is some comfort.
“No everything is fine. I wanted to thank you again for dinner.” I am hedging, trying to build up to asking the questions I need to ask.
“Darling, your mother and I are so very proud of you and your brother. You did a brilliant job today. It was our very real pleasure to take you out and celebrate tonight.” I can hear the smile in his voice. Proud, is probably an understatement for how he feels. I often wonder if it doesn’t mean more to him than it does to me.
“Daddy, I need to ask you something.” Hesitating for a moment I gather my courage through a deep breath. Here goes! “I need to know what you have on Christian and Elliot Grey.”
I hear him exhale in a whistle. “To the point, huh?” I smile. “Kate, most of what I have is speculation and hearsay. Are you sure you want to know this when you have already invited Elliot to Barbados?”
No, no I am not sure but I need to know. “Dad, if there is something there isn’t it better that I know what I could be letting myself in for?”
“Oh, Katie, I don’t know. You are too invested in this boy.”
For a moment I think he is not going to tell me anything. We are both holding our breath waiting for the other to break. Then I hear a soft sigh.
“No Kate, what I will tell you is that I will back off this story until at least after Barbados and probably until you can sort out your feelings for Elliot Grey. I am not going to influence you in this but I will be watching him.”
“Dad, you cannot use this family holiday to dig into Elliot’s life. I won’t have you spending our holiday trying to trip him up. On the other hand if there is something I need to know then I want you to tell me. Before Barbados.”
“Katie, even I can tell your heart is committed already. If you want to know anything then you need to ask Elliot about his connection with Elena Lincoln and the Sirens Club. Ask him why the Grey brothers have been actively buying up shares in Lincoln Timber. Ask him about Christian’s juvenile record and how that might possibly be linked to a physical assault on Linc Lincoln six years ago. There is some tie up with all of this that I can’t prove and having met and done business with Christian a few times, I am not sure I want to. Not to mention the relationship we have with Mitchell, Wiley and Grey.” Shit, I had forgotten that Carrick Grey’s law firm represents Kavanagh Media. “But I will tell you this, Kavanagh Media are not the only ones digging into their pasts and if you care about him you might want to warn him about that.”
Shit! He has given me nothing and everything. After growing up in similar circles I know better than anyone that there is always dirt. Always something that you have to hide that has the potential to bite you on the ass. Christian Grey has more to lose than most so it wouldn’t surprise me if there were others who want to bring him down. Right now that is not my concern, Ana is. But how to phrase this.
“Dad, just tell me one thing. Do you have any evidence that Christian Grey has ever hit a woman in anger? Has he ever been accused of or charged with physical assault on a woman?”
There is a sharp intake of breath on the other end of the phone. “No. I can honestly say that he has never been accused of or charged with assault on a female.” There is hesitation in his voice and the next silence is speaking volumes. “Kate, he was there when Elena Lincoln was admitted to hospital after an aggravated assault six years ago. Eye witness accounts say that she claimed it was Linc who beat her but she refused to press charges. Christian brought her in to the hospital. Six weeks later Linc was assaulted in the car park of the Sirens Club but no one was ever charged with that either.”
Fuck. Was Elena covering for Christian? He would have been, what? 21 years old? He has a record of suspensions from school for fighting, I know this from my own research but by all accounts that stopped around the age of 15 or 16. Linc Lincoln was beaten up around the same time as Elena. Damn. Either he was her assailant or her avenger and I don’t really know which. Can Ana trust him?
Then Dad spoke again. “You might also want to ask him about Sirens. Your Elliot worked there eight years ago in the cover club. But that is a front for a special private membership club. Rumor has it that both Elena and Christian have been members of the private club for years.”
The reach of Kavanagh Media never ceases to amaze me and I wonder if Dad already knows about the BDSM stuff. I am silent while I process all of this information.
My Dad breaks into my thoughts. “Sweetheart, there are only a few things we can actually prove yet. As I said most of it is conjecture and hearsay. You are a smart young woman and I know you will make an informed decision but you are going to have to get the rest from Elliot.”
“If you trust me to do the right thing why did you warn him off?” I am concerned about everything that he is not prepared to tell me.
“Someone is drip feeding this information to us anonymously and they have been for the last year or so. Forgive me if I see the potential for fire when I am given the whiff of smoke. Your safety will always be my first priority and by approaching him directly I had hoped that Elliot would show his hand.”
“By bowing out gracefully?”
“Something like that yes. The fact that he hasn’t, that he is throwing himself into the dragon’s mouth by agreeing to come to Barbados, especially after our phone conversation, says a lot about the man. Either he has nothing to hide or he is colossally stupid. I’d like to think that you would be smart enough to know the difference. I am actually hoping for the former. But if I get a sniff that any of this is going to damage you then understand that I won’t hesitate to take him and his brother down.”
“Daddy, I know and I am being careful. Please just let me handle this. Give me some time. But tell me, how did you even know about me and Elliot. We had only been seeing each other for a such a short time.” I don’t want to admit to my father exactly how fast I am falling for Elliot.
“That anonymous source sent me a photo of you and Elliot outside the Heathman. It was pretty obvious to me from that photo that something was going on.”
Oh my God. Could the source be Jose? Even if this was the work of a spurned potential lover why would he be tracking the Grey’s for the last year or so? None of it made any sense. Why would he be doing this? And how could he be getting the information about their past?
After I say goodnight and promise to call before the move on Saturday I take my laptop to my bedroom. Dad has given me some leads and I have a mountain of research to do before I will feel happy about Ana. Jose might stalking the Grey’s but what possible grudge connection is there? Christian and Elliot also seems to be hatching some master plan to take over Lincoln Timber which amounts to destroying Linc Lincoln. Is this about his assault on Elena or is there some other motive? Christian has a violent past and there is a possibility that he was involved in the assaults of either or both of the Lincolns. Does that mean that he has the potential to be abusing Ana beyond a consensual BDSM relationship? Is Ana into BDSM too and how far is she prepared to let him go? Then it occurs to me, if Elliot worked at Sirens does that mean that he is into that lifestyle too and he just hasn’t told me yet? I have no idea how Dad has got hold of the membership and employment records but I don’t doubt the accuracy of what he has told me. Does this mean that Elliot is going to want to do this kinky sexual stuff with me?
The shock of that thought hits me in a sexual wave. Part of me is appalled and another part of me is deeply curious. What the hell is wrong with me? The feminist in me wants to recoil from it all in horror. The woman in me is turned on. Shit!
I lay awake for as long as I can listening for Ana. If she needs me I want to be able to get to her quickly, although thinking through some of my internet research tonight I am not sure I would recognize a ‘No, please don’t. Stop!’ from a ‘No, please don’t stop!’ and I wonder if there is a way I could find out what her safe word might be. Some time around 2am I drift off to sleep still in my jeans and t-shirt. My dreams are full of Christian and Elliot and they are both angry at me. It is unsettling and my sleep is both disturbed and disturbing.