One public face in a private Limousine
Flash photograph, it’s the only light you see
No secret life, there’s no secret you can steal
Your lips are moving but I will never know what they mean
Kiss and tell, money talks
And love, it burns
Kiss and tell, give and take
We live and learn
-Kiss and Tell – Bryan Ferry
“One of his subs?” Great, I’ve accidentally revealed yet another secret in the Christian Grey BDSM portfolio. Kate has that look that says ‘these fucking Grey men are doing my head in’ and I don’t really blame her. “Could you clarify for me what you mean by one of…?” Busted Grey! You big dork. She does the petulant but oh, so fucking sexy, hands-on-hips thing that seems to have become a permanent part of her repertoire since she met me. Made all the more sexy by the fact that she is completely naked except for having thrown one of my shirts on. Here we go, my hand goes through my hair as I try to find a way to answer her that isn’t going to cause World War Three.
“Fuck, Kate, I don’t know. According to Jason, there have been a few.” Trying for honesty here. I don’t really know how many there have been and I don’t want to know. Kate obviously does.
“Define a few, Elliot.” What you thought she would let you off easy? She wants facts.
“A few, I don’t know, more than 5 less than 50.” Shit, that sounds bad, even to me. Her eyes are like lasers aimed at me.
“Less that 50?”
“Way less. My understanding is that he has always been monogamous in these relationships.”
“So they weren’t just contractual…they were exclusive? Fuck!” What? What did I miss? “Do you guys have no idea the way that the average female mind works?”
“What does that mean? They would have all known what they were getting into. They would have agreed to it.”
“I am sure that they went into that way but you and Christian…you are two of the most eligible and desirable men on the planet. You ooze charm and charisma and so does Christian even when he is being a cold prick that just wants to rule the world. How long did he think it would last before one of these girls saw their ‘exclusive’ relationship as something more? Shit, I am calling Ana.” She marches back inside the room to find her phone muttering about morons and arrogant pigheaded men with commitment phobias. Oh no, Kate, not on my watch. I charge at her like a linebacker, pick her up and pin her arms tight to her body. She squeals and kicks her legs which only serves to press her butt suggestively against me and make me hard. Of course, she is only wearing my shirt so I was half way there already. “Fuck, Elliot, don’t be such a fucking adolescent. Put me down.”
I’m the adolescent. Shit, she’s the one who wants to leap in and do the BFF thing with Ana at the drop of a hat without thinking through the consequences. I never know if she wants to protect Ana or simply gather dirt. No scratch that, I know she cares about Ana, I am just worried that she keeps wanting to do this bull in a china shop approach to problem solving. We both need more information.
“Not until you promise not to call Ana.” I spit out through gritted teeth as I wrestle her away from the dresser where her phone is sitting in plain sight. Jesus, she almost got me in the nuts with that kick. Placing her on the ground I step away to preserve myself and she turns on me.
“No. If one of these women can get into his apartment then how many others will she have to deal with? This one obviously fell in love with Christian at some point and doesn’t want to let him go. Trying to kill yourself in an ex’s apartment is a pretty fucking loud cry for help. I need to make sure Ana knows what is going on.” She has a point, several actually, but give Kate an inch and I suspect she will take a few thousand miles.
“I will tie you up and lock you in the bedroom if you try, Kate. This is none of our business and Christian is handling it. He won’t let anything happen to Ana.” Will he?
“What? Like he took care of this other girl. And Gail? Was it Gail who had to look after her after she did it? Have you got any guarantee that Ana is safe? And what did you mean when you said ‘disappeared’? Who has disappeared?” Can’t think, must get Kate to calm down. Turning her quickly I slide an arm around her body, pick her up again and move through the room with her firmly captive against my hip. I start to gather items. A couple of bathrobe belts, the one from my jeans and a blue tie I from the closet. Throwing her down on the four poster bed, I trap her firmly against the bed. It only takes a few moments to get her tied spreadeagle to the posts while she hurls a steady stream of abuse at me.
“Well, now what?” Echoing my thoughts,she glares at me. “Are you going to beat me into submission? Isn’t that what Christian would do? You know if I wanted to date Christian I would have turned up to that first interview.” I scowl as I sit down next to her.
“You don’t fight fair. I am trying to protect you from yourself.” Her body goes very still as she stares at the canopy above the bed and seemingly concentrates on not moving a muscle. Now I get the silent treatment. Time to try and reason with her. “Are you going to let me explain?” She continues to focus all her attention at the ornate carving above her head. “For a start it is too late to call Ana because she is probably already in the air on her way back to Seattle. Secondly, Christian has got an entire investigative team out looking for this girl who disappeared after checking herself out of the hospital. Gail is shaken but fine. She has Jason with her and he is not going to let anything happen. She will probably go off to her sisters for the weekend anyway. As far as Jason can tell this girl is only a threat to herself.”
Her eyes shoot to mine.”If she is only a threat to herself then why does Christian need an investigative team?” Because he cares.
“I presume because he doesn’t want her to hurt herself. He must be pretty shaken by the whole thing happening in his apartment.” Kate processes this.
“So he cares for this girl.” Again echoing my thoughts but coming from her it becomes an accusation.
“Jesus, Kate, he is not a heartless bastard. Maybe he didn’t realize that this girl was invested in him emotionally but if it had happened to me I would care too.” Our eyes lock. Her mind is whirring behind that look, which only scares me. “You’re angry at me for tying you up, I get that. But you’re angry at Christian for something he can’t even help.”
“He slept with the girl; was in a relationship, however warped, with her. Tell me how is this not his fault.”
“Shit, Kate, it could have been a long time ago for all we know. Who is to say that some looney from your past isn’t going to come back and try to top himself to prove a point the moment I propose to you.” She gives me a startled look. “What, you don’t think someone might get jealous?’
“No, and you just…” She shakes her head with a secret smile. Yeah, you heard me. Her body calms and she looks at me. “Is there anything that we can do?”
“Maybe. Probably not. You could send a text to Ana, ask how her holiday to Georgia went.” I begin to untie her. Not that the thought of having her right now, half naked and tied to the bed doesn’t do it for me but last night was pretty strenuous and I am sure she needs a break. “Perhaps she might choose to call and then you would know she is alright. But if she does, babe, you are going to have to be careful not to let it slip that you know any of this.”
“Elliot, how long are we going to do this cloak and dagger, shit? At some point don’t you think we should confront them?”
“And say what, Kate? This is their private sexual life. Do you want me to kiss and tell? Should I go and tell Christian all about the different ways I have fucked you or how good you are at a blow job? Or how you enjoyed being spanked the other night and how creamy and wet you got just now being tied up?”
The blush goes from head to toes as I watch her. “Oh!” She almost looks contrite.
“Babe, just be careful what you say to her. In the meantime I might call my brother.” Rubbing her wrists she picks up some pants and does up the buttons the shirt before grabbing her phone to text Ana. I head outside to phone Christian.
“Bro, how’s it hanging”
“Hey, Elliot.” He sounds distracted. “What do you want?”
“Oh, nothing much, just thought I would check and see how you are? We had an incident here yesterday that got me thinking about Christopher and I just needed to hear your voice.” This part is true.
“Shit, what incident? What the hell happened?” I know he is worried that this is connected to his problems. It isn’t that he is so egotistical that it all has to revolve around him, it’s just that he lacks the confidence to understand that sometimes I just might simply need my brother. That there might be more to us than the fact we were adopted by the same parents. It hurts, but it is Christian and despite his quirks, I love him.
“Some kids got into trouble at the beach. Kate and I helped to rescue them. It just took me back, you know?” I have shared this part of my history with him before. Christian, better than anyone, knows that there isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t think about my mother and my brother.
“Man, I’m sorry bro. Kate helped?” Don’t sound so surprised.
“Yeah, she was fucking awesome bro. Didn’t think twice about diving in and pulling them to shore and then administering CPR. We saved this kid’s life and it felt fucking amazing. She is amazing.” So amazing and I wish you could see her the way I see her, bro.
I hear him exhale. “Wow, I know I shouldn’t sound so surprised but…I didn’t think she had it in her. I guess I underestimated Miss Kavanagh. So how is Barbados?”
“Oh, you know, beautiful one day, perfect the next.”
“And Kate’s family?”
“Great, really welcoming. They’re good people. Any news from the home front?”
“I have just got back from a business trip to Georgia so I haven’t spoken to the folks.”
“Oh, did you catch up with Ana while you were there?” I know you did, what will you tell me.
“Yeah, I took her soaring, she loved it.”
“Cool. How is she? Kate hasn’t heard from her for a couple of days.”
“Great, she will be back tonight. I’ll be glad when I know she is back safe and sound in Seattle.” Very telling, bro. “Tell Kate she is fine. I’m looking after her.”
“Oh, good. Yeah I will pass that on…Is everything okay? You sound stressed.”
“Fine, just a lot on at the moment.” The edge is in his voice but he won’t say more.
“I get that. You would tell me if there was anything wrong, wouldn’t you?”
“No, but thanks any way.” This fucks me off. I would tell him everything, share all of my problems and joys, and I do. Christian always plays it cool. Has ever since…no I won’t go back to that. Dead and buried.
“Okay, give my love to everyone…Laters, dude.”
“Laters, Lelliot.” And the use of that name alone tells me that his emotions are pretty fucking close to the surface.