To be completely honest
It scares me to imagine
What life would be without you
And for this very reason
I ask you to forgive me
For what I’m putting us through
Although there are so many things
Against us, I’ve decided
That I’m not giving you up, no…
Thinking back, I see what we have
Is something different
I think we’ve known all along
So how fair would it be
To divide this love’s existence
Between what’s right and what’s wrong
And you, always wondering if we’ll make it
Time will tell you
That I’m not giving you up, no, no…
We’ll find a way to be together
However long it takes, wherever
If it means having you for only a moment
A moment just might be enough
I’m not giving you up, no
No I’m not giving you up, no
Screaming in the silence the promises we’ve spoken
Come back to haunt me, false and broken
Quiet desperation to see we’re lost forever
Searching for water in the desert
No, I refuse to have to do
Without your kisses
I’m not giving you up, no, no
We’ll find a way to be together
However long it takes, wherever
If it means having you for only a moment
A moment just might be enough
I’m not giving you up, no
No I’m not giving you up, no
No I’m not giving you up
An hour later we are at the treehouse. James has put Liana back on a plane to Haiti so it is him, Karen and Jen in attendance along with Ethan. I am seriously wondering about his relationship with Mia given he seems to spend so much time away from her. Once we are all sitting down I begin.
“As you all are aware, Elliot was drugged in a bar last night. I don’t believe that this was some random event. I believe that this was intentional but it may not have been intended for Elliot.” The collective group murmur starts and Elliot sit with his hands clasped on the table in front of him, obviously unsure of what to think or say. I am not sure I could explain my certainty about this except for the fact that after our conversation last night I know that Christian also believes that it was meant for him.
“I am not sure how connected these two events are but you all need to know that last weekend I was approached at the Iconic Club opening by Linc Lincoln.” Elliot’s head shoots up and I catch the look from James. Karen and Jen look shocked and confused. Elliot’s fear is evident. “He threatened me with physical violence to both Elliot and myself. He said he would take the surveillance tapes to the police if I didn’t help him gather information on Christian.”
Fighting not to give too much away I try to school my facial expression. This is a moment to talk, really talk, that is why have gathered us all together. Suddenly I wonder at the wisdom of this decision as I sense Elliot’s exhaustion. Not only is he still recovering from the effect of the drugs but I think he is fighting depression. None of this is going to be easy for him to take and he is going to need to know that James is fighting in the same corner with him.
“What sort of information Kate?” Hopefully, my eyes are conveying that later I will tell him about the marks on my neck. I want him to hear everything that happened with Linc but not now.
“He mentioned something about a shipbuilding yard in Asia. He wants to know the details. I’ve been doing a little snooping but I can’t make sense of what he wants it for unless he is looking at either buying a shareholding or negotiating a supplier contract. I need to talk to Christian to know what his interest is. If he is going to buy it then Linc might want to get in first. If he is only negotiating a contract then I don’t know how he could get any benefit from it.” I look at James. Once more a look passes between James and Elliot.
“It wouldn’t be the first time that he has preempted Grey business with taking over a supplier contract.” James’ voice is bitter with a memory that Elliot has never bothered to tell me. Perhaps it didn’t seem important before. Now it is.
“What do you mean?” I look at James but Elliot replies.
“When we were first starting out we got a fairly big contract to build some townhouses in Vancouver. It was a big deal for us and a good result would encourage more lucrative developments. We went into a subcontracting agreement with a prefabricated frame company so that we could get everything done on time and on budget. We made our targets but a year after the build was complete the frames started to warp. The framing company had purchased materials from a South American based company that was owned by Lincoln Timber. The materials were not only substandard, they were illegally harvested from threatened rainforest areas in the Amazon. Since the build was all in Canada we couldn’t sue him under US law and we copped the losses on repairs and replacement.”
Yet another reason to hate the man. “His business ethics stunk. We were under no obligation to make the repairs with anything other than materials from the same company. We chose to sever all ties with Lincoln Timber and a lot of other development companies came with us. Linc took a hit on that deal which just adds to the reasons why he hates us and Christian.”
“Why Christian?” Kate asks.
“Because in the end it was Christian who bailed us out. He took a chance and bought the framing company. It paid off for him but Linc will have added this to a long list of his transgressions.”
“Kate, has he contacted you again?” Ethan hasn’t said much until now but I know he will be concerned for my safety.
“No but I am not sure that last night wasn’t a warning. I don’t know if it was Linc, I don’t know if it was intended for Elliot or for Christian but I don’t think we can rule out that it was an attempt to intimidate us.”
“What can we do? I can’t imagine that Christian is going to give us any information.” Jen is handing out beers. Elliot declines but I take one. When I look at him he is frowning and I am not completely sure if it is because of the conversation or the beer.
“No, you’re right. Nor should he. But I wonder if we couldn’t fabricate something that might appease Linc.” I take a swallow of my beer as I glance around the group gaging the reaction to my idea.
Ethan looks at me for a moment before asking,”How long do you thing we can hold him off with a fabrication, Kate? At some point he will work it out and then he will come after you harder than before. Elliot, can I ask how much your father knows about any of this?”
“Nothing. We were barely speaking when I worked at Sirens. Plus I was trying to protect Christian while he was getting back on his feet.” James gives Elliot a look that says ‘stop right there’ but I’m already on to it.
“Back on his feet. From what?” Since we are opening the lines of communication again, Grey, you better come clean.
“I told you before that I started working at Sirens to get money to bail Christian out of trouble.” I nod my head. “It happened twice. Once with a fight when he was a teenager. He beat up some kid at school. Elena helped turn the behavior around but I had to pay off the parents of the other kid. The second time was when he was at Harvard. Elena was across the country and he went off the deep end with alcohol again. He found another student, a girl to sub for him. No one is completely sure what happened and the girl wouldn’t talk but she was found tied up and beaten in a motel room. Jason and Gail were over in Boston at the time. Once I got him bailed, they swooped in and paid off the girl. He never knew where it came from. He seemed to think it was Elena and to her credit she talked him down off that particular ledge when it came to leaving Harvard or being kicked out.”
“So he didn’t really drop out of Harvard?” I can’t believe this. Jesus, Elliot, and you say that Ana is perfectly safe with him?
Elliot frowns at me, “Kate, both were unusual and volatile situations. He was young and out of control and feeling totally isolated from family. Jason never believed that Christian had anything to do with it but all the circumstantial evidence pointed to him.”
“Not now.” The harshness of his voice surprises me so I back down.
Ethan steps in. “Guys, I know you don’t want to do this but one of two things has to happen here.” All eyes turn to look at him. “You either need to talk to Christian and get him to supply enough genuine information to hold Linc off or sink him. Or…” He pauses for effect and scans the room. “Or we need to talk to your father and find out the statute of limitations on this assault evidence.”
“What do you mean?” This has never occurred to me. Why has this never occurred to me?
“Well, he never pressed charges the first time right?” The question is directed at Elliot who nods. “So if it has been a few years, what is the statute of limitations on reporting an assault? Plus if he has had the tapes all of this time is there a chance that he could be prosecuted for withholding evidence?”
“Fuck, Ethan, how do you know all of this?” Elliot runs his hand through his hair. It is clear that he has never thought about anything other than not crossing Linc’s path.
He shrugs. “I read a lot of crime novels.” I feel stupid for not thinking of this. If Ethan is right then Carrick or any other lawyer could have advised him of this a long time ago. Elliot looks almost humiliated and my heart aches for him. The problem with dealing with an issue like this from the inside is that you don’t always see the forest for the trees. All these years it must have been all they could both do to just keep a low profile where Linc was concerned.
“Listen everyone, you are all welcome to stay the night but I think Elliot needs to get to bed. He is still feeling the effects of last night.” Karen starts clearing up the empty bottles and Jen gets everyone organized to stay. Elliot and I take Zeus out for some fresh air and then we go up to the bedroom. He is in bed by the time I finish in the bathroom.
I hand him some more pills. “Are you feeling okay?” His weakest smile is still the sweetest part of my day. He nods and sets about swallowing the pills. I can see that his headache is still bothering him. I just hope it will calm down enough for him to sleep. Instead of getting changed immediately I sit on the edge of the bed. “Baby, a lot was said tonight and you don’t have to act on any of this. You know that don’t you.”
He looks confused. “Kate, Linc has threatened you, he hurt you and on my watch. I am so sorry. I was so caught up in my own pain that I…” The tears come along with the fear that he has been sitting on since I first told him what happened. I know what he is thinking. That is three times now that I have been directly under threat, twice that I have been physically hurt. His hand grips the sheets and in his anguish very nearly rips them.
My arms are around him in a second and I hold him while he sobs. “Sweetheart, this is not your fault. And we are a team, we do this together. It could have been you he hurt, in fact after last night we don’t know that he hasn’t hurt you. Elliot, this has to stop. For the sake of our family. We need to talk to your Dad and get some proper legal advice. Then I think you have to seriously consider telling Christian. We keep trying to go it alone and it’s not working and I can’t live without you.”
He looks up at me. “I don’t want that. I don’t want to be without you. I feel like we haven’t been a team since the miscarriage. I never needed anyone the way that I need you, Kate.” I can see that he is on the edge of a precipice here. Any strength he thought he could draw on has slowly been whittled away. I won’t let that happen. If he can’t be strong then I am just going to have to be strong for both of us.
“Baby, I’m here. I never left, not completely. I’m sorry I haven’t been what you needed but we’re going to get through this together. I promise. Just promise me that you will think about talking to your Dad.” He nods and I lean in for a kiss. His lips are magical, so smooth and soft against mine. My hands are in his hair, gently massaging his head, to try and help his headache. Slowly I push him back down on the bed. “Sweetheart, I want to give you some sweet release. I would love you to come but I don’t want to do anything that will make you feel worse right now.” Hopefully he can hear the longing and logic in those words. My Elliot. Everything I never knew I needed.
“Babe, come to bed and hold me. I need to feel your body touching mine. That is enough tonight. I just want to breathe you in.” I remove my clothes and slide into the bed with him, my body naked and warm snuggled into his and for the first time in weeks he falls asleep without sex or alcohol. And for the first time in a long time there are no dreams. At some time in the night we both wake, lying still and looking through the skylight at the stars.
“Can you promise me something?”
“What is it babe?”
“If this doesn’t work out. If I end up going to jail. Promise you won’t wait for me.”
I prop myself up on one elbow and look at him in the darkness. “I can’t promise that.”
“Listen, hear me out. I should have walked away from you at the beginning. Once everything started to go wrong. It was selfish and unfair of me to expect you to stay by my side through all of this. I know that. It’s just that I love you so much that I couldn’t let go. But if it all goes wrong, you need to move on. Having you for this brief moment in time is enough. I will always have this.”
I grab his face and feel the moisture on his cheeks. “Elliot Grey. You are talking like you have lost already. You are not going to lose. Linc Lincoln is a bully and a thug and I will not let anything happen to you. Do you understand me? You’re mine. Always. No matter what.”
But for the first time in my pampered existence I am aware that words just might not be enough.
Guilt is insidious. It enters my body on sneaky feet and leaves heavy footprints all over my skin. I cannot believe that I am living this double life and living it so badly. My boss, a nasty piece of work who thinks that my having any kind of internship is tantamount to nepotism, is a despot. She rules with an iron fist with the expectation that we will never question her edicts. Discussing her with Dad is completely out, it would open me up to suspicion at every level of Kavanagh Media. Somehow I have to reconcile myself to what she wants me to do.
The expectation that my connections will beef up the stories is so wrong. To my mind it should have meant that I spill on the people that I had gone to school with, grown up with and known all my life. Instead, I am expected to dish the dirt on the Greys, Christian and Ana in particular. To make it worse About Town is about to be combined and syndicated with the San Francisco and Portland papers that KM owns. Which is why we are out again at another charity dinner scouting the crowd for contacts.
Grace and Carrick are here along with Christian and Ana. Mia and Ethan are seated with my parents on the opposite side of the room but it won’t be long before they all gravitate to each other. Elliot is holding up the bar, again, and scowling every five minutes at Matt. As if anyone else on this planet would hold any attraction for me except him. I figure I have about five minutes of debrief time with Lisa before I need to go back to my post. No one must never know that I am writing this stuff, most of all Elliot and his family.
“The de Costa’s have just got back from France. The rumor mill is that they ran up some exorbitant bills in a hotel in Paris and then skipped town. See if your sister-in-law knows anything about them.” Trying very hard not to be pissed off, since neither Ethan nor I are actually married yet I raise my eyebrows at her.
“Ana?” I try to act innocent but she looks at me impatiently.
“No, Mia. She was in Paris while they were there.”
“For heaven’s sake, Paris is a big city. Do you really think she would know them?” Lisa is nice but she comes from a small town and still has a small town mentality.
“They were at the same hotel that she was working at before she graduated from her cooking school.” Oh, this is news to me. Lisa is tapping her foot with her arms folded across her body. “Really, Kate, you are going to have to lift your game if you want to survive in this business. You’re the one who is supposed to have all the contacts.”
All of my spare research time has been trying to find anything to satisfy Linc. A week without word has got me jumping at shadows. If I am not doing that I am helping to plan the wedding of the century which is also the best kept secret of the century. Christian and Ana don’t want anyone to know the details which is great except that I suspect Mia and my mom would dearly love to get more publicity out of the event. Mia has been talking about making this stint in event planning a more permanent gig and I have to admit she would be pretty good at it.
Matt, tall, gorgeous, body to die for and a killer smile steps in to break up the argument. From the corner of my eye I see Elliot straighten himself away from the bar with a hostile look on his face. Not now, not here. I place my hand on Matt’s arm and push him away.
“Lisa, we’ve talked about this. I can’t keep drawing the Greys into the middle of every scandal. Can we please find another source?”
“Kate, sweetie…you were born into privilege and with privilege comes great responsibility.”
“Stop quoting movies at me, Lis.”
Her eyes go hard and cold. “You have a job to do Kavanagh, and nobody gets a free ride. Not even you. Jeannie is riding my ass on this one so I am going to ride yours. Get the fucking information or we both get fired. Capiche?”
Almost on cue Mia comes bounding over with a huge grin on her face. “Kate, God, this is so boring. Thank goodness you are here.” I love Mia, I really do, but she seems perpetually bored. I have never seen anyone flit about so much. She is so unsettling.
“Hey Mia. Great to see you too. You remember Lisa and Matt?” Mia looks at them without losing a hint of her smile.
“Sure, how are you guys? Ready to go have some fun.” Ethan approaches, touching her arm before continuing on to join Elliot at the bar. “Hey, babe, get me a Sex on the Beach will you?” Mia all but screams after him attracting the attention of the crowd. She glances around innocently and shrugs while Ethan cringes. “What? I’m thirsty,” she says to no one in particular and everyone within earshot.
Lisa steps closer to us. “So Mia, were you in Paris at the same time as the da Costas.” I half expect to see her take out a notebook and start writing. Not a very smooth way to elicit gossip I would have thought, but what do I know, I’m just an intern.
Mia looks in the direction that Lisa is indicating clearly recognizing the people at the table two away from us. “Oh, yes, Paula and Stefan. They were guests at the hotel. Nice people but I don’t know them very well.” Mia looks set to turn the conversation back to making an escape when Lisa continues.
“I heard they were having a little financial difficulty.” Her shoulder is pressing into Mia’s as she tries to redirect her attention. It looks ridiculous since Mia is a tall statuesque 5 foot ten without heels and Lisa is a midget.
Mia glares. “I wouldn’t know and I wouldn’t discuss it if I did.” Good for you, Mia. I smile at Lisa who looks set to smack me in the face. After excusing herself as politely as she can Lisa storms off dragging Matt with her. My eyes follow them as they approach their designated table, Lisa thumping down in her chair in a petulant huff.
Mia pulls my focus back to her. “The cheek of some people. It is not as if she is one of us. Of course, I know damn well that Paula has been steadily emptying the bank accounts since Stefan was caught with the pool boy. He thinks they are trying to reconcile. She is working around a heavily rigid prenup that would have seen him get half of her personal fortune. She’s not stupid.” This is exactly what Jeannie has been hoping for. Lisa is a great writer, a really good reporter and researcher but limited. I on the other hand have doors open to me that Lisa couldn’t even dream about and the very thought makes me cringe.
Elliot and Ethan join us offering just the distraction I need. “Come on, babe, let’s dance.” Taking his arm as he leads me on to the dance floor I feel some security in his touch. Turning me under his arm I rotate out and then step into his body to begin the rumba. Stepping back as he steps forward, our hips synchronize in sensual figure eights. I want his hands on my hips but he keeps his arms fluid maintaining a perfect frame. Finally he traces a path up my sides from my hips to my armpits raising my arms as he goes. Crossing my hands over my head he turns my body away from his, opening my arms out as we both step our left legs across our bodies, and step and step. His hand takes mine and I lean out from him slowly reaching my hand into no man’s land before he snaps me back into his body with a roll that wraps me firmly in his arms. The back of his hand traces down my cheek as I press my ass into his groin feeling the beginnings of his erection stirring but before I can enjoy the moment too much he quickly flicks me into a spin away from his body.
Now we are attracting attention as other dancers pause on the dance floor. Even Ethan and Mia grip each other closely as they gaze our way. We repeat our entire pattern to the other side but this time when he turns me away from his body he moves in close behind, allowing me to swivel sliding down the length of his body. My hands grip his strong muscular thighs for balance and I make sure I have full contact with him as I slide back up with his assistance. His arms wrap around me, his breath on my neck.
“Naughty girl, Katie.” A tense whisper that heats my skin and makes me smile. I throw his arms open and walk away in a slow, quick, quick, slow toe lead, my short flared cocktail dress hitched up as high on my thigh as I can get it without revealing my g-string. Elliot is left doing a slow ball change on the spot in the corner as he watches my ass gyrate away from him. I know that no one else can see so I flip my skirt and give him a flash of ass cheek before bringing my feet together. I mark time as he moves towards me, one strong arm wraps around me and takes my opposite hand, flicking me out in a spin that continues under his arm three, four, five times, carefully controlling me all the way. Pulling me back in close our movement comes to a complete halt, a moment of suspension, our eyes connected, breaths mingled, bodies touching from chest to thigh before he steps into a lunge. I arch back as he slides me into a dip, supporting me in his strong arms. I feel safe, sexy, loved, needed. My Elliot. My head goes back and his tongue licks my neck making me groan before he quickly brings me back up on the last beat of the music.
Around us other dancers have paused to applaud and I don’t know if it is for us or the band. Nor do I care. My hands are on his face, his tongue is in my mouth and his hands hold my waist firmly. I know he is itching to grab my ass and pull me in close but he is fighting for control. I grab his hand and we leave the dance floor almost racing to the exit door. We find ourselves in a service corridor near the kitchen but nobody bats and eyelid. We move through the labyrinth of heat and noise before finally finding another exit that leads into another darker corridor. A recess in the wall is all we need.
Finding what we are looking for he pushes me up against the wall and presses his lips hard against mine. His hand slides up my skirt finding my g-string and ripping it away before plunging his fingers inside me. “Fuck Katie. You are always so wet, so fucking wet.” He groans into my mouth his tongue invading my mouth.
I bite down and suck on his lip and grind myself against his hard cock while his fingers continue to work me into a frenzy. Anyone could come through here at any time and it heightens my excitement. My hands fumble on his zip, struggling to get him free of his trousers. His length is heavy and hard in my hand as I begin to pump him from head to base. It is too much and I sink to the ground, taking him fully into my mouth. Sucking hard along the full length of him I follow with one hand while the other cups his balls, squeezing gently. He is watching.
“So fucking perfect. I love watching you suck my cock, Katie. You look beautiful. So beautiful.” I scrape my teeth along his shaft and he lets out a hiss. Following this with long licks I taste the drip of come on my lips. I create a little saliva to mix and moisten him thoroughly, sucking deeply again. He throws his head back as if he is near completion. Then suddenly he has lifted me up and is thrusting his tongue in my mouth again, tasting himself.
“Turn around.” Immediately I do as he asks and he presses is cock against my ass. My skirt is up around my waist as he flicks his fingers over my clit and pushes into me. We have been working up to ass play for a while but he doesn’t try to penetrate, he just plays at thrusting into my crack and I want him so badly. His voice is in my ear as he licks my lobe sending me into orbit. “I love your pussy Kate. It’s always so fucking wet and hot. And I want to take your tight little ass but not here. Not now. Right now I am going to play with your wet cunt until you can’t hold back and then I will turn you around and fuck you hard. Okay?”
All I can do is nod. His fingers are magical, playing me like a six string, until I am humming a tune only he knows. He continues his three pronged assault, his tongue in my ear, his hands on my pussy and his cock in my ass. The pleasure is too much and completely heightened by where we are. He tries to keep me quiet but my keening cries are growing.
“Fuck, Elliot, oh God.” My hands grip his thighs desperately. “I need you, now.”
He turns me back to face him and lifts me up, my legs wrapped around his waist as he thrusts into me hard. His not insubstantial cock fills me to the hilt and I could swear that he is fucking me right up to my stomach. All I can do is hang on for dear life as he pounds into me with full force. My orgasm already hovering near crashes over me in waves and I cry out his name. He continues to grunt and thrust before finally groaning out his own orgasm. His come shooting inside me and dribbling down my leg. He holds me as we both come down from our orgasmic high.
Just then my heart stops as the door that we entered through opens and a man steps into the hall. It takes a moment for our eyes to adjust to the light before we recognize Matt and Lisa.
“What the hell are you doing, Kate?” Lisa’s shrill voice cuts through the dim corridor. My heart starts up again and I quickly get my skirt organized to cover myself. Elliot stays facing me, looking me directly in the eye as he does up his fly then he turns to face them his body blocking my view. I know he is protecting me but I don’t need him to take a bullet for me. I just need to get him out of here.
“You missed the show, Lisa so you can just run along now.” I am surprised at the sarcasm in my voice. Fuck, I’m asking for trouble. Lisa is within arms reach now, having advanced down the corridor towards us.
“Matt, camera!” Matt looks completely stunned, his mouth gaping like a goldfish. He looks at me and then at Lisa as if she is mad. “Jesus, now, Matt.” As if on automatic pilot Matt raises the camera and fires off a round of shots that sound like canon fire in the peaceful quiet of the corridor. The flash pulses in our faces. Elliot steps towards him, his hand blocking the lens but Lisa is egging him on. Drawing back his arm, Elliot takes a swing, punching Matt firmly in the jaw. Matt’s head snaps back with the force and he stumbles into the wall. Lisa, the eternal self-preservationist grabs the camera before it hits the ground and makes a run for it.
I head of at run down the corridor after her, the door almost closing in my face before I can get through it. By the time I wrestle with the heavy door Lisa is already gone from the service corridor. I pause in the door and look back at Elliot who is helping Matt off the ground.
“Sorry man, but you needed to stop.” Once he is sure that Matt is okay Elliot grabs my hand and pushes past to the door. Just as we reach it Matt calls out.
“You know that by the time you find her she will have emailed those shots through to Jeannie.” I swing around and advance on him as he leans against the wall still holding his chin.
“What the fuck do you think you were doing? I am not the fucking story. I am part of the team.” I’m so angry I could spit. I push his shoulder so that he thumps back against the wall and he at least has the decency to look contrite.
“I’m sorry. Lisa scares the shit out of me. You know that Jeannie will run this. Unless you can pull some strings with your Dad.”
“Fuck! No!” Jesus, I can’t do that. Jeannie will find some way to crucify me. I turn around and lean on the wall trying desperately to think. When nothing is forthcoming I smack my hands hard against the wall and push away to begin a long walk of shame back to the ballroom.”
“Kate, wait. Why can’t you stop her? What is this about? You were just covering the event right? Right? They won’t print those pictures. Right?” All the guilt that I have been carrying for the last couple of weeks swells to the surface and overflows. My face must be beet red, I feel so ashamed. “Kate, tell me what is going on.”
I walk towards him but I can’t raise my eyes and look at him. “I am Felicity Ferret.” My voice is whisper quiet and I know this isn’t technically correct but it may as well be. All the leads recently have come from me either directly or indirectly. I’m a walking time bomb for every dirty secret in Seattle right now. Ms Ferret has never been so well connected and so totally alone.
A/N: My apologies for ongoing editing mistakes. Thank you to those people who have taken the time to review. I really appreciate that feedback. Just to let you all know, Mia and Ethan are on their way. Would you like me start before we finish Kate and Elliot or after? Love as always, Sasha xox