Try to see it my way,
Do I have to keep on talking till I can’t go on?
While you see it your way,
Run the risk of knowing that our love may soon be gone.
We can work it out,
We can work it out.
Think of what you’re saying.
You can get it wrong and still you think that it’s alright.
Think of what I’m saying,
We can work it out and get it straight, or say good night.
We can work it out,
We can work it out.
We Can Work It Out – The Beatles
Seattle’s ‘IT’ couple have finally tied the knot in an intimate affair held at the groom’s family home in Bellevue. Attended by 100 or so of their closest friends and family, the bride wore a Julie Kavanagh original design in champagne silk and was attended by her best friend, Kate Kavanagh and the groom’s sister Mia Grey. La Ferret has it on good authority that the happy couple have jetted off to undisclosed destinations in Europe and are expected to travel for a month before coming back to settle into a newly acquired mansion on the Olympic Peninsula. Here at About Town, we wish the happy couple the very best for their future together and offer our deepest desire for an exclusive on their return to our shores.
The wedding went off without a hitch. Mia’s organization was flawless and Ana looked stunning. It was a heady experience to stand up next to Elliot in support of the happy couple and I found myself thinking about what our own wedding might be like. Somehow, although I have grown up with the Disney princess version of the perfect ceremony, I can’t imagine us in a church. That is more likely to be Mia’s idea of the big day. Mine would involve immediate family and friends on a beach, preferably back in Barbados or Haiti. Of course, I would like to think that we could get through our wedding with a few less dramas. However, drama seems to be a specialist area for the Grey family.
Four days before the wedding Mia came to have lunch with me. Although stunning as always I could tell that she was really pissed off about something. In the short time I have known her I have decided it is best just to sit back and let cyclone Mia blow through. Eventually she will let you know what is on her mind. My only reservation about her is that it all seems like a carefully constructed act and I don’t know why. It isn’t like she is fake but more that she is being what everyone around her expects her to be.
After half an hour of very distracted small talk I give up and confront her. “Mia, are things okay with Ethan?”
She looks down at her hands nervously rubbing her fingers. “Yes, everything is fine.”
“You know, if it is any comfort, I really think he likes you.” A little smile forms on her lips as she sips her coffee.
“I am sure that everything with Ethan will work itself out eventually.” She smiles but her eyes look tired and sad. I’m concerned. If Ethan is being a dick head and playing with her then he needs to stop. I worry that he is going to break her heart. “Do I need to talk to him?”
“What? No! No, I wasn’t even thinking about him until you brought him up.” Liar.
“What is it then? You look like you want to punch somebody.” I hope that I can stop her for punching Ethan. Not that he probably doesn’t deserve it.
“It’s my bitch of a mother.” My eyes almost pop out of my head. I can’t imagine anyone ever thinking that Grace Trevelyan-Grey is a bitch. Not even Elena would call her that. “Kate, don’t act dumb. I know you know.”
The penny drops. She means Elena. “Oh.”
“Yeah. Oh. She wants an invitation to the wedding. Demanded that I provide her with one as her only child.”
“She can’t be serious. You aren’t going to give her one?”
“Hell, no. Christian would kill me. Then Ana and Mom would put me back together and kill me again!”
“So, you told her that right?” She hesitates. ” Mia you told her that it wouldn’t happen?”
“Ye-e-eah. Sort of.” Shit!
“Mia, you can’t let her think there is any possibility that they will let her back into their lives.” I see the look of dismay on her face.
“Kate, she’s my mother. And as much as I know she has hurt Mom I can’t ignore that she exists. You know she was always so good to me when we were growing up. She was Auntie Elena back then. I always wanted to be like her; her style, her chic, her cool. And the way that men would look at her. Even my brothers. Of course, I didn’t know that she was…” She wipes a tear from her eye. Then her voice turns cold and harsh. “I hate her so much for what she did. And I won’t let her near this wedding. I just never thought I would feel so let down by my own parents.”
“Honey, I know that you probably haven’t forgiven your Dad and Elena for what happened. Or for the secret that they all kept. But they love you. Grace especially loves you, she always has.”
“I know. But she kept the secret too. And she kept Elena in our lives. I know she thought it was a good thing to keep me connected to my birth mother but it will always be my fault that Elena was allowed access to Christian and Elliot.”
The shock hits my body full force. “You know about Elliot?” She nods. “Oh, God, Mia I am sorry. No one should ever have to know these things about their own mother. And sweetie, none of this is your fault.” I watch her bring her emotions under control, stoically holding back the turmoil that she must be feeling inside and my heart goes out to her. What a fucked up mess. And through all of this she has been trying to make Ana and Christian’s day special and bring my brother to heel. I am going to have to have a word with him.
“How much have you told Ethan?” If I am going to haul him over the coals I don’t want to betray Mia while I do it.
“Everything. Ethan knows everything. He has been wonderful Kate. Really supportive and I couldn’t have done any of this without him. I don’t want you to think for a moment that he hasn’t been the best…friend a girl could ever have.” There is that hesitation again. She won’t call him her boyfriend. I don’t know what the hell Ethan is playing at but I am pretty sure that they moved passed ‘friends’ a long time ago. Ethan is going to have to get his fucking act together.
If I thought that conversation was uncomfortable it had nothing on the one I have with Christian the next day. He summons me to a meeting at GEH with a promise of something that will be of interest to me. Ana had described GEH to me in great deal but I am not prepared for the perfection of both the space and his staff. I, who have always been lauded for my effortless beauty, feel intimidated by the perfectly groomed statuesque blond fembots that staff Christian’s outer offices.
The real surprise is when he comes out of his office to greet me. “Katherine, you look lovely.” He almost smiles as he takes both my hands and kisses me on the cheek. You could knock me down with a feather.
“Who are you and what have you done with Christian Grey?” I laugh. He smirks at me.
“Katherine, I am marrying the most beautiful woman in the world and I believe I have you to thank for that. Why shouldn’t I be happy?” There is a hint of laughter in his words, only a hint mind. He places his hand in the small of my back and ushers me inside his office. The space is stunning but sterile. Somewhat reflecting the man.
“Have a seat Kate, Andrea, can you bring us some tea please and then hold all my calls for the next hour.” Standing in the open door he addresses one of the Sharon Stone lookalikes and then closes the door before walking over to join me.
“So Christian, I take it this is about Linc.” Elliot has shared the conversation that he had on Monday with Christian. No one was more stunned than I with the price tag he put on the company. I have a whole new respect for the man even though I am not sure about his previous lifestyle.
“Yes, but also an opportunity for you and I to clear the air.” Oh? “Don’t look so surprised Kate. I want this for Ana as much as for myself. She needs to know that you and I are at least trying to reach an understanding.”
“I’m not going to apologize for challenging you. Ana is like a sister to me and I worried about your motivations at the beginning. I am not sure I understand them still but I can see that you love each other very much.”
“Thank you for that at least.” Just then one of the fembots knocks on the door and brings in the tea. Our conversation while she pours our cups and then leaves. I smile at the simpering behavior hoping that she won’t call him ‘sir’ again or I will burst out laughing.
“Katherine. I want you to know that I will do everything in my power to protect Anastasia. Nothing is more important to me than her well-being.”
“She doesn’t need you to bubble wrap her Christian. All she needs is your love and respect.”
“That goes without saying.”
“Does it?” I can feel the animosity building between us again. He pauses, considering my question. I hold my tongue, it would seem that I may have said enough and I don’t want this conversation to backfire on either Ana or my friendship with her. I might want to give him something more to think about but Ana would not thank me for adding fuel to the fire of our animosity so close to the wedding. “I’m sorry. Perhaps we should drop this. I don’t want you to hate me.”
“I could never hate you Kate. Two of the people I love the most in the world love you. I just don’t like the way you question my motives at every turn. I want you to trust me where Ana is concerned but I know I still have to earn that trust. What worries me is your reaction when I eventually fuck up.” Once more he has surprised me, this time with this humility. I haven’t seen this since his speech at graduation.
“I want to trust you Christian. I don’t like feeling uncertain about anything. Elliot has confided in me about your volatility in your youth and how much that frightened him at the time.” This time I have surprised him. Good. He needs to know that being feared by people you love is not a good thing. “I don’t want Ana to feel anything other than safe when she is with you.”
To his credit he doesn’t rush with a reply. Instead he stares into his cup looking lost. I think he is genuinely hearing this for the first time and has had no idea what he put Elliot and Mia through as children. “I was so lost. I felt like I had landed in a foreign culture and couldn’t speak the language. My rage was like an uncontrollable animal. It was like that for at least a decade before I learned how to tame the beast.”
“When Elena took you under her wing?” His face is desolate and I feel awful that we are sitting here like this. I don’t know this lost little boy, except that his expression reminds me so much of little Matti that my heart aches. “I am sorry, Christian. It is none of my business. I don’t want to know any more than I already do. You guard your privacy zealously and I respect that about you. Please, let’s not talk about this any more.”
Thinking that we will change topics I am surprised when he reaches out immediately and takes my hand in his.
“No. I know that you have made your assumptions about the contents of that email. And yes, I wanted that sort of relationship with Ana when I first met her because that is the only type of relationship I knew how to have. Ana changed that for me. She made me want more. I don’t ever want to hurt her but I know I probably will make mistakes. I want her to have you when that happens. I need to know that you will step in and support her when she loses faith in me. What I hope is that when this happens you won’t automatically assume the worst. That at some point you might be able to give me the benefit of the doubt and to perhaps think of me as a brother.”
Words fail me. This is so far from what I would have expected him to say. This is a man who is being honest and open in as much as he can without revealing all the sordid details of his past life and preferences. This is a youthful heart finding its way and asking me to help. I have never felt so humbled in all of my life than in that moment. And I see the good man that Elliot has wanted me to see all along. “Christian I want that more than anything.”
“I am glad that you feel that way.” He smiles at me and then I can’t resist.
“Let’s just not let Ana and Elliot know that we have had this particular conversation. I wouldn’t want them to think we were actually getting along. It would take all the fun out of family gatherings.” We both laugh. Christian turns serious suddenly.
“I am sorry that Linc has threatened you Kate. You must have been terrified.” Oh, you have no idea. Christian’s concern is genuine, I can hear it in his voice, see it in his eyes.
“Scared witless, quite frankly. He seemed to think that I had some sort of influence with you. I tried reason but…”
“You can’t reason with an unreasonable man.” Our eyes lock in mutual understanding. “Has he made any further approaches, other than the phone call that you so expertly handled last week.” I shake my head. Do I detect pride in your voice Christian Grey?
“No, it seems that he feels the need to lay low since the FBI raided his offices. Do you know what they were looking for?” As soon as the words are out of my mouth I know we have taken a step backwards. Christian bristles and I can see he thinks I am sniffing out a story. While he might want to bury Linc, he doesn’t want any press involvement to do it. Least of all mine.
“I have an idea but it would be mere speculation on my part.” With a moment of great clarity I see that he knows what Linc is up to. Whatever it is he knows. “Linc has always had questionable business ethics and he runs with a dangerous crowd.” Interesting. The ethics I already knew but the business connections. Now I have questions about silent partners running through my head.
“Kate, not to take away from what he did to you but this thing with Linc is a lot bigger than a few threats on a crowded dance floor. He is into something that runs deep and dangerous. What I can say is I think it is about to come back and bite him. What he has been doing so far is playing. When he wants to do some real damage, he knows exactly where and how to strike.” Oh, God, I feel sick. “I need you to feed him some false information. Something that will divert his attention for a while.”
“Elliot said until you get back from honeymoon.” He nods.
“Yes. Then I can give him my full attention.”
“Don’t you think if the FBI have been interested that they will handle this?” Another wry smile creeps across his features.
“They may have already found something but I suspect that it will be the tip of the iceberg if I know Linc.” Now he doesn’t even appear to be talking to me. I glance around the room with uncertainty then he brings his focus back to me. “I have a file. I want you to give it to him.”
“Why? If you want him to have it you could just send it to him.” I am almost terrified at the thought of having to see Linc again. The man scares me to the point of hysteria.
“I want him to know that it came from you so that he will leave you alone. I want him to be out of your life. Especially while I am away. You need to get it to him before the wedding and I want you to talk to my head of personal security, Jason Taylor, about how it will happen. You need to trust Jason and follow his instructions to the letter. Do you understand me?” His hand reaches out and touches my face. I feel nothing except a brotherly concern from him. I nod my head.
“Okay, thank you Christian. Thank you for caring about my welfare.” Our meeting ends less than ten minutes later and I am at the elevator doors when Christian surprises me again.
“Oh, and Kate. When you finally get free of your time with About Town I would like to discuss with you the possibility of you handling an exclusive feature on Ana and myself.”
Elena Lincoln tries again unsuccessfully to weasel an invitation from Mia to the wedding. Mia won’t have a bar of it so Elena makes an attempt to release a salacious story about a psychotic ex-girlfriend attempting an attack on Christian. She tries to give it to, of all people, Felicity Ferret. The story details almost end up with Lisa, who I am sure would have printed the story without a second thought. Luckily Jeannie had some reservations about taking on a defamation case from GEH and decides to check the evidence with me first. I, of course, would never tell her the truth about Leila Williams and with some intervention from the Kavanagh Media legal team she is forced to withdraw the story from the final press run.
The Friday before the wedding Jason and Luke escort me to the offices of Lincoln Timber. We arrive during the scheduled board meeting and I wonder how it is that Christian is able to gain this kind of information. What it means is that Linc can only excuse himself from the meeting for a few minutes and our conversation has to take place in a corridor. Jason doesn’t let me out of his sight while I attempt to calmly hand over the file. The papers inside will lead him to a defunct shipyard in the Philippines. The interest is genuine on Christian’s part only in as much as he is hoping to generate some employment for the local province that has recently undergone some financial hardship. The real money generating business is in mainland China but run out Malaysia. However, there is enough truth in the details of the file that Linc could be chasing leads for the next two months trying to get information from local authorities. He agrees that if I hand it to him, he will leave me and Elliot alone. He is not a man of his word and his promise is meaningless. We will always be looking over our shoulder.
Anabel calls us a couple of days after the wedding to discuss the possibility of re-working the story for EcoWarrior. She wants to focus the story around the work that Casey-Grey Construction is doing promoting sustainable building. Another two days are spent on interviews and photography with Elliot and James at a couple of major developments for which CGC is responsible. The original story on Elliot is reworked as a human interest piece which is to be the cover of the next Pacific Coast Architect. When the stories come out three weeks later we are stunned by the way Elliot is portrayed as some kind of visionary designer and environmental hero. Furthermore another feature is planned with Karen to be released a month later on the landscape gardens at the treehouse. The calls start to come in from the architecture and environmental science faculties at WSU and Stanford requesting Elliot’s contribution to their speakers programs. A great deal of our time over the next few weeks will be spent working on the speeches together and suddenly Elliot seems to have taken over as Seattle’s ‘it’ boy in Christian’s absence. Quite frankly I don’t know whether to be proud or jealous and I suspect it shows.