So this is who I am
And this is all I know
And I must choose to live
For all that I can give
The spark that makes the power grow
And I will stand for my dream if I can
Symbol of my faith in who I am
But you are my only
And I must follow on the road that lies ahead
And I won’t let my heart control my head
But you are my only
And we don’t say goodbye
And I know what I’ve got to be
I make my journey through eternity
I keep the memory of you and me inside
Fulfill your destiny
Is there within the child
My storm will never end
My fate is on the wind
The king of hearts, the joker’s wild
But we don’t say goodbye
I’ll make them all remember me
Cos I have found a dream that must come true
Every ounce of me must see it though
But you are my only
I’m sorry I don’t have a role for love to play
Hand over my heart I’ll find my way
I will make them give to me
There is a vision and a fire in me
I keep the memory of you and me, inside
And we don’t say goodbye
We don’t say goodbye
With all my love for you
And what else we may do
We don’t say, goodbye
Immortality – Bee Gees/Celine Dion
You know how there are moments that totally define your relationship with someone. The day after Ana and Christian returned from their honeymoon, the day of our first family gathering since the wedding, was a day that would forever define my relationship with my mother-in-law. Not that Grace was anything remotely like that yet but I felt as close to her as my own mother sometimes.
Mom and I have spoken at length about the miscarriage. Hers is the ear that I have when I feel unable to unload on anyone else. She is my constant and my heart and I love her. But for all of her strength and understanding, she has never lost a child. Somehow in all of our conversations I knew there is always a part of her that is simply willing me to get over it and move on.
Elliot and I still have a very close and open communication too. But our pain is still too raw, our need to forget to sharp and shared. We still talk about that night, about the fall out but not as often as we used to. It simply hurts too much to keep reopening the wound and all that talk is like a continual licking that leaves your wounds raw and in worse condition than if you simply left them alone.
Ana and Christian arrive in a bubble of post-honeymoon afterglow. They look tanned, relaxed and happy and I both love and hate Ana because of it. My happiness for her right now is real, I am very happy that she has found the love of her life, I am happy that she and Christian are so right for each other. But they have secured their future while I still wait for Elliot to ask me again. And they glow with the promise of a future when I am still deeply anchored by the recent past.
It is really nice to be sharing this day with my brother. He looks at me with concern and sadness sometimes, as if he knows what being around Ana is doing to me. Every now and then his hand will graze my back and his eyes will ask if I am alright. I am, I truly am, but…
The brunch bbq passes with lots of laughter and catching up and I am confident that Ana never feels the awkward vibe that I am trying so hard to hide. It seems so stupid to rain on anyone’s parade with something that I should be well over and when the happy couple have finally departed and Mia and Ethan have disappeared not long after them, I am left at Bellevue with the last of the dishes and a heaviness on my heart.
“Kate, you don’t have to keep it up any more.” Grace’s voice is soft behind me as she brings in the last of the glasses from outside.
“I don’t know what…” It’s an automatic reply. I know exactly what she means.
“No more pretense, love. It’s just you and me. Elliot and Carrick have holed themselves up in the study to talk about the case. Let’s you and I get another drink and go and sit outside.” I nod and follow her out, glass in hand.
We settle into the Cape Cod chairs under a pergola near the large trees. She has brought me here deliberately and I want to go. Finally I want to be here, at the site where my baby was taken from me. At the site where her babies reside.
“Kate, I have never gotten over my children. Never.” Her voice is quiet and controlled with just the slightest edge of restrained emotion. She glances around at the trees. “They are here, with me, every day.”
Her smile, though sad, is genuine and pure love and I feel compelled to confess. “I don’t expect to ever forget. I just don’t seem to be able to get over it.”
“Do you want to get over it?” There is no accusation in that question. Just understanding. Real concern. I love her a little more for it.
“Yes, I want to move on. I want a life with Elliot.”
“But this is a barrier to your moving forward?” So insightful. I nod sadly looking down into my glass. We sit in silence for a while longer before she speaks again. “I carried them with me you know.”
I have no idea what she means by this – in her heart? Metaphorical? Literal? Then I put the time line together in my head.
“You lost them before you adopted?” She has told me this already. Five babies, and a declaration from her doctors on the last one that she should not ever try again. This all happened before they decided to adopt Elliot and Christian.
“Three of them, yes. We had them cremated and I had the ashes sitting in the apartment like a bad omen. It was no wonder that Carrick and I drifted apart for a while. My grief was overpowering and I enshrined them inside our small Detroit home. I told you all five had come before the boys. That isn’t quite true. I lost the fourth baby after Carrick left for Seattle. In the midst of settling Elliot and Christian’s futures, I went through another loss. By this stage my focus had changed and I felt like number four was no more than a hitch of my breath.”
Four babies, four and then five. “So the last one happened after you reconciled?” She nods.
“Yes, I arrived in Seattle to the emotional turmoil that was Elena and Carrick. I had two real live boys in my arms,four dead babies in my tote and the baby of my husband’s affair on the way. I was a sick woman. Desperate, lonely and slightly unhinged.” She takes a sip of her wine with a private smile. “Alright, a lot unhinged.”
“Why did you let her stay?” The question leaps from my lips before I have time to claw it back. I know why. I can smell desperation even three decades away.
“She had what I wanted. My husband’s child. I would have taken that in any form I could get. It wasn’t right, it wasn’t sane. She was a scared child and I took advantage, I coerced her from the start into accepting an unthinkable situation. I made her believe I would protect her, like I could ever protect her from someone like Linc. I made her believe that it was for her own good, that she would regret it if she got rid of the baby. Worst of all I convinced her that I was better placed to be a mother to Mia than she ever would be. I’m not proud of what I did. She was used by the men in her life, by the adults in her life, I was one more. She was just a child and we all knew exactly what we were doing.”
While my brain tries to comprehend how Grace, beautiful, philanthropic, sensitive Grace, could possibly accuse herself of coercion, she continues.
“She was abused as a child. That’s how she ended up with Linc in the first place. Her father molested her from an early age, her mother did nothing to stop it. She was a religious nutter. Put all of her faith in a God that was not kind and good. Her mother blamed her for her father’s sins. Said that she was inciting God’s wrath. The poor kid was eight years old the first time her father raped her. She was seventeen when Linc finally saved her.”
I can feel the bile rising in my throat. I don’t want to feel sorry for Elena, I can’t feel sorry for the bitch who molested teenage boys. Who continues to exert her evil powers over the Grey family. But Christ, nine years of statutory rape and incest. Fuck.
“It took her a long time to tell me that sordid little tale. When I started to feel guilty about trying to take Mia before she was even born, I decided to find out if Elena wanted to keep her baby. She was adamant that she didn’t, that it was best for everyone if Mia stayed with Carrick and me. I didn’t understand how she could give up her child and so I pushed until one day she admitted in a fit of screaming and wailing that she didn’t trust herself around children. She couldn’t put a child in that kind of danger.” I freeze as I listen. “Yes, ironic isn’t it. She tried to warn me back then but I just had to keep her around, had to put my children in her way. I never imagined for one moment that she would do that to my child. I don’t know quite how to forgive myself for allowing that to happen.”
Her voice trails away and I notice the tears that are freely flowing down her face. My own are not far away.
“If you knew there was a potential, if she was afraid, why did she stay after Mia was born?” I try to keep this question as soft as I can. This is not about accusations, it is about the catharsis of the confessional. Grace needs to tell me this. She needs me to understand probably in a way that she might never be able to open up to Ana. I am humbled.
“When Elena was close to delivering I let Carrick back into my bed and immediately fell pregnant for the last time. There was a complete honeymoon period while Elena gave birth and I carried our baby. We got to nearly five months. The others were all lost much earlier than this so we started to really hope. To really believe. Elena and Mia were settled back into our home, Carrick and I were happy, the boys were doing well and a new baby was on the way and then those familiar signals started only this time it was much worse. That last time nearly killed me. I bled out completely, so much blood. Then an infection set in and I was in hospital for a month. Elena looked after all of the children with the help of my mother while Carrick tried to bring me back from the dead. I shut down completely.”
This I understood. That feeling that the world has closed down around you so you might as well go too. I knew that feeling very well.
“Elena helped me to get myself back together. She lived by my side during those first weeks home from the hospital. And when nothing was reaching me, when my mind seemed to have checked out completely she placed Mia in my arms and walked out the door.” My eyes study her with shock. “Yes, extreme isn’t it? She made me come back to the world by giving me the one thing I could not ignore. A baby that needed to me. She simply removed herself completely from the picture.”
Of all the things I expected to hear I didn’t expect this. Elena had done the tough love route. I wonder after those first few weeks of looking after Grace’s children if she found it difficult to walk away. I can’t imagine doing it. As I contemplate these words I notice that Carrick and Elliot have moved out to join us but they are standing very still a short distance away. I don’t know how much of this they have heard. Of course, Carrick has probably known all of this all along but I can see by Elliot’s eyes that he is hearing it for the first time. My heart wrenches for all of them.
“She returned twelve months later, no longer our Lena, but a new vamped up Elena. At first we tried to pretend that there was no connection between us but I could see it in her eyes whenever we arrived at some function with the children. Her heart broke when she walked out on Mia and she did it for me. She saved me. I can’t forgive her for what she did to Christian but I will never forget what she did for me.”
My eyes travel to Elliot and there is a tacit agreement that we should never tell her about his relationship with Elena written there. I’ve always thought of Grace as gentle but strong. Now I am not so sure that something like that wouldn’t break her and she doesn’t deserve it.
“In the end, I wanted you to know that I never forgot any of my babies but the heart has an amazing capacity to forgive, to accept and to love. I love my family Kate. Elliot and Christian mean the world to me. Mia will always be mine, no matter what happened in the past. And I love Carrick more now than I ever knew how to as a young bride. I would not trade the life I have lived with them for any of those five babies but I will never forget them. You will arrive at that point sooner or later. And your children, no matter where they come from, will enthrall you, disappoint you, love you unconditionally and challenge your right to call yourself a parent. I understand only too well how you might be scared of trying again but time is a great healer, especially when you travel that road with people who love and support you. Even if you never arrive at a point where you feel ready to try again, and I hope that for your sake that is not the case because I can see your capacity to love, but if you don’t, you will still have all of us, the Grey family and your own family, standing beside you. And it will be alright.”
I am in her arms in a moment, holding the woman who has been through so much to hold her children. The humility and honesty with which she has told her story will stay with me for the rest of my days. I look over my shoulder to Elliot who is wiping a tear from his eyes and not flinching while his father wraps an arm around his shoulder.
“Mom.” Grace turns to face him in her chair.
“Hello darling. I knew you were standing there. If you missed any of it, Kate will fill you in later.” She looks into my eyes. “I don’t want to tell that story again, but one day you need to tell the others, especially Ana and Mia. I trust you completely to tell that story well. Don’t hold back, my darling girl.” She leans in and kisses me on the forehead and I can’t explain the surge of love that courses through my veins and I know that some sort of mantle has been passed over to me. Ana might be the first to marry into the family but I will be the elder when the time comes and she wants me to always know that the responsibility for nurturing all this love will rest with me. I feel honored.
Elliot walks around the chair and pulls his mother into a hug while Carrick moves in beside me to hold me close. And when I look at Elliot, I know I want to try again. I want to have a family with him, even if it means he has to wrap me up in cotton wool to achieve it. We all walk down to the trees and move from one to the other touching the trunks. Listening to the whisper of past fears and future promises. In all my years of Catholic school attendance I have never felt anything as spiritual as this moment, and I truly believe that things will be alright.
“Are you ever going to tell me about Elena?” Grace is holding Elliot’s hand looking out to the lake. His body tenses for a moment. She has known all along. I don’t know if Carrick has told her or if this is some kind of mother’s intuition.
“What do you want to know?” His voice is only barely controlled.
“Was it consensual? Did she make you happy?” He thinks about this for the longest time.
“Yes Mom. I wanted it and for the brief moment it occurred, it made me happy. But when it was over it was over.”
“You knew about Christian?” The accusation that I would have expected is not there.
“Yes.” His voice is a pained whisper. Please don’t ask any more Grace. Please let this go.
“Why didn’t you tell us? Why didn’t you stop it?” He flinches as much as if she has slapped him.
“Because she threatened to tell you about me. Because I was a stupid self-absorbed teenager. Mostly because Christian turned a corner with her and I wasn’t afraid to go to sleep at night any more. Neither was Mia.”
I expect her to lash out. I expect tears and recriminations. Instead she bows her head and cries softly as Elliot pulls her into his chest. Carrick has me wrapped up in his arms again and we hold each other as we watch the two people we love most in the world unload a world of pain. Carrick kisses my hair in the same way that Elliot always does and I chalk up another way that he is like his father. Soon Grace and Elliot turn back to face us and we stand in a huddle under the trees as we all let go of the past.
A few days later Ana and I go out for drinks after work. Christian has dictated that we go to Escala for our girls night since he is away in New York and there has been a fire at GEH during their honeymoon that turned out to be arson. Elliot and I have discussed the possibility of this being something to do with Linc but since Carrick has just about sewn up the case against him it seems unfeasible that he would take that kind of risk. No one has heard from Jack Hyde in weeks so it doesn’t seem possible that he is back.
Instead of obeying the Christian Grey edict, Ana to my delight agrees to drinks at Zig Zags which is fairly impressive given the amount of security we have in tow. The good part about having all these people shadowing our every move is that we can afford to cut loose. After the events of the weekend, the hideous fight that I had with Lisa and Jeannie in the wake of my transfer to Anabel’s editorial team and the fact that Elliot has gone all introspective and weird on my ass, I am so ready to tie one on. When the texts start coming from Christian, Ana and I get more messy and belligerent which makes it more and more fun. If we had known what was going to happen next we would have stayed out all night.
Ana arrives back at Escala to find that Jack Hyde has broken into the penthouse. How the hell anyone can achieve that is beyond me given the place has better security than Fort Knox. In fact Elliot and I have an enormous fight over exactly that. Since Leila and Hyde have managed to get in I am questioning just whose side Jason is on. Elliot is justifiably upset with me and more concerned about how Jason is going to keep his job. He’s counting on Ana sticking up for the team which I am pretty sure is a given. All that aside, even Elliot is a little concerned at the way Christian flew across the country to get back to Ana’s side. We all knew it had nothing to do with Hyde since Christian was already in transit before Ana got back to the apartment. No, Christian’s decision was motivated purely by Ana’s disobedience which means that any headway I have made with him has been lost. I have just made it on to Mr Grey’s shit list.
“Fuck Kate, you know what he is like. Why would you and Ana do something so patently stupid?” It is one thing for Christian to go ballistic on me, it is a whole other thing for Elliot to start chiming in.
“I don’t appreciate your tone, Elliot. Ana and I had a girls’ night out. Thanks to Christian we had more security than the Queen of England and if you open your tiny brain just a fraction and think about it, if we had stayed in at Escala then you and Christian would probably be fishing Ana’s and my bodies out of the Puget Sound about now.” I storm down the stairs from the master bedroom and head out to the kitchen. This is one of those rare times when we have the house completely to ourselves so I am clad only in tiny silk robe that barely covers my ass, the belt undone and draped down my sides. If he wants to be angry at me he can just try it as I stand all but naked sipping water in our luxurious kitchen.
He thunders in after me wearing only boxer shorts, his chest muscles rippling, arms and neck tightly corded with his anger and the start of raging hard on protruding from his silks. He grabs the bottle out of my hand and tips the remains down his throat and I am mesmerized by the movement of his Adam’s apple as he does so. Oh, you are so good Mr Grey. He knows exactly what he is doing to me as I feel moisture trickle down my upper thigh and my nipples peak harder than diamonds on my collar. Just for good measure I happen to be wearing it probably because I knew he was going to go all Neanderthal on me. It tends to happen when his woman is at risk in any way. Gentle loving Elliot goes into hiding and Thor the God of Thunder steps out in his place. I kind of have the hots for Thor.
“Get down on your knees Kate.” I look at him wide-eyed. Thor is one thing but dom Thor is a whole different ball game. Part of me is ready to rebel but the secret submissive ‘please fuck me senseless and make me sore while you do it’ Kate is rejoicing at the command in his voice. I don’t take my eyes off his but I dutifully sink down on the kitchen tiles. “Take my shorts off.” Without hesitation I pull at the elastic waistband and reveal the most enormous cock I have ever had the pleasure to behold.
“I want to fuck your mouth Kate.” His eyes are hard and he expects compliance. He just might have to work a little harder than that. I stare back at him, not moving a muscle. “Now.”
“You can try, Grey. Give it your best shot.” One thing I have learned from Ana is that hair is a bitch in any scene so while I am telling him no I am gathering my hair into a high ponytail and braiding it. The smile on his lips says that he knows where this is going to go. He waits for me to finish then grabs my braid.
“Open.” Pulling my head back he effectively lifts my lips, which I still have firmly closed, to line up with the purple engorged head of his cock. I can see the pre-cum dripping from it and I want desperately to swirl that around on my tongue but I resist the temptation. “Suck me off Kate.”
Still staring at him defiantly I open my mouth wide and take his whole cock into my mouth without letting him touch the sides. When I get to the base I clamp my lips down, deep throating him and then suck hard as I drag my mouth back down the shaft.
“Ah fuck, Kitten.” Getting the requisite response I do it again until a long hiss comes from his mouth. “Jesus Christ.”
“Don’t take his name in vain, Thor.” This earns a little frown so I go for a third suck this time grabbing him firmly by the balls and squeezing gently. At the same time I move my free hand to my cunt and begin to stroke. I set up a pace that has him at a loss at first and then he starts to thrust into my mouth.
“You aren’t meant to touch yourself without my permission.” He tries grabbing for my hand but I pull my entire body away and stand up. Instead of getting my wrist he gets the tie of my robe and pulls it off. Looking at it for a moment he begins to smile as he wraps it around his hands. “You want it rough baby? Do you want to put up a fight?”
“I already am putting up a fight. And yes, if you want it you’re going to have to take it.” Once more I stand defiant in front of him. My tongue snakes out to lick my lips and I slide my hands over my breasts so that there can be no mixed messages between us. Elliot would never intentionally hurt me, he will however, play rough if I want him to, and right now I am creaming myself with want. “Come and get it Thor.”
He stalks me out through the other side of the kitchen around to the dining room table and pins me there with his body. I’m not running, I’m not moving but he ties me up anyway. First holding my hands in front of my body and then lifting me on to the table and securing me to one of the dining room chairs. Spreading my legs wide he steps between my thighs and stares down at me spreadeagled like a giant fucking dinner plate.
His eyes darken with lust as he leans over and licks my now hot, soaking wet pussy, swirling his tongue through the folds and over my clit like he’s licking a big old ice cream. The lapping and slurping is pushing all of my buttons and I writhe with the effect of the noise as much as his touch. Then he inserts two fingers into my pussy as he flicks over my clit and I teeter on the edge. Just when I think I am going to explode he withdraws all contact and moves away from the table then turns and walks out of the room.
“Elliot!” Nothing. “Elliot! Baby!” Still no response. Well two can play this game so I relax my body as much as I can on the wooden table and wait him out. I hear the guitar being strummed. Fucking what? “Elliot get your ass in here now.” I all but scream to no one. He’s busy having a jam session for one while I lie here in complete frustration. “Damn you Elliot.”
After fifteen minutes he walks back in the room in all his naked glory and his erection is noticeably absent. He shakes his cock off as he looks at me. “Mmmm, that’s better.”
My eyes narrow. “You didn’t.” He merely smiles and turns away. “You prick. Get back here and untie me. How dare you go and jack off and leave me alone.” He rummages around in the kitchen for a few minutes while I continue to rant and rave at him. Some of the names I call him are quite inventive, some are simply out of desperation. He laughs. The bastard laughs at me.
“What makes you think I did that?” He returns from where he has been laying something out on the kitchen bench. Then I see he has whipped cream, chocolate, champagne, and toys. Approaching carefully he grabs each of my legs and wraps a tie around them thus rendering me completely helpless on the table, my legs tied firmly apart. Next he pours champagne into a flute and takes a sip before walking around the table to my head and leaning in for a kiss. As he does he siphons the sweet, dry, bubbly liquid into my mouth and I swallow. “Good girl, you want more?” I nod and he repeats. The liquid is cold and on his third mouthful rather than dropping it into my mouth he uses it to lave my erect nipples. The sensation is of intense effervescent cold of the champagne mixed with the hot moist warmth of his mouth. I almost cum with the sensation. Then he stands to the side of me and pouring straight from the glass he drips liquid into my belly button, making me pulse and squirm before he chases the droplets with his tongue, licking up all the sweet residue.
“Now, we can’t have champagne without chocolate.” He drops one more champagne kiss to my lips then heads back to the kitchen counter to collect the chocolate body paint. He paints around each nipple then licks of the sauce giving me a taste in between each one. Then he traces a line from my naval to my pussy and licks that off. “Yum, this combination is like oysters and chocolate. Who knew?” I giggle and he goes in for another try before returning to my mouth to let me taste myself and the chocolate off his tongue.
Smearing some lines across my body I relax back while he works but this time he doesn’t immediately lick them off instead he steps back to admire his handy work. I look down and make out ‘I 3 Kate 4 eva’. Soon he returns with a vibrating butt plug, lube and the whipped cream.
“Now what do you think you’re going to do with that?” With a self satisfied smile he turns on the plug, lubes me up and inserts it making me writhe off the table. Then he proceeds to spray the cream along my folds before going down on his knees and giving me a thorough clean. The sensation of the cold and his heat and the fullness of the plug is almost too much. I don’t hold back my moans.
“I think I am going to have to fuck you now, Kitten.” When he stands up I can see that his erection is back with a vengeance and it looks so fine I almost cry with need. “Before I do I need you to come for me.” Then he inserts two fingers into my pussy and licks my clit again and everything comes undone in one massive burst of light. I know that I scream, I can’t help but scream.
He keeps his fingers working in me as he undoes the ties around my legs then he positions me at the edge of the table, my legs over his shoulders and without removing the plug he rams his incredible cock into my pussy over and over again. The chocolate sauce is still all over my body and he smears it with his hands he massages my tits. In the final thrusts he drops my legs down and presses his body fully along mine so that his pelvic bones are hitting against my clit and I cum again in one long intense wave. His cock is pumping me full of semen and I know as I feel him pulsing inside me that he didn’t go off and masturbate without me. This thought makes me smile as he climbs up, unties my hands and lays on the table with me.
“I mean it Kate. You are mine, forever.” We both have chocolate smeared all over our bodies. The table is a mess.
“Well, then. Just as well you’re immortal then isn’t, Thor?” I smile as he kisses me. I love make up sex.