I still really really love you
Love is stronger than pride
I still really really love you
Love is Stronger Than Pride – Sade
After our conversation, the four of us sit down to the meal that Gail Jones has prepared for us. It feels like an age since we’ve simply enjoyed each other’s company. Elliot and Ana talk about the progress of the house and although we have discussed it in the study, the topic of the rogue delivery from Lincoln Timber doesn’t come up again. Nor do we return to the kidnapping incident although there are a lot of unspokens in the air regarding that one.
“You still haven’t told us how you found out about Mia and Ethan.” I can’t help myself. Part of me would be seriously pissed that Christian found out that bit of news before I did. Ethan and I have always been really tight and his marriage has come as a shock to all of us. But the thought that Christian had the inside scoop irks me.
“Ethan came to me for some…business advice a while ago. In the midst of those discussions he had to divulge their relationship to me. I promised to keep their secret until they were ready to tell the family.” He looks at me directly and the question must be in my eyes. “I guess he’s not ready yet.”
“How long have you known?” Elliot and Ana pause their discussion, taking in the tension of our body language. Every step forward results in two steps backwards when it comes to me and Christian.
“Does it matter?” His eyes flick sideways to the others, sending me a message to drop it.
“Yes, I think it does.” My hand snakes across the table to take Elliot’s. He and Ana have stopped talking now and Christian can’t ignore the audience.
“I knew before our wedding.” Fuck me. Where is the brotherly loyalty in that? After all that we’ve been through and shared with Ethan in the past few months and he goes and tells Christian first. Well, if that don’t rip your undies.
“Knew what?” Ana looks at us confused.
“Nothing, baby. It’s nothing.”
“Don’t bullshit me, Christian. It’s not nothing. I can see it in Kate’s face. What did you know before our wedding?” I love it is when she gets all hard ass on him. That initial look of did-she-just-fucking-say-that on his face is always so priceless.
The next moment Christian’s eyes are completely focused on mine. Maybe there is a really good reason for Ethan not wanting me to know but I hate how Christian always keeps this shit from Ana. Perhaps Mia and Ethan have good reasons for wanting their relationship to be kept secret but Ana is family too. While I am pondering this dilemma Elliot steps in.
“Ethan and Mia are married.” Ana gasps, her hand going to her chest as she processes this clanger. When it seems that she has computed this new piece of intel she turns her body and quick-as-a-flash backhands Christian across the upper arm.
“Ouch! Ana!” Christian rubs his arm in shock. What can’t take it, Grey?
“You knew all this time and didn’t tell me? Shit, Christian. I am sick and tired of your damn secrets.”
“Babe, it wasn’t my secret to tell. I promised Ethan I wouldn’t say anything. Mia doesn’t even know that I know.” He is still rubbing his arm. She must have got him good.
“Has anyone spoken to them since the weekend?” Come to think of it, since Ana was released from hospital I have heard nothing from Ethan and I don’t think Elliot has spoken to his parents.
“I thought they were staying with you.” Christian looks genuinely perplexed by both this piece of news and his wife’s aggression.
“They took off in the middle of the night to decamp to Mom and Dad’s. I haven’t heard from any of them since.”
“That’s odd. Neither have I, except for one daily phone call from Mom to check on Ana but she didn’t mention that Ethan and Mia were with them.”
“Maybe they aren’t. We haven’t been back to the apartment since last week. They could be there by now.” I reach into my handbag and start to send a text message.
“Babe. Leave them. They probably need the space to recoup right now.” Elliot’s hand stills mine.
“Look, I’ll just send a text. Ethan will answer if he wants to. No pressure. I would just feel bad if we didn’t even check.”
The conversation turns back to the house and Christian helps me to clear the plates while Elliot and Ana get into some detailed discussion about the guest house over the garage that she wants converted for Jason and Gail.
“How is she really?” I scrape food off the plates before loading the dishwasher. Christian dismissed Gail long ago saying that we would handle the clean up. Since Elliot and Ana prepped it seems only fair that Christian and I clean up, given our lack of any real skill in the kitchen. Yet another trait we share.
His hands grip the bench. “She’s so fucking strong. You know she tried to go back to work yesterday.”
“Doesn’t surprise me. Can’t keep a good woman down.” I want to make light of it but Christian’s mood won’t allow for that.
“I was so fucking scared, Kate. My whole world revolves around her and I will never forgive myself for such a colossal fuck up.”
I place my hand over his. “Christian, you didn’t ask for this. Sure you could have been more together about the baby but would it really have made any difference? Jack pushed the one button Ana couldn’t ignore. Family. She would walk through fire for someone she loves. That wasn’t your fault.”
“Not what you thought on the weekend.”
“Yeah, well, you were an ass. I didn’t know the rest.”
“Kate, I really am sorry for your loss. If I had known…”
“Don’t sweat it. Believe it or not, your insensitivity pushed me in a direction I needed to go. Scared the crap out of Elliot but in the end it actually helped. I know it’ll piss you off no end, but I think you might have inadvertently saved me.”
He regards me for a while. He doesn’t need to ask what I mean by that statement. He’s obviously been there a time or two himself.
“You know, Kate, I don’t hate you.” News to me, Grey.
“Nor I you, Christian. Initially my concern was for Ana. Now that we are all family, none of that matters. She is happy and you are the reason. That is all I need to know. Plus Elliot has told me many times what a good person you are. He loves you unconditionally and so do I.”
“I didn’t always understand that.”
“No. But I think you get it now and when that baby comes, it will make even more sense.”
“Are you going to tell her? About the baby?” We are still watching them at the table but making enough noise with the dishes that they can’t overhear our words.
“Maybe. I am not sure what good it would do. She doesn’t need to be surrounded by my sadness.”
“That’s where you’re wrong. She misses you, Kate. She knows there is a distance but she has no idea why. If her happiness is going to make you sad then she deserves to know why. Look, it’s early. Why don’t you make tea and I’ll get Elliot out of here. Tell her and give her the honor of being there for you.”
“Oh, hell. Christian, don’t you get it. She has always been there for me. Every failed relationship or moment of self doubt, Ana has always been the one to pick me up and listen to my problems. I’m not sure I can do it to her again.”
He takes me by the shoulders and turns me to face him, peering into my eyes which I know are glistening with tears.
“Listen to me, Kate. You need her and she needs to hear what you have to say. She won’t break with this and you’ll both get you friendship back on track. I’ve never had anyone as close to me as you two are. I didn’t understand your protective streak in the beginning but I am grateful for it now. You’ve helped me to see what a great big brother I have. Don’t let this sit like a lead weight between you. Talk to her.” He leans in and kisses me on the forehead before hugging me.
“Is that an order.” I mumble into his chest, my few errant tears leaving a damp patch on his linen shirt.
“If it has to be.” His chest rumbles with soft laughter.
“Always the freaking dom.” He pulls back to look at me again.
“If I have to be.” His smile is electric. No wonder Ana can’t take her eyes off him.
“Hey, you two. What’s going on?” I turn my head, Christian’s arms are still wrapped around me and he pulls me close again as we see Ana and Elliot approaching the bench.
“Just telling my new sister off for not spending more time with my wife.” Christian strokes down my arm reassuringly then pulls away completely. “Now, Lelliot, how about you and I head down the road for a night cap and leave the ladies to have tea and watch chick flicks.”
Elliot and Ana are a picture of confusion but then both look at each other and shrug. Meanwhile I turn to put the kettle on. Elliot walks around the island bench to take me in his arms.
“You okay with that, babe?” Safe and loved don’t begin to explain how I feel when he holds me.
“Yeah, do you mind?” He knows what this is about and the concern is etched across his features. When he sees that I really want this he nods and kisses me very gently on the lips.
“I love you, Kitten. Call me if you need me to come back.” He walks out of the kitchen, grabbing his jacket off the back of the chair. “Ready, bro?”
Within minutes Ana and I find ourselves on our own. Once we are snuggled up on the couch in the tv room she finally asks. “So are you going to tell me what this is about?”
I reach over and pat her stomach which hasn’t changed shape but the action is reassuring to me. In my heart, I am sending her and blip a message that what I am saying won’t affect how I feel about them.
“I found out in Barbados that I was pregnant.” Her face goes from shock to elation and then she registers what I am saying. That was months ago and it is quite obvious that there is no baby now.
“Was it Elliot’s?” I try not to be hurt about this.
“Yes. It was Elliot’s.” I can’t look at her. My voice is no more than a choked whisper. This is going to be a fuckload harder than I thought.
“Did you…?” Did I what? Want it? Get rid of it? Half a question requires a little explanation but I wouldn’t do that to her.
“We were over the moon. There was a little worry about the timing but in the end Elliot and I were on the same page and we were staring down the barrel of our happily ever after.” My eyes are threatening to cut loose with the waterworks and just as I push them back again, Ana grabs the tissue box off the side table and places it on the couch between us. Taking one out, she blows her nose.
“I thought we were going to need them for the chick flick. Now I’m glad I came prepared.” I love this about her. I missed this about her. She has a way of leaving the gaps so that you can walk into them when you’re ready. She’s waiting me out. Ready for me when I’m ready to continue.
“In the week leading up to Christian’s birthday so much was happening. We had arrived home secretly, masqueraded at the Coping Together charity – which by the way, you looked beautiful at – worked up the act for the Slave Auction, then Christian went missing and the letter. I didn’t have time to stop. I knew there was something wrong but it was just one thing after another and I…” The tears are about to come and once they do she won’t get a word of common sense out of me. I stop for a moment and take a sip of the hot liquid that I no longer particularly want but the next bit is going to hurt so I need a moment. I place my cup down on the table.
“Jack accosted me in the garden at Bellevue.” Ana’s sharp intake of breath tells me that she didn’t know about this. I’m not sure that Christian knows everything. “He was vile and threatening and I played right into his hands by being alone in the garden. He assaulted me. Threw me down on the ground and kicked me which was horrible but I would have gotten over it. Problem was that nature had already set things in motion. It was an ectopic, I had internal bleeding by the time I got to the hospital so they performed a laparoscopy and I was out of the hospital the next day. It was over so goddamn fast.”
“Why didn’t you call me?”
“I…I don’t know. I didn’t call anyone…not even my mother. The next day, the Sunday, I moved back to the apartment and instead of taking the recommended time off, I went straight to work the next day. I thought if I focused on the other parts of my life that I would just get over it.”
“What about Elliot? He was with you through everything, wasn’t he?” As she says this the tears come. No stopping them now, floodgates open and the river of remorse is flowing.
“I shut him out. Stopped talking to him, wouldn’t allow him into the apartment. I had it in my head that he was all about the baby and not about me. I was selfish and stupid and I very nearly lost the man of my dreams.”
“So all of the problems leading up to Aspen – that was about you both grieving and getting your relationship back on track?” The soft understanding in her voice undoes me. I can’t speak, I merely nod and let my head drop as I sob quietly. Her hands take mine but she is quiet for a long time while I bring it all under control. All she does is hand me a fresh tissue when I need it.
“I’m sorry.” It’s not much and it’s a whisper but her hand squeezes mine and it is enough.
“Not that it will make any difference, but are you okay about me?” I want to say yes. I know I should say yes. But this is about honesty and trust so I shake my head and the tears freshen up. “That’s okay. I get it.”
This time she pulls me into her chest and holds me while I cry. So many tears, so much time and yet the pain just doesn’t go away. Eventually I manage to pull myself upright and stem the flow.
“I’m happy for you, I really am. I don’t want you to think any differently. I was so angry when I realised the risk that you had taken to rescue Mia. It was unreasonable of me to feel that way but I wanted to throttle you. Now…I am trying to be happy, I am happy for you. But part of me is so freaking jealous. Part of me wishes it was me and not you.”
“I get it. I really do. And we’ll just take it one day at a time. You don’t have to be around me. I’ll miss you but I totally understand why you might not want to be near all of this happy family stuff. Just tell me one thing and then we don’t have to talk about it any more.”
I hesitate. I know what is coming. Finally, I nod. “Yes, I can. And yes, I will try. I didn’t think I could at first. It seemed like the worst kind of pain and I didn’t want to ever go through that again. But then that wouldn’t be living and it wouldn’t be fair on anyone. Elliot and I want a family, however we can get it.” I am tempted to talk about Mattie but I don’t want to jinx it. “I love Elliot so much. We both want a family. Somehow, some day, we are going to make that happen. In the meantime we will have little blip to lavish our love and attention on and that will be enough.”
She smiles, holding her stomach in a Madonna-esque fashion. Then without saying another word she picks up the remote and turns on the movie. We settle in like the old days. Cups of tea in one hand, tissues and my bestie’s hand in the other. With the weight off my shoulders, I absorb the memory of this night, a night I will never forget.
Later when Christian and Elliot come in, a little worse for wear, Ana is asleep with her head in my lap while I watch CNN with the sound down low. Christian picks her up and carries her to bed issuing instructions for us to stay the night in the upstairs bedroom. Elliot takes my hand and leads the way up the stairs to beautifully appointed guest room where he slowly strips my clothes off before putting me to bed naked. His nude flesh envelopes me as he spoons against my body.
“Are you okay?” He whispers in the darkness. Am I okay?
“Yes. I’m okay. I promise.” I lift his hand up to my lips and suck on his fingers gently but forcefully enough to get a groan. His body moves as his hand slips around my face, pulling me to look at him in the dark. His mouth descends on mine, our lips moving slowly, languidly, our tongues chasing each other in the moist recesses of our mouths. No other move is made, no hands stroking, no bodies writhing. Just the messages that our lips are sending through the night. The kissing goes on forever, lulling all my senses into a dream state.
Finally, he pulls away before rolling me onto my back properly. There are moments when after you have been together a while, that your lover knows your body better than you do. This is one of those moments as his flat palm slides down my neck and collar bone to grasp my breast as he dips his head to suckle on my turgid nipple. He sucks hard, almost biting and I cry out a little with the pleasure and pain of the sensation pulsing to my core. We both know how wet I am, the sultry musk floating in the air around us but he moves on anyway, dipping his fingers into my moist folds while simultaneously applying pressure to the hard nub of my clitoris. His movements are slow and exquisitely synchronised with the continued ministrations of his tongue on my aching breasts. I breath deep on a moan and let him work his magic as he drives my pleasure up. Eventually, his lips move back to mine and between kisses he instructs me to let go, to come. The pulsating muscles of my vagina seem to be totally in tune with his voice.
“That’s it, baby. Let it go.” My tiny cries in the dark tell him by sound what my body is letting him know by feel. I’m all his. Before I can let go of the sensation of coming he enters me, thrusting his hard cock inside and taking on the push and pull of my orgasm. I don’t stop coming as he begins his rhythm, absorbing my continued clenching as I grip and pull him inside. Our loving is slow and gentle in the dark but not enough. I thrust my pelvis up and he gets the message. Picking up my left leg and grasping my buttock while I wrap myself around his waist, my hands grips his shoulders as he begins to pound into me. The movements hot, hard, slamming me up the bed. He starts slow but soon builds in speed until I have to place my hands on the headboard to get some traction as he jackhammers my pussy. Something about the movement extends our pleasure and our bodies are sweating, our breathing ragged and desperate. Still he goes on with the force of a 200 knot wind. My leg now on his shoulder gets flipped over his head so that I am on my side and still he fucks on, slamming me over and over again with increasing speed. As he moves my body with each thrust we eventually position ourselves on our knees, as he fucks me hard from behind. I finger my clit while he pounds knowing that I have never touched myself so aggressively before. I come a second time on a harsh cry, hoping that the sound isn’t carrying downstairs to our hosts.
Sweat is pouring off his body and he pulls out to position me at the edge of the bed. Picking up both feet and throwing them over his shoulders,he reenters my body from a standing position, once more picking up speed. This time one hand holds my legs while the other reaches between us and fingers me. By now I am so jacked up that the lightest touch has me coming a third time and I grab the pillow to muffle my scream as he continues to pound. When I remove the pillow his salty sweat flies across the bed and hits me in the face and I sense the desperation in him.
“Come for me, Elliot, I want to feel you come. I want to see it. I want to see you stroke yourself and come all over my face.” He pulls out and strokes his long purple cock while I reach over and turn on the lamp. He might have had one too many drinks tonight with Christian but I am a woman on a mission now. He has made me come, and come hard, three times. I am going to milk his cock for all it is worth in gratitude, I don’t care how drunk he is.
“I’ve got this, baby.” Sitting up I grab his cock and bring it to my mouth, licking around the crown before sinking my lips down and deep throating him. I try to keep my eyes on his throughout the whole maneuver placing my hand over his as we both stroke. His other hand reaches down and he squeezes his own balls.
“Fuck, that is so beautiful, kitten. I love seeing my cock in your mouth. You’ve got the most beautiful, fuckable mouth.”
I let go of his cock for a moment and grab his hips. Pulling my mouth away for a moment and utter the words he seems to want to hear. “Then fuck my beautiful, fuckable mouth, babe. Let me feel you.”
On a sigh he does just that, thrusting hard into my mouth and I suppress my gag reflex so I can take it. Eventually I can feel the build and just as he starts to come I squeeze both the base of his cock and his balls simultaneously. As promised, I pull back so that he can pump his cock all over my face and I try to catch as much as I can but there is so much. His cry is almost a scream with every pump.
“I love you so fucking much Kate. I love you.” I gaze up, his come coating my face and lick around his cock, cleaning it while he watches me. He pulls away and walks to the bathroom, bringing back a warm, wet cloth to wipe my face. When he finishes he throws the cloth to the side and takes my face in both hands before leaning in to kiss me, thrusting his tongue in and around as if swiping the last of his come from my gums.
Pushing me back on the bed, he continues to kiss me for a while and I have no desire to make him stop. In between kisses he murmurs his love. Unending love, orgasmic love, fuckable love. When he runs out of words he pulls my head to his chest and holds me through the night. We wake up early in the morning still in the same tangle of limbs with an extra bonus that now he is sober takes a little less persuasion to come. We take our time waking up and make love twice in the bed then once more in the shower before meeting Ana and Christian for breakfast at 8am. They have their own secret smile thing going on so there is no need to rib each other about the noise. One thing the Grey boys seem to know how to do is keep their women satisfied.
Now that we are both well and truly late for work we decide to drop into the apartment to change before heading off for the day. Elliot will go back out to the mansion to work, and possibly to supervise the next container delivery. I will be traveling to Portland this afternoon to cover a trade show. The absence of Mia and Ethan from the apartment is concerning, as is the lack of text messages but we push that aside to start our busy work day. If I had known what was coming later that day I might have insisted that we take the whole day off. If either of us had an inkling of what lay ahead we might have spent a little more time trying to locate our siblings. The phone call that I do get from Ethan later that day is one that chills me to the bone.
“Kate. Where are you?” Ethan sounds agitated.
“Ethan. I’ve been trying to get hold of you for the past 24 hours. Where the hell are you?”
“Kate, don’t. I need to know where you are now.”
“I’m at a trade show in Portland. Look, I’ll be finishing up here in an hour and then heading back. I’d like to see you…”
“Baby, girl, stop.” His tone sends shivers down my spine. “I’m at Christian’s mansion with Elliot. We’ve got a… situation here. Listen, I need you to go to the heliport. Christian is going to pick you up in 30 minutes in the chopper. Mia is with him. She will explain everything. But you need to get your ass over there now. Do you understand?”
“Oh, God. Is it Elliot? Just tell me what’s happened.” My mind is flicking through a million scenarios, each one worse than the one before. Elliot hurt, Elliot trapped and the worst, Elliot being arrested.
“Kate, Elliot is fine. He’s doing real well. And we’re going to get him out of this. But you have to move. You copy that?”
A/N: Sorry, not polished again by any means and my Beta will beat me over the head with a big stick but I am trying to slip these in between everything else. I do care that it needs to be edited more but I hope you enjoy it just the same. Please review. In case you haven’t noticed, I am starting to go back through Investing Elliot and reworking the story – making it a little sharper and more in line with how my writing voice has developed over time. Hope you can find the time to check the first few chapters out and let me know what you think.
If I haven’t responded to your reviews, please know that I read and appreciate each and every one. I love that many of you have been so loyal from the start and I am thrilled to see new people jumping on board. The more you talk to me, the more I am likely to talk back! Love you all, Sasha xxx