Never knew I could feel like this
Like I’ve never seen the sky before
Want to vanish inside your kiss
Everyday I love you more and more
Listen to my heart, can you hear it sings
Telling me to give you everything
Come What May – Nicole Kidman/Ewan McGregor
Copenhagen, May 25 2011
“I now pronounce you husband and wife. You may kiss the bride.”
At least I am wearing white, and technically I was a virgin until my husband came along. I’m not sure why these things should matter to me but they do. I’m not a former member of christian youth with a history of peace rallies and chastity rings. Old-fashioned was never in my value set while I saved myself for Mr Right. Mr Right wandered through my life when I was very young and in the fallout from the devastation he wrought on my heart, Mr Right Enough simply didn’t present himself. My husband. I look down at the platinum wedding ring and fight the urge to pinch myself. I reach over and pinch Ethan instead.
“Don’t even think about it, Minx.” My demon pincers lock into the palm of his hands as he wraps his fingers around my hand and his smile around my heart. The sparkle of tender indulgence in his eyes hits me full force. A wave of radiant, calming energy that says, ‘it’s okay. This is real. You’re not dreaming.’, that sucks the breath out of my lungs. That’s the trouble with my husband, the Mentalist. There are no surprises in his future. He knows me too well, sees me too clearly. I take back everything I ever said about him being an idiot. He’s one of the smartest, sexiest – make that THE smartest, sexiest man I know.
He smiles out at the photographer we have hired for the afternoon and says through gritted teeth, “Your father and brothers are going to lynch me.”
“Never mind them, don’t forget you’ve got not one but two mothers-in-law that will be out for your blood.” Fixing the camera with a full blown Grey-Kavanagh grin, I add, “Don’t worry, I’ve got your back, babe.”
Back inside the hotel room, I lean against the door and squeeze out of my designer heels with a groan. “I have blisters on my blisters.”
Ethan loosens his tie before phoning down to room service for a fresh pot of tea. Then he kicks off his shoes and throws himself down on the couch. “Come here, Mrs Kavanagh. Let me rub those feet for you.”
I stop for a moment looking around the room. Then placing my hand on my chest, with a coquettish flair, honed from years as a Seattle debutant in training, exclaim, “Who me?” Pushing away from the wall with a giggle, I stumble over and land on the couch with my feet on his lap. He lifts them up and kisses the soles of my feet through the sheer stockings. I groan, a thousand sensuous and lascivious images of naked toe-sucking flicker behind my eyes. Strong fingers begin a deep tissue foot massage that sends electric shocks straight to my pussy. Apparently I have erogenous zones on my erogenous zones, as well. I groan out my pleasure.
“You, Mrs Kavanagh, had better not forget it.” He growls at me and I pout before taking my hair out of the french roll I have had it in all day and unbuttoning my cream silk jacket. The lustful gaze he gives the french lace corset is my reward for sore, aching feet. I take my other foot, the one he’s not trying to seduce me with, and start a little massage of my own, running my toes over the bulge forming in his trousers.
“Beautiful wedding. Did you know the bride well?” As much as this little game is stimulating every nerve ending, I’m tired from three days and nights of non-stop fucking. My sore feet don’t even register with the pain I feel from Ethan’s other skills but he learned to stop asking me if I was alright after the first 12 hours. There’s a deliciousness in the pain that keeps me constantly moist and him constantly hard. Looking around the room, I’m hard-pressed to see a surface where he hasn’t taken me. I’m going to miss this room. I cover my yawn but he catches it and stifles his own with a chuckle.
“No, she’s just some chick I picked up in Paris and shagged senseless for the past three days.”
The constant laughter surprises me. I love that about him. In our world, everything is so fucking serious that levity and sarcasm become their own relief. We don’t do it to mask emotions but rather to release them. Fucking and laughter are going to keep us both sane. And he fucks really well. My limited experience notwithstanding I’m feeling pretty satisfied and quietly confident that I am holding my own in the shagging him senseless stakes. The perpetual horniness, well, that might be a bit of a bother.
The knock on the door interrupts that thought and a housemaid brings in our tea. She pours into ornate cups and hands them to us before leaving the room. At the door she turns, and says, “Mr and Mrs Kavanagh. On behalf of the hotel may I say, congratulations.” Then she disappears through the door leaving us with the flowers and champagne that have magically arrived in our room while we were out. I look at Ethan with an unspoken question before getting up and walking over to the bureau to check the cards.
“There is one from the hotel. This one is from the photographer. That’s sweet. And this is from Jean-Claude and Angelique. How wonderful.” I gather up the smallest bouquet and inhale the sweet aroma of lilacs. Why is it that men like Jean-Claude always notice the little things about women? There is not a day that I don’t wear my En Passant fragrance, as if I could hold those memories to my skin. Next to the bouquet is a pan flute carved from lilac wood. Part of me mourns our ritual with the flowers, wondering if Ethan has forgotten and then I feel ungrateful when clearly he has given me so much. Next to the flute is a box with a purple ribbon wrapped around it. I sense his approach behind me.
“What’s this?” I pick up the box and shake it, gently. The small card that was underneath draws my attention and I carefully open it. Inside the message reads, “For my beautiful wife, I will never forget. E” The box is lined in black velvet on which lies a single lilac blossom encased in resin and set in a square beveled antique gold pendant. I gasp, my hand flying to my mouth. The emotion of the day is threatening to overtake me.
“Minx, please tell me they are happy tears.” I hear the tremor in his voice. He takes the box from my hand and removes the pendant and chain. Turning it over, I see the word Siren’.
“Syrinx was the sprite that the god Pan fell in love with but she ran away and her sisters hid her by turning her into a lilac reed. Pan didn’t know which reed she was so he selected a number of different lengths and turned them into a pan flute. Siren’ is another name for lilac.”
He quickly places it around my neck as I hold my hair out of the way. My eyes stay firmly on our reflection in the mirror.
“It’s so beautiful,” I whisper, touching it reverently. He wraps his arms around me, nuzzling my neck as if to mark himself with the fragrance that lingers there.
“Says she with the billionaire brother who could keep her in diamonds and pearls.”
“Don’t you dare, Ethan Kavanagh. You could be a garbage collector and I still would have married you.” He chuckles. There is no discomfort with my family’s wealth. His father owns half the tabloids on the west coast. Neither of us have ever had to be concerned about money. Ambivalence is easy when there are choices.
“It’s the one you threw back at me the day we broke up.” My eyes fly from the pendant to his face. He’s serious.
“You kept it all this time?”
“Yeah, well call me a girlie girl, but I pressed it. They wiped you from my phone and computer, so it was the only thing I had to remind me that we were real. When I knew I was going to be working with you I had this made. I figured it might have some sentimental value.” His hands slip away from me and he steps back placing them in his trouser pockets while he toes the carpet. He’s embarrassed.
“Your preemptive strikes are daunting.” I’m still watching him in the mirror, almost a little afraid that if I take my eyes off him, he will disappear. The reality of the feelings that he has carried around all these year settle like a rock on my soul. If he should fly off into the ether, I would be too weighed down by my own guilt to go after him.
“I didn’t mean to assume.” He still can’t look up at me. It’s more reassuring than he could ever know.
“Well, who knew you were such an old romantic?” Focusing on the mirror isn’t doing much to keep the tears at bay. The man is overwhelming. He chuckles, his breath licking the back of my neck with just enough reality to make me brave enough to turn. My hand goes straight to his face hoping that the connection of my skin on his will hold him here in this moment with me. “You know I love you, right?”
“Yeah, I kind of guessed when you turned up at the wedding.” He takes my hand and holds it in his own. Perhaps, we are both still waiting to wake from this dream. His fingers lace through mine and he pulls me in for a chaste kiss before his forehead settles against mine.
“Yeah, well it was touch and go for a while there.” We both smile, our eyes focused on the other’s lips, searching for the tangible breath that can bind us. He kisses me again. Another soft pressing of lips with little intent but laden with meaning.
“Come to bed, baby. I need you.” He pulls away but keeps my hand firmly in his.
“Good, I need to be needed. You’ve well and truly trumped me in the romance stakes, Kavanagh. All I have for you is a blow job.”
“Oh, you are so on, Mrs K.”
Seattle, May 28, 2011
Well, here goes nothing. I walk through to the arrivals hall at SeaTac and see him waiting. He is a stunning looking man, beautifully crafted, honed muscles, gorgeous smile, dark hair and crystal grey eyes. Shame about the massive deformity he carries around with him – that giant chip growing on top of his huge ego – but I love him just the same. When Mom said he was coming to pick me up I was a little disbelieving. The great Christian Grey lowering himself to pick someone up at the airport. I almost expected to see Taylor standing there but he appears to be quite alone and do my eyes deceive me? Happy-ish?
Someone walks past him and brushes his shoulder and I see him scowl, his stance changing. Right, dominant Christian is never far away. Oh well, we’ll just have to knock that shit out of him.
“Christian!” I squeal in my best imitation of myself as I push my trolley over towards him before throwing myself into his arms and pushing him off balance. I know he hates this, he hates anyone touching him but I do it just the same because it just isn’t normal. Not that I think normal is all that crash hot but no one should go through their whole life without physical affection. I know about the subs, I know he isn’t gay, I know about this Ana Steele but I’m not sure that his sex life involves anything that approximates affection. Since his adoption, my brother has never hugged my parents. Not once. But he hugs me. Or at least he used to. So when he hugs me back, I know we’re okay.
“Hi Mia. How are you?” Then he looks past me at the trolley which is loaded up with suitcases. “Fuck, what is all that?”
“Now, now darling brother. You can’t expect me to move the past four years of my life back from Paris without there being the appropriate haul of fashion and frivolity to accompany me. I’ve been spending all of my allowance on the wonders of France and I just couldn’t leave it all behind.” What a load of tripe! If I could have walked through that arrivals hall with a suitbag and Glock case I would have done it but that would raise just a few suspicions, now, wouldn’t it? Some charity will do well out of it all once we can get through this assignment. God, I miss Ethan so much already and it’s really only been two days.
Christian makes an attempt to grab the first case off the top of the pile but this unbalances my jenga tower of luggage. Everything comes piling down with a loud crash as the trolley goes one way and Christian goes another. I stifle a giggle at seeing my normally overly-coordinated brother fall flat on his ass under an assortment of Louis Vuitton. Helping him up, we make a coordinated effort to pile the cases back up again, with Christian muttering about having to call in reinforcements.
“How the hell am I going to get that in the car? Shit.” Stop driving such a wanky car? I dunno! As expected he is on the phone to Taylor in seconds and soon someone will come and rescue my luggage. We drop it at a service desk with a card and Christian hustles me out of the airport. Two or three paps are hovering and recognize him, snapping shots as we walk. I throw my arm through his and smile sweetly. Part of the plan is to firmly announce my arrival home and this is the best way I know of to do it. That should make the evening news. Christian is scowling under his aviators which is probably more about the threat of having some over eager pap snapping photos of an unusually unco-Christian Grey climbing out from under my encased lingerie than about having to escort me as I vogue towards his car.
Once we are in the car and he has the requisite aria blaring through the sound system, he talks again. “So how was the flight?”
And so I am forced to launch into some long winded story about the fat woman sitting next to me who was reading some book that has hit the best sellers list that has been labeled ‘Mommy Porn’ and insisted on telling me all about how I should read it. I would have wanted to tell her I was living it but then I didn’t really sit next to a fat woman and I spoke to no one except the steward. After I have made him laugh with that story I move on to how the air is different in Seattle than Paris and how nice it is to be home and how I won’t miss dodging dog pooh on the pavements – which I won’t. If I haven’t exhausted him by the time we arrive in Bellevue then I have exhausted myself.
My mother comes running out to the car as we sweep up the driveway, tears in her eyes. We hug and cry and walk up to the front door. My father is standing at the bottom of the stairs looking uncertain. Not sure I care but I will keep up the pretense. Can’t possibly have Christian see the chinks in this perfect little family scene, now can we. I hug Dad and kiss him but once Christian has moved past us and into the house I pull away without another word.
Mom has this little bit of nostalgia going on where she keeps our bedrooms exactly as they were when we moved out and I am both comforted and mortified by the giant Justin Timberlake poster hanging over my bed. That has got to go, although Ethan has a kind of JT vibe to him. Maybe he can stay until my hubby can come and replace him. On that thought, I rush to my phone and check for messages. I text to tell him I have arrived and he immediately messages back with an x. Then I check my gun and my vibrator in that order. Not that I think I will need the gun but the vibrator, now that is essential unless I can find some time to Skype Ethan privately later on. Once I run out of things to check I go downstairs.
“So my darling, how was your flight.” Oh crap, here we go again. I give Christian a big cheesy grin and he rolls his eyes at me as I launch into my story again. I have rehearsed it so much in my head that it comes tripping off my tongue and I am pretty sure that I haven’t changed any details. If I have, Christian doesn’t notice. All good. After an hour of chewing the fat, Christian excuses himself and Mom and I take our tea out to the back patio.
“I missed this place, Mom. I missed you.”
She leans over and pats my hand. “I missed you too, darling. You have no idea how much.”
Oh Mom, I think I do. After three months of working together Ethan had a go at me about how many times in a week my Mom phoned me. Given that half the time I was in another country it was costing the agency a fortune to reroute her calls through the Paris exchange. I told him it was a small price to pay for National Security, which made him scowl. I mean, seriously.
“So what has been happening around here?”
My mother sips her tea and looks wistfully out to the water.
“Nothing much, really. The boys are so busy that we hardly see them unless we run into them at some social event. Elliot still makes the gossip rags on a daily basis, it seems. I do wish that he would settle down for a while. And Christian works far too hard. Most of the time if I want to see him I have to storm the tower.” We laugh at the reference to Escala. It certainly has become that over the years. I would worry about his social skills except that he is freaky like Ethan. He can just read people so quickly. “And you, what do you think you might do now that you are back? Do you have any restaurant jobs lined up?”
Ugh, I couldn’t think of anything worse. “Event management.” That one just popped in out of nowhere but it kind of fits. “Yeah, having worked in the hotel I saw a lot of really awful events and I think that is something that I could do really well. I have the contacts, I have the hospitality training, I can talk the language. And I like bossing people around.” The more I talk about it, the more I convince myself that this is the job for me. Of course, the reality is that with my training I might be dangerous as an event manager. Ethan would be laughing his breakfast up if he heard me spinning this tale right now.
“So were there any special boys in Paris?” Oh yes, there was this one guy.
“No, I went out with lots of people but no one special.” My hand goes to the necklace and I try not to show any emotion.
“Well, we shall just have to do something about that. You know that Sean has been asking after you. You should at least ask him to the gala.” Oh crap, that’s coming up, isn’t it? And the thought of seeing Sean makes me happy, but not for the reason my Mom thinks. As Emma Stone would say, Kinsey 6 gay, that boy is.
“Great, I will call him, later.” I’ll have to wear a wire all night so taking Sean shopping for a suitable dress sounds like fun.
“Come, I want to get some preparation done for tonight. The boys are both going to be here for dinner. You can show me some of your tricks of the trade.” Double crap. Well, fake it till you make it. Hopefully, Mom will be so blinded by my knife skills that she won’t notice when I burn the water.
We get a couple of things organised and then I claim fatigue and go back upstairs to my room. I open my laptop and start checking through the surveillance logs at GEH. We haven’t been able to tap more than the foyer of Christian’s mammoth steel phallic symbol of an office building but there might be something of interest. I need to get into Escala as soon a possible. There have been a couple of attempts at getting equipment in there but the place is like Fort Knox and Taylor’s team manages to thwart every attempt. I will have to do it myself. I don’t particularly like the idea of spying on my brother but it is what I do. And in the end Ethan and I are convinced that he is clean. What we need is to find a reason compelling enough to recruit him as an asset. Something he will be unable to refuse.
“Hey, baby girl, how was your flight?” Shit, Elliot. In an effort to conceal the laptop, I swing around quickly and stand up. This has the effect of knocking a couple of the pillows into a strategic position covering the computer.
“Elliot, so great to see you.” I give him the big grin trying to divert his attention. “You look wonderful. Different. What’s going on?” He looks so….happy.
“I need to ask you a favor.” Favors with Elliot tend to consist of distracting one girl while he leaves the club with another. I wonder if the first time I meet my sister-in-law is going to be to scrape up the pieces of her broken heart. Fuck you, Elliot, you manwhore.
“Okay, Lelliot. Shoot.” I deliberately use his nick name because, quite frankly, the man is a child. He gives me a calculating look, the kind of look that a brother gets before he executes the perfect revenge.
“Look, Coco,” and there it is, the stupid nickname that he and Christian gave me when I first announced I was moving to Paris. Fucker. “I know this is your first weekend back and you’re probably looking forward to a quiet family dinner but … I need you to convince Mom to strong-arm Christian into bringing his girlfriend.” Holy hell freezing over, Batman! He just referred to Anastasia as Christian’s girlfriend. No wonder Christian was so different when he picked me up. I bow to Jean-Claude’s superior assessment of their files.
“I knew it!” I squeal and smack him on the chest in the expected manner. Shit, I must have hit too hard because he rubs the spot with a grimace. Tone it down, Mia. “I knew he was keeping something from me. Damn. Christian really has a girlfriend?” To my horror, I notice that the laptop has shifted and is about to drop off the end of the bed. I quickly back up and plop myself down pretending to be shocked by the news while I surreptitiously retrieve the errant hardware. Luckily, Elliot sits down heavily beside me and that is enough to shift it back into place underneath the pillows.
“Calm down, Dr Phil, I’m not sure that Christian knows he has a girlfriend.”
“Typical. To paraphrase Yoda, he either has or has not. There is no in between.”
Elliot chuckles. “I think he just needs a little push.”
“Mmm, push is my specialty area.” I hug my fluffy stuffed dog to my stomach while I plot.
“That’s what I was counting on.” He grins. Not the megawatt, drop-your-panties grin that he uses on his harem, but a genuine happy-to-have-my-partner-in-crime grin. It makes me want to tell him about Ethan but Elliot is fucking hopeless with secrets.
“So you think bringing her to dinner here, and introducing her to Mom and Dad will force him to admit it.”
“Well, technically she’s already met Mom but yeah, that’s the general idea.” Fuck. So much for the heart to heart, Mom. Storm the fortress, she says.
“Mom knows and she didn’t tell me?”
“I wouldn’t take it personally. I think Mom doesn’t want to jinx it. Which is why we need to get her to invite Ana. But I wanted to check with you first. It is your night, after all.” A small beep comes from underneath the pillows, the sound of an unhappy battery. Luckily, Elliot doesn’t notice.
“Of course. Let’s go talk to her.” I push him out of my room and down the stairs. We locate Mom in the kitchen arranging flowers.
“Mom, we have a request for dinner.” I lean over the counter and steal a grape from the platter she has half-prepared. I think I could eat a horse right now so these could be gone by 7pm. “Can you call Christian and invite Ana, is that her name Elliot? Yes, invite Ana to dinner tomorrow night, for my welcome home. Please.” Luckily, the agency hasn’t completely trained the whine out of me. As Ethan can probably attest to. I discovered in Denmark that if I go into my whiney little school girl pout he will put me over his knee as soon as look at me. It’s really hot.
Mom stares at me with her mouth open, then glares at Elliot. “Elliot, what is going on? Why are you two plotting against your brother?” Just when I think Mom is going to take Christian’s side, Elliot does the unthinkable. Confesses.
“Mom, hear me out.” He takes a deep breath. “I’ve met someone. Someone I really care about. In fact, I am going away with her and family for a holiday next week.” Shit, he is going to Barbados with Ethan? How can I get an invite on that trip? His family has arranged a two week holiday in Barbados to celebrate Kate’s graduation. Ethan was going to use that time here but then the leaked photographs are all on his Dad’s personal laptop so he’s going on the holiday to see what he can find out and maybe check in with our Miami operation. Two weeks without him is going to be hell. “Her name is Kate and I met her through Christian. She’s Ana’s flatmate. Which is why I need you to invite Ana tonight, Mom. Kate and I are going away on Tuesday and I want you to meet her before we go. I just know that she will feel better if Ana is here, after all Ana and Christian met first. Kate just thinks its weird that she would meet you guys before Ana does.” Well, fuck me, my big butch brother has turned into a girl.
“Oh. My. God. Elliot,” I shreek, “you didn’t mention a Kate. I thought this was about Christian. When…how did you meet her? What does she do? How serious is this? When were you going to tell me? No wait. I knew there was something up with you. Damn, you’re good. Throwing me off the scent like that.” Don’t you out girl the girl, girlfriend.
“As I said, Kate is Ana’s flatmate. She was meant to interview Christian for the college paper which she edited up until her graduation. Only she got sick and sent Ana which is how Christian met her first. Christian roped me in to be his wingman and well…” I do that thing where I lean on my hand and gaze up at him. And just like a big tippy jug, he spills. “Kate has a degree in journalism and professional writing, she is starting her internship at Kavanagh Media when she returns from Barbados. She is smart, funny, beautiful and well…I really like her. A lot.”
Sometimes men are just too easy. “Mom, I think your boy is in-lurve.” I wink at him and fuck me sideways, if he doesn’t blush.
“Mia, don’t tease your brother.” Mom walks around the bench and wraps him in a big hug. “I can’t believe this. Both my boys. I can’t tell you how happy I am for you darling.” Mom is just about in tears and Elliot glares at me over her shoulder. Well, I could make your day, Mom and tell you I’m MARRIED! But that will have to wait.
Poor Christian, within moments he has been blindsided by Mom’s phone call and Elliot looks like the cat that got the cream. Can’t wait.
A/N: Welcome to a 2016 revised chapter. Thanks for reading and please review.
Significant changes occur in the Denmark wedding section. During this conversation I wanted to establish the Lilac as theme and object. This will make more sense later. Also, although I liked the light-hearted banter between Mia and Ethan in the original, there wasn’t enough emotional layering. They need to be less sure about each other so I hope that I’ve made that more evident for you. Also, Ethan had too many nicknames for Mia in the original so I’ve limited him to Minx and baby as much as possible. Significant when he starts translating them into different languages later on.
There are some subtle changes to the Seattle homecoming scenes. Mostly, in the dialog between Elliot and Mia. Part of this is establishing that while Mia knows more than her brothers, she doesn’t know it all. There needs to be more about Elliot that she misreads just because she thinks he is predictable. It makes it easier to keep her out of the Kate, Elliot, Ethan storylines.
Hope you enjoyed. Please let me know what you think. Sasha xxxx