StatCtr

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Book IV - Chapter XXVIII - Christian and Anastasia FanFiction

CHAPTER XXVIII

WHERE NO MAN THREADS

(read Ch. XXVII first)

If your enemy is secure at all points, be prepared for him. If he is in superior strength, evade him. If your opponent is temperamental, seek to irritate him. Pretend to be weak, that he may grow arrogant. If he is taking his ease, give him no rest. If his forces are united, separate them. If sovereign and subject are in accord, put division between them. Attack him where he is unprepared, appear where you are not expected.

- Sun Tzu, the Art of War


            Taylor opens the door to Barney’s lab at GEH. He is sporting a bright red shirt with the word BAZINGA! emblazoned on it. I’ve no clue whatever the hell that means. He looks up from his work. A static discharger is attached to his arm, and he’s wearing goggles which are surprisingly stylish. He gets up from his work carefully placing a hard drive on a clear surface and rises from his seat. His jeans are tucked into his boots as usual which are tied only halfway.

            “Mr. Grey, Taylor! Hi!” he says excitedly.

            “What do you got for me?”

            “You won’t believe what I discovered, Mr. Grey! I had to request Welch’s help because he knows how to pull strings.”

            “For what purpose?” I ask.

            “Fingerprints of course.”

            “What about the contents of the hard drive? Did you manage to discover anything?”

             “The theory I presented you earlier, thanks to you, sir, has proven promising. Instead of directly turning on and trying to log into the hard drive which may or may not be possible, but more likely not possible because the sequence the perp started may finish off or worse yet it may have Trojans or other worms or viruses that may attempt to infect our system. So, I decided to hack the hacker.” I try not to be hopeful, but there’s a glimpse of it.

            “So, were you able to break in?” I ask to which Barney’s grin gets wider in answer.

“I am an…” he makes quotation marks with his index and middle fingers of both hand, “elite hacker, or rather was, but I’ve got my tools sharpened, because I have to try and see first-hand if our company’s systems can hold up against external break ins."

"And the results?" I ask impatiently. 

"Yes, I’m not quite done yet, sir. Because what I’ve been doing for the most part of the day is to put cautions in place so that what the perp has started doesn’t succeed in destroying the contents of the hard drive. But one piece of information I discovered in the hard drive is very interesting. I don’t know what it means yet, sir.” It piques my curiosity.

“What is it?”

“This,” he says as he walks in front of a computer monitor. What I see is gibberish, characters jumbled in a disorganized chaos.

“This is crap. Gibberish. There’s nothing to see here!” I bark.

“Ah! That’s what appears at first, Mr. Grey. But let me show you something,” he says typing several keystrokes in such a speedy manner, his fingers appear to be flying on the keyboard. “See, Mr. Grey, there are a lot ordinary engineers don’t know the type of subroutines the hackers create to find the hidden files in their target, things ordinary people or even the frequent users of these toys and ~this is an expensive one with all the bells and whistles Mr. Grey.~" he adds qualifying, "This particular iPad which looks so similar to others is actually a limited edition that is coming up next month. There was a problem with a previous version which they will not tell you, but I owned every possible edition and I knew what the previous version needed; a small improvement… Anyway, I digress. This has a feature that the others didn’t have!” he adds excitedly. 

“It has a GPS feature with its Wi-Fi and tracks all the places this unit has been. When you turn the Wi-Fi on or when you have a prepaid service for internet connectivity, it tracks you, not for malicious purposes, although there are pre-existing government requirements for computer products that are sold overseas, and they have this tiiiiny little chip which is nearly invisible. Considering this hasn’t even come out yet, I thought you’d be interested to know where this little toy has been in its short existence,” Barney says. After a few more strokes on his keyboard, a world map emerges.

“Starting point is Taiwan!” Does it mean that it’s related to my business in Taiwan?

“No, I mean, yes. But it goes through a technical inspection there, this particular version anyway. But, this is military grade, Mr. Grey,” he says.

“What?”

“This version has some particularities that are not available for commercial use. So, when I discovered that, I called Welch to have him speed up a partial finger print that wasn’t damaged. After deducting Lee’s, Taylor’s and your fingerprints from the hard drive, part of an index finger print remained.”

“Aaaand?” I probe anxiously.

“That’s where it gets interesting. The person doesn’t exist. We hit dead end.”

“Doesn’t exist? How could that be possible? Do you mean no criminal records, no driver’s license, no immigration records? Unless the man is in this country illegally, there has to be something about him that exists.”

“That’s the thing, sir. None of those records were in existence. Welch sent the records to Anthony Decimus, Pella’s right hand man. They have ties with the Homeland Security.”

“Well, did they come up with something?”

“Yes.”

“WHAT?” I ask exasperated.

“They came up with ‘CLASSIFIED’. He or she may have had existing records at one time or another, but no longer. That means he is or has worked in some intelligence community.”

“I want that person to be found!”

The White Buffalo & the Rangers - The House of Rising Son

“Mr. Grey, the name comes up with compartmentalized ‘TOP SECRET’ and even those who are at the pay grade to view the top secret can’t view the details unless authorized.” I can see why perp managed to evade Lee now. But why government? Is someone in my company doing something illegal? I have to have inspections. There’s nothing to check as far as I know, but I have to be sure. Even if it was the case, they wouldn’t be lurking around my wife this way. That's not the way government operates. She has nothing to do with my company business. I look up at Taylor and he’s now pure attention.

“Back door?” Taylor asks, meaning if he’s allowed to use our allies in certain top offices.

“Discreetly and indirectly. I don’t want the word to get out that we have this little evidence.” My hands run through my hair in exasperation.

“I’m on it already,” he says turning his back to get on his phone.

“What about the rest of the contents?” I ask.

“What I can see is what Lee stated. It will take time to decipher more. However what is obvious directs us to New York. There are partial names. I have a printout over here and e-mailed one copy to Welch. Also my team is still upgrading SIP’s servers, so, no one is allowed to use their emails on their phones just yet unless the phones are first inspected by my IT team. Do you have Mrs. Grey’s phone with you sir and the phones of her personal security?”

“Yes. Taylor!” I call. He looks up from his phone. I nod my head to hand the phones to Barney. It wasn’t easy to take Anastasia’s phone from her without her protests.

“It’ll take me a few minutes to run the diagnostics. Once they’re cleared to use, I’ll let them have access to SIP servers and the calendars. But I need to install firewalls and anti-Trojan on them.”

“Do!” I bark my order. My mind is running a hundred miles an hour, trying to decipher who is trailing after my wife. It can’t possibly be anything about her considering Lauren was also used in New York against her. Someone or someones are trying to tell me that I have enemies at unreachable places who can reach and harm my family! Who has that far of a reach? When it comes to people in my acquaintances, competitors or enemies, it could be a long list. Anger, fury, doesn’t even cover what I feel right now. I start pacing the lab rapidly, breathing from my nose like a raging bull. I feel I could kill someone! I’m barely containing the lethal feeling without lashing someone in my near vicinity.

“Sir?” I hear Barney’s voice. He must have been calling me for a while; because he looks at me quizzically, searching for an answer for a question I haven’t heard him utter.

“What?” I snap at him.

“The phones, Mrs. Grey’s, Sawyer’s and Miss Tiber’s are clear. But, uh, I just got a call from my IT team at SIP. They’ve discovered that Mrs. Grey’s assistant’s phone has a rider,” he says.

“A rider? What the hell is that?”

“It’s a Trojan chip. It’s quite possible that this particular chip may have breached the SIP information.”

“What the fuck? Why would she do that?”

“Apparently Hannah is quite shocked to find out, and she’s currently uncontrollably sobbing. I don’t believe she did it sir. If she was going to share information about Mrs. Grey, she wouldn’t need a Trojan horse. She already has unhindered access to all of that.”

“I don’t want your fucking opinion! I want Welch to interview here, now!” I growl. Taylor is already on the move to open the door for me.

“Mr. Grey?” Barney calls after me.

“What?” I growl exasperated. “You’re forgetting the phones, and that was not my opinion. Welch has already interviewed her. In fact, he’s on his way to GEH to see you. He called me to order me to stay here longer because he is delivering the phone himself to me so I could closely examine it. He already had the fingerprints removed and sent for analysis. He asked me to tell you to please wait for him and that he’s on his way.”

“Where is my wife’s assistant right now?”

“She’s at SIP, sir. Apparently, she went to get her phone checked to have her e-mail access restored. Honestly sir, if she was to put it on her own, why would she want to have it checked knowing full well she’d get caught? Welch has a tendency to have everything on video. You probably could verify it when he gets here within the next fifteen minutes.”

I don’t respond. He’s right of course, but that also means that whoever is doing this, targeting everyone around my wife without exception. They’re not even trying to approach me. Whoever it is or they are, they’re going for the weakest link. Fuck!! Hannah has been fully scrutinized, background checked and often monitored. She doesn’t have a boyfriend, she’s a workaholic, and she occasionally sees other men but no more than for a night. She has no attachments, eats at her parents every other Sunday. She’s married to her responsibilities for my wife. I forcefully rub my temple with an approaching headache.

“Let him come to my office as soon as he makes it here!” I order. Taylor leads the way to my office.

*****      *****


Curtis Stiger & The Forest Rangers – This Life

“I know there are people who believe you should forgive and forget. For the record, I'd like to say I'm a big fan of forgiveness as long as I'm given the opportunity to get even first.”

V is for Vengeance

The phone rings, rings, rings and momentarily I worry and get mad that he won’t pick it up.

“Come on! Pick up, pick up, pick up!” I bark into the ring tone.

“Hello Christian!”

“It’s bloody time you answered your fucking phone!” I respond to his greeting.

“It’s been quite a while since you called and lovely to hear from you as well. Is everything alright?” he asks in his polite English mannerism.

“Do I sound like I’m alright?” I let out a deep frustrated breath.

“You sound anxious, worried and angry. My wife’s not back from Ana’s baby shower yet. So, I’m assuming this is not about the shower.”

“No! It’s not the shower. Someone or a few someones are having my wife followed or harassed; however way you want to put it. They were in New York. Whoever it was, put up my former sub Lauren who is an emergency doctor at New York Presbyterian Hospital for fuck’s sake first to humiliate Ana in what you would call the biggest mighty and wealthy gathering of the year! She nearly exposed what we had. By some fucking miracle she didn’t get a chance to finish that task.”

“Were you in New York?” he asks interrupting me.

“We were! Keep up with me, John! We got back early this morning.”

“Christian,” he says in a calming voice. “It appears as if I joined in a conversation we have started some time ago, but in fact we have not. Indulge me, and start from the beginning. Perhaps starting with your New York trip,” he coaxes. I take a deep breath and relate the incidents up to this afternoon finishing with, “My wife is being followed because of me! Whatever the fuck I’ve done to someone, they’re taunting me by telling me that they can get to me through her! When I catch that person, or persons who is doing this, I will personally beat him to death!” I hiss without threat, just an emotional fact.

“That’s your emotional dysregulation speaking, Christian. You’re utilizing all of your lower constructive representations and going back to your basics. You’re blaming yourself for something that you have no control over, beating your breast in a masochistic way, and metaphorically speaking, you’re behaving like an angry adolescent.”

“Angry?” I laugh bitterly. “Angry doesn’t even begin to cover what I feel. I’m a man in hell fire! Do you have any idea, an inkling what I would do, feel if anything ever happened to Ana? Anything at all?”

“I do have an inkling Christian. My concern is not what you feel, but how you will project this feeling to those you love. You may feel that you are just and right in your feelings which may very well be so. But, I am telling you now, if your pregnant wife gets the brunt of this anger, this rage you’re feeling, you will only damage what you two have, perhaps irreparably. When you try to protect the one you love the most, don’t make your behavior a reaction to what your enemies are doing or trying to do to you. That maybe what they want and you may involuntarily give them the tools of the end game they wish to accomplish, and by default you still fail.” I close my eyes in his response. He’s right of course.

“What do I do and how do I accomplish it, John?” I whisper not recognizing my voice.

“The behavior is manipulative. Whoever this person or the persons are, they like being in control, and at the moment they may be in control but only from your point of view; that means you still don’t know the extent of control over your circumstances. He, she or they are being cleverly manipulative. That in itself is a game. Toying with you, like a lion playing with a gazelle. But, you’re not a gazelle. You’re another lion. So, we can possibly say that they got the tiger by the tail. What do you do in this case? Your eyes are currently blind to the identity of the attacker, another predator. Your loved ones are near. But they’re telling you that they can get their hands on those you love. I, however think that this is a game, and only a game to mess with your head. Taunt you, goad you into distraction. If the intent was to harm Ana, that would have been done already. Why feel the need to tell you ‘hey look what we can do?’ This is to psychologically disturb you, get you distraught, distracted.”

“Yes, however, on the flip side, the lions who play with their prey, still kill and eat it. They just have a little bit of sick fun before they actually do the deed. I may be a lion, but Ana is not. She’s fragile,” I respond, my voice flat.

“You know, you used to give me bullshit answers, but there’s more than a flicker of light in you now. You answer my questions directly, you’re not evasive. You’re not disingenuous. I don’t know who is following Ana, but I can analyze his or her character based on the information you give me which may give you a clue if you know the people around you,” he says.

“John, do I look like I care what others' likes, dislikes, behaviors are like? I didn’t give a shit before, I don’t give a shit now!”

“Ah, but you’re observant of people you do business with or sleep with and have a near photographic memory. That has not changed about you, has it?”

“No!” I hiss like a teenager. “You are as bossy and as patronizing as I am, John!”

“Well, one aspires to be like the best,” he says chuckling at his own humor.

“For fuck’s sake John! I can’t hurt Ana and I'm worried that I might. You know me and how I tend to cope. What the fuck do I do? Her assistant had the bugged phone! What is next? The message they are sending me is that they can get to her closest colleague that she interacts daily, bypass her security, reach my exes and get into high priced ‘only a few people in the world can handle’ kind of party. This person or persons are somehow my equal in financial status anyway. They are toying with me for something else they’re planning to do! Do you know how helpless that makes me feel? I don’t do helpless, John! What if someone was toying with Rhian to torture you? What would you do? Ana is my life! If anything happens to her…” Flynn interrupts me.


“Christian! Whoever it is, they are already reaching their purpose when they can cause this end result. The person or persons want mastery over you. They’re already achieving their main purpose. I need you to stand back. Look at your own resources. You are a man with ample means, wit, smarts and professionals at your disposal to discover who it is. Use them. Did you inform the police?”

“You can’t be that obtuse, Flynn! No, of course not! You know the damage it would cause me! What would I say? Someone is utilizing my ex-sub to get to my wife? They would achieve their means by causing a scandal already! The news can always leak from the police anonymously. Happens all the time. I have to discover it on my own!”

“Well, there can’t be very many people who would know your predilections. But of course someone bent on harming you would dig deep and hard to discover it. This proves couple of things: You are hard to get to. You have a saturnine, fearsome and formidable bodyguard in Taylor. You have layers of protection that keeps you guarded at all times. So whoever it is or they are, either looking for a way to hurt you through your wife, or that they’re saying we can find your vulnerabilities.”

“In either case, they are fucking with my head! You’re telling me to use my higher intellect when all I want to do is to unleash the savage beast in me, beat the shit out of him!”

“Christian, don’t give into what they want! Sometimes the illusion they create to make you believe that they got to you is more effective than what they actually do to you. Think of it this way… Celebrities and politicians all have a Twitter account now. People who once were unreachable, all of a sudden becomes reachable because everyone has a voice and can say what they want to them, good or bad, anonymously in fact. Hurt them, drive them angry, or mad. Or they can be having a bad day and they’re slurping away an extra-large chocolate milk shake and someone snaps a photo of them, sells it to a magazine, bam! Bad publicity, a huge blow to an already down self-esteem. In reality, did they really get to that person? No, of course not. But these are mind games, as you would call 'mind-fuck' and in that way, they get to him or her. In a different way, it’s the same game. Yes, it might be a bazillionaire tea party in New York, but there are all kind of service personnel that contribute to the event, food and hospitality industry, so there are quite a few weak links below to get in to the party. One does not have to be a billionaire like you to be in that event. The purpose is to make you feel vulnerable, helpless, so you do something out of character.”

“That’s not it, John! The fingerprint we’ve discovered on the hard drive is classified! Classified! The fucking bastard doesn’t even exist in real records! Who has the money to hire someone like that? Is it a rouge? Is there a bigger conspiracy? I’m going out of my mind!”

“Christian, Christian, Christian! Calm down! It is glaringly obvious that this is a person who has the knowledge of you. Either you’ve met this person, had dealings with him or her long enough to show your temper, your sense of self-worth, your love for your wife…”

“Most of which can be discovered from news and gossip magazines!” I bark back.

“Not all of it. They have to sift through fact and fiction and there are a lot of fiction, manufactured news to drive traffic and readers. This is a person who has done his or her homework well. This is personal. One does not target a man’s family if it’s not personal. Business, yes. They would target your finances, money, dealings with other companies, or even you personally. But, your wife has not been in this largess before and she’s had no business dealings, and she probably hasn’t even said an unkind word to anyone. This isn’t about Anastasia. This is about you. This is absolutely personal. When you know this, how big is your list to research?” he asks.

“How about Leila? She has proven that she knows more about me than I gave her credit for and she did pull a gun on Ana.”

“Leila is still going through her therapy. I speak to her once a week, and I get reports of her progress. She is in fact in a new relationship. She’s taking her art lessons and quite busy. She hasn’t left her town since the last incident. Leila’s was a cry for help. Was it manipulative to get to you? Yes, but this is not the same M.O.”

“Look, John, I’m not entirely sure if it’s all about me. Look at the last fucking incident we had! Jack Hyde. A fucker who was obsessed with my wife got her own editor to help out. So, unexpected people can attack you personally! He fucking kidnapped my sister, ready to rape and kill them both! Mental people can and does this sort of shit! I can make a list of my personal enemies, business rivals but the rouges are hard to discover. They operate on their own with a small budget. They don’t even have to have my wealth to do this!”

There’s a knock on my door. I look up. Welch walks in after Taylor opens the door.

"But, in a way, it was still about you, because you were foster kids together with Hyde. He aspired to have what you have."

“John, I gotta go!”

“Wait, Christian, I need to see you and Ana this week or next week. Make time!” he warns.

“I'll call you. Bye, John,” I say hanging up.

“About fucking time you got here!” I bellow at Welch.

“Had to give instructions to Barney about the bug, sir,” he says without a beat. 

"Let's get this show on the way," I utter. 

Welch walks towards my desk, sets up a tablet on my desk and presses ‘play’ on a paused video. The recording is from the surveillance.

Ana’s assistant Hannah approaches the IT department at SIP and is talking to Barney’s assistant.

“I need to have my smart phone have access to my e-mail at SIP. Could you set it up for me please?” she asks and hands her phone.

“Your screen appears to be severely scratched and the backing is cracked,” Donovan says.

“I know. I haven’t had the time to get it exchanged. It happened on the way to New York at the airport. I collided with another passenger and dropped everything. I was in New York this whole time, and now I’m back but I don’t have time to have it replaced maybe until next month, so it will have to do until then. It’s working so far. I have to wait until my replacement plan kicks in next month,” she explains herself.

“Okay. It’ll be just a few minutes if you want to wait.”

“Sure, I’ll wait,” she says and takes a seat. There’s no nervous gesture. She just takes out a book out of her purse and starts reading it. She doesn’t even notice the fury of activity behind the IT room. Fifteen minutes later, she lifts her head up and walks to the IT desk.

“My lunch will be over soon. Is it done yet?” she asks.

“No. I’m afraid you’ll have to wait here until Mr. Welch gets here.”

“Who’s Mr. Welch? Is he the guy who sets up e-mails?” she asks innocently.

“No, ma’am. He’s the head of security.”

“What’s he doing with the IT department then? Does he need to provide an okay or something?”

“No. He’ll explain the procedure to you. Just have a seat until he gets here.”

“But my lunch is almost over. I got piles of work to do.”

“Don’t worry. This takes precedence. It won’t be long. He’ll be here shortly,” Donovan says with a smile.

“Okay, then,” she says and takes her seat to resume her reading. Welch speeds up the video for about 18 minutes further. When he presses ‘play’ again, he’s walking into the IT room.

“Hannah?” he addresses her.

“Yes, you must be Mr. Welch. Do you need to vet me for the e-mail set up?”

“I need to interview you about the Trojan bug on your phone.”

“The what?” she asks incredulous with complete surprise and confusion on her face.

“You have a chip installed on your smart phone which downloads data, correspondence, phone conversations; access your microphone as well as your camera. I’d like to know where you got it.”

“I know you’re speaking English, but I’m not understanding a word you said as if you just lapsed into Swedish. What exactly are you saying? What bug? Where? How?”

“Have a seat Hannah,” he says directing her to a desk. He sits in front of her.

“Your smart phone is bugged. It had downloaded personal information, e-mails, possibly recorded personal conversations, had access to your camera pertaining Mrs. Grey,” Welch explains calmly.

“What the hell? Who? Why? What?” she jumps to her feet. “What are you saying? Oh my God! Oh my God! Oh my God!” her hands covering her face. She’s visibly shaken.

“Sit down Hannah!” Welch orders.

“I need you to focus and tell me if your phone ever left your custody in recent months, weeks, days.”

“Nooo! I don’t think so!” she says as paces.

“Focus!” Welch says unaffected. “Either you placed it in there…”

“For what purpose? Why would I give access to someone else over my phone?”

“For money, privilege, favors or fear, any or all of these options would be an enticement.”

“Ana is my friend not to mention she’s the best boss I ever had! I adore her! I would never do anything like that to her, let alone jeopardize my own career!”

“Going back to my previous question… Has your phone ever left your custody even for a short while?”

Hannah paces the short distance back and forth and suddenly she halts as if a light bulb is turned on in her head.

“Yes, of course! Of course! Fuck me!”

“What?” asks Welch, his curiosity piqued.

“At the fucking airport! I was in a rush to get to a red eye flight to go to New York, because Ana asked for some manuscripts and I didn’t have time to make it to her flight. So, I rushed with loads of manuscripts and my laptop bag and purse and collided with someone at the airport. My phone fell out, the battery got separated, and the person I collided with put it together and gave it back to me. But, it was an accident and it…” she stops, “it didn’t take a long time to put it together I guess. I don’t remember. I was about to miss my plane. We ended up in the same flight.”

Welch stands up. “Same flight?”

“Yes, same flight. His name was Joe.”

“Joe?” asks Welch.

“Generic name,” Taylor interjects.

“Yes,” I murmur.

“Do you remember the seat number?” Welch on the video asks.

“Mine? Or His?”

"His."

“I have part of the ticket,” she says digging into her purse and hands it to Welch. “I was sitting here, and he was not far over there in business section I think, or first class. I don’t remember. Then we ended up sharing a cab when I landed because I couldn’t find a cab. It was so frigging late and cold. He said he was visiting family.” She says pointing an imaginary seat. 

“Good! Now write down all the names you remember. Hotels, times, seat numbers, his description. We’ll check those.”

The video ends.

“I assume you haven’t checked it yet,” I say to Welch but with a little bit of ease now.

“Not yet sir. But airport security feeds are the property of federal government. We don’t have access to them and without an indictment we can’t legally have access to them,” he says.

“But, you suggest?” I probe.

“Our friend has a few places that he can’t gain access, and these places happens to be ones he can gain access. Discreetly of course. His backdoor policy has a lot of favors lined up. After all, he opens up doors in places government doesn’t directly like to open. It would be a favor for favor.”

“What would we owe him?”

“Favor for favor,” Welch says.

“Like Godfather. He’s the bread-maker, and the undertaker.”

“Exactly. But, I think we found a solution. The new contract you’ve acquired in New York. Have him supply the defense mechanisms on the cargo ships that GEH would fit in.”

“You mean weapons! You know how I feel about weapons!” I bellow.

“I also know how you feel about bullies, people who spread violence to others with no defense. This supersedes your former objections, sir. Besides, don’t forget the attacks we’ve endured while sending aid to Darfur. People need to be able to defend themselves against such brutal violence. It’s a necessary evil, sir.”

“Spoken like a former soldier that you are. Okay, I’ll set my terms. Get Pella on board formally. He is in charge of discovering the perp, and I want progress reports, I want to see results, names, locations, sources of funds. Share your findings with Pella. Full disclosure! Come back to me with the security measures and how you propose to protect my family without further irritating the fuck out of them, and I want updates as soon as new information becomes available.”

“We’re already on it, sir! I just needed your approval.”

“Find the fuckers! I’m going to deliver the punishment myself!” Both Taylor and Welch share a brief glimpse then Welch nods, and leaves my office.

*****      *****

“How was the shower baby?” I ask as I lead Anastasia into our bedroom. Taylor and the staff have to carry the gifts Anastasia and the baby received in several trips.

Anastasia answers with a big grin: “Amazing! Not only that, we’ve made plans for Kate and Elliot’s wedding afterwards. You know, food, dresses, tablescape, flowers, rehearsals. By the way, can I have my phone back? I have to enter the dates into my calendar so Hannah can block off those dates for me,” she says.

“Ana, you should not be planning to work that far into the pregnancy. It’s only a week before the baby is born. First babies I’ve read are rather unpredictable. I would like you to stop working at least in the second half of the third trimester.”

“Christian! That’s no time at all. I’ve got so much to do at work. You want me to take over SIP, but you won’t let me work! How do I learn if I don’t work?”

“Fair point well made, however, it’s not that I’m not letting you to work. I thought our child’s well-being was a priority for you. Or is it something I misunderstood?” I goad her.

“That’s a low blow and you know that Christian! I want to be able to work. That doesn’t mean I don’t care about the baby’s well-being. I just want to be able to feel useful, productive and after the baby is born, I will have to rearrange my schedule anyway.”

“What makes you think you won’t be useful just because you don’t exert as much on yourself resting up before our baby is born? You can delegate the work in capable hands and still have control over your workplace. All I’m asking is that you remain well rested so that you and our baby are healthy. Is it too much for me to ask this of you?” I give her my most innocent look, disarming her.

“But you work hard!” she protests.

“Ana, I'm not the one who is carrying our baby. I had to build up the business, build up the assets as well as the staff who could work effectively so I could spend time with you, so you don’t have to work as hard. Because I guarantee you, when the baby is born, you’re not gonna want to stay away from him too long and you will need to practice how to delegate work and you have a lovely home office. You assistant can come daily. You just can limit your office commute time.”

“Christian, the others at work will resent me for not putting enough time in!” she protests.

“Anastasia, you will have to learn to care less about the opinions of others. I don’t. For me, your opinion matters, but not my employees’ opinion of me. To a degree it matters, but not in the grand scheme of things. It is important to learn to prioritize. A lion doesn’t lose sleep over the opinion of the sheep.” She looks at me incredulous. Shakes her head and walks towards the bathroom.

“Are you walking away from me?” I ask bewildered.

“You know me so well, Sherlock!” she gives me an angry glance.

“God! There’s no other woman, ever, who drives me as passionate or as insane!”

“Yeah?” she says coming back to me looking up at me with her angry gaze. Placing her hands on my chest she pushes me to the wall.

“I don’t know whether to hit you or kiss you! It’s a little bit of both when you do that.”

“Do it!” I provoke her.

“What?” she asks.

“You’re angry with me. Take it out in bed.”

“Oh no! You’re the expert in that,” she says.

“Well, when it comes to you baby, I’m an amateur. Do it! You’re mad at me. Let’s get it out in the open. I’m in your hands. Do it! You want to hit me Ana? Go ahead!” Her chest rises up and down in rapid succession. When will she understand that all I want to do is to protect her, love her, keep her alive. She’s my love, my addiction, my beginning and my end. I can never get enough of her. Never! If she wants to hurt me, I’ll let her do it. If she wants to love, here I am.

“I’m not going anywhere Ana. This is all of me. Good and bad. Do whatever you want! Meet me half way. What is it you want Ana?”

The Black Eyed Peas – Just Can’t Get Enough

“Kiss me!” she whispers her order. “Convince me! But don’t make me!”

“Where?” Her response is panting, expectant lips and closed eyes. “Where Ana?”

“Here! Do it here!”

“Fuck, yes!”

She gives me a half smile as if to say ‘I dare you’. Oh, baby, you know me. I don’t back down from a challenge. She pulls me down by my tie. Though there is no physical connection just yet, my awareness of her is intense, heady. My senses focus on my wife who is only holding the end of my tie. My body is currently triumphing over my what Flynn would call ‘higher cognitive functions’. My senses are simply focused on my wife. She rises up on her toes and pulls me down to her lips to brush them up simply. When we barely touch, I just breathe her in, taste her lips, the scent of orange juice she was drinking mixes with my taste of Sancerre. I don’t touch her. My hands are placed on the behind me. I then slowly shift my position to get her to the wall. My hands are on the sides of her head, but still not touching. My lips  coax her, she’s helpless to open her mouth, letting me enter with my soft tongue, welcoming my soft licks.

I can now slip my arm around her waist to pull her closer. It’s not just a kiss for her; she’s intense, barely verging on her control.

“Let it go,” I murmur into her lips. “Unleash whatever you have. Do it!” Just like that, we’re close. Her breast are mashed into my chest. Her hands are both shoving me  away and pulling me into her at the same time, reflecting her inner turmoil.

“Control, baby,” I whisper as I kiss her chin.

“Show me!” she orders. I pull back and look at her. “You heard me, Mr. Grey. Show me!” she repeats.

Wordlessly, I seize her hands, hold them above her head with one hand. Undoing my tie, I use it to tie her hands up at the wrist. With one swift move, I turn her towards the wall.

“All you have to say is stop, and I will. Just.” I caress the side of her cheek as she closes her eyes, “the.” I whisper into her ear, “word.” Brush my lips on the side of her mouth, “no.  Then I stop. Do you want me to stop, Ana?” I murmur.

She shakes her head in response. Her body shudders in anticipation.

“Keep your hand up on the wall like that,” I say and take a step back, make her wait, anticipate, and desire me. Her breathing is harsh even though we are not touching.


“Good girl!” I lift her skirt up, grab the bottom of her panties, stick my index finger into the lace, and shred it. After ripping one side, I pull it and stuff it into my pocket. I hear Anastasia’s gasp, her temperature is rising. I roll the skirt of her dress up her waist, pull her derriere outwards and with my feet, I spread her legs apart. Her back is arched and she’s a delectable sight to see.

“Hold this position. If you move, there will be no satisfaction, Mrs. Grey.” I travel a single finger over her buttocks, making my way down her deforested sex, gliding between her wet folds. When I reach her clitoris, she’s on fire. A moan escapes her lips.

“Hush now, baby!” I order. I toy with her slick bloom, inserting one finger just barely, stroking up and down, but not inwards. I’m mere inches away from her. My other hand undoes the buttons of her dress opening and exposing her breasts out of the cups. I hold and pinch first then pull her nipple. Watching her reaction. My left hand teases her clitoris, pleasing, keeping her at the precipice of the demands of her body, but not giving complete satisfaction. When I pull her nipple between my thumb and index finger, I dip three fingers into her sex. The unexpected invasion is met with a pleasured gasp, tingling sensation of her body. I slide my fingers in and out of her, slowly, with deliberate strokes, pumping my fingers, simulating what my cock would do, in a pounding, measured rhythm. Thrusting, pulling, pinching, dance of my fingers. She arches her back further to get the intensity of my probing raised. I smack her ass twice to hold the position. Part of control is to retaining the norms you so desire.

“Ahh!” she groans, but resumes her former position. Then my fingers continue their probing.

“I want you in me!” she demands.

“Decide, or I will stop it now! This or nothing!”

“That’s cruel!”

“No, baby, that’s control. You asked me, and I’m showing you,” I say. Her sex is pulsing with her impending orgasm.

“I want you to hold it. Don’t come until I say so,” I order.

“I won’t!”

Then my fingers start moving in their sensual dance inside her and my right hand continue to pleasure her sensitive breasts. In and out. Pushing, pounding, probing, slow then forceful. On and on.

“Christian, I’m close!”

“Hold a little longer baby!” I command. Her pleasure is my pleasure and my cock is pushing hard to get out, but I need to complete this.

“Now, Ana!” I order and she detonates around my fingers. I can feel the shudders that go through her sex, on the tip of my cock.

Her body sags against my torso, and I carry her to our bed.

“For that Mr. Grey,” she says opening her lids, “I will reciprocate in kind,” and she proceeds to take me.


“Be my guest, Mrs. Grey!”



*********
Hi Girls! I've been working, writing, working, taking care of life here so hard, and I'm stretched thin. I've been so busy that even 3 days after my book came out, I was busy with 20 hour workdays and hardly had any time to spend on it. Most writers start doing their promotion work a few months before their book comes out, or at least a month before. Me, I've always been busy, and improvising as I go. So, forgive me for being less than attentive to you lately, but I'm doing my best as the I am the only person who is tending everything. Thank you for your loyalty and reading and even whining at times (though I prefer less of it since I have kids who do that amply) but it still means you care! Love you all!