Monday, March 10, 2014

Book IV - Chapter XX - Christian and Anastasia Fan Fiction



La Vita Nuova

In that book which is
My memory . . .
On the first page
That is the chapter when
I first met you
Appear the words . . .
Here begins a new life

- Dante Alighieri

“No, no, no!” Anastasia stops the mover from hanging the painting we’ve purchased into the wrong room. My wife wanted to personally supervise the location of each furniture we’ve chosen together and of course the paintings we’ve purchased. The only thing I am not budging is the location of her black and white photo Jose the photographer took.
“Christian! It’s so… there!” she makes a nervous gesture with her hand seeing her photo above the great fireplace.
“I’m not budging on this Ana! I love looking at your picture, and it’s going to be our living room.”
“But, everyone will see it, Christian!”
“Not everyone, just our family. You’re the center of my universe, why shouldn’t I have an image of you in the hearth of our home?”
“Our home…” she whispers reverently. “It is our home, isn’t it?” she says her hands absently caressing her protruding belly, protectively. I take two steps towards her and close the distance between us. Wrapping my arms one over her hand below her belly, the other right under her ample breasts. My woman. My home. She personifies everything that is valuable to me. I lower my head to her neck and inhale her scent.
“Oh, Mrs. Grey! How I love you, baby!” I whisper.
“Just me?” she asks feigning disappointment. 
“You and the blip. But, you’re the love of my life. It’s different than the love of our child. Little Master or Miss Grey.”
“Oh! We have an appointment on Monday with Dr. Green. If the baby is properly positioned, we can learn the sex of the baby. I want us to be able to discuss the names,” she says excitedly.
“Let’s find out what we are having first. Then we can discuss the names,” I remind her. Names! She suggested that I'd look into my biological family history and see. I know she wants me to make peace with a horrid early childhood, but I want nothing to do with those fuckers. 
“Mr. Grey, Mrs. Grey,” says Mrs. Taylor, clearing her throat. I feel relief. “They are delivering the Christmas tree, and it’s quite big. Where would you like it placed?”
“Christmas tree?” Ana asks surprised.
“Yes, this is our first Christmas, and it is in nine days away. Are you quite sure that you want to host the Christmas here? Our family is big. My parents, grandparents, siblings, their significant other, your dad and the Kavanagh parents…”
“Oh, my dad may not be able to make it. He might go see Jose and his dad since they have no one else to spend the Christmas with.”
I frown. He prefers to spend Christmas with Jose and his dad instead of his daughter?
“How do you feel about that?”
“I could invite Jose and Mr. Rodriguez but I think they don’t want to impose on us. So, I decided that it might be best to let him be this year to keep his best friend company and maybe visit us next Christmas… you know,” she says smiling, holding her hand over her belly, “on the baby’s first Christmas.” I nod wordlessly.
“Well, Mrs. Grey, I count…” I say squinting my eyes, four from our family, and four people from Kavanagh family, “a total of ten guests. There’ll be twelve of us. We’re just moving.”
“I’ll help Mrs. Grey, sir. Jason and I will have our Christmas here and I’m cooking for Sawyer, Ryan and Miss Tiber as well,” says Mrs. Taylor. Ana grins at me, giving me her ‘I told you so’ look.
“See, Gail and I have it all planned out. Let’s go determine where we will put the Christmas tree,” she says excitedly, tugging my hand. When she sees the Christmas tree, her eyes widen.
“Uhm, wow! Christian, this is like the main tree they put in the White House! It’s huge!”
“Don't you like it?” I ask worried.
“I do… I guess. I just never had a tree of my own. I mean when I was little my mom used to put up a Christmas tree, but it was…small. Kate and I didn’t bother to put up a tree because she always went to her parents’, and I went to see Ray or mom.” She bites her lower lip and her throat works hard on a swallow. I knew that she didn’t celebrate much coming from a divorce family; always having one parent missing during the holidays. When her eyes start misting, I postpone giving her the gifts I got.
“Where would you like the tree, Mrs. Grey?” asks Taylor. They already opened up the glass doors in the great room and managed to haul the tree into the house.

“What do you think if they put it right there, Christian?” Anastasia finally asks excitedly. She points her index finger near the glass wall overlooking the Sound.
“Perfect!” I say without taking my eyes off her. She grins. In the next half hour, she instructs the workers for the exact location she wants the tree to be placed. I’ve never seen her in nesting mode before, and it is a sight to behold. When the tree is properly set-up and the workers retreated, I turn to her.
“I believe it’s time to put your first ornaments on our first tree.” I hand her two boxes. Her eyes widen, and she practically yanks the gift boxes out of my hands.
“If I knew they’d make you this excited, I’d have given them to you sooner,” I muse. The first box she opens rewards me with a sharp gasp. The first ornament she’s holding is our first kiss as a husband and wife carved out of crystal and I think the artist did a great job depicting us, though no artist can fully capture Anastasia’s beauty. “First kiss, first love, first Christmas” is written on the glass stand our figurines are standing.
“Husband, you are the biggest romantic! I love it!” she utters once she is capable of putting her words in a sequence.
“Where would you like to hang it?” I ask.
“I believe I want everyone to see this. Sooooo….” She says walking around the tree, then walking back to get a full vision of the tree to see the best location.
“Aha!” she exclaims, and places the ornament at a very visible location on the tree.
“Open the next one,” I instruct. With trembling fingers, she opens the next box. The sight of her face is something to behold. She looks at the box containing the next ornament, then to me and then back to the ornament again. Wordlessly, she throws her arms around my neck, and pulls my head down to kiss me.
When we pull apart, we’re both breathless.
“Mrs. Grey! I am loving your reaction to my gifts. I'll make sure to give you gifts more often just to see that expression on your face…” I smile with my gaze darkening. She wipes her eyes with the backs of her hand then looks at the ornament again. She holds it close to her heart as if it’s the most precious gift she has ever received.
“I love it!” she whispers. “I just love it so much! And I love you! Thank you!”  Her voice is appreciative, sincere and completely awed.
She lifts the ornament up. It is a flying stork carrying a heart shaped bundle with a pink and a blue footprint stamped with the writing that says “LOVE before first sight”. She hangs it up next to our figurines.

“Gail! Mrs. Jones, I mean Mrs. Taylor!” she calls out.
“Yes, ma’am,” Gail comes discreetly from behind.
“Could you help me to decorate the tree?” she asks.
“Of course ma’am.”
“Anastasia, I don’t want you on ladders or trying to reach to the top of a 12 foot tree."
"But, I want to, Christian!"
"No! I have professionals coming to decorate it for you. You can supervise them to the content of your heart. But, I don’t want my pregnant wife working on decorating a huge tree! Thank you Mrs. Taylor,” I say sending Gail off.
“Christian! Don’t shoot me down. I want to decorate my first tree.”
“You can help out with the lower branches. But, so help me God Ana, if I see you near a ladder, I will take you across my knee,” I hiss in a low voice.
“You wouldn’t dare!” she says looking at me with a challenging look.
“Are you goading me Mrs. Grey?” I ask raising my eyebrows. “You know you’ve been experiencing low blood pressure, and you have just gotten over nausea. I’m not taking a chance on that. You are not taking a chance! If you so desire, I will call Dr. Greene right now. You know the list of do’s and don’ts. I want my wife safe and secure and our child full term, tucked in his or her mommy’s tummy if we can both help it,” I say gently caressing her belly.
“Okay…” she whispers. “I’m sorry for making you anxious. I just want to be the one putting every single ornament on the tree and every single item where they belong in our home.”
“Ana… baby… No one can do it alone. Not in a house this size. We’ve chosen the furniture, accessories and paintings together. We’ve made decisions on every single pillar, tile, window, wall and architectural detail in our home. I don’t know how much more personal it can get than that? We have very heavy pieces of furniture. It will take crews of movers to position them. I don’t want my wife trying to do any the heavy lifting."
She sighs.
“I know. I only moved into my apartment with Kate and that was only a small room, and then of course moved to Seattle with Kate to her condo. But, we didn’t have a lot to move, and Elliot helped us. I’m still getting used to having so much help, Christian.”
“You have to get used to it baby. It’s just the way it is. It’s impossible to manage a house this size without a lot of help. It’s three times the size of our Escala apartment and we have a lot of grounds to have kept. That means, we’ll also have gardeners.”
“Every day?” she asks surprised.
“Maybe not every day, but about two or three times a week. There are trees, bushes, plants, grass, and waterfront to be kept.”
“Okay," she acquiesces. "Are we staying at our new home tonight?” she asks hopeful.
“Well, our bedroom is set-up, but I’m not sure if Mrs. Taylor got the kitchen ready to be used. I suppose, we can order take-out and have Mrs. Taylor shop for breakfast items for tomorrow morning if you have your heart set on spending the night at our home. The security is already set-up. The home is already being monitored.”
“Does that mean we’re staying?” she jumps clapping her hands.
“If that’s what you want, yes.”
“Can we have fire, and sleep in front of the fireplace by the Christmas tree, Christian?” she asks.
“You don’t want to christen our new bedroom tonight?” I murmur a little disappointed.
“Well…” she says looking around, trying to make sure that no one is in hearing distance, then she leans in and whispers. “I’ve had this fantasy… I know it’s weird, but when Charlie Tango went down,” she says her voice breaking down, “I was so distraught. Then my gaze focused on the fireplace and I thought, we’ve never made love in front of the fire place. And I vowed that I would do that with you when you came back. But, we never fulfilled that fantasy in Escala. So, I think the first place we make love should be in front of the hearth of the house and by our Christmas tree.”
A breath of air hisses out between my teeth.
“Mrs. Grey, do you have any idea how turned on I am right now? I’m in the mind to empty this house right now to fulfill that fantasy. But, our tree is not decorated yet. Let’s get it decorated today, and make this room, home.” Then I turn around and call out to Gail.
“Mrs. Taylor!” she walks with brisk steps into the living room with an apron tied to her waist.
“Yes, Mr. Grey,” she replies pleasantly.
“We are going to spend the night here. Is there enough food for dinner and breakfast?”
“The kitchen isn’t fully set up yet, sir. But I can certainly bring food from Escala. I’ve already prepared some, and we can stock up the pantry here in the next few hours.”
“Thank you Mrs. Taylor. Yes, please stock up the pantry.”

“Come,” I say, tugging Anastasia’s hand. The command center at the house is state of the art, and super high tech. Only Ryan is in the command center. He’s viewing monitors, and checking the comings and goings.
“Where’s Taylor?” I ask.
“He’s making sure that everyone that’s coming to the house is supposed to be here, and not just dropping in uninvited. I’ll call him sir.”
I nod.
“Taylor. Mr. Grey would like to see you at the Command Room,” he speaks to the radio on his sleeve.
“Thank you, T!” he responds to Taylor’s answer.
“ETA is three minutes, sir.”
When Taylor comes into the office, it’s evident that he has been under the sun for some time in the Caribbean. He’s tanned, and looking even healthier. Taylor is wearing his suit even in this busy day.
“Yes, Mr. Grey,” he greets me as soon as he enters into his office, otherwise renamed by the security detail as the “Command Center”.
“Are the Christmas tree decorators coming today?” He consults his chart on his tablet.
“We’ve got all the deliveries today, and the set-up is being done as we speak, sir.  Ah, yes, the Christmas tree decoration is today. They’re due in about 45 minutes. The tree guys got here ahead of schedule,” he says frowning. “They called in extra help to get it in. I had to check their guys before the delivery.” I look up at him to see if there’s anything suspicious going on. He imperceptibly shakes his head once, to let me know that all looked okay. But the motion doesn’t escape Anastasia’s notice.
“Home decorators are working in all the rooms, right now, sir.”
“I want them to first set up the living room and the Christmas tree. I also want a low seating area by the fireplace. Pillows, plush carpet, warm colors. Something soft, comfortable, and elegant enough to lie down and rest.” Anastasia blushes profusely.
“Yes, sir. I’ll instruct them right away,” he says impassively, then nods at Anastasia. “Ma’am,” and leaves with quick, purposeful steps. When I take Anastasia out of the Command Center, I turn to Anastasia with darkened gaze.
“So, Mrs. Grey,” I say, smoldering as I lock eyes with her. “You can boldly take charge in getting me turned on and demand to make love to me in front of the fireplace in our new home because of a hidden fantasy you have been concealing from me,” I qualify mock chiding as I lift her chin up to make her look at me, “but I can’t instruct the head of my security to create that environment in order to make that fantasy a reality?”
She chews her bottom lip in contemplation. I tug her chin to stop her from biting her lip.

“I'm embarrassed of Taylor…” she murmurs.
“Ana, they know what we do. You’re my wife. My wife… There’s nothing wrong with them knowing that I make love to my own wife,” I say with arrogant male pride.  We all like to mark our territories. She’s my wife, and my territory. If anybody doesn’t like the idea, they can go fuck themselves.
Taylor walks in with an efficient looking well dressed and well groomed brunette with pillows in her arms. She’s directing a group of assistants.
“Mr. Grey!” she gushes as she hands the pillows to another female assistant.
“Angela, Mr. Taylor will show you the location,” she says then turns to me with a practiced smile.
“Mr. Taylor asked us to set up a cozy fireplace seating area per your request,” she says completely ignoring Anastasia.
“Would you like us to arrange the seating area closer to the fireplace? We can bring couple of the chaise and ottomans to create a warm and cozy environment,” she adds simpering.
“That’s not what we want at all,” Anastasia says in an even, but commanding tone. Hallelujah! Her inner goddess finally finds her voice.
“And who are you anyway? I don’t remember hiring you,” Anastasia reprimands. Her back elongates; she stands taller, takes charge of the room immediately.
“I’m Susanne Stillfield of Bouvier Design Studio. I’m one of the partners. You have been consulting with Allison Bouvier but she’s flown to Atlanta early this morning due to a family emergency. I have just been able to look at the designs, but, I haven’t studied the final changes you two may have discussed,” she says extending her business card to Ana.
“Is this a common practice that your company sends different designers at the last minute?”
“No, ma’am. I apologize for the confusion,” Miss Stillfield responds chagrined.
“Miss Bouvier’s mother had a heart attack early this morning. She’s in critical but stable condition. She had to leave and unfortunately didn’t leave me any notes for any changes you may have instructed. But we have all the furnishings here. If it’s a matter of rearranging, I’m sure we can easily do that.”
“Yes. That would be fine, but where is Miss Bouvier’s assistant Julia? She knows all the plans,” Anastasia states. Somehow I know that Anastasia is testing this new designer. Smart girl!
“Julia? Julie Clifton is her assistant, Mrs. Grey. She’s supervising the set-up of the bedrooms upstairs, ma’am. I’d be more than happy to assist you if you let me know what changes you require,” she says now in complete submission to Anastasia.
Ana smiles, and takes charge of the new designer like a pro. She is in full dominant mode and it’s a fucking turn-on!

*****      *****

After the last worker left and the gates are closed and we’ve had our very first meal in our home with picnic-ware, I take my wife’s hand and bring her to our living room. The overhead lights are turned off; the twinkling lights from our Christmas tree, roaring fireplace and the column candles around the room are providing a cozy and warm environment as well as a sexy one.
“Oh, Christian! This is incredible! Utterly sexy…” she whispers. My eyes are on my wife, I can’t help but agree with her.
“Yes, you are.”
“Thank you making this house, our home. A very cozy home.”
“For me, baby, wherever you are, is home. A house becomes home, because you’re in it.”
“Christian, you say the most romantic things,” she says as she pulls me to her. Her hands circle around my neck, her lips reach up to meet mine. 
Her kiss is urgent and demanding; possessive even. Her tongue caresses mine in gentle strokes, urging me to take charge of her, consume her, love her. She digs her fingers into my scalp and demands to merge our bodies.
“Whoa! Ana! Wait…” I stop her from going any further.
“But, I want you!” she mewls.
“I want you too, baby. But, I have something to give you first.”
“You already gave me two things.”
“Yes, but this is different.” She looks at me curiously. Old Anastasia would have complained for having been given a gift. Now that she fully understands we’re a couple, husband and wife, she doesn’t see my gifts anything other than a token of my love for her. I hand her a small gift box wrapped in a brown paper package and tied up with a simple construction twine. I’m not very good at wrapping things. The package is accompanied with a letter I wrote for her. She opens the letter first.

Anastasia -- my beloved wife,

I have struggled while I was writing this missive to you trying to put my feelings on paper. No, the task is not arduous but the words are not sufficient…the love…though I feel this word is inadequate in describing that churning, possessive, stormy feeling I have for you. It is so prevalent, so singularly supreme that it hurts me and causes me heartache… I love you so damn much, you’re the first thought I have when I wake up, and the last when I go to sleep. I miss you every second you’re away from me. If I loved you anymore, I don’t think I could properly function. But the happiness, the exhilaration I feel in offering my love to you is as vast as the Pacific Ocean. The joy it gives me is indescribable: euphoric comes close. 

When Pablo Neruda said “I love you without knowing how, or when, or from where. I love you simply, without problems or pride: I love you in this way because I do not know any other way of loving but this, in which there is no I or you, so intimate that your hand upon my chest is my hand, so intimate that when I fall asleep your eyes close, his words just might come close in expressing what I feel for you.

When I set this task of getting our home… what a lovely expression, our home completed in time for Christmas, I knew very well that I was only giving you something that money could buy. But your presence in our home as my wife, the mother of our child is something completely priceless. I’m not a man of many words, but you already know that. Yet, my feelings for you bring out this loquacious person with hopefully an elegant discriminating taste, someone who can arrange words like the poets of old to evoke feelings in you like a blasting volcano.

So, here I am, borrowing words from a great poet who is perfectly expressing my thoughts in giving the keys to our home into the hands of my beloved wife.

Walking in forests or on beaches, along hidden lakes, in latitudes sprinkled with ashes, you and I have picked up pieces of pure bark, pieces of wood subject to the comings and goings of water and the weather. Out of such softened relics, then, with hatchet and machete and pocketknife, I built up these lumber piles of love, and with fourteen boards each I built little houses, so that your eyes, which I adore and sing to, might live in them. Now that I have declared the foundations of my love, I surrender this century to you: wooden sonnets that rise only because you gave them life. (Pablo Neruda)”

Welcome home, baby.

Your loving husband, xoxo

Skylar Grey - I'm Coming Home

After wiping her eyes unceremoniously with the back of her trembling hands, she opens the small box, and finds the key to our home. The next thing I know, she hurls herself at me with soft sobs.

“Ana! What’s wrong? Did I upset you?” I ask worried.
“No! You… sweet, loving husband! You have no idea how much idea much your words make me happy!”
“I might have an inclination,” I smile, feeling relief. “Now, about that fantasy of yours…”
“Christian, I want you to make love to me by the fire, at the hearth of our home…” she whispers.
“With pleasure,” I murmur sweeping my wife off the floor, careful to hold her sideways to not to disturb her slightly protruding belly.  Even though the ceiling is two stories high in the Great Room, the warm fire from the fireplace, twinkling lights from the Christmas tree and the strategically placed scented column candles give the room a very cozy aura. The shag carpet is off white, soft as sheep skin, silky and made of bamboo, antibacterial and hypoallergenic both to keep my wife away from the irritants and make sure that she is comfortable when I’m making love to her on the floor. Plush pillows strewn invitingly over the carpet. When I take her before the fireplace, I slowly lower her to her feet.
“I love you Mrs. Grey,” I murmur ardently.
“I love you too, Mr…” I don’t let her finish. As I seal my lips over hers, I swallow her final word, “Grey.”
My hands make quick work untying her wrap around dress. As my lips are still sealed over hers, I let her dress slide off her shoulders. I would have never thought there would be anything more intoxicating then the sight of my wife’s lean, inviting body. I was wrong. The slight curve of her pregnant belly with my child in her is sexy as hell. I want her for me… I will always want her for me because I have not had the intimacy that she has given me with anyone in my life, but the fact that my possession of her now is completely evident to everyone who looks at her, as if I branded her from within screaming at everyone that ‘she is Christian Grey’s only love!’ we are one… One love, she is mine and I am hers. 

“I love, love and love you, Anastasia Grey!” I whisper over and over again as my lips kiss her lips, along her jaw, her earlobe and finally moving down her sleek long neck. I inhale her scent deep and long. I knew Anastasia secretly worried that her pregnancy would turn me off. The way her body grew would be a repellent factor. But, nothing could be further from the truth for me. To make a point to that fact, I took her to shopping for pregnancy lingerie. What surprised me now is that she was wearing one of them under her wrap around dress. I only realize it when my hands make contact with the lace of it. She is wearing the white chiffon babydoll lingerie which completely lacks coverage over her now another size grown breasts. My mouth simply dries up. I try to swallow. But my throat knots up. Anastasia simply looks like an angel plucked out of heaven. My angel. All mine! I’m the luckiest son of a bitch!

“When did you…” I swallow again. Words fail me. “When?” I ask. Se bites her lip, then speaks slowly.

“Why so surprised Mr. Grey? Surely, as your wife, my aim is to please as well…”
“Come…here…Mrs. Grey.” My voice is soft, but the command in it is unmistakable.
Anastasia’s hands go to her back, clasping it; she straightens her posture and inadvertently pushes out her very perky breasts forward. Her nipples are tight beads straining to reach me, beckoning, calling for a touch, caress, suckling. She’s a siren; a goddess, and I’m helpless before her powers. My heart skips a beat in my chest. When my eyes manage to go below her breasts, I see that her belly button is slightly visible between the barely overlapping flaps of her elegantly laced lingerie. Beneath it her barely visible panties and a pair of white stockings pulled up to her thighs. All drawing attention to her sexy figure. Screaming out she’s a desirable, woman, a goddess of sexual pleasure, fertility, and a conqueror of man…this man: Christian Grey.

“The way you look tonight is so beyond compare that you would make the masters of ancient sculptures weep in awe that there really is a specimen of woman of perfection.”
She blushes under my gaze.
“Christian, I’m far from perfect. I have a lot of flaws.”
“Not for me. You, Mrs. Grey, are made for me. You are perfect for me, just for being you. I wouldn’t change a hair on your head, baby,” I murmur.
“You like this then?” she asks worried. “I don’t know if my pregnancy would turn you off as I get bigger…” she whispers. “It will get bigger…” her voice goes even lower.

“Is that answer enough for you?” I say unzipping my pants and dropping to my feet with my boxers and all. My erection springs out fully extended, seeking relief, seeking her body. Anastasia gasps and takes a step forward towards me. Her hands encircle my cock and with her simple touch alone, my eyes roll back into my head. The veins on my phallus are throbbing like the jungle drum, the head of my cock turning purple with need of her. The next feeling I get is the wet warmth of the tip of her tongue spreading the single dew beaded on the tip of my cock around. That single point of touch spread fire around my body, burning me, consuming my entire being with desire. I gasp with a shaky breath. My lips part in the shape of an ‘O’. My hands seek her out, and I find her head level with my cock. I open my eyes, and look down and see my wife on her knees situated herself upon a plush red pillow. The sight of her gazing up at me is my undoing. Her breasts curved up, nipples are small beads, tight and perky, while lace outlining them, and one her hands is on my leg with her lips circling the tip of my cock.
She gives me a wicked smile when she sees the effect she has on me. Her tongue darts out as she holds my heavy length with one hand, and she licks the aching tip in a circular motion, then she leans in and follows a throbbing vein with her tongue, then reaching up to the now very sensitive tip, she dip her head and swallows my heavy length drawing deep and hard with enough power to suck the paint off a bumper!

“Fffffuuuck! Ana!”

Do I want her on her knees, on the floor like this? I can’t think straight when she  just relocated my brain to the vicinity of my cock! My hands go to her shoulders, trying to pull her up.
“Ana… oh God! Are you sure?” I ask in a stuttering voice.
“My gift…for you…” she says with her lips touching the tip of my erection again. “There are no barriers between us, remember?” And it is true. Even though she is the one on her knees on the floor, I’m the one who is owned. She’s the master of my heart. But, I don’t want to come this way, I want my fill inside her when we are as one.
“Slow… Ana… slow!” I instruct her. She slows her ministrations and pulls me to the hollow of her cheek. When she pulls her final draw of my cock, I clasp her shoulders and slowly raise her to her feet. My cock exits her wet and warm mouth with a suctioning pop.
“Undress me,” I order.
She smiles wordlessly knowing the full effect she has on me, and her hands reach up to the top button of my white shirt. I would have stopped her in the past since I couldn’t endure being touched at all. She broke all those barriers. I crave her hands on every inch of my body with the intensity of a starving man in a banquet. She stands in front of my only in her lingerie, stockings and her high heels. Her hair falls over her back and partly over her ample breasts in chestnut cascades. She slowly and leisurely undoes each button. Then she runs her fingertips over my chest hair lightly down to my belly button and over my happy trail. I remain motionless to let her enjoy her expedition, though not touching her back proves to be a nearly impossible task. I focus on her face; the slight glow with the fire reflecting on the side of her face gives me glimpses of her slightly parted lips. Her tongue darts out to wet them absently. She moves her hands up again, under my shirt and slides it off my shoulders. It hangs from my wrists.

“Oops! I forgot,” she says giggling and walking behind me over unbuttons the cuffs.
“Ta daa!” she says tossing the shirt onto a nearby chaise.
“Oh…” she murmurs as if she just remembered something. She walks me back slowly with my pants and boxers at my ankles a couple of feet. Running her hands over my happy trail, and her hands lingers over my loins of Apollo, finally she skates her hands over my legs her gaze focused on my erection, making me ache for her.
“You’re killing me, Ana!” I say and she finally reaches down to my ankles. She pulls my shoes off my feet and then my socks. Finally, my pants and boxers come off.
“I believe it’s my turn, baby,” I say and lift her up to her feet. I lift my wife up to her feet, and turn her back to me. Pulling her flush with my body, I make sure that she knows how hungry my body is for her. My erection is hot, heavy and pulsating on her back. I run the back of my hand over her cheek. Closing her eyes, she leans into my touch, craving for more. I trail down to her neck, the sides of her arms but completely bypassing her breasts, my hands come down to the flaps of her chiffon lingerie. I allow my hands to travel into the panels over to her belly. A loud moan escapes her lips, and she rubs herself to me. I rub and circle around her belly and slowly dip my hand into her panties stopping right under her bump. The blooms of her sex is soaked, ready for me as ever. I slide my index and middle fingers over her slit back and forth.

“Ahhhh!” she groans.
“Hush now, baby,” I murmur. My right hand goes up on her breasts. She arches her back to allow more of herself into my capable hands. Her nipples are completely perked up as if she’s shivering in freezing weather, but it’s warm and pleasant in the room. Her nipples are overly sensitive with her pregnancy. Her lips part and she trembles under my touch. I’m hopelessly aroused, and completely seduced. I run my nose over her arched neck, kissing and nipping my way down to her shoulder. As she takes a sharp intake of breath when I squeeze and pull her nipple, I dip two fingers into her sex and run circles inside her. I continue to toy with her nipple with my fingers making her blood boil. Meanwhile my arousal is rising to meet and surpass hers, my skin is hot and covered with a mist of sweat, mixing with my cologne, and my personal musk, filling the air.
“I’m going to lay you down now Mrs. Grey.” She makes a protesting sound.
“I’m about to come, Christian! Please…” she begs.
“Just image how much better it will feel when my lips suckling your breasts, my tongue licking your nipples, my fingers all over your delicious body as my cock is thrusting balls deep into your sex while your high heeled delicious feet are over my shoulders. Would that not be better?”
She writhes in my arms. If I wasn’t holding her tightly, she’d simply fall to the ground.
“Yes… ah! Please, Christian!” she begs.
I turn my wife around and kneel before her. Her heavy lidded eyes darken and look at me. I slide her panties down and let her walk out of them. I lie her down onto the pillows and lean down over her lips. My thighs strain against hers and both of our breathing becomes labored. The outward control I’m displaying is about to be rewarded. My cock hardens even more in anticipation. As our lips take over each other almost violently, my hand clasps her breast and squeeze. The head of my cock strokes the mouth of her sex in delicious enticement. She’s soaked and ready. My cock is pulsing and thick automatically responding to the suckling of her sex, and I surge inside her, going deep, until the base of my cock kisses the entrance of her sex. I gasp with pleasure, and remain there for a minute. She grinds herself, but I hold her still. Anastasia scrapes her nails over my ass to entice me to move.

“Please, Christian! I need this! Take me!”

I slowly pull back and fill her again with long and deep drives. She wraps her legs around my ass. I pull back again and shift the angle of my penetration and stroke her with tantalizing pressure, varying my thrusts. I want this to last a lot longer. I rub her in low and then high deep massages inside her sex, pumping her in my own timed  and measured rhythm. Then I feel her building up. I lean down, and capture a nipple between my teeth giving her just enough pleasure and pain to both divide and conquer her focus. She clenches further onto my ass and quivers under my relentless drives. My lips leave her nipple with a loud suction and I find her lips. When she reaches her climax, I feel her inner muscles of her sex pulsating, and rubbing, pulling my cock deeper still in our race to reach our climax. We swallow each other’s moans as we both reach our peak. I trust into her once, “You,” thrust once again, “Are,” and a third time, “Mine!!” as my eyes roll back inside my head in an all-consuming orgasm.
“Anaa! I love love love love you, baby!” I say, careful not to collapse onto her. When I pull out of her, she winces, but her eyes are dreamy, barely open.

“I love you, Christian!” and rolls into my arms among the pillows across the fireplace.

*****      *****

When the first lights of the day seeps in through the curtainless windows in our new home, I watch my wife to sleep in my arms. I try to stay motionless to not to wake her up, but her sleepy eyelids cracks open just a little under my gaze.
“Hi,” she murmurs.
“You’re up early. This carpet is pretty soft,” she says running her hand underneath us and finding sheets instead. Her eyes open a little wider and she glances around.
“Oh, we didn’t sleep on the carpet,” she says half disappointed.
“No, Mrs. Grey, we didn’t. I wasn’t going to let the decorators to find my wife naked on the living room floor. I carried you to our bedroom.” I say decidedly. She smiles at my response.
“Can I sleep a little more, or do we have to get up for the workers?”
“I’m sure the workers can manage without you for a few hours, baby. But, I will get up to talk to Taylor.”
“I want to get up, but, this baby is tiring me out.”
“You sleep, baby. I’ll supervise them on your behalf.”
“No… no. Just wake me up in an hour, please,” she says with barely managing to keep her eyes open.
“I wore you out last night, Mrs. Grey.”
“Mmm… You can wear me out anytime, Mr. Grey,” she says with a sleepy smile.
“Go back to sleep Mrs. Grey,” I murmur leaning in and kissing her forehead.

*****      *****

The furniture has been moved in and the Big House has been completely decorated within three days nearly without a hitch aside from the last minute decorator change. My wife has been nesting… big time. I wouldn’t know what that meant had I not seen her in full in take-charge-of-making-our-home-organized-my-damn-way mode. It’s both a sight to behold and to worry because I don’t want her to get hurt trying to show the movers where the 1200 lbs of solid wood dining table should go by trying to hold it when they didn’t get the exact location she desired. I had to constantly try to distract her by getting her to give her input without physically exerting herself. Although she did look spectacular when she put on her yoga pants, a checkered shirt tied right above her baby bump with a black camisole underneath and a bandana tied on her hair. She looked like a greaser girl from the Outsiders on Sunday.

“Earth to Christian Grey…” chimes Anastasia’s voice as she pulls our laced hands onto her lap.
“What got you so deep in thought? Are you nervous?”
“No, I’m not nervous,” I respond. But my hesitation worries her and a V forms between her brows.
“I’m…excited,” she says hesitantly. “If we’re lucky and the Blip is cooperating, we’re going to find out our baby’s sex!” she whispers as if she doesn’t want Taylor, and Miss Tiber to hear our conversation. Sawyer is following us behind in a different SUV. My fingers gently caress her belly.
“You sure you don’t have a preference?” she asks.
“No. I just want the baby to be healthy. If it’s a girl, she’ll have a great mother to take as a role model,” I say. “If it’s a boy…” I hesitate.

“I couldn’t think of anyone who could be a better father than you, Christian. You’ve had a great upbringing. You’re a wonderful husband. No one could be more protective of the baby than you, or loving. Your love is very giving,” she says fervently.
If it’s a boy,” I qualify, “I have a great wife who makes me want to be a better man, a better husband, a better father. It’s still due to you, baby. Boy or girl, we need you and certainly depend on you.” Her mouth stays open with a stuttering breath.
“Sometimes husband, you wash away all my worries with just one sentence, a look or a word.”
“Are you worried?”
“No. Not anymore,” she responds just as Taylor comes to a complete stop at the parking lot. We take the elevators to Dr. Greene’s office. A receptionist greets us. Taylor and Miss Tiber walks into the office while Sawyer stands guard just outside of the office door. The time slot is completely clear of all patients until an hour after we leave. The only one in the office is the receptionist, but a nurse walks out to meet us.
“Welcome, Mrs. and Mr. Grey,” she smiles. The nurse is about thirty years of age. Her hair piled up into a tight bun and she’s wearing blue scrubs and she has hideous crocs on her feet. I never understood those crocs, but I guess long hours of standing on your feet requires comfort and not podiatric elegance.

“Mrs. Grey, I’ll take you to the back now, ma’am,” she says.
“I’m coming with her.”
“She won’t be long Mr. Grey,” the nurse responds in a professional tone.
“I’m coming with my wife,” I look straight into her eyes in a forbidding manner.
“We’re not starting the exam right away sir. I just need to measure her height and weight, take her blood pressure, and collect a urine sample. Then she will have to drink five glasses of juice, and wait for fifteen minutes. You will come in when we do the ultrasound.”
“I know I did not slip into French when I’m speaking to you. Mrs. Grey doesn’t go in alone. I. Come. With. Her.”
“Uhm. Christian, it shouldn’t take us that long to go and do those things, maybe fifteen minutes tops. I’ll be back out here.”
“Ana, either I go, or Melissa goes in with you. You know the rules. I’m already here, and I’m your husband. I go where you go.”
She smiles at the nurse apologetically, and pulls me to the side.
“Christian, please. Let’s not make a big deal out of this. You already vetted Doctor Greene, her staff, and this nurse. There are only three people from her staff in her office right now. I’m sure I can manage to scream if something untoward happens. Just fifteen minutes, Christian. Besides, I don’t want someone with me when I’m peeing in a cup, not Melissa, or you, or the nurse,” she says giving me her most disagreeable look.
“Five minutes, you go and give the urine sample, then I stay with you when you get your blood pressure and other vitals checked.” She sighs then lifts her hands up in surrender.
“You may come and get Mr. Grey within five minutes. I’d like my husband to be with me when you get my vitals please,” she says with a sideways glance at me.
“As you wish, ma’am,” the nurse says and leads Anastasia behind the doors. I stand and keep time. Five minutes on the dot, I walk up to the reception. The receptionist jumps to her feet and opens the door for me walking me back where Anastasia is getting her pulse and blood pressure checked.

“Have you been experiencing dizzy spells Mrs. Grey?” she asks.
“No. Why?” she asks.
“Your blood pressure is a little lower than we would prefer it to be. It’s 95/50. Have you been dehydrated? Do you have bleeding? Have you eaten today? Do you have allergies?” the nurse asks in rapid fire. I grow concerned.
“I had breakfast. I don’t have any allergies that I know of, and no I did not experience any bleeding. Although," she says pausing, 'knowing that I am going to drink several cups of water for the ultrasound, I admit I didn’t drink much this morning,” she says chagrined giving me a worried sideways glace again. I don’t want to scold her in front of the nurse. I cross my arms and frown my disapproval instead. 

“Alright, then. I will give you orange or apple juice; whichever you prefer. The sugar in it should help to get your blood pressure to a normal level. Before I take you in for the ultrasound, I’ll measure your blood pressure once more just to make sure, Mrs. Grey.”
Once the nurse completes her stats, she hands me five bottles of orange juice for Anastasia to drink. We are taken into a lounge with plush furnishings. I make sure Anastasia drinks every single bottle she's given. She looks at me guiltily.
“I’m sorry,” she murmurs.
“What are you sorry for Anastasia?”
“For not drinking anything and worrying you.” I’m tight lipped, but I nod my acceptance. Fifteen minutes to the dot, the nurse walks back in with her blood pressure gadgets.

“Let’s try this again, Mrs. Grey,” she says smiling. After taking her blood pressure, she quickly scribbles something onto Anastasia’s chart.
“What’s the matter? Isn’t it back to normal?” I ask.
“It’s 100/55. Slightly better, but we prefer to see it at 110/60. I’ll let Dr. Greene take a look at it. Now, would you follow me please?” she asks. I hold Anastasia’s hand and walk behind the nurse.  We walk into a dimly lit ultrasound room. The nurse hands Anastasia a pristinely clean gown to be tied in the back and a paper sheet to later cover her bottom.
“Please take your dress as well as your undergarments off, Mrs. Grey. The opening goes to back. You may use the restroom here for privacy,” she says pointing to a door.
“You want all my underthings off?” Anastasia asks frowning.
“Yes, ma’am. Dr. Greene likes to do an exam before the ultrasound. But, don’t empty your bladder. We need it full,” she says smiling. “Doctor will be in with you shortly,” she says smiling before she leaves the room.
“I’ll go get dressed,” Anastasia says.
“I’ll help,” I say, but she stops me: “no, I’ll do it.”
“Anaa!” I chide her.
“Christian, I know how to dress myself,” she says irritated. “I’ll let you tie the back once I put the gown on,” she adds taking the sting off. Why is she nervous?
A few minutes later Anastasia emerges from the restroom with her clothes slinging over her arm.
“I’m ready for you to tie the back Mr. Grey,” she says smiling.
“With pleasure, Mrs. Grey,” I respond and tie the two spots where there are strips of fabric to tie. The knock comes from the door and Dr. Greene walks in.

“Hi Mrs. and Mr. Grey,” she says greeting us. “How have you been feeling Mrs. Grey? Any more nausea?” she asks.
It turns out; Anastasia’s low blood pressure is something that may occur during pregnancy. She just has to eat and drink at regular intervals. During the doctor's examination... which I have to admit, I don’t like another person’s hands on my wife’s breasts, squeezing and moving about -- I have to restrain myself, reminding myself that it’s only for medical purposes, and for my wife’s well-being. 

Dr. Dr. Greene takes a measuring tape and measures the distance from the base of Anastasia’s breastbone to the top of her belly and then she measures the distance from the sides as well. Finally, she lowers the paper sheet to the top of her pubic bone and pulls the gown to Anastasia’s breasts. Pouring an ample amount of warmed gel onto her belly, she brings out a probe and moves it about Anastasia’s belly. Within a short time, we start hearing the now familiar whooshing sound of our baby’s heartbeat.

“This little one has a healthy, strong heartbeat,” Dr. Greene says pleased. She moves the probe over various locations of Anastasia’s belly. She occasionally stops the image and takes measurements.

“Now…” she says pleased and presses another button. The color on the screen turns sepia, and to both of our amazed gasps, the small face of a baby with closed eyes emerges. The baby’s mouth is making swallowing motions and one hand is covering his or her face.

“3D Imaging,” Dr. Greene responds smiling. “Mrs. Grey, Mr. Grey, meet your baby. I’ll move the probe at just the right angle so you can see the baby’s entire body,” she says and moves the probe about Anastasia’s belly.
“The blip’s kicking, Christian!” Anastasia says pointing to the monitor.
“A regular soccer player. I’m sure Ray will be happy,” I respond holding Anastasia’s hand, giving her a tight squeeze.
Dr. Greene moves the probe towards Anastasia’s pubic bone. The image that emerges puts a big grin on my face. Dr. Greene freezes it on the screen.
“I want five copies of that picture!” I say to Dr. Greene automatically.
“Five copies?” Dr. Greene asks.
“Whatever for?” Anastasia follows frowning.
“Christmas presents.”
“Christian, you can’t give the obscenely large pictures of the baby's testicles!” Anastasia gasps. “They look so big compared to his little behind.”
“Our son!” I say grinning ear to ear.
Dr. Greene shakes his head.
“So, you did have a preference?” Anastasia whispers.

“No, I didn’t. It’s just that seeing our child in 3D that got me excited, and it’s a boy,” I reply. I’m just pleasantly surprised that my son resembles me in a significant way. But, I’m not about to say that when Dr. Greene is around.
“How about a nice profile?” Anastasia asks.
“Okay, fine. But, I still want a picture of his gender,” I say. I can make the copies on my own. Both Dr. Greene and Ana look at me with raised eyebrows, then look at each other, and then sigh collectively. Dr. Greene presses a button and prints the image.

“Are you making a video of the ultrasound, Dr. Greene?” I ask.
“Yes, Mr. Grey. I will provide you with a CD.”
“Good. Thank you,” I respond with an impassive face.

*****      *****

“Let me ask you something, Christian,” Anastasia turns to me on the drive back.
“If Blip was a she, would you still want to proof of her gender to our near and dear?”
“Of course not,” I respond quickly.
“But, you would of your son.” Her arms are crossed and her eyebrows are raised.

“Ana, when men go into the locker room to shower, they don’t hide their dicks from one another. Well, unless they have a little one. It’s different with men,” I whisper. “But, if he was a she, the rules of the game changes. That doesn’t need proof.” I add. 

“Being a male requires proof? I’m sure our family would believe us if we just said ‘listen up everyone. We’re having a boy!’ “
“I still want the proof, Ana!” I respond petulantly. She rolls her eyes. Then pats my hand.

“It’s not like I didn’t notice the resemblance,” she whispers into my ear. “I don’t think I want to share that visual with other females in the family and our friends. Unless they’re idiots, they’ll draw the same conclusion, and I don’t want anyone’s mind wandering onto visualizing what is mine,” she says possessively.
I lift her chin up to look up at me.

“I love you, Mrs. Grey!” I murmur and kiss her chastely.

*****      *****

“My idea of Christmas, whether old-fashioned or modern, is very simple: loving others. Come to think of it, why do we have to wait for Christmas to do that?”
Bob Hope

Bing Crosby - White Christmas

Bing Crosby’s ‘White Christmas’ is playing in the background. The Christmas lights are twinkling in red, blue, green and white on our Christmas tree that’s fully trimmed. A fire is roaring in the fireplace. Our big house smells of freshly baked pies, cinnamon, nutmeg and fresh muffins. Mrs. Taylor has been baking since yesterday. I’m itching to give my wife her Christmas present. Anastasia looks like a Greek goddess with her pregnancy dress and her hair braided atop her head.

“I want to give you my Christmas present, Ana,” I say nervously. She looks excited like a child. Her eyes brighten, and she looks at me with expectation. Yes, expectation! I extend her my first gift box. She rips it open excitedly and finds a delicately framed letter in French with its English translation next to it.

A few days ago I thought I loved you; but since I last saw you I feel I love you a thousand times more. All the time I have known you, I adore you more each day; that just shows how wrong was La Bruyére’s maxim that love comes all at once. Everything in nature has its own life and different stages of growth. I beg you, let me see some of your faults: be less beautiful, less graceful, less kind, less good…
My one and only Josephine, apart from you there is no joy; away from you the world is a desert where I am alone and cannot open my heart. You have taken more than my soul; you are the one thought of my life. When I am tired of the worry of work, when I fear the outcome, when men annoy me, when I am ready to curse being alive, I put my hand on my heart; your portrait hangs there, I look at it, and love brings me perfect happiness…Oh, my adorable wife! I don’t know what fate has in store for me, but if it keeps me apart from you any longer, it will be unbearable! My courage is not enough for that.
Come and join me; before we die let us at least be able to say: “We had so many happy days!”
Signed: Napoleon Bonaparte

“Is this the original?” Anastasia asks with wide eyes. “This is a French national treasure Christian.”

“It’s a profound love letter from a man to his wife. The man being Napoleon does not make it any more profound. It’s the content of the letter is what matters to me. I want you to remember that as intense as Napoleon’s love was for his wife, it could never match what I feel for you just a single day of my life. I love you Mrs. Grey. I will always love you. It will only grow. You’re my entire universe,” I murmur.  I don't tell her whether it’s the original letter or not.

The next present I give her is an invitation to the Writer’s Symposium in New York in January.

“You may take your assistant, but I’m coming with you,” I say, daring her to contradict me. Still enamored with Napoleon’s letter she replies, “Yes, yes, you are!”
“And this is my present for you,” she says once she gathers her wits about giving me an envelope and a box. I open the envelope first.

“I know how important it is to make decisions. My gift to you is to give you the final say on our son’s name.” 
I look up at her incredulous.
“Are you sure?” I ask.
“Granted that you will choose a list of name that doesn’t contain a name I dislike. But, other than that, yes,” she replies.
I grin. She is gifting me ‘control of a decision’. Only Anastasia would know the importance of the meaning for me. She is relinquishing her choice of decision making and gifting it to me. Naming our child!
“Thank you baby! But I would like you to be a part of this decision making. I don’t want you to hate our child’s name.”
“You make a list of names, and I’ll cross out the ones I can live without. Then from the remaining, you make a decision. Would that be fair?” she asks.
“Topping from the bottom?” I ask smiling. “Yes, I can live with that.”
I open the next box. It’s small and contains a key and an invitation card written with a woman’s flowing script.

“Carte Blanche. Subject to hard limits. Anyway you like, sir.”

I grab her and simply possess her with my kiss.

*****      *****

“Christian, what time are they coming?” Anastasia asks excitedly.
“They should be here soon. Maybe in the next half hour.”
“Our first Christmas in our home with our family!” Anastasia’s eyes gleam brightly.
“Dance with me, baby,” I say pulling her to me when the song ‘Baby it’s cold outside,” start playing. She bites her lip.

Baby It's Cold Outside - Dean Martin

“Come on Anastasia, it’s Christmas, you look mouthwatering, and I’m ecstatic when I have you in my arms…”
“If you put it that way, how can I resist. Take me away, Fred…”
“With pleasure, Ginger,” I smile, and start dancing around the Great Room with my wife. I lower my hand to the small of her back and we continue dancing when the song switches to “Let it Snow” sung by Michael Buble.

Let it Snow - Michael Buble

We’re interrupted with loud “Merry Christmas!” cheers of my parents, my grandparents, my sister and Ethan, my brother and Katherine and the Kavanagh parents. A cheerful greeting erupts in the house.

“Well, what a joyous scene! Theo, you should dance with me like my grandson is doing with his wife!”
“Woman, even though my bones are old, I don’t mind taking your around for a spin. I have that much youth left in me,” I hear my grandfather. We stop dancing and turn around to find a happy crowd made up of my family.

“Oh! My! Gosh! Ana, Christian! Your house is gorgeous!” my sister gushes. Katherine Kavanagh whistles wordlessly.
“Anaa! Your house is something. My man did a great job building it and kudos for your design choices! It’s spectacular!” Kate says with only happy vibes for her best friend.
“Here!” she hands her wrapped gifts to me.
“I’ll take them!” says Elliot rolling his eyes, carrying their packages by the Christmas tree.
“What is that? Man! For a minute I thought I was at the Rockefeller Center! That tree is incredible!”
“Nothing but the best for my wife,” I grin.

“Hello dear,” my mom greets Ana. “You look so beautiful! Glowing!” she gushes. When we greet everyone, we seat them on our L shaped sofa.
“What a beautiful picture of you, Ana!” says Mrs. Kavanagh noting Anastasia’s black and white photo over the fireplace.
“Breathtaking,” murmurs Ethan.

“She is indeed,” I say, my gaze growing cold, I pull Anastasia to my side.
“Can I offer you all something to drink? Mia, could you come and help me?” asks Anastasia moving out under from my arm.
“Christian, would you give me a hand, honey?” she asks, extending her hand to me. Honey?
“Of course, baby. What would you all like to drink?”
“Christian is serving? That I gotta see,” says Elliot. “I’ll have a beer!”
“Champagne please,” Kate adds.
“White wine,” adds Mrs. Kavanagh.
“I’ll give you a hand,” my mom adds.
When we walk into the kitchen, Mrs. Taylor is still toiling there.
“Gail, I thought you had the rest of the day off,” I say surprised.

“I’ll help Mrs. Grey serve the food, and then feed the boys upstairs in our apartment. They’ll take turns eating anyway. This makes it easier for me. I enjoy doing this Mr. Grey.”
“Thank you Gail!” Anastasia responds appreciatively.
“The table is ready Mrs. Grey. I have already steamed the crab legs for you. I’m keeping them warm. Everything is set on the table. You should be able to have your guests there in a few minutes. We’re on schedule, ma’am,” she says with a smile.

“Oh, thank you so much Gail! You’re a lifesaver!” Ana hugs her unexpectedly.
“It’s my pleasure, ma’am… Ana,” replies Gail, making Anastasia smile.

*****      *****

“Could we have everyone at the kitchen please?” Gail announces. “We set-up buffet style dining. Dining room is adjacent to the kitchen. Seating has been pre-determined. You will find your names on the seats. Enjoy your meal. Merry Christmas!” and she lets Anastasia lead our guests to the kitchen.
“Is there anything else I can do for you Mr. Grey?” Gail asks.
“You’ve done enough already. Thank you Mrs. Jon… Mrs. Taylor. Go spend the rest of your Christmas with Jason.”
“Thank you sir. Merry Christmas!” she replies with her ever present professional smile.
“Seafood?” asks Ethan.

“We start our own traditions starting this year. The big Christmas tree up the day after Thanksgiving, king crab legs, scallops, lobster and the trimmings for Christmas and lots of dancing with my wife.”
Ethan’s smile is a forced one. “Good choice.”
The tablescape is simple spectacular.
Everyone is cheerful and chatty. Filling their plates with the food Mrs. Taylor prepared. When everyone is seated around the table, I click my crystal goblet with my fork.
“May I have everyone’s attention please?” I say rising from my seat.
“My gorgeous wife Anastasia and I are very pleased for having your company on Christmas Day in our new home. Thank you for honoring us with your presence.”

“Hear hear!” sounds around the table.
“l am immensely thankful for having my beautiful wife in my life,” I say smiling lovingly at my wife who reaches out and holds my hand. I swallow, and clear my throat. “Thankful for the fates that brought us together, thankful for our little one on the way,” I say not revealing the sex of our baby. “And we are very pleased to have our family and our dear friends with us today. May this be the beginning of many wonderful memories! Welcome to our home! Merry Christmas! We hope you enjoy your food,” I say as I sit.

The seafood is a hit, so are Mrs. Taylor’s pies. I watch Anastasia’s intake of food and drink. It pleases me to see her eat.
“Elliot, we’re very impressed with your construction company’s ability in building Christian and Ana’s house. It’s marvelous,” Mr. Kavanagh praises my brother.
“We might require of your services in renovating our home, making it more green like you did here,” he qualifies.
My parents look at each of their children with pride.  

“Ana, dear… You look amazing. I can't believe I am going to be a great-grandmother!” my grandmother chimes happily, relocating her hand over my wife’s baby bump.
“For heaven’s sake, Mrs. Trevelyan! Would you remove your hand away from Ana? Let the girl eat in peace…” my grandfather retorts.
“She doesn’t mind!” my grandmother replies.
“She’s just being polite. I’m sorry Ana,” he says leaning to see Ana. “Your grandmother is overly excited for the prospect, but I’m sure you’d like to eat your meal in peace.”
“Have you thought of a name?” Mia chimes in. If I didn’t know any differently, I would have said that she has my grandmother’s genes. She behaves just like her. No mental filter whatsoever.
“We have not, Mia,” I reply coolly.
“Why ever not?” she probes further.
“We haven’t got a clear idea yet, and it’s still 20 weeks away. We’ll let you know as soon as we make a decision,” I say, and Anastasia squeezes my hand under the table cautioning me for patience.
When my father moves the conversation to football, Anastasia gives me a relieved smile.

“The food was excellent!” is the remark around the fireplace. We hand each family member two gifts.
“If you open the small package,” Ana starts, “you’ll find that it’s identical with each of your present. We thought you might like to have it,” she says somewhat nervously. The gift is the same for my parents, my grandparents, Mia, Elliot and Kate.

A collective happy gushing comes from each of them when they find the 3D image of our son sucking his thumb in his mother’s womb.
“This is amazing! Theo! Look! It’s my great-grandchild!”
Our, great-grandchild!” my grandfather corrects her.
“This is incredible, so lifelike!”
“Oh, Ana! I’m so happy for you!” Kate hugs her. “Your baby is beautiful!”
“Do you want to do the honors for the next present, daddy?” Ana whispers.

“It’s a boy!” I grin as I make our announcement.

“The Grey dynasty…” murmurs someone, but I ignore it. It sure will be.
The exchange of gifts is a very happy occasion and everyone seems to be very pleased with what we chose for them.

Waning hours of the evening, our guests slowly depart from our home. This has been the best Christmas of my life. Somehow everything seems to find its place as if the puzzle’s pieces knew where they belonged. I take my sleepy but content wife up to our bedroom through the winding staircase in my arms.

“Merry Christmas, baby,” I whisper as she closes her eyes.

"Merry Christmas, Christian. I love you."