Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Christian and Anastasia Fanfiction - Chapter XI


“Do you know the way to the hospital?”
“Yes, sir. It’s Wayne County.”
I dial Ana’s number again and after one ring, it’s sent to voice mail. A quick response text message dings into my inbox.
* I’ll call you later.*
I text her back, totally pissed.
*Answer the FUCKING PHONE!*
Nouela - The Sound of Silence

“Where’s the SUV Sawyer was driving?” I’m extremely agitated as I dial Sawyer’s number.
Taylor taps the blinking blue dot at our destination. So, he’s at the hospital with Ana. That’s some sort of a consolation, but he too doesn’t answer the phone. He doesn’t even send a quick text back!

“How much longer?” I ask after nearly twenty minutes of nervous silence of the drive.
“Twelve more minutes sir. I’m also tracking Mrs. Grey’s phone at the hospital. We should be with her in about sixteen minutes, sir.”
“Did you know anything about whatever she’s doing right now?” I turn and ask Taylor.
“Not, a clue, sir,” he says slowly and clearly. Good, Taylor is mad at Ana, too! His hands are gripping the steering wheel a little too tight, his knuckles are turning white. Ana has a lot to explain. God, if something happened to her, I don’t know what I would do!
“Where the fuck is Sawyer? Are you sure he’s with her?”
“I’m tracking his phone sir. It’s been moving only within a few feet of radius which is odd,” he says concerned.
“…and he isn’t answering it.” I state the obvious.
“Right.” Concern is loaded in that single word.
The ride to the hospital is torturous. Minutes feel like eternity. When will it be over? Taylor senses my anxiety and runs several red lights without getting a ticket. Tires screech, as Taylor barely slows down to make a turn into the hospital parking lot. As soon as Taylor parks, I run out of the vehicle. I can hear Taylor’s string of epithets as he scrambles behind me. Even though I’m in the same building with my wife, my anxiety doesn’t stop. I run to the Admissions counter. The nurse’s jaw drops open when she manages to look at me.
“Oh...” she clears her throat, “may I help you, sir?”
“I’m looking for a patient here. Anastasia Grey.”  When she manages to break her gaze away from me, she types into her keyboard. She shakes her head.
“We don’t have a patient by that name, sir. Are you sure she’s in this hospital?”
“She’s in this building. Can you check Sawyer…” Taylor interrupts me.
“What’s the last name?” The nurse asks.
“Sawyer is the last name,” I say turning back to her, completely irritated for being interrupted by Taylor.
“Mr. Grey!”
“What!?!” I hiss.
“I know the way,” he murmurs, indicating the way with his head.
“Where the hell are they?” I ask, bad memories of her last hospital stay flooding my mind.
“I’m not sure what department, sir. I just pinged Mrs. Grey’s phone. I’m following it.”
Christ! I’ve been gone all day. All kinds of shit could have happened! Shit has happened!
“Jesus! Ana!”
Taylor and I make quick way through the crowded hospital corridors. Among the crowd, I see a young woman holding a little child who couldn’t be older than four years old. I’m immediately overcome with a sense of déjà vu. I feel in a trance and stop in my tracks. Taylor notices and turns to me.
“Sir?” he questions me. I can’t more a step forward.
“Taylor, do you think the hospitals, places have memories?” my eyes engrossed in the young mother and her child wearing dirty clothes. Was I born here? Brought here by Ella as a sick child like this mother? I feel as if these old walls are calling me, ‘hey little insignificant guy! There you are again!’ Does it remember me? I think I remember this place. This particular hospital. Why is Ana here? Am I to make another memory for these walls to store up only to replay it for me at a later date again? It’s like the different stages in the fabric of my life will keep replaying themselves here, within these walls. I hate it already. Yes, I recognize this hospital. Hospitals, they say are the same. But they are not. This one says, ‘hello old friend,” to me. Yet, I don’t find it friendly. It gives me an unexpected anxiety.  

Eminem - Mockingbird

“Mr. Grey? Mr. Grey, this way.” I turn to Taylor and notice that this isn’t the first time he’s calling for my attention. I don’t like being in the dark. Even the fucking hospital only gives me bits and pieces of information of my past. Not a complete picture. I found that knowledge is my ally against anxiety caused by the unknown. That’s why I like having control. And it is my wife who often makes me lose control. Taylor looks at me expectantly. I nod and follow him. The corridor takes us to further into the hospital. We go through the double operating room doors; it opens up to yet another corridor. The rooms echo the constant sound of the beeping monitors, some have bustling nurses. Anxiety grows. I can feel my heart burst through my chest. Taylor and I come to a stop at the end of the corridor, right in front of an obscure room. It’s manned by someone I don’t recognize. Taylor stands before him.
“Can I help you?” The stranger’s tone is foreboding.
“No, you can’t. We need to go in here.” Taylor takes a step forward, staring down the man. To his credit, he doesn’t back down. He’s wearing a long trench coat. His face had seen too many tough years. Military? Police? He doesn’t look like a cop, but he has definitely danced on the line between legal and illegal.
“I’m sorry, but I’m keeping this door closed until I’m further instructed.” He spreads his legs shoulder width, and gets into a defensive pose.
“If my wife, one Anastasia Grey is in that room, let alone you, the entire hospital can’t stop me!” I hiss, invading his personal space enough to see the roots of his hair. He checks his watch without flinching. He looks me over with close scrutiny, his eyebrows knitting together.
“Shhh! Don’t say her name out loud!” He looks around, side steps me and looks both directions. Then he checks his watch again.
“You need to wait about three more minutes,” He says without flinching.
“Mr. Grey, I’d be happy to remove him,” Taylor moves forward.
“You need to step away, and wait till your time is up. Taylor!” he orders.
“How do you know my name?”
“The lady boss,” he indicates his head. Lady Boss? My wife?
“We need to go in!”
“Like I said, it’s locked from inside. Besides, the dude’s dyin’. Lady Boss needs to speak to him before he expires.”
“Oh, God! Sawyer!” Taylor and I both shout, our faces mirroring the same horrified expression.
“Open the fucking door!” I order. “I have to see my wife!”
“Locked from the inside, sir,” he says exasperated, yet unmoved. I turn to look at Taylor; a silent conversation passes between us. I turned the guard appointed by my wife. I put my hand on his shoulder and said, “don’t take this the wrong way,” and punched his lights out just as Taylor kicks the hospital door in.
*****      *****
It took me a at least twenty seconds to adjust my eyes to the dim light of the room after the bright hallway. Ana was seated by the hospital bed and leaning towards a patient who was lying in the hospital bed. She still had her workout clothes on; black yoga pants, and a yoga tank of the same color. She doesn’t even turn her head towards the noise as if she had an important mission to accomplish and she is racing the clock no time to complete it. The scene in the room looks completely wrong.
Sawyer looks up, but doesn’t move from his station, or speak a word; he seems exhausted, a little roughed up, disheveled, the arm of his jacket is ripped. By the swelling he is sporting, his face would soon show some bruises. He is standing behind a man, expertly tied up with improvised apparatus on a chair. Ordinarily, I would be very impressed with such exquisite rigging skills, but now is not the time. The man’s mouth was covered with surgical tape, while he sports two shiners. His dark hair was partly matted with blood and sweat. His bodybuilder size looks far larger than Sawyer’s with his broad shoulders, bulging biceps covered with exquisite tattoos, and leg muscles that had seen a lot of hours at the gym. The man appears to have passed out, but involuntarily moves a little and a muffled moan is heard. I’ve had it!

“What the hell is going on here?” I bark, as I take a step towards the middle of the room. Taylor reaches the light switch the illuminate the room, but Sawyer whispers in a loud tone: “No!”
Ana continues to whisper to the man lying in bed, the man speaks back to her in whispered tones. But I realize it’s not because he’s responding her in kind but that’s as loud as he can speak. He has tubes attached to his arms and a host of other tubes coming out from under his bed covers. Who the hell is this man?
“Ana?” I call out to her.
Without turning to look at me, she whispers, “Shhh!”

Frank Sinatra - Killing me Softly

I slowly step towards the bed to take a better look at the man. He looks to be in his late fifties or early sixties. Although it’s hard to tell; this is a man who looks like he lived life on edge and lived hard. He has no hair or eyebrows; his skin is jaundiced. His face is swollen with the typical effects of chemo, but his body under the covers just like his arms over them appear to be skinny. There’s a hard to forget, sickly-sweet odd odor permeating through him. It is an odor I’ve smelled once before and I immediately know what it is: approaching death. This man is dying. This is an odor one does not forget. Scent, they say has the most powerful memory trigger. I feel my chest tighten and a huge sadness descends, washing over me. Vivid memories come flooding back to me trigged by this putrid smell of death. I remember this scent because it was all over my mom!
I’m frozen in my spot. Poignant memories don’t just trickle back to my mind; they break the levees holding them back and flood every fiber of my being.
“You fucking whore! Bitch! Oh, Jesus Christ! You did yourself in! What the fuck! How could you do that? I coulda sold that pussy for at least another fifteen years! Where the fuck is her twerp? Did that crazy bitch kill him, too? Oh fuck! What’ll the cops say? They wouldn’t care about a whore but they’d care about her bastard!” he shouts. The face I buried deep in my mind, one I never wanted to see again is now sitting in that chair and moaning.
But how could that be? He’s about the same age as he was then if older by ten years or less. Bulkier. I take a step towards him. I grab his chin and force his face to look up at me. He’s missing some scars. His hair is thicker. He is also bulkier.
A name I had forgotten, buried deep in the darkest corner of my mind pops into my head. “Detroit Willie,” I hiss. The moaning man slightly cracks his now very swollen eyes and they drift away from me. The reaction I expect doesn’t come from the man tied up in the chair. It comes from the sickly, dying man in bed in the form of gasping words. They are staccato, muffled and forced.
“Who... who wants…” big gasp for air, “…to…” another gasp and pause, “know?” finally an exhale.
The little twerp!” I respond bitterly. I walk over to his bed and carefully look at this pitiful man. No sign of what he had been is left other than just a broken, mangled shell. In fact, I recognize nothing of his young self except the deep cut scars on his left cheek, possibly attained during a brawl with a john or a rival. There is nothing else that remind me of Ella’s pimp. He makes a herculean effort to crack open his clouded eyes. Fixing his gaze on my face, he tries to place me in his memory, find a name to identify who I am or how I may know his name.
“My memory… is weak. ‘fraid don’t…” deep breath, “…know you, man.”
Ana pauses her phone from recording. “Christian!” she chides me as if I’m interrupting her mission.
“You’re… him!” He redirects his gaze Ana, and I immediately get pissed.
“Ana! Get out of the room!”
“I’m not done, yet!” she retorts.
“Yes, you are!”
“No, I’m not!”
“Taylor! Take Mrs. Grey out of the room!” I order. Taylor walks towards Ana.
“Mrs. Grey, please,” he pleads.
“Taylor, I’m tired of being manhandled. I’m not leaving, don’t you dare to try to make me! How about you two wait for me out…”
“Ana!” I am unyielding on this.
“It’s okay, kid.” This time the voice comes from the bed. “I told you… what… I know.”
Then he turns to me slightly, and adds, “Sorry boy,” he pauses a long time, struggling for breath, his eyes drooping, face going paler. “You look… like… h…” but he doesn’t finish his sentence. He slips into unconsciousness. The man in the chair gains his consciousness and starts struggling against his restraints. Sawyer tries to keep him in his seat and as quiet as possible.
Ana puts her phone in her purse and rises from her seat.
“Sawyer, take me back to the hotel.” She orders in a firm tone, leaving me standing.
“What about him?” he asks looking at Ana, then at me.
“The PI will deal with him,” Ana responds, giving me an exasperated glance.
“Ana! Who is that man?” I point at the struggling man.
“His half-brother.” Ana has a lot to answer. Why is he tied up? Did he attack Ana. He seems to have attacked Sawyer.
“Did he touch you?” I hiss through my teeth.
“No,” she says gently this time. “Sawyer had an altercation with him when he tried to prevent me questioning Mr. Willie.”
“So, he touched you!” I immediately get near her check her face, arms and check her body for any visible signs of hurt or damage.
“No, Sawyer. He took care of it. He wasn’t supposed to be here when I came to talk to him,” she points the bed with her head. I walk back to the chair and rip off the surgical tape from the man’s mouth.
“Why did he tie you up?” I ask with the last shred of patience.
“To get to my brother! I opposed. She disagreed,” he says nodding his head in Ana’s direction. For a minute, my heart fills with pride because Ana stood up to this huge man. In the next second, I worry and get angry about her recklessness. I am at a junction of confusion, anger, lack of control of the events surrounding my life and this enrages me. At this moment, I don’t know how I’m going to deal with Ana. I mentally count down in my head to cool off.
“Sawyer, I need you to take Mrs. Grey to the hotel.” My voice is cold and devoid of any emotion. He looks at the man in the chair.
“Fuck you and the bitch that rode in here to harass a dying man!” he spits at Sawyer. Quick as a cobra, Sawyer throat stabs him using just two fingers, effectively knocking him out, and wordlessly walks across the room.
“Mrs. Grey?” he asks her reverentially. Ana looks at me vibrating with pure rage. She doesn’t say goodbye or soften her gaze and then the two of them walk out of the hospital room. I see the glimpse of a grumpy PI as they close the door.
“Wish he hadn’t done that,” comes a weak voice. “Thinks he’s Jesus to… save my soul,” he tries to laugh which turns into a cough.
“You have no redeemable soul!” I bark, unable but unwilling to let the tormentor of my dreams to have power over me even in his death bed.
“Don’t matter. I’ve lived my life.” A murderous rage rises in me. Suddenly, I’m furious that he outlived Ella! Taylor watching every move and twitch of my body immediately blocks my way to his bed. His hands clasping my arms. I’m ready to fight Taylor to get him out of my way.
“He deserves a long suffering, not a quick death. Don’t you agree, sir?” Taylor whispers quietly.
“What’s the matter, boy? Weak like the crack whore?” I’m not sure if he said those words or I imagined them. Even one foot in the grave, he’s taunting me. I look at Taylor in such a way that he releases my arms and lifts his hands up in a surrendering fashion.
I fill the chair Ana vacated earlier, lean into the bed and whisper with malice. “I have aaaall the time in the world to watch you die suffering, all the while knowing that no one ever loved you, all you accrued in life is hate and your existence had been pitiful. You have nothing. You are nothing.”
I knew what I said got to him by his rising pulse on the beeping machine behind him.
“Don’t!” a choked voice came from the his now awaking brother. “Let him die in peace.”
“Did Ella die in peace? Why should he deserve such luxury?”
“Two wrongs don’t make a right! It won’t bring back any ho’s who OD’d on their own!” the brother tries to shout with a raw voice.
“I didn’t kill her, boy!” Willie says sounding stronger. “Was mad at her for doin’ herself in, but she’d have died sooner or later. She wasn’t strong. Not like your woman…” he says and my reaction is exactly what he expects.
“I’ll kill you if you take a sideways glance at my woman!”
“We’ve no intentions,” the brother says. “That ain’t no little lady! She’s the white witch! That woman’s scarier than you!” This fist sincere declaration takes me aback. What did my wife do to terrify two adult thugs?
I’m surprised in the way I can rein in my rage. Before I can ask another question, there’s a knock on the door.
“What!?!” I find myself shouting.
“Excuse me,” a nurse in scrubs sticks her head in and only looks at the direction of the bed. “Doctor’s going to be making his rounds in the next twenty minutes. I can stall another ten, but that’s all the time you have left,” she says leaving me confused. How had Ana arranged all this? She has a lot of explaining to do. I get up and pace the room. The brother’s gaze follows my movements cautiously.
“Are you gonna untie me or what?” he asks cautiously.
“Shut up!” I stand right in front of him. Invading his entire personal space, I lean down and look into his eyes. They’re the exact copy of my former tormentor’s eyes. Except, instead of hatred and fury, these eyes have fear in them. Fear! Of me!
“Are you taking your brother’s place in harming young women now that he’s kicking the bucket?” He blanches.
“I’m a tattoo artist. If I hurt anyone, it’s consensual and for body art. Look man! He’s been done with that part of his life a long time.”
“Maybe, I still have it in me,” murmurs Willie’s weak voice. “If…” he breathes heavily, the oxygen constantly pumping into his nostrils. “…if I was healthy, I would entice your little lady… like a classy escort.”
Suddenly I descend on him to deliver a deathly blow, fury I had never experienced before oozing from my pores. Beyond the hateful haze clouding my eyes, I see a plea of death from this pitiful creature. He wants to commit suicide by my hands! I won’t give him that satisfaction. I’m so singularly focused on him, I finally hear Taylor’s voice behind me, trying to hold me in place while Willie’s brother is shouting “no!”
I drop my hands. My breathing is rapid, and my heart is running like a charging horse. “Your death,” I whisper leaning in, “won’t be by my hands. I hope you don’t die right away! You suffer long and when you do die,” I enunciate, all the while smelling his death in the air, “I hope you pay for what you did to all the women you trafficked.”   
He only smiles halfway, with not enough strength to even for a full one. The only reaction I get is from the machines showing his heightened pulse and blood pressure. I turn to leave his room, Willie speaks again.
“I was wrong about you, twerp. You are as dangerous as your woman! Just as savage.” Again, I come to wonder what Ana did to this man who tormented me in my dreams in the last twenty-two years.
“Hey, what about me? Untie me!” yells his brother. I look at Taylor.
“I’ll let the PI do it,” he says and holds the door open for me.
*****      *****
The ride back to the hotel isn’t rushed. I don’t want to go just yet. I don’t want to accidentally hurt Ana, or say something I will regret.
“Drive me around for a while, Taylor.” I take a deep breath, take out my phone and dial. The voice I haven’t heard in a very long-time, answers.
“I thought you dropped me,” the voice answers. I take a deep breath.
“I need your help,” I say finally, fully exasperated.
“I recognize the tone. It must be about Ana, then.”
“Ya think?” my voice is mocking but it’s ignored.
“Tell me what happened. Better yet, come over.”
“I can’t, I’m in Detroit,” I say disappointed.
“How about Ana and Teddy?”
“They’re in Detroit as well. She…” I take a deep breath not knowing where to begin. “She did something kind. At first… You know about my fucking nightmares.” Only three people are well aware of them: Elena, Flynn and Ana. But only Elena and Ana had seen them in action and both of them had drastically different approaches to help me out, save me from them. Well, Elena helped me to control them, Ana, I suppose is trying to eliminate them.
“Will I see you when you get back to Seattle?”
“Yes, of course, as soon as I get back tomorrow,” I say anxiously. “But I need your help right now. I’m completely ambivalent about how I should feel right now. In one hand I feel complete and utter betrayal and for that I really want to punish Ana. On the other hand, she has done some amazing acts of kindness, and what she did today may be just the continuation of that and if that’s the case, I want to worship her at her feet. But then she put herself in danger and I’m close to firing Sawyer, so I’m leaning more towards punishing her. She made me lose control and I nearly killed him!” Taylor’s eyes briefly meet with mine on the rearview mirror, concern written all over it.
“Christian, I need you to slow down, because it sounds like we were having a conversation but I only joined you in the tail end of it. So, start from the beginning.” I exhale out my exasperation.
I retell the story from the beginning. Aside from uh huh, hmmm, okay, I get no reaction that tells me that she or I did something right or wrong for that matter.
“What do you think you should do?” That annoying question again.
“Really? Is this a shrink’s go to question to avoid any form of thought process? Why am I paying a truckload of money if you aren’t giving me your expert opinion, Flynn?” I spew.
“You know the reason. If I tell you what to do, then you are not training your mind to think in the constructive way to better your relationship,” he explains patiently. “So, tell me what you should do.”
I inhale deeply. “I’m too conflicted to form an opinion or decide on a course of action. As it is, if I allow my instincts to kick in, you know the way it will go and that will be bad for Ana, and I will release the pent-up rage but then I’ll feel terrible at the end, because she’ll first enjoy it and then hate it! Then hate me for it!”
“Well then, it’s a conundrum and you already know the answer.” He says.
“I don’t know any of the answers!” My frustration is at the tipping point as Flynn talks to me the way I would Teddy.
“Your biological mother’s choices and this man whom you’ve witnessed abuse her, consequently abuse you have been the single biggest negative contributor to your psyche. I can give you some textbook answers, but you already know all of those. Ana is deeply in love with you and you with her. Is there anything you wouldn’t do for her? Why is it such a big stretch of imagination that she wouldn’t go to such lengths to free you from your nightmares? Wouldn’t that count that she’d do anything for you? Didn’t she prove that to you with Jack Hyde?” he asks with a hint of chastising. 
“That’s my point! It nearly killed her and she almost lost the baby! How could she put herself in danger with that pimp?”
I’m too angry and too focused on what Taylor is trying to do to get my attention. Finally, he clears his throat and raises his voice to get my attention, “Mr. Grey?”
“What!?!” I snap.
“Sawyer called. Mrs. Grey took Teddy and is going to take a commercial flight back to Seattle.”
“What the fuck!?!” I shout into the phone.
“I didn’t say anything,” Flynn erroneously assumes that I yelled at him.
“I’ll talk to you later! Emergency!” I hang up on him before he can get a word edgewise.
“Head to the fucking airport!”
As I try to fumble on my phone to speed dial Ana’s number, I see texts from her.

*Teddy and I are going back home. Commercial. You are angry. As am I. There are things I wanted to speak to you about, but, guess we’ll see about that. We or rather I need to cool down.*

What the fuck does that mean? Is she running away from me? Is my wife leaving me with our child? Did the pimp say something that made her disgusted of me? My eyes are clouded with mist while the enormous boulder that just formed in my throat is blocking my airways. With numb fingers, I dial her number immediately.
She answers after the fourth ring.
“I can’t talk to right now, Christian,” her voice sound weepy.
“Where the fuck are you going?” I hiss my anger, hurt and disappointment in one single breath.
“Home. Didn’t your cronies tell you that already?” I guess she means Sawyer. I can imagine his face reddening.
“Anastasia Rose Grey! You will give me and all of our staff a collective heart attack! You know that’s not fair to any one of us!” I hear her take a regretful breath.
“I’m sorry,” she finally mutters. “I still need to cool down by myself.”
“Do you really want to leave me alone in this state? Leave me a mess?” I find myself pleading.

The Pretty Reckless - Make me Wanna Die

“You dismissed me!” she whispers. “You don’t let me protect you. You push me away!” That’s a load of crap.
My gaze meets with Taylor’s in the mirror.
“Sawyer’s stalling,” he mouths, as he speeds through the freeway.
“I am your husband! It’s my job to protect you and our son! Do you have any idea what state you put me in when I heard that you were in the hospital? Worse than finding you with that fucking pimp who epitomized everything evil during my entire existence! And now that you found out how a terrible kid I was, you’re running for the hills! Was it worse than the adult Christian?” I whisper. I’m losing it. My life is crumbling around me and I can’t do anything about it.
“Noooo! No, Christian, no! There was nothing wrong with you back then, and nothing wrong with you now! Can’t I just be mad at my overprotective, jealous, dismissive husband without finding him terrible?” I hear Teddy cry in the background. I immediately want to take him to my arms and soothe him, but she’s taking him home.
“Just come back,” I plead.
“I’m only going to our home,” she responds gently. Taylor’s gaze meets with mine again, and he nods as he exits the freeway. I hang up the phone without answering her as Taylor comes to a stop behind another SUV. I exit the SUV I’m riding in and run to the passenger door of the other vehicle, flinging it open.
“Wherever you go, I go. We don’t do it alone,” I say to the bewildered face of my wife. She bores accusatory holes in Sawyer and Melissa’s backs. Her lips are a tight line.
“I harrowed my personal hell for you this week. The least you can do is to help me get through it. Not run away when going gets tough,” I murmur. “I thought you remembered all your wedding vows.” Teddy’s contorted face cries harder when he hears my voice and his little hands reach to me to comfort him. Ana melts and she too starts crying as she lets me pick him up from his car seat. Tears force their way down my cheeks silently as I coo my son to make him feel safe. At this moment, all three of us are crying, all for very different reasons.
“Take us home, Christian,” Ana whispers coming to my side, and hugging us both.

“Yes, let’s go home.” 

Angelina Jordan - Fly Me to the Moon