I remember the last time I was here. The last time Anastasia was in the hospital. I thought that had been excruciating. How wrong I had been. I would trade that 1000 times over for what I’m going through now. What had been wrong then? Some bruised ribs, a clean gunshot wound, and a hairline fracture? Child’s play compared to now. Ana is in surgery, having a bleed in her right kidney repaired while they simultaneously repair her ruptured spleen. She has three broken ribs, a ruptured eardrum, and a fractured ankle. Not to mention the general battered state of her entire body. Her lips were split, her eyes were black… I try to shake the image out of my mind and look down at the baby in my arms. His wide, blue eyes are open and I shake a plastic key ring for him. He laughs and the sound is cathartic.
The double doors to the surgery floor open.
“Grey?” the doctor calls and my head snaps up.
“Here, Grey,” I say incoherently. “I’m Christian Grey.”
“Mr. Grey, we were able to stop the bleeding from her kidney and repair the rupture in her spleen. She’s being moved into recovery as we speak.”
“She’s okay?” I ask, shifting the baby as I stand.
“We’re going to monitor her overnight, and she’s got a long road of recovery in front of her, but her vitals are strong.”
“Can I see her?” I ask.
“Of course, Mr. Grey, but you shouldn’t take the baby into the ICU.”
I turn and hand Teddy to my mother and follow the doctor onto the surgery floor. They have me put a gown and hair cover on before I’m allowed to enter her room. When I see her, I barely recognize her. There are tubes coming out of every part of her.
“The tubes?” I ask.
“She’s intubated for now. It was a rough surgery and the tube in her mouth is helping her breathe.”
I nod and sit next to her bedside, taking her cold hand in mine. I can barely stand to look at the bruises that cover her skin. Her face is so swollen, she doesn’t even look like herself. But it’s her. She’s here. She’s really here. How many times have I thought I’d lost her over the past week? But I didn’t. She’s going to be fine. She may be hurt, but she will heal. I will help her heal and she will be my perfect Anastasia again.
I reach up and brush her hair out of her face. I want to touch her, all of her. I want to hold her in my arms. Protect her from the world. I lean over and kiss her on the forehead while she sleeps.
“Christian,” someone whispers over me. I lift my head off the side of the bed and see Kate standing over me.
“How is she?” She asks.
“The same. She’s having trouble coming out from under the anesthesia but the doctors said we shouldn’t worry. She’s hurt and her body needs time to heal,” I say. I already know these things. I’ve had them told to me before. Ana didn’t wake up for almost two days last time.
“I need to do an examination, Mr. Grey,” the doctor says as she enters. It’s been two hours since anyone has come into this room and I’m startled by the interruption. I stand and back three steps away to allow the doctor to get around the bed. This is as far as I’m going away from Anastasia’s side and I give the doctor a look that tells her I’m not to be trifled with. She listens to her breathing, checks her pupils, and takes all of her vitals. I watch as she stands and removes the stethoscope from her ears.
“I think we can take the intubation tube out now,” the doctor says.
“And that’s good, right?” I ask.
“That’s very good,” She smiles. “I’ll have an intern come in and remove it once I’m done here, if you’ll step out, Mr. Grey.”
“I’m not leaving,” I say sternly.
“Mr. Grey, I need to perform a vaginal exam on your wife, for privacy reasons, I need to ask you to please step outside.”
“Why do you need to do a vaginal exam?” I ask, suddenly cautious.
“It’s standard procedure in these situations, Mr. Grey. I need to do a rape kit.” The door opens and another doctor in blue scrubs enters pushing a tray of sterile instruments.
“I’m not going to leave,” I say again. The doctor frowns but accepts my position.
“Alright, Mr. Grey.”
They put Ana’s legs up in the stirrups and cover her with a blue paper blanket. I watch them probe her with cotton swabs and examine her. When they’re finished, one doctor collects and labels the samples, while the other doctor throws away the paper blanket and puts Ana back into a resting position. I take my place next to her bed and grab her hand again, desperately trying not to think of what a rape kit means.
“Is she any better?” My mother asks as she enters the room a little while later. I shake my head.
“The doctor, the doctor came and did a… a rape kit,” I say with difficulty.
“Oh, Christian. That’s just standard procedure. It’s more to rule out the possibility than anything. Don’t worry until there is something to worry about,” She says.
“I just… I just can’t stop thinking about it. What if he…”
“Then it will have been a horrible trauma that Ana has faced and she’ll need all our love and support to move on. For you too, Christian. We’re all here for you too.”
“Where’s Teddy?” I ask.
“He’s with Kate. They’ve gone home for the night. I’d just thought I’d check in on Ana and you before I headed home too. Can I get you anything?”
I shake my head.
“Why don’t you come home with me? You could use a good night’s rest after this horrific week and they’ll call us if anything changes in Ana’s condition.”
“I’m not leaving. I’m going to be here when she wakes up.”
My mother’s brow furrows with worry, but she doesn’t push me any further.
“Ok darling, I love you. Try and get some sleep,” She says. She kisses my hair and quietly exits the room.
I’m awoken the next morning by my blackberry buzzing in my pocket. Shit, what time is it? I look up to Ana, but she’s still asleep. I wonder when it will be time to worry? I pull out my phone and walk to the window.
“Grey,” I answer.
“How is she doing?” Ros asks.
“She’s going to be okay,” I say. “She’s not good now, but she’s going to be okay.”
“I’m glad to hear it. I just wanted to call and tell you how sorry I am for this ordeal you’ve been through and to give you an update on GEH.”
Fuck, I haven’t even thought about work in days. What the fuck has been going on in my company?
“I’ve smoothed over the South Sudan deal and we’ll begin breaking ground there early next month. Our lawyers are negotiating a settlement deal with the Taiwanese but they’re trying to lowball us. They’re pretty damn pissed about that protection of assets clause in our contract.”
“I don’t give a fuck what they’re pissed about. I’m pissed about the millions of dollars in cargo and damaged vessels we’ve lost do to their inability to protect their own harbors from fucking pirates,” I say.
I can feel the CEO returning and it feels good. I feel in control. God I’ve missed this. I’ve needed this. I need to get back to work as soon as possible. I look down at Anastasia. Once I can get her out of here, I’ll start working from home until she’s fully healed.
“CC me on the emails for the Taiwanese situation, Ros. I’m not going to let them fuck us over on this deal.”
“Sure thing, Christian,” Ros says. “And give Ana my best.”
“I will,” I say and I hang up the phone, but instead of putting it away, I begin dialing another number.
“Christian, is she okay?” Kate’s panicked voice asks.
“She’s fine. She still hasn’t woken up. I just wanted to call and ask how my son is doing.”
“Oh,” Kate breathes, relieved. “Teddy is great! Elliot has him on the playmat and they’ve been playing peek-a-boo for about twenty minutes.”
I feel a wave of jealousy rip through me. I miss him, my son. He’s been the only real comfort to me over this hellish week and a half and I’m never going to forget that. I yearn to have him near me now and I’m sure I always will. He is my talisman against the pain of loss and loneliness and I will cherish him forever.
“I miss him,” I admit. “I wish he could sit here with me and his mom.”
“The ICU is no place for babies, Christian. He could get really sick.”
“Ana will be up and around in no time and you three will have all the time in the world.” Kate promises.
“Thanks, Kate. Call me if you need me.”
“You too. I want to know the moment she wakes up.”
“I will,” I promise.
“Bye, Christian,” She says.
I hang up the phone. I’ve always had a difficult relationship with Kate. She’s bossy, and pushy, and too much like me. And she knows.. about my past. I’ve never been able to get over that. How easy it would be for her to let it slip to my brother and then my family would know. I hate that she knows. But now… I mean, she’s been so helpful with Teddy and the whole situation really. And she loves Ana. She really loves Ana. Can I really dislike someone who loves Ana so unconditionally? It seems wrong, unnatural. I’m going to have to let it go. I don’t know how, but I’m going to have to move past it and not worry about her knowing anymore.
There is a knock on the door and the doctor enters.
“Mr. Grey, I need to give you the test results,” She says.
“What test results?” I ask, panic returning. “Is everything okay? Is there a reason why she hasn’t woken up yet?”
“No, Mr. Grey. Mrs. Grey is improving every time we examine her. She’s faced a lot of trauma over the last few days and her brain needs time to rest and process. It’s a defense mechanism. She’ll wake, when she’s ready to wake.”
“So what’s the matter?”
“Mr. Grey, we’ve gotten the analysis back on the rape kit,” she says. Everything stops. The whole world fucking stops. My body freezes and time slows down as the weight of what’s coming hits me. Fuck. No! NO!
“Oh, no, Mr. Grey. I’m sorry if I frightened you. The results were negative. My only concern left for her is facing the trauma of what happened to her when she wakes up. I wanted to leave information for you about recovery. We have counselling services available as well as support groups that meet weekly, if she needs to talk.” She hands me a stack of pamphlets that I take automatically as I nod.
“I’m sorry your family is facing this horrible ordeal, Mr. Grey. Please, don’t hesitate to ask if you have questions or need anything. Anything at all, we’re right outside the door.”
I can’t reply. I can’t say or do anything. I want to drop to my knees, to thank god he didn’t… but it’s not enough to be thankful for. Why would I be thankful? My Anastasia, my beautiful Anastasia, is broken. In the hospital. I should be furious, hell I am furious.
I’m going to fucking kill him. I’m going to hunt him down and fucking kill him with my bare hands. I’m going to beat the shit out of him, beat him to fucking death.
The rage is building and I think the doctor senses that I need privacy because she backs quickly out of the room.
It’s all flooding over me again. I’m re-living the horror of finding her again. So he didn’t rape her, he still touched her. He still hit her. He still broke her. What am I going to do? I’m so fucking furious right now, I could break something, someone. I wish I hadn’t already destroyed Escala because I could do it again. I want to do it again. No, no that’s not what I want. I want to find the mother fucker who touched my wife and rip him apart. I pull out my blackberry and pound on the keys as I dial.
“Welch!” I growl furiously. “You need to find that fucker! I need you to do whatever you can to find out who the fuck he is and where the fuck he is! I don’t care what you have to do, I need you to fucking find him!”
“Yes sir, Mr. Grey. I’m working on it now. He’s a slippery son of a bitch and he knows what he’s doing to be able to avoid us so well, but I’ll find him, sir.”
I hang up the phone and collapse into the chair, my hands running furiously through my hair as I try to reign in the anger. By the time, I’ve calmed myself enough to focus, I’m distracted again by a high pitched sound. There are two quick beeps, like a cell phone tone, but my phone is on vibrate. I look around the room, trying to find the sound and my eyes fall on the clear plastic bag that hold Anastasia’s torn, bloody clothes the police haven’t picked up yet. I cross the room in two quick steps, tear open the bag, and pull out a stained olive green jacket. I probe the pockets and freeze again as my fingers clasp over something small and hard. I pull out another pre-paid cell phone and open it, there is one unread text message.
Thank you for your cooperation Mr. Grey. I’ll see you again very soon.
I close and grip the phone tightly and hurl it against the far wall. It shatters and the pieces skitter across the linoleum floor.
Yes, you’ll see me soon, you motherfucker. You’ll see me really fucking soon.
I turn back to the window but I’m distracted when I hear a low groan behind me. I turn and see Anastasia, wincing with pain but moving.
“Christian?” she murmurs.