“Ana?” I ask, unsure if she’s really standing in front of me.
“Christian, did you hear what I said? You were right. You were always right, it was Linc.” I hand Teddy to Kate and cross the foyer in two steps, wrapping my arms around her and inhaling the intoxicating scent of her hair.
“Oh, Ana,” I moan, feeling the loss melt away with her in my arms. She pushes back slightly to look up at me and I lean down to kiss her.
“Christian!” She shouts. Her hands presses against my chest and she shoves me away.
“Ana,” I say again, her rejection washing over me. “It’s not Linc. Everything checks out. We have the guy. Ryan is out finding him now, bringing him to me.”
“But Elena…” she says confused. My head snaps up at the name and I feel the familiar sense of anger starting to burn in my chest.
“Elena?” I snap. “When did you speak with Elena?”
She flushes and I know she doesn’t want to tell me.
“Ana?” the anger is slipping into my voice.
“I’ve just been to see her, Christian. She said that she told Linc to keep me longer. That if he had, you would have fu….” her voice breaks and her eyes shoot to Elliot, but I don’t need to hear the rest of her sentence to know what she was going to say. I round on Kate.
“You told me she was at your house!” I snarl.
“Christian, did you hear what she just told you. Elena admitted that it was Lincoln behind the kidnapping.”
I growl and grab Ana by the wrist, dragging her towards my study. Kate and Elliot follow in my wake. When I round my desk, I throw open the top left drawer and pull out a manila folder that is labeled: Joseph Walker.
“Joseph Walker,” I begin. “Former US Marine, dishonorably discharged. Became a detective for Seattle Police but was fired there too for disorderly conduct. Financial records show a flight to Sydney on July 7th but no return flight, there is however a liquor store charge on his credit card in Seattle for July 9th. And a week ago, he received a transfer of $5 million in his personal bank account, which, until that day, had never had more than $3,000 dollars in it.”
“But you gave him $25 million?” Anastasia protests.
“He’s not likely to transfer the entire sum at once, Anastasia.”
“Buy why would Elena say..?”
“Because she’s a liar, Ana. And a manipulator. She’s playing a game with us.”
Anastasia nods her head as my blackberry rings. I look at the number and answer it.
“Ryan!” I snap.
“I have him, sir. Pier 66 just like you requested.”
“Good, I’ll be there within half an hour,” I tell him and hang up the phone. I look down at Anastasia with pained eyes. If I leave, will she be gone when I get back? I don’t know if she’s still mad at me, or if she believes me or not.
“Ana, will you… will you wait for me?”
“Where are you going?” She asks.
“Ryan has him. He’s waiting for me.”
“I want to go, too.”
“No!” I say, horrified. “Ana, I don’t want you anywhere near him! And I… I don’t want you to be a part of this.”
“What are you going to do to him, Christian?” She asks, and I can hear fear in her voice.
“I’m going to do what is necessary,” I tell her simply, the only thing I can tell her.
“Christian!” She pleads.
“Just wait. Please? Wait for me to get back.”
She stares back at me imploringly but after a few moments she nods her head. I want to lean down and kiss her but she hasn’t given me any indication she wants me to do that. I return her nod and walk out the door, leaving the three of them staring after me with worry. Taylor is in the hallway waiting for me when I emerge from the study.
“Has Ryan called you?” I ask him.
“Yes, sir,” He responds.
“Then you know where we’re going.”
He nods and opens the front door for me.
We fly down the highway and I’m flooded with an unwelcome sense of deja-vu as we pull up to the curb in front of pier 66. We can see Ryan and Sawyer’s car. Sawyer is standing outside the passenger door keeping watch on the deserted sidewalk. He nods at me as I approach the pier.
The memories of that nightmare flood over me as I walk up the dock and to the fish warehouse. She’s not in there, Grey. Get a fucking grip.
Taylor opens the door and I walk into the dark room. He’s sitting, tied to the same chair I pulled Ana off of, in the middle of the room, flooded by the light of a single hanging lamp.
“Who are you?” he demands and I recognize the voice immediately. It’s been haunting me for weeks. The cold, harsh voice of my mysterious phone calls. My muscles tense with fury as I approach him. He squints through the darkness, struggling against the ropes that bind him and I smile with satisfaction.
“Oh, you know who it is,” I tell him.
“Grey?” He asks, panic flooding into his voice now. The panic drives me on in a sadistic way, allowing me to push aside my own humanity and do what needs to be done here. I’m going to avenge Anastasia.
“You said you were an interesting person to talk to,” I sneer. “I’ve missed our conversations.”
Taylor approaches him from the side and punches him across the left cheek, he yells and spits across the floor.
“This is my security team. They’ve been looking for you for some time.”
“Look, it was a job alright? I was in some bad shit and I was promised it would all go away if I took your wife. I didn’t want to hurt her.”
Ryan hits him this time, from the opposite side so he’s taken by surprise. I stand in front of him, glaring malevolently down at him.
“Job?” I ask. “Were you working for Andrew Lincoln?”
“I don’t know, I was hired by some woman named Elena and she never told me the guy’s name, the guy who wanted the job done. Lincoln though, yeah. Her last name. Her name was Elena Lincoln.”
Taylor hits him again and even through the darkness I can see the satisfaction it gives him. The pathetic excuse for a human in front of me groans with pain.
“Look man,” He pleads. “I’m sorry. I didn’t have a choice. I needed the money or I’d be on the bottom of the sound now. I didn’t even know you, or your wife.”
“So you think because it wasn’t personal everything is just okay?” I sneer, and he cringes from Ryan’s side so Taylor hits him again, and he curses as the blow knocks a tooth across the floor.
“Unfortunately, this wasn’t your way out, Mr. Walker. You should have done your research a little better because if you had, you would have known that if those other people didn’t get to you, I would.”
“Please,” He begs. “Please, I’ll do anything.” I raise my arm back and with all my might thrust my fist square into his face. I feel a sharp pain in my knuckles and have to shake them out when I pull my arm back I see a satisfying stream of blood pour from his already broken mouth and I don’t care about the pain.
“I don’t want anything from you, you son of a bitch.” I spit down at him. I turn to leave but stop and look at Taylor.
“Tell me, what were the injuries we found Mrs. Grey with?” I ask.
“Three broken ribs, a bleeding kidney, a ruptured spleen, and a fractured ankle, sir.”
I give him a purposeful nod. “Return the favor. Let’s see how long it takes someone to find him.”
I exit the room to the sound of his screams. I walk up to Sawyer and he opens the passenger door for me.
“Do you need something for your hand, sir?” He asks as we drive down the road towards my house. I shake my head. I want the reminder of my revenge.
I’m relieved to see both Ana and Kate’s car still in the driveway when I get home. Good, she’s still here. I open the front door and barely make it through the foyer before Ana comes around the corner.
“What happened?” She asks and she looks down to my hand. “Jesus, Christian!” She shouts and she disappears back down the hall towards the kitchen. I walk after her, seeing Kate and Elliot on the couch in the living room, Teddy in Kate’s arms.
Ana returns with ice that she’s wrapped in a towel. Gently, she pushes it against my knuckles and it hurts but I don’t wince, I stare into her face. Her beautiful face.
“You were right,” I tell her. “It was Linc.”
“You should call the police, Christian.” She says, looking up into my eyes.
“I’ll take care of it,” I tell her and I brush my non-injured hand against her hair. Her eyes close and she pushes her head into my hand. I feel the joy of her acceptance. She still wants me. She’s probably still mad at me, and I know she should be, but she still wants me. She still loves me. As long as she still loves me, we can get past this.
“Maybe we should go,” Kate says from the living room and she stands. “Why don’t we keep Teddy for the night so you two can talk.”
I look down at Ana and she nods. She’s going to stay. She’s going to talk this out with me.
“Thank- you, Kate,” I say. She walks forward and hugs Ana tightly. She looks at me and nods. Elliot claps me on the back and they disappear through the hallway. When I hear the front door open and close, I lunge forward. My hand cup each side of Ana’s face and I push her back into the wall of the hallway, kissing her deeply. She lets me. Her hands don’t fly up into my hair like they normally do, but she allows me to kiss her. I pull away, panting, desperate for more but she shifts out of my reach and walks back towards the kitchen.
“Ana?” I call after her. “What can I do?”
“I don’t know, Christian,” she says, lifting herself to sit on the kitchen island.
“Do you still doubt me?” I ask.
“I believe you,” She says softly. “I don’t think you had sex with that girl, but you were going to. You may have had a change of heart, you may have come to your senses… but you still went over there.”
My hands shoot up into my hair as I feel the guilt and the pain and the anger at myself rage through me.
“Ana, I was lost,” I say at last. “I know what I did was wrong, and I understand why you feel the way you feel. I fucked up. I fucked up bad and all I can do is tell you how truly very sorry I am and promise you I will spend the rest of my life proving to you that I will never fuck up like that again.”
“I just don’t know what to do with these feelings, Christian. Part of me wants to let all the hurt and betrayal go and make love to you, and the other part wants to storm out of here and never see you again.”
“Ana, please don’t go. I can’t live without you.”
“Christian…” She begs. I walk towards her until I’m standing between her legs, my nose against hers.
“I’ll do anything. Anything you need,” I whisper. “Anything you want, it’s yours. Just tell me, Ana. Tell me what to do and I’ll do it.”
“I need time,” she says. “I need time to process this, and to know if I can ever get past the fact that while I was being held hostage, you went over there.”
I nod my head. “I can give you that. Whatever you need. I’m so sorry, Ana.”
She looks at me, there’s something in her eyes that tells me she’s battling with herself and then she leans forward and kisses me, hard. Her arms wrap around me and she pushes herself against me, her tongue exploring my mouth while her fingers tug at my hair. I wrap my own arms around her, pulling her into me as close as I can, desperate for her touch.
When we’re both out of breath she reaches for the hem of my t-shirt and I help her pull it over my head. Once I’m free, I take her mouth again, relishing her taste. I reach around her, ready to carry her with me to our bed but the doorbell rings. Our kiss stops and I lean my forehead against hers.
“I’ll be right back,” I tell her and she tilts her head up to sweetly kiss me on the tip of my nose. I storm down the hall, through the foyer, and open the door. There is a delivery man standing before me. What the fuck? Did Kate and Elliot leave the gate open. Or is Taylor back? Maybe he let him in?
“Mr. Grey?” the FedEx man says.
“Yes?” I respond.
“I need you to sign for this,” He hands me an electronic pad that I scroll my signature on and hands me a large white box. For a moment my heart stops as I think about the little brown package that had been delivered to me, the towel covered in Ana’s blood. Relax, Grey. She’s in your kitchen. You got the son of a bitch. And you’ll get Linc next.
“Thank you,” I say and I close the door. When I emerge in the kitchen, Anastasia looks at me curiously. Part of me wants to save the package for later, to pick up where we left off and carry her to my bed, but I’ve promised to try and regain her trust. I don’t want her to think I’m hiding something from her.
I rip open the package and a whip, a set of bondage cuffs, a ball gag, and a set of nipple clamps fall onto the counter. Anastasia looks down at the items and her look of curiosity turns to anger.
“What the fuck is this?” She demands. I look up at her, panicked. “Real nice, Christian. Real fucking nice,” she says, and she slides off the counter and storms down the hallway towards the door, grabbing her purse and keys of the table in the foyer.
“Anastasia, wait. I don’t know what these are.. I didn’t order these,” I call after her but the front door slams shut. Fuck!
I stare furiously down at the items in front of me and then look into the half ripped box. There is a note inside. I swear to god, if these are from Elena, I’m going to drive over there and beat the shit out of her tonight. I’ve already had to stop myself from doing it once, when that lunatic told me she had hired him. Oh yes, Elena, you’re going to get yours too.
I pull the paper out and read it and my brow furrows as I realize it’s not from Elena. I have no idea who it’s from.
For your pleasure and mine. -S