Chapter 20

ANASTASIA POV

“Happy Birthday, to you. Happy Birthday, to you. Happy birthday, dear Ana. Happy Birthday, to you.”

I stir awake and turn to see Kate standing over me. She’s holding a stack of pancakes with three candles stuck in the center. I groan. I really don’t feel like celebrating.

“So I was thinking,” Kate says, sitting on the bed. “You should call into work and we should spend the whole day together doing awesome things.”

I sit up. “I can’t Kate. I’ve already missed too much work.”

“But it’s your birthday,” she pouts.

“I really don’t feel like celebrating,” I say. She pushes the pancakes into my lap and I smile, blowing softly until the candles are extinguished.

“I’m not letting you be miserable on your birthday. Fuck Christian. Let’s go out tonight. Somewhere amazing. I’ll call Jose!”

I smile. It would be nice to get out, to be distracted from the mess my marriage has become, and it would be nice to see Jose.

“What do you mean by amazing, Kate?” I ask.

“A club! We could go to Christia…. oh wait, no.” Her brow furrows as she thinks of a different idea.

“Just pick a small dive bar with a pool table. We can go get hamburgers, and french fries, and drink beer all night,” I say.

“If that’s what you’re into Anastasia,” she replies, disappointed.

I nod and hand her back the pancakes. “Here, I don’t have time for breakfast. I’ve got to get Teddy to Grace so I can get to work.”

“Oh Shit, Ana! Grace has that Leukemia fundraiser tonight. Do you think Mia will watch Teddy? I guess I can ask Elliot.”

“I’ll email, Christian. I’m sure he would like a night with his son.” I swallow the lump in my throat as I realize that I won’t be spending my birthday with my husband.

“Sounds good,” Kate says, leaping to her feet. She walks to the door and then turns back around. “Oh, those security guys you hired last night are here.”

“Tell them I’ll be ready to leave in half an hour.”

She nods and closes the door.

When I get to GEH, I’m met at the front door by Sawyer and Ryan.

“Mrs. Grey,” Sawyer greets me.

“Sawyer, Ryan. I no longer require your services. I have my own security detail that will watch over me. You are dismissed,” I say.

“I’m sorry. Mrs. Grey,” Sawyer responds. “I don’t believe you have the authorization to do that.”

I glare at him. “My name is also on the bank account your paychecks come from and I’m telling you, you’re fired.” I storm passed them, pleased as I hear my own security guards stop them from following me. We get into the elevator and ride up to the 19th floor.

“You two better stay here,” I tell my security team. “It won’t be long before my husband finds out and I’m sure he’ll be down here. He’s not to be allowed in. I also want you to keep out those two men from downstairs and a man named Jason Taylor, think of it as a proscribed list. In fact, if anyone comes to see me, have them approved by Hannah before you let them in.”

“Yes ma’am,” The tallest one replies. Archer, I believe. I nod and walk through the door.

“Good-morning, Ana!” Claire greets me and I smile at her, pleased by the feeling of normalcy. I stop at Hannah’s desk and she holds out a cupcake for me.

“Happy Birthday, Mrs. Grey,” she smiles.

“Thank you, Hannah. Mr. Grey will probably be down here in a few minutes, but he’s not to be let in. He’ll probably find a way though, so I’ll be keeping my door locked. I just don’t want you to panic.”

“Sure, Ana. Can I get you anything?”

“No, thank you,” I reply. I turn and enter my office, locking the door behind me. Whew, there is a relaxing sense of solitude being locked behind the door. I feel like I haven’t had time alone to think in ages.

I haven’t even got my computer started up yet when I hear the tornado that is Christian Grey blow through my office. The door handle jiggles and is then followed by three loud bangs.

“Anastasia, open the fucking door!” He screams.

I reach down for the intercom button on my phone and push it down, knowing he’ll be able to hear me better over Hannah’s handset.

“Go away, Christian. I don’t want to see you.”

“I’m not going to let you fire your security team, Ana. And I’m certainly not going to let you hire your own team to keep me away!”

“I don’t want you keeping tabs on me through security, Christian,” I snap and I release the intercom button. I’m done talking.

“Anastasia!” He yells, banging against the door again. I glare at the door and stick my tongue out. Childish, but effective. Surprisingly, my silence does it. I hear him storm away. Ha!

I get up and unlock the door. Everyone is staring at me and I immediately flush. Shit, why did he have to make a scene at work?

“Are you sure I can’t get you anything, Ana?” Hannah asks.

“Tea, please,” I say and I back into my office again. I hope Roach doesn’t come in here and yell at me for how inappropriate that was. Well, I guess he can’t since the scene was caused by his boss.

Hannah brings me my coffee and I smile up at her gratefully. “If you need anything else, Mrs. Grey, just let me know.”

I smile at her and she exits, leaving me in the peaceful solitude once again. I open my email and click through the first unread messages in my inbox. I’m not even half way through the second one when I hear the ping of an email coming in.

 

From: Christian Grey

Subject: Happy Birthday?

Date: September 10th 09:23 AM

To: Anastasia Grey

Anastasia. I don’t want to fight with you. Please trust me when I tell you I had nothing to do with that package last night. It’s your birthday. Please let me treat you tonight.

Christian Grey

CEO, Grey Enterprises Holdings INC

 

I scowl at the email. Well at least he remembered my birthday. I shake my head, of course he remembered. He may be a dick sometimes, but he’s not forgetful. And… he loves me. My lips press together at that thought. I haven’t cried yet and I don’t want work to be the place where the dam breaks.

I spend the next few minutes reading and responding to the remaining emails. When I’m finished, I switch over to my calendar and my mouth drops open. There must be 50 things scheduled for today. What is all this? I click on the first meeting link and a pop up opens:

 

Event: Telecommunications Conference Planning

When: 08:30 AM [Cancelled]

Who: Telecommunications Committee

Where: Conference Call

Created by: Andrea Parker

 

Oh, this is Christian’s calendar. That’s right, I asked Rachel to sync my calendar with Christian’s. How does he get all of this stuff done in one day. I’ve got to hand it to him, the man is nothing if not organized. I click the next link:

 

Event: Personal Meeting

When: 09:30 AM

Who: E. Lincoln

Where: GEH Office

Created by: Christian Grey

 

Oh shit! I look down at the clock. 09:34. Well, assuming she’s punctual, she’s up there right now. I can feel it. The water works are coming. Why did I believe him? The words he said last night, about wanting to prove to me that he would never do anything like that ever again and now… here’s the proof. He was lying straight to my face. Is that why he ordered the whips and restraints? Is he using them on her now?

There is a knock on the door and I brush the backs of my hands over my eyes. “Who is it?”

“Hannah, Mrs. Grey. I have the mail and your tea.’

“Come in,” I say. She sets the mail on my desk.

“Thank you, Hannah.” I tell her, as I take the mug of tea. She looks like she’s going to say something but decides better and leaves the room. I reach out for the mail, needing a distraction from Christian’s secret-not-so-secret rendezvous with Mrs. Robinson.

It’s mostly just new manuscripts but there is one letter sized envelope. I turn it over in my hands and realize it’s addressed to Mr. Grey. It must have been put in the wrong box in the mail room by mistake. I open it hesitantly and immediately wish I wouldn’t have. It’s the list of Christian’s hard limits.

I accept your limits, Mr. Grey. -S.

Who is S? The submissive Elena brought for him? I’m suddenly overcome by rage, unable to take this and the meeting notification in one sitting. I storm out of the office and up to the 20th floor.

“Where is he?” I yell at Andrea when I get out of the elevator. Both she and Rachel are staring at the double doors to Christian’s office and their panicked gazes turn towards me. Rachel flies out from behind the desk to stand in front of Christian’s door. Well, that confirms it.

“Mr. Grey is unavailable right now,” Andrea says nervously. “He’s in a meeting.”

“Oh I know exactly what kind of meeting he’s in, Andrea.” I thrust the hard limits paper at her and her eyes widen with horror as she looks down and reads it. “You tell him to talk to the mail room about how they sort mail. I don’t want this shit in my office.”

The doors to Christian’s office open and I round on them, furious, but am surprised as I see Elena in handcuffs being escorted out by police.

It’s a scene Anastasia. Remember, this was the shit he was into before you were in the picture.

“Is this one of your sick, twisted games?” I shout at him, my glare darting between Christian and Elena. I feel the threatening sting of tears and race back to the elevator. He calls out after me but I ignore him, and disappear to the floor below.

I don’t get any work done for the rest of the day. I’m really looking forward to beer tonight with Kate and Jose, lots of beer. Hell, I might even get drunk. Oh shit, that reminds me, I need to get Christian to take Teddy. I reach out to type an email.

 

From: Anastasia Grey

Subject: Teddy

Date: September 10th 2012 11:52 AM

To: Christian Grey

I’m going out with Kate and Jose for my birthday tonight. I need you to pick up Teddy from your parents house before 7 and keep him tonight. Tomorrow, I will be moving into Escala. Note, I’m only telling you this because of our child. You are to stay out of the apartment except on an approved visitation schedule.

Anastasia Grey

Commissioning Editor, Grey Publishing

 

From: Christian Grey

Subject: Night out

Date: September 10th 2012 11:56 AM

To: Anastasia Grey

What are you doing tonight with Kate and Jose? I was hoping we could talk. I have dinner reservations for your birthday.

Christian Grey

CEO, Grey Enterprises Holdings, Inc.

 

From: Anastasia Grey

Subject: MY night

Date: September 10th 2012 12:01 PM

To: Christian Grey

I am going to a bar and having drinks with my friends. I have nothing else to say to you. Cancel your dinner reservations, or perhaps take Mrs. Robinson.

Anastasia Grey

Commissioning Editor, Grey Publishing

 

From: Christian Grey

Subject: Please

Date: September 10th 2012 12:03 PM

To: Anastasia Grey

Please, Anastasia. I need to explain. It’s not what you think. I didn’t order those things last night and you’re way off on Elena. Please let me take you out for your birthday.

I love you

Christian Grey

CEO, Grey Enterprises Holdings, Inc.

 

From: Anastasia Grey

Subject: Teddy

Date: September 10th 2012 12:06 PM

To: Christian Grey

I don’t want to spend my birthday arguing with you, Christian. I’ve already made plans. Will you take Teddy or do I need to get Mia or Elliot to do it?

Anastasia Grey

Commissioning Editor, Grey Publishing

 

From: Christian Grey

Subject: Teddy

Date: September 10th 2012 12:09 PM

To: Anastasia Grey

Yes, of course I will take Teddy. Enjoy your birthday. I love you.

Christian Grey

CEO, Grey Enterprises Holdings, Inc.

 

That night when I’m out with Kate and Jose, I don’t show much interest in hamburgers or french fries. The same can not be said for alcohol.

“But seriously, who does he think he is?” I slur over the table at Kate and Jose. I’m on my… I don’t even know how many beers and the room is fuzzy around me.

“He thinks he can just do whatever he wants and I’ll turn a blind eye?” I drain the bottle in front of me.

“Maybe we should get you some water, Ana,” Kate suggests.

“Or maybe, we should get me something stronger. Like brandy,” I pull out my black AMEX card. “Drinks on Christian everyone. Drink up!”

“Ana, I think you’ve had enough,” Jose says. He and Kate stand together and each grasp one of my arms.

“You sound like Christian. Always telling me what to do,” I say. “If I want to get drunk on my birthday, I’ll get drunk. Let’s do shots!”

“Ana, I”m taking you home,” Kate says. I hear the bell jingle over the door and turn. It’s then that I notice Taylor standing by the doorway. How long has he been there?

“Oh no. The party police is here.”

“Let’s get you in bed, Ana,” Kate says. I feel my stomach whirl and my hand flies up to my mouth to prevent myself from vomiting.

“Jesus, Ana,” Kate says and she’s pushing me through the crowd towards the bathrooms.

“You know, they always say you can tell if you have a good boyfriend if he holds your hair while you vomit,” I say, after I’m sure I have completely emptied my stomach. “Christian held my hair when I threw up that night. That night in Portland, do you remember Kate?”

“Yes, I remember.”

“You were there. Hey, that’s when you met Elliot.”

“Come on, Ana. If you’re finished, let’s get you off this disgusting floor and back home.” She pulls me to my feet and leads me out of the bathroom. Taylor is standing outside the door, looking anxious.

“Mrs. Grey?” He asks.

“She’s trashed,” Kate says.

“Where is her security detail?” Taylor asks.

“I sent them away!” I cry. “Birthdays don’t need security. Birthdays need tequila. Margaritas for everyone.”

“Did Christian send you?” Kate asks.

“No ma’am. It’s my night off. I just wanted to make sure Mrs Grey was okay.”

“Help me get her to the car?” Kate begs.

Taylor takes my arm from Kate and scoops me into his arms, carrying me outside. I wonder where Jose is? I look around for him and immediately regret it as the room starts spinning.

“Oh no,” I mumble.

“Are you going to be sick, Mrs. Grey?” Taylor asks.

“I don’t think so. Can I lie down?”

“We’re almost to the car, Mrs. Grey.”

I feel the refreshing relief of the cool night air and then I’m being lifted into the back seat of the Audi SUV.

“You’ll take her back to Escala?” I hear Kate ask.

“She shouldn’t be alone, Mrs. Grey. I think I should take her to the main house.”

“No,” Kate says. “She doesn’t want to go there. I’ll meet you at Escala. I’ll stay with her tonight.”

“Yes ma’am.”

The next thing I know, I’m in the big bed in my bedroom at Escala. Kate has stripped me down to my t-shirt and underwear and I feel like melting into the pillows. It’s so comfortable.

“Kate, where’s my phone?” I ask.

“It’s on the nightstand. Do you want me to sleep in here with you or can you call me if you need something?”

“Are you leaving?”

“No, I’ll just sleep in the guest room.”

“The submissive room,” I correct her.

“Jesus, Ana. You really are wasted,” She says. “I’ll check on you in a minute. I’m going to call Elliot and let him know I’m staying the night.”

I hear the door close and I fumble for my phone on the nightstand. Luckily, I have the number I need on speed dial so I only have to hold down the number 2.

“Anastasia?” Christian answers.

“I’m so mad at you,” I tell him. “I’m really, really mad at you.”

“Are you drunk?”

“I am very drunk, Mr. Grey. And I am horny as hell and I’m mad at you.”

“Anastasia, are you alone?” He asks, and I know even through the haze of alcohol that he’s mad. Who does he think is here?

“Kate’s somewhere,” I mumble

“And Jose?”

“I don’t know where he went, but I’m in our bed Christian and I want you to talk dirty to me.”

“Anastasia,” He says sternly. “You need to get some sleep. Christ, do I need to come over there?”

“Yes, Mr. Grey. You need to come everywhere.”

The door opens and Kate re-appears.

“Who are you talking to?” She asks and she sets a large glass of water on the nightstand. I hold my finger to my lips and shh her. She reaches out and takes the phone from me.

“Hello?”

“Jesus, Kate. How much did she have to drink?” He’s talking so loud I can hear him from the bed.

“I think she left the place dry,” Kate says.

I don’t hear his reply but I’m sure he’s mad. Good, be mad at someone else for a change.

“I’ll take care of her, Christian,” Kate says and she hangs up the phone.

“Noooo!” I whine and reach out for it. “I wasn’t finished.”

“You need to get some sleep,” She says and she climbs into the bed next to me.

“I’m mad at him, Kate, but I still love him.” I tell her.

“I know.”

“I love that he’s so smart and playful. And I love that he makes me come like a freight train.”

“Goodnight, Ana,” she says irritably.

“Goodnight, Kate,” I mumble, and I drift off into a dreamless sleep.

 

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