Chapter 22

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The first day of 2011 starts out cold and rainy but I can hardly feel the chill of the air against my too hot skin. My feet are pounding the pavement that winds its way around Kerry Park, but, despite the great view of Seattle and of the gorgeous man a few paces ahead of me, I simply don’t have the motivation to drag myself any further.

“Okay,” I pant, as I come to a stop, bend over, and place my hands on my knees to try and catch my breath. “I can’t anymore. I’m done.”

Christian stops and jogs back to me, a cocky smile plastered across his face as he takes a long pull from his water bottle and then hands it to me.

“You need to move back to Seattle,” he says. “Kate doesn’t push you hard enough. You’ve gone soft on me.”

“What happened to taking it easy?”

“Core and cardiovascular strength are key to an easy delivery and I intend on you having a very easy delivery.”

“I’ll keep that in mind,” I say, rolling my eyes as I take another drink of water.

“Just give me two more laps and then we’ll go home and shower.”

“Ugh…” I groan. “I changed my mind. You can have Gia back as a workout partner.”

He laughs. “But I like getting sweaty with you so much more.”

He leans over and kisses me gently on the lips and then turns to start running again. Thankfully, I haven’t even had the chance to work up the gusto to follow after him before I hear the electronic ringtone of his iPhone sound from inside the pocket on his shorts.

“Saved by the bell,” I gloat as he stops to pull it out. He rolls his eyes and then answers.

“Hello? What?” His expression morphs with sudden shock and urgency, his eyes darting back and forth as he listens to whatever the person on the phone is saying. “How? Right now? No, I’m in Queen Anne, Kerry Park, Ana and I are running. Okay, I’ll see you in a few minutes.”

He hangs up the phone.

“What was that?”

“They’ve got a liver,” he says, sounding almost astonished. “The donor is in surgery right now and Mom and Dad just got to the hospital.”

“What?”

“He’s getting a liver today.”

“Well, what are we… we gotta go.”

He nods and reaches out for my hand, pulling me quickly up the path to the parking lot where the Reventon is waiting. When we come through the gate in clear view of the car though, we find it surrounded by dozens of reporters.

“Miss Steele, over here! Show us the ring!”

“How big is it?”

“How’d he ask you?

“When’s the wedding?

“Does this mean you won’t be returning to Harvard?”

“Miss Steele, how does it feel knowing you’ve bagged Seattle’s richest and most eligible bachelor?”

The questions come at us a lightning speed and from every direction as we’re suddenly swarmed. Christian moves his body protectively in front of mine and, automatically, I reach down to pull the fabric of my t-shirt away from my stomach.

“I thought this is why we came to Queen Anne to run,” I say nervously. “To avoid the press.”

“They must have followed us,” he hisses. “Fuck, I knew not bringing Taylor was a bad idea.”

“And you say I don’t take security seriously…”

“Mr. Grey!” another one of the photographers calls. “Do you intend for Miss Steele to run the foundation you announced at your charity gala last night?”

“I’m not answering any questions,” Christian snaps. “Get the fuck away from my car.”

“Christian, don’t…” I try and warn him, but he silences me by pulling me swiftly into his side, holding me securely under his arm, and pushing through the crowd to get me to the passenger’s side door. As he moves me to pull open the scissor door, one of the reporters calls my name and reaches out to grab onto my arm, but, before he can actually touch me, Christian’s hand closes around his wrist and the man winces slightly.

“Keep your motherfucking hands off my fiancée or I will put you on your ass,” he shouts at him. Suddenly, the lights of the cameras around us intensify and, as Christian releases me so that I can duck into the car and then closes the door behind me, I feel an unwelcome sense of foreboding.

“Jesus Christ,” Christian hisses as he slides into the seat next to me and yanks his own door back into place.

“Don’t get into fights with the paparazzi,” I warn him.

“They shouldn’t be touching you.”

“No, they shouldn’t. But yelling at them and getting physical with them isn’t going to help either of us. Just ask Sean Penn what fighting with the Paparazzi can cause.”

“I’m not a celebrity, Ana,” he says, rolling his eyes.

“No, worse, you’re a high profile business man who actually has something to lose.”

His jaw tightens but he doesn’t say anything. Instead, he starts the engine, looks over his shoulder, and slowly backs through the crowd of photographers still trying to get our picture through the darkly tinted windows.

When we make it onto the I-5 North, Christian hits the gas and begins weaving through traffic towards Northwest Hospital. We pull into the parking lot in record time and, after I’ve once again securely locked his fingers between mine, we dash inside.

“Where’s Dad?” Christian asks when we get to the surgery floor waiting room and find Grace and Mia already there, waiting anxiously.

“They just took him back,” Grace replies. “He’s going straight into surgery prep. The donor is in this hospital so we don’t have any transport time. The liver has already been removed and examined… it’s beautiful, and a perfect match. He should be going into surgery any minute.”

“That’s great, Mom,” Christian says, the overwhelming relief in his voice apparent as he leans in to hug her. Mia gets out of her seat and comes to me, wrapping her arms around my middle as tears well in her eyes.

“It’s actually going to happen this time,” she says. “No more false alarms, no more waiting. He’s getting his liver today.”

“I know, Meems.”I beam at her.

“Where’s Elliot?” Christian asks when he releases his mother. “I’m surprised I beat him here.”

“I don’t know where he is,” Grace admits. “I called him this morning but he didn’t answer and when I called Gia, she said he’d gone out for coffee early in the morning and hadn’t gotten back yet. She said she’ll bring him here as soon as she gets home.”

Christian nods and then tells us he needs to go call Ros and let her know about the surgery so they can plan his time between home and GEH, and Grace decides to get a cup of coffee from the cafeteria, leaving me alone with Mia.

“So, I heard about what happened last night,” Mia says. “With Kate and Elliot. I can’t believe he said that right in front of her.”

“I know,” I reply, regretfully. “It was awful. Seeing her standing there, staring between Gia and Elliot, it was like I could see her heart breaking.”

“I tried calling her this morning, but I just kept getting voicemail,” Mia says.

“She needs time,” I reassure her. “She’s just gotta find a way to pick herself back up right now.”

She looks at me with hesitant eyes. “If I tell you something, will you promise not to get mad?”

“Why would I get mad? You can tell me anything, Mia.”

“Well, I don’t want you to think that I’m not so excited to have you as a sister, because I am. I really, really am. But, you were gone for a long time. All that time that you and Christian were broken up, you never called me once. You never came to visit, you never sent me a text message, or responded to any of the messages I sent you on Facebook…”

“I’m sorry,” I say quickly. “I don’t actually use my Facebook. I honestly don’t think I’ve even logged onto it since before I started college.”

“No, I know that, and it’s fine… now. But back then, it kind of hurt. I have two older brothers and I love both of them so, so much, but brothers aren’t exactly who you want to go to when you have your first real crush or the girls at school are being catty bitches. I’ve always wanted a big sister, for exactly those reasons, and when you were gone, all I had was Kate. I could call her at any time and talk to her about anything, even personal stuff, and she was always there for me. I used to send her pictures of outfits that I wanted to wear to get her opinion on them or forward her the angry text messages I was going to send to people so that she could tell me whether or not I was being unreasonable. I even skyped with her for a whole hour once because I got a huge zit the day we were taking pictures at school and I’m helpless with concealer. She sat there and walked me through what to do, step by step. Kate was the big sister I’ve always wanted, and now she’s just… gone.”

“She’s not gone, Mia,” I tell her, but she shakes her head.

“I mean, for awhile, maybe not. But as time goes on, our phone calls are going to get fewer and farther in between and eventually, they’ll stop. She’ll move on with her life and the new family that comes along with her next boyfriend. She’s going to forget about me and that kills me. Especially because Gia is not a replacement for Kate, not even close! I don’t even know what Elliot sees in her.”

“I know you mean a lot to Kate. I don’t know what’s going to happen going forward, but she really does love you, Mia. She loves your whole family. I know Kate very well, I know the Kate you just described to me very well, and that’s why she’s my best friend. And because I know her so well, I know that no matter what happens, if you ever needed her, she’ll be there. She’ll always be there.”

“You really think so?”

“Yeah, I do. And so will I.”

“Well, you have to be,” Mia says, cracking a smile. “You are going to be my big sister so you’re stuck with me for life.”

“And I can’t wait,” I beam at her.

Waiting in this hospital is beginning to feel like some kind of purgatory punishment. We sit in the same chairs we’ve sat in several times before, stare at the same fuzzy TVs, and read the same boring magazines. Christian at least has work to keep him occupied on his phone but, between the anxious energy radiating off of Grace and the seemingly interminable minutes that tick by like hours, I’m very quickly going out of my mind.

We sit there for just under two hours before Elliot and Gia finally show up, but once they come into the waiting room, any happiness we have to see them is replaced with concern when we see the shiner Elliot is sporting over his left eye, and I immediately feel my stomach drop.

“What happened to your face?” Christian asks, alarmed.

“Nothing,” Elliot says, quickly shaking his head. “I just… ran into a pole while I was out running this morning.”

“You don’t run,” Mia says.

“And now you know why,” he replies, pointing at his black eye.

“Well you should put some ice on it,” Grace says. She tries to reach out to bet a better look at his face, but he reaches out to stop her.

“I’m fine, what’s the news on Dad? Anything?”

“He’s in surgery right now. The doctor said everything looked really good from the donor so he’s not expecting any complications.”

“But he’s in surgery?” Elliot checks. “He’s actually open, on the table, having a new liver sewn into his body as we speak?”

“Yes,” Grace says, and Elliot lets out a long sigh of relief.

“Oh, thank god. Thank. God.” He collapses in a chair next to his mother while Gia runs to the cafeteria to get him some ice. When the waiting game begins again, I spend a little time playing a game with Mia on her phone until Elliot eventually gets up to use the bathroom and I excuse myself to go after him.

“Elliot!” I call once we’re out of earshot of the others. He turns and, once he sees that it’s me following him, he ducks into the corridor that leads to the bathrooms and waits for me to catch up.

“A pole?” I ask suspiciously.

“Ethan,” he admits. “I wasn’t getting coffee or going on a run this morning. I went to talk to Kate.”

“And?”

“And I got punched in the face by her brother.”

“Well, did you really expect a warm welcome? You hurt his little sister.”

“I know that.” He nods. “That’s why I went over there to talk to her. To apologize to her. ”

“And? What did she say?”

“Nothing.” He shakes his head dejectedly. “She wouldn’t see me. Worse than that, she wouldn’t even come downstairs to tell me that she didn’t want to see me. She just had her brother feed me some bullshit lie about how she wasn’t there even though I could see her fucking car in the driveway. You know, I did that for you for two years and now that I know just how shitty that feels, I hate that you made me do that to my brother. Just, the helplessness of not being able to do anything…”

“Yeah, it hurts,” I agree. “But there’s plenty of hurt to go around right now. Believe me, Elliot. You didn’t see her that weekend she left you a few months ago, you didn’t see her last night.”

“Did you talk to her?”

“Yeah, I did. I got a front row seat to my best friend lying on top of her bed crying her eyes out, feeling like her world had been destroyed, because, even though she gave you everything she had to give for three years, stood by you and your family through the roughest time that you’ve ever faced, and supported you through it, you still replaced her as quickly as you could. Two months, Elliot. The amount of time it took you to get over her could be measured in weeks! I mean, did you ever really love her?”

“Of course I did,” he says, angry at the insinuation. “I still love her.”

“Well, she was there to tell you that she wanted you back. She came to tell you that she’d made a mistake and that she wanted to get back together.”

“She was?”

“Yeah, but not anymore. She’s done now. There’s no going back after last night because in her mind, you’re either in love with another girl or you’re a liar. So, which is it Elliot? You said you were in love with Gia. Are you?”

“Ana… please.”

“Which is it?” I demand.

“I’m not bad guy, Ana. You have to understand, she wouldn’t talk to me. She never gave me the chance to fight for her.”

“You mean like I never gave Christian a chance? Somehow he found a way to fight, and maybe you didn’t have two years in you like he did but… two months? God, after Christian and I broke up, it took me two months to just accept that it was over, that I wasn’t going to just wake up and find that everything that had happened between us had been a horrible dream. You’ve already fallen in love with someone else.”

He frowns and looks away from me for a moment, almost looking as though he’s going to walk away entirely, but he doesn’t.

“Christian knew that he could make you happy, Ana. He wants the same things that you want. Kate and I just… don’t. She wants kids and I don’t want her to give that up for me. I want her to have everything her heart desires. I want her to be blissfully happy and live life without regret. I can’t do that for her. That doesn’t mean that her absence doesn’t hurt me. That doesn’t mean that I don’t miss her like fucking crazy. That doesn’t mean that the idea that she’s one day going to find someone else, that she’s going to let another man put his hands on her body, doesn’t make me sick to my stomach. I love her more anything else in the world, Ana. I’m always going to love her. I love her enough, to set her free.”

“I just don’t understand how you could love someone so much but not be willing to have a family with them. Why are you so adamant that you don’t want kids, Elliot?”

“Because I don’t have any more in me to give, Ana. Look, I love my brother, and my sister, and my parents very, very much. I can’t begin to tell you what they all mean to me, but I have spent my entire life taking care of them. Ever since I can remember, I’ve been constantly trying to bring Christian back from the brink of self-destruction, trying to keep Mia on the right path, trying to keep this family together and happy, and I’m exhausted. Happiness to me doesn’t mean having more people to be responsible for. Happiness to me means having the ability to drop everything to go backpack Europe for a couple months, go to a country in Southeast Asia and try some really freaky looking food, or sit on a beach in Cabo with a bucket full of Coronas and Kate looking tan and fine as fuck in a lounger next to me. That’s the future I want. That’s the future that will make me happy, and it doesn’t include kids.”

“So, how does Gia fit into that future?” I ask, and he shrugs.

“Gia’s chill. She likes to travel. She likes spontaneity. I know you’re not her biggest fan, and I know that she can be a bitch and that she’s a little hard to take a lot of the time, but… she’s the only thing that’s made me feel normal since Kate left. She’s smarter than people give her credit for and when she wants to be, she can be really sweet. And, she’s beautiful and great in bed, and, at the end of the day, I’m glad to see her when I come home from work.”

“Do you love her?” I ask again.

He sighs. “I don’t know. The only thing I have to compare her to is Kate, but how does anything compare to Kate? I’m never going to love anyone the same way I loved her, that I love her. But I don’t have Kate anymore, I have Gia, and I’m going to try to love her as best I can.”

“And if she wants to get married or have kids?”

“Then I won’t be able to love her the way she wants me to and she’ll have to find someone else.”

“Have you told her that?”

“Yeah. She’s knows that’s why Kate and I broke up.”

“Well, I think you need to tell her again. Kate and I were shopping the other day and we ran into Gia downtown, and she told Kate that she should expect a wedding invitation by the end of the summer. She has expectations of you, Elliot, and those expectations are punctuated by a diamond ring.”

He rolls his head backwards for a few seconds and takes a deep breath, then calmly looks back down at me, nods, and says, “I’ll take care of it.”

“Good.” I give him a once over and turn to step through the bathroom door opposite him, but he calls out to stop me. When I turn back to face him, his expression is torn.

“I know this whole thing with Kate has put you in awkward position with me, but I don’t want to be at odds with you, Ana. You’re going to be my sister and I’ve already told you what family means to me. I don’t want it to be awkward or tense so… what can I do so that we’re cool?”

“We’re fine, Elliot. This isn’t how I wanted everything to go, but, you’re right. If you’re not willing to compromise on the things that Kate needs to be happy, you shouldn’t be together. I happy that you’re mature enough to realize that. But that doesn’t mean that I don’t wish that it could have been different.”

“Me too,” he agrees, and then reaches out to wrap me in a hug. “Love you, Ana.”

“Love you too, Elliot.”

He tightens his arms around me and lifts me off the ground, grunting slightly as he shifts me back and forth. The movement forces all of the pressure into my bladder and, suddenly, I have to struggle out of his arms.

“Elliot, put me down! Put me down!”

“What?” he says, setting me back on the ground and looking at me with panic. “What did I do?”

“You can’t squeeze a pregnant woman! What are you trying to do? Make me pee all over you?”

He snorts, trying to hold back his laughter, as I turn and sprint for the bathroom door at the end of the hallway.

He’s waiting for me when I get out of the bathroom and, as we walk back to the rest of our family still seated in the waiting room, I see a spark of his old self. With every step we take across the linoleum tile, he sticks his foot out in front of me, like he’s trying to trip me, but when I shoot an indignant look at him, his eyes widen with false concern and he grabs onto me.

“Ana! Don’t fall!”

“You’re so annoying!” I laugh, and then stick my foot out in front of him. He gives me a challenging look in return and we spend the rest of the walk back trying to make the other stumble.

Unfortunately, when we get back to the waiting room, I find that Gia has taken my seat next to Christian and is leaning over the armrest to talk to him while he looks intently down at his phone.

“It starts up at Husky Stadium and then goes south along the lake to Columbia City and then back up to Safeco Field. It’s like, 13.5 miles and if we start training now…”

“No,” Christian says abruptly, not looking up at her, and she leans back a little in surprise.

“No?”

“No, I’m not interested.”

“Oh, well… there’s a few other courses that are longer, we could maybe…”

“I’m sorry,” he interrupts her again. “I’m not being clear. I’m not interested in going with you.”

“Christian!” Elliot snaps. “What the fuck, dude?”

“I have a lot to catch up on after the gala last night,” Christian dismisses him, but Elliot reaches down and slaps his phone out of his hands so that it falls into his lap. Christian inhales slowly through his nose and then looks up at his brother with the forced kind of patience that someone dealing with a toddler’s temper tantrum would use.

“I don’t speak to your girlfriend that way, you could return the courtesy.”

“I don’t have a girlfriend,” Christian argues, and, as Elliot lets out an incredulous sounding huff, Grace gets out of her seat and moves between her two sons.

“Boys, enough. You are adults now, will you please act that way? Christian, cut the attitude.”

“Yes, mother,” he says, and then picks up his phone again. Elliot rolls his eyes and then reaches out his hand for Gia, but after glancing a few times between Christian and Elliot, she sucks her bottom lip beneath her teeth and her face falls dejectedly.

“Maybe I should go,” she says softly.

“No, babe…” Elliot says, and then turns a pointed look on his brother. “Christian!”

Christian looks up at him again and Elliot motions to Gia with his eyes, silently asking him to say something to her. Christian takes a deep breath as he turns to face her.

“You’re in Ana’s seat.”

Gia lets out a hurt scoff and then scurries to her feet, covering her mouth with her fingers as she hurries from the waiting room.

“Real fucking great. You know, you can be a real dick sometimes, Christian.” Elliot says, and he turns to follow after Gia.

I take a breath and re-take my seat, my eyes focused on Christian while his fingers continue to fly over the keyboard of his iPhone.

“What?” he asks at last.

“I don’t want you to fight with Elliot.”

“Are you… you just told me last night that…”

“I know, and I’m not saying that I want you to be best friends with Gia, I just don’t want you to push away your brother.”

“Clearly you don’t understand how protective the Grey men are of the women we love,” he says, but when I raise an eyebrow at him, he takes a breath and nods. “I’ll talk to him.”

“Good,” I say, and then lean over to kiss him softly on the lips before turning back to Mia and allowing him to get back to work.

It’s another hour before Elliot finally comes back into the waiting room and when he does, he makes it a point to move to the other side of his mother so that he’s no longer next to Christian.

“How’s Gia?” Grace asks.

“She’ll be fine,” he says shortly. “No thanks to my loving, supportive family.”

“Elliot,” Christian begins, trying to be conciliatory, but Elliot silences him with a hard glare.

“I’m sorry, I’m not being clear. I’m not interested in talking to you.”

“Grey,” someone calls behind us and the tension building between Christian and Elliot suddenly vanishes as we all turn and recognize the surgeon who has been operating on Carrick standing just a few feet away.

“Yes!” Grace says, hurrying to her feet. “I’m Grace Grey, Carrick’s wife.”

“How is he?” Elliot interjects.

“He’s doing very well,” the surgeon responds. “It was one of the easiest transplants I’ve ever done. No complications, clean lines, and the organ pinked immediately once we unclamped him. Right now, he’s stable and in a private recovery room.”

“Is he awake?” Christian asks.

“No, but if you’d like, you can wait with him.”

Grace nods and takes Elliot’s hand as the surgeon motions for a nurse to take us back to Carrick’s room. When we get there, Carrick is in the bed, looking as though he’s lost in peaceful sleep, while another nurse tends to the incision on his stomach. I’m actually shocked when I see the angry line that stretches from just below his sternum and curves around his side, looking more gruesome now than I imagine it will after it heals because of the staples currently holding his skin together. It’s hard, seeing him there, wounded, and I have to bury my face in Christian’s shirt as the nurse continues examining the incision site.

Grace moves to read the monitor beeping next to his bedside, and, as she glances over the chart on the end of his bed, the nurse smiles at her.

“He’s doing very well. He should be awake in the next few hours.”

“Thank you,” Grace says, and after the nurse leaves, she motions around the room. “Well, get comfortable. We’re going to be here awhile.”

We take our seats and wait, occasionally flipping through the channels on the TV or answering questions Mia asks from a trivia app on her phone. The passing hours aren’t so bad now that we’re in the room with Carrick and we know everything went well, which I think helps the Elliot and Christian situation. Once Mia and I are fully engrossed in the latests Pirates of the Caribbean movie playing on TV, they both step out of the room to talk, and are gone so long that I’m asleep by the time they return. When Christian retakes his seat and gently eases me under his arm though, I’m glad to find that at least some of the animosity between them seems to have dwindled. Elliot at least isn’t looking at him as though he’s plotting his death anymore.

“You kids should go home,” Grace says, when the clock ticks past one AM. “He may not wake until the morning.”

“I want to be here,” Mia argues. Christian nods in agreement and then turns to me.

“Do you want to go home? I can have Taylor come get you.”

“Are you staying?” He nods. “Then I’m staying.”

He purses his lips together and, for a moment, I think he’s going to argue with me, but he simply wraps his arm over my shoulder and pulls me into his side, holding me there while my eyelids start to droop. I’ve almost succumbed again to the overpowering urge to sleep, when I’m abruptly brought back to reality by Grace’s shaking voice.

“Carrick? Are you awake, sweetheart?”

We all sit up straighter and stare at Carrick as he groans softly, his face crinkled with discomfort before he slowly opens his eyes.

“What time is it?” he whispers, hoarsely.

“Just after one in the morning,” Grace says, smiling. “Your surgery went really well.”

“It doesn’t feel  that way,” he groans.

“Are you in pain?” Christian asks. “We can have the nurse come in and check your meds.” Carrick nods so Elliot reaches over and pushes his finger into the call button.

 

My final weeks in Seattle are long and difficult as we deal with Carrick’s recovery. He’s got at least two months before he’s going to be able to do anything, even chemo, so our job is to make sure that he’s resting enough and getting everything he needs to keep his body as healthy as possible in the meantime. It’s scary because as he goes through the natural healing process, slowed and made more complicated by the cancer still running unchecked and untreated through his body, he seems to get worse, not better. Seeing him so ghostly pale and weak all the time has everyone feeling helpless, but Grace is quick to assure us that once he’s healed from his surgery and the doctors are certain that chemo won’t cause him to reject his new organ, he’ll be quickly on the road to recovery. In the meantime, life is just a little hard.

I end up spending the night more often than not at the house in Bellevue to try and help as much as I can, so I only see Christian after he’s able to pry himself away from the long hours at the office to join us at his parents’ house. Not only is it the beginning of the calendar year, which is when a lot of his contracts renew, terminate, or are implemented, but we’re coming up on fourth quarter, and that means, on top of trying to be with us as much as possible for his Dad’s recovery, he’s slowly sinking deeper and deeper into a mountain of work that seemingly has no end. I can see how much he hates being away right now, watching us all deal with the consequences of his Dad’s recovery and not being there to be a pillar of strength while his father seems to waste away in bed. But he doesn’t have a choice. He’d only just managed to quell the near uprising in his company last fall after he fired Welch and he doesn’t want to risk another because he’s not giving everything he has at their busiest time of year. It’s made him colder than usual, more aloof, and it’s done nothing to help the growing tension between him and his brother.

After Carrick’s surgery, I wait about a week, but then start calling Kate at least twice a day to check up on her. It takes several days of worried voicemails before she finally answers one of my phone calls, and when she does, even her voice sounds frail. She won’t really talk to me, and she won’t say anything at all about Elliot, so I don’t think she’s doing any better, and after two weeks of listening to the thin veil of pain covering every word she speaks, I’m actually glad to be going back to school so that I can be there for her the way I want to be.

Christian, however, doesn’t share any of my anticipation to get back to Cambridge. As he rides with Luke and I to the airport in the early afternoon on January 22nd, he’s completely silent, clinging to my hand and staring through the front window from the back seat of the SUV like he’s turned to stone. He doesn’t even reach for his phone the several times I hear his email chime in the 30 minutes it takes us to get to the airport from Bellevue, and that has me extremely worried.

“I’ll come back next weekend,” I promise him as we step out onto the tarmac in front of the jet, but he only nods and wraps me in his arms. “I love you, Christian.”

Still, there’s only silence from him, so I pull away to look up at him. When my eyes meet his, I almost wish that I hadn’t.

“Hey…” I begin worriedly, but he releases me and takes a step back.

“I can’t say goodbye to you,” he tells me. “If I try, then I’m going to end up asking you not to go, so just… go, okay?”

“We’re down to four months,” I remind him. “More than half way. It’s almost over.”

He nods, then kisses me on the forehead and pushes me slightly towards the stairs leading down from the plane. I let out a heavy breath and then turn, but before my hand can touch the railing, he calls out to me.

“Ana!” His hands clasp my arms and he spins me back to face him, bringing his lips crashing down onto mine before I even know what’s happening. It’s not a chaste kiss, nor is it brief. He holds me for a long time, his tongue exploring my mouth carefully as if he’s trying to memorize every part of me. Eventually though, he lets me go and I hug him, pressing my nose into his shirt and inhaling deeply one last time, before I turn and board my flight.

 

Surprisingly, I feel a sense of welcome calm once we get to Cambridge and an almost guilty sense of relief in being separated from everything going on in Seattle right now. The familiar streets of the neighborhoods surrounding campus, now covered in significantly less snow, have a comforting quality to them, and when I pull into my driveway and see the lights through the kitchen window that tell me Kate is already here, it actually feels like coming home. I can’t wait to get inside, put everything away, change into more comfortable clothes, and just sit on the couch and find out exactly where my best friend is now that a few weeks have past. I can’t take the distance between us anymore, I need to know that she’s at least on the road to being okay, but, when I follow Luke through the sliding glass door, my concerns over Kate immediately take a back burner to the loud, booming bark coming from the living room.

“What the fuck?” Luke exclaims, pushing me back into the glass and shielding me with his body as a huge, wrinkly faced dog comes bounding out at us. I scream as the dog bounds up onto Luke and growls viciously, and my fears aren’t alleviated when we hear a male voice shouting from the stairs.

“Champ, what are you doing?” From behind Luke’s imposing figure, I can hear whoever it is coming down the stairs and into the kitchen, and the moment I peek over his shoulder to see the man I assume is going to probably murder us, the fear is overtaken by confusion. It’s not a stranger, it’s Carter Reed. What is he doing here?

We make eye contact and an apologetic look crosses his face as he hurries forward to pull the dog off of Luke.

“Bad dog, get down,” he scolds him firmly, and, once the dog is on all fours again, he kneels down and rubs his hands over the fur behind the the dog’s ears. “Sorry, he’s protective…”

“What are you doing here?” I ask.

“Oh, Kate asked me to come stay with her until you got home. She needed help with the dog.”

“Wait, Kate needed…? This is Kate’s dog?”

“Yeah, she didn’t tell you?”

“Kate!” I yell and then squirm my way out from behind Luke and stomp towards the stairs. Christian is going to have a conniption when he finds out Kate has moved 130 pound dog into the house he intends on selling in a few months and if there’s one thing I need less of in my life, it’s the number of Greys feuding with my best friend.

When I reach her room, I throw open the door to find her sitting up in bed and looking entirely too pleased to see me for how angry I am with her.

“Hey, Ana. How was your flight?”

“A dog, Kate?”

“Isn’t he cute?”

“I don’t know, it was hard to really focus on what he looked like while he was pinning us to the sliding glass door and snarling over us like he was going to eat Luke’s face off.”

“Yeah…” she hesitates. “That’s kind of what he’s here for.”

“To eat Luke alive?”

She takes a breath. “I’m done with Ainsley. After that day we were shopping in Seattle, I just don’t really want anything to do with her anymore. I’ve decided that I need a serious detox in my life, but that means no more trips to New York. You’re gone a lot and you take Luke with you, so I’m going to be here alone most weekends. I got Champ to make me feel safer.”

“Oh.” I hesitate because, even though I was hoping Kate was really going to distance herself from Ainsley and Eliza, I hadn’t really thought through what that meant for her being isolated back in Cambridge when I went home to be Christian.

“He’s really sweet though,” she continues. “Once he gets to know you. He’s actually kind of a big goober.”

“I just… I don’t know if I’m going to be able to sell a dog to Christian, Kate. Not one that big anyway.  He wants to sell the house once we’re done with school and a dog like that…”

“He’s very well trained,” Kate interrupts me. “Ethan got him from a breeder that specifically raises this breed to be guard dogs for families with children, so he’s really docile with the people he considers his pack. He follows commands really well and he doesn’t chew or dig. He’s a good boy, and he makes me feel safe.”

I sigh. “What kind of dog is it?”

“A Bullmastiff.”

Mastiff? More like Massive. I chew on the inside of my cheek as I walk further into the room, intent on crawling into bed with her to talk more about this, but as I approach, her eyes widen and she hold out her hands to stop me.

“No, no! Don’t touch me.”

“What’s wrong?” I ask, freezing and staring down at her with confusion.

“I’m still recovering.”

“From what?”

She swallows. “Can you keep a secret?”

“What do you mean?”

“I mean, you can’t tell Christian, or Elliot, or… anyone.”

“What are you talking about? What did you do?”

She takes a deep breath and then winces slightly as she leans back into her pillows, slides her comforter down past her hips, and then eases her t-shirt over her stomach, up to her sports bra. My eyes widen and my mouth drops open as I see a puckered scar, identical to the one carved into Carrick, slicing its way down her torso.

“Bye bye bikinis, huh?”

“Kate,” I breathe, looking up at her with wide, unbelieving eyes.

“I was a match,” she explains. “I got tested when I came back for Christmas and they called me on New Year’s Eve to tell me that I was an ideal candidate, but that they’d already found a donor. I thought that was going to be the end of it but then they called me at like five the next morning and told me the other organ had fallen through and asked if I was still willing to donate. I was at the hospital forty five minutes later.”

“So when Elliot went to your house the next morning and Ethan told him you weren’t there…”

“I wasn’t,” she finishes for me. “I was having surgery.”

“Why?” I have to stop as tears begin to prick my eyes and my voice starts to tremble. “Why didn’t you say anything?”

“Because I didn’t want this to be about me and Elliot,” she says. “It’s not. I didn’t do this to get him back and I don’t want him showing up here, and I don’t want to put his family in a weird position where they feel like they have to pick sides. I did this because I love Carrick, and I love his family, and I could help. Knowing that he has a fighting chance now, that’s enough.”

“Kate,” I say, actually breaking down into tears now. I want to hug her, pull her out of bed and show her just how much this really means to me and to Christian and his family, but I can’t. So, instead, I carefully lower myself onto her bed and then hold tightly to her hand. “I can’t believe you did this. I mean, I can, because I know how big your heart is, but doing this for your ex-boyfriend’s family, it’s… selfless, and I don’t have the words to tell you how much this means to all of us. Watching Christian going through this, seeing Carrick slowly getting worse… it’s one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do. Thank you isn’t enough.”

“It’s also not necessary. I’m happy that I could help. Relieved even.”

I nod, and then fight back the urge to hug her once more. “Can I do something for you? Can I get you something?”

“No, I’m fine. Carter’s been very attentive all day. He even went down to the store to get me a Cosmo when he took Champ for a walk. Speaking of which, do you and Christian want 100% hotter sex, because Cosmopolitan has some suggestions.”

I laugh and then push away the magazine she holds out to me. “How long have you been here?”

“About a week. I flew back literally as soon as I could sit up even though that was probably a really stupid idea. My parents came with me and stayed for a couple days but they were driving me insane so I asked Carter to come stay so they could leave. He’s studying for the LSATs so he’s been in Cambridge pretty much the entire Christmas break.”

“Well, I’ll have to thank him,” I tell her, then take a deep breath, squeeze her hand, and ask the question I’ve been wanting answers to for weeks.

“How are you? I mean, about what happened on New Year’s?”

“I’m good,” she says, nodding. “You know, being stuck in bed has given me a lot of time and the more I think about Elliot and I, the more I realize that I was ready to jump back into things with him just because I missed him. But what I miss isn’t the romantic part of our relationship or the sex, that’s all fine, but what I really miss is the friendship. He knows me better than anyone else in the world and I can talk to him in ways I cant’s talk to anyone else. I miss the sound of his laugh and his stupid jokes. I miss the side glances he used to give me when someone said something stupid, like Jim from The Office, and  I miss our secret handshakes. Those are all things that I don’t have to lose just because I’m not with him anymore.”

“Wait, you had secret handshakes?”

“Well, yeah. How else could we be absolutely certain the other person wasn’t a victim of invasion of the body snatchers?”

I roll my eyes. “You two really are perfect for each other.”

“I think you’re right,” she says with a shrug. “Just in a different way than I always thought. I really do think Elliot and I will grow old together, but only as really great friends. I’m okay with that.”

“You’re sure?”

She nods. “Yeah, I am. Besides, I uh… I think Carter might be around a little bit more.”

“What?”

“He’s been texting me a lot since we hooked up on Halloween and… I think I’m going to pursue it. He’s a good guy, and he’s sweet, and, I don’t know… I think I might really like him. That’s not weird for you, right?”

“No,” I say, shaking my head quickly as I try to process this. Kate and Carter? “I was just worried about how I was going to explain the dog to Christian but now I’m much more concerned about having to tell him Carter Reed will be hanging out here all the time.” I pause. “You sure you don’t want to tell him that you donated part of your liver to Carrick? That would really help me out in this case.”

She laughs and shakes her head.

“Alright,” I sigh. “Then I guess I better go call him. Wish me luck.”

“Good luck,” she says very seriously, and I squeeze her hand as I get out of bed and make my way back down the stairs.

Carter and Luke are in the living room talking, and since Luke is knelt down onto one knee and is running his fingers enthusiatically through Champ’s fur, I think he’s probably winning him over. When they turn and see me though, Luke immediately gets to his feet.

“So?”

“So, it looks like we’re going to have to sell a dog to Christian Grey.”

Luke smiles. “We can do that. Tell him Champ here is security team approved. I think it’s a great idea having him around at night when I’m not here.”

“I think that’s the only angle,” I agree, and then bend down and hold my arms open for Champ. “Come here, puppy.”

Champ wags his tail and then comes over to me, and as I grab onto the loose fur around the base of his neck and upper shoulders and massage his skin, he leaps up to place his front paws against my collar bones knocks me to the floor before he attacks my face with his slobbery tongue.

“Champ, get down!” Carter commands, but I giggle and wave him away.

“Yeah,” I say lovingly, staring into his big, brown eyes. “He can definitely stay.”

Next Chapter

65 thoughts on “Chapter 22

  1. yes kate was the match. gia is going to have a conniption. I want gia gone asap. love how Christian went back to treating her 🙂 you never disappoint. I just hope the greys find out soon that kate is the doner. I need kate and Elliot back asap.

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  2. Oh, I had a feeling Kate was the donor! the conversation between Elliot and Ana broke my heart. You’ve written the only Kate I’ve ever liked, including canon Kate, and now she isn’t even with Elliot. And I dislike Gia so much and and think she’s going to break Elliot’s heart so much when he realizes she’s really trying to get Christian. and it was sad to see Elliot and Christian arguing when El has worked so hard to keep a relationship with his brother. Love the dog though! Oh, and I think Ana needs to tell the family what Kate did for them. That’s not a secret to keep. loved it.

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  3. Great chapter. We predicted that Kate would be a match. Glad to know that came true. Ana really should NOT waffle about Gia. She’s sending mixed signals and Christian might just do something to cause Ana’s head to pop off into the stratosphere.

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  4. Christian gave Gia a smack down… of sorts! Love it! I betcha we haven’t see the last of Gia, but maybe she know that Ana isn’t going to take her crap and talked to Christian. She has to be stupid not to think that Ana, hasn’t let Christian know what’s she up to.
    I wondered if Kate would match Carrick, even though she doesn’t want the family to know. I bet Grace does.
    I feel bad for Mia, but maybe her and Ana will find a grove together. Hope Kate doesn’t walk out of Mia’s life. She cant help that her brothers are idiots! LOL

    Looking forward to next Monday 😀

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  5. You had me crying by the end of this chapter. I can’t even think about how my Mondays will be when the fic is finished. I literally refresh my email hourly waiting for the update ❤

    I’m just SO happy Kate is finally moving on! She deserves much more than Elliot can give, and I hope Carter will be the one for her (I was actually thinking she’d end up with Luke, but it’s OK).

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    1. I’m with you on having Christian find out. While ANA is sworn to secrecy, Luke is NOT. And I would think that Luke would HAVE to figure it out, since he is in that house daily. As a security man, he is SUPPOSED to notice anything and everything that goes on in that house, and he KNOWS how Kate normally is. And once Luke figures things out, he may report it before he talks to Ana. Will have to wait and see on this.

      And with Carter Reid hanging around the house more, I can also see Christian wanting to show up at the house unannounced whenever he can. So Christian may find out on his own. And I can’t see Christian not telling Elliot or Mia once he knows, PARTICULARLY as Mia is so worried about losing Kate from their lives.

      Even if Christian doesn’t intend to tell Elliot, if Gia pulls something the way I THINK Gia will try to pull, then Christian WILL get in an argument with Elliot and probably splurt out the information that he has learned as to just WHY this is Elliot’s fault, not his, or something to that effect.

      But the ONLY way I see Christian being okay with Carter Reid in that house is as a favor to Kate. And he would ONLY do such a favor for Kate if he knew just WHY she was in a position to need regular help in the home. Christian can still BARELY tolerate Luke, and LUKE was the one to save him in ABSOF in being able to secure the recording footage from Elena’s bar of Elena and Ana’s conversation. So the Carter Reid issue IS going to come up. And I see Christian actually coming to Cambridge to have it out with Kate and finding out somehow THEN what happened.

      I could even see Kate confiding to an anxious Mia about WHY she has been out of contact with her, if she had to say something in order to reassure Mia. And to show Mia that she WILL remain concerned and a part of the family, whether she is with Elliot or not. And you KNOW Mia would confide in Christian. . . especially if the family got into one of their fights with Elliot over why they even still have contact with Kate.

      But I see it coming out sometime soon. I guess we will have to wait and see. (Which I DON’T do well–time in between Mondays is just TOO much, I tell ya!)

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  6. Ok. You had me in tears! I don’t know if Kate or Elliot will get back together but I think he’s s fool for letting her go. I also think Gia is playing the part she thinks Elliot wants to see and hopes to get him to change his mind about marriage to be apart of the Grey family or she’s trying to be closer to Christian. I think she’s played the part perfectly except she just couldn’t keep her cool around Ana and especially Kate and that’s blown her cover, at least with the women so far. The sacrifice and selflessness of Kate has my heart breaking even more for her. Her reasoning for wanting to keep it quiet because she didn’t want it to be about her and Elliot shows how mature emotionally she is. It also explains why Ethan punched Elliot in the face! Go Ethan! 😁 And I love, love that she won’t be going to NYC with Ainsley anymore. But getting a Mastiff!!!! Lol 😂 is hilarious and awesome! I think it’s a great idea. I think he’ll scare the 💩 out of people (which they need) and provide some comic relief. I love Dogs! I’m looking forward to Christian’s reaction to him. IDK, about Carter and Kate but I hope Elliot is eaten with jealousy… (Love you Elliot) 😉 BUT bye bye Gia! I can’t wait to see what you come up with next. Thanks for the update.

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  7. I am still rooting for a Kate and Elliott reunion. I’m so glad Christian shut down Gia, but I am sad that I think she will still be around for quite a while and that it may be YEARS before we get a Kate donor reveal. Glad Kate is back on track though. Great chapter.

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  8. I hope it is just business that had Christian being the way he was and the fact that Ana was leaving again that had him in the mood he was in.
    Ana doesn’t need to send mixed signals about Gia to him. If she doesn’t want him working out with her she needs to stick with it and not make comments about it. He probably could have handled it better when Gia was trying to get him to train with her but it was at a time when they were worried and I’m sure he was tense over his father and work.
    Hope he explained to Elliot Ana’s concerns.
    Another great chapter!! Makes Mondays worth it

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  9. You never disappoint, this is such a great chap. You brought me to crying with joy because Carrick got a donor and is none other than Kate! What she is willing to go through speaks of her big and loving heart, Elliot with her or not, its Carrick who matters. Its Kate we all wished for to be the one, this is perfect. Although Kate doesnt want Ana to reveal to the Greys I hope she does or Christian finds out. He’ll want to pay back his gratefulness.
    Christian more than put Gia in place, she deserves it. So glad Christian keeps his words and acts on it, no more tolerating to appease Elliot to be amicable to Gia, his Ana is most important.
    The convo between Elliot and Ana is so honest, Elliot is losing a great love. Champs is already loved by all. Ethan loves and cares for Kate lots to get it for her as watchdog and companion.
    Thank you for the wonderful chapter, Tara. Thank you for your time and sharing your stellar talents with us, you know we love every word you write. Look forward. Xoxo daytona

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  10. I love Kate! She truly is an angel to the Grey’s for what she has done. To give an organ without wanting to be known shows how much she cares for Carrick and the Grey family. I still want Elliot to wake and realize that he’s being selfish to not want marriage and family especially with the woman he loves (Kate). But by then she may have already fallen in love with Carter. I’m glad Christian was trying to keep his distance from Gia but I hope it doesn’t put a strain with Elliot. Thank you for a beautiful chapter!

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    1. AMEN. How many of us stand by our computers, refreshing the site multiple times an hour, until that new chapter comes in on Monday? Raise of hands?

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  11. Oh well……Gia is still around, what can I say? Hate the bitch. I can only imagine her trying to pull one in front of Christian since Ana is back in Cambridge. Too bad Champ is not in Seattle to bit her ass.
    So how are the Grays’ going to find out that it was Kate the donor for Carrick?
    I can’t wait for the next chapter……..too much stuff that needs to happen…..love it

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  12. I loved that Ana worked to repair her relationship with Elliot AND Mia in this one. And I love how Elliot and Mia can both so easily talk to Ana. They both love and accept her as their future sister.

    I’m SO SO SO glad for the dog. Kate is in a weakened position now and for weeks to come due to the surgery, and anyone that knows anything about Ana and Kate would know that grabbing Kate would be a way to get Ana. So the dog really IS added security. Someone would have to poison the dog to get around that issue, and that would alert Kate and Ana to potential problems in and of itself.

    But I suspect Ana will work harder at maintaining her friendship with Kate now, particularly with Ainsley out of the picture (hopefully for good, without any repercussions). And as Ana pointed out to Mia, if Kate is her best friend, then she will forever be in Mia’s life as well. Plus, Kate is now hopeful to remain friends with Elliot, and I think the Greys will always see her as family, ESPECIALLY when it comes out that Kate had the surgery.

    And Kate being the donor is bound to come out. Sooner rather than later. And, quite frankly, I think we ALL know that Ana may need to spill the beans to Christian about Kate being a donor because otherwise, I think Christian may burst a blood vessel when he finds out CARTER REID is so firmly entrenched in his home. I had thought about Carter and Kate as a pairing as soon as the GEH event took place.

    I am actually FOR a Carter/Kate pairing. Carter has proved over time to have matured. He even pushed Ana to talk to Christian and heal their rift back in the day, even before sleeping with Kate. I think Carter is genuinely interested in Kate at this time, and Carter is in the EXACT position as Kate: having feelings/love for someone else that did not work out. Yet BOTH have managed OR want friendship with their former love interest.

    The problem, of course, with a Carter/Kate pairing WILL be Christian. He will see CARTER as being a MALE GIA. He will think that Carter is around Kate, really wanting to get in good with Ana. And this can ONLY FURTHER the Elliot/Christian barrier, as Christian WILL blame Elliot for Carter being around in the first place. I see Christian as even WANTING to kick Kate out of the house in order to get Carter away from Ana, UNLESS Ana confides in him that Kate was the donor.

    We have seen from the last chapter that Christian has JUST as many insecurities hidden under the surface as Ana. He is still so scared to lose Ana, particularly to someone that can be around and available all the time for her. CARTER REID has always been a touchy issue for Christian and is the reason that Christian ended up coming to his revelations about his REAL feelings for Ana in the first place. From the Outtakes, we saw that he THOUGHT Carter was the one to hang up on him, NOT Ana, when he was trying so hard to reach Ana.

    So Christian is probably going to demand that Ana have nothing to do with Carter, just as he had promised with Gia. And Ana can’t just move out of the house she shares with Kate. And if ELLIOT realizes that he was WRONG in letting Kate go (either because he FINALLY sees through Gia or breaks up with her when he realizes she is NOT going to give up on getting the engagement ring), he will want Christian to intervene in getting rid of Carter at the house.

    I see the Elliot/Christian thing getting WORSE before it can possibly get better. Elliot will pressure Christian to treat Gia well until Gia literally makes a play for Christian when she realizes that Elliot won’t give her the ring. Elliot wants the casual love-type relationship. As he said previously, his family dynamic over the years has taken everything from him. He sees a child as nothing more than a burden to the fun life he wants for himself. And Elliot just doesn’t see what Gia is at this point. And Gia won’t let go of Elliot until she realizes he won’t get her what she wants. THEN she will either 1) deliberately get pregnant with Elliot’s child to force the issue one way or another–with a child, she will get lots of child support from Elliot and further support from the Greys or 2) make a play for Christian prior to Ana’s return. Any of the above cannot help Elliot and Christian’s relationship, PARTICULARLY if AND WHEN Gia goes after Ana further. Gia WILL recognize Ana as a barrier to her getting the Grey name.

    WOW. As always, SO MUCH happens in this chapter. We have YET TO LEARN if Ana’s blood pressure, weight, food or running issues will affect the pregnancy. If Ana’s pregnancy gets upgraded to “high risk,” then all bets are off. Christian would NOT be able to handle Ana being across the country. He is NOT doing that well with it NOW, as it is. PLUS, after a certain point in the pregnancy, the doctor won’t recommend that Ana fly across country. And if Christian finds himself being distanced from Ana further, I see him losing it. So the make or break point may be rapidly coming to the forefront soon.

    LOVE this latest installment. Already wanting it to be next Monday. Can’t wait to read through this again as I haven’t even STARTED to think about the paparazzi and where they will play into all this! I can just see pap pictures being what drives Christian over the edge. (And those pictures could go BOTH ways–photos with a clingy Gia, hovering ever closer to Christian, OR pictures out of Cambridge with Carter and Ana maybe running together, with the paps “cropping” the photo to delete Kate, who would have been further behind.)

    NEED MORE, says the ravenously hungry salivating beastly reader that is me. WHY must next Monday be a whole WEEK away. And NOTHING more yet about the Conspiracy against Christian. But NOW is his busiest time with his company, NOW when his father is seemingly getting weaker. There is A LOT for the Conspiracy to work with in going after Christian—he has WAY too many exposed vulnerabilities now. . . .

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  13. So glad to see that Kate was a match. However I want the Greys to start questioning who the donor was and express that they want to meet the donor. Elliott needs to know the sacrifice that Kate made. Maybe then he will get his head out if his ass and realize just what he is giving up with Kate. As always a great update. Can’t wait until next week. 😊

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  14. Haha…I forgot how cold Christian can be and I love it when it’s directed towards someone who deserves it…. Hope it doesn’t affect his relationship with Elliot but Elliot needs to see that Gia is just trying to get close to Christian…. Hope her part in this story is coming to an end… Love Kate and the dog… Good for her for trying to move on… Hope Christian and Ana can have less drama and spend more time with each other

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  15. I see the 4 months that Kate and Ana have in Cambridge as being the real controlling factor here for when the Conspiracy will make its move AND for when Gia will make her play for multiple reasons.

    Gia knows that Ana will be back in Seattle after graduation. Ana has undermined her attempts at Christian and is the reason that Christian has seemingly pulled away from her. She will work on Christian AND Elliot over the next four months to create the most havoc and damage prior to a very pregnant Ana returning to Seattle. Gia will want to work on the distance between Elliot, Christian and Ana to try to sow the seeds of doubt and contention amongst the Grey clan. I see GIA as being someone to fuel the paparazzi and press as well, as she will see them as HELPING her sow discord and misunderstanding between Christian and Ana. (ALTHOUGH I hope this will be Gia’s ultimate downfall–Christian would NEVER let go of Ana without a fight. He will not simply turn to Gia to lose himself in her, which is what Gia just expects to happen. She thinks she is irresistible to any man, but Christian is just NOT going to fall for a pale substitution of Elena.)

    Christian NEEDS Ana, especially now. We saw previously how he literally dropped EVERYTHING to leave the hospital and fly straight to Ana when he was so upset over his father’s condition. And it wasn’t for sex that night–he just wanted to hold Ana, touch her, and be with her. She is his balm, and being away from her right NOW is particularly wearing on Christian, particularly as Ana’s pregnancy with his child progresses. Christian could BARELY let Ana go in this chapter, BUT THE CONSPIRACY will see from the pap interaction that Christian MOST loses his wherewithal when ANA is a target. Even more so than his company.

    And Christian’s best support BEFORE was Elliot. Right now, the tension between the brothers stands to increase, not decrease. And if Gia’s actual intentions ARE revealed and Elliot breaks with her, she WILL go after Christian. I see Gia using the paps to her advantage, and Gia may use those photos she has of Elliot against him. And try to claim that someone else did it. There are just SO MANY ways that Gia can potentially hurt Elliot or Christian. It’s downright scary.

    So Christian is increasingly isolated, which he has NOT dealt well with in the past. He could previously TRY to drown his woes in his company, but THAT same company will undoubtedly increase his concerns in the future, since I don’t think those past issues are entirely gone. PARTICULARLY is Hyde (or Welch) have anything to do with it. ADD to the fact that Ana is just going to be more fatigued and with her potential medical issues, she may be unable to go back and forth to Seattle easily. THEN throw in the Carter Reid situation. PLUS, Carrick is NOT out of the woods yet, not by a long shot. A VERY weakened Carrick must now somehow be strong enough for chemo. Christian is NOT in the mood to deal with Google Alerts regarding his and Ana’s relationship, particularly when the paps start talking about Ana being across the country, constantly in the presence of other men (Luke and Carter) and everything that they will claim about the pregnancy.

    But the cross-country separation of Ana and Christian can ONLY benefit the Conspiracy, as they have multiple means and opportunities to potentially nab an Ana that would be ill-equipped to fight them off the further along in her pregnancy that she goes. So it is only a matter of time. Both the Conspiracy AND Gia are motivated to work within a timeframe of Ana and Christian’s forced separation, as ANYONE can see that the way to Christian is through Ana.

    NeedNextMondayNOW.NeedNextMondayNOW.NeedNextMondayNOW.

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  16. Lastly, brotherly relationships played a MAJOR part in this chapter. I’ve commented above on Elliot/Christian. HAVE to say that I am a major fan of Ethan in this chapter. I’m glad he stood up for his sister and punched Elliot, but DID NOT give away her secret of being a donor. And he could have so easily thrown that in Elliot’s face. But he stood by his sister AND her wishes.

    However, if Ethan checks in on his sister more in Cambridge, you KNOW Christian will go loco, as he does NOT know yet that Kate had the surgery. And Christian didn’t like the close relationship between Ethan and his “Banana” Ana, as seen from the Aspen trip. (We all remember Christian’s extreme reaction to Ethan having walked in on them in the bathroom! Triple that if Christian thinks Ethan could walk in on Ana showering at the Cambridge house when he is not around!)

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  17. Tara – YOU ROCK! Fabulous Chapter.
    And, it is so nice to know that wishes still can come true. I was totally and completely
    wishing/hoping for Kate to be the donor. And kudos to Ethan!
    With all Christian’s contacts, along with the huge appreciation level that he must be feeling,
    I am certain it will not be very long for the donor reveal to happen. Just wonder if he will
    continue to honor Kate’s wishes to remain anonymous.
    Just hope Champs will learn to be gentle with Ana, with the baby and all and not knock her
    down, etc. Carter of all people!? We must get Kate and Elliot on the path to reconnecting.
    Glad that Christian was able to
    I loved Christian’s immediate change in his Gia attitude – great when he told her she was in
    Ana’s seat. Hopefully, the Escala codes have been changed and she has been advised of her
    ‘boundaries’ as far as Christian (and the family, for that matter) is concerned.
    Good news that Christian was able to suppress the unrest he was facing at GEH for the past
    few months but cannot help but wonder what may still be on the horizon.
    Cannot wait for #23 – and, maybe, the prospect of a little bonus before Monday!?

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  18. I knew Kate was a match!!!! I can’t wait until Gia is out the way and Kate and Elliot get back together…I just love this story….see you Monday

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  19. Oh Tara just when I think I can read you like a book you totally surprise me. Kate being the kidney donar is fantastic. I was so afraid Gia was going to. E a match and the greys would have to be eternally grateful to her. I absolutely loved Elliot’s and Ana’s conversation. They are so damn honest and close with each other you forget they are not related. C they act as if they were. His thoughts for not wanting kids will change once l blip gets here and he holds him in his arm. I get he’s tired of taking care of his family. They had a lot to endure and overcome. I just hope Kate has her fun but doesn’t fall out of love with Elliot and then it will be too late. Christian is still learning how to deal with people but I do love how cold and rough he was towards Gia. And poor lil mia she. Reds a boyfriend Tara or someone she can turn to for some hugs and lil kisses. Her brothers and all their girl issues is killing her. That was the most beautiful thing she could have said about Kate. Damn Tara we now have to wait until Monday to get the next chapter, boo hoo hoo! Great job today I wish you had the entire story all written out. I would sit here and read it in its entirety.

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  20. Awesome chapter as always!! I’m so glad to see the emotional maturity that Christian is showing now…..with him being very direct with Gia and also by not allowing himself to withdraw from Ana when they said goodbye at the plane. Kudos!! But I’m still worried about all the possibilities of Gia stirring up trouble for the Greys. We need a teaser to tide us over until next week please!! XoXoX

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  21. omg after reading the comments I had a thought? is Gia somehow connected to Elena? has elena been grooming her with Christian Grey secrets on how to get him on her side? ewwwwww, I really hope the wicked witch is wasting away in her jail cell. if we know anything about how Christian has been written in this story he will NEVER give up on Ana. I like Carter but not for Kate. Maybe a Mia pairing. Kate needs to be with Elliot. I believe that theyre each others soul mates. As for Elliot I play that role in my family and at times its all consuming and exhausting. But then most of times its gratifying that people respect and value me. He will relax once Carrick is on the road to healing. Hes been carrying his family for so long if he doesn’t step back I’m afraid he might have a nervous breakdown. I’m chanting bonus chapter but will understand If we have to wait until Monday.

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  22. Can I just say my that my heart skips a beat and flutters when I get the email indicating you have posted an update… so much in this chapter I don’t know where to begin.
    Glad to see Christian is backing away from his relationship with Gia and listened to how Anna feels about being a bit insecure. It was eye-opening but yet sad to hear how Elliott feels about Kate. I’m hoping that once he sees the happiness and love between AS and CG after wedding and birth he’ll change decision on being married and having kids. Hoping Carrick’s prognosis is good and that his body responds to the treatment, given all of the stress they saw in the last installment they deserve some easy sailing for a while. Kate’s actions were selfless and one of the most touching things I’ve read…shows the true emotion and depth of characters you’ve created. She deserves happiness and if she can find it with Carter I guess we’ll just have to get over the fact that the second couple in this Saga we’re not meant to be. THANKS FOR SHARING YOUR GENIUS WITH US!

    Like

  23. Ooooh, Tori’s right. If Ethan comes to see Kate, Christian’s going to go crazy.

    And Ana’s keeping too many secrets, even if it’s just forgetfulness — encountering Leila in New York, the missing cufflinks, Jack Hyde at the party.

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  24. And THAT is the only thing I fault Christian with—his way of handling the Gia thing. He risked appearing petty and being forced into obvious conflict with Elliot in the way he chose to handle it. This way, GIA looks to be the hurt victim and not the instigator to the WHOLE situation, as it NEVER would have happened without Gia’s TOTAL LACK of boundaries. (And just HOW LONG is it going to take for Elliot to see how completely shallow and self-involved Gia truly is. And that GIA caused this whole rift by her OWN choice of actions and the place she put Christian and Ana in.)

    Christian doesn’t need to cause a wedge between himself and his brother. He should just state OUTRIGHT to Gia that HER ACTIONS caused an equally responsive reaction. I would recommend he say something like the following: “Gia, you knew that Kate was my wife-to-be’s best friend. She has asked you to be sensitive to that and that she WILL defend her friend. My wife was willing to be friendly to you, for Elliot’s sake, if you could just respect that. YOU chose to go up to Kate and be as demeaning as possible, saying the meanest things, when you met her in that shop, in the presence of MY wife. You chose to put Ana in that position, showing you cared nothing for HER feelings. YOU should know I consider that as proof you don’t value OUR friendship at all if you could be cruel to the person I love the most in this world. IF YOU ARE NOT capable of being kind and considerate to Ana, then don’t expect any overture of friendship from myself.” Puts it SQUARELY on GIA and HER ACTIONS as to whether or not either he or Ana have to have anything to do with her. And lets her know that SHE started this with her spiteful actions.

    Christian would have put it on the line that he 1) supports his wife above all else and 2) will not choose Ana over ANYONE. Choosing to insult and demean Kate in Ana’s presence makes it GIA that started the drama. I hardly see how Elliot can fault Christian for GIA’S CHOICE of action. (OR AT LEAST it should start Elliot THINKING about how he really feels about someone who can behave in this manner regularly, causing repeated drama and stress to his family members.) Gia has now pulled outright hissy fits (tantrums) at Ana’s doctor’s office visit AND at the store. Is that REALLY the maturity level that Elliot wants? A drama queen always in conflict? THINK ELLIOT!!

    (AND loved the comfort level Elliot clearly has obtained with Ana. They are so easily able to talk to one another and mend what is wrong between them. Gia may OVERPLAY her hand by going after Ana, who is CLEARLY LOVED by the whole Grey family. And she has NO IDEA of the loyalty and love that the Greys feel for all Ana has done for them. Going after Ana in ANY way will hopefully be Gia’s downfall.)

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  25. “…there is power in self-sacrifice.”
    ― Veronica Roth
    “How far should a person go in the name of true love?”
    ― Nicholas Sparks
    “Some day you will find out that there is far more happiness in another’s happiness than in your own.”
    ― Honoré de Balzac
    “I brought you here to tell you this: sometimes what we are searching for does not exist. We may sacrifice for it, even bleed for it, but it was never meant to be ours.”
    ― Esther Dalseno

    “Its really hard to recall the day you became friends with special people.”
    ― Michael Bassey Johnson

    I get told that I’m mean for automatically not liking someone, yet I ALWAYS seem to get proved right as to why I should hate them.”
    -Unknown

    “Just Friends”

    Just friends, lovers no more
    Just friends but not like before
    To think of what we’ve been
    And not to kiss again

    Seems like pretending
    It isn’t the ending
    Two friends drifting apart
    Two friends but one broken heart

    We loved, we laughed, we cried
    Then suddenly love died
    The story ends and we’re just friends.
    – John Klenner/Samuel M. Lewis

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  26. Your updates make it a very good reason to like a Monday morning. Christian did what Ana wanted by alienating Gia, but ended up getting on the wrong side of Elliot. Christian is between a rock and hard place on this one. I hate to see his close relationship with his brother deteriorate because of Gia. The conversation between Ana and Elliott covered everything. He found out why Kate was there at the gala and the fact that Gia is planning on a ring. Maybe this will bring the end of Elliot’s relationship with Gia. When that happens, she will turn to Christian because Ana is miles away.

    Christian didn’t take security with him and Ana when they went running. I can’t believe Taylor and Luke don’t say something about that. After the paparazzi showed up, I don’t think he will forget again.

    I loved the true feelings of Mia brought out about her missing Kate and why. Ana will step up to fill in this empty spot for Mia, but Kate will always be there.

    I don’t think Kate thought twice about following through with the donation after she found out she was a match. Kate showed what a wonderful caring and giving person she is even though she will have a massive scare and no more sexy bikini days.

    The dog is exactly what the girls need. I liked Luke’s acknowledgment that Champ be added to the security team. Nothing has been said about Christian’s missing cuff links. I think, someone has total access to the house since the remodel. I think, there are recording devices in the house as well as someone probably tampered with Ana’s computer because she left that behind in the house. They could possibly have full copies of Ana and Christian’s love making. The dog will put an end to any stranger entrance in the house.

    Yes, they only have 4 months until graduation. As Ana progresses in her pregnancy, she isn’t going to be able to make the trips back home. Having Cater Reed become another residence at the house, isn’t going to sit well with Christian. Maybe Kate will go and live with Carter. I feel concerned for Christian because there are too many things in his life now out of his control. He doesn’t have his strong father to spend time with and his relationship with Elliot is strained and Ana is thousands of miles away.
    I again can’t wait for another Monday morning.

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    1. Now THAT is something I hadn’t thought of —what if Kate started spending most of her time at Carter’s rather than at the home she shares with Ana?

      Since I also think the house is now being monitored, that means someone would know that Ana is alone in the house. And if Kate had taken the dog with her. . . . Definitely something to worry about.

      But that is the OTHER important thing for our beloved Control Freak—NOTHING is within his control right now. The THREE people he was closest to are either 1) too sick to be of comfort or assistance to Christian about his own life, 2) on the other side of the country or 3) with the WRONG woman and making the worst decisions in regards to her. Mia is underage, and she is the one to lean on Christian, not the other way around. ROS is Christian’s “company wife,” so to speak, as even Ana acknowledges. And we don’t know how well Christian and Ros are interacting right now, but that is the only reoccurring STABLE thing that Christian has. But Ros always WAS just the work wife—Christian turned to Elena before due to loneliness, especially seeing Ros happy with Gwen. So Christian still needs his family and Ana for his personal happiness.

      But while Ana is gone right now, she is most certainly not forgotten. And Christian has flown across the country before to be with her when things got particularly bad. She IS his stability. And Elliot would be there for Christian, surely, if there were some kind of family emergency. Ana remains where Christian is MOST vulnerable and LEAST able to control things, particularly until she graduates (or goes into labor–Ana and all of US are counting on Ana NOT going into labor EARLY).

      Things are already tense now where the Grey situation is concerned. I’m waiting for the other shoe to drop in regards to the Conspiracy to really kick things into high gear.

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  27. Okay. So this is probably one of the best chapters ever and it actually made me cry.
    I was a fan of Kate in the book. I mean she wasn’t in it that much, but when she was I thought she was a pretty good friend.
    But you took that character and made her 1000 times more complex and gave her so much more personality that she is this fully fledged amazing character. I absolutely love her.
    The fact that she is so incredibly selfless and wonderful is just amazing.
    I am so happy that Kate was the one to donate part of her liver for Carrick. It fits her personality to a T and I would have actually screamed if Gia had done it.
    On that note…
    I think I actually HATE Elliot. Literally everything that came out of his mouth made me so incredibly angry.
    First of all, he lied to Gia. I hate that freaking bitch with a passion, but the fact that he would tell her he loved her just so he wouldn’t be alone? That’s disgusting.
    Second, the fact that he would be with this horrible horrible person so quickly after supposedly being with the “woman that he’ll love forever” makes me sick.
    I can’t understand how he can say that in his future he sees Kate, how he can love her more than anything in the world, and she is the love of his life…and yet he did NOTHING. Absolutely nothing.
    He didn’t talk to her.
    He didn’t see her.
    He didn’t even try to think about this future.
    No. Instead he ran away because he was scared.
    Honestly, I think he was too scared to be with Kate. He knows how much she loves him and how much he loves her and I think that he is scared of the commitment. That is why he didn’t go after her and that’s why he still won’t talk to her. Not this bullshit reason of “to set her free”. that’s a crock of horseshit and everyone on this earth should call him on that.
    And for another thing, he is NOT being mature. On the contrary, I think he is acting like a giant baby. Not only with the Kate thing, but also with the Gia thing. He throws a HISSY fit because Christian suddenly stopped bowing down to gia? Like bitch please. If you opened your goddamn eyes, you would see that the girlfriend you “love” is trying to get with your brother and it makes everyone uncomfortable and everyone can see it. But instead, he gets mad at Christian and turns into a baby.
    Ridiculous.
    Sorry. My rant is over lol. This chapter just got me so freaking tired up because I think Elliot is being a complete idiot and I know it’s going to bite him in the ass. Although I really hope that Kate doesn’t actually go out with Carter…I’m kind of over him too. He can get out of the picture. He’s just kind of bleh and not good enough for Kate–that’s for sure. I was a little annoyed with her for pushing aside eat feelings and thinking that her and Elliot should just be friends and she should be wit Carter…that kind of weirded me out. It almost seemed as if everyone was acting as I nothing was wrong and they were putting a shiny bow on it and pretending that try have moved on and shit. It just seemed too conjcidental that Kate was declaring her love for Wlliot, then saying just kidding, then being smitten with Carter?! Nah. None of these douches are good enough for her.
    Kate needs someone who will love her unconditionally and who will fight for her until the end. With the way that Elliot talks about Kate, I still think it’s him…but he needs to get his shit together. He needs to fight for her and actually try.
    Lol. I guess I went on another mini-rant.
    BUT, I thought this chapter was the absolute best shit and it made me cry so much!! You are seriously such an amazing author and every Monday your chapters brighten my day! Thank you for giving us such an amazing story! 🙂

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  28. I agree WHOLEHEARTEDLY with your assessment of Elliot. Couldn’t put it in better words than you did. Elliot’s tantrums go along with Gia’s hissy fits and overreaction. Elliot should have enough sense to ASK Christian about why he is acting the way he does. And the fact that it BOTHERS Ana SHOULD be enough—after all, Ana IS the person that saved Christian and is going to be Elliot’s sister-in-law, something Elliot has ALWAYS avowed he wanted. So to RISK causing tension there by making Christian act in a WAY THAT HE DOES NOT FEEL COMFORTABLE doing should be a BIG huge SIGN to Elliot that something is amiss.

    And Gia has CHOSEN to also put Ana in a bad position, both by her open hostility and fights with Kate, AND in her own text to Ana. Yes, Ana responded with the dress, but she was most certainly PROVOKED, after having told Gia before that she was a loyal friend to Kate and would NOT allow Kate to be disrespected by anyone, especially not in a public location, which was what Gia CHOSE to do.

    So Elliot, you are an IDIOT that thinks love is being happy in the bedroom after work. Elliot wants someone that is easily disposable or non-heart risking. I’m not thrilled with his choices at all right now. And he is NOT deserving of someone as LOYAL and SELFLESS as Kate. He would have to SERIOUSLY commit to EARNING her forgiveness and love. After all, it was LESS than 2 months for Elliot to find another woman that he just allowed to move into his home, that SAME home that he found and bought WITH KATE. Just makes me practically physically ill. I’ve come to love these fictional characters as if they were actual friends or family, so I just want to THROTTLE Elliot right now. Part of me thinks he DESERVES someone seemingly as shallow as himself like Gia.

    I do think that Carter might POSSIBLY be a decent person for Kate. He obviously WANTS a SERIOUS relationship, something that Elliot is currently allergic to. He carried a torch for Ana for three years, but he wanted her to be happy in the end and encouraged her to re-engage with Christian. He WANTS to maintain permanent FRIENDSHIPS, and he does not hold it against Ana for not choosing him over Christian. And that SAYS something to me—he wanted Ana’s happiness at the cost of his own.

    And Carter has come through at a moment’s notice to be there for Ana OR Kate when called. Even with his busy schedule and trying to get into law school, he relocates to babysit when ASKED, without asking for anything in return. He has demonstrated that he is a TRUE FRIEND, in my opinion, by putting the welfare of Ana (and now Kate) in place of his own. AND he harbors no ill sentiments towards Christian, who DID do everything to sabotage his relationship with Ana back in the day.

    Whether Kate can have anything real with Carter remains to be seen. (And I am also assuming that Carter is the decent, more mature individual that he seems to be now.) And he would have to be TRULY over Ana, just as Kate would have to be truly open to moving on from Elliot.

    So I am fully with you and anti-Elliot at THIS point.

    AND if Gia causes ANYTHING bad to happen to Ana, then I am for Ethan OR Christian giving Elliot more than just a black eye!!! I somehow sense that Elliot is going to have reason to TRULY regret inviting Gia into their lives, UNLESS Tara REALLY has something crazy up her sleeve! I can’t imagine the situation that could occur that would make me pro-Gia in ANY way, but Tara has pulled off some truly amazing and unexpected character switches on me before (but at least they have ALWAYS worked out all right in the end)!

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    1. Ahahahaha true. Tara does have a magic way with words. Although I don’t think I could ever be pro-Gia.
      I don’t know about Carter though. There’s just something that rubs me the wrong way about him honestly. I do think it’s kind of weird that he held a torch for Ana for so long and then just moved onto Kate? Yeah. That just weirds me out. There’s just something about him that I find bleh. Kate could definitely do better.
      I think that if I HAD to choose anyone besides Elliot for Kate, I would choose Luke. I find the idea of them kind of adorable and intriguing! 🙂
      As much as I hate Elliot right now and am upset with him….as Ana said, Kate and Elliot are perfect for each other. I honestly can’t imagine, after all these two went through with each other, that they would both just give it up. So as angry as I am with Elliot, I do still have hope for those two!!

      Like

      1. While I’m still mad at Elliot, it only takes re-reading ABSOF to remember just why Tara’s version of him was so lovable. So yeah, if Elliot did MUCH groveling, hired a plane to sky-write his apology and declaration of love to Kate, etc., MAYBE I could forgive him.

        And hey, Tara had me wanting to throttle Christian at the end of ADSOF prior to the Outtakes. You couldn’t possibly guess at Christian’s rationale for going along with Elena prior to reading his own take on it. Reading The Fallout Outtake afterwards clinched it for seeing Christian’s true misery without Ana and that he never expected the complete and utter destruction of his life that came from listening to Elena. So after the Outtakes, I became more sympathetic to Christian and wanted a reunion with Ana, of course.

        So there could be more to Elliot’s rationale then meets the eye as well. Elliot has been traumatized and victimized in his own right by seeing what his brother and family and later, even Mia, went through with Elena. He was powerless to put his own family back together for so long that he just may be SCARED, and all his decisions may be still colored by the Elena-tinted glasses, so to speak.

        But seeing how happy Elliot and Kate were previously makes you wonder how either would be content with friendship alone. BUT at the same time, Elliot SEEMS to have rather effortlessly moved on. HOWEVER, he doesn’t seem to really even KNOW Gia, yet seemingly lives with her. It is Elliot’s MOVING ON so rapidly and easily, even CLAIMING to love Gia, that has me so upset with him. Seems he has too callous a definition of love.

        I’m just waiting for Gia to do something unthinkable, like making an open play at Christian. But I’m thinking Gia is too smart to risk alienating both brothers. Just wondering WHAT Gia will plan next.

        But I am eternally disappointed with Elliot for trying to FORCE Christian to make Ana uncomfortable by having Gia around him, ALONE, all the time. Elliot KNOWS Christian would not try anything, so he thinks nothing of how Ana might feel OR that Gia has ulterior motives. So “Stupid Elliot” remains my moniker for him at this time. (And SO underserving of Kate, at least right now.)

        Is it Monday yet?

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  29. YES! THANK YOU FOR MAKING KATE A MATCH… ELLIOT DOES LOVE KATE AND IF HE FINDS OUT HE WILL MARRY HER! THIS TRULY IS AN AMAZING STORY. I LOVE HOW CHRISTIAN DROPS GIA BECAUSE AN IS UNCOMFORTABLE WITH HIM AND HER. I DO HATE GIA AND WISH SHE WOULD TAKE A FLIGHT TO UNKNOWN TERRITORY…. LEAVING HER PAST BEHIND. SHE ONLY LOVES ELLIOT TO BE NEAR CHRISTIAN! SHE DOES EVERYTHING TO BE WITH C. NOW SHE WANTS TO PLAN LONGER RUNS WITH HIM. I AM SOOO THRILLED HE SAID HE WASN’T INTERESTED! ELLIOT ON THE OTHER HAND SAYS HE LOVES KATE BUT THEN TURNS AROUND AND TELLS GIA HE LOVES HER? COME ON, JUST BECAUSE SHE’S GOOD IN BED AND KEEPS HIM FROM BEING ALONE… THAT’S A REASON TO LOVE HER? I AM VERY HAPPY CARRICK WILL GET WELL AND KATE WAS A PERFECT MATCH. PLEASE LET ELLIOT FIND OUT AND GIVE GIA THE BOOT… THIS REALLY WAS A GREAT CHAPTER… I AM NOT SURE HOW I FEEL ABOUT KATE AND CARTER THOUGH… IS HE WITH KATE TO BE NEAR ANA? SEEMS FISHY TO ME. I CAN’T WAIT FOR YOUR NEXT UPDATE! THANK YOU SO MUCH!

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  30. Sabia que Kate seria la donante. Esto es algo muy grande y espero que los Grey algun dia lo sepan. Kate ama a Elliot y ama a la familia.
    Pero despues de este capitulo no se si algun dia habra una oportunidad de volver con Elliot.
    Los dos estan tratando de pasar pagina y es una pena porque se aman muchisimo.
    La charla que Ana tuvo con Elliot fue muy sincera y entieno un poco mas a Elliot. Tambien me sorprendio Mia y lo mucho que quiere a Kate.
    Espero que ahora Carrick pueda tener una posibilidad de una vida mejor.
    Me preocupo mucho Christian y su reaccion distante, se que odia estar lejos de Ana pero ya queda menos tiempo y tambien se vienen los ultimos meses del embarazo y sera dificil la distancia.
    No puedo esperar al proximo lunes. Amo este fanfic, lo espero con ansias cada lunes.
    Besos desde Argentina

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  31. Yesssss! It was Kate. I suspected it would be. Too many coincidences. Her selfless action made me all misty. I’m now of two minds about her and Elliot. I can empathise with Elliot’s views about children. If he genuinely does not want children, I respect that and think he did the right thing with Kate. Setting her free was a selfless move on his part. It would be nice if he changed his mind though, and finding out about her selfless action to save his father might make him rethink his ideas about having her in his life and having his own family with her. But even if he still doesn’t want children, he needs to piss that bitch Gia off and find a nice woman who shares his views, or perhaps is unable or unwilling to have children for medical reasons, to share his life with. Gia is a bitch and, as others have said, if Elliot ditches her while Ana is still away, she will make a play for Christian. It would be simply horrible if the bitch managed to get herself pregnant to Elliot after him ending things with the woman he truly loves because he doesn’t want children. OTOH, Carter and Kate might make a good pair and perhaps she and Elliot could just be good friends, as she has already mentioned. Will Kate authorise Ana to tell Christian about her donation when he implodes over the news about Carter being there so much? This and so many questions still keep us guessing, and I look forward to finding out the answers to some of them. Great story, Tara! You continue to entertain and delight with every chapter.

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  32. This is why Kate is 10 times better than Gia for Elliott. Kate didn’t give her liver to save Carrick because she had ulterior motives, like Gia, but because she loves the Greys and wanted the best for them. Gia was just looking for another way to try and cement her relationship with Elliott and have the Greys beholden to her, because they would have felt obligated to accept her because of what she did. And she would have ran with that.
    It is so time to get rid of Gia asap.

    I really hope that Kate and Elliott will find their way back to each other. Sometimes, people think a certain way but as they mature and grow older, their way of thinking changes. So Elliott may be thinking that the family man thing is not for him now, in a few months or years, he may realize that that was what he really wanted all along. And hopefully Kate will be there when he does.

    Liked by 1 person

  33. All right, I REALLY mean it this time. My last thought from this chapter: you REALLY have to question Elliot’s good sense and family loyalty if he would really ALLOW someone like GIA to come in between him and his brother.

    Before pulling a fit, Elliot should have asked Christian IN PRIVATE for his reasons behind his change of heart. And he should RESPECT his brother for choosing HIS WIFE-TO-BE over Gia, particularly as Elliot KNOWS what a loving and LOYAL person that ANA is to her own family and friends. He is short-changing ANA as well as his own brother by just choosing to back Gia, right or wrong.

    I previously loved Elliot MOST for his unfailing devotion to helping Christian. But now he chooses to back Gia’s pettiness, KNOWING that Ana was previously opening to bonding with Gia, had she not chosen to go after Kate and deliberately hurt her. ELLIOT is adding to the family tension by not simply ACCEPTING that Gia cannot be FORCED on the rest of the family, particularly if Gia deliberately chooses fights with Ana. HOW did Gia think that would go over with Ana by showing her absolute contempt of Ana and her friend? Did she really expect the Greys to throw over Ana? Gia really DOES think that she can come in between Ana and this family, and she NEEDS to learn differently!

    And WHEN it comes out what Kate did for the Grey family, I hope Elliot feels even worse in trying to sustain his girlfriend’s petty campaigns against Kate and, by extension, Ana. Elliot should RESPECT Christian’s need to DEFEND and remain loyal to his OWN someone. But Elliot making the situation WORSE with his family at the time that they need to be MOST united and together, over Gia’s tantrums, just makes me furious (obviously).

    (So Gia wants to be the Foundation upon which Elliot builds his life? I have no problem with her lifeless body being thrown into a Grey building foundation, along with the concrete, and having everything stacked up on top of her! HeeHeeHee–fitting end. Fortunately, I expect Tara’s writing will conjure up a far more sophisticated ending to Gia’s machinations then my petty imaginings–but really, doesn’t it give SOME satisfaction, right now, to imagine a steam-roller driving right over Gia?)

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  34. Wonderful chapter. I’m glad Kate was a match. I can see a relationship in the future not sure what kind yet. No matter what kids nd Gia still has to go we all know she’s trying for Christian so Elliott has to see it and kick here to the curb and reconnect with his brother. After some time I’m sure Kate being the donor will be discovered for sure some pool party or something fun like that with all the greys. Can’t wait. Thank you.

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  35. What Kate did for Carrick is selfless, especially given what transpired at the Gala. She could have hated Elliott for what he said and not go through with the liver donation, but she put her feelings aside and still went ahead with the procedure…. How noble!

    I don’t think Elliott knows the real Gia…He just sees what he wants to see. I think he’s so overwhelmed with everything that’s going on in his life, as he confessed to Ana during their talk at the hospital, that he’s just going with the flow/motions. The fact that he has a woman by his side; one to come home to, and keeps his bed warm and have great sex with is enough for him. I suppose he feels… well if I can’t have Kate then I’ll make do with whatever is offered to me! I know he cares and respects Gia and therefore wants his family to be more accepting of her, but they all know that he loves Kate on a much deeper level and Kate is Ana’s best friend so they’re in an awkward position themselves and are basically guarding their own emotions on this situation. Unlike Christian he is only being nice to her in reciprocating Elliott’s treatment/respect/accepting of Ana.

    Once it comes out that Kate was the donor, knowing the Greys, they will be forever indebted to Kate. It’s definitely going to rock Elliott and Gia’s relationship… that’s probably when her true colours will come out. All Gia wants is the Grey name and the status that comes with it!

    I hope she has a false pregnancy and only then will Elliott realise… that babies come from having sex and a predicament that’s inevitable given that no contraception is 100% safe. So regardless of who he is with, Kate or Gia, it’s a given!…Lol.

    I hope Carrick gets better and the stress does not complicate things for Ana’s pregnancy. She has a lot on her plate at the moment: her pregnancy, which will only intensify as time goes by, finals at Harvard and the stress that comes with it, Kate’s current predicament, Carrick’s health and the strain on the family, not forgetting Christian’s working habits and state of mind. Boy… hate to be in her shoes right now. … its one drama after another… Seriously Ana and Christian just need to get away for awhile to de-stress and have some alone time for themselves and their relationship.

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  36. What Kate did for Carrick is selfless, especially given what transpired at the Gala. She could have hated Elliott for what he said and not go through with the liver donation, but she put her feelings aside and still went ahead with the procedure…. How noble!

    I don’t think Elliott knows the real Gia…He sees what he wants to see. I think he’s so overwhelmed with everything that’s going on in his life, as he confessed to Ana during their talk at the hospital, that he’s just going with the flow/motions. The fact that he has a woman by his side; one to come home too, and keeps his bed warm and have great sex with is enough for him. I suppose he feels… well if I can’t have Kate then I’ll make do with whatever is offered to me! I know he cares and respects Gia and therefore wants his family to be more accepting of her, but they all know that he loves Kate on a much deeper level and Kate is Ana’s best friend so they’re in an awkward position themselves and are basically guarding their own emotions on this situation. Unlike Christian he is only being nice to her in reciprocating Elliott’s treatment/respect/accepting of Ana.

    Once it comes out that Kate was the donor, knowing the Greys, they will be forever indebted to Kate. It’s definitely going to rock Elliott and Gia’s relationship… that’s probably when her true colours will come out. All Gia wants is the Grey name and the status that comes with it!

    I hope she has a false pregnancy and only then will Elliott realise… that babies come from having sex and a predicament that’s inevitable given that no contraception is 100% safe. So regardless of who he is with, Kate or Gia, it’s a given!…Lol.

    I hope Carrick gets better and the stress does not complicate things for Ana’s pregnancy. She has a lot on her plate at the moment: her pregnancy, which will only intensify as time goes by, finals at Harvard and the stress that comes with it, Kate’s current predicament, Carrick’s health and the strain on the family, not forgetting Christian’s working habits and state of mind. Boy… hate to be in her shoes right now. … its one drama after another… Seriously Ana and Christian just need to get away for awhile to de-stress and have some alone time for themselves and their relationship.

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  37. Yeah! Carrick gets his liver and Kate was the donor. Awesome chapter Tara. I think everything that needed to be said, has been said. OH ONE MORE side note! Please no Carter for Kate. He’s just not a good match for Kate. I think Kate should spend some alone time with self until she’s mentally able to make those decisions. She has been through so much lately. I really think she needs a break. Until the next chapter. Camille

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  38. Tara continues to weave her powerful magic. Loved it. All the ingredients for a great recipe; a little angst, some tension, lighthearted banter, trepidation…HOPE.

    This chapter made me feel hopeful, in spite of the challenges and (possibly) dangerous unknowns lurking in the future for Ana and Christian.

    (1) Daddy C got a liver and is recovering, albeit slowly…that’s to be expected.

    (2) Kate got to give an incredible gift, for no other reason that she could….that’s very healing; it will help her move beyond where she is and get to a good place (c’mon gals, give ‘ole Carter a chance).

    (3) Ana reminded Elliot of her importance in HIS life, outside of her relationships to the other Greys; this will be an important catalyst for dumping that toxic Elena wannabe.

    (4) And of course….the dog!!! A drooly dog at that! Can’t wait for that convo with Christian. Will he or won’t he be a kind landlord? 😅

    Until next time, love everyone’s comments, as usual. Thanks, Tara. You rock. ❤️

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  39. Fantastic chapter once again. Your updates are the highlight of my Mondays. I have to say that this is the first time I’ve taken an interest in a couple besides Ana and Christian. Kate and Elliot’s relationship is so unpredictable. I truly wish for their happy ending even if it’s not with each other. Though I’ve got to admit that I still hate Gia. She can go fuck herself. My hatred is probs misplaced but idgaf. She can have her own happy ending far away from the Grey’s. Thanks for the update! xoxo

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  40. And ADD to the upcoming pressures for Ana and Christian the actual planning of the WEDDING (although I think Tara’s Grace and Carla would run off and plan everything, if given the chance!).

    Quite frankly, most women are showing their pregnancy by month 4. So any day now, the paparazzi and press will figure out Ana’s pregnant. Will make Ana coming back and forth to Seattle an additional nightmare, for both Ana and Christian. PLUS, all the speculation will begin that Ana ONLY got the ring due to the pregnancy.

    And with more storylines surrounding the Greys, getting Ana’s book PUBLISHED becomes even harder.

    Plus, everyone (press, family, etc.) will probably put additional pressure on Ana and Christian to set the wedding date. I think everything depends on Carrick’s condition, as the couple will obviously want him to be present.

    So take ALL the above issues that we have discussed in the Comments section and ADD wedding prep and press issues regarding the pregnancy to the list. Christian and Ana certainly never have an easy moment of it! And that is all assuming that the pregnancy progresses NORMALLY AND that neither Carrick OR Kate has negative infections, etc. due to their surgeries.

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  41. With so much having gone on with the Grey family, our beloved Mr. Control Freak has not yet had the chance to think about certain LEGAL issues that also may come to fruition later.

    As it stands now, while Christian and Ana are engaged, IF the Conspiracy kidnapped Ana or she got in a car accident and was unconscious, it remains up to Ana’s FAMILY (in other words, Carla, since Ray is out-of-the-country due to the military) to decide how the doctors’ treat Ana. Once Christian and Ana are MARRIED, Christian gets to make certain medical decisions if Ana is unable (due to unconsciousness, incompetency, etc.).

    So I am hoping that Ana’s earlier DREAM surrounding being kidnapped and tortured proves entirely false. And it doesn’t even HAVE to be just the Conspiracy that could cause injury to Ana—she could fall or be in a car accident due to the aggressive actions of the paparazzi/press.

    If Ana ends up in ANY situation where she is rescued BUT incapacitated in an emergency room, unable to make decisions for herself, it falls to her MOTHER right now, to make ALL medical decisions for her, even involving the couple’s infant fetus/daughter. THAT will not settle well with Christian when he has a chance to think about it.

    So there are certain rights and privileges that ONLY having the wedding ring will give a significant other. I can see Christian really freaking out and pushing to have a wedding SOONER rather than later when he realizes this. And he probably WILL start to think about these issues, depending on if his mother is put in a similar situation with Carrick becoming incapacitated.

    Right now, Christian and Ana are enjoying just being engaged and preparing for Ana’s graduation and the birth of their baby, in addition to ALL the other Grey-related issues. But I can see a completely frazzled Christian showing up on Ana’s doorstep when he considers potential “what if’s,” PARTICULARLY if/when security issues come up if anyone discovers monitoring devices in the house, remembers the missing cufflinks, Leila-sitings, etc.

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    1. Agreed! I know it’s only been a couple of chapters since the proposal and with all the issues with Carrick the last thing they need to worry about is the wedding but I’m really hoping that it is sooner rather than later. Especially now that Carrick has the donor liver and has chemo next. I would think that Christian would want to make sure that his father is there for the wedding, just in case the worst was to happen. Plus, since we all know how possessive Christian is I would imagine that he wants to make Ana a Grey asap and definitely before the baby comes. Maybe a spring break wedding?

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  42. It’s time for a Power of Attorney and Healthcare (whatever’s it’s called) letter. Not only should Christian have one drawn up for him to care for Ana, he should be setting up a trust fund for her and baby in case something happens to him. (Of course that’s the kind of thing he’d just go ahead and have it all drawn up and then just hand it to her to sign.)

    Can’t wait for the next chapter!!!

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  43. Love it! At least Gia hopefully now knows where she stands with Christian?! Kate giving her liver for Carrick was awesome and so selfless especially since she doesn’t want any of them to know. BUT will Christian try and find the person that gave his father a second change to say thank you to that person? Love the dog! Too bad Gia didn’t hear Ana and Elliott’s conversation or did she?

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