Chapter 23

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Dr. Baker’s office feels much more empty without Christian’s family huddled around me, anxiously waiting to find out the gender of the baby. It’s only me and Luke now and since this appointment is just a regular check up, I’m anxious to get out of here and get on with everything else I have to do today. Kate being fully committed to school again and having hours and hours of nothing to do while she recovers at home means that she’s invested a great deal of time into The Crimson again, and she’s asked me to replace one of the paper’s regular contributors, whose bi-weekly column has been suffering lately. I was ecstatic at the time and enthusiastically accepted, and it has been nice having something to write for again, but it’s made my workload a little heavier than I would like.

On top of everything else, the only opening Dr. Baker had for me this week was smack dab in the middle of a Thursday, and between my meeting with Dr. Ralston early this morning and the three classes I have to attend today, I barely have time to eat, let alone spend an hour in a waiting room 30 minutes from campus. Thankfully, I at least had the foresight to bring some homework along with me to my appointment to keep me preoccupied while I wait.

“Oooh,” I say, dropping the pen in my hand and sitting up straighter. I lay my hand over my belly and Luke gives me a questioning look.

“You okay?” he asks.

“Fine.” I nod. “She’s definitely getting more active. We may have another Mia on our hands with the way she’s been dancing around all morning.”

He smiles at me. “Can I feel?”

“Sure.” I open my coat a little wider and lean back so Luke can place the palms of his hands over my t-shirt, but after a few seconds of staying absolutely still, he leans back and frowns.

“I don’t feel anything.”

“Sorry,” I sigh. “Christian hasn’t felt anything yet either and he tried for over an hour last weekend.”

“Soon though, right? I mean, you’re getting pretty far along.”

“Hopefully.” I place my hands over my stomach again, no longer just a small protrusion, but a fully fledged baby bump. I popped very suddenly in the middle of last week and when I went home to spend the weekend with Christian, he couldn’t get enough of it. Every time we had a spare moment to be alone together, his fingers immediately went down to my belly and began tracing a line back and forth across it. I’d giggle and try to struggle away from him when the tickling sensation became too much, but that only seemed to encourage him. He thought for sure it would wake the baby up and he’s been desperate to feel her move ever since that night in Paris on the love lock bridge.  

“How did your meeting go this morning?” Luke asks. “Did you make a decision on what you’re going to do about your book?”

“Mhmm,” I mumble as I pick up my pen and start working again. “I’m not going to use a pen name.”

“You’re not?”

“No. It’s important to me that the dust jacket say Anastasia Steele, so I’m not compromising on that.”

“But I thought that was the deal? Either you agree to write about Grey or you publish under a pseudonym?”

I shake my head. “I’m not making any deals. I have the head of the English Department of Harvard University behind me, that should be enough. He’s got connections in the publishing world and if he can’t find a way to use them to get me a deal, then I’ll find someone else who can. My book is going to be published the way I want it to be published, and when it’s in print, I’ll be very clear in my acknowledgements about who made that happen and who didn’t. With that knowledge, Dr. Ralston can decide how hard he wants to fight for me.”

Luke smiles, though he’s trying to hide it, so I raise an eyebrow at him. “What?”

“You sound just like Grey,” he says.

“Yeah, well, he’s very influential. Wwe talked about it last weekend and he told me not to settle. He said I should never accept less than I deserve and I deserve greatness. We’ve always got SIP as a backup, so I don’t need to compromise where I don’t want to.”

“No, you don’t, and I’m glad you took his advice to heart. There’s a reason he’s so successful, he doesn’t take no for an answer. You shouldn’t either. You’re too talented for that.”

“Thanks, Luke.”

“Anastasia Steele?”

I look up to see Dr. Baker’s nurse standing at the door that leads to the back offices, so I wave and then squeeze Luke’s hand as I get out of my seat to follow her. She asks me to step on the scale so she can take my weight and, as she moves the slide over the measure, I look away, unwilling to see just how much all of this extra belly has increased the number.

After taking my vitals and asking the now expected pre-check up questions, the nurse leaves me alone in the examination room for several minutes and, while I stare at the pictures on the wall of the different stages of pregnancy and one landscape photograph with a corny inspirational quote scrawled across it, I feel a wash of regret over leaving my homework in the waiting room with Luke. Right now, ten minutes feels like an hour and I’ve got a lot to finish before I leave for Seattle this weekend.

“Good afternoon, Anastasia,” Dr. Baker greets me when she finally enters the room. “How have the last couple weeks been?”

“Better, actually. My breasts are pretty sore and I’ve had some heartburn, but I think my body is finally adjusting to the pregnancy. I haven’t been as tired.”

“They do call the second trimester the honeymoon period,” she says. “You should be normalizing a bit, getting into a groove. Have you felt the baby move at all?”

“Yeah, she moves all the time, but Christian hasn’t been able to feel anything yet.”

“Well, you’re…” she looks down at her chart. “Twenty one weeks? It shouldn’t be too much longer. She’s still pretty weak so her movements are fairly light, but she’s going to hit a growth spurt here over the next few weeks, so he should feel something soon.”

“Good,” I nod. “I think he’s feeling left out.”

She smiles and then looks down at her chart again. “How are things at home? You said your father-in-law has cancer, didn’t you?”

“Well, he’s not my… uh.” I stop, realizing the clarification is unnecessary. “Yeah, he does.”

“How is his treatment going?”

“Good. He had transplant surgery about five weeks ago and the doctors say he should be ready to start chemo by the end of February.”

“That’s wonderful to hear. How’s school?”

“Great. My best friend also just had surgery so she’s on a temporary disability program through the university that’s allowing her to take classes from home until she’s able to get to school on her own, but she’s going out of her mind with boredom. It’s been smooth sailing for me though. Just kind of busy.”

“Mmm,” she hums as she makes a note on her chart. “You live on the west coast, right? Are you still travelling back and forth?”

“Yeah. I mean it’s only been one weekend so far but I’ve flown home once and I’ll fly home again tomorrow. I actually wanted to talk to you about painting… Christian and I recently bought a house and we’re just about to start renovation. I wanted to paint the nursery myself but he’s concerned about fumes.”

“Unfortunately, the jury is still out on that one,” she says. “There hasn’t been any definitive research as to whether or not painting a room is enough exposure to the chemicals and solvents found in most commercial paint brands to warrant concern. Personally, I’d recommend having someone else do the painting if you can, but if you need to do it, make sure the room is well ventilated, don’t eat or drink, wear a respiratory mask, and stop immediately if you feel dizzy or nauseated.”

“So, no,” I sigh, and she nods.

“I think that’s a good idea. Your chart shows that your blood pressure is still elevated, higher in fact than it was the last time I saw you. Have you eaten anything today?”

“Uh, I had some toast and avocado this morning. And some orange juice.”

“Do you mind if I take it one more time?”

“Of course not.” I quickly yank up the sleeve on my shirt and stick out my arm for her. She wraps the velcro cuff around my bicep and then quickly begins pumping the round ball on the end of the plastic tubing running down my arm. When the pressure in the cuff gets to it’s tightest point, she looks carefully at the reading and then frowns.

“150/100.”

“Is that bad?”

“It’s… high. Normally, we’d like to see something below 140/90. Have you been experiencing headaches or problems with your vision?”  

“Um… no. I don’t think so.”

“How about pain?” She reaches forward and gently presses her fingers into my upper abdomen, just below my ribs. “Anything here?”

“Not pain,” I say hesitantly. “Maybe some pressure. Especially when you push down right there.”

“Okay.” She gets off her stool, takes my hand in hers, and starts examining my wrist, then reaches down for my foot and does the same thing to my ankle. Once she’s finished she moves over to the cabinet where all the supplies are stored and pulls out a plastic cup to hand to me. “I’m going to call a phlebotomist in here to take some blood and have you take this cup into the bathroom and give me a urine sample.”

“Is something wrong?”

“I just want to take some labs,” she says, holding the cup out further for me. I nod and hop off the examination table.

It’s worse waiting in the room after the phlebotomist has left because, aside from the anxiety over what Dr. Baker is running labs for, my appointment is now going much longer than I had anticipated. It looks like I’m going to miss my Kaleidoscopic Romanticism class, for which I have an exam coming up in the next week. I decide it’s best to email my professor now, before I miss class, to explain my situation so that hopefully he’ll take pity on me and send me his lecture notes, but I’m only about halfway through typing out the email on my iPhone when Dr. Baker re-enters the room.

“How’d it go?” I ask immediately.

“Well, Ana, your blood looks good, but you urine did show some slightly elevated protein levels.  I think you’re showing early warning signs of pre-eclampsia.”

“Pre-e… what? I don’t know what that is.”

“It’s a complication. It causes high blood pressure, damage to your kidneys and liver, and it can be dangerous for you and your baby.”

The curiosity in my expression vanishes, replaced instantly by blank dread as I feel my entire body go cold.

“So… you’re saying that I have it or that I might get it?”

“Generally we see pre-eclampsia developing in your last trimester but if we don’t start a course of treatment now, at the onset of your symptoms, it can become very severe, very quickly.”

“What’s the treatment?”

“Mostly lifestyle changes. I’d like you to start taking a low dose aspirin before bed to try and help lower your blood pressure. It’s important that you are very careful going forward with your diet, particularly with salt. I’d like for you to try and limit your daily sodium to less than 1500 mg a day and increase your water intake to somewhere between 64 and 72 ounces. Are you still exercising?”

“Yeah, I run three times a week. Outside, not on the treadmill.”

“You should bump that up to between five and seven days a week. The further into your pregnancy you get, the more rest you’re going to require, but for now, 30 minutes of cardiovascular exercise everyday can help your symptoms from progressing.”

“Okay,” I agree. “30 minutes a day, every day.”

“Good. And when you are at home, it’s a good idea to keep your feet elevated and find time to relax. It sounds like you have a lot going on at home so I really want you to focus on reducing your stress levels over the next few months.”

“Okay.”

She gives me some pamphlets and tells me that she wants to see me once every two weeks now, rather than the once a month we’d previously scheduled. I agree and then thank her as I leave the room, stopping at the desk to schedule the additional appointments before returning to Luke in the waiting room.

“So, how’d it go?” he asks the moment he sees me come through the door, but when I don’t respond right away, his face falls. “Ana? What’s wrong?”

“She thinks I might be developing a complication.”

“What complication?” he asks wearily.

“Pre-eclampsia. She said that it normally won’t develop until the third trimester and we can try to prevent it, but if I do get it, it can be bad for me and the baby.”

“How bad?”

“I don’t know.”

He presses his lips together, clearly choosing his words carefully before he speaks. “Are you going to call Grey or wait until tomorrow?”

“I’m gonna call him, he’ll be mad if I wait. I just need to think of a way to tell him without freaking him out too much. As if 3,000 miles of distance wasn’t hard enough, right? Let’s add high risk pregnancy on top of that.”  

“You two are never easy,” he agrees. “Come on, we can still get you to your last class if we hurry. You can call him from the car.”

When we pull out of the parking lot of Dr. Baker’s office and start making our way back to Cambridge, I take out my phone, find Christian’s name in my recent calls, and dial, feeling guilty for adding this on top of his already too full plate, but the phone rings twice and then goes straight to voicemail.

“What time is?” I ask aloud, realizing too late that my phone is literally in my hand.

“01:30,” Luke answers.

“He’s probably just working then. I’ll call him tonight.”

“With how distracted you get? I don’t think so.” He presses his thumb into the button on the steering wheel and prompts the car to dial the front desk at GEH. Two rings later, Andrea’s voice comes through the phone.

“Christian Grey’s office, this is Andrea Parker speaking. How may I assist you?”

“Hi, Andrea, it’s Luke. I have Anastasia on the line.”

“Hi, Luke. Mr. Grey and Miss Bailey are in a client meeting right now, can I…”

“It’s urgent,” Luke interrupts her. “Ana just got back from the doctor’s office.”

“Oh, hold on just a minute. I’ll let him know.” There’s a click followed immediately by generic sounding hold music, and I turn an annoyed look on Luke.

“You didn’t have to pull him out of a meeting. It’s not urgent and saying it is isn’t going to help the whole don’t freak him out thing I’m going for.”

“We’ll let him decide if it’s urgent or not.”

I roll my eyes and then wait a few more seconds until Christian’s voice breaks through the hold music. Predictably, he doesn’t take the news well but I don’t really get the chance to talk him down before I hear Ros desperately trying to coax him off the phone.

“Christian, I’m begging you. This is a ten million dollar merger. Please. Please go back into that room. “

“I’ll be there in a minute, Ros,” Christian hisses at her.

“No, not in a minute. Now. They’re going to walk away, please!

“Ros, I’m not-” I yells, but I cut him off.

“Christian, it’s fine. I’m about to go into class anyway. Call me this afternoon when you’re available and we can talk more.”

He sighs in frustration. “I’ll be done soon, I promise. I love you.”

“I love you, too. Bye.” I hang up the phone and glance out the window as we pull into the parking lot closest to the English building on campus, trying to help Luke spot an open parking space, which has become an elusive concept since the cold really took hold of Cambridge. As we’ve come to expect, there isn’t one, so, after checking that campus security isn’t trolling around, looking for tickets to dish out, he pulls into a loading zone, shifts into park, and leaves the car idling as he gets out to hurriedly walk me to class.

“Alright, you got everything?” he asks as we approach the main doors.

“Yeah.”

“Okay, I’m going to go move the car, but I’ll be right here when you get out.”

“Thanks, Luke.” I lean in to give him a quick hug as I turn and climb the steps that lead to the front doors of the building and then make my way to the classroom. There’s still a few minutes before the lecture starts so I take the opportunity to drop off my things, strip out of my too bulky winter coat, and make a beeline for the bathroom. It’s getting more and more difficult to sit through a whole lecture with my daughter snuggling against my bladder all the time so, hopefully, a preemptive bathroom trip will get me through the next hour.

Unfortunately, the bathroom next to the lecture hall I’m in is closed for cleaning, so I have to hurry awkwardly to the one all the way on the other side of the building, which means by the time I’ve washed my hands and started back, I’m officially late for class. Dr. Chelli is notoriously difficult with people walking in after his lecture has started so I find myself rushing through the deserted hallways so fast that I almost run straight into the girl standing in the middle of the hallway when I come around the corner. I manage to stop in time though and the moment I realize who it is, I stumble backwards so quickly I nearly fall over.

“What are you doing here?” I ask cautiously as I regain my balance, but she doesn’t respond. Her bourbon colored eyes focus in on the very visible bump beneath my t-shirt, and then widen with realization. Instinctively, I place a protective hand over my stomach and take several steps backwards.

“Leila?”

The sound of her name seems to bring her out of the almost trance like daze she’s staring at me with, and as she makes eye contact with me, her bottom lip begins to tremble.

“You’re pregnant?”

I swallow, knowing I can’t deny what’s obviously right in front of her, and try to summon whatever courage I can muster. “Yeah. So, you just stay away from me, okay?” It comes out weak, more like a plea than a command, because seeing her for the first time since New York has the all too clear memories of the fear I felt being chased from that coffee shop washing back over me, magnified now that it’s not just me I have to be scared for.

“Oh my god,” she whispers. “That’s why you… and why he…” She shakes her head as she struggles to get a full sentence through her increasingly choppy breathing and then glances up and down the hallway before turning wide, glassy eyes back on me. She looks lost, helpless, and it almost makes me want to grab ahold of her and lead her to a chair.

“Leila?”

“I can’t do this,” she says.

“Do what?”

“I can’t…” Her fingers reach up to cover her lips as she turns away from me and hurries down the hall, but before she turns the corner, she stops, shakes her head again, and then comes back towards me. I stumble backwards into the wall, debating whether or not I should scream, but as she approaches me, I don’t see any degree of malice in her eyes. In fact, there’s almost genuine concern reflected there.

“Ana, you need to be careful,” she says quickly. “He’s crazy.

“What?”

“He’s watching you. He’s always watching you, waiting…”

“Who?”

She shakes her head. “It’s already begun.”

I stare blankly at her as I start to wonder for a moment if she’s actually gone off the deep end, but before I can get anymore out of her, she begins backing away from me and then runs down the hallway once more and out of sight. I wait for a second, frozen in place as I worry that she may come back again, but she doesn’t. She’s left me alone and the adrenaline I feel from her sudden appearance doesn’t crash after she’s gone. In fact, it almost seems heightened now. I don’t know where she is or if she’s alone, and her ramblings, incoherent as they may have been, make the silence of the empty hallway feel menacing. Like there’s someone here with me who I can’t see. Suddenly, every classroom, every alcove, every garbage can becomes a possible hiding place and as my eyes shift wildly through the open space, I can feel my heart beating so hard it feels as though it’s going to pound right out of my chest.

I need Luke, now, so I reach into my pocket, pull out my phone, and dial his number.

“Ana?” he answers on the first ring.

“Where are you? I need you to take me home.”

“Now?”

“Yes, now. Right now. Come inside and get me. I want to leave. I want to go home”

“What happened?” he asks.

“I just saw Leila.”

There’s half a beat of silence before he responds, and when he does his voice is flat and deadly serious. “I’ll be there in four minutes.”

The phone clicks off and I take a deep breath to try and calm the nerves running through me as I turn back for the classroom. Twenty pairs of eyes shift to me when I open the door and Dr. Chelli makes a point to stop his lecture to shame me for being late, but I’m so wrapped up in the anxiety Leila’s words have left me with that I don’t even feel embarrassed as I gather my things and leave again.

Luke is coming through the main doors when I step back out into the hallway. The moment I’m within arms reach, he grips tightly to my shoulders and looks me dead in the eye.

“What happened?”

“She knows I’m pregnant,” I tell him. “She saw and it made her upset and then she said that I needed to be careful. She said that somebody’s watching me.” I glance around the hall again, and so does Luke.

“Come on, let’s get you out of here,” he says urgently. I nod and then allow him to wrap a protective arm over my shoulder as he leads me out of the building.

***

“Still no answer,” Luke says, hanging up his phone with frustration while he paces the floor behind the couch. I take another drink of tea and lay my head back against the arm of the sofa. Now that I’m home, wrapped in a blanket on the couch with Kate next to me and a slobbery, sleeping dog curled up with his head in my lap, I’m feeling less exposed and therefore, much calmer. Luke on the other hand has been furiously dialing Christian’s cell phone every fifteen minutes for the last hour.

“He’s in a meeting,” I remind him. “I’ve left a message, you’ve left a message, he’ll call when he’s done.”

“I’m calling, Andrea,” he says, shaking his head.

“Luke, we’re fine. If you pull him out of this meeting again, he’s going to have a heart attack. We can wait a couple hours. It’s not like he’s not going to call me back.”

Your job’s not on the line, Anastasia.”

“Neither is yours. I’m fine.”

“Yeah, thank god. But Leila still managed to get you alone. Again. She shouldn’t be able to get to you, but somehow, she manages, and now you’re telling me that there’s some mystery lunatic out there keeping tabs on you? I’m not equipped to deal with this, Ana. I’m alone here, there’s no team, and we have no remote surveillance on this house. Hell, I don’t even have a license to carry a firearm in the state of Massachusetts. Grey isn’t the only one who wants to protect you!” He begins pacing again. “I knew something like this was going to happen. I should have never kept what happened in New York from him.”

“Okay, let’s take a second to breathe,” Kate insists. “I do seem to recall hearing something about how stress is something we’re supposed to be avoiding.”

Luke takes a deep breath through his nose while his jaw clenches shut and then crosses the living room to slump down into the easy chair across from us.

“Good,” Kate says. “Now, we’re all home and we’re all safe, so what’s important right now is to take care of Ana and get her comfortable and relaxed. We can deal with what just happened when Christian calls you back, but until then, our priority is to follow doctor’s orders and keep Ana calm.”

“Thank you, Kate,” I say.

“You’re welcome.” Her phone buzzes on the coffee table and she sighs before holding tightly onto her stomach where her scar is and bending over to get it. The pain is obvious on her face when she moves so I quickly push Champ off my lap to help her, and he snorts indignantly as he jumps off the couch and saunters over to Luke.

“Thank you,” Kate says when I hand her phone to her, and while she reads the text message open on the screen, I glance back over at a much more relaxed Luke, who is now leaning out of the chair to scratch Champ lovingly behind the ears. I swear, this dog is has him wrapped around his adorable little paw.

“Who’s a good boy?” he asks while Champ licks his face.

“Carter’s on his way back from the airport,” Kate says. “He’s got Ethan with him.”

“Ethan!” I exclaim. “Oh my god, I totally forgot he was coming this weekend.”

“He’s coming to snoop,” Kate says wryly. “He fed me this whole long story about how he wanted to check up on me and see how I was recovering but I know he’s here to check out Carter. My mom has been berating me about him for the past couple weeks, she’s probably behind it.”

“Or he just loves his little sister.”

“Highly unlikely,” she says, and I laugh.

“What are we going to do about sleeping arrangements tonight?” Luke asks. “If Carter is staying the night here, I have to stay in the guest room.”

“Why?” Kate asks.

“Christian,” I sigh. “It’s one of the new rules. Carter’s not allowed to be in the house if Luke’s not here.”

“Are you serious?” Kate asks, clearly annoyed.

I nod. “Of all the guys in this town you could have chosen, you had to pick Christian’s mortal enemy.”

“I think that’s extreme,” she replies. “Christian just needs to get the chance to know Carter.”

“Yeah? Good luck with that.”

About half an hour later, we hear the back door slide open and Carter and Ethan’s voices float in from the kitchen, which makes Champ jump off the floor and sprint to the door to attack whichever intruder has entered his domain. The barks give way to excited scratching on the tile floor though, when he sees who it is.

“Hey, Champ!” Carter says, jingling his collar as, I assume, he leans down to pet him and calm him down.  

“Katie?” Ethan calls.

“In here,” she shouts back, and, a second later, he rounds the corner into the living room.

“Oh man, it’s so good to see you!” he says excitedly. Kate holds open her arms for him but he makes a very obvious show of pivoting around her and pulls me up off the couch into a tight hug. “Banana, I can’t tell you how much I’ve missed you!”

“Ha ha,” Kate says, clearly not amused, and Ethan turns back to his sister. “I’m just kidding. How you feeling, Sis?”

“Oh you know, like someone cut open my body and ripped out half of one of my vital organs.”

“Sounds terrible,” he says, leaning down to give her a gentle hug.

“Ethan!” Carter calls from the kitchen. “You want a beer, man?”

“Please.”

“How about you, Ana?”

He can’t see me, but I roll my eyes. “Sure, I’ll take two. One for me and one for the baby.”

“Ah, fuck,” he says, coming into the living room to hand an open bottle to Ethan. “I keep forgetting. It’s so weird. You have like… a person inside of you.”

“Trust me,” Kate interjects. “If you knew Ana and Christian, you wouldn’t think that was weird.”

“Katherine Kavanagh!” I exclaim, shocked, but she just gives me a satisfied smile in response.

“You want a beer, Luke?” Carter asks.

“No, I’m on duty.”

“You’re always on duty. Come on, man. Live a little.”

“That’s not how it works. I’m on duty,  and I don’t drink on duty.” His voice is cold, more so than is necessary, and Carter frowns. He’s been trying to bond with Luke ever since we came back from Christmas break, but he’s not gained any ground and I have a feeling that might have something to do with Christian.  

“Here,” I say, hoping to break the tension as I untangle myself from my blanket and get up off the couch. “You can sit next to your girlfriend.”

“You don’t have to get up, Ana,” Carter says.  

“Actually she does,” Ethan says. “You get to sit next to your girlfriend. I’m gonna sit next to mine.”

“You can’t say stuff like that anymore, Ethan!” I exclaim as I plop down on the couch next to him. “I have a fiancé now who I literally just got in a fight with about letting girls flirt with him.”

“Yeah, he may be your fiancé, but I’m your husband, remember? We took vows, Anastasia.”

“We were six and seven and that marriage only lasted as long as my ring pop, which I’m pretty sure you stole from me after the ceremony.”

“To be fair, I only went through with the marriage because Kate promised me the ring pop. It was a dowry.”

I laugh and shove against him before taking a long drink from my mug of tea.

It’s nice with the boys here with us, much more relaxed, and it feels good. We spend the next few hours talking and laughing, telling stories about some of our most memorable college experiences. Kate has more stories over the past few months than I have for my entire four years, and, as she details some of her more risque escapades with Ainsley and Eliza in New York, I actually find my mouth dropping open with shock several times.

“Okay, okay,” Ethan says finally. “You have to stop now. God, my little sister! Ana, was supposed to be a better influence on you than this.”

“Hey, don’t let her sweet little face fool you,” Kate says defensively. “Ana’s had her fair share of wild nights.”

“I don’t know what you’re talking about,” I reply innocently.

“Well, shall we refer to exhibit A?” she asks, gesturing to my belly. I narrow my eyes at her and pull the blanket in my lap up over my shoulders, but before she can detail anymore of the scandalous things she knows about me, we hear Champ’s deep bark echo out to us from the kitchen, followed by the sound of his claws scratching against the sliding glass door. Luke immediately sits up straighter while Kate and I turn to look through the window in the kitchen. It’s dark out, so we can’t make out much, except there seems to be a light outside that goes out once we all turn to the window.

“What was that?” Kate asks, nervously.

“Ana…” Luke gets out of his seat and walks over to me, and I get up to stand behind him.

“What’s going on?” Ethan asks, but Kate quickly shushes him. Luke’s eyes move between the front door and both the living room and the kitchen windows as he edges me to the stairs, Champ’s loud barks continuing to reverberate back at us. The confusion in both Carter’s and Ethan’s faces is obvious, but it’s Kate who I turn to look back at, and I feel my stomach drop as I see how pale she’s gone in a matter of seconds. I want to grab her, take her with me upstairs while Luke deals with whatever or whoever is outside, but it takes so much to move her right now. I can’t just pull her after me without seriously hurting her.

As the nervousness between Kate, Luke, and I grows more and more palpable, I see both Carter and Ethan unconsciously inch closer to Kate, which makes me feel a little better, until Luke pushes me gently against the wall between the stairs and the kitchen and then slips around the corner.

“Champ, NO!” he yells as I hear the low groan of the wheels on the sliding glass door opening. I take a deep breath, preparing for some kind of confrontation, but instead, feel my entire body relax as I hear Christian’s voice.

“Jesus, fuck!”

“I’m sorry, sir,” Luke says. “Champ, get down. Get down!”

“Where’s Ana?” Christian asks, and I push off the wall to move as quickly as possible into the kitchen. Luke is holding tightly to Champ’s collar while he growls and struggles to get back at Christian, Taylor is hovering protectively in the way, but Christian isn’t paying attention to any of them. His eyes move only to me.

“Hey,” he breathes. I move quickly across the room and launch myself into him, finally feeling truly safe for the first time since this morning as his arms wrap around me.

“What are you doing here?” I ask.

“What do you mean? You can’t just call me and tell me that you’re developing a pregnancy complication and not expect me to get to you as quickly as possible.”

“Christian,” I whisper gratefully, and then lean up on my toes to kiss him. His fingers brush softly against my cheeks, and when I pull away, he looks purposefully into my eyes.

“How are you feeling?”

“I’m fine,” I tell him. “This whole thing… it’s just a possibility, something I have a chance of getting, but I’m fine right now. The doctor gave me all kind of things I have to do to prevent it.”

“Like what?”

I repeat the long list of things Dr. Baker told me this afternoon, trying to explain everything in the same comforting way she was able to. “Really, it’s the same kinds of things she told me last time.”

“Well, you need to take it seriously now,” he says. “I read through a dozen different articles and medical journals on my flight here, and they said this can damage your kidneys and your liver… I can’t handle anymore liver complications.”

“I know.” I nod. “I will.”

His arms tighten around me again. “I’ve missed you.”

“I’ve missed you, too.”

“Sir,” Luke interrupts. “I think there’s something more pressing we need to discuss.”

“What do you mean?” Christian asks. Luke turns to me, giving me the chance to tell him myself, and I take a deep breath before looking up at him.

“I saw Leila today.”

“What? Where?”

“She was in the building where I had class. She was waiting there for me.”

“Waiting for you?” He turns an angry glare on Luke. “Where the fuck were you?”

“He was parking the car,” I say quickly in Luke’s defense. “I was supposed to be in class but I left to pee and she was in the hallway when I came out.”

The muscle in Christian’s jaw twitches. “Anastasia…”

“I’m sorry! I haven’t seen her in months, it didn’t occur to me that she would be on campus. She’s supposed to be in school too.”

He turns an angry glare back on Luke. “If Ana’s on that campus, I don’t want her alone. Not for a second.”

“Yes, sir,” Luke agrees. “I absolutely think it’s necessary to increase our resources here in Cambridge. As soon as possible.”

“Increase?”

“She…” I hesitate, knowing the reaction to what I’m about to say isn’t going to be good. “She said that someone is… watching me.”

The red already coloring Christian’s face deepens and I watch him take a few deep calming breaths before he responds. When he speaks again, the careful calmness he’s working to keep in his voice is extremely obvious.

“What do you mean, someone is watching you?”

“I don’t know, she wasn’t very coherent. She just said, ‘he’s watching you’,” I tell him.

“Pack your bags,” he says, without a second thought.

“What?”

“If I can’t absolutely guarantee your safety, you’re not staying here. If someone is watching you, they’re doing it for a reason, and I’m not interested in finding out what that reason is. Pack your bags, you’re coming home.”

“Christian!”

“This is not a discussion, Anastasia. Go pack your fucking bags, or Taylor can do it for you.”

“Christian, please…”

“Goddamn it, will you please just do what you’re fucking told?”

I take a step back from the anger radiating off of him, which is enough that Luke actually takes a step forward like he’s going to move between us.

“Is everything okay in here?”

I turn and see Ethan hovering in the archway between the kitchen and living room, looking between Christian and I as though he’s debating how involved he wants to get.

“We’re fine, Ethan,” I tell him.

He doesn’t look like he believes me. “You sure?”

“Yes, I’m sure.”

“Alright,” he says. “But, I’m just in the other room. If you need me…”

“We’re fine,” I assure him again. He nods, but gives Christian a warning look before he turns back into the living room.

“I can’t come home, Christian,” I say calmly as I face him again. “Leaving school isn’t an option, remember?”

“You can finish school from Seattle. I’ll call the University.”

“That’s not what I want,” I argue. “Sure, I could write papers from Seattle and do my homework, but that’s not what this experience is for me. I’m not finished here yet. Dr. Ralston and I are working on my book again, I just started writing full time for the paper, and I want these last four months with Kate. Four months, that’s all I’ve got left. So, I need you to find a way to give them to me. That may be asking the world, but you promised me the world before. So give it to me, Christian. Find a way to give me the world.”

“Ana, you know that I want to. More than anything, I want to give you everything you’ve worked for, everything you deserve, everything you want, but more than that, I have to keep you safe. I have to protect you.”

“Then protect me,” I challenge him. “Protect me here. You have the resources to do that. I know that’s uncomfortable, but that’s what I need from you. Keep me safe, keep whoever is out there away from me, do whatever you have to do, but keep me here.”

He stares at me for a very long, uncomfortable minute until he eventually turns to face Luke.

“What would it take?” he asks.

“Cameras,” he says immediately. “I need every inch of this house under 24 hour surveillance. I need a license to open carry in Massachusetts, and I need back up. At least one more body to have around when I can’t be.”

“I don’t like guns…” Christian says, but after glancing back at me, he nods. “Taylor, Sawyer has my full approval, whatever he needs, he gets. Spare no cost and don’t cut any corners. If Ana is staying in Cambridge, I want her security to make the Secret Service look like a joke. And, if either of you even get wind of a threat, I want her back on a plane to Seattle, immediately.”

“Yes, sir,” Taylor says.

“Thank you,” I say, wrapping my arms around his middle. He exhales and then presses his lips into my hair.

“Please don’t make me regret this.”

“I won’t,” I promise. His finger moves to my chin, tilting my face up to his, and as he presses his lips into mine, I hear the refrigerator door open behind me.

“Well, aren’t you two adorable?” Carter interjects.

“Why are you here?” Christian asks, annoyed.

“My girlfriend lives here,” he says. “We’re about to start a movie, you two lovebirds want to join us?”

“No,” Christian says shortly, but I place a gentle hand on his arm and step in front of him before he can say anything else.

“I think we’re just going to go to bed. Enjoy your movie.”

“Alright,” he says as he closes the refrigerator with two more beers in hand. “You two have a… good night.” He gives us a knowing smile and the suggestion in his voice makes Christian’s muscles tense, so I take his hand and lead him out of the room and pull him towards the stairs.

“Good night, Christian!” Kate calls after us, but he doesn’t respond. Instead, he lets out a disgusted kind of scoff and moves more quickly up the steps.  

“It just had to be fucking Reed,” he says, once we’re in my bedroom. “100,000 people in this town and that’s the one she picks. What did I ever do to her?”

“She likes him,” I tell him. “And she’s happy. More so than I’ve seen her in months. Carter’s been really good to her.”

“He could be good to her at his house.”

“But I like her here.” He rolls his eyes, and I frown. “It’s okay though, right? Carter being here, I mean. I know that I freaked out about Gia so, if you’re uncomfortable…”

“I trust you, Ana,” he assures me.

“I trust you,” I argue. “That doesn’t mean I liked her being around you.”

“Look, if you want to send Reed away, I will gladly help you throw him out of this house, but I know how important Kate is to you. I don’t want to start something between the two of you and I know that’s what getting rid of Reed will do. Believe me.”

“Believe you? What does that mean?”

“Nothing, Elliot just..” He stops and shakes his head. “It’s nothing. Don’t worry about it.”

I furrow my brow at him as he reaches for the back collar of his t-shirt but am distracted by the tantalizing view of his abs stretching and contracting as he pulls it over his head. I decide we can talk more when we get into bed so I move to my dresser to find my Harvard t-shirt to sleep in, but as I strip down, he comes up behind me and places his hands on my hips.

“I really have missed you. Having you for so long over Christmas break almost made me forget how hard this is.”

“I know,” I agree. “It’s taken some adjustment getting used to sleeping alone again. Well, not alone…”

“What?” he snaps, and his hands drop from my hips. I smile and turn back to face him.

“Yeah… I didn’t know how to tell you this, but I’ve been sleeping with a very handsome boy for the past couple weeks.” His expression goes blank, his eyes widen, and the color drains from his face.

“He’s a real Champ,” I giggle, and Christian frowns.

“That’s not funny.”

“Then why am I laughing?” I ask, pulling myself into him and reaching up on my tip toes to gently graze my nose against his.

“Because you’re mean.” His voice is softer now that he has me in his arms, warmer, and I use my advantageous position to kiss him. He immediately deepens the kiss, keeping his lips gentle against mine as he languidly slips his tongue into my mouth. I wrap my arms tighter around him, enjoying every second of this contact between us, until he very suddenly lifts me into the air and walks backwards towards the bed. I squeal as he drops me onto the comforter and then crawls over the top of me like a predatory animal to take my lips again.

The warmth I feel radiating off of him as his body completely envelops mine soothes away any residual tension I’m feeling and I moan in pleasure as I reach up and tangle my fingers into his hair, holding him to me, refusing to let him go. This is one of the things I love most about him. No matter what we’re going through, no matter what the outside world throws at us, the feel of his lips against mine is all I need to feel at peace.

He kisses me for a long time and I’m perfectly content to let him. Eventually though, he begins to move down my body and, just as I think he’s going to reach for the band of my yoga pants, he stops, grips the bottom hem of my t-shirt, and pulls it up just over my belly. His lips touch my skin again and his hands move to either side of my bump.

“She’s growing,” he says.

“Mmm,” I hum back. “The doctor said you should be able to feel her any day.”

He glances up at me, then flattens his palms on my stomach and waits. I try not to move, try not to even breathe so that hopefully the he’ll be able to feel even the smallest movement inside of me, but there’s nothing.

“She’s sleeping,” I say, conciliatory.

“She’s stubborn,” he corrects me. “Just like her mother.”

“Oh, I’m stubborn? I’m sorry, I forgot that you’re widely known for being so flexible and accommodating.”

He lets out a low, breathy laugh, and then waits again for any movement under his hands. Still, there’s nothing.

“Well, if she’s sleeping,” he says, giving me a mischievous look, “perhaps we need to wake her up.”

“What do you-” I begin, but my words cut off as his fingers hook under my panties and he eases them down my legs.

Next Chapter

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79 thoughts on “Chapter 23

  1. I don’t know why I can’t stop thinking of Carter being the “he” that Leila mentioned. Or maybe Hyde, but I don’t think that that he would be so cordinated… Only time will tell… Loved the chapter, you are really making difficult for me to find a boyfriend that stands the expectatives. This Christian really is the love of my life.

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  2. I can’t stop thinking that Carter is the “he” Leila mentioned. I truly liked her in that moment (well, only a little). But she could have been more explicit! You are making it difficult for me to find a boyfriend with those high expectatives with Christian. How can he be so fucking awesome?
    I’m saying that he will discover the truth sbout Kate the next day. About time. Yeah, we don’t have patience.

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    1. It was amazing as always..

      I think it’s jack that’s watching Ana who else could it be Carter is with Kate but I am excited for Christian to feel his baby and hopefully Ana doesn’t develop that nasty complication. And Christian finding out Kate saved his dad and the ultimate conversation between Elliot and Kate

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  3. Leila is frightening… As in ” holy shit!! as a shiver runs down my spine.” frightening.
    I am glad that they are increasing Ana protection. But for some reason, I don’t think it will be enough.

    Will Ana ever tell Christian that Kate is the donor? Or does he already know?

    Cannot wait for more 😀

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  4. It was creepy the way Ana ran into Liela. She’s obviously in cahoots with someone else but who??? My first thought was Jack but then Mr. Lincoln came to mind. I’m also wondering now if Carter not going to be as nice as he first seemed. Which would be scary since he’s infiltrated himself in Ana’s and Kate’s lives and Champ is friendly with him. I love how Christian doesn’t hesitate to drop everything to see how Ana’s doing if he think something is wrong. I’m glad she told him about Liela and that they’re going to add extra security. Leila actually seemed to imply that she wasn’t the one wanting to hurt her so the fact that someone is out there more sinister is worrisome. Another thing that is worrisome is Christian and Elliot. I think he started to say he didn’t want Ana’s and Kate’s relationship to suffer the way his and Elliot’s has because if not excepting thier new relationship. It makes me sad to think Elliot and Christian don’t have each other through this difficult time in their lives. Also, I cringe now when Christian is a grump to Kate. If he knew what she’s sacrificed for his family he’d regret not being nicer. But I think that just shows how awesome Kate is! She didn’t do it for brownie points, just out of the goodness of her heart! One thing that I’ve been curious about is Ana flying back and forth. I know doctors and airlines sometimes precaution patients who are pregnant not to fly at a certain point. I wasn’t sure if thats mainly for commercial flights and since she’s flying a private plane that’s not something she’d have to worry about or if she’ll have to have a nurse travel with her? Especially, around graduation time she’ll be about ready to pop! Thanks for the update! Looking forward to the next chapter!

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    1. I’m like you—my brain immediately went to all the possible “he’s” that it could be.

      Obviously, the “HE” that Leila referred to would have to be in the area already. THAT is why Leila is so convinced that the plan has passed the point of no return. AND that is a truly SCARY thought. Leila was TOO FRIGHTENED to tell Ana more, and that would HAVE to be because the “HE” is close enough to get ahold of her before she could escape should she betray him. (And LEILA would have to be watched, too, presumably, in order to KNOW that she hasn’t turned.)

      Welch was fired and could be ANYWHERE. Also, because he was at GEH from its beginnings, he knows who he can utilize and where ALL Christian’s “soft spots” would be. Welch seemingly WAS trying to instigate the employees, BUT what if that was subterfuge? WHY would he do that? WHAT would he hope to gain? HOWEVER, he seemingly lost all and may be unemployable. So he would DEFINITELY have a grudge against Christian. But enough to plan murder, mayhem and revenge that could have him on the run forever?

      Hyde is back in Seattle. UNLESS HE WAS FIRED or let go recently, there is no reason to think he is the head of the Conspiracy (MAYBE an arm or leg. . .). And would a Head of the Conspiracy get drunk at a function and grumble to Ana about his woes? And anger at her and Christian? Would be stupid and would get him noticed.

      HOWEVER, this grudge against Christian is DEFINITELY PERSONAL. This person wants to COMPLETELY DESTROY Christian and DOESN’T care about saving innocents around Christian, PARTICULARLY ANA. Which makes one look at people who would see Christian as having UTTERLY, COMPLETELY DESTROYED their own lives. People meeting this List would be as follows:

      1) Andrew Lincoln. –He tried to HELP Christian. He disclosed Elena’s evilness to Christian’s family and set out to divorce Elena immediately for doing the unforgiveable. BUT IN RETURN, Christian betrayed HIS trust, again, by going behind his back to take HIS funds from Elena. Christian gets to start HIS OWN COMPANY as a result. ANDREW then gets screwed in the divorce, where he otherwise would NOT have had to provide Elena with anything monetarily. THEN Christian takes HIS OWN company from him, WITH THE HELP OF ELENA. He lost EVERYTHING. Talk about adding insult to injury. Could DEFINITELY see someone going over the edge over that. And feeling like he had NOTHING LEFT TO LOSE.

      PROBLEM with Andrew: HOW would he get the funding and have the wherewithal to coerce SO MANY people to his cause? HOW would he be able to rule others by FEAR if he could lose everything else? AND he wouldn’t know all Christian’s “soft spots” to put pressure on WITHOUT INSIDE HELP at GEH. And WHY would anyone help him, TO THIS EXTREME?

      2) Astor Harrington. –He needed money badly enough to go along with Elena’s plan. Risked even being kicked out of Harvard to help Elena. OBVIOUSLY, he might have wanted the SAME thing as Christian–money to start his OWN company. Which Christian foiled. Only to seemingly go into business with Elena.

      PROBLEM with Astor: Why now? He has a seemingly bright future ahead. Law school generally takes 3 years, so Astor should now be two thirds through. And law students don’t generally have the time to go learn everything about GEH, build up followers/recruits for a massive revengy plan and follow through with monitoring and controlling everything. Not with finals, internships and job possibilities to pursue.

      3) Carter Reed. –Okay, let’s face it, when he first broke up with Ana, he was VERY bitter and behaved like a stalker. And he has carried that torch for Ana for 3 years. BUT once he realized Ana was back with Christian, he easily moves on to Kate. So is STILL in the house all the time. But he EASILY could have kidnapped or harmed Ana before she got back together with Christian. So why now?

      PROBLEM with Carter: Tara is not one to repeat her plots. We’ve already had a rich crazy kid stalker willing to murder to get what he wanted. And Carter and Kate always DID get along—SHE was the one that stayed at a party to play beer pong with Carter. SHE was the one that tried to help him kiss Ana and was able to talk to him. And Carter SEEMED to encourage Ana to talk things out with Christian.

      4) RICH Family Member of Kate’s Stalker’s Family. –Could come in pairs. Could be resentful that Kate and Ana AND Christian have a nice life, when it was Christian ALONG WITH ELLIOT AND CARRICK that ultimately got the brother incarcerated.

      PROBLEM with this theory: A little too far-fetched, considering the guy murdered and all. THe family was grateful that Carrick didn’t seek the chair for him.

      5) ISSAC. –Okay, we DON’T know what Isaac is capable of. WE DO know thta SOMEONE was following Ana IN SEATTLE. And at that time, Elena and Isaac were together there. Isaac helped run that bar for Elena. So seemingly lost everything: lover, funds, employment, power. AND Issac would have the BLACKMAIL information on some of Seattle’s GREAT and rich men that came through Elena’s bar. So could “motivate” them to help him. And that would almost certainly include people thta might have already been working for GEH that Elena helped to secure employment for.

      PROBLEM with Issac. –Would a submissive go this far? Risk everything? Be THAT bitter towards Christian? Could be, though, especially if he was SO IN THE THRALL of Christian (and maybe resented him for coming before him in Elena’s bed and in her eyes). OR he could be doing it all for Elena.

      6) Ralston? No. At least, not at this time. The person behind the Conspiracy knows WAY too much about Christian personally. So can’t see an Ivy Leavue professor doing this. But you never know.

      7) Ethan? Again, no. At least, not at this time. He was mad. He punched Elliot. Seems like an in-the-moment guy. Not one to plan a Conspiracy that took AT LEAST a year to put into place. Plus, WHY would everyone follow him? Unless there is WAY more to Ethan than appears, can’t see it being him.

      8) ELENA. –Okay, she DEFINITELY would know all the people to go through for this Conspiracy. And she is ALL ABOUT REVENGE, no matter what it costs her personally. But she usually doesn’t want it to tie back to her. And Leila has failed TWICE to deliver, so why would she seek out her?

      But i definitely don’t rule out Elena. She WILL know who is behind this, almost certainly. And MAY have even manipulated this individual BEHIND the scenes.

      Could EVEN see Elena playing BOTH SIDES. She wants Christian to see her as an ally in order to get another potential start. SHe could set things up ONLY to then pretend to send word to Christian that she has LEARNED of teh Conspiracy and will help him FOR MONEY. All the while planning to use that money for revenge later down the road, KNOWING that she has scored a potential “in” with Christian again if she seemingly saved Ana.

      Wonder if I have missed anyone? Someone has to have the MEANS to finance the conspiracy, the VERY PERSONAL MOTIVE to go after Christian in this way, AND the opportunity OF PLACE to be able to effectuate the conspiracy. PARTICULARLY to scare the minions into obedience. THAT takes flexibility of time and resources. So WHO could it be?

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  5. Never thought of Carter watching Ana, if so he is right under roof! Maybe CG can move his office to Cambridge for four months. Skype with Ros etc.
    enjoyed!

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  6. Ana FINALLY told Christian the “truth” about Leila. It was about time! I was growing impatient with all the “don’t tell him this, don’t tell him that”.
    Can’t wait for the next day, as I hope Christian will find out about Kate’s surgery, and smart as he is, he’ll connect the dots.
    Ana standing up for herself about staying in Harvard was just beautiful!
    Is Leila finally giving them a break?

    I wish everyday was Monday… :/
    See you next week!

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  7. Well the minute I saw the picture I screamed Leila in my head. But damn how did Leila get herself involved with Hyde or Lincoln bc it’s the only people that can manipulate her into doing something like this. It seems she was going to shoot or kill Ana in the hallway. I’m glad they shared with Christian and Taylor finally. It all that security camera surveillance and extra security is. Or necessary. Good old Champ is what’s going to save Ana. I hope that lil secret about Ethan and Ana marriage ceremony when they were six and seven stays a secret bc Christian will have a no boys over at all ever while Ana is in Cambridge. As for the pre eclampsia j know you won’t let anything happen to baby Grey! You just need to scare us shitless with drama, I get it! 😂. Damn girl you are so damn good! Thanks for updating now I can sit back and relax and start my week.

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    1. Yep, I think you’re right; Champ saves the day all the way. I implored Tara “no animal death, please!” 😀

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      1. We’re also all assuming that Champ would ATTACK a person that tried to kidnap Ana (or Kate). BUT if Champ has been introduced to said individual as a FRIEND, then Champ wouldn’t attack.

        But if Champ DOES save the day, I can see Christian giving him a dog castle and multiple she-Champs and doggy toys as a reward!

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  8. I absolutely LOVE this!!! I can’t wait for more! I should have to start reading this one until it was finished but I just couldn’t! I read all of them straight threw in like 3 days!!!!!! I can’t get enough of CG and AS!!!!!!!! LOVE THIS STUFF!

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  9. I believe what the rest of the commenters have said. I think Carter is the “He” that is watching Ana. I predict when it all comes to a head it will be the catalyst that will bring Elliott and Kate back together. What’s the old saying “Keep your friends close and your enemies closer “. Can’t wait for next weeks update. 😲

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  10. I don’t think it’s Carter. He’s not clever on vindictive enough to be the brains beside this. I think it’s welch clever, manipulative he’s got the mo and has knowledge about Christian grey and would know leila as she was the receptionist. Don’t known how Carter would of gotten her number when he phoned at the end of book 2. This has got my mind going into overdrive. Hoping Christian feels the baby in the next chapter. Take care and enjoy the rest of your week!

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  11. Oh and reading some of the comments above i think carter is harmless. He wouldn’t hurt ana. He helped her get away from aster in “a different shade ….”
    He’s no christian but i’ve always liked him

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    1. I tend to think of Carter as harmless as well. In fact, he seems to have matured so much since ADSOF.

      HOWEVER, there IS the possibility that Carter just is THAT manipulative–he did WHATEVER he had to do to remain “friends” with Ana, even dating Kate to ensure he has access to the house.

      Astor HAD to have had an accomplice actually TAKE THE PHOTO. Remember, Carter was seemingly STILL on the scene. Yet he comes across as the “rescuer” so that Ana never suspects a thing. So Astor gets outted with Elena, but Carter remains a friend.

      Again, this would assume a level of treachery that is Elena-like, in that Carter would be willing to wait for the long haul for revenge against Christian. But revenge for what? Keeping him from Ana? She never did fall for him, even when broken-up from Christian.

      So I don’t see a real motive for this deep level of hatred of Christian unless Carter is truly insane. And we have seen that already in Kate’s stalker in ADSOF.

      BUT WHILE CARTER MAY be harmless, it doesn’t mean that the REAL Conspiracy Head might not find a “use” for Carter, even unknowingly on Carter’s part.

      But Carter DOES have the access to the house that almost no one OTHER than Ana and Kate has. (At least we ASSUME no one else has access—if monitoring devices are in the house and/or on Ana’s computer, then someone else DOES have Carter-like access to the house.)

      I really DO hope Carter is harmless. Kate DESERVES a decent guy that truly loves her and seems as nice and devoted as Carter is. Kate and Carter always did get along, with Kate being his beer pong party partner. And Kate was able to talk with Carter about the kissing issue in such a way that Carter was OPEN to the information. And Carter has stepped in when asked to be there for Kate. So I want to hope that Carter is a good outstanding individual AND that he lives through whatever stuff is fixing to hit the fan in ASSOF for Kate’s sake, if no one else’s.

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  12. Who the heck is Leila talking about and what was she really doing on campus? Was the bathroom really out of order or was that a scheme to get Ana to use the other bathroom? Is Christian going to find out about what Kate did while he’s there? Why did Luke only ask for one extra CPO? I would have thought he would ask for more?

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  13. Tara, it about KILLED me seeing Sybil die on “Downton Abbey” from eclampsia. I would never survive Ana or the baby’s death. And my ghost WOULD come back and haunt you! (And I would be one of those scary poltergeist kind. . . .) Good Health for Ana and her baby are DEFINITELY conditions to my continuing sanity (or what is left of it)!

    I’d already worried that Ana’s high blood pressure might signify this condition. I was worried that it would go unrealized until after a kidnapping. At least everyone knows ahead of time. BUT if she goes into labor after they have grabbed her, then both she AND the baby would be at risk of not surviving the birth.

    But LEILA–for HER to feel SORRY for Ana, the bad guy must be a REAL scary bad guy. Carter doesn’t strike me as being THAT evil. He was basically harmless back in the day when he broke up with Ana, OTHER than the fact that he followed her around TOO much. HOWEVER, he clearly still seems to harbor some ill-will towards Christian, but then Christian is no better with him.

    And Carter has perfectly positioned himself to be able to come and go with ease to Kate and Ana’s house. The dog doesn’t even see him as a threat.

    And CLEARLY whoever IS after Ana KNOWS her schedule. Leila was OBVIOUSLY following Ana, and for her to have been SEEN by Ana, she probably WAS going to incapacitate Ana and wait for back-up.

    This chapter ALSO shows why there needs to be MORE THAN ONE security guy. There will ALWAYS be little moments like parking the car where Ana will get separated from Luke. And with more states (idiotically) following NC’s lead, there are actual LAWS that won’t allow a man in a woman’s bathroom for ANY reasons.

    And if Luke were BEHIND Ana, there would be nothing protecting her front. And vice versa. So if MULTIPLE people came at Ana from different directions, she has little to know defence the further on her pregnancy goes.

    But Leila SEEMED to have scruples here, once she learned of the baby. (I’m not sure HOW to classify her now, as she seemed perfectly happy with harming Ana before.)

    BUT LEILA’S COMMENT SHOWS that whoever MR. BAD Head Conspiracy Man is, he clearly plans actual HARM OR DEATH to Ana–nothing less would have Leila so rattled (and OBVIOUSLY FRIGHTENED herself). MR. BAD must have something on Leila that prevents her leaving the conspiracy outright.

    UUUMMM–has anyone checked to see if CRAZY GUY from ADSOF that went after Kate is still locked away in some mental place? He was able to stay out of sight YET always follow and keep tabs on Kate. Which is EXACTLY how this guy seems to be operating. And Crazy Guy came from a rich family, so they might have pulled some strings and gotten him in some low security place that he could come and go from with surprising ease.

    Andrew Lincoln was a NICE guy back in the day, as you see from the Outtakes. HOWEVER, losing his wife AND company could have basically driven him over the edge, ESPECIALLY SINCE it was Christian that caused all this to happen (at least on the surface–WAS really almost ALL Elena’s manipulations) BUT ANDREW may be like Carrick used to be–consumed with unhealthy bitterness at not having seen what was going on around him. ESPECIALLY since he lost EVERYTHING.

    So Andrew would have the time AND inclination to go after Christian. PLUS there is Hyde. AND Welch was always a behind-the-scenes instigator, even BEFORE Christian fired him. There is also ISAAC and any number of Elena’s important clientele.

    It will be interesting to learn if Elena DOES have any knowledge about what is going on. Elena is OBSESSED with revenge and willing to go for the long haul. I have NO DOUBT that she WILL pursue her OWN revenge plan, but she is ABOVE ALL ELSE out for #1–HERSELF. So she will want MONEY on getting out of jail. So she might actually PROVIDE Christian with information about any OTHER Conspiracy, PARTICULARLY if it was Andrew behind it. She would WANT to lull Christian into a false sense of security in regards to seeing her as an enemy.

    But Gia’s going PALE before when she learned of A and C’s engagement–JUST the kind of reaction you would EXPECT from someone ELSE who might have been recruited by the CONSPIRACY. After all, Gia has a LEGITIMATE reason, in dating Elliot, for learning the schedule and routine of ALL the Grey’s, ESPECIALLY Christian. AND she has caused tension between Christian and Elliot. But her going PALE at the engagement MIGHT be because she KNEW how upset said news would make the Conspiracy Head.

    Leila’s ACTIONS and reactions make it sound like the Conspiracy guy MAY have wanted Ana for himself but was denied by Christian. ALSO brings Astor Harrington back into the mix, someone who had an almost pathological HATRED of Christian AND SOMEHOW knew of Christian’s connection to Elena. Elena DID know enough OR HAVE SOMETHING ON Astor to get him to agree to take payment to mess up CHristian and Ana’s relationship.

    I STILL see Astor as the more EVIL individual–YET SOMEONE HAD TO HAVE TAKEN THAT PICTURE for Astor. Means someone ELSE had to have been working WITH HIM, EVEN THEN. Which COULD be Carter. And Carter DOES want to go to law school, too.

    OH SO MANY POSSIBILITIES AND COMPLICATIONS. Oh Tara, you sly little writing vixen!!! (I don’t suppose that hypnosis thing worked in getting you to think that tomorrow is another Monday???)

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  14. Don’t think it’s Carter. He’s not clever enough and how would he know Leila. The person beside all this phoned her at the end of book 2. I think it’s welch he’s got the mo and he knows Leila from working at GEH. I’m hoping Christian gets to feel the baby move in the next chapter. Thanks fir updating. Hope you enjoy the rest of your week.!

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    1. Remember though, Leila made the newspapers AND the news, so everybody knew her name. She would not be that hard to find, if one was motivated. And Carter is a business major that is planning on attending law school. He could find Leila through her address information required on any public filing, and all he would have to do to get it would be to pull her case file at the courthouse.

      Like you, I don’t see Carter as being clever enough. HOWEVER, someone had to have been helping Astor Harrington out when he was employed by Elena, because Astor couldn’t “kiss” Ana AND take the photo. And Carter was conveniently still on the scene there.

      But I tend to see Carter as a red herring like yourself. Still, someone SMARTER could still use Carter in some way, even without his knowledge (like say some pre-law or business student said they needed to drop something off for Carter’s class, KNOWING that he was at Kate and Ana’s house. And Carter gave said person permission to come by and let him in the house.).

      And Carter saw Astor Harrington as a FRIEND. Some little part of me STILL sees Astor Harrington as a REAL possibility–he downright obsessively hated Christian and competed with him for EVERYTHING at Harvard, including Ana. AND he could BLAME CHRISTIAN for getting the funds to start HIS company that Astor was denied due to Christian and Ana overhearing/seeing the Astor/Elena confrontation at the hotel.

      So Astor has had to take the LONG route to success—finish school, then go to law school. No shortcuts for him like Christian got from Elena. Would DEFINITELY sow resentment, particularly as Astor saw Elena as a money tree for himself as well.

      And I have always wondered how someone like ELENA convinced Astor to help her. I mean, how could Astor GUARANTEE that Elena was who she said she was AND that he would get payment? Sounds like Astor and Elena were thick as thieves and trusted one another enough to work together. And Astor probably blamed Christian for getting him screwed over (maybe literally) in regards to Elena due to Christian’s overhearing their conversation.

      Astor comes from a rich established family, clearly. YET he needed money from Elena. AND HE NEEDED IT badly enough to risk his WHOLE Harvard career to get it by assaulting Anastasia. If she had REPORTED him, he would have risked expulsion due to the honor code. And since Elena and Andrew HAD CONNECTIONS with families like the Harringtons, there may be a WHOLE OTHER side to the Elena/Astor thing.

      Someone that goes to Harvard would have access to Ana’s schedule (or could get it) and would be UNNOTICEABLE or expected to be around the campus regularly AND WOULD NOT BE QUESTIONED if seen near Ana. So I STILL think there is SOME Harvard connection somewhere.

      Wow, Tara can really produce a great deal of speculation from her readers. AND WE HAVE TO WAIT until next Monday for the next installment. Although I know I will somehow survive the wait, IT FEELS LIKE torture now!!!!!

      Like

  15. First thought: Carter is a foot soldier for the Big Bad but then….nah, that would be too obvious. Can’t be Luke, that would just be a clusterf**k. Hyde seems to be obvious choice but Ralston is a good person of interest…innocent Harvard law professor? Maybe? Maybe not? Mmmwwhahahahaaaa…😆

    Thanks, Tara. Awesome as always.

    P.S. I think Champ is going to save her, too….please let him be ok. If you have to wound him, fine, but no animal death, I beg you!

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  16. Wait guys….what about………Ros?? 😑

    No, no way, nevermind. Can’t believe I even went there. Apologies all around, wishingmrgreywashere family.

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    1. Hey, Ros would be a valid person of interest to a detective. However, the rest of us know that Ros ALWAYS recognized Christian’s value and worth, right from the beginning. Ros KNEW Christian was her road to success. CHRISTIAN has the face and the willpower and the instinct to know HOW to get the deals. You see this in this chapter–Ros pleads with Christian to come back into the meeting. She, alone, can’t get the deal done. They are a package deal, and if GEH fails, Ros fails. So she wouldn’t want Christian gone. She wouldn’t be able to keep GEH as profitable as it is, at least not long-term. She may feel ill-used and underappreciated at times, but she would never sell out Christian over that. “LOYAL” is the word that always comes to my mind in relation to Ros.

      We saw from the Harvard days and even in the Outtakes how much Ros did for Christian AND that she was a real friend to him. I just can’t see any conditions that would make Ros turn against Christian unless he fired her. And I don’t see that ever happening.

      Plus, all the indicators are that the person behind the Conspiracy is a “he.” BUT the “he” that communicates with Leila COULD always be working with OR FOR a “she.” The possibilities, at least at this point, are endless.

      And the person behind the Conspiracy SEEMINGLY was content if ANYONE brought Christian down. The person only “stepped up” after Elena (and Leila) failed. Which means said person was ALWAYS watching Christian from behind the scenes, at least for some time.

      But Ros IS someone with Christian from the beginning. It is SO HARD to find wonderful GOOD female characters in literature that don’t want success AT THE EXPENSE of others. Ros is a wonderful strong GOOD devoted character that is by NO MEANS a pushover. She stands up to Christian when she knows she is right. She has never tried to manipulate Christian for her OWN success over his—when she “violated” the girl code, it was to tell Christian a way to get Ana’s attention through GEH’s success. I absolutely ADORE how Tara has written Ros. So I can’t see Tara tearing Ros down in ANY way by making her involved with the Conspiracy, even unwittingly.

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      1. I totes agree. Like I mentioned earlier, it was a fleeting thought (about Ros) only for the shock value it would bring but you’re right COMPLETELY out of character for her to do that. Talking about this story is SO FUN!! You guys are great. 😘

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  17. Thank you for the update. I don’t think” HE” is Carter. Carter is studying to get into law school. What extra time does he have to watch Ana. Jack was still working at SIP during the holidays. How could he be orchestrating something on the other side of the USA. My money is on Welch. He knows everything about how Christian operates and how security runs. It would be a great twist, if it was Elena manipulating everyone from behind bars. She lived for revenge. She wanted to take Ross down just because she had her audited.

    Ana is just thinking about herself now. What experiences SHE would be missing. I think Christian caved too so. Luke said he needs a team. Just adding one person isn’t going to seem like the Secret Service. They need someone on Kate also because she is Ana’s best friend. I hope Christian finds out that Kate is the donor before he leaves.

    It is sad to read that Elliot and Christian’s relationship is suffering because of Gia. That would be some kind of plan if Gia was planted to make a wedge between Elliot and Christians.

    Leila couldn’t go through with what she had intended to do in that hallway because she found out Ana was pregnant. I guess she has some morals. She did say “It had already begun.”

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    1. Leila may have SOME morals, but she doesn’t have enough to just disclose to Ana who the actual Bad Guy is. It just means that Leila didn’t want to do it HERSELF. Probably smart, because the Big Guy behind the Conspiracy clearly has a Fall Guy (er, Girl) in mind—Leila.

      Leila should realize that ANYONE planning such a horrible fate for ANA will NOT want any witnesses that could connect back to him. Her SAFEST bet would be to disclose all to Ana on the stipulation that Christian protects her and gets some kind of IMMUNITY deal from the police in exchange for helping them foil the plot. Leila just walks away here, muttering that the Plan is clearly in play. She OBVIOUSLY sees something happening TOO SOON to be prevented, which is a REAL worry here.

      I can see Gia being a plant by the Conspiracy. She was supposed to gather intel on the whole Grey family and have full access to Elliot, the person generally closest to Christian. HOWEVER, if this were the case, coming in-between Elliot and Christian doesn’t seem to help anyone, at least on its face. So Gia may JUST be a Golddigger. Sad when you hope someone that has entirely messed with the WHOLE Grey family dynamic may be JUST a Golddigger—speaks to just how much MORE dire the Conspiracy could be!

      With NO further real evidence, I can see Ana’s arguments to remain at Harvard. In theory, at least. She should NOT have to lose her future because of the evil machinations of others. If she gives in due to ONE threat, then what about ALL the others to come?

      But I’m with you—just ONE more added security person won’t be enough. I’m for having a patrol person/guard JUST for the outside of the house 24/7. And I AM glad that Luke will get an actual gun in this case. Quite frankly, five security guards for the duration of Ana’s time at Harvard sounds great to me. One could station himself across the street with the little old lady in exchange for having extra food and things brought in for her!

      But Elliot allowing GIA to come between him and Christian remains inexcusable to me. ESPECIALLY with everything that Elliot KNOWS Christian has gone through. Christian shouldn’t just have to blindly trust ANYONE, just because Elliot wants him to.

      I think it will (sadly) come down to Elliot seeing the Conspiracy in action to appreciate just the kind of TARGET that his brother (and Ana) are. And WHY you can’t just trust anyone.

      Like

  18. Oh please…tell me that Champ would be sharing the bed with Grey…lol….imagine Champ licking his face, priceless.
    Now, does he know about Kate being the donor. I think he should know or maybe one of the boys would let him know.
    About Leila, well I would like to know who is the “he” she was talking about.
    Great chapter.

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    1. Would be ENTIRELY funny if Christian is awakened in the morning by a VERY jealous Champ, who is used to being the one that Ana holds at night!

      I’m also DYING to know who the “he” is that Leila is talking about. The possibilities abound. While I want to think a Harvard connection would be involved, WHY then would HE need Leila?

      But Leila sounds like the Conspiracy has taken its toll on her. She appears to be coming unglued. Her actually tearing up over Ana? Clearly, the man behind the Conspiracy scares her badly. Which begs the question of just HOW that man has been able to keep Leila involved if she realized ALREADY that she was in over her head. She MUST have been threatened, and until she saw Ana’s pregnancy, she was willing to follow through with the plan to acquire Ana, even KNOWING Ana is to be harmed.

      Ana has simply told others that Kate required surgery. Christian could assume it was for an appendix or gall bladder or any other unexpected needs for surgery. He won’t just make the leap that Kate was the donor.

      But it would certainly make Christian increase security for KATE as well as for Ana, because we all know that Ana would risk her life for Kate. So if the big HE can’t get to ANA, then he will go through Kate, who is NOT protected at this time.

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  19. I’m so glad Ana told Christian about Leila and her stalker. I first thought it was Hyde but I think that’s too obvious and there’s always a twist. I wonder if Elena is involved? I don’t see how Ana is going to be able to keep the stress down with everything going on. I hope Luke is very vigilant in keeping Ana safe. Maybe Ethan will let it slip that Kate was the donor while Christian’s there? Happy Monday! 😀

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  20. First, I love this story. I hope the Grey’s find out about Carrick’s donor sooner rather than later. Also, I hope Carter is not involved. I mean, can Kate catch a break?

    I have to call BS on the security team. They are seriously underestimating the value of a billionaire’s pregnant finance!! There is no scenario where a billionaire’s finance (pregnant or not) should be without full surveillance and high level security at her residence, which should include camera/video surveillance and a panic room. There is no scenario where she should be left to the care of 1 CPO who doesn’t even reside in the same location and doesn’t even carry a weapon. She needs at least 4 CPO’s, at least 2 being female and also covert surveillance. That would be 1 male and 1 female CPO working in shifts, minimum. Those baseline requirements are without the fact that Luke knows Ana has been stalked by AT LEAST 2 people lately. One is Leila, the other unidentified. I believe Taylor has this information also. What sort of keystone cop security service are they offering?

    Also, Ana’s really not showing much concern for the safety of herself or her baby. She has found herself separate from her CPO and afraid for her life in New York and also at Harvard. She’s been told by her OB/GYN that she is approaching pre-eclampsia with serious health risks to herself and her baby. Yet all she does is go on about how she just has to stay at Harvard for the next 4 months, publish that book ASAP, and get her degree NOW. Surely she knows sometimes you postpone things because of circumstances beyond your control. What about making hard choices for the greater good? How valuable will getting her degree NOW rather than later be when she finds herself looking down the barrel of a gun or tied to a chair or worse, a bed? Will it all have been worth it should she land in the hospital wondering if she’s lost the baby? I don’t want her to get hurt. But it’s seeming inevitable.

    Ana, the “security” team, and Christian seem completely oblivious to the risks they are facing. They need to get a grip and seriously re-examine their priorities.

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    1. I totally agree with you. Ana is acting selfish and not putting the baby first. I get it…she wants to finish at Harvard. But as parents, you sacrifice for your children. Is four months of the college-life experience really worth the repercussions of a possible kidnapping? She needs to start looking at the big picture (the life and wellbeing of her child) instead of four months of school on the campus of Harvard.

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      1. I agree, I think Luke needs to move in asap. Actually, it would probably be best if Christian moves Ana, Kate, Luke, and Champ to a new house since their current one seems to be compromised. And hopefully with the new security system that Luke insisted on they will find some monitoring equipment that will give us some more hints as to who is involved.

        As for Ana insisting on staying at Harvard, I agree that she isn’t thinking things through. Its getting more and more dangerous for her there. Honestly I think she is letting her fear and pride block her gut instinct. I think she is determined to stay at Harvard for the remainder of the semester so that she can’t be accused of letting Christian get her special treatment and being a gold digger. Plus I think she is still hurt of what Ray/Hyde said about being the wife to a billionaire and losing her identity.

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  21. Wow, chance encounter with Leila, that’s scary because that woman gives the creep. Now to know its not just Leila but a He is out to get Ana! Christian is really the crème de la crème fiance! At the drop of the hat, he’s with Ana! Glad and a must Ana told about Leila. Poor Luke, must be so stressed. I hope Christian considers Kate when talking about additional security. Kate and Ana are a package. Hope Carter isnt the mole. Welch, Hyde, bt,
    Aston? Somehow feels Champ may be our champion in helping save the day. And really hope Christian connects that Kate is the donor. I know Ana keeps the pact with Kate, no revelation, I hope Ana does tell and sworn Christian to secrecy. The Greys must know of Kate’s selfless and bravery to save Carrick. It is only right. Thank you, Tara, for your amazing talents and plot. We’re so invested and putting lots of thoughts and guesses because we’re worried. Monday cant come soon enough. Xoxo daytona

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  22. The eclampsia issue DEFINITELY causes further complications. At this point, the doctor didn’t want to scare or traumatize Ana with how scary it could be. Ana does NOT seem to know the full risks, at least not at this point.

    I AM surprised that Christian didn’t IMMEDIATELY call Grace. She would be the best resource for information AND to begin putting together a Seattle team of doctors for Ana. As we have read since ADSOF, Grace REALLY wants grandchildren. Not even Carrick’s condition would take away her attention to anything grandchild-related, as we have already seen from the vast amount of things Grace has already found and purchased for her future grandchild. And Carrick was motivated to pursue treatment in order to hold that grandbaby as well. So they should have information sooner rather than later. (Although as soon as Grace or Carrick sees the concern on Christian’s face, which he will be unable to hide, they WILL know. I can see Grace even flying across country to check up on Ana.)

    But eclampsia is SERIOUS, even today, EVEN when closely monitored. The eclampsia cases that I personally know of have ALWAYS resulted in premature births (and permanent lasting internal damage to the mother). In one case, the baby died within 24 hours of birth. Many women end up going into labor seriously EARLY, like around 8 weeks OR MORE early, and the child needs IMMEDIATE NICU assistance. And any kidnapping (or serious attempts) WILL cause that blood pressure to skyrocket. (And one mother I knew had resulting serious depression issues, memory loss and other complications. Some permanent. BUT she was able to have another child by the same father later. BUT was STILL a premature birth, second time around, caused by the eclampsia.)

    AT THIS POINT, however, the doctor caring for Ana KNOWS of all the possible stressors to Ana. She has INCREASED her monitoring. She has NOT told Ana that she MUST be put on bedrest.

    IF the doctor determines that Ana MUST be confined to bedrest OR have any other stipulations put in place, then Harvard would HAVE to make appropriate arrangements for Ana. BUT WITHOUT THOSE MEDICAL demands/stipulations, then Ana IS CLEAR to continue life as she is living it.

    So I don’t think Ana should be unduly criticized for her choices. At least NOT YET. I don’t see Ana willingly risking undue harm to her baby. Her life can’t simply STOP, even with a complicated HIGH RISK pregnancy. IT IS A DOCTOR’S PLACE, who DOES KNOW of the full complications AND worries, to tell Ana just WHEN she should go on bedrest, not have the stress of courses, etc.

    PLUS, if Ana just went to Escala and sat around all day, THAT wouldn’t be healthy for her or the baby. She NEEDS to move around and NOT sit around all day WORRYING. So until the doctor says to ADJUST her routine, she should continue on.

    BUT Christian IS a billionaire. Time to throw that money around. There should be a full-time doctor ON CALL at all times for her, no matter the cost. Maybe even have a nurse to remain part-time at the home.

    Plus, at some point, doctors DON’T want you flying, PARTICULARLY across country. Don’t you KNOW that Christian is probably ALREADY contemplating putting a mini neo-natal medical section of his plane to accommodate possible emergencies?

    But I can’t see Ana making it to graduation at this point. I see a premature delivery in her future. BUT that doesn’t mean she LOSES her last semester—in fact, Harvard would most likely give her “incompletes” on all of her classes, with a set time limit for when she has to finish her course requirements.

    But, most shockingly, we now know that Ana is NOT a “Downton Abbey” fan, since she had never heard of eclampsia (oh Sybil, how we agonized over your death as a result of this!). PLUS, she is obviously NOT watching current medical shows on television, since ALL of them have had eclampsia crop up, and at least ONE of the major medical shows will be airing a season finale surrounding a pregnant woman with eclampsia (was in the May 1-14th issue of TVGuide–just can’t remember which show).

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  23. So much to think about! First the chapter, after that the reviews which of course are all real. I’m going to go out on a limb and say my first pick would be Mr. Lincoln. He lost everything, including Elena his trophy wife. Regardless of her life style. Lincoln blames Christian for everything. His hatred for Christian gives him a motive. 2nd Welch! He knows to much about Christian. How he thinks, lifestyles, we all know that once he was fired from GEH he was blackballed not in just the state of Washington, perhaps the country. Tara you’re really giving us the businesses. I Think this story has most of us thinking too much. Maybe we should just go with the flow and wait for you to release the chapters on this magnificent journey you’re taking us on. Thank You

    Like

    1. LOVE all of your comments. I, too, am absolutely thoroughly enjoying the magnificent journey that Tara is taking us on.

      I would love to just be able to wait for the natural flow of the chapters without doing all the endless speculation that goes along with them. BUT that is the problem. Tara is TOO GOOD of a writer. She has made complex characters that you just HAVE to care about. And villain possibilities with many variables and reasons for revenge. So really, it is all TARA’s fault! She actually even made me care about the DOG, and I am NOT a dog person! Yet I am now worrying about Champ being poisoned or otherwise incapacitated OR if the dog might not even see the Great Mr. Bad Guy as a bad individual IF he has already been introduced to him as a friend. SO MANY possibilities!

      And everytime Tara seemingly gives a hint or clue in the story or comments, there are then presented SO MANY other possibilities in the narration. I am with Stephen Colbert on his philosophy of what should be done with excellent writers of projects we enjoy—he proposed locking up the writer of “Breaking Bad” in a basement room, chained to the desk, and forced to write non-stop. Sigh. Darn those kidnapping and false imprisonment restrictive laws that prevent us from nabbing our great writers!!! (heeheehee!)

      So I maintain it is NOT my fault that I just MUST speculate endlessly on all the juicy stuff Tara gives us. AFTER ALL, how ELSE are we to survive the LLLLOOOONNNNGGGG hiatus between Mondays? I tried hypnotising Tara into thinking it was Monday everyday, but I was obviously unsuccessful. Sigh. HOW MANY MORE DAYS UNTIL MONDAY!!!!!???!??!??

      (And last on the speculation–what if it was Andrew Lincoln AND Welch?? After all, Elena used some of Andrew’s OWN employees against him in helping Christian acquire his company. So I could see him recruiting Welch AND maybe other disgruntled GEH employees (Hyde?). But WHY would Welch work against Christian in the first place? Christian said he was instigating other employees to action against Chrisitan which was why he fired him. So I think there was MORE going on with Welch then we know. I’m just wondering WHAT that was about.)

      Like

  24. When Lelia said to Anna”He’s watching your every move”. He has the know how and the equipments to easily have access to anyone. Which would explain some of Lelia’s fears.

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    1. EXACTLY. And Andrew Lincoln DID have a timber company, which meant he worked with construction companies, where the timber would have been sent. So he COULD have contacts within the very company that repaired Ana’s house. He or anyone ELSE certainly would have had access ANYWAY, with the great big hole in the side of the house, Ana’s computer left right there in her suitcase, etc.

      But the watching EVERY move thing? Then why would Leila think she had the freedom to talk to Ana right then? Guessing the Big Bad may be able to SEE where Ana goes, through either cameras or followers, but he can’t HEAR everything. HHHHMMMMM.

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  25. Wow! What a chapter! I don’t think it’s Carter. He’s too obvious. I’ve forgotten what happened with Astor Harrington, but his name is a great one for a villain, so I’m going to bet it’s him! 😀

    I’m a bit pissed off with Ana over insisting she stays at Harvard. I think any of us who saw Sybil die in Downton Abbey will be fretting about this. I don’t want to see Christian go through what Tom went through. I think she is being a bit selfish, but I have to remind myself she is very young. I can understand her wanting to finish Harvard and that it’s only four months, and it will be a lot harder to do it later, when she has a baby, but sometimes events overtake the best laid plans, and her event is pregnancy, which shuffles all her priorities around and in ways that are beyond her control. She is pregnant and the life of herself and her baby are at risk, and she has all these extra stressors in her life at a time she needs to avoid stress.

    I’m surprised Christian didn’t put up more of a fight in the face of her stubborn determination to stay. If he is right and she could finish her degree long distance, I think she should do it. Forget the rest of the damn “experience” and protect the life of your baby and its mother. She’s had three and a half years of the “experience”. Isn’t that enough? If the only reason she wants to stay is for the “experience”, I would have no sympathy for her. I am pretty sure Ray’s advice would be to get herself back to Seattle as fast as possible.

    But maybe she can’t finish it all from a distance, which is what I’m going to assume is the case because otherwise she’d go back to Seattle and the story would be over. Since it seems inevitable that she’s staying, she needs a whole army of security people, and state of the art security systems everywhere she goes. As Dawn pointed out, she needs at least two female CPOs as well as a squad of males. I reckon she needs at least one male and one female accompanying her everywhere, and two more watching from a distance, ready to dash in if something is amiss. You want to stay at Harvard, Ana, you need to be surrounded by your own personal army for the next four months!

    I hope Christian finds out about Kate. She is weak and needs protection too, and she certainly deserves it.

    I hope the excitement dies down very soon, for the sake of Ana and the baby. I look forward to the next chapter.

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    1. I think you touched upon the REAL reason that Ana is still trying so hard to stay at Harvard–Kate.

      If she leaves, Kate is ALONE. And we all know from ADSOF that Kate has found it so HARD to be alone ANYWHERE, particularly at the scene of where multiple people were killed by her stalker. And Ana and Kate have JUST reconnected again. PLUS Kate is now SO MUCH MORE VULNERABLE and defenseless, all because of the SELFLESS choice she made to donate part of her liver to Carrick.

      Ana feels guilty for not being there for Kate when she needed her most. We saw that from Ana’s realizing that MIA had been the one to tell Kate about the sex of the baby, the engagement, etc. Even CHRISTIAN saw the need to INVOLVE Kate in planning the ring and whole engagement in the first place.

      For all intents and purposes, Kate and Ana have been close friends/practically sisters since childhood. In ADSOF, Ana knew all the alarm codes for Kate’s house, she was in the photos in Kate’s bedroom (their county fair photo at age 13!), and even commented on how she spent weeks at a time actually STAYING in Kate’s home during her childhood.

      Life will change permanently for BOTH Kate and Ana once their Harvard time is over. So Ana WANTS these last four months with Kate before their lives change irrevocably. YES, Ana wants to marry Christian and have their baby. But with a career and her family, it will be difficult to have the time for Kate that they have had throughout their lives when it was just THEM.

      As Kate said to Ana, “we started this journey TOGETHER.” So more than anything, Ana wants to COMPLETE this journey WITH Kate at Harvard, NOT in some bedroom in Seattle, ESPECIALLY when Kate sacrificed so much to keep Ana’s future family intact with Carrick.

      Like

  26. Amazing chapter. But also scary AF chapter!
    Pre-eclampsia? Leila? All in one chapter??
    You know how to throw us all for a loop lol.
    I am kind of worried for GEH af Ros. As romantic and sweet as I think it is that Christian will literally fly to Cambridge at the drop of a hat, in worried it’ll affect GEH and his relationship with Ros. Which I DONT want.
    I am not feeling Carter…honesty I wanted him to get out lol. Nothing made me happier then when he tried to bond with Luke and Luke rejected him lol. It was great!
    I’m dying to know what Christian was going to say about Elliot!
    Yah for Ana’s book!
    Goddamn. So much happened in this chapter I’m losing track.
    Overall it was absolutely amazing and I can’t wait for next Monday! 🙂

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    1. Hmm, I wonder if Luke rejected Carter because he has some feeling for Kate? Oh the possibilities!

      And I’m kind of worried about GEH/Ros too. Tara made a point to show that Christian was more than happy to walk out of a multi BILLION dollar deal because Ana needed him. I don’t think Ros is heartless but I think it will make her have ill will towards Ana. After all, Ros was with GEH from the beginning and if she feels that Christian is throwing it all away she may feel betrayed and angry.

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      1. I also would love more insight into how Ros is handling all these things happening in and around GEH. It was something that SHE started together with Christian. YET we have seen how Christian is downright RESENTFUL of GEH at times, even talking about selling it, when realizing how much he lost from his choices that got GEH off the ground in the first place.

        And although ROS was the one to originally clue Christian in to the way to get noticed by Ana was to make GEH a success, I don’t think Ros TRULY realized JUST how much Christian used GEH to both drown his sorrows AND as his way to prove to Ana that he was right to take the money to found the company.

        Since Christian NEVER dated away from Ana, GEH was Christian’s WHOLE ENTIRE life. And Ros his “business wife” as a result. Since Ana got back together with Christian, Christian may have found happiness, but SO MANY DISTRACTIONS have taken Christian’s attention AWAY from GEH. First, the Leila and then Elena stuff nearly crippled the fledgling company, and also stirred up the employees. Then you have Carrick’s situation and the forced separation from Ana and her now potentially high-risk pregnancy.

        And Christian HAS to still be a little resentful of GEH that he can’t simply pick up and move when he wants OR always be available for his family when he wants.

        And YES, Ros may also harbor some resentment, even unwittingly, over all that has happened since Christian got a life outside of GEH. Ros never knew the FULL Elena story about where the funds came from to start GEH, as we learned from Christian in the OUTTAKES. Christian’s CHOICES have affected Ros over and over again.

        But at the end of the day, I think Ros is a good person. And how rich does one need to be? If a multi-billion dollar deal falls apart because the CEO needs to leave for a family crisis, then did they REALLY need such a tenuous deal? Is GEH at risk of failing without constant incoming deals?

        We know NOTHING about GEH’s current internal crises. Christian would NOT want to worry Ana, and he may not even know about some of the internal machinations going on right now. We’ve had little interaction with Ros of late since the narrator in Ana, who is NOT in Seattle now. (And when she was, her focus was the Grey family, NOT GEH.)

        I’m sure we will hear more about GEH soon. After all, we KNOW that some part of the Conspiracy WAS involved in instigating tensions at GEH (or at least we expect this—after all, Mr. Conspiracy Head wants Christian to lose EVERYTHING, both personally AND professionally, and be left a “hollow shell.” So that means that at least SOME part of teh conspiracy WILL center around GEH.).

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  27. WILL THAT BITCH LEILA EVER LEAVE THEM ALONE? TROUBLE WITH A CAPITAL T. I CAN’T HELP WONDERING IF CARTER IS THE ONE WATCHING ANA… HMMM HE CAN REALLY WATCH HER IF HE IS WITH KATE! AND WHY KATE ALL OF A SUDDEN? HE WANTED ANA RIGHT? WHAT HAS LEILA GOT TO DO WITH WHO’S WATCHING ANA AND HOW DOES SHE KNOW? PLEASE UPDATE SOON. I NEED TO KNOW. THANK YOU!

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  28. Ay Ana y Christian con todo lo que tienen en su cabeza y ahora el embarazo de riesgo y Leila.
    Ana tiene que estar tranquila pero eso va a ser tan dificil, tiene muchas obligaciones y necesita cero estres.
    Leila definitivamente iba a hacerle algo a Ana pero al verla embarazada se echo para atras. Me estoy rompiendo la cabeza preguntandome quien puede ser la persona que la esta mirando. Sera Jack, Elena a traves de otra persona o hasta puede ser Welch y me llena de miedo.
    Gracias a Dios que Christian esta con Ana. Se enterara de que Kate fue la donante?
    Es obvio que Ana necesita mucha mas seguridad.
    No puedo esperar hasta el lunes.
    Amo esta historia.

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  29. Oooh, Christian is in Cambridge and he’s bound to notice that Kate is in pain and can’t go to class. It will be obvious that Kate is having the same trouble post op that Carrick is. I wonder if he’ll figure it out completely on his own or drag it out of Ana/Kate or even Luke/Ethan/Carter?

    It sounds like Christian maybe said or did something else regarding Gia and it has caused a rift between the brothers. That really sucks if that’s the case. I don’t think that Gia really wants there to be a wedge in between Elliott and Christian. If she can’t have Christian then she will do whatever she can to trap Elliott. And if she thinks that Elliott’s family hates her or is onto her plan she might want a temporary wedge so that they don’t talk Elliott out of being with her. But if she does that and is able to get him to marry her then she will ultimately try and get Elliott to reconcile with the Greys… after all, she wants that Grey name and the wealth & privileges that go along with it. She knows that Elliott doesn’t have much standing in society without his parents and Christian so she NEEDS them all to be on good terms. But I don’t think she will try and trap Elliott until she is 100% sure that she can’t get Christian.

    Hmm, I wonder if Leila will be regarded as a loose cannon that “he” needs taken care of now that she doesn’t feel that she can do whatever he needs her to do to Ana.. I agree with the others that say that he must be scary as hell to make Leila so freaked out. It’s definitely a 180 from the last couple times we’ve seen her.

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    1. ^ I just realized how the “that sucks if that’s the case” sounds. I meant to say that it sucks that Elliott would let Gia come between them, especially since he tried so hard and for so long to get Christian to reconnect. And now he is letting Miss Thang cause trouble. Argh!

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  30. I’ve got to say, I really don’t like how Christian was talking to Ana. I get that he’s upset but he still went too far. He needs to realize that he is only making things worse when he freaks out like that, no matter how scared and frustrated he was.

    For some reason I get this feeling that Carter is the male version of Gia… That he’s just using Kate as an in to get closer to Ana. But then again, he was the one that helped convince Ana to even talk with Christian again. BUT maybe he was only thinking that she just needed to have one final conversation to finally move on and then he could swoop in…I’m not sure that Carter is THE “he” though. It almost seems too easy. But that doesn’t mean that he couldn’t inadvertently help the conspiracy without even knowing.

    At first I thought the “he” was Linc but now I’m thinking that this “he” is just the point of contact for the different people involved in the conspiracy. They THINK he is the one pulling the strings and calling the shots when in reality “HE” is being controlled by a “SHE”… as in Elena, and I don’t think Linc would work with Elena for all the money in the world. So my guess is that Elena is the actual boss but Welch has been running things, with Hyde and Leila as his minions. And Gia and Carter may not have started with this conspiracy but I think somehow they will get dragged into it. Gia will want revenge once she falls out with Elliott and the entire Grey family, and of course she holds some valuable information regarding the inner workings of the entire family. You would think they would be more careful after the whole Elena thing but what can you do?

    Ooh, I hope that Christian is planning on hiring some protection for Kate too since the conspiracy will definitely know that they can use her to get to Ana… But what I really want is for Gia to somehow find out that Christian is providing personal protection to Elliott’s ex… that just may make her slip and show her true self even if it’s only for a moment. And add that to it being revealed that Kate was Carrick’s donor and you’ll have one pissed off Gia! I’m sure that Gia absolutely hates that Kate is still so closely entwined with the family. She’ll flip when she finds out that Kate is the donor!

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    1. Gia would also get DESPERATE if she found out Kate was the donor. The Greys already love her as their own, and Elliot, especially, would see Kate’s true worth if he found out. After all, Gia played the “offering to be a donor” card to push Elliot into saying (and thinking) that he loves her. So Gia KNOWS just how important that donor being located RIGHT THEN truly was to Carrick and the family.

      Gia seems just an immature social climber/Gold digger at this point. BUT she may have been recruited OR PLACED by someone –after all, we already KNOW that Elena ACTIVELY engaged in checking out and approving (or getting fired) interns or other employees of GEH. Department heads KNEW that Christian valued Elena and knew that she was the only one that could question Christian OTHER than Ros.

      So I could see Elena getting Gia hired at the construction company back when it was still part of GEH. And Gia might be beholden to Elena for her influence. THAT might be why she paled so much at hearing that Ana got THE RING from Christian—she KNEW Elena would go postal over the information. Christian is moving happily forward with his life and Ana.

      And Ana HAS to be the person that Elena HATES MOST OF ALL. ANASTASIA is the ultimate cause of Elena’s WHOLE downfall. She caused the wedge between Christian and herself, Ana got Christian motivated to reconcile with his family, Ana and the Grey family then moved to oust Elena from GEH, and ANA found Mia before Elena could force her into submission/rape at the bar. And ANA went into the bar to ask Elena’s terms. Which was recorded on the bar’s equipment and led to her final complete exposure and prison time.

      So ANA is even more hated by Elena then anyone else, even Christian. So Elena WOULD WANT someone like Gia placed in a position to hopefully compromise Christian.

      But if Elena WAS directly involved with Gia, then she would have told that girl to dye her hair brown! STILL, Gia seems conveniently placed to cause the most discord. And we know that the Conspiracy has already tried to sow discord at GEH, so that could be part of the plan.

      It is the fact that Ana noticed Gia getting pale after the engagement announcement—I think Gia really HAD hoped to get Christian and only doubled down on Elliot to REMAIN in the Grey presence.

      And Gia is CLEARLY pushing Elliot to get Christian to “reconcile” and spend time with her again. And Gia is clearly pressuring Elliot and maybe TRYING to turn Elliot against Ana.

      I wish Christian was more talkative with Ana. But since Gia is not something Ana would want to know about, Christian is not likely going to bring her up. He wants to concentrate on HIS OWN time with Ana, not on unpleasantness.

      But I ADMIT that I am longing for some Seattle intel. Maybe TAYLOR will talk to Luke while they are in Cambridge, and Luke will tell Ana after Christian leaves.

      (YYYEESSS Tara, you WANT to tell us what Gia is up to. Watch the pretty bookmark of semi-naked Jamie Dornan swing back and forth in front of you. CONCENTRATE on what the Jamie bookmark WANTS you to do! You NEEEEED to tell us what Gia is up to. Your fingers WANT you to type us more intel on Gia. And the Conspiracy. And maybe Elena. In fact, really, you FEEL A COMPULSIVE need to type non-stop. The story WANNNNNTTTSSS you to. GIVE IN to this compulsion, Tara!!! Submit!!! Jamie Dornan’s bookmark commands you to! Oh yeah, and you DEFINITELY want Christian to learn that Kate was the donor. Yep, you REALLY want to do that! –Never giving up that hypnosis might finally work! Who WOULDN’T want to submit to Jamie Dornan’s semi-naked bookmark?)

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  31. Whoever is watching Ana may have hacked into her computer and/or installed spy cameras in the Cambridge house while it was being repaired over Thanksgiving break or while Ana and Kate were gone at Christmas. That’s something Welch could easily arrange. Hoping they find these cameras when Luke has a new security system installed.

    There should definitely be security for Kate, too, besides the dog. Champ made friends with Luke too quickly; I don’t trust him to absolutely protect the girls.

    I hope Leila will call Christian and warn him of the plot in exchange for her own protection.

    Even if the plot is uncovered and foiled, Ana and baby are in danger just from the pre-eclampsia.

    And Christian (and eventually the rest of the family) must find out Kate was the organ donor.

    So anxious for the next chapter!

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  32. I suspect everyone trust nobody I hope nothing happens to Ana or that baby another great chapter see you next time take care…..

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    1. I’ve got a feeling it could be too. We never did find out who that man was who wanted Mia to submit to him. Could it be the professor? Maybe he’s angry and is going to take it out on ana and Christian. Or wouldn’t be be great if Mia gave a surprise visit and she recognises him. This story is all I think about. I’m addicted please give me my next fix. Lol.

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      1. Like you, I feel like that would-be attacker of Mia is also going to be of some importance. Elena was willing to risk EVERYTHING to give this man what he wanted. She SAID he was VERY important, and WHY would Elena risk angering someone of Christian’s caliber for anything less?

        So that person would have the money and means to go after Christian. ESPECIALLY since Christian shutdown Elena in the first place. LOOK at Elena’s testimony—the “rules” were greatly relaxed at the bar that protected the girls that worked there in favor of these “big” clients. So they already are without scruples AND now without the means to carry on their fetishes so easily.

        I just don’t think we can rule out ANY of Elena’s clientele. After all, just HOW would they find out about Elena and the establishment anyway? Presents so MANY possibilities.

        And for Isaac to be there helping to run the whole thing, he knew EVERYTHING and ALL the contacts and is STILL free to roam around and due anything at his mistresses’ bidding.

        So directly OR indirectly, I do think all or some of this Conspiracy ties back to Elena and the ties she created/directed at GEH. Someone AT LEAST knows enough to EXPLOIT these weaknesses!

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    2. Yes, the professor. I recall when I was reading about his conversation with Ana after her relationship with Christian was revealed, I thought some of his comments to her about the prospects of success with the book seemed a bit off and didn’t make sense to me. Perhaps he is the watcher. He’s certainly in the vicinity and it could be him.

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      1. On the surface, I don’t see it being the professor. Whoever is behind this Conspiracy has personal knowledge of Christian and Ana and seems motivated to destroy Christian in the most devastating manner possible.

        HOWEVER, you could have the professor be one of these sadistic control freaks with a pathological need to feel powerful by being able to destroy others by setting things in motion AND not getting caught. Certain Psychopaths are like this–they want to destroy any competitor or individual who’s power OR intellect could rival his or her own. Said person would get satisfaction by orchestrating the downfall of powerful intellectuals/entrepreneurs that said person targets.

        But I can’t see it being someone so wholly unconnected to Christian. UNLESS the professor targeted Christian on the DAY Christian and Ana commented on social status and its weight on the world, as reflected in that Dickens’ class conversation. Christian made one comment debunking social status/class being the goal of Dickens. Ana saw it as EDUCATION being the thing that separated individuals. Which was only available to the PRIVILEGED elite. Or something to that effect—been awhile since I concentrated on “that moment,” which really WAS a significant little moment in Christian falling in love with Ana. He LOVED how smart she was, even to best him at a class discussion.

        If it WAS that same professor, and he IS a Psychopath, then that could have been THE moment he took notice of Christian. AND of Ana. Who knows? But I still see that as being a little far-fetched. But stranger things have happened. . . . Could be the professor sees it as his own little “social experiment.”

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  33. I feel like the professor turning out to be obsessed with Ana and hates Christian because he has her already would be such a twist ☝🏾 Remember when Christian asked Ana “why is he calling you beautiful?” Idk it’s just a thought it would make since! Or I’m putting my bet on mr Lincoln. Christian did a lot of unnecessary things to him sleeping with his wife, making him give up money, taking his business. It was really uncalled for I’d be pissed to💯 I don’t even remember why Christian fired Welch so idk, but Elena can be in Issa ear & I doubt if it’s just him in on it. I don’t think carter had anything to do with it give him a break guys 😂 The little petty things he did was his freshmen year of college if anything Christian hates carter more then carter hates him. In all honesty it was always Christian being a dick to him, hell Christian stole his girl at the time. I don’t think Gia has anything to do with watching Ana her main focus is figuring out the right time to seduce Christian. Everybody is just over looking Hyde also she gave us a hint & I refuse to rule him out. Unless she only threw him in our face just so he can be the obvious & there’s a huge twist… ( thinking & waiting patiently.) it’s a love hate thing with Monday’s🤷🏽‍♀️ I love them until after I’m done reading you’re story then it’s back to reality 😧😂😂😘😘

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  34. When Taylor gets back to Seattle, maybe he’ll check with his friend in the SPD and find out who Elena’s visitors have been.

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    1. THAT would present some possibilities. However, Elena has always played it smart. So the person or people would probably not come directly to the prison. The lawyer Elena had WAS super competitive regarding Carrick and obviously bitter over the loss. Elena may be having the lawyer visit her at prison, supposedly to work on an “appeal,” and the lawyer (maybe unknowingly) would be bringing in contact information.

      A real clue might be found in getting a cd of all of Elena’s calls out from the prison. The phone calls HAVE to be recorded. While the conspirators would not be stupid enough to say outright what they are doing, there could definitely be clues/codes to break that would certainly be helpful in learning who is where.

      Another possibility is to find out if someone has been giving Elena “canteen” money. (At least, that is what they call it in this state. It is where family or friends can put money into your prison account for snacks, stamps, phone calls.) IF Elena has someone regularly putting money into her prison account, that could be TELLING. That would indicate that SOMEONE has a vested interest in keeping Elena in as much comfort in prison as possible AND in ensuring she did whatever was asked of her to protect certain outside “interests.”

      But it would require a LOT of resources to listen to everything, collate data, etc. HOWEVER, now that Christian is now aware of the very REAL threat, he has authorized Taylor to bring in the resources that he needs.

      So getting a copy of the Prison Visitor List, cd of all outgoing calls Elena makes from prison, and getting a write-up of when money is coming into Elena’s prison account would DEFINITELY help. If for no other reason than to rule Elena out.

      BUT even if Elena has no direct connections to the Conspiracy at the present time, that COULD change. PLUS, I see any knowledge learned about Elena’s contacts as being INSTRUMENTAL in preparing for whatever future REVENGE plan that Elena comes up with.

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  35. In re-reading this chapter, Leila’s clue to Ana was that the head of the Conspiracy (or at least the guy that recruited her) is “crazy.” I had previously discounted Hyde due to his being unhinged enough to actually approach Ana at the GEH event after having drunk to much alcohol. Someone like that would NOT be able to orchestrate everything behind the scenes and have as many resources at his disposal that need monitoring if he was drunk all the time. Of course, Hyde may be a functional alcoholic.

    But Hyde has the signs of “crazy.” But I still see Andrew Lincoln as a REAL possibility, since losing everything to Christian, who he TRIED to help in the first place, could really drive him over the edge. Lincoln would feel all kinds of betrayal and resentment over everything that happened.

    And with employees from Lincoln’s empire being co-mingled with GEH employees, Andrew would certainly have eyes on everything, particularly as some of his employees were probably close friends or benefitted far more from Andrew than Christian. Christian runs things HIS way, without thought or consequence to those he fires that do not share his vision. While that makes Christian PROFITABLE, it surely creates enemies and destroys livelihoods.

    So there could be any number of people more than willing to see Christian fail for once. BUT Christian noted to Ana that he had wanted to originally FIRE Hyde since he was one of those unable to lead or motivate people sufficiently to keep SIP from losing money and being unsuccessful. So it is hard to imagine Hyde being behind such a Conspiracy, when said Conspiracy would require so much upper-level management skill.

    Of course, Welch would provide that hierarchy and management required. AND he would have reason to go after Christian. But the absolute HEAD of the Conspiracy needs to know something about running an organization to plan something so carefully and so well.

    Astor Harrington had planning skills AND connections (such as Elena), BUT he certainly burned bridges and may have just wanted to move on with his life. The fact that he was on the list to do FREE legal work for people says something–he needs the experience and doesn’t necessarily count on getting the big firm job right out of Harvard. He would have far too much on his plate to orchestrate something so minute, BUT if he had true leadership skills sufficient to choose the RIGHT people to delegate tasks to, then he COULD still be involved. Still less likely to me than the others, without having more knowledge of Astor’s REAL circumstances. He certainly was desperate enough for money at one time to go into cahoots against Elena. But that also showed that he had enough Christian-hatred at the time to want to destroy him THEN. So if his dreams have remained unrealized all this time, then maybe that hatred HAS solidified and driven him over the edge.

    Sigh. Christian has managed to accumulate a long list of potentially crazy BUT smart enemies. AND this particular individual working with Leila OBVIOUSLY knows how to DOMINATE someone and scare them thoroughly into doing his bidding. HOWEVER, Leila left Ana without harming her. Even tried to warn her.

    At this point, the obvious thing for Taylor to do is to have Leila watched 24/7. What is scary is that the Conspiracy Head has had enough sense and planning to make sure that the PAPER TRAIL left by Leila looks innocent enough so that it truly DID look accidental enough for Leila to be in the vicinity of Ana. So the Conspiracy Head had enough resources to move Leila across country and make everything look legit.

    All this from someone Leila described as “crazy.” But crazy like a fox. And street smart, too.

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  36. Really wish I knew more of Isaac’s background. He CLEARLY had been told things by Elena, as he knew exactly what to say to Ana (both to make her uncomfortable and insecure). And Isaac being behind the bar would have heard EVERYTHING said by Elena to Ana.

    And someone was following Ana WAY back in ASSOF, as evidenced by the leaked photos. And that was when Elena was still able to move about openly and be a major player herself. SHE didn’t want to see Christian harmed AT THAT TIME due to seeing Christian’s power as a way to exercise her OWN.

    So Isaac was on the scene and in a position to learn from the best manipulator around about what to do to control/manipulate a situation and people. Isaac would have the organizational know-how and contacts that would have lost everything when Elena did.

    Plus, Isaac COULD be obsessed with Christian as coming BEFORE him and still clearly holding Elena’s affections, or at least was VALUED by Elena above all others. And Isaac would know the MAJOR CLIENTS that had wealth and motivation to remain hidden and protected. And he would be able to EXPLOIT those people and resources to bring Christian down.

    And he could be crazy from having lost Elena and his lifestyle. Isaac SEEMED more than just a lackey, even back in the day. That was ONE thing you could say about Elena–she chose sexual partners that were potentially powerful diamonds-in-the-rough that she felt she could control through sex. But yet she couldn’t manipulate Andrew once he knew what she was TRULY capable of. SAME APPLIES with Christian. So what about Isaac?

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  37. well all I can say is that your writing is simply amazing…..I can’t stop reading……never stop writing….

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  38. I will not speculate much what will come next, just happy reading your update. Christian is the best and will protect Ana all he can. Both had been through many obstacles already. He will find out about Kate before he goes back to Seattle, there will be an emotional meeting and the truth will come out. Thank you very much.

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  39. Great chapter. I knew he had to show up after the phone call. I love that he’ll let her stay and how she made him give it to her. The next morning Christian will figure out that Kate was the donor even though she’ll try to deny it. But when will Elliott find out? Can’t wait. Thank you.

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  40. OMG!!!! I love your story so much!! I wish you could post a story every other day! I’m addicted and always so anxious to read it every Monday! Please don’t stop writing like ever!
    I don’t know how I feel about Carter and Kate being together, I like it but I wish she was with Elliot and I wish Elliot could give her what she wants. Kate always amazes me, what she did for Carrick just made me love her more! Ugh Gia gives me such a headache what Elliot sees in amuses me. I wonder who is watching Ana, I hope it’s not Carter. I hope Carrick recovers soon! Finally Ethan makes another appearance, their little marriage memory was just cute!

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  41. Heyyyy! !!!!! Tha k you so much for the updates. You have once again rocked my world with this chapter. Literally I was bouncing on the couch while reading it especially the part where Ana say then protect me here….” I have to admit that part packed a full punch.
    So really thank you once again and I will continue to show my support for this amazing book so please continue to write it

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  42. Dudeee where are all your raunchy scenes st i reallly miss them? I knoe somebody in d ff site said theyre too much but u wrote the best ones, and there haasnt beeen a steamy one since skype sex.. plssss give us moree!

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  43. So obviously Christian is going to be even more distracted with Ana having pregnancy complications. I wonder how the conspiracy will take advantage of his distraction. I wish Christian could just move to Cambridge for the next few months or even spend every other week in Cambridge. But with his business plus Carrick being sick it would be a lot of trouble.

    And isn’t it kind of weird that supposedly the conspiracy is watching Ana’s every move yet Leila had no idea that she was pregnant? I think it’s more likely that this “he” knew about the baby but didn’t let Leila know, hoping that she wouldn’t find out before hurting Ana. But whoever this “he” is obviously wouldn’t let the baby stop him hurting Ana, that’s why Leila warned her.

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  44. I know we will find out more about “HE” soon, but the wait is killing me.

    Although Welch seems a likely candidate to set all of this up, I still don’t want to believe that it is him. It seems like someone set him up, because Christian fired him solely due to supposed emails he had sent that were found on his server. Either he really DID send them, or someone planted them in the hopes of Christian firing him, thus leaving an opening in Christian’s company that has ALWAYS been filled by Welch.

    I just don’t see Welch thinking he could keep his job if he was truly undermining Christian in the way that he appears to be. But that would be awfully stupid to leave the incriminating evidence on his server to be found. So either he thought he was above reproach, or he might have actually sent the emails as subterfuge in order to draw the REAL instigator out. BUT Christian never gave Welch a chance to explain himself, which really may come back to bite Christian.

    At any rate, the person that Leila presents as the “HE” is supposedly crazy. I would LOVE to know Leila’s definition of “crazy,” since Leila (and even Hyde) appear to be coming unhinged themselves.

    I guess only time will tell, but I also think that the “HE” already knew Ana was pregnant. “HE” would have to, if he has really been watching Ana constantly. So wonder what “HE” is really waiting for, since “HE” could have snatched Ana at numerous previous opportunities.

    Would LOVE to know how “HE” is getting so much information. Does “HE” know about Ana’s pregnancy complications? HHHMMMMM, so much to wonder about. Every new chapter gives an answer or two but then presents about a million questions and concerns.

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