Chapter 24

Untitled

I’d really hoped that Christian already being in Cambridge meant that he’d want to stay for the whole weekend. His unexpected arrival had been doubly exciting because not only did it mean that I’d get to spend more time with Kate and Ethan, but also that I was going to get a week off from the long, arduous flight to Seattle. When I get home from class on Friday though, all of that excitement vanishes when I walk through the sliding glass door and find my suitcase leaning against the kitchen counter, packed and ready, next to Christian’s.

I have to actually hold back a groan when I see it. I know that he’s got a lot going on at work right now and that he probably is still worried about being away from his dad for too long, but the idea of getting on a plane and flying five and a half hours when it feels like I don’t have to is about the absolute last thing on the planet I want to do today. So, even though I understand his reasons for wanting to go, I decide I’m going to try and plead my case to stay. But, when I follow the sound of his voice into the living room, I find him, Taylor, and Luke sitting around the coffee table in deep discussion.

“I mean, it’s enough for when she’s on campus…” Luke says. Taylor nods, but looks as though he’s weighing something in his mind as he turns to Christian.

“I just don’t think one more person is going to be enough.”

“That’s what I have,” Christian says. “Just you and Ryan. If she has a driver, Sawyer doesn’t have to leave her side.”

“That’s not necessarily true,” Luke says. “I think we need a female. The issue is Leila getting her alone and I can’t go into public bathrooms or locker rooms with her. What if she and Kate want to go to a spa or something? That’s exactly the kind of place Leila would be able to corner her and she’ll be vulnerable.”

“She doesn’t do well with female CPOs,” Christian says, but Luke shakes his head.

“She didn’t do well with Prescott, and, honestly, I don’t blame her. That woman was awful.”

“We’ll have to go outside the GEH security team,” Taylor says. “I don’t have any female security officers on staff right now.”

Luke nods. “I know some people in Boston who could give me some names. And, l can do the vetting this time. I know which personalities she’ll gel with and which she won’t. She’s more likely to follow security protocol if she likes her CPO.”

Taylor nods. “And I think we need someone who can watch every point of entry on the house throughout the night. We don’t have the protection here that we do on Escala.”

“I also don’t think it would be a bad idea to change the locks and add a second deadbolt to the front door. I’d even go as far as replacing the sliding glass door in the kitchen with doors that can have multiple locks put in them and that aren’t made of glass.”

“I agree,” Christian says. “And that driveway is dark at night and you can’t see it from inside the house unless someone has their headlights on. We need motion sensor lights so the cameras will pick up anyone moving around the exterior.”

“That’s simple.” Taylor nods. “We can have all of the infrastructure items installed by the end of the weekend. I’ll just need to find an additional man to Kommer for the overnight detail.”

“No, two more,” Christian says, shaking his head. “I want someone assigned to Katherine as well. She’s a vulnerability. If Leila goes after Kate then Ana will put herself in danger to try and protect her.”

“Agreed,” Luke nods.

“Two, then, and the female officer Luke will find in Boston,” Taylor says. “I’ll let Kommer know he’s being transferred to Cambridge tonight and then go through the names I’ve already vetted to fill the other spots. It shouldn’t take more than a week to find someone suitable but we’ll need to get them set up with apartments and transportation here. Do we all agree that Luke should move in here and take the guest room?”

“Absolutely,” Christian says. “She shouldn’t ever be alone with only Kate in this house.”

“Alright,” Luke agrees. “Then I’ll make some calls to have the locks changed and the lights installed while everything else is being done. I can stay behind to keep on eye on things while you’re gone if Taylor wants to stay on duty tonight.”

“Of course.” He nods. When it’s clear no one has anything else to add, they all rise from their seats but stop when they turn and see me lurking in the archway between the living room and the kitchen.

“Hey, baby,” Christian says awkwardly. “How was class?”

“Fine. Can I talk to you for a minute?” Christian nods to both Taylor and Luke, dismissing them, and once they’ve left the room I step forward and wrap my arms around him. “So, it’s really about to get tighter around here, huh?”

“That was the deal.”

“I know. Thank you for thinking about Kate. It would destroy me if something happened to her because of me.”

“Then you understand how I feel. Part of me still wishes you would just come home. Leaving you here now, knowing what we know… I think I’m going to go out of my mind.”

“I’ll be on my best behavior,” I promise. “And Luke won’t let anything happen to me.”

He nods and then leans down to kiss me. “I’ve missed you all day,” he whispers. “I can’t wait to have you alone tonight.”

“About that… Do we really have to fly back to Seattle?”

“Why would we fly back to Seattle?”

I look up at him with confusion. “But… my bag is packed. Our suitcases are by the door. I thought…”

“They’re coming to put in the security system this weekend and in order to get it done by the time Taylor and I leave on Sunday, they need us to vacate the house. We’re staying in a hotel for the rest of the weekend and Kate will go stay at Reed’s house with her brother.”  

“Wait, you’re making Kate leave?”

“I hardly think asking her to spend the weekend with her boyfriend is the same thing as making her leave.”

“Yeah, but she shouldn’t…” I stop and begin chewing on the inside of my cheek. I want to tell him that she’s supposed to be on bedrest and moving her to another house might be a little too much strain on her, especially with the amount of pain she experiences just going down the stairs some mornings. Unfortunately, I can’t say any of that and since Kate has managed to keep her surgery a secret from Christian this far, I doubt she’s going to say anything either. Still, she only has one more week before she’s supposed to be able to get back to school and move around again and I don’t want to set her back because we tried too much too soon. I suppose though that they did move her from Seattle to Cambridge much earlier in her recovery and she seemed to do fine…

“What’s wrong?” Christian asks, clearly seeing my hesitance, but I shake my head and smile up at him.

“Nothing’s wrong. I’m just going to go talk to Kate real quick, okay?”

“Alright. I have just a few more things to see to for work and then we can go. I have dinner reservations for us tonight.”

“Can’t wait.” I kiss him softly and then hurry up the stairs, pausing to rap my knuckles against Kate’s door, but not actually waiting for her response before I open it.

“What are you doing?” I snap when I see her standing in front of her closet going through a bin full of scarves, tossing the few she likes over her shoulder into the duffle bag open on the bed.

“Hey, Ana,” she replies casually. “Do you think this pattern is too much to go with that black sweater I got in New York a couple months ago?”

I shake my head with exasperation. “Why are you out of bed?”

“I’m packing. Christian asked if we could stay at Carter’s for the rest of the weekend while he installs security cameras in the house. You don’t think he’s going to put cameras in here do you? Because if he is, I’m going to need the names of everyone who will have access to that footage…”

“Kate, you’re supposed to be resting!” I walk forward, take the bin out of her hands, and set in back on the shelf in her closet, but when I turn to help her get back into bed, she stops me.

“I’m fine, Ana. I’m feeling really good today. The painkillers are doing their job and it’s nice to be up and around. I’m actually excited to spend the weekend at Carter’s. I’ve been in this house around the clock for over a month and I’m going a little stir crazy.”

“You have one more week,” I tell her. “The doctor said you needed to be on bed rest for six weeks and then you could ease back into regular routine. I don’t want you to strain yourself now and end up making it more.”

“I feel fine,” she assures me. “And I’m only going a couple blocks. Once I get to Carter’s house, I’ll get straight back into bed, I promise.”

I take a deep breath, not wanting to give in but knowing I don’t have a choice. Kate isn’t the kind of girl you can talk out of something once she’s decided on it, and if I try to fight her too hard, Christian will notice. “Alright, at least let me help you pack then.”

“Fine.” She turns back and sits on the end of her bed while I remove the scarf she’s thrown in the bag.

“And yes, I do think this is too much to go with that black sweater,” I tell her. “I think it’s too much to go with anything. This scarf is hideous, Kate.”

“How dare you, that’s Gucci.”

I laugh and toss the folded scarf back into the bin, then begin following her instructions around the room to get the things she wants to take with her. It’s like she’s packing for an extended three week getaway when in actuality, she’s only going to be gone two nights, but it’s nice to have the time alone with her. We talk and fold as we try and cram as much as possible into her duffel bag and soon we’re laughing so hard together that we almost don’t hear Champ’s barks coming from downstairs.

“Well, Carter and Ethan are back with the dog,” Kate says, and the moment the words are out of my mouth, I hear Champ’s barks turn to snarling growls.

“Champ, no! Bad dog! Knock it off!” Carter yells, and Kate giggles.

“Why does my dog hate Christian so much?”

“Probably because he took his place in my bed last night” I say. “Hopefully Christian takes that as him being a good guard dog and doesn’t say we have to get rid of him.”

“Luke would be so devastated,” she says. “It would be like that scene in Homeward Bound when they’re driving away and the little boy is waving through the back window of the car… except, Champ is kind of dumb so I don’t think he’d make it back to us. He’d just find the first family that would take him and call it good.”  

We both laugh.

Once we’re finished packing, I heave Kate’s bag up onto my shoulder and then help her out of bed. She grimaces slightly as she stands, but once she’s upright, the pain in her expression fades and she’s able to keep it away as she moves slowly down the stairs. Christian looks at her suspiciously as I hand her bag to Carter but he doesn’t say anything. I wonder though, if I’m going to have to come up with some excuse later for why she’s being so reclusive. Or making me carry her bags…

“So, what’s the plan for tonight?” Kate asks.

“I don’t know,” Carter shrugs. “Hang out, maybe play some games. My roommate went home this weekend so we should have the house to ourselves.”

“Oh my god, we should have a Mario Kart tournament!” Kate says.

“I’m into that,” Ethan agrees, but Carter shrugs.

“With just the three of us?”

“No, the five of us. Christian and Ana are coming for tonight, aren’t you?” Kate asks. The three of them turn to look at us, and I frown, feeling a deep stab of regret in the pit of my stomach.

“Sorry. I think… I think we’re just going to go to the hotel, Kate.”

“Aw, come on, Ana!” she pouts. “You’re never here on weekends. Come hang out! It won’t be nearly as fun if you’re not there.”

“Sorry, Katie,” I tell her. “We’ll do something, just the two of us, next week, okay?”

She frowns, but, after glancing at Christian, nods. “Alright, have a good night.”

I lean over and very tenderly hug her before turning to Christian and following him out the back door where Taylor has already started warming up my Lexus.

Christian stops to open my door so that I can climb into the back seat and out of the cold while he stows our luggage in the trunk. Once he’s slid into the seat next to me, Taylor looks up in the mirror.

“Where to, sir?”

“Oleana,” he says, and Taylor nods before shifting the car into reverse and backing down the driveway. Before we can turn to continue down the road, I look back up at the house and see Carter and Ethan come through the sliding glass door, wrestling with Champ, who doesn’t seem eager to get back into Carter’s car after having just got home. Kate is laughing at them as she steps out of the house, but when our headlights turn off the driveway, she turns to look at our car. The humor on her face fades slightly as she lifts her hand to wave goodbye, and even though I know she can’t see me through the dark. I curl my fingers at her and then slump back into my seat.

“You okay?” Christian asks.

“Yeah. Part of me just wishes we were staying home so we could hang out with Kate and Ethan, but it’s probably better this way anyway.” I sigh. “You packed my laptop, right? I need to work some more on the article I’m writing for the Crimson next week.”

“Yeah, it’s in your bag,” he says. I nod and turn to stare out the window again, feeling the lingering sense of guilt that plagues me every time I leave Kate now, because it makes me replay Ainsley’s words from that boutique in Seattle in my mind.

Your best friend is moving on without you.

This weekend could have been the perfect way to include her without sacrificing time with Christian, but I guess that’s just one more thing Leila is taking away from me. Security. Freedom. Time with my best friend.

And all because Christian chose me, not her.

When we pull up outside the restaurant a few minutes later, Christian wraps his hand around mine and takes me with him through his side of the car. The early February air really is biting cold, so he pulls me in tight under his arm as he leads me inside and doesn’t release me until we’re led to a secluded table near the back. I’ve been here with Christian before, a long time ago when he still went to school here, and it looks the same now as it did all those years ago. The dim light is interrupted by a single votive in the middle of the small table, casting soft, flickering candlelight over the white tablecloth. It’s very romantic and I smile at him as he pulls out my chair out for me and then leans down to kiss the top of my hair.

Once we begin to glance over our menus though, it’s quiet between us, almost uncomfortably so, so once the waitress has taken our orders and left us alone again, Christian reaches across the table and takes my hands in his.

“Are you sure you’re okay?”

“Mmm,” I hum. “Of course I am, I’m with you. I’m just… thinking about Kate. I need to find a way to make time for her during the week, but there never seems to be enough hours in a day anymore. Especially now that she has a boyfriend again. I wish I was more like you and could manage my time a little better.”

“You two should start running together again,” he says. “That’s an easy way to spend time together and get to talk. I think you need that. You’re happier when you and Kate are in a good place.” I give him a tight smile and take a drink of my water as I once again have to pretend there isn’t a reason Kate’s behavior has suddenly and inexplicably changed. I hate that I can’t just tell him, especially because I know that he’d want to show her his gratitude, but I made a promise. So, to prevent an accidental slip, I change the subject.

“How’s work going? Ros seemed a little anxious when I was talking to you on the phone after my appointment the other day. Everything alright?”

“Yeah,” he nods. “She always gets that way when we’re on the verge of something big and this looks as though it could be one of the most lucrative deals we’ve ever had.”

“Ten million dollars,” I repeat, remembering Ros’s panicked pleas to get Christian off the phone.

“And that’s just to start,” he says. “Have you ever heard of PixC?”

“You mean like the website? It’s like Instagram, right?”

“Yeah, it’s the second largest photo sharing application in the social media world. Their CEO was in a plane crash a little over a month ago.”

“Oh my god! Is he okay?”

“No, Ana. He died.”

“Oh… Did you know him?”

He shakes his head. “I knew of him, but, no, I didn’t know him personally. Anyway, their company is bleeding because they’re not equipped to go on without him and so they’re quietly looking to sell.”

“So, you’re going to buy it?”

“Their financial advisor used to work for a company I acquired and he’s really good. I had tried to bring him into GEH before, but he want to PixC instead. Anyway, he called me and told me their situation, so I looked into it. The name is recognizable, they have seven million active monthly users, and now that their stocks have plummeted, they’re cheap. With my technology division, I think we can not only save the company, but we can make a run at becoming a social media giant. That could mean two to five billion dollars in annual revenue, and from only one division of my company.”

“Every year?” I ask, astonished. He smiles and I give him an accusatory look. “Are you secretly trying to take over the world?”

“It’s a secret?” he replies, and I laugh.

When we’re finished with dinner, I snuggle again into Christian’s side to try and avoid the cold as we make our way to the Lexus parked a little ways down from the door. Once we’re inside, Taylor turns back to us and asks if Christian intends to go straight back to the hotel, but he shakes his head.

“I think we’re going to be spending the rest of the evening at number four Merrill Street,” he says and I furrow my brow at his sudden change of plans until I recognize the address.

“Carter’s house?” I ask.

“I hear they’re having a Mario Kart tournament,” he says. “How could we possibly miss that?”

“Thank you,” I say, and then lean over to kiss him in a way that is probably a little inappropriate with Taylor being only a few feet away in the driver’s seat.

When we get to Carter’s house, we’re immediately greeted by Champ’s loud barks that don’t stop after Carter opens the door to let us in. He growls and snarls at Christian as he worms his way between us but, while Ethan grabs Champ by the collar to drag him into the back room and Kate begins apologizing from the couch, Christian waves them off.

“I’m perfectly fine with that dog acting aggressively towards men he doesn’t know being around Anastasia.”

“Oh, he knows you,” Kate says. “He just doesn’t like you. Champ is an excellent judge of character.”

“Is that why he sleeps in Ana’s bed?” Christian retorts. Kate’s mouth pops open, but quickly changes into a broad smile.

“Solid burn, Grey.”

I laugh and lean up on my tip toes to kiss Christian on the cheek before I move over to the couch to sit with Kate.

“You want a beer, Christian?” Carter asks hesitantly, and to everyone’s surprise, Christian nods. He even follows Carter into the kitchen and when they come back several minutes later, they’re talking to each other. Pleasantly.

Kate gives me a shocked look as they sit down at the table in Carter’s dining room together, but, as we sit and eavesdrop on them talking about Christian’s new Lamborghini and a few other expensive sports cars that are expected to be released later this year, her look of disbelief turns to smug satisfaction.

“I told you he just needed to get to know him. Look, you’d think they were best friends.”

“I honestly don’t believe it,” I say. “It feels like we’ve entered some kind of bizzaro world and now I don’t know what to do with my hands.”

“Grab a WiiMote,” Kate says. “The boys are occupied and, now that I’ve got you all to myself, you’re going down, Steele.”

It ends up being one of the best nights I’ve had in a really long time. Ethan puts on some music while Kate and I race each other on Mario Kart and the guys hang out in kitchen behind us. I’m almost floored by how long Christian willingly sits at the table with Carter, and not even just keeping up polite, shallow conversation either. He listens to Carter going over some of the things they’re currently talking about in his business classes and gives his take things, offered him some career advice for once he graduates, and when Carter asks him the question I didn’t even dare at the beginning of the year, about him possibly coming into guest lecture, he doesn’t immediately turn him down.

Maybe Kate and Elliot were right and it is a good idea to have some kind of secret handshake to ensure neither of us gets taken over by aliens. As it is, hearing him laugh at one of Carter’s jokes, I’m going through my mind to think of three questions only Christian Grey could answer, just to be sure.

After about an hour, the boys have started drinking and playing Quarters on the dining room table, which Christian doesn’t seem to be very good at and results in him taking several shots. The more he drinks, the more lascivious his glances across the room at me become. At one point, when we make eye contact, I see his tongue swipe tantalizingly over his lower lip and, along with the look he’s giving me, it actually makes me blush. I remember very clearly what happens to Christian when he’s intoxicated… and so does my behind.

“Good lord, how much alcohol are they giving him?” I ask, and Kate laughs.

“Don’t worry, not enough that he won’t be able to perform later.”

“That’s not a concern,” I tell her. “Although, if he keeps drinking I might need to be concerned about how sore I’ll be tomorrow.”

“I bet I’ll still win that contest,” she says, wincing slightly as she readjusts her position on the couch.

“Are you feeling okay?” I check.

“I’m fine, sorry. I think the painkillers I took this afternoon are wearing off, but I don’t want to take anymore until I’m ready to go to bed. It’s late and they’ll knock me out, but I’m having a really good time with you tonight, Ana.”

“Me too,” I tell her, but she winces again and I frown.

I glance over my shoulder at Christian, who is watching Ethan take a turn at getting the coin into the shot glass between them, and I wonder if part of the reason that she doesn’t want to take more painkillers is that she doesn’t want to risk Christian seeing her with a pill bottle.

“Do you want to do something else?” I ask. “This game makes you move around a lot, maybe that’s making it worse.”

“Yeah,” Kate nods. “Let’s play something with the boys. I’ve let your guy boggart my guy’s attention long enough.”

She calls out to Carter and asks them to come join us in the living room, and they tell us they will once they finish their game. Ethan goes through the movies to find something for us to watch while Carter and Christian come take their places next to Kate and me. The moment Christian’s pulled the blanket in my lap over him so that it’s covering both of us, his hand moves down over my thigh. I glance quickly over at Kate and Carter, worried they may have noticed something, but they’re currently arguing with Ethan over whatever DVD he’s pulled out of the cabinet.

“You’re so beautiful, baby,” Christian whispers as his hand moves between my legs. “God, I can’t wait to get you alone tonight.”

“Alone being the key word,” I whisper back as I clench my thighs together.

“Don’t,” he groans. Carter gets up to turn the lights out and once it’s dark and the movie starts, Christian’s hand becomes slightly more aggressive under the blanket. He presses against my thighs, opening my legs for him again, and then his fingers get to work once more. I bite down on my lip, nervous to be caught fooling around at first, but eventually giving in as the feel of him touching me overwhelms my good judgement.

“That’s it, baby,” he whispers softly. “Just don’t give me away.”

His hands begin to roam my body, becoming bolder the further into the movie we get. I let out several silent gasps as his fingers clamp tightly around my nipples beneath my bra or his teeth graze softly against the lobe of my ear. My eyes shift to Kate and Carter again, and then to Ethan lying on the floor in front of the TV, but they’re all far too engrossed in the movie to be paying any attention to Christian and I. The longer he touches me, the more I want from him, and so, when I’m sure we’re not going to be caught, I slowly move my hand over into his lap until I find the bulge in his trousers. His body stiffens when I wrap my fingers tightly around it and I begin moving my hand back and forth, but when I move to open his zipper, he reaches down to stop me.

“I don’t want your hand,” he whispers to me. “I want to fuck you. Right now.”

I react immediately to the feel of his breath against my skin and the raw need I can hear in his tone. I turn slightly towards him, moving as little as possible to avoid the off chance that we may attract someone’s attention and give him a coy smile.

“Should we leave?”

“No,” he says. “Right now. I don’t want to wait to get you back to the hotel.”

“But…”

“Excuse yourself. You’re pregnant. Pretend you’re going to be sick and go into the bathroom. I’ll come check on you in a minute.”

The shiver returns as he squeezes my leg tightly once, and then leans away from me. I take a deep breath and settle back into the couch, waiting a few seconds before reaching forward for the glass of water in front of me, bringing it up to my lips, and then letting my face shift with sudden urgency.

“Oh god,” I moan, brushing Christian’s hand off my leg and bolting out of my seat for the bathroom.

“Ana?” Kate says, looking worried as she turns away from the movie.

“I’ve got it,” Christian says.

I duck into the bathroom, which is coincidentally the first bathroom I actually ever did get sick in because of my pregnancy, and then wait three or four seconds before Christian slips inside behind me, closes the door, and then twists the lock on the handle. His arms are around me immediately, bringing me into him so that his lips can find mine with a hungered, fervent kind of urgency. I moan into his mouth and he pulls away.

“You have to be very, very quiet,” he warns me. “Which is going to be difficult as I intend on being very rough with you.”

He turns me back towards the vanity and simultaneously bends me over the counter while he kicks my feet apart. His hands hook under the band on my leggings and begin pulling them off of me, all the way off rather than just far enough for him to get between my legs, and as he separates my pale pink panties from the black fabric he tosses carelessly to the floor and tucks them into the pocket of his pants, a smile crosses my lips. Apparently, he intends for this to be memorable.

I glance up into the mirror and watch as he pulls a silk tie from the back pocket of his jeans, and then raise an eyebrow at him.

“Why do you have…”

“A man has to be prepared, Anastasia,” he says as he curls the fabric around his hands and then moves it in front of my face like he wants to tie it around my head. “Open,” he commands.

“What?”

“I said you were going to have to be quiet,” he says. “I’m going to ensure you are. Open your mouth, Anastasia.” I do as he asks and he slides the silk of his tie between my lips, then quickly wraps each end around my head, over my hair, and secures them together in a tight knot. I move my neck, testing the freedom I have with his makeshift gag, and then let out a muffled, anticipation filled moan into the fabric as I hear the low jingle of his belt.

He leans over me again. “We don’t have a lot of time. You’re going to come quickly.”

I nod and then grip tightly to the countertop as I feel his erection brush against my lips. He thrusts forward in one hard motion that rockets me forward so violently that I would have crashed face first into the mirror had his hand on my shoulder not been simultaneously pulling me back into him. I readjust my grip on the countertop as he moves forward again and again, pistoning in and out of me as quick and as hard as possible. His hand moves from my shoulder to tangle in the roots of my hair and he pulls harshly, eliciting a sharp cry of pain that is lost in the fabric set firmly in my mouth.

Without breaking his relentless pace, he makes eye contact with me in the mirror to make sure I’m okay, but since I can’t respond to him, I simply move my hands further up the counter, gripping tightly to the inside of the sink for better leverage, and push back on him. A smile crosses his lips as he gets the message and his hand tightens even more around my hair as he continues to pummel in and out of me.

He wasn’t wrong before. We’ve only just begun but it’s not long before I feel heat blossoming inside of me like the bloom of a lotus flower, quickly spreading through my heated blood and reaching to the very tips of my fingers. My toes curl over the tile floor as my body forces me to surrender to the rapidly unravelling pleasure, my fingernails scrape against the porcelain on the sink, and my insides begin to shudder. All of it together tells Christian that I’m getting close, and he leans over me, pressing into me, until his lips brush against my ear again.

“That’s it, baby. Let go. I want you to come,” he whispers. I whimper in response and his hand slips down between my legs, his fingers finding my clitoris and moving in time with each of his strokes.

“Like that?” he asks, huskily. I nod and whimper as my  body begins to writhe and I hear him groan. “Fuck, I want to spank you. Really let you fucking have it.”

His hand moves down from my hair and grips tightly to my ass. His fingers sink into my flesh so hard, I imagine he’ll leave behind five dime sized bruises, but that thought doesn’t deter me. In fact, I hope he does. I want the reminder, the proof of where he’s been, and as his hands open me further, allowing him to stroke deeper into me, the pressure twisting tighter and tighter inside of me collapses in on itself like a supernova and sends shockwaves of warm pleasure rolling through my entire body.

“Fuck, Ana,” Christian hisses as my orgasm forces me to clench tightly around him. “Fuck, fuck, fuck!”

His hand disappears from my ass and wraps around mine on the counter as he tries to hold himself up while the force of his own orgasm hits him. I can feel his release filling me as he continues to move in and out of me, and when I look up into the mirror and see the cocktail of pleasure and strain in his face as he struggles to stay as quiet as he’s kept me, I feel a new wave of heat wash through me. Not another orgasm, simply deep, genuine satisfaction. The uninhibited pleasure he’s experiencing right now is because of me, because of my body, and I love that I do that to him. I love that he does this to me. I love that having this with him proves over and over again how perfect we are for each other.

It takes him a moment to regain control of his breathing, but once he does, he removes the tie from around my head, pulls out, and crouches down behind me. I feel a small pang of embarrassment as I feel the shift of his release, but as it begins to drip out of me, he groans.

“So fucking hot.” His lips connect with my inner thigh, leaving a small, gentle kiss against my skin, before he stands up, picks up a towel off the rack behind us, and uses it to clean me up.

“I’m sure Carter is really going to appreciate that,” I tell him wryly as he tosses the towel into a hamper a few feet away from us.

“I care very little about what Carter does and does not appreciate,” he says, and I frown.

“I thought you were starting to come around with Carter. You two have been getting along so well tonight.”

“You think I got where I did in business by not being able to fake pleasant conversation with people I can’t stand?”

“But, why would you do that? If you hate him so much…”

“He’s important to Kate, and Kate is important to me.”

I smile, taken off guard for a moment by his sweet confession about my best friend, and then turn to wrap my arms around him. “She is?”

“Of course she is. She’s the person closest to the love of my life, the godmother of my daughter… and she donated part of her liver to my father.”

My face falls. “What?”

“You don’t have to pretend anymore, Ana,” he says. “I know you know that she was the donor who saved my father’s life.”

“But… but how do you know?”

“She’s not drinking, she winces every time she moves, and she hasn’t got up to dance with you once tonight even though her eyes have lit up a dozen times at different songs that have been played. She didn’t go to school today but she’s been hiding from me, which is not something that is usual for her, and when she moves too quickly, she holds her side, the same way my father does. I’ve known her for three years, you don’t think I can tell when something’s off with her?”  

I press my lips together, unsure if it’s still breaking my promise to Kate to talk to him about this now that he actually does know. But there really is no sense in denying it anymore and he’s expecting me to answer him, so I take a deep breath and nod.

“Why didn’t you tell me?”

“Because she didn’t want you to know. She doesn’t want anyone in your family to know.”

“Why?” he asks, and I narrow my eyes at him. “Elliot?”

I nod again. “She loves your family, but she’s moving on. You know what would happen if everyone found out. You know what Elliot would do. She doesn’t want him showing up here and making things awkward with Carter… or Gia.”

Gia,” he huffs irritably, but when his eyes meet my pleading gaze, he nods. “Fine. I won’t say anything.”

I lean up and kiss him, but he only allows my lips to linger against his for a second before he pushes me away.

‘I love you, but we’ve been in here too long. They’re going to wonder what we’re doing. Get dressed.”

“Okay.” I turn to pick up my leggings from the floor, aware of the fact that he hasn’t given me my panties back, but as we begin to put ourselves back together, Christian’s phone begins vibrating loudly.

“Who’s that?” I ask as he reaches into his pocket to pull out his iPhone. “Isn’t it a little late for work calls?”

“Ros, probably,” he replies, but when he looks down at the screen of his phone, he frowns. “Or it’s California…” He looks confused for half a second, but that quickly vanishes and is replaced immediately by alarm. “Fuck, PixC.”

I glance nervously to the door as we can both still hear the faint sounds of gunshots and explosions coming through the door from the movie, but Christian doesn’t seem to be deterred enough by the noise not to answer.

“Grey. No, that’s alright. What can I do for you, Hausman?” He’s quiet for a moment, having to concentrate very hard on listening to what the person he’s talking to is saying because he’s still a little inebriated, but the longer the other person speaks, the deeper the crease in Christian’s forehead gets. “What do you mean? Their stock is in free fall. They know they won’t survive fourth quarter, what makes them…?” He pauses again, presumably as the other person answers his panicked questions, and while he waits, the confusion in his expression turns to anger. “Who are they going to find in the next thirty days? Very motivated? Who is it?”

The tension in his face relaxes, but it isn’t replaced with relief. If anything, it’s shock, and it takes him a moment to speak again.

“Thank you, Hausman. I’ll be in touch.” He hangs up the phone, staring at it in disbelief for a moment, before finally looking back up at me.

“What was that?”

“That was… that was Richard Hausman, the financial advisor on the board of PixC that I was telling you about earlier. They’re backing out of our deal, out of our ten million dollar deal.”

“What? Why?”

“They think they can reclaim the company if they get the right leadership, so they’re going to try and replace their CEO rather than merge with GEH. They’ve already got an interview lined up.”

“Who is it? Would I know them?” I ask, and he nods.

“It’s Ros.”

Next Chapter

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74 thoughts on “Chapter 24

  1. Well, I can say that I wasn’t expecting that. Or maybe I was… Ros had always been a good friend, and Christian always felt superior than her. I think that even he deserved it a little. But I am sad that he lost his only “really” “”””friend””””.

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  2. Wow. Didn’t see that coming. But then again, I guess she might be tired of holding down the fort and getting none of the glory. Oh well..there’s always a hostile takeover. Mr. Grey is good at those too.

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  3. Wouldn’t she have anti-compete clause? I’m sure he could sue her for violation. I can see her frustration and even understand her wanting to go her own way, but she should have spoken to him first.

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      1. It would traditionally be in the bylaws. Most executive level employees are guaranteed certain benefits, i.e., stock options or shares depending on if it’s publicly traded or privately owned. Even in many severance situations, there is often a no compete clause for a period of time. Also, this is almost akin to insider trading. She definitely violated some ethics and possibly laws given they were in the midst of negotiations.

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      2. Yes, but there is now a whole SECTION of law devoted to Employee Handbooks, etc. telling what each employee can and can’t do, in addition to the contracts. After all, everything HAS to leave a paper trail to comply with current laws involved in SEC trading, etc. Even for a privately held corporation, there are rules.

        And NO ONE would be without a contract–we have even HEARD Christian spout this at Ros about all the employees of GEH. After all, that was how he acquired the RIGHT to the patents developed by his company.

        So I can’t see a partner not having SOMETHING in writing regarding her duties, type of notice she has to give if she wishes to leave the company, and CLAUSES that say what she CAN AND CAN’T do in relation to her duties to the company, including non-compete clauses. That is MANDATORY in any company filings, particularly if you hope to survive IRS audits.

        And basically selling out GEH AND USING insider information THAT SHE LEARNED IN RELATION to negotiations is a BIG legal no-no for Ros. I just don’t see Ros risking EVERYTHING, particularly losing her good name and reputation in legal contract wrangling. There WILL be exit clauses for Ros or SOMETHING in the company bylaws that would have HAD to be filed at the time of incorporation.

        But Christian will definitely need to get his lawyers on this asap. And talk to Ros as well, but if she truly scheduled an interview with the company, then it may have to come through lawyers. And WHO would represent Ros? DEFINITELY not something the GEH lawyers can represent OR advise her on, as it would be in potential CONFLICT with the CLIENT, which is GEH.

        So this would be MAJORLY expensive for Ros, as she would have to have lawyers to represent her against any BREACH OF FIDUCIARY DUTY that she owes GEH. Plus, she is STILL part of GEH at this point. She hasn’t activated any parachute provision or exit clause. So she is ACTIVE GEH. Meaning that she MUST act on behalf of the corporation, NOT for herself. So WOW.

        How would this NOT be a breach of fiduciary duty that she owes GEH???

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      3. Yeah, I would think that Christian would have all the executives, no matter who they are, covered under contract. He’s just anal like that. And it’s definitely an ethics violation and insider trading like Ocalliewriter and ToriK said. But maybe it’s not as it seems and it’s just someone trying to cause trouble from inside GEH. They couldn’t get to Ana so now they have to use Plan B which has been on the back burner. This just reeks of Welch to be honest. I’m just hoping that Ros has no idea what they are talking about and never set up an interview. I’d really hate for Christian to lose his friend.

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  4. WOW. OHWOWOHWOWHOWHOWHOWHOW.

    But it makes sense. Christian’s speech/argument with Ros at Thanksgiving really probably hit home to her that Christian considers GEH to be SOLELY his baby. And Ros recognizes that Christian is no longer the same CEO as he was prior to getting back together with Ana. While Christian, IN THEORY, could do without GEH, Ros has never had the ACTUAL RECOGNITION that Christian has.

    And Christian’s past CHOICES, such as Elena and getting caught sleeping with Ana on the job, have damaged GEH’s reputation AND stability. Ros now has a chance to get out from under those past scandals and PROVE HER WORTH, since doesn’t feel Christian listens to her or recognizes exactly how much he DOES NEED HER at the company.

    This gives Ros a chance to be an ACTUAL CEO, without having to report to Christian or have to calm him down or excuse his absence when Christian chooses family over company. And Ros gets the recognition she deserves and the CHANCE to prove she is MORE than just Christian’s second in command.

    This is a great opportunity for Ros. I’m surprised she didn’t reach out to Christian first, but after the things he said to her when she confronted him about Welch’s firing, I am NOT surprised. But Ros’ leaving GEH will have PROFOUND implications/effects for Christian AND for GEH.

    So much for the comfortable happy weekend that Christian and Ana were planning to have. PLUS, if Christian leaves now, the changes haven’t been made yet to security AND the house. So if the Conspiracy is looking for a perfect time to strike, NOW would be the opportune moment.

    And I am wondering about just HOW MUCH the Conspiracy had to do with Ros getting a job offer. OBVIOUSLY ISOLATING CHRISTIAN and leaving him unprotected is what the Conspiracy is all about. Ros is almost the LAST truly loyal GEH employee that has been with GEH since the beginning. Losing her leaves Christian with A LOT LESS freedom (at least, timewise) for Ana and his family, as GEH will need ALL his focus. AND Christian will now have to be on the lookout for a new second-in-command.

    I think the Conspiracy just made some BIG leaps forward, ALL from behind-the-scenes. WOW. What a coup!!!! Gives me A LOT to OBSESS about for the next week. . . .

    Of course, Christian COULD do the right thing and BEG Ros to stay. But that does not seem like Christian. He is so USED to be able to order Ros around, which we saw EVEN back at Harvard!

    But Ros probably won’t be willing to stay UNLESS Christian can give her “more” that is in line with her TRUE value to GEH. Which would be in the form of giving her part of the company. OTHERWISE, why NOT go to being the CEO of another company? BUT if Ros were to FAIL, she would have exhausted her options for success AND alienated Christian. So WHAT WILL ROS DO?

    But I am SO GLAD that Christian figured out about Kate being the donor. I had hoped that his powers of deduction would work it out if he were around Kate for any extended period of time.

    But I ALSO LOVED the fact that Christian seems to be really anti-Gia now. Sounds like he wants her gone as well. I truly believe, at this point, that once Gia realized she couldn’t have Christian, she has tried to alienate the brothers as much as possible. Which leads me to believe that knowingly or not, the Conspiracy may have had something to do with Gia’s placement at Elliot’s company.

    I could be wrong about Gia. She may just be young, immature, and determined to spite Ana the way she acted towards Kate. And having Elliot get along with Christian and Ana keeps her from being able to isolate Elliot and get what she wants out of him. BUT ANY way you look at it, Gia is actively trying to remain a barrier, it seems.

    But INTERESTING how Christian is trying to SEEM to bond with Carter. Although clearly, he STILL does not see Carter as smart enough OR a big enough threat to deal honestly with him. THAT may change over time, but FOR NOW, it is enough to see Christian trying to APPEAR cordial, for the sake of Ana.

    But talk about STRESS!! I just READ this chapter, and I already NEED next week’s installment!!

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  5. OUCH, in all big letters because Christian is not someone who handles betrayal well… I think he should totally let her get away with this, then buy her out, snatching the company right from under her…

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    1. But does Christian REALLY need more enemies, ESPECIALLY one that had previously been so loyal? If for no other reason, Christian should ALSO be thankful ALWAYS to Ros for driving him to be a success with GEH so that Ana would notice him and be unable to forget him. Which as we know from reading all those lovely Google Alerts of Ana’s, it WORKED.

      And is it really betrayal? This is a wonderful POTENTIAL career move for Ros. ESPECIALLY when Christian previously said it wasn’t HER name on GEH and basically said she was NOT his partner. AND if PixC were PLANNING to walk away/refuse GEH whether or not Ros takes the position OR someone else does, then how has Christian really lost anything?

      OF COURSE, after typing the above, we ALL know that Christian WILL NOT be able to see it that way. Yep, to him, this will be the BIGGEST betrayal that he never saw coming. And THAT is the biggest worry of all–HOW is Christian missing that someone is using the SAME ELENA-TYPE techniques that she used, both with her “salons” and with her ploy to help Christian take Lincoln Timber.

      So SOMEONE has learned (intimately, it seems) from Elena’s EXAMPLE and is now FOLLOWING it to the letter. So is SHE behind this? Or one or her cronies, disciples, submissives, minions. . . . The list could be endless.

      And I SHUDDER to think how Christian will respond to this. . . .

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      1. Yeah, I see where you are coming from. To be honest, we don’t know how that meeting ended. Christian walked out because of the issues with the baby, even with Ros begging him to stay. So Christian could have been overconfident and assumed that he was getting the deal like he always does when in reality they could have been ready to walk. But I do think that Ros should have said something about the interview (if she is actually aware of it) before it could get back to him. There is no way that Christian is going to take this lying down. I just hope that it doesn’t make things worse for Christian/GEH and go in the conspiracy’s favor, because I definitely think they had a hand in this.

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  6. Beautiful chapter! Hopefully Christian will feel the baby next chapter. I also would love to read a situation where gia starts to badmouth Kate and Christian flips, the big question now is ros trying to stab Christian in the back. Can’t wait for next week. Take care!

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      1. I admit that I would really like to see this as well. However, I wonder what that will do to Christian’s relationship with Elliot? And whether or not I WANT a Christian and Elliot good relationship if Elliot is not who I thought he was.

        It is hard for me to think about what I want for Elliot at this point. I’m still very angry at him over Kate. And no matter the reasons or the belief that his relationship with Kate is really “over,” Elliot’s being able to so easily move on with someone like Gia makes me sometimes wonder if I really knew this character at all.

        Only time will tell. Elliot’s previous biggest character trait for me was his love and acceptance of his brother. Which is now totally flipped on its head in regards to Elliot being willing to defend Gia, right or wrong. And I am CONVINCED that we all will soon end up seeing the great big “wrong” to Gia. But Elliot SO WILLING to throw away his relationship with his brother over GIA’S PETTINESS and meanness?

        I also REALLY need some Outtakes from Elliot’s point of view to see how he handles Gia outside of what we have seen with the Grey family. Does he defend Kate to her or dismiss her out-of-hand? The jury is still out for me, overall, on Elliot. Right now, “big disappointment” is how I feel about him.

        But the true test for me may come if Christian DOES defend Kate when Gia pipes up about her again. If Elliot behaves disparagingly with his brother, particularly as we all know what Christian really is facing now on ALL fronts, I will then really hope Elliot gets a true come-uppance when he discovers just how bad Gia is AND that Kate might have moved on and found happiness without him.

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  7. It is just TOO MUCH for Christian to have THIS MUCH bad luck. We saw from ABSOF that Elena KNEW how to undermine her husband’s company, actively pursue/entice some of his employees/board members to help the GEH overthrow of Lincoln Timber. And it sounds like someone OF THIS METTLE is doing the same thing to break apart/sow discord at GEH.

    But Christian has seemingly become to OVERCONFIDENT in his abilities and less able to evaluate the TRUE WORTH of his best employees. He is OVEREXTENDED right now, with major problems facing his family AND Ana.

    The PixC company got to see firsthand that Christian chose his family over their deal. And CHRISTIAN was always the one able to charm companies by his refusal to take “no” from them. BUT he was motivated THEN to get Ana’s attention, and he had NOTHING else competing for his time.

    But NOW, the tables have turned. I still think there is some UNDERMINING going on behind the scenes. I still can’t (and won’t) believe Ros is part of the Conspiracy. But then, Elena was ALWAYS good at manipulating people behind the scenes. WHOEVER is behind the Conspiracy has obviously LEARNED from the best, so I DO BELIEVE that getting Ros AWAY from GEH as well as UNDERMINING GEH’s takeover of the PixC company IS being done by the Conspiracy.

    STILL in SHOCK. HOW OH HOW does Tara ALWAYS manage to do this??? Even when you THINK you see something coming down the pike, she COMPLETELY blindsides you. I KNEW that Thanksgiving tift would come BACK to haunt Christian!!

    MANY of us have commented on how Christian often goes TOO FAR in what he says to people, including Ana. BUT ANA knows enough about Christian to SEE through his demands and find the hurt lost boy beneath. She UNDERSTANDS why Christian behaves the way he does eventually, AND she loves him enough to work through things. BUT ROS has clearly been pushed TOO FAR and is not willing to just take it anymore.

    I’m wondering what Ros will say to Christian when he confronts her.

    And I REALLY can’t wait to read the Outtakes for ASSOF. I am DEFINITELY now hoping for a couple from ROS!!!!

    (And the UNRATED “50 Shades Darker” movie version comes out tomorrow. So we most definitely will not be able to con Tara into thinking it is Monday all over again. I mean, we will probably have A LOT harder time dragging her away from the near-naked Jamie Dornan moments heretofor unseen and probably now revealed by the unrated version of the movie. THEN AGAIN, hopefully naked images of Jamie Dornan might hopefully MOTIVATE Tara into a FRENZY of writing. We can only hope!!!)

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  8. Well that was unexpected. I will be curious to see how Christian handles this situation. With all the betrayal he’s endured, he could fly off the handle, or he can be mature about it and take the stance that its time for Ros to spread her wings…if that is what she really wants. She has been by his side from the beginning of GEH and I’m not sure if she’d leave that. There’s always the possiblity of her leaving and then he could purchase all the shares of the company since its traded publicly and the price continues to drop. Can’t wait to see where you take this little twist.

    By the way, I love Champ. I have mastiffs and can related to his dislike of Christian. I didn’t have visitors to my house for two years because one of my boys would try to eat everyone when they came over. They are protective of their people.

    Thanks for a great update.
    MrsCTGrey

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  9. I am with OCALLIEWRITER on this one. HOW is it not a conflict of interest or insider trading when the company was in ACTIVE negotiations with GEH? As we have frequently heard Christian tell Ros on the phone before, all employees with GEH have CONTRACTS. And you better believe that non-compete clauses are the standard norm for ANY employee contract, PARTICULARLY the upper-level executives. So Ros would have to NEGOTIATE her leave, not just quit to head a company that was in active negotiations with her current company.

    Now, if the non-compete agreement is too BROAD, then Ros can hope to fight it out in court, but most companies, PARTICULARLY one in trouble, would NOT want to be waiting for the TIME (and bad publicity) it would take to work this out. Usually, non-compete clauses have DEFINITE TIMEFRAMES and REGIONS connected to them, which makes them almost universally be held up in court.

    But Ros DID do all the initial paperwork filing for GEH. So who KNOWS when and how and under what circumstances the contracts for the upper level executives were contemplated and filed. I mean, Ros would have a DEFINITE conflict from even getting GEH corporate representation through this. Just WOW. What a legal nightmare!

    It has been a LONG time since my Business Administration Law class days. Makes me want to go pull out the text book again! (And I thought I would NEVER say that!!!)

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    1. I mean, that’s all standard, but the way GEH came to be was very un-standard. Christian didn’t do anything in the beginning, it was all Ros. She filed the paperwork, she was the one who started going after clients, she was the one who motivated Christian to get his head in the game. Christian, as sole proprietor, would have had to (or have his legal team) draw up a contract for Ros, and I just don’t see him doing that at that point in time. I mean, honestly, when they first started, he didn’t really even care if they succeeded. Their survival to the point to where they got their first big deal was because of Ros, so once Christian finally got his shit together and got to work, I don’t know if he would go BACK and go into contract negotiations with Ros. He probably offset any concerns he would have about her leaving the company by paying her well and offering her great benefits (like unlimited use of his private jet, which we saw at the end of ABSoF and on Thanksgiving in ASSoF). Even though Christian exploded at Ros and said it was his company, I think he knows that she feels like it’s hers too and as a gesture of good faith after her loyalty through his and Ana’s break up, her contractual obligations to GEH were not explicit in black and white. He trusted that she thought of the company as her baby, the way he thought of it, and that she’d never just up and leave. I imagine Elliot also probably didn’t have a lot of provisions in his contract about all this stuff. Sometimes you make a gamble with the people you care about, in this case giving them trust and freedom, and you’re rewarded with what you want to get out of the deal. Sometimes you get burned. Christian is getting burned.

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      1. Yes, but there are laws in each state for incorporation, and listing the duties of the main executive people is mandatory. And there is TONS of case law about “breach of fiduciary duty” that one owes one’s company. No way is Ros not in breach.

        And this is a reason FOR corporate laws concerning businesses. You have to comply with having certain things in writing for banking purposes, IRS purposes, etc. NO WAY a company as big as GEH gets away without having traditional scrutiny tools. Without these NECESSITIES, you make it easy for your competitors or those that allege torts against the company to “pierce the corporate veil.”

        GEH wouldn’t be suit-proofed without following the laws. You only get valid protections, insurance mandates, true corporation status, etc. by following these laws. Otherwise, if your personal identity can in no way be separated from your corporate identity, then those suing you get to “pierce the corporate veil” and sue you INDIVIDUALLY.

        So no way Ros doesn’t owe a duty UNDER LAW to the corporation that employees her. And there is no way to avoid a breach of her fiduciary duty in taking this action. Ros will be SLAMMED by legal lawsuits. I can’t imagine ANYONE wanting to touch her under these circumstances, PARTICULARLY a company already in trouble. Ros is NOT just free to leave her employment, not for a company of THIS magnitude, with certain filings demanded by law that discuss her position AND what she owes that company as a result.

        Granted, this is a fanfiction story. So I can suspend my disbelief for the duration of the story. BUT in reality, this is NOT possible. After all, if companies as big as GEH want to QUALIFY for certain things for TAX purposes alone, then the proper state and/or federal filings HAVE to be filed. After all, there are REASONS that Microsoft and Boeing and other companies CHOSE to incorporate in Washington state—the tax consequences of being a valid corporation in that state. And you DON’T get that without the proper filings. (Otherwise, you could have people falsely incorporating in order to provide illegal tax shelters OR to unjustly enrich themselves by making people think a corporation exists that doesn’t.)

        Investors would get BURNED and would NEVER commit without certain ASSURANCES, which are contained in the corporation bylaws, filings, and contracts and handbooks mandated under employee and tax law for each state and the federal government. Otherwise, how would you tax the institution or hold it to the standards of the law that protect investors, ensure backing, insurance, etc.?

        Like I said, I don’t mind suspending my disbelief for the benefit of the story. But NO WAY is this possible in real life legally or ethically.

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      2. But Ros wasn’t able to get the original startup money. Christian perjured himself to get the money to start the company — and suffered a long time because of it. Does Ros know that’s how they got the money originally?
        Please, let it be Ros just checking out the other company. Or if she must take the job, please let her and Christian merge the two companies. I just can’t believe she’d turn on him after all these years. (Does she know Ana’s pregnant?)
        So glad he figured out Kate’s the liver donor, and I hope the rest of the family finds out, too, and Kate and Elliot get back together eventually.
        You’re writing a great story, Tara, even though you keep me in anxiety from one week to the next.

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      3. Okay, how funny is it that we are arguing that Christian Grey might NOT have had a contract! How ironic is that? Especially since even this CG had a contract with Elena. It’s FanFiction, so we can agree to suspend reality on this one, much like with the trial and the campus massacre, but the law doesn’t allow this during active negotiations with a publicly traded company. It’s all good in the land of fiction and sex God billionaires, since we all know Christian Grey isn’t real, sad as it may be. 😉

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  10. Knew Kate being the donor wouldn’t get past him. Glad he noticed Ana needs more time with Kate and played nice with Carter to make it happen.

    Ros leaving…now that was a shocker but I guess with the firing of other key people I can see it happening in your Different Shades universe 😄

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  11. Ok you just have to love Christian’s observational instincts. Ana can’t put anything past him but him faking it with Carter was priceless. I love how he caved into Ana’s desire to be near Kate. He’s not a total ass! But Rod going on a job interview without telling Christian is shocking! Boy Tara girl you sure know how to built angst and cliff hangers. You always surprise me with your stories. Nothing is predictable and yet I love them surprises. Damn do we have to wait another week for the next update?

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  12. WOW, didn’t see that one coming. I believe the shit has just hit the fan. So now Christian will be leaving I’m sure. Apparently Ros is not happy with GEH. Cannot wait to read next weeks update on this one. But glad that Christian figured out Kate was the donor. I want Elliott to figure it out now.

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    1. You bring up the real dilemma here. IF Christian chooses to leave immediately, that leaves Ana ALONE at the hotel. With Taylor committed to installing the security system at the house AND probably needing much of Luke’s attention as well.

      So hopefully Ana goes WITH Christian to Seattle. Even then, though, Taylor would STILL be needed in Cambridge, leaving Christian and Ana exposed until they get to Escala and the rest of the security team.

      I CAN’T see Christian comfortable with Ana staying at CARTER’S house for the weekend. So any way you look at this, there are potential ways to grab Christian OR Ana. And DEFINITELY reasons for Ana’s stress levels to go WAY up!

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  13. For purposes of this story, your best bet would be to have Ros have left a resignation letter on Christian’s desk. AND this would have to be a proper way for an executive of her magnitude to leave the company. And it would be somehow permissible for her NOT to have to serve leave and to be able to leave her employment in this manner. Or Christian chooses not to risk corporate sabotage by allowing Ros to leave the company immediately.

    Ros WOULD have needed to make a CLEAN break from GEH before pursuing other job offers. And corporate fiduciary duties just would not exist here. So we could have a situation where Ros decided to quit on the spot when Christian chose Ana and going to her over the meeting with the company. SO Ros would NO LONGER owe Christian a fiduciary duty and would be free to pursue her own avenues of employment, even if in direct competition with GEH.

    IN FACT, you could actually make this a PLOT POINT. This “freedom of exit” clause from the company could be a clause in her contract because Christian (and Ros) HAD expected that Elena might be successful in getting Christian charged wtih crimes, so Christian wanted to make it easy for Ros to EXIT GEH and maybe reform the company under another name. (AGAIN, impossible under the law so that people couldn’t get sued and then simply reform to avoid legal liability. But HERE, we are talking about LEGIT ways to potentially suspend our disbelief.)

    SO THEN, the company could have considered negotiations at an END. Officially. That would leave them free to pursue OTHER offers, including finding better corporate management IMMEDIATELY. And hey, Ros WAS unemployed, after all.

    So Christian would have no means of holding Ros, AT LEAST NONE THAT HE WOULD CHOOSE TO ACT ON, and it would just be “understood” that Christian does NOT intend to sue Ros, even though he could, over what has happened.

    I would suggest going with the above. That avoids the legal fiduciary breach duty legal stuff, although we all KNOW that is oversimplifying a VERY complex area of law. After all, corporate lawyers are some of THE most highly paid people in the country! HAS to be a reason for this, after all.

    For myself, I am assuming that Ros had this unbelievably possible exit parachute clause, due to her friendship/devotion to Christian, allowing her to leave immediately if she so chose and even start her own company. All done in order to TRY to avoid what looked like certain criminal implications for Christian, had Elena been successful in her initial attempts at having him convicted of misusing company assets, money laundering, etc.

    The above is NOT possible in the corporate world for obvious purposes in order to protect investors, bankers and consumers.

    BUT this is FICTION–and a REALLY great fictional story at that. And I am enjoying this story FAR TOO MUCH to want to get hung up on legal mish-mash. So we all just need to ignore the corporate implications in favor of the STORY. I can live with that.

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      1. Sometimes being an adult sucks! I hate waiting 😦 How about we just pretend that it’s almost Christmas and you love us all a whole bunch?

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  14. Not surprised about Ros. Christian has totally taken her for granted for a very long time. He has been quite insulting to her and belittled her contributions to the company. After a while, that gets old. Looks like Ros has had it.

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  15. Christian connecting Kate as his father’s donor, he’s sharp-eyed. That’s Christian. I am glad, puts Ana out of feeling a sense of betrayal not telling him. He accommodates Kate-Ana time to a perfect t. Very unfortunate of PixC and Ros, it is shocking. Christian really has a full plate, professionally and personally. Will Ana talk to Ros? Thank you, Tara, for an excellent plot. Every week there’s new twists. Am sure Christian will conquer and gets stronger as this book title is. The road ahead is tough. Look forward. Xoxo daytona

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  16. Can somebody tell me if Christian told Ros about the baby? I can’t remember…
    I think that Ros and Christian will get it together in the end. I think that she’ll keep the direction she is choosing but at the end, they both will make a deal with the new company (maybe getting they both as equals… Idk).
    For once, although I think Christian has enough enemies and enough problems and that Ros should have told with Christian, I think she did the right thing. Well, if she wasn’t behind the hostile take over all those months. In that case she can go fuck herself.

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  17. O can’t believe Ros would leave Christian, I thought she was his friend…..? and Gia…..something has to happen to her to get her away from Elliot…..

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  18. Me quede sin palabras con lo de Ros. No lo puedo creer pero bueno, supongo que ella tambien tiene grandes ambiciones y ser un CEO es una de ellas. Sera esto una traicion?
    Sabia que Christian averiguaria que Kate fue la donante, no pense que se daria cuenta por si mismo, pense que en algunas de sus verificaciones de seguridad.
    Ana y Christian siguen siendo los chicos traviesos y me encanta que sean asi.
    Muero por el proximo capitulo como siempre

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  19. WOW 😳! I’ m sad about Ross but not completely surprised. I definitely think Christina has been spread too thin and has neglected his relationship with Ross. As often as Christian as come to Ana’s rescue and tries to make sure she’s safe, it would be nice to see Ana being the one to save the day. I know she had a friendship with Ross, so maybe, she can talk to her. I know Christian tends to keep to himself and I’m curious if Ross even knows half of what is going on with him. If she doesn’t know than I can see why she would be feeling under appreciated and unsure of Christian and his commitment to their business. I hope this is a bump in the road for Christian and Ross and not a permanent split. On the matter of Kate, I was so happy to see that Christian figured out Kste donated her liver to his dad and his declaration of his affection for her. Game night was awesome and loved the hot lemon scene in the bathroom! 🔥🔥🔥🚿 Also, LOL, Kate was right. Great burn about Champ sleeping with Ana 😂

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  20. smh. See Christian, that cocky smartass remark you made to Ros back at Thanksgiving has come back to bite you in the ass. You let Ros know just how much you didn’t appreciate her and what she brought to the table, even though she’s been there from the beginning, and now she’s looking elsewhere for someone who will treat her as an equal and appreciate her. Live and learn, Grey. Live and learn before the empire that you built on lies, deceit, loss , sacrifice, blood, sweat and tears crumbles to ground.

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    1. AMEN. And maybe a hallelujah.

      Christian found he could rationalize ANY behavior of his in order to form this company. He tore his family and relationships apart for the money to found the company. Money that he WOULD have gotten ANYWAY, had he been willing to just finish college.

      So it did not HAVE to go down the way it did. Christian BADLY failed to see anything from anyone else’s viewpoint EXCEPT Elena’s, who assured him that everyone would come around. And having seen how WRONG Elena was in so many other situations AND how manipulative and controlling she was, Christian should have KNOWN better.

      But the TRAUMA of being without almost EVERYONE of value in his life has made Christian WANT to believe that he can do without ANYONE else and trust NO ONE else. And Christian CANNOT operate a company as big as GEH all by himself. And while “no one is irreplaceable” in HIS mind, he will find that NO ONE will want to work for someone WITHOUT benefits and rewards for themselves. AND he will find out that he can NEVER do all of the projects and provide leadership ON HIS OWN. He will HAVE to have a good, resourceful team that can COUNT on being VALUED and compensated accordingly. AND treated with dignity. I mean, who would WANT to work and slave over patents and inventions and making products and companies better if you could be fired on a whim AND not properly compensated for everything AND berated to boot.

      And Christian CANNOT continue to grow and take on new projects without a SOLID work force to act under his “vision.” And no one can take being berated day in, day out, and NOT want to leave. So Christian HAS to find a balance AND give JOB SECURITY to those that deserve it.

      And what Christian showed Ros at Thanksgiving was that HE did not see ANYONE as necessary to GEH other than himself. And for Ros to hear that when she has done SO much and seen the company that SHE HELPED create nearly driven into the GROUND by Christian’s thoughtless actions.

      Part of this may come from Christian having CHOSEN to trust Elena so much that he brought her salons under the GEH umbrella and NEVER questioned Elena’s numbers. I mean, ROS figured out that NO WAY could Elena bring in the numbers she was bringing in SOLELY by the things being offered by the salons. But Christian had a COMPLETE BLIND SPOT and let Elena flatter him into oblivion.

      So NOW, after having been so badly burned, Christian is taking his frustration out ON OTHERS, as he has always unfortunately done. His bad behavior and lack of consideration for others is coming BACK to haunt him. Again and again and again.

      Ultimately, I do believe that we will find the Conspiracy originated with someone or someones that felt WRONGED by Christian in the past. Who felt he DESERVED revenge for having profitted at the expense of SO MANY others and through wrongdoing and mistreatment on his part.

      SADLY, had Ana been IN Washington full-time this year, I don’t believe any of this would have gone down the way it ultimately did. Ana DOES bring out the best in Christian AND gets him to see things through others’ eyes. Ana has ways of EARNING respect THROUGH WORK that is DIFFERENT from Christian. Ana can work WELL with others and handles crises WITHOUT resorting to demeaning or discrediting the efforts of others. And THAT is a SKILL that Christian SORELY needs now.

      Christian really DOES need Ana, in some many ways. I COULD REALLY SEE Ana having an executive position working seemlessly in tangent with Christian. She really IS the yin to his yang.

      But the SEPARATION from Christian puts a MAJOR strain on him, AND impacts all around him, INCLUDING how he treats others. Ana RIGHT AWAY saw how Christian handled things with Gia at the hospital and KNEW that was the wrong approach AND would alienate Elliot. Yet ANA was able to smooth over her own relationship with Elliot. Christian reacts BADLY to insecurity, PARTICULARLY when it involves a possiblity of losing Ana. AND THOSE EXACT SAME ISSUES that cause problems between him and Ana are the EXACT things that have caused him problems with his working relations.

      At no other time has Ana been more necessary to Christian’s stability. YET Ana has her OWN life and immediately issues, ESPECIALLY in regards to her health and that of their baby. So Christian is ESSENTIALLY COMPLETELY isolated again, even though temporarily. And we all KNOW how badly he has handled that in the past.

      Yet this IS a STRONGER shade of Fifty. And Christian HAS learned to communicate and respond better to Ana in THEIR relationship. He just needs to be able to put these skills to use in OTHER arenas, PARTICULARLY in regards to his business. Which ANA can help him achieve, IF they can just get through the Conspiracy AND health-related issues for Ana AND the Grey family.

      Like

  21. That’s a rotten thing for Ros to do if it’s true that she is trying to leave the company. She of all people could have came to Christian and told him she didn’t feel appreciated. If she was upset about Welch being fired without it being discussed with her then she should put herself in his shoes. Welch was causing problems for him in his company. Talk about a women being scorned. I’m glad he knows about Kate. Good chapter.

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    1. And that IS the thing–Christian told ANA about why he fired Welch. He explained that emails were found on Welch’s server showing that he had instigated the employee disruption/distress and push for a board.

      So while Christian had the time and the patience to explain his actions to Ana when she asked, he did NOT do this with Ros. And that is DEFINITELY a problem. In Christian’s mind, he did not HAVE to answer to Ros or anyone else.

      But for Ros, who had been with the company from the beginning and worked side-by-side with Welch, she DID need an explanation. PARTICULARLY since his firing should have fallen under HER duties. And Christian REFUSED to give her the explanation and reasoning and just yelled at her. And Christian has been increasingly like this with Ros, as we saw when SIP was acquired. Christian just gives Ros SIP and took from her the state project at an employee meeting without ANY advance notice. He just ordered her to switch all her projects around without explanation (although Ros was quick to figure out just WHY Christian did so).

      And we saw how worried about having Ana involved in GEH was for Ros from the beginning. Christian was making all these MAJOR decisions involving the company in order to temp Ana to his side and company. Quite frankly, Christian obviously HOPED to keep Ana in Washington rather than have her go back to school. Giving Ana her dream job was Christian’s primary motivation, and all of this was basically accomplished without really filling Ros in.

      So Christian has been doing ALL these things without discussing it with Ros. PLUS, he REFUSES to give Ros the explanation for Welch that he gave to Ana. And if you were ROS, wouldn’t you be worried for your OWN job if Christian can simply dispose of you so easily?

      Ros has really been doing so much of the work with the various contracts and companies and is knowledgeable about everything in GEH but gets NO job security from Christian, quite frankly, in the way he handled that Thanksgiving incident. An apology letter couldn’t undo what he had done OR give Ros the answers she needed to feel comfortable staying, quite frankly.

      And Christian refusing to recognize Ros’ TRUE WORTH probably undid her, particularly with her stepping in on multiple projects at will whenever Christian felt like redirecting things. Ros found she had NO CONTROL or REAL AUTHORITY under Christian. She is JUST another underling to Christian. Thanksgiving proved that.

      But the reality is that Ros is so much MORE. She had an ability to calm Christian AND WORK WITH him when we ALL know (and comment on) how difficult and demanding that Christian can be. And NO WAY can Christian take on the WHOLE workload of his OWN PLUS ROS’ contracts/projects.

      And it will also take TIME for Christian to find and trust another individual to do Ros’ job. But Christian stated that “no one is irreplaceable” to Ros and Ana. NOW, I think Christian will find out DIFFERENTLY.

      We all KNOW that Chrisitan handles MANY things wrong when dealing with people. His TEMPER gets the best of him, BUT ANA is able to truly calm Christian down and eventually get him to open up to her about important things. HAD CHRISTIAN SAID the SAME things to Ros that he did to Ana at Thanksgiving, it would have NEVER gotten to this point.

      AND THE PROBLEM WITH THE WELCH THING is that what if Christian was WRONG? What if the emails were PLANTED by some tech guru helping the Conspiracy? Obviously, if it turns out that Ana’s laptop and house are MONITORED, then it will be by the same person that COULD have framed Welch. After all, Welch was involved in SECURITY for Grey House, at least in the original books, which would be the FIRST person that the Conspiracy would want to target and get rid of.

      So Christian MAY have rushed to judgment on Welch. We just don’t know yet. BUT the Welch thing DEFINITELY spooked Ros with how CASUALLY Christian could DISPOSE of someone that he had worked with from the beginning. And CHristian’s WORDS to her supported his LACK of commitment or support to ANYONE else at GEH, including HER.

      So Christian has a bitter pill to swallow. And the Conspiracy is probably having a celebratory bonfire. CHristian is now presumably TOTALLY exposed AND OVERTAXED at GEH with TOO MUCH to do. ALL at a time when ANA now needs him as well. BAD COMBINATION moving forward, ESPECIALLY for Ana’s stress levels!

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      1. While I agree with you about Christian being a complete dick and taking Ros for granted, I do not think that his behavior wanted Ros betraying him like that. She should have kicked him in the ball for sure! But jumping ship? Wow.
        I don’t believe that in a million years Christian would fire Ros. And I think she knows that too. She has known Christian for years, so she knows all of his mood swings as tantrums. She knew him from when he was cold and aloof, to when he was completely in love, to when he was a shell of a man. So I think she knows Christian, probably better than almost anyone else outside of his family. Which is why I think this will be a HUGE blow to Christian. He is dealing with so much and he takes so much on his shoulders that it’s kind of heartbreaking that probably one of the people he trusts most in the world is going behind his back to be in business against him. That’s completely ruthless. I freaking love Ros and I think she’s an amazing character, but I think that her actions are a huge betrayal. Not only is she jumping ship, but she may try and take his business away and ruin him. Why? Because Christian said some horrible things? Why didn’t she call him on it or try to talk to him more?
        Yeah I think Christian was 100% a dick to Ros and should NOT get away with that. But it kind of breaks my heart to see someone he trusted completely leave him like that.
        All I can say…I am so freaking exited for next Monday! 🙂

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      2. You raise a really good point that I haven’t even thought of. If Welch was Head of Security and is this tech guru why would he leave a trail, even if said trail was hidden in the servers. Welch could have deleted everything he needed to in order to hide his activities. So if someone did plant that evidence, whoever it was definitely knew how to make it seem legitimate to Christian and his team but still able to be found in order to implicate Welch. And they knew that Christian’s temper would get the better of him and he would fire first and ask questions later (if even at all).

        Now of course my first thought would be that Elena would obviously be the person for the second point but honestly any of his business associates probably know about his temper. It’s not like he got to the point he is at today by being warm and cuddly. I’m still leaning towards Mr Lincoln though. Christian really screwed him over a few different times and I’m sure that he would love to repay that favor. I just don’t know if he has the means to finance this whole conspiracy.

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  22. ROS????? WHY WOULD SHE DO THAT? OH WELL WE JUST HAVE TO WAIT AND SEE…. ANA IS PREGNANT AND CHRISTIAN IS STARTING TO GET NUTSO. WHY SO ROUGH? HE CAN BE THE SWEETEST GUY ON THE PLANET AND THEN TWO SECONDS LATER BE THE DOM OF THE CENTURY! HE WILL NEVER GET OVER THAT WILL HE? HE SHOULDN’T DRINK TO EXCESS. BUT ANA WAS FINE WITH IT SO I GUESS HE WILL CONTINUE TO BE HIMSELF. THANKS FOR THE UPDAT. GREAT CHAPTER. BTW I’M GLAD HE KNOWS ABOUT KATE! SURPRISE!

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  23. Woohoo! Christian figured out what Kate had done! I knew that wouldn’t last long. And I’m betting that he won’t keep it from Elliott, especially since he made no such promises to keep it a secret.

    So Christian kind of scoffed at Gia’s name… I’m thinking something definitely happened. Gia probably made a play for him or tried to get close again and Christian shot her down. And he didn’t mention it to Ana because he knows how she already feels about Gia plus he wants to keep her blood pressure down. That would also explain Christian & Elliott’s sudden disagreement. It pretty much sounds like Christian has had it with Gia. And he even mentioned Kate being baby girl’s godmother! That will surely piss Gia off even more, that is if she is even around long enough to see the baby being born!

    And Ros is kind of pissing me off. She literally wouldn’t be where she is today without Christian. And yeah, an interview doesn’t necessarily mean that she is definitely leaving but it sure doesn’t look good. I kind of dismissed her being part of the conspiracy but now I’m wondering if I jumped the gun there.

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  24. Who knows what Ross is really doing or what Christian is going to do. Everyone can speculate but I will leave it all to you Tara to continue your story. He can’t keep Ross from doing what is best for her unless he can give her control of a part of his company, but she is already in control of SIP but more might do the trick. Many different scenarios can occur without malice on both of them. Thank you until next Monday.

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  25. Thanks for a wonderful chapter! I knew once Christian visited Ana in Cambridge he would figured out what was wrong with Kate. I can’t wait until he shares the news (secret) with Elliott.

    The interview for PixC for Ros leaves me speechless. I could be wrong here, but my first thought was “she’s working with Welch. Please not Ros. As Torik and others have stated she can leave, but there are rules. She represented herself as GEH on the negotiations table. She can never sellout within what 24hrs . I’m in shock! With her background Ros and GEH affiliation she can name her price on the market. However, that not the Ros that we have followed for months and months. Yes she’s very valuable to GEH but Ros has known Grey since his college days, his cockiness, arrogant, moodiness, the list goes on and on. So why now? Someone got to Ros? Who?

    Also, just one more thing, I really don’t trust that dog. He make me very uncomfortable. I really hope he wasn’t put there as part of the plan bu the “he”.

    Until next week later.

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  26. Great chapter. Didn’t see Ros jumping ship but very intrigued to see what happens. I also glad to see that Christian is still his observant self and figured out what Kate has done and now Ana can talk with him openly and surely Christian will spoil Kate some what. Can’t wait. Thank you.

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  27. Okay. I LOVE me some Ana and Kate bonding time. It was absolutely freaking adorable.

    And Kate and Christian bonding time is absolutely adorable too. When he told Ana that he cares about Kate and that he knows, I think my heart melted. Literally amazing.

    OHMYGOSH BUT NO TO THAT END. I freaking knew something was happening with Ros! I KNEW it. But I am actually so upset about it 😦
    Because Has has been there since the start and this is going to ruin everything. I know Christian’s by the easiest guy, but why don’t you try to talk to him? Or idk, by just go behind his back and look for a new job?
    That actually broke my heart a little bit.

    But I LOVED this chapter. It was a little lighter and inebriated Christian is probs one of my favorites. Hilarious! Can’t wait for next Monday! 🙂

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  28. Glad that Christian figured out that Kate is the donor. And isn’t going to tell Elliot. I think when he finds out that he is going to be very upset with Christian and Ana… (Gia, can go suck rotten eggs!)\
    Drunk Christian is a horny Christian. LOL.. I am sure Ana is loving that 😉

    Ros is jumping ship?? Oh wow.. I don’t know what to think. Will he be ok with her leaving or will it cause a war?

    I hope Champ lives up to his name and takes down Hyde.

    Loving this and looking forward to more 😀

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  29. Quote for Ros:
    “Let them miss you. Sometimes when you’re always available, they take you for granted because they think you’ll always stay.”
    — Unknown

    Quotes for Kate:
    “True friendship never questions what it costs you.”
    ― Stephen Richards
    “One best book is equal to hundred good friends but one good friend is equal to a library”
    ― A P J Abdul Kalam

    Quotes for Christian:
    “To be or not to be, f***ed up on whiskey, that is the question.”
    ― Robert Black
    “I drink to make other people more interesting.”
    – Ernest Hemingway

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  30. No rest for the wicked… lol. Just what Christian needed… more drama (NOT). In hindsight maybe its a lesson to him for being too complacent sometimes… Im surprised at how carm he was over the phone.. like he expected it/was not surprised by the revalations. I wonder whether Ros is teamimg up with Welch to get back at Grey, as she was rather agitated with Grey for firing Welch.
    Poor Christian he’s going through a rather though time with the Leila situation & Anas school/security issues, the pregnancy, his father’s health issues, family dramas, etc, etc. I just wish Ana would take some off the load of him by agreeing to complete the rest of the semester in Seattle. That way she will be safe at Escala whilst he concentrates on the company. They really need each other right now and need to be together.

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  31. OMG, Ros surely isn’t jumping ship is she. I thought she was loyal to Christian. Oh well, her loss. Loved the lemon in the bathroom and I’m glad Christian figured out Kate donated part of her liver. I hope that Gia is out of the picture soon. I don’t like her. Can’t wait for more.

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  32. OMG! Did not see this coming! I hope Ros isn’t really thinking of leaving the company she poured her heart into. Talk about the ultimate betrayal and getting burned by someone you had complete trust in. It was only a matter of time before Christian figured out that Kate was the donor. He’s too smart not to put two and two together and he’s usually pretty observant of people.

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  33. Holy! Oh my! Ros is going to leave GEH? wow. that almost makes me feel betrayed. lol. I’m glad Christian knows about Kate. Now if the rest of the family could figure it out … grin.

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  34. Omg the drama just keeps on coming Ros Christian doesn’t need this right now I know he’s been a little (alotta) the distracted and probably not the best business partner but who can blame him he has a lot on his plate personally man I feel hurt from him.
    He needs Ros to hold the fort not stab him in the back and I realise he’s probably (definitely) a major assume to her but still.
    On a positive note I’m glad he figured out Kate is the donor

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  35. I have always wondered if Ros ever learned that Elena had planned to blame the whole thing on her at the end of ABSOF. Ros had been put on the GEH plane the final day of the trial in order to be present after the birth of her sister’s child. But Ana AND Christian ultimately refused Elena’s “Deal” in order to NOT falsely lay blame at Ros’ feet.

    But I’m not sure that Ros ever knew of the above. She has always been super loyal to Christian, although what Christian said at Thanksgiving was unforgiveable and REALLY downplayed Ros’ role in GEH.

    But I’m hopeful that Christian WILL remember how much he owed to Ros, in the end, for GEH’s success. Christian does NOT need to make enemies where there is no need. He already burned a man that did NOT deserve it, considering that he tried to protect Christian but was then repeatedly betrayed by Christian, both personally and professionally (talking about Andrew Lincoln here).

    Christian shrugged it off about destroying Andrew Lincoln because “it was business.” HERE though, this is Ros, someone who has been with him for around 7 years. That is A LOT of time–she even provided Christian with a place to live originally after being cut off from his family.

    So I’m hoping that Christian will TRY to see this from Ros’ standpoint and not just write her off. YES, this is a seemingly big betrayal. But should Ros always have to stand in Christian’s shadow, PARTICULARLY if she is not fully valued even by Christian? I mean, Ros has ALWAYS been there for GEH. You never HAD to question her motives previously—she ALWAYS wanted what was best for the company, despite Christian’s ongoing drama.

    So I am hopeful that Christian and Ros can part on good terms. That Christian might even try to SAVE PixC if it can’t survive even with the new leadership.

    I think it will ultimately come down to ANA. She always brings out the best in CHristian and softens his worst aggressive traits. Christian WILL eventually talk things through with Ana, something he is still unable to do with almost everyone else, EVEN Ros. So I am hopeful that Ana will get him through this mess. After all, Ros and Christian have been through TOO MUCH together to end in this way.

    But Christian has REALLY struggled with dealing with betrayal of late. And we have SEEN how Christian doesn’t deal well with fear of LOSS–just look how he reacted to New Years, AND he had NOTHING to worry about in regards to losing Ana. Yet the INSECURITIES were still there. So WHO KNOWS what this Ros-thing will do to him?

    But I still see the Conspiracy’s footprint in all of this. This has a definite “divide and conquer” feel to it. SOMEONE knows the business world really well, and is poised to take on Christian.

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  36. So I had a thought about Gia. If Christian somehow mentions that Kate is getting a personal guard Gia will FLIP OUT. And she’ll probably fake a scenario where she is being stalked or threatened so that Christian will give her a personal guard as well. And if that happens I hope Christian tells her to shove it.

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    1. I’m really wondering what kind of contact/interaction that Christian, Elliot and Gia have altogether now. Gia really seems to be a drama queen, so I can indeed see her trying something like you mention in order to get attention. BUT if she tried to pull something like that, any investigation into her supposed “stalker” would unlikely cover her subterfuge.

      The other scenario though WOULD be for the Conspiracy to target and track Gia. SHE SEEMS TO HAVE MORE ACCESS to most of the Grey family than almost anyone. Since Elliot DOES seemingly like/love Gia, she goes back and forth to his residence regularly (if she hasn’t already moved in). PLUS, we don’t know yet if Christian ever changed the CODES again.

      I mean, if Christian has not changed his apartment codes, then I could see the Conspiracy nabbing Gia to be quite the coup. They would gain the actual knowledge of how to move freely within Christian’s personal and professional network. (Although THAT seems to be happening already, meaning there are potential “moles” already within the company and/or security.)

      With there being a DEFINITE specified THREAT mentioned by Leila, Christian would presumably increase security for ALL of the Grey family. HOWEVER, with the Ros/GEH stuff brewing, Christian’s attention is DIVIDED.

      Christian can’t do everything at once. He has Taylor and Sawyer working on Cambridge-related issues for the weekend. That leaves the rest of the current security team in Seattle WITHOUT Taylor’s direct leadership and guidance.

      So once again, the Conspiracy seems to have TIMED THINGS PERFECTLY. Christian will most assuredly turn his attention back to his company and Ros and PixC. You have MULTIPLE things that need to be addressed at BOTH ENDS of the country.

      So if I WERE the Conspiracy, I WOULD target Gia quite frankly. She has an ax to grind against Ana now anyway. Gia would probably be a WILLING RECRUIT to anything that went after Ana.

      However, although Gia is spiteful and petty, we do NOT yet know if she is truly lacking in morals and values. At heart, you want to hope that she is a good person that would NOT want to readily engage and interact with the Conspiracy. While she may be a Gold Digger, she MAY actually have some feelings for Elliot, although I doubt it.

      But the Conspiracy seems GREAT at sniffing out weaknesses and discord within the Grey family and company. (And maybe even CAUSING said weaknessess and discord!) So I see Gia as becoming a player, either willingly or not.

      Like

  37. “She’s the person closest to the love of my life, the godmother of my daughter… and she donated part of her liver to my father.”
    This was a wonderful thing for Christian to say. I’m so glad he figured it out. Will Ana tell Kate that Christian knows?

    I would love to know what went down with Elliot, Gia and Christian. Christian is not telling Ana because he doesn’t want something to upset her, but I want to know.

    From the beginning of the relationship of Ros and Christian, I always felt Christian was bossing her around. At the beginning, she had all the leads and the connections that Christian needed. How Christian treated her at Thanksgiving was inappropriate. Ros took care of him and encouraged him to pull himself up after he lost Ana. Christian owes her a lot. I do believe in the “Divide and Conquer Theory”, but I think someone has manipulated Ros into this decision. If she really is leaving, I see many GEH employees jumping ship. I hope Ana plays a big part in helping with Christian’s reaction. This could turn out better for Christian if Ana helps.

    Your story is fantastic and all I want is more. I have started reading from the beginning again.

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    1. I think someone DEFINITELY is actively manipulating GEH employees.

      We DON’T know the contact that Ros has had with Welch since he was fired. We don’t even really know if Welch’s firing was truly justified EXCEPT that Christian believes it was.

      I have always wanted to know the following: WHO put in the security for Elena’s bar???? We learned that Sawyer had to work hard to decrypt the recording devices contained within the bar in order to get the VIDEO feed that had been placed within the bar. SOMEONE had arranged for security for Elena in this bar.

      Elena obviously had access to SOMEONE with tech savvy. Could have been within OR outside of GEH. After all, she regularly went to the monthly meetings at GEH and PERSONALLY knew all the various department heads as a result.

      (And for all we know, Elena actively COURTED those contacts OUTSIDE of GEH. She could even have SOME clientele within GEH, thus ensuring certain employees were SILENT regarding her actual activities, since they could then be implicated in any wrongdoing.)

      But Elena was ULTIMATELY BROUGHT DOWN by a security lapse/weakness that Sawyer was able to hack/exploit from the system in her bar. So you REALLY see how important SECURITY SYSTEMS are AND making sure that they are HACK-PROOF.

      So SECURITY is the key here–something that Welch WAS in charge of at GEH. Which is why I don’t see him leaving INCRIMINATING data on his OWN server that could so easily be found, PARTICULARLY with an audit going on.

      So the OTHER worry is that if there is NOT already monitoring systems in Ana’s Cambridge house, then there WILL be now. And if some tech-savvy individual OR Welch REALLY wants access to what is going on within the house, then someone could hack the system.

      Sigh. SO MUCH to be paranoid of now, if you are Christian (or Ana). And CLEARLY, more is still going on within GEH if ROS is thinking about jumping ship.

      The reality is that we DO NOT know what is really going on with Ros yet other than Christian’s former employee giving him a tip-off. We will just have to wait and see about what REALLY is going on and just WHY Ros would be motivated to leave AT THIS TIME.

      But EVERYONE now has reasons to be STRESSED beyond the norm, and that is with Ana NEEDING to stay calm. Everyone has divided concerns. And ANY way you look at it, there are CLOSE CONTACTS/loves of the Grey family that WILL remain on the opposite end of the country, as even IF Ana left, Kate would still be left exposed.

      But at least Christian already KNOWS how much it would hurt Ana to lose Kate, and he IS acting to protect Kate. He is also MOTIVATED now to protect Kate EVEN MORE NOW, knowing that she was the donor for his father. So AT LEAST Christian is aware of where a likely personal attack against him would come from (i.e. kidnapping Kate OR Ana).

      But just HOW MANY RESOURCES does this Conspiracy Head have? Seems like it would take A LOT of funds to secure the loyalty and watchful eyes of so many. Just REALLY makes you wonder who is behind this. SOMEONE knows all of Christian’s vulnerabilities, both personally AND professionally.

      Like

  38. Wtf? I didn’t see ros leaving GEH. I wonder what is going to happen now? Is it because he isn’t dealing with all the work and has been leaving a lot? Looking forward to next week

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    1. I think we are ALL dying to know Ros’ motivation for leaving right NOW. I mean, this IS a potentially failing company. The company thinks that JUST getting a new CEO will completely turn things around.

      While Ros has seen Christian flip the switch and turn companies around, as she told Ana, the GEH NAME helped with so much. OUTSIDE of GEH, she no longer has that name to back her up.

      So just WHY would Ros be willing to throw away ALL that she has worked for and built over the last seven years to jump ship to something that MIGHT not be salvageable. After all, the company is STILL vulnerable to a hostile takeover AND may lack the time necessary to “turn it all around.”

      So just WHY would Ros risk everything NOW??? I’m wondering what ELSE may be going on within GEH. Ros is USED to Christian behaving in a rude manner, yet she KNOWS how much he relies on her. So either Ros is QUESTIONING Christian’s commitment or stability, or something MORE may be going on at GEH that would make Ros want to get out now, before something else hits.

      Ros leaving in this manner risks burning EVERY bridge she has in the corporate world, particularly since she would be presumably making an enemy of her former boss and co-worker, Christian. It did NOT seem like communications had broken down so much between them for Ros to take on such a RISK as this. OR to make an enemy like Christian.

      Just wonder what MORE is going on behind the scenes that we don’t yet know or understand. Monday can’t come soon enough.

      Liked by 1 person

  39. Could be we are all worrying about the conspiracy too much and in the end, Taylor, Sawyer and maybe Champ will do their jobs because Tara has promised a HEA? Maybe it’s just time for Ros to move on…I certainly question the legality and her approach, but it is what it is and they’ll get through it. I’d love to see Ana say screw the house, let’s move to a high rise with security and a door man, but this is Ana, so she’ll probably give birth on the GEH jet after walking the stage at graduation. Frankly, it wouldn’t be so bad if Gia got taken by the conspiracy thinking she was close to everyone just as they (the Greys) were figuring out her number (well most know it, but you know what I mean)- I don’t think I’d shed many tears over her being gone.

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  40. Will this be a HEA for kate&lelliot? 😦 😦 tbh i care more about them then c&a. They were the pillars but look st them nowm hurts my heart

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  41. Sounds as though everyone is judge and jury re Ros.Perhaps they called about the interview after Christian was on the plane…perhaps it may be she wanted to hear what they had to say before speaking with him. Perhaps she has a game plan to discuss with him. All the conjecture in the world will not do us any good, withTara at the helm. She has us all climbing the walls for the next reveal, and waiting to hear his and Ros’ next move.
    Although I do wish, big-time, that we would get a special Tara bonus mid-week, once in a while, I realize it’s most likely never going to come to fruition.
    Meanwhile – huge points to Christian for figuring Kate’s ‘donation’ out on his own and not confronting her. Well played and quite the gentlemanly thing to do. Wonder how long that will last. And just how long he can wait before ‘gifting’ her in his own inimitable way.
    I also wonder if, by some chance, Welch has been set-up all along. Anxious to hear more about the conspirator(s).
    Amazing story – great twists and turns – lots of ‘what ifs’ to ponder – Just makes the count-down to each Monday that much more dramatic and tantalizing.
    Tara – you are weaving (as always) an amazing story….Just keep Rocking Our World! We love to hate the Monday waits and realize you must be sitting back and giggling at our angst!
    P.S. – BTW – who told ocalliewriter that Christian is not real?!

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  42. OMFG Is Ros really going to leave Christian??????? What’s Christian going to do or say to Ros?? I love Ros, is she really going to go to PixC? Ana is going to have to tell Kate that Christian figured out what she did, at least I hope she won’t keep that to herself for too long?

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