Chapter 33

fifty-shades-of-grey-vancouver-10

I’m very emotional the day of my last final and it has nothing to do with my pregnancy. Each exam I’ve completed, each professor who has wished me luck as I left their room for the last time, it’s all been a part of the long, drawn out countdown of my last days of Harvard. And now that the true final day is here, all I want is to go back. To stay a little while longer. This place has changed me, given me everything, and I’ve fought for it. Beyond the countless hours of studying and the dozens of sleepless nights I’ve suffered through when the workload was overwhelming, it seems like the odds that I’d make it here have been constantly stacked against me. But I never gave up. I got here. I’m graduating tomorrow. There’s only one test left between me and my degree and the enormity of the life change that’s about to occur, has had me breaking down all morning.

I wipe a tear away as Luke helps me out of the back of the Lexus so that we can make our way into the Baker Center for the last time.

“Good luck, Ana!” Kommer calls to me from the driver’s seat, and I turn to wave to him before we head into the building. When I get to class, the atmosphere around me is electric. The perfect warm days we’ve been having mixed with the tangible sense of freedom in the air has everyone in such a good mood that even the notoriously difficult exams Dr. Boylston gives can’t dampen anyone’s excitement. I even receive a few smiles and waves from people I’ve been in classes with for multiple semesters but who have mostly been scared off by Luke and Kommer’s constant presence around me the last few months.

“Alright, settle down!” Dr. Boylston says as he enters the room and hands a stack of exams to the person sitting in the front right desk. “All exams must be completed in a University issued blue book, and if I see any cell phones out, I’ll collect your test and excuse you from the rest of the exam. You have 90 minutes. Good luck.”

Luke winks at me as I pick up my pen and begin reading through the first essay question. The exam is complicated and each question requires so many pages to fully respond, that my biggest concern suddenly becomes the 90 minute time limit. I glance up at the clock every few minutes, pushing my pen across the paper as quickly as I can, but as the 89th minute ticks by, I place my last period on the page.

“Done,” I say, relieved, and as I stare down at the words scrawled across the paper, the finality of that word really hits me.

Done.

I’m done.

“Congratulations, Ana,” Luke smiles at me. “Now, come on. Your family will be here soon to celebrate.”

I nod, get out of my seat, and take my exam to my professor. He smiles as he takes it, wishes me a good summer and a safe delivery, and after shaking my hand, I turn and leave the room knowing I’ll never come back again.

Once we get outside, it’s like I’m seeing campus for the first time. It’s like I’ve forgotten how beautiful it really was and while we make our way into the car, I find that I can’t look away from any of it. Even as Kommer pulls into the street, I turn to stare out the back window and continue to watch until the last of the buildings completely disappear from view.

I can’t believe it’s really over or how much I already miss this place, and I haven’t even actually left yet.

“I’m just dropping you off,” Kommer tells us as he turns onto our street. “Mr. Grey’s plane should be landing within the next thirty minutes and the traffic reports aren’t good.”

“That’s fine,” Luke says, and when the car stops, he quickly jumps out of the passenger’s seat to help me out of the back.

Now that we’ve finally made it to graduation, most of my house is packed away in boxes, ready to be loaded into a truck on Sunday and shipped back to Seattle, where it will be stored until Kate closes on the apartment she’s currently stuck in escrow with. It has most of the living room blocked off, which is fine because I need to get upstairs and into the shower so I can get ready for dinner with Christian’s family anyway.  As I make my way past the dining room though, which Christian is using as an office today, I glance over and see him on the phone, but looking up at me and waving me in.

“No, that all sounds fine. Can you hold just a moment, Ros?” He pulls the phone away and looks at me expectantly. “How’d it go?”

“Really good. Kommer is on his way to pick your family up from the airport so I’m just going to jump in the shower real quick.”

“Do you want me to join you?” he asks suggestively, and I smile but shake my head.

“And face the wrath of Ros Bailey? No, thank you.”

“Okay, I’ll be done soon.” I nod and turn for the stairs, but he calls out to stop me again. “Ana?”

“Yeah?”

“You did it. Congratulations, baby.”

“Thank you,” I say, my smile widening, and as he returns to his phone call, I start up the stairs two at a time.

Apparently Kommer was right about traffic because even though it takes me over an hour to get fully ready, the Greys still haven’t arrived by the time I get downstairs. Kate and Carter are home though, so I perch myself on the kitchen counter while they talk about their last finals, judging how they think they did.

“Whatever, it’s done,” Carter says irritably after complaining about a particularly terrible exam. “And once I’m done having dinner tonight with my family, I’m going to drink away every memory I have of these last two weeks.”

“Every memory?” Kate checks, and Carter smiles at her.

“Well, maybe not every memory…” He pulls her against him, making her squeal, and the affection between the two of them makes me smile. It also reminds me that Christian is still working rather than hanging out with us, but as I look back towards him, I’m distracted from my dissatisfaction by the sight of my Lexus in the driveway, which I can see through the dining room window.

“Ana!” Mia shouts as she comes through the front door, so I quickly jump down from the counter to scurry from the kitchen to the living room. The moment she sees me, her face breaks into a huge smile.

“Hey, Meems!” I laugh as I wrap my arms around her, squeezing her tightly while I shift her from side to side. “How was your prom?”

“Great, except that Pippa Conrad won prom queen and now she walks around like she’s queen of the world or something. I’m starting to see why Christian liked fighting so much in high school. Man, I’d love to punch her in the eye.”

“I wouldn’t recommend it,” Christian says coming up behind me. “It was always a hassle having to start over at new schools all the time.”

“I love how that’s what you focus on,” she says, rolling her eyes, and she releases me to go to him.

“Hello, Darling!” Grace coos as she comes through the doorway with Carrick and Elliot in tow. “Congratulations, we are so proud of you.”

“Thank you, Grace.”

“How’s the baby? Has the third trimester been tough?”

“A little, but I’m managing. Your son has been a tremendous help getting me through everything.”

“I doubt that,” Elliot says, replacing his mother and hugging me tightly to him. “Christian’s always been more of a nuisance than a help.”

“To you maybe,” I laugh. I reach up to flick him on the forehead and while he takes a moment to look at me as though he can’t believe my audacity, eventually his open mouth breaks into a grin and he hugs me once more.

“It’s so good to see you. It’s not the same back home without you and Christian around.”

“Well, you’ve only got a couple more days,” I assure him, gesturing to the moving boxes and then stepping to the side so that I can greet Carrick. But when I see what he’s wearing, I stop, and feel my lips press together in a pout as a sudden wave of emotion hits me.

“Do you like it?” he asks, twisting from side to side to model his My Daughter is a Harvard Graduate t-shirt. “I had enough made so that I can wear a different color every day we’re here.”

I cover my hand with my mouth as my bottom lip begins to tremble. “I love it. I really love it. Thanks… Dad.”

He smiles and pulls me into a tight hug.

“Oh my god, Kate!” Mia squeals. I turn around and see that Kate and Carter have joined us in the entryway, and now Mia is clinging excitedly around her middle.

“Meems!” she exclaims, mirroring her excitement.

“Mom didn’t know if you were going to be here or with your own family. I’m so glad you are!”

“You didn’t think I’d let you sneak through here without saying hello, did you?”

“Of course not,” Grace says, stepping forward to hug her. “It’s so good to see you, dear.”

“You too, Grace,” Kate replies, groaning as she squeezes Grace as tightly as she can. “You too.” Grace twists her head to kiss Kate on the cheek and as she steps back, Carrick moves forward to take her place.

“That is a great shirt,” Kate laughs, and Carrick smiles.

“Thank you. There was a time when I’d hoped I could make one that said daughters.” Her face falters slightly, but she recovers her smile when she steps forward to hug him, and as his arms close around her, Carter coughs behind them.

“Carter,” Carrick says. “Good to see you again.”

“Mr. Grey,” Carter replies. He holds out his hand and they shake, but once he releases Carrick’s hand, he moves straight past Grace and Mia to Elliot.

“Hey, man. How’s it going?” Elliot asks, reaching out to shake his hand as well. Carter glances down at it, hesitating for a moment, before he finally reaches forward and grips his fingers with an excessive amount of force. I bite my lip as I turn to look at Christian. Kate told Carter last week that she and Elliot had started texting again, and as a result, Elliot’s imminent arrival has been the subject of a lot of stress for her. Apparently, Carter hasn’t lost any of his possessive nature in the three years since he and I broke up. No ultimatums have been made, but his general attitude about Kate spending time with Elliot is not something he’s hidden.

“Elliot,” Carter says tersely. “It’s good of you to come and support Ana. I know it means a lot to her.”

“Well, she’s my sister so…” he replies awkwardly, and when Carter releases his hand, he immediately begins flexing his fingers. Carter gives him a tight smile and then turns back to Kate.

“Well, baby, I better go. My parents are going to be arriving soon and they’re going to want to get dinner as quickly as possible.”

“Okay, have fun. Send your mom my love,” Kate says. She moves past Grace so she can kiss him good-bye, but Carter doesn’t go in for a polite, chaste peck. He pulls her tightly into his body and brings his lips to hers in a deep passionate kiss that is clearly meant to make a statement. Especially when he rolls his face to the opposite side of hers and we all see his tongue moving through her mouth.

“I’ll see you in the morning,” he tells her, and she nods. “Have a good night, baby. I’ll miss you.”

“You too,” Kate says, and with one last kiss on the tip of her nose, he turns to leave.

“Well, we should be thinking about dinner, too,” Grace says, breaking the awkward silence that lingers after Carter’s exit. “It’s starting to get late, I imagine Christian and Ana are starving.”

“I’ve made reservations at The Table,” Christian says. “And, since graduation is tomorrow, we should hurry. It’s most likely going to be very crowded.”

“Do you have plans with your family tonight, Kate?” Carrick asks. She shakes her head.

“No, my family won’t be here until tomorrow.”

“So why didn’t you go with Carter?” Elliot asks.

“Oh, his family is… um. They’re just about their family. It’s okay though. I’m just going to stay in tonight and polish my speech. Make sure I’m ready to knock ‘em dead tomorrow.”

“Absolutely not,” Grace says. “We’re not leaving you here alone on the eve of the most important day of your life so far. You should be celebrating! You’ll come to dinner with us.”

“Oh… I don’t want to intrude.”

“You’re never an intrusion, my dear. Come, I won’t hear another word about it.” Grace sweeps her arm out to gesture her through the front door, and Kate smiles before wrapping an arm over Mia’s shoulder to walk with her out to the car.

“See you there?” Elliot asks, looking to Christian and me as he turns to follow his parents.

“We’ll be right behind you,” Christian affirms, but once Elliot leaves and closes the door behind him, Christian’s hands are suddenly on me, pulling me flush against his body so he can take my lips with his.

“Alone at last. You know this is the first time I’ve had you all to myself in three days?” He kisses me again, and reaches down for the hem of my dress.

“Hold on there,” I tell him, but even when I pull away from his kiss, his lips simply move down past my jaw. “Christian! You’re family is already on the way to the restaurant, we don’t have time for any funny business.”

“I know,” he says, continuing to suck lightly on my neck. “I just want you prepared for what’s in store for you tonight. When I finally get you all to myself, for real, I want you ready for me.”

“Ready, huh?”

He leans back and wags his eyebrows at me once. “Really ready. Should I go get the Ben Wa balls?”

“You have them here?”

“Oh, baby. I’ll never go anywhere without them again. I love what they do to you.” I moan as he leans in to kiss my neck again, but as I feel myself begin to melt in his strong arms and my already fragile self-control starts to wane, I force myself to push away from him.

“We have to go. You and your silver balls will just have to wait.”

“If you say so.” His smile is mischievous, and while I stare back at him suspiciously, he kisses me one last time before taking my hand and leading me through the back doors where our security team is waiting by the car.

 

Christian was right, The Table is extremely crowded. The line going out the front door wraps around the side of the restaurant for a whole block and every parking place within close distance is filled. Taylor circles the block to let us out near the door so, while Christian, Luke, and I head inside, he can find parking on the next block over.

“Do you have a reservation?” the overly flustered hostess asks once we’ve fought our way inside.

“Grey,” Christian replies. “I believe the rest of our party has already arrived.”

Relief crosses her face as she nods, probably because she can actually help us instead of telling us how long we’re going to have to wait or turning us away. She says something into the microphone on her headset and a few seconds later another girl appears to lead us to a private dining room at the back of the restaurant where Kate and Christian’s family are already seated, laughing together as they glance over the menus.

“Over here, Ana!” Mia says, pointing to the open seat on her right. Christian takes my hand and leads me to her, pulling my chair out for me, and as I sit down, I glance over to see that Kate is seated on her left, next to Elliot, and the two of them seem to be having a conversation all their own. I pick up my own menu and start glancing through the entrees but Christian doesn’t touch his. Instead, he leans over towards me, like he’s going to share mine, but as I tilt the stiff paper towards him, his hand slides up my inner thigh under the table and disappears beneath my dress.

“What do you want, baby?” he asks, his voice laced with double entendre, and I swallow hard.

“Uh… a salad, I think.”

“Something, light? That surprises me. I thought you’d want something much more…” his breath hisses between his teeth as his finger slip beneath my panties, low enough that only I can hear. “Exotic.”

My thighs clench together and I bite down on my bottom lip to suppress a moan as his fingers begin to toy with my clitoris beneath the table. I take a breath and turn the page. “Filet Mignon then. If I’m going to splurge, I want it to be… excellent.

“Mmm,” he hums. “Excellent does sound right on par for tonight. I’ll have the same.”

“You do that,” I laugh, but the sound is cut off by a surprised gasp when he very suddenly pushes one of his fingers inside of me and then presses firmly against the front wall of my vagina as he pulls it out.

“Ana?” Kate asks, turning a concerned look on me. “Is everything alright?”

“Yeah.” My voice is too high. “I just need some water.”

Christian smirks as he pulls away, and while I set my menu down, take a sip of water, and try to re-engage with the conversation around the table, he subtly lifts his finger to his mouth and sucks on the end. When I turn to look at him, he licks his bottom lip and wags his eyebrows again.

Thankfully the waiter comes in then, so I’m given respite from his very erotic distractions.

“So, Ana, how did finals go?” Carrick asks, once we’ve placed our orders.

“Good. I have one that I’m worried about. My Trans-Reformation English Writing professor was the only professor who wouldn’t let me make up for the work I’d missed after spring break, or after the two doctors appointments I had that conflicted with his class. So I have a B. I had to get an A on the final to keep my 4.0 average and Dr. Weisberg grades particularly tough. And, he doesn’t submit his grades until the last possible minute so I won’t get to know how I did until 8 o’clock tonight.”

“That’s just horrible,” Grace says. “Why on earth would he refuse to allow you to make up what you’d missed after hearing what had happened to you?”

Kate snorts. “You’d be surprised. The prestige and power placed upon some of the professors here give them such a complex that they liken a student missing their lectures to a crime against God. I had to appeal to the dean of students for the same type of behavior when I was laid up after my surgery last January, even though I had special permission from the University to take my classes from home until I’d been cleared by my doctors to return to campus.”

“You had surgery in January?” Grace asks, and Kate’s face goes blank.

“Oh… I… Uh…”

“She was in a skiing accident,” Christian says quickly. “With her friends from New York.”

“Right,” Kate agrees. “Yeah, I had a bad fall and I had to have surgery.”

“You didn’t tell me that,” Elliot says, his voice colored with concern, and as she shrugs, Grace shakes her head and turns to Carrick.

“Well, it seems like our family had a lot of bad luck needing surgeries this winter, but I’m glad you and Carrick both came out for the better. In fact, didn’t you have something you wanted to tell Christian, dear?”

Christian looks up at his father, who smiles. “I completed my last scheduled round of chemo last week and we had a new scan done a few days ago. It came up clean. I’m officially in remission.”

“What?” Christian repeats, in disbelief.

“I’m cancer free.”

“Dad.” He sounds breathless as he quickly jumps out of his seat and walks around the table towards his father. The moment Carrick stands, Christian pulls him into a tight embrace. Grace laughs happily and Mia reaches over to squeeze my arm, but even though I hear Kate get out of her seat so she can hug Carrick as well, I can’t move. I can’t do anything, I can’t even breathe. My throat goes painfully dry, tears spring to my eyes, and before I know what’s happening, I burst into deep, gut wrenching sobs.

“Ana,” Elliot says, getting up and moving past Mia so that he can pull me into his chest. “It’s alright. This is good news.”

“It’s amazing,” I choke out. “I’m sorry, this isn’t the right reaction. I’m just overwhelmed. I’m so relieved, for you, for Christian, for Calliope, for everyone at this table.” My voice cuts off as another sob works its way out of my chest and Carrick releases Kate, who also has tears in her eyes, to come and wrap me in a hug. “I’m so happy Calliope is going to have you in her life,” I whisper to him. “You’re going to be an amazing grandfather, Carrick.”

“Well, she’s one of the most important reasons I fought through this,” he says. “Because I really can’t wait to hold that little girl in my arms.” He kisses me on the cheek and then passes me back to Christian, who holds me so tightly, it’s hard to breathe at first. I twist my arms under his and hold him close, moving only to reach up and kiss him softly on the chiseled line of his jaw. When he pulls away, the smile on his face is so genuine and filled with joy that it almost brings me to tears again. I know how hard this has weighed on him, I know the fear that has filled his heart every day since Carrick collapsed last Thanksgiving, and finally, we’re past it. We can move on.

He kisses me once before releasing me, and as I lower myself into my chair, he steps around me and hugs Kate. I watch while he subtly turns and whispers something in her ear, and after he kisses her on the cheek and then pulls out her chair for her to sit again, tears begin rolling more freely down her cheeks.

“What was that?” Elliot asks, eyeing Christian suspiciously as he returns to me.

“Nothing,” Kate says, shaking her head and wiping away her tears. “Christian and I have just gotten really cl-lose.”

“Hey,” he says, reaching up and rubbing his hand gently over the backs of her shoulders. “It’s alright, we’re all good here. No tears, okay? Jesus, between you and Ana, is there something in the water here?”

“No, I’m just really happy that you’re better,” Kate says, looking up at Carrick. “I’ve worried about you and… and I’m just really happy that you’re going to be okay.”

“Thank you, Katie,” he says.

The doors to the dining room open and the waiters carrying the trays filled with our food begin circling the table. After they’ve ensured there’s nothing else we need, we’re left to eat in solitude, and as we enjoy our meals the joy from Carrick’s news seeps into our conversation and fills the room with laughter.

“So, how’s your house after Gia left?” Christian asks, turning to Elliot. “Any significant damage?”

Elliot frowns and then shakes his head. “No, actually. Once she texted me that she was out and told me where she’d left her key, I called one of the contractors I work with and had him go back to the house with me, but it was fine. It looked like whoever helped her get her shit out wasn’t very careful, because there were a few dings in the walls and she took a chair that wasn’t really hers, but other than that everything was fine. And she’s just disappeared since then. I went into work the following Monday preparing myself for the ‘let’s keep it professional talk’ but she wasn’t there. Her office was cleaned out and there was a letter of resignation on her desk. She hasn’t called or texted me, she changed her number… she’s just, gone. I guess she really is fucking pissed.”

“Enough to quit her job?” Christian asks, and Elliot shrugs.

“I guess. I keep waiting for someone to call me for a reference, and I’d give her a good one because her work was never an issue, but there’s been nothing. It’s kind of weird actually, like she’s disappeared.”

“Weird,” Christian repeats uncomfortably. “Right.” I turn to look at him, trying to gauge his expression, but my attention is very quickly distracted by Grace, who seems to be eager to change the subject.

“Ana, where’s Ray?” she asks. “We were surprised he didn’t fly here on Christian’s jet with us.”

Unfortunately, this isn’t my ideal diversionary tactic because my father’s late arrival has been a very tense subject all week. I take a deep breath and hear Christian do the same. “He’s flying in tomorrow morning,” I reply, but she raises an eyebrow, not willing to let me get away with such a dismissive response.

“That surprises me. I would have thought he’d want to spend as much time as possible with you, especially since you haven’t been home in over a month.”

“He does, it wasn’t really his choice.”

“Oh, it was his choice. The fact that anyone is giving into her tantrum is a choice,” Christian interrupts. His mother looks over at him, surprised by the sudden hostility in his tone, and I sigh before I explain.

“My mom and Christian aren’t in a great place right now…”

“No, don’t act like we’re equal players in this, Anastasia. I never said or did anything to that woman to make her…”

“Okay, okay,” I cut him off with a conciliatory tone. “My mother has formed some opinions and said some things to Christian that are making it very difficult for them to have a relationship right now. Still, Christian offered to pay for her flight out here but she refused and said she didn’t want his um… money.” Christian snorts as I leave out my mother’s very colorful descriptor of that particular word. “So, she bought her own ticket, which is for very early tomorrow morning, and then asked me to pick her up from the airport. When I told her that I was going to be busy tomorrow morning getting ready for graduation and offered to have Luke or Taylor come pick her up, she said she was here for me but that as long as she was here, she wanted nothing to do with Christian or the people he paid. She and I got into an argument over it and I ended up telling her that if she was going to act that way then she could rent her own car or pay for a taxi and she went on a very long tirade about how I didn’t even care if she came at all, and how she’s my mother and Christian is keeping me away from her, turning me against her…”

“She yelled at you until you cried,” Christian interjects.

I take another breath. “Anyway, it got bad so that when my dad called me and I told him what happened, he offered to fly to Georgia first, talk her down before she got here to try and head off any arguments that would have happened when she got here, and then fly with her to Boston so that he could rent a car and drive them both down.”

“Oh, well… that’s very diplomatic of him,” Grace says carefully. “But I’m sorry that it means you missed a day with your father.”

“Me too,” I say, tearing the bread on the edge of my plate into tiny pieces.

“She’s making this about her,” Christian says, reaching over to place a hand on my knee. “She always tries to make everything about her and I’m not going to have it this time. Not about this. This is your graduation, Ana, your moment. Let’s not waste any more of your day talking or worrying about her.”

“Right,” Carrick adds. “This weekend is about Ana. In fact, I think we could do with a toast.” He raises his glass and tilts it towards me. “We are so very proud of you, Anastasia. Both for all that you’ve accomplished, and for the woman you have become. We could not wish for a more perfect woman to have in our family. Congratulations on graduating from Harvard.”

“To Ana,” Christian confirms, raising his own glass, and the rest of the family follows.

“And to Kate!” I add. “She’s our valedictorian, and no one deserves it more.”

“To the valedictorian!” Mia exclaims.

“Hear, hear,” Elliot adds, and finally, everyone drinks.

 

Everyone is in very high spirits when we finally leave the restaurant, and the excitement is only heightened when the high ping of an email coming in sounds from both mine and Kate’s phones.

“Grades are in,” Kate says, looking down at the screen of her phone and I immediately fish mine out. Inside the email there’s a link to the student portal that lists our final grades, and I find myself holding my breath as I click the screen and read the text that pops up.

 

Student Name: Steele, Anastasia R.

Course Schedule:

Political Journalism Writing: 97.6%

Advanced Fiction Writing Workshop: 99.3%

Literature of the Enlightenment Period: 94.1%

Kaleidoscopic Romanticism: 97.5%

Trans-Reformation English Writing: 90.9%

Cumulative GPA: 4.0

 

“Well?” Christian checks, and I smile up at him.

“4.0 intact!” He smiles back at me and quickly moves to wrap his arms around me, congratulating me again as he spins me once through the air and passes me off to his family.

“Okay, we can’t just call it a night now,” Kate says. “We should go out! I’ve been stuck in the house studying for the last two weeks, I’m graduating tomorrow, I want to spend time with all the people I love and I want to celebrate.”

“You kids go have fun,” Carrick says. “We’re gonna turn in.” He pulls Mia toward him, silently demonstrating that she’s a part of his we, but he doesn’t do the same for Elliot.

“Uh… sure,” Elliot says. “What do you want to do?”

“Mmmm, let’s go down to Mac’s Pub and shoot some pool. Christian and Ana can play doubles with us.”

“Oh, I don’t think so,” Christian says. “I think Ana and I are going to head home. We’ve got a big day ahead of us tomorrow and she needs… rest.”

I glance over and meet his gaze, and when I see the twinkle of lustful promise hiding behind the steel gray looking back at me, the pent up frustration after a night of hiding him playing with me under the table sends a wave of vindictiveness washing through me.

He wanted anticipation? I’ll give him anticipation.

“No, I want to go!” I say, pouting as I turn and press against him, and he frowns.

“What?”

“Well, we’re going home on Sunday, and my parents are going to be here tomorrow. This is really our last free night in Cambridge.”

“And you want to spend it at a bar playing pool?”

“Sure do. In fact, I can’t think of anything I’d rather do.” I pivot my body to shield what I’m doing from Kate and Elliot and then reach down to grip him through the front of his pants. His muscles tighten and a huge, taunting grin spreads across my face, but as the understanding dawns on him, the corner of his mouth upticks into a cocky kind of smirk.

He’s up for the challenge.

“Then that’s what we’ll do.” He gestures for Luke to lead the way to the car and as he takes my hand in his, Kate wraps her arm through Elliot’s and bounds after us.

Taylor doesn’t seem very excited about the idea of Mac’s Pub, probably because, like The Table, it’s overly crowded, only here we don’t have a private dining room Luke can stand outside of monitoring everyone who goes in and out. We have to wait in the car for a few minutes for Kommer, Cardella, and Harrison, Kate’s bodyguard, to arrive, and when they do, Taylor sets Harrison and Kommer at both of the entrances to the bar and instructs Cardella and Sawyer to basically attach themselves to Christian and I while he meanders through the bar to keep an eye on everything, and everyone. The entire night, if I move, so does Cardella. The waitresses popping through the crowded tables aren’t allowed to bring us any drinks. Taylor watches everything being made and delivers it to us personally. Even the three tonic waters with lime that I ask for, which don’t even have to be mixed.

“That’s a very crowded table,” I say to Christian as Kate sinks the seven ball in the top right corner. “They’re beating the pants off us.”

“Someone should be,” he says under his breath. I smile and take a quick grab at his exquisite ass before moving around the table to watch Kate miss a bank shot on the two.

“You’re up, Ana,” she sighs. I scan the table for the best shot on a striped ball, but as I bend over the rail, Christian calls out to stop me.

“Hold on just a second,” he says, making his way around behind me. “Your posture’s off.”

I feel his hands on my hips and then feel him press into my backside, hard and ready, and it makes my thighs clench with excitement. He bends me farther over the table and then uses his hands to pull my behind more firmly into him.

“That’s better,” he whispers, and as he moves a step back, I take a deep breath and make the shot. The nine bounces off the bannister and knocks the four into the side pocket.

Elliot laughs. “Oh my god, you guys are the worst at this game.”

“We knew they would be,” Kate adds. “Not everyone can be as fucking awesome as we are.” He laughs again then slides up next to her, and with a wave of his arm they suddenly launch into a crazy complicated handshake that involves involves synchronized kicks and jumps, even sound effects. When they’re finished, Kate breaks down in laughter.

“Alright, I’ve got to go to the bathroom,” I say, rolling my eyes, and as I hand my drink to Christian to hold, he raises an eyebrow at me.

“Do you want me to come?”

“Oh yes, Mr. Grey,” I reply, and then lean up on my tiptoes to whisper in his ear. “But I think Cardella can escort me just fine.” His responding groan makes me smile, and when I turn and walk away with Cardella, I purposefully sashay my ass back and forth as I cut through the crowd.

We stay for two more games, which last a little more than an hour, and the entire time we spend in the crowded bar is a convoluted game of cat and mouse between Christian and I. In the bathroom, I pause to take a very revealing picture of my cleavage to text to him, even making sure a noticeable amount of my nipple is visible in one. He responds by sending me a series of his own explicit text messages, only his are spelled out in words, not pictures. By the time I start stroking my cue with the tips of my fingers, trying to seem as though I’m doing it absentmindedly until I turn and look him dead in the eyes, he’s had enough of the game and on his next shot, he purposefully sinks the eight ball.

“Ooh, bad luck, bro,” Elliot says, but Christian simply shrugs and hands his cue back to Luke.

“That’s fine. Ana and I need to get home anyway, it’s getting late. Please, stay and enjoy the rest of the night. Your drinks are on me.”

“Well if you insist. Taylor! The Russian Imperial Stout!”

Christian shakes his head as Taylor moves to the bar to fetch Elliot’s $20 beer, but when he returns, Christian takes my hand and nods for him to lead us out to the car, and all I can do is give Kate a quick wave goodbye before I’m being pulled from the bar.

It’s a tense ride as I feel Christian’s hands itching to reach out for me the entire way home, and when we finally do finally pull into the driveway, he practically bolts from the car.

“Give us one hour,” Christian says to Taylor, and after his responding nod, I’m pushed through the back door and into the kitchen, where Christian practically attacks me. His lips are fierce against mine, his hands firm against each side of my face as he pushes me blindly towards the living room.

“We’re not going to make it upstairs,” he says, his words muffled as he doesn’t remove his lips from mine. “After a night like tonight, I need your mouth. I need you to make me come.”

I hum in approval, and he reaches for one of the pillows on the couch to drop on the floor in front of him so I can comfortably settle down on my knees and begin work releasing him from his pants. When my fingers wrap around him, I stroke my hand up and down his length a few times before placing a soft kiss on the tip of his erection.

“Enough teasing, Ana,” he growls. His fingers twist in my hair and he thrusts past my lips, groaning with deep, real pleasure when I’ve enveloped him to the very end of my limit, and the sound sends a shiver of satisfaction through me. I love this, love when he’s taken over by pure, primal need and lust. Love that I’m the only one who can satisfy the overpowering desire driving him. And so, I tighten my lips, suck hard, and enjoy the other gratified sounds he makes while I set to work.

“Yessss, Ana. Fuck, just like that. Just like that.”

I hum and moan as I move my mouth up and down his length, swirl my tongue across his perfectly smooth skin, and use my hand to add more friction or to tug gently on his testicles. A few times, I feel his body shift as a sharp lance of pleasure washes through him and his legs tremble. Soon, the muscles in his abs begin to pull and tighten, his erection stiffens to its full potential in my mouth, and with a loud, harsh groan and a quick, deep thrust, he spills his release into my throat. I push as far forward as I can, pressing my nose into his lower abdomen as I swallow him over and over again, making his whole body shake. When it becomes too much, he reaches down and pulls me off of him, immediately claiming my lips with his and kissing me with deep, burning passion that makes me feel loved and desperately wanted.

His fingers reach for the zipper on the back of my dress as he guides me back towards the stairs. It pools to the floor, followed quickly by my bra, and when I take my first step up onto the stairs, Christian stops me, pulls me tightly against him to kiss me for a long drawn out moment, and then eases me down on the step three above where he’s standing.

“I’ve had mine,” he says. “It’s your turn.” I moan as he kneels down on the bottom step and then pries my knees apart. His fingers slide up my thighs and hook around my panties, and while he slowly eases them down my legs, he never breaks eye contact with me. The connection has me instantly wet.

“Don’t expect these back,” he says as he tucks my panties into his back pocket, but before I can come up with any kind of clever, biting response, he dives in to me and my mind goes completely blank.

“Oh, yes,” I breathe as he begins to lap at my clitoris. My head tilts back and my mouth falls open as I revel in the feel of his expert tongue. There are few things in the world I could compare to the extent of his talent and the way he’s able to make me feel, but if true nirvana is real, I imagine it has to include Christian’s mouth between my legs.

His lips move to join his tongue and as he begins to suckle on me, the pleasure is intensified tenfold and I can’t help myself from reaching into his hair and holding him against me. My hips begin to jerk as I desperately seek the friction I need to reach the point of release, and as his whole mouth begins moving in conjunction with my hips, heat begins to bloom from the point of contact between us and rushes through my blood until my entire body is seized with the pulsing grip of a powerful orgasm.

I scream his name as I fall apart and grip tightly to the stairs, my knuckles turning white as I hang on for dear life. He growls a viscerally satisfied sound as he feels my lower lips convulsing around his tongue, and just as I think I’m going to go too far, that this time he may have actually pushed me past the brink of insanity, his mouth begins to slow. The pressure he exerts into me decreases and soon, it’s only his tongue on me again, moving against me so softly it’s just enough to keep the aftershocks of my orgasm tingling in my limbs without becoming too much to handle.

“You taste so fucking good,” he says when he finally pulls away from me, and while I watch his tongue dart across his lower lip, cleaning away the last of my release that lingers there, I sit up and kiss him hard, thrusting my tongue past his lips and tasting all the traces left of me inside. His tongue tangles with mine while his hands explore my body, palming my breasts and pinching my already hardened nipple between his thumb and forefinger, and when I whimper, he pulls away, stands, and holds his hand out to me.

“Come, I’m not nearly finished with you yet.”

I smile, take his hand, and let him lead me the rest of the way up the stairs to my bedroom. Once we’re inside, he quickly directs me to the bed and begins leaving kisses over every part of my body he can reach.

“You’ve already got me, Christian,” I whine. “I’m ready for you, take me.”

“So impatient,” he says quietly against the skin on my chest. “What happened to building the anticipation?”

I gasp as his teeth sink into the top of my breast, then reach down and grab him by the jaw, forcing him to look up at me.

“I’ve had anticipation, now I want you to fuck me.”

He raises an eyebrow and a devilish grin spreads across his face. “Your wish.”

So quickly that the movement leaves me a little disoriented, he flips me onto my knees and pushes me down onto the bed so that my ass is in the air. His knees knock against mine, silently telling me to spread my legs wider for him, and no sooner than I feel him positioning himself between my legs, he thrusts inside of me. I gasp at the sudden intrusion and then curl my fingers into the sheets, holding myself steady as his quick, harsh thrusts threaten to rocket me right off the bed. He’s rough, single minded in his quest for release, and I’m quick to catch up to his mood. Using my hands, I push back into him, even reach up to use the headboard for leverage. His hands dig into my hips as he pulls me against him with each punishing thrust.

“Harder, Christian. Tighter. Hold me tighter!” He growls and, somehow, increases the ferocity of his cadence, pistoning in and out of me so hard I feel the pleasurable reverberations in my bones. I cry out through my panting breaths that match his, and as I feel sweat from the exertion begin to bead through my skin, he pulls his right hand away from my hip and brings it down hard on my ass.

“Oh, fuck!” I scream. “Oh my god, it’s so good. Again, please!”

He complies, not once but several times over. Each hard slap against me echos through the room and is accompanied by the sound of his low, gravelly grunts, which resonate with something deep inside of me.

“God, your ass looks good,” he growls as he hits me for the fourth time.

“Don’t stop, Christian. Oh god, you’re going to make me… ah, make me…”

“Make you what, baby?”

“You’re going to make me… c-ome.”

“That’s right. What about when I do this?” He moves his hand down around the connection between our bodies and he gathers my arousal with his fingers, coating them until they’re slick, and then drags them up to the entrance of my ass. I feel him swirl the pad of his finger around as he coats me with moisture and then, slowly, his index finger sinks inside of me.

“Fuck!” I cry out as all of the muscles deep inside of me clench and the fiery heat intensifies. He begins to move his finger in and out of me, matching the rhythm of his thrusts, and when his middle finger joins the first, I detonate. My whole body trembles as my orgasm rockets through me, and he never falters in his stride as he works me through it, forcing the pleasure to go on and on until my vision starts to blur.

“Oh my god, Christian!” I pant through the roiling pleasure. “Come with me! Let go!”

“No,” he growls. “I’m not ready to be finished with you yet.” I bite down on my lip as my the largest muscle groups in my body tense and release with each electric shock, and he lets out an almost pained sounding gasp. “Fuck, you’re tight like this. You’re gonna make me…”

“Come for me!” I plead, but after two more harsh thrusts and a defiant growl, he pulls out and sees me the rest of the way through with his free hand.

My body feels so wrung out as I lower myself into the mattress, that I’m not sure I’m going to be able to move. I can’t even form coherent thought, which is fine, because Christian doesn’t seem to be interested in talking. He rolls me over onto my back and begins to devour my lips. I kiss him back with as much passion as I can muster in my completely subdued state, and as our lips and tongues move together, he begins to toy with my breasts again.

“I love how hard I can make you come,” he whispers against my lips, and I smile as I entwine my tongue with his again.

“Me too. And now it’s your turn. How do you want me, baby? Where do you want to come?”

He groans and deepens our kiss for a long beat, taking the time to truly explore my mouth before he finally pulls away and whispers, “In your ass.”

I freeze, and he pulls away, glancing down at me expectantly. His suggestion is unexpected, but not entirely unwelcome. We’ve done this before, and it was good, really good. I’m actually not sure why we haven’t done it since…

“Okay.” I nod, and his face melts with desire. He plants one more deep, soft kiss on my lips before he climbs off of me and out of bed to retrieve the small bottle of lube he keeps in his bedside table for emergencies. I roll over and watch as he pours a dab into his hand and begins to coat his erection with it, an arousing sight that has me aching to reach out and touch him again.

“Now you,” he says. I roll over on my side as he climbs back into bed next to me, and when I feel the warm, slick liquid touch my backside, I moan.

“You don’t have that clit vibe hidden away with the silver balls, do you?”

“No. But we can use your regular vibrator. It’s more cumbersome, but I’m committed.” I laugh, and then gasp as I feel the finger on his left hand slide into me. With his right, he reaches over my body for the drawer in my bedside table, but instead of simply pulling out the silicone pink vibrator that is my usual go-to, he pauses, smiles, and then pulls out the complicated purple monstrosity Kate insisted I buy at a Pure Romance party we went to about a year and a half ago.

“Oh, Anastasia…” he says, clicking his tongue disapprovingly. “You’ve been holding out on me.”

“I’ve never really tried that one…” I admit. “It’s intimidating.”

“Intimidating?”

“It thrusts!”

He raises an eyebrow again and then presses down on the on button. The butterfly on the front, which is meant to stimulate your clitoris during penetration, begins to buzz wildly while all the balls inside twist and rock and the very realistically molded penis begins to move up and down. Christian’s smile widens.

“Oh, I think we can do a lot with this.” He turns the vibrator off but keeps it in hand as he settles down in the bed next to me, and when he removes his finger, he moves his erection up against the entrance of my ass, pausing as he presses up against me.

“Ready?”

“Yes.”

Slowly, he pushes forward and I tense at first, but relax as his reassuring direction. Inch by inch he sides deeper and deeper until, eventually, he’s buried fully inside of me.

“Fuck,” he hisses. “I forgot how tight your ass was. You’re going to have to be quick, baby.”

“I’m fine,” I whisper in reply. “This is about you.”

“No.” He leans forward, shifting inside of me just enough to make me moan as he leans in to capture my earlobe with his teeth and sucks gently. “This is about us.”

I hear the low sound of vibration as he slowly eases back, and then feel the tip of the vibrator press between my lower lips as he moves forward again. He increases the intensity of the vibration, and as he pulls back out, he eases the vibrator inside of me with the same slow, careful pace.

“Oh my god!” I gasp, burying my face in the pillow as I feel a new sensation of complete fullness start to overwhelm me. He lets out a breathy sort of laugh as he continues to move, and then angles the vibrator so the butterfly is vibrating right against my clit. “Shit!”

“That’s it, baby. Feel this.”

He’s moves in opposition, but in tandem with the vibrator in his hand, pulling the vibrator back every time he thrusts forward, and vise versa, but always keeping the same pace. As I grow accustomed to his length inside of me, he increases his cadence and pace at which he fucks me with the vibrator. It’s absolutely incredible, unlike anything I’ve ever felt, and soon I’m lost in it. His breathing is harsh and broken in my ear as he quickly climbs towards release and it eggs me on, pulls me with him. In a record amount of time, I’ve gone from completely sated, to desperate and needy, to right on the edge of release.

“I’m going to come,” Christian groans. “Are you close?”

“Yes. Yes, I’m alm–alm—”

“Oh, baby!” He tightens his hold on me as he thrusts forward as hard as he can, doing the same with the vibrator when he pulls back, and once again I find myself overtaken by an intense, life affirming orgasm that rattles me to my core. It takes mere seconds after that for Christian to push into me as deeply as he can, and then still. The feel of his release, gives me one last spike of intense pleasure, but as he stops moving and pulls the vibrator from between my legs, the heat begins to dull and leaves us both swimming in a pool of post-orgasm bliss.

“It looks like you have been holding out on me.” I confess, once I catch my breath enough to speak properly.

“That was incredible. Something we’ll definitely have to do again.”

“And again, and again, and again…” I say, but he cuts my words off with a kiss until we hear a loud bang from downstairs.

“That’ll be Sawyer and Taylor,” Christian sighs. “I wonder what they’ll think when they find your clothes on the stairs?”

“I’m fairly certain they know what we’re doing up here. But still, if you plan on keeping them around for the long haul, you may want consider giving them some kind of bonus every time they find evidence of us having sex.”

“I only have a billion dollars, Anastasia,” he replies wryly, and I giggle. When he leans over to kiss me again though, he’s stopped when we hear another noise at the top of the stairs and we realize it isn’t Luke or Taylor.

“Carter, wait,” Kate says. “Slow down.”

“No, you’re mine. I’m going to show you tonight what that means.”

“I’m your– oh fuck! Mmm, Carter.”

“That’s right, feel that? Only I can make you feel that. Because you are mine.”

“Yours,” she repeats.

We hear Kate’s door open and slam closed and Christian looks down at me. “What do you think that was about?”

I shrug. “I don’t know, just some good old fashioned possessive sex. I’m very well versed in such matters.”

He nods, but his frown doesn’t falter. “Well, let’s get cleaned up and back into bed. You’ve got a long day ahead of you tomorrow, you need some rest.”

“Okay.” I pull back the covers and move to get out of bed, but before I even swing my legs over the side of the mattress, Christian wraps his hand around my forearm and pulls me back.

“But first…”

I giggle as he envelops my body and lowers his lips to mine, but the sweet moment of contact ends when we hear the very obvious sounds of Kate and Carter having sex come through the wall.

“And we can’t even be mad because we do it to them all the time,” Christian sighs.

I laugh. “Come on, time to get up.” He nods and then playfully chases me into the bathroom and into the shower, the one place where we can’t hear Kate and Carter and where we’re once again alone.

Just us.

Next Chapter

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56 thoughts on “Chapter 33

  1. I never wanted it to end. The lemmon was such a turn on, being honest. And this chapter was like a mindreader because when I was asking myself where Ray were, you told it. When I was thinking about they having anal sex (I really can’t remember their first anal time 🤔 Anyone who knows in what chapter it was?) and they have anal sex!

    But I have to admit that I am afraid, because that much of happy and fluffly chapters only can mean a big drama going soon.

    Ps: I think that Carter is doing something more that a little possesive sex, and I also think that he is a manipulating man, I don’t know why, but I can’t see him in good eyes.

    Great chapter like always! Know that you never disapoint

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    1. I’m also bothered by Carter’s behavior. Carter is about what HE wants specifically, whether it is what Kate is feeling in the moment or not. Christian would NEVER hurt Ana, even when mad. He asks her PERMISSION before doing ANYTHING with her and doesn’t come at her from a place of anger. HERE, Carter was demanding from Kate and seemingly NOT giving her a choice. He was turning everything back against her and making it all HER fault that HE was having issues. And those are key things to look for when a partner is engaging in domestic violence against their significant other and seeking to CONTROL (in the bad way) the other person. And isolate them, making them decide not to go out with others because the person will have to “pay” for it later.

      So I’m not liking Carter’s behavior here AT ALL. The signs are there, based on what we heard, that he is handling things in the WORST way possible. And Carter’s own family not making time to interact wtih Carter’s girlfriend is troubling as well. Sounds like Carter comes from a controlling family, PARTICULARLY the way he has spoken of his father in the last chapter or so.

      So the Carter Factor continues to be an unknown moving forward. We still have yet to learn of Carter’s plans for the future and where he will go after graduation.

      But Carter’s behavior will make it THAT much easier for Kate to say goodbye to him when she is someone that WILL have options AND good family support, not only from her OWN family but from the Grey family as well. But Carter SHOULD know that behaving in the way he is behaving could trigger some PTSD reactions from Kate from what happened to her in her freshman year with that stalker guy. But I AM glad that Christian and Ana are in the house in case Carter tries to go TOO far. You’d THINK Carter would have enough sense to TRY to act BETTER and nicer and more mature than Elliot rather than making Elliot look superior to him by the way he behaves with Kate!

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  2. I never wanted it to end. The lemmon was such a turn on, being honest. And this chapter was like a mindreader because when I was asking myself where Ray were, you told it. When I was thinking about they having anal sex (I really can’t remember their first anal time 🤔 Anyone who knows in what chapter it was?) and they have anal sex!

    But I have to admit that I am afraid, because that much of happy and fluffly chapters only can mean a big drama going soon.

    Ps: I think that Carter is doing something more that a little possesive sex, and I also think that he is a manipulating man, I don’t know why, but I can’t see him in good eyes.

    Great chapter like always! Know that you never disapoint

    Like

  3. I love the fluffiness and happy family moments that you see here. And WONDERFUL news about Carrick. And he is SO proud of having a “daughter” graduate Harvard! Should at least make Mia’s life easier, as Carrick finally has his Harvard grad in the family, since Ana IS family.

    And NOT surprising about Ana’s mom. Carla WILL make it about her. And Christian is DONE trying to get Carla on his side. This WILL be problematic in the future in regards to Calliope, quite frankly. Shielding her from Carla’s negativity will be a barrier to joint family moments.

    Kate is still easily a part of the Grey family. Her moments with Elliot show that it really wouldn’t take much for them to fall back together if Carter were out of the picture. HOWEVER, Elliot’s issues still remain, and only time will tell as to them. PLUS, we don’t yet know Carter’s plans. But I can’t see Carter being able to hold onto Kate. You either trust your partner or you don’t. And Carter, even now, CAN’T handle his jealousy and control issues. (And unlike Christian, those jealousy and control issues do NOT come across as sexy.)

    So the above gives MUCH to worry about for NEXT chapter. FIRST, with Carla being SO STUBBORN about security, she AND Ray are definitely AT RISK for the Conspiracy to grab them. If Carla comes to Cambridge BY HERSELF without Ray, then she should be easy to grab. So Carla’s THOUGHTLESSNESS may really come back to bite Christian AND Ana and their whole team.

    But the GIA THING. All the “dents” and “dings” that Elliot saw MAY have been a sign of a STRUGGLE. I think the Conspiracy Head used the opportunity to KIDNAP Gia, knowing that no one would come looking for her, thinking she was just mad and keeping away from Elliot due to the break-up.

    Gia having her OFFICE cleared out is NOT like her. She would NOT give up the surefire income that her job affords to be out pounding the pavement and looking for other employment without a recommendation, etc. The Conpiracy Head likely had GIa’s office cleared out so that NO ONE would be aware of her schedule AND so that the Conspiracy Head would have as much intel into Grey Construction as possible.

    The fact that motor-mouth Gia did EVERYTHING through a PAPER resignation letter only seems further proof to me that the Conspiacy got her. Since Gia presumably now lives alone, no one is looking for her, ESPECIALLY since she doesn’t have employment now.

    So the Conspiracy Head can do ANYTHING to Gia, and no one is even going to report her missing, at least for now. Gia strikes me as someone that doesn’t have any TRUE friends due to her ambitious nature and determination to take anything that she thinks will move her ahead towards her goals. (I mean, I imagine Ana is not the first person from whom Gia tried to steal a boyfriend!)

    And Gia WILL be a wealth of information, since she knows a lot about the Grey Family’s schedules PLUS she WILL have incriminating things on Elliot. So the COnpiracy Head can EMBARRASS Elliot AND maybe even lure him in to being snatched by having Gia supposedly “email” him asking for a meeting in order to stop the pictures and things that it SEEMS like she is publishing about Elliot.

    In fact, an upset Elliot would go to Christian, and Christian would most likely go with Elliot to any “meeting” with Gia, thus putting BOTH Grey brothers at risk. After all, Christian wouldn’t anticipate any problems in trying to conclude some type of deal with Gia, so he wouldn’t be expecting an attack.

    And THAT is what IS so sad, when you consider it. Gia’s OWN actions in being a Carla-like person where EVERYTHING is about HER means that few people will put up with that behavior for long meaning that the person has few or no friends. So NO ONE will question Gia’s disappearance UNTIL it is too late. And CARLA refuses to see REAL HARM that is staring them all down and will place herself in harm’s way naturally, all trying to refuse Christian’s help to keep her safe!

    And since I think Gia HAS been kidnapped, then something WILL be happening SOON to NOW in Chapter 34 since the Conspiracy Head will NOT give Taylor or CHristian time to realize that something actually HAS happened to Gia. The Conspiracy Head will want to use the intel he gets from Gia through torturing her BEFORE anything changes. So something definitely is coming.

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  4. I do wonder about Ray’s behavior. As Christian said, he is giving in to Carla’s tantrum and seemingly endorsing it. I wonder how willing a listener Carla will find in Ray. She will clearly give Ray all of Christian’s history that she knows about AND try to color it in terms of Christian being too controlling of Ana, etc. So I’m wondering what effect Carla’s words will have on Ray in terms of how he sees Christian.

    But Christian really HAS tried to make good impressions on both of Ana’s parents. But HOPEFULLY, Ray has enough knowledge of Carla to know how she is, and his attempt to pacify and nullify Carla’s tantrum will hopefully mean that Ana gets a graduation day about HER and her accomplishment, ESPECIALLY given all that Ana has had to go through.

    So I’m hoping that CARLA’s tantrum ACTUALLY puts things in PERSPECTIVE for Ray. He can SEE how Carla’s attitude towards Christian is causing ANA grief. And Ana WILL have Christian in her life for AT LEAST the next 18 years, so the two could not simply break up and be rid of one another. And this WILL be something that Ray will hopefully see, especially when he sees how much Carla’s actions affect and hurt Ana.

    Ray will NOT want to be another Carla. I think Carla’s reaction WILL be the thing to make Ray TRY to have a decent relationship with Christian. RAY doesn’t want to have a fractured relationship with Ana, AND he doesn’t want to stress her out unnecessarily this close to the time that she is going to give birth. So hopefully, Ray will not be obstinate like Carla and will keep Ana informed of their progress in getting to her. That way, if the Conspiracy Head DOES try to go after them on the way to Cambridge, Christian will hear about it sooner rather than later.

    (And clearly, Christian is done trying to please Carla or have a relationship wtih her. And he is right that it is HER choice and her fault. HOWEVER, with everything going on right now, Christian KNOWS that someone is after ANA to get to him. AND that the best way to put Ana in a position to comply with the Conspiracy is to go after her family and loved ones. So I’m hoping that Christian WILL get Taylor to put SOMEONE from his security team tasked with following Ray and Carla to the graduation ceremony.)

    But Carla’s fits of temper could cause the group to wander away from one another, making it a nightmare for an already strained security team. So Carla IS the weakest link here in protecting Ana at graduation. Because that IS one place that the Conspiracy Head can be GUARANTEED that all the Grey and Steele family members WILL be.

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  5. CHRISTIAN, of all people, was suspicious of Gia’s disappearance as well. I’m hoping that he tasks Taylor with checking in with the person formerly assigned to her to see if anyone has actually laid eyes on Gia since she supposedly resigned from her job.

    But again, there was so much to distract Christian from following through with any inquiries. Hopefully, Christian WILL think that it is highly suspicious that Gia would voluntarily give up the Grey recommendation and everything that comes with the Grey name. After all, Gia would probably know that Elliot would be desperate to keep things going at work without drama, and Gia could use her former relationship and ties to secure OTHER jobs before leaving the safety of her persent job, if she chose to do that.

    So Gia WOULD NOT simply disappear and cut all ties. Even Christian realizes it. And even clueless Elliot is surprised by Gia’s absolute and unequivocable disappearance. AND she has supposedly changed her number.

    I’m also wondering if the CHAIR that Gia supposedly took is not a CLUE in and of itself. Like the Conspiracy thugs had to remove the chair because Gia had fallen on it and gotten her blood on it. So they HAD TO REMOVE THE CHAIR or Elliot would have KNOWN that something had happened.

    So the signs are all there that the Conspiracy Head has Gia. AND BECAUSE GIA WAS AT THE WELCOME HOME BARBEQUE for RAY, she will ALSO know that Ray is back early.

    So the Conspiracy Head will KNOW that those closest to Ana from HER side of the family WILL be coming to graduation. AND because of Carla, Ray will now be in a potentially VULNERABLE place beside her in a car traveling to Cambridge.

    Kidnapping RAY AND CARLA would give the Conspiracy Head the absolute LEVERAGE he needs to get Ana. After all, he can CALL Ana using Ray’s (or Carla’s) cell phone and demand that she come to a certain location immediately. And NO ONE would be surprised by Ana claiming that she needs to see her Dad before the ceremony.

    So I’ve got a BAD FEELING about what the Conspiracy Head NOW knows from Gia. (And I rather image Gia may be dead by now, because WHY would the Conspiracy Head keep her alive after he had gotten all the information out of her? HE can’t possibly let her go, since she knows too much now.)

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  6. I’m wondering if Leila has made her way to Cambridge yet. It would make SENSE for her to TRY to get back to Cambridge, since if she has any hopes of remaining alive, she HAS to know where and what the Conspiracy Head is doing. And Leila would know where to look and who is involved.

    And Cambridge would be where Leila could MOST get help, since Christian and his security people are there as well. So LEILA might actually see and hear something significant enough to warrant making contact with Christian’s team or Ana.

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  7. Oh, forgot to mention how much I LOVED how Christian came and THANKED Kate for keeping his father alive. Because you KNOW that was what he was whispering to Kate, and it was something sweet enough to make her cry. WHICH Elliot saw. And Kate, herself, mentioned that she had surgery in January, although she tried to cover with Christian’s explanation of a “ski accident.” So everyone now KNOWS that Kate had surgery at or near the same time as Carrick, so it remains to be seen if people connect the dots. (And if Elliot sees Kate’s shirt lift up or anything like that, than he, too, WILL become aware of JUST where Kate’s “surgery” took place. Because it is hard to see a ski injury requiring surgery happening RIGHT where the surgeon cuts for the liver, which would be in the SAME place as Carrick’s scar! After all, that was how Christian figured it out in seeing how identical the injury wound and reactions were between Carrick and Kate.)

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  8. Well if this is the calm before the storm I take it. I can’t believe Kate almost blew her cover and how does Grace not know who the sonar was. She’s a medical doctor surely she could find out if she wanted to. Tara I know what you were trying to do with Gia’s information today. I don’t think Gia is involved with the kidnapping and everything going bad for Ana and Christian. I stand by my guesses it is other people. Good try though. As for Carla I think she’s jealous of Ana’s success. She is graduating from Harvard school with a 4.0 gpa. She fell in love with a sweet troubled but very loving and supporting man who turned rich overnight. He’s successful powerful and supports Ana in all of her life’s goals. She is on her way to become financially stable and independent all on her own merits. That has to sting her just a lil bit. This was a fantastic chapter and I know starting next week the drama will begin again.

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    1. You could be very right about Gia, who has mostly been a red herring thus far. Still, the Conspiracy Head IS supposed to be crazy insane at this point, and since Leila is no longer around to give him intel, I could see him taking GIA to see what all she knows about the Grey dynamics and updates on Ana and her family/friends that Leila can no longer provide him with. And knowing that Gia and Elliot had just broken up, it makes sense for the Conspiracy Head to act now, knowing Gia wouldn’t be immediately missed. But it is the TIMING of Gia’s seemingly disappearing that has me worried. Again, I don’t think Gia is voluntarily helping the Conspiracy–I really think she has been kidnapped and taked against her will. And once any intel has been gotten from Gia or any photos, etc. that she might have had against Elliot taken, then the Conspiracy Head will dispose of her, same as he did to Hyun.

      But I agree entirely with you on Carla. After all, Ana CAN make it on her own and wouldn’t be dependent on a man. She is in love and about to be financially secure (even without Christian, as she does have her book deal). Ana has happiness and security and love, all of the things that Carla has constantly lost over the years due to making the wrong choices for herself.

      In ADSOF, Ana comments about her bedroom in Vegas that her mother had prepared for her, hoping she would come home since Husband #3 was out of the picture. But Ana knew better than to bank on her mother and remained with Ray, because Carla ALWAYS made it about her and her desires rather than Ana. And she has EVERY reason to be jealous of Ana, similar to the way Gia was towards Ana, as it keeps her from focusing on what she could have down with HER OWN life, had she made better choices.

      So I see Carla WANTING to find something wrong with Christian and an EXCUSE for why she doesn’t have the SAME type of relationship with Ana that she obviously has with Grace. I mean, Carla had tried to COMPETE with Grace regarding being a granddaughter, and Carla wants to find SOME reason to make Ana need her more.

      And Carla obviously gave Ana a hard time previously about needing security, even AFTER Ana had been attacked. And she didn’t even bother to drop her practically non-existent life to fly in to see her daughter. AGAIN, Carla made it about HER. But THIS TIME, I worry, since her refusal of security means she would be an EASY grab/kidnap for the Conspiracy Head. The only hope to avoid that now lies wtih Ray, who IS experienced in getting ambushed and protecting people due to his recent military experience. But it is up to poor Ray to keep Carla safe AND to try to get her to make it a good graduation for Ana.

      BUt too many signs point to a possible attack on SOMEONE within the Grey or Steele circles, as this is the one time that BOTH family sides of the family will ALL be in one place, and a crowded place at that (graduation) where no one would question the Conspiracy Head’s people’s presence. And with Ana being 8 months pregnant, there is a limited amount of fighting that she can do. So NOW is the time to attack for teh Conspiracy.

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  9. But Carla and Ray now will be in the same place in Cambridge as Christian and his family. So I’m thinking the Conspiracy Head WILL pull something that will land everyone in the hospital while Ana gives birth while potentially at death’s door. And more alarming for Ana still, Carla is deliberately not getting along with Christian, so if any CRUCIAL life-determining decisions need to be made for Ana due to her unconciousness and inability to make them for herself, CARLA is likely to make it ALL about her and her grief and blaming Christian rather than on making the best decision for Ana and Calliope. In fact, Carla would want the EXACT opposite for Ana that Christian would want.

    And I can see Carla DELAYING her decision when time is of the essence. So I’m feeling all around concerned about what happens next. ESPECIALLY since I’m now sure that the Conspiracy Head has all the intel he needs from Gia to plan for his attack. The Conspiracy Head’s goal has ALWAYS been to get ANA, so there will be MULTIPLE people he could arrange to have grabbed going to and from graduation. The CROWDS could even work to the Conspiracy Head’s advantage.

    So it looks like Cambridge and the graduation will become target spots. The Conspiracy Head WILL want to act before anyone can put together that Gia is NOT simply off pouting but is, in fact, missing. And Carla and Ray coming SEPARATELY without security due to Carla’s stupidity and anger against Christian are particularly worrisome. Something wicked this way IS coming. I get why Chapter 34 WILL be the chapter where things rev up and reignite the Conspiracy Head’s plans for revenge.

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  10. Loved this chapter! Great times with the family and how cute was Carrick’s shirt! Good news about him being in remission! Kate almost outed herself and now Elliot is suspicious. I wonder what happened to Gia because it seems to good to be true that she would leave without screaming and fighting. Maybe she was until she got taken which would explain the dents and the chair being taken from Elliot’s apartment. I feel bad for Ana having to deal with her mom’s childish tantrum about Christian and now Ray’s in the middle of it. Also, that was one hot steamy lemon!

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  11. I’m going to take a guess and say that Carter found Kate and Elliot hanging out and that’s what has him so possessive over Kate . I wonder what Elliot is up to is he going to try and get Kate and Gia her silence is kinda of questionable what is she up to

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  12. Oh, and LOVED LOVED LOVED getting the chapter so much earlier in the morning!! Monday morning usually drags so slowly, with me fidgeting through work, checking the website every few minutes for the update. I checked the website early this morning not expecting to see anything but wanting to have it up nonetheless. And THERE chapter 33 was. GREAT start to my Monday.

    (Only downside now, of course, is that I don’t know HOW I will possibly make it through this week, KNOWING what is likely to come next week with Chapter 34. Oh the AGONY of the wait!)

    But can’t wait to see what others will speculate about what is coming. Since Tara has said this book will be LONGER than the others, that means the Conspiracy Head’s attack will not simply be a quick and done ordeal. Which is what has me so on edge for the next few chapters!!! WHY must next Monday be SO FAR away??????

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  13. Boy Carter really put on a show for Elliott! I’m so glad that Carrick is in remission, that was absolutely wonderful news. Christian acted fast making up the skiing accident for Kate. So Kate knows that he knows the truth. So whats up with Gia that she just disappeared? That’s very suspicious???? I’m very curious what that was about and where she went off too?

    Did Carter catch Kate with Elliott at the bar? Is that why he is being so possessive with her?

    So what kind of trouble is Carla going to cause at the graduation or will Ray be able to contain her?

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  14. Boy Carter really put on a show for Elliott! I’m so glad that Carrick is in remission, that was absolutely wonderful news. Christian acted fast making up the skiing accident for Kate. So Kate knows that he knows the truth. So whats up with Gia that she just disappeared? That’s very suspicious???? I’m very curious what that was about and where she went off too?

    Did Carter catch Kate with Elliott at the bar? Is that why he is being so possessive with her?

    So what kind of trouble is Carla going to cause at the graduation or will Ray be able to contain her?

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  15. Outstanding chapter! I sympathize with Ana’s sadness with finishing College. It was a great accomplishment but With her being a mother and wife soon things will never be the same or just about her again and who knows maybe life will come full circle and Calliope will go to Harvard someday. The lemons in the last two chapters have been too hot for words 🔥🔥🔥! That’s one kinky and horny couple and I loved every minute. 💗 Now Carla, where I didn’t agree with her going off on Christian the first time when Ana got attacked, I at least understood her anger and that it probably came from fear of what could of happened. Also, she’s been probably holding some resentment from when the two broke up. The problem is that not only do Ana and Christian clearly love each other but they’re having a baby together, her grandchild. And while she maybe holding on to some resentment from seeing her daughters’s pain in the past, she’s being passive aggressive by having Ray drive her, not coming until the last min for her graduation and being around and making life easier while Ana’s 8 months pregnant. Now, Gia, while I didn’t care for her, I certainly don’t want her dead but I agree with others that her disappearance is odd as well as why she took a chair. Now, Carter I’m not sure what to think about?! Certainly Ana and Christian have had their own possessive sexual moments so I feel hypocritical saying he’s s prick for it but I felt like it was just wrong. But my feelings could stem from being a Kate and Elliot fan. I guess time will tell. Thanks for the chapter, I’m anxious for next week.

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    1. The difference I see over the issue of sex between Carter and Kate as opposed to Christian and Ana is that EVERYTHING Christian does with Ana is for THEIR mutual benefit. In fact, THAT was why Christian got so uncomfortable back in ABSOF in making SURE that he did NOT treat Ana like a submissive. Ana was his EQUAL, and sex between them is ALWAYS to be an expression of love and of their relationship RATHER THAN A POWER struggle OR a means of OWNERSHIP. Carter is using sex as PUNISHMENT here and making sure that Kate knows that HE will call the shots with their sex that night for HIS pleasure, all because he was mad that Kate and Elliot were out alone together.

      And Kate being alone with Elliot is HER choice, NOT Carter’s. Kate was NOT doing anything wrong or cheating on Carter. Apparently, Carter wanted Kate to stay home alone while he was out with his family, who would NOT allow Kate along. Ridiculous. Kate had EVERY right to go along with the Grey family AND Ana. She did NOT have to leave when Ana did. And if Carter thinks he has a RIGHT to control Kate and her actions, then he is NOT the person for Kate. Period.

      But Christian went through body-dysmorphia and everything ALL as a result of making SURE that he was NOT repeating Elena’s habits of abuse to his partner. Christian would NEVER hurt Ana, as we have repeatedly seen where he asks Ana if she was sober and if she enjoyed anything new that they do. HERE, Carter basically was ordering Kate to the bedroom for HIS pleasure, and it was about CONTROL and ownership RATHER than love.

      So yeah, Carter and Kate DEFINITELY have their issues. And it SEEMS that Carter may be a lot like his OWN father, since his family made no attempts to meet with Kate or include her in any of their plans. And that IS the thing—Kate comes from a VERY close and loving family. Carter comes from a domineering family that considers everyone else to be outsiders, something that Kate did NOT experience with the Grey family. So MORE AND MORE signs show that Kate and Carter would NOT be a good fit longterm, unless Carter could mature and learn how to treat Kate more respectfully and lovingly RATHER than as a possession.

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  16. “College isn’t about getting high marks. It’s about having principles that you will always hold, even after you graduate.”
    -Unknown

    Quote for Kate:
    “You never know who’s waiting for you and you never know when love is coming your way or who it might be. But let me just say, a healthy relationship requires SACRIFICE and DEDICATION.”
    -Jonathan Anthony Burkett

    Quotes for Ana and Carla:
    “A child learns lessons in life more from his unhappy parents than his happy ones.”
    – Vikrant Parsai
    “The family – that dear octopus from whose tentacles we never quite escape, nor, in our inmost hearts, ever quite wish to.”
    -Dodie Smith

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  17. This story is very dear to me, first story I’ve ever “subscribed” to that was unfinished (due to my lack of patients to wait for an author to update) because this story was absolutely amazing and I had to see where it was going. The fact that it’s coming to an end, makes me kind of sad but content in what a beautiful product it has become. Today marks 2 years (well on Wednesday) since I embarked on this story. Thank you for making Mondays great again 😉

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  18. After so many sacrifices Ana finally is graduating from Harvard, her dream came true thanks to Ray AND Christian and of course to her own determination. Because of her intelligence and dedication, she’s graduating Summa Cum Laude. I wish that it would be acknowledge somehow with some special award or something. It’s just wishful thinking.
    Carla is always making every situation about her, I don’t doubt that in her own way she loves Ana, but in my opinion, I believe that in a way she resents her own daughter because she got what she couldn’t get, a rich husband (to be, I hope soon), a college education and the love and attention of all the people who gets to know Ana’s sweet and loving disposition. I hope that Ray leaves her there in Georgia, because she’s a party-pooper. Sorry, that’s the way I feel about Carla.
    Ray, I always loved this character in the books and in this story too. I can’t wait to know what he has been doing during the weeks after he came back. Humm
    Loved Carrick’s t-shirt, it was so tender and loving from him, I’m so glad that he’s in remission. At this moment I’m not liking Carter’s behavior, I think that he may be feeling a little intimidated by Elliot’s presence, but it doesn’t give him the right to mistreat Kate, I’m not liking that side of him, sometimes that’s the way that abusive relationships start.
    Thank you Tara for another wonderful chapter, can’t wait for next Monday for the graduation ceremony and the start of the sh*t storm that’s approaching. I’ll have to start drinking chamomile tea for my nerves. (I sound like Mrs. Bennett) 🤔😳😜

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    1. I forgot to add that TO ME, Ana’s GPA has a bit more value than Kate’s, I don’t want to diminish Kate’s achievements, but because of her family’s economical status she didn’t have to work and could dedicate all her time to study and other extracurricular activities, of course it’s not her fault. While Ana HAD to work to cover what her scholarship and Ray didn’t cover and have some money for her food and personal things, and thanks to Christian she didn’t have to pay rent.

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      1. I want to agree with you, because Ana will ALWAYS be my favorite, but Kate had that whole stalker thing that happened her freshman year. And her GPA never fell or anything, despite the affect it had on her, her ability to sleep and her guilt over surviving aftern multiple people died (even though it was most certainly NOT her fault in any way).

        And Kate pledged then to work even harder and do well because other students had died that would never get to realize their future.

        But I get what you are saying about Ana. She also had to work hard through everything, maintain work hours, and help Kate through everything to boot. Plus, she had WAY more pressures regarding her relationship, at least in my opinion, than Kate ever did with Elliot.

        And Ana has had to deal with negative press and media speculation as well as the machinations of Elena AND now the Conspiracy Head. So BOTH Ana AND Kate have maintained their GPA’s despite traumatic violent encounters with people wanting to harm them, and for Ana it is STILL ongoing.

        But at least with the Greys, Kate was NEVER questioned or thought to be an inappropriate match for their son. But the Greys CERTAINLY have made up for any initial misgivings of Ana’s existence by loving her now as much as their OWN children.

        So Ana and Kate are BOTH to be commended for their maintaining such high averages at HARVARD despite have relationship issues and severe trauma to contend with. They BOTH have had to suffer yet didn’t let what they went through impact their grades.

        But I get where you are coming from —Ana WAS the bookworm. And her major required SO MUCH more reading then Kate’s would have. But I guess you can’t really compare the two, given how much they sacrificed to be where they are. And NEITHER one of them begrudges the other anything. I mean, BOTH are truly happy for one another’s success and haven’t ever experienced jealousy or rivalry with one another. And THAT says something about both of their characters!

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      2. I think Kate’s extra cirriculars put her ahead in the eyes of the university. Unfortunately, jobs don’t mean as much academically, and Kate is the editor of the Crimson and a part of all kinds of on campus activities. She’s a little social networker…

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  19. This is a very great chapter. So much happiness, fulfilment and love. Congratulations, Ana and Kate and Carrick. Their very hard work and love reached optimal results. So proud of Carrick with his tees. He never fails to include Kate. Wait till he and the Greys especially Elliot know Kate is the reason Carrick is well. Gia disappearing without much of a fight is surprising, more so don’t know where she is. Very suspicious. Their lemons are beyond hot. Last two chapters have been so wonderful, I fear a big storm is brewing. Thank you for the update, Tara. It is a joy to read. As always look forward. Xoxo daytona

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  20. Harvard behind Ana, accomplished more than she had planned when she started there. Met Christian and her life changed forever. She even wrote and has her book published, a book she never had planned to write. She is in a good place right now, except for her mother but she can’t change her relationship with her when the other only think about herself, Carla. Ray missing the pre graduation celebration because of selfish Carla. Does anybody else know besides Ana and Christian that Kate was Carrick’s donor. Ana really became emotional there seing how much better Carrick is and should survive to see Calliope’s birth and first grandchild.
    Careful movers wouldn’t create and leave dings and scratches, so it is worth to be suspicious where Gia disappeared to or made her do so. She has inside knowledge about the Greys, their offices, residences and bank accounts. Christian and company should pay more attention now but were ‘t they already following on her earlier? Where is lelia now. Is she being protected somehow?
    Carter must have track down Kate and his possessiveness is showing, sounds like a dominant language that is coming out from him. Well see if Kate can submit to him in all forms which she is not really the type. Where did Elliott go after playing pool with Kate.
    Ana is on her last trimester better be careful with all that aggressive sex they are embarking, it could be a wrong timing. She wouldn’t want a too early delivery. You never know what can stimulate a uterus to start contracting prematurely. Using unwash sex device can also a cause of infection and premature birth. Have they tried anal sex before now? They can continue that too after birth & no need to wait six weeks as required for vaginal sex. So there is a fix for Christian. Enough from me and thank you, Tara. Have a good week.

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  21. Amazing freaking chapter! 🙂
    I am so proud of Ana. Goddamn, I can’t wait to see her walk across the stage!!
    I’m a little worried that she’s going to pop on stage though…
    Oh Carter…
    Unlike when Christian is possessive of Ana and says that he’s the only one that can make Ana feel that way…
    I highly doubt that Carter is the only one that can make Kate feel that way. Mostly because her and Elliot had such an intense and passionate and LOVING relationship, so I think that being in love makes the sex even better…
    Sorry Carter
    But not really. He seriously made me want to roll my eyes when he practically peed on Kate.
    I know he means well and he really cares for Kate, maybe even loves her, but ugh. He just seems a little immature to me.
    Maybe it’s just me though
    But I am hardcore rooting for Elliot and Kate. But I still think that Elliot needs to make up for some shit…
    The Carrick part literally almost made me cry. HES BETTER. But also his sweater?! That was so damn sweet. Goddamn.
    Gia is bleh. But this disappearance is shocking!
    Ohh maybe her and Carter can get together?
    Lol jk
    This chapter was just so sweet and amazing and I loved it from start to finish.
    I did have one question…I am completely blanking…what happened with Carla and Christian? I think Carla was horrible to him, but I don’t remember when?
    Loved the chapter!! Thank you!! 🙂

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    1. Carla is basically blaming Christian for everything bad that’s happened to Ana over the last few years, including her being nearly kidnapped. She told him that if Ana stays with him she’s going to end up dead.

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      1. What is sad and scary is that Carla COULD end up being right. Ana being with Christian certainly increases the likelihood of possible attacks in her future, particularly if she travelled abroad to certain countries where kidnapping the rich is an actual occupation. So I don’t claim Carla is wrong. But it is the choice of ANA to decide what she is willing to risk for her OWN happiness and that of the child she carries.

        Ana is a MATURE young woman who knows her own mind and what she wants and needs for happiness. AND Ana is AWARE of all that comes with Christian’s wealth and status. She loves HIM and is committed to being at his side. He makes her happy AND has done everything within his power to ensure Ana’s protection (and that of their family to come). So Ana is NOT going to simply throw Christian AND her happiness and family away JUST for the POTENTIAL of danger, especially when she and Christian have done everything they can to try to ensure their safety and that of everyone they love.

        So Carla bringing these things up to Christian and Ana is useless, as she KNOWS Ana is well-aware of all of this. In fact, that has been WHY Christian and Ana wanted Carla to have protection which she chose to refuse. So Carla CLAIMING these things is just her being Carla and causing unnecessary drama. AND is Carla refusing to support and love her daughter at the time that Ana could MOST use it. AND is FURTHER diminishing Ana’s happiness in having accomplished a goal that has been hers since CHILDHOOD.

        I mean, HOW does Carla think that her way of acting towards Christian AND her own daughter will in any way make Ana leave Christian? And Carla has NO right to talk about Ana’s “safety” when she was WILLING to risk it for Husband #3. Ana is NO light-weight. She would not have just LEFT her mother’s care over something “light.” While it has never been specifically said, it has been inferred in enough stories that Husband #3 was obviously abusive, but Carla would not leave him, at least not initially. So Ana got HERSELF out of a bad situation and returned to Ray.

        So Ana KNOWS how to extract herself from a BAD situation, FAR more than Carla ever did. And I also feel that Carla’s choosing to act this way towards Christian is actually due to deep-seeded jealousy over what her daughter clearly has that she never had. Ana has a man that devotedly loves her and is HAPPY about their starting a family AND wants to help Ana in any way he can to allow her to realize her OWN dreams. And they have financial stability, meaning they won’t have to worry about schools or good doctors and opportunities for their child.

        Carla always was dependent on a man for her happiness, and while Ana loves Christian, Ana can and has survived without him. Ana is FAR more independent and thinks through her choices RATHER than simply being blinded by love, the way Carla has been.

        So I see Carla as having lived a life of many bad choices, and she remains a woman dependent on a man for both her happiness and to take care of her. She fails to recognize her daughter’s MATURITY and ability to know what she wants and how to achieve it. AND she makes the mistake of trying to punish her daughter rather than accepting Ana’s right to make her own decisions.

        So while Carla may have a just REASON to be concerned about Ana, how she has HANDLED the situation is so grossly inappropriate, given the nature of the risk and protections put in place, to justify why Ana needs to throw away the future that she wants AND deserves AND is hers for the taking. Once Carla made Ana cry AND refused security to address the safety issues, then she SHOULD have been uninvited, both for her AND Ana’s safety and well-being issues for Ana. Carla can choose to have a bad relationship with her daughter who has reached out to her mother time and time again AND forgiven her for their past. Ana will be a FAR better mother than Carla ever was, assuming she survives the Conspiracy Head and a possibly difficult delivery.

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  22. Love the chapter because of Carrick.
    For a moment I thought it was Elliot with Kate, but well it ended up being Carter…how that happened? Kate was at the bar w/ Elliot
    Glad Gia is gone…..but is she really?…the wall messed thing at Elliot’s could mean something
    Now I have a very important question…….where is Champ?…. Did they already pack and send him to Seattle?

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  23. Everybody go so hard on Carla, I just see her as a momma bear. Think about it, EVERYTHING bad that happened to Anna over the years has been because of CHRISTIAN. looking at Christian’s history I would be concerned also as a mother … I get that it’s a little to late to be throwing out concerns because Christian & Ana are at a point we’re nothing somebody else says matter so I do think that Carla is wasting her breath. However she had every right to go crazy & blame Christian for Ana almost dieing nobody no what they would do in that situation when you no that had your daughter not been with a certain person so many bad things in her life wouldn’t have happened. In my opinion Ana shows every single time that the greys mean more to her then anything including her friends (Kate) & family (carla, ray) & let’s not forget that the greys treated Ana poorly before they found out what Elena did to Christian 🤦🏽‍♀️

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    1. Carla is entitled to her opinion about Christian. And yes, Ana being with Christian carries a certain amount of danger in the future just because of who Christian is.

      But if it was REALLY about the above for Carla, then she would state her feelings and NOT make her daughter cry OR refuse to come AND refuse Christian’s offered protections. That means she does NOT understand the VERY REAL threat. And that she doesn’t care enough about her own daughter to make it about ANA and come to one of the most important days of her life WITHOUT causing UNNECESSARY drama.

      Christian has really tried to be sensitive to Carla and to let her know that he loves Ana and would do anything for her to help her realize her dreams. And Christian is ANA’S CHOICE, so screaming at Ana and making her cry is helpful HOW?

      Carla’s OWN poor choices caused her to marry Husband Number 3 that was abusive to her and apparently to Ana, as Ana left Carla’s home and returned to Ray for the remainder of her childhood. MEANING that Carla chose a man over her daughter. So, quite frankly, she should NOT be surprised when Ana chooses Christian over her, which is the type of ultimatum that Carla seems bent on trying to do.

      And YES, Carrick might have had concerns about Ana that NO ONE else amongst the Greys shared. BUT Carrick still welcomed Ana into the family vacation in Aspen and did not treat her badly in any way. IN FACT, once Ana spoke to him about her feelings for Christian, Carrick even STOOD UP to Elena for Ana and stated that she made Christian HAPPY, and THAT WAS WHAT WAS IMPORTANT.

      And here, Christian DOES make Ana HAPPY. They are starting their OWN FAMILY together. So Carla can be supportive or voice her opinion that she does not think that Christian is right for her daughter. BUT at the end of the day, she should decide what kind of relationship SHE wants with her daughter AND granddaughter. Because Carla was CERTAINLY happy while experiencing the LUXURY of Paris. She wasn’t unhappy with the engagement ring that Ana received!

      The reality is that the super wealthy will ALWAYS face threats from those that think they can profit by kidnapping or threatening the rich family. That is a reality and NOT a reason to be hostile to Christian. Carla should NOT be making Ana cry when Ana just wants her mother to be present for graduation. HOW is Carla adding STRESS to Ana during this time helpful OR a means to Ana’s happiness?

      Grace remained supportive of Christian and his choice of Ana even when she didn’t yet know Ana well. She was THRILLED to see him be happy and be able to LOVE someone else, as Christian obviously loved Ana, even then. So Carla could be supportive of ANA, even if she doesn’t like Christian. The ATTACK was NOT Christian’s fault but the FAULT of whoever is behind teh Conspiracy. Carla should be supportive and loving of her daughter during her time of need, NOT causing unnecessary DRAMA that CANNOT help ANYONE and just makes Ana cry at a time when she should be CELEBRATING her immense accomplishment of graduating Harvard with a 4.0 gpa, despite her relationship turmoils over the years.

      Ana has someone that truly loves her and will do anything for her. And that IS something someone should want in a potential spouse for their child. Carla doesn’t have to fake liking Christian, but she should tolerate him for Ana’s sake and BE THERE FOR HER CHILD. Not cause PAIN and to keep Ray from being there for Ana’s big moments. Carla has NOT helped Ana in ANY way at the time she is needed the most.

      And, quite frankly, Carla has NO right to so upset Ana and object to Christian for the reasons that she has done so when she willingly threw away her daughter for a truly ABUSIVE man that was Husband #3. No parent should EVER choose an inappropriate mate over their CHILD, period. So Carla doesn’t even deserve the privilege of having such an important role in Ana’s life at this time. She is lucky that Ana is so forgiving. But Carla’s bad choices give her little to no right to question her daughter’s choices and certainly not to punish her for loving a DECENT and good man that values Ana’s happiness ABOVE his own. And THAT is waht should be MOST important.

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  24. Yay! Anas’s finals are completed and graduation is only a day away!! Returning to Cambridge and finishing out the year was the right decision. Ana needed that completion, accomplishment and closure. I’m really glad that Carter went out with his own family for dinner leaving Kate to accompany the Grey’s. I hope that she and Elliot work their way back together even if it’s slowly. Slowly’s good ;-). I think Kommer’s a phoney bastard, I don’t trust him. It’s a shame that Ray has to babysit Carla! She should get on her knees and that the Lord that she has such an intelligent, beautiful levelheaded daughter who has a loving, successful, intelligent man that worships her! A man who would serve her the world on a platter if he could and put his life before his own for Ana and Calliope, Carla’s soon-to-be granddaughter who will not want for anything. Ana needs her mom’s support now more than ever and she needs to get over her ill feelings for Christian. Thank you for the update, I love this story.

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  25. AMAZING CHAPTER AS ALWAYS! I loved it, so amazing, I wish Elliot would just properly paolosige and speak to Kate and they can start over! As for Gia, its obvious shes up to something, I just wish CG and Taylor and CO will stop her. Can’t wait for the graduation.

    ALSO LOVED THE LEMON! Keep them coming Tara!! One question, when did they first anal sex? In what book? I don’t remember., xx

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  26. Yay! Ana’s accomplished her goals and dreams! It’s a damn shame that Ray has to babysit Carla, but maybe you’re planning something ;-). I don’t trust that Kommer. I think he’s a phony bastard. What’s up with Carter’s family being “only about them”? I’ll bet he’s not even going out to dinner with them and he’s up to something shady. I’m glad that Kate accepted Grace’s invitation to dinner with them all and that she and Elliot sat next to each other. I look forward to next Monday. I really love this story.

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    1. Some families are really like that. BUT that ought to be a REAL signal for someone. Kate should realize that Carter’s family making it ALL about “them” means that she would never be treated as real family, and she would be expected to do every family tradition that they dictate, no exceptions.

      So Carter may be the way he is, in part, due to his own family. Meaning he puts his OWN needs and those of his side of the family FIRST over a spouse or anyone else. And that is NOT a family that you want to marry into unless you can live with that UPFRONT.

      And it also goes to show that “problems with the in-laws” would almost be assured for Kate. An unwelcoming family is not something she wants to constantly feel left out of. Kate’s priority is to find a FOREVER relationship that involves MARRIAGE and living with a spouse that treats her as an equal, not someone that puts her behind his parents.

      So more and more signs are there that Carter is not marriage-material. Kate needs someone willing to stand up for her, even against his own family if necessary.

      The above applies to Ana as well. At some point, BOTH of her parents need to come to the realization that Christian is who Ana plans to spend the rest of her life with. So they need to get on board with finding a way to either be around Christian OR choose to be like Carter’s family and have “separate time” with Ana. But the Greys have made a POINT to INCLUDE Carla in family vacations and everything else (like Thanksgiving dinner) to make it all-inclusive. And THAT is the best type of environment to bring a CHILD into–families that try to bond together and never make the child choose.

      I have been more charitable to Ray than Carla at this point because Ray HAS missed so much of Ana’s life and NEEDS the time to adjust and accept that his baby girl has grown up AND has a life of her own now. So his testiness towards CHristian can be explained, although he should start trying to get to know Christian better to SHOW Ana his commitment to understanding HER OWN life choices.

      But CARLA has been able to witness Christian’s love for his daughter for some time now. Even when the two were broken up, Carla knew Christian wanted Ana back and was determined to do anything he could to mend their relationship. YES, Christian has DEFINITELY made mistakes in his past, but he never knowingly abused Ana in any way. He treats her as an EQUAL and obviously loves her. He doesn’t have a “roaming eye” and puts Ana on a pedestal, yet he does everything to help Ana achieve her dreams and accept her as she is WITHOUT trying to change her or make her be something she is not. HOW much better can you get than THAT? So both Carla and Ray, to some extent, need to get on board with supporting Ana and trying to get to really know and accept the man she is planning to spend her life with.

      But Carter’s family seems even WORSE than Carla, at least at this point. I mean, they are actually IN Cambridge and have a chance to meet their SON’S significant other, who their son claims to LOVE. After all, Kate is valedictorian of Carter’s class at Harvard and certainly a person meriting TIME on their schedule, if they REALLY care about Carter’s LIFE. And family attitudes like that are hard to overcome and should be a REAL eye-opener of future possibilities for Kate, ESPECIALLY since we knowt hat Kate wants KIDS in the future.

      I trust TAYLOR to investigate and KNOW if he can trust his security team. Taylor has already been compromised, and I am SURE that he took that HUGE security breach personally. That would be truly frightening if the Conspiracy Head could find a way to compromise the current security team members. (Makes me really glad to NOT have great wealth–seems like you constantly have to question if you can TRUST those around you.)

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  27. Really Carla! It’s your only daughter (child) graduation and from Harvard. Just for one day, one day you was unable to put your selfishness to the side. The conspiracy should take Carla and we can call it a wrap. Rant over, just really disappointed in her behavior. More importantly disappointed that Ray missed the family dinner because of her actions.

    I know I’m all for Elliott and Kate. But I have got to ask this question? Does anyone else think it’s weird or strange that Kate has not been introduce to Carter’s family. Or she was not invited to the family dinner. Why do I feel he never went to dinner with his family. But, was he spying on Kate. I have a really bad feeling about this guy. IMO he showed his hands, and it”s not good. I’m also feeling bad that Kate was staying home alone. Glad The Greys invited her to join the celebration.

    Something terrible has happened to Gia. She has so much information on the Greys. For some reason I don’t think she would just sell out, unless she’s force. But lets just hope not. The removal of tbe chair was disturbing. She might have been injured during a struggle. I hope not. She might not be a favorite, but she doesn’t deserve to be hurt. Simply guilty by association.

    I really think Lelia needs to make an appearance to someone. Maybe Sawyer. I think she could really help with the missing peaces of the puzzle. Or even saves the lives of maybe many. The calm before the storm.

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    1. I’m like you, CAmilleis. Gia would hire a GOOD moving company to move her stuff. And she wouldn’t wantonly damage Elliot’s things if she had ANY hope of maybe reconciling with Elliot down the road. PLUS, Elliot could take out CRIMINAL charges for destruction of property, and Gia would NOT want to risk looking bad to the media, who would UNDOUBTEDLY pick up the story. AND Elliot could STILL be her ticket to meeting OTHER rich people, so dissing and dismissing Elliot openly and severing all ties would NOT be in Gia’s best interests.

      And the chair is the clue. I think there was a STRUGGLE in securing Gia that was NOT expected by the Conspiracy thugs. I think Gia got injured, and she bled on the chair, making it necessary to remove it.

      The key, to me, of Gia’s kidnapping is the letter of resignation AND having her office cleaned out. Gia would NOT want to be out of a cushy job like the one she has WITHOUT having secured a NEW one. Gia is PRACTICAL above all else and never wants to be without money AND CONNECTIONS like the Grey family have.

      The Conspiracy would have wanted Gia’s sudden disappearance to be EXPLAINED. So that would be the reason for severing her ties with Grey Construction. So NOW, no one is looking for Gia. And someone is not likely to reach out for some time.

      I’m HOPING that Christian mentioned what he learned from Elliot about Gia to TAYLOR. Taylor could AT LEAST try to ping Gia’s cell phone or identify WHERE she is. If EVERYTHING for Gia has suddenly gone SILENT, then that OUGHT to be a surefire clue. I mean, Gia is a SOCIAL CLIMBER. If her SOCIAL ACCOUNTS have suddenly gone inactive or silent and NO ONE knows where she is, then she NEEDS to be reported missing.

      No matter what, Gia doesn’t deserve what may have happened to her, unless she voluntarily reached out to the Conspiracy. I just CAN’T see Gia severing all SOCIAL ties with the Grey family AND career SOCIAL opportunities and perks that come from being associated with any Grey company. I mean, working successfully with the Grey family REALLY helps Gia’s resume, so she wouldn’t voluntarily hurt her professional career. So THAT is the SIGN to me that Gia’s has NOT gone voluntarily.

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      1. PLUS, I see the “movers” as being the PERFECT way to remove Gia WITHOUT Christian’s security team being the wiser.

        After all, the Conspiracy Head couldn’t be assured that no one was still watching Elliot’s place. But no one would suspect MOVERS in uniform who would be EXPECTED to move big boxes OUT of the residence (including one that could hold the unconscious body of Gia).

        So even if a security member WAS still watching Elliot’s house, they wouldn’t suspect anything necessarily UNLESS said security member would have realized that they never saw Gia HERSELF leave.

        But it was rather stupid of Gia to leave things with Elliot by driving him from his OWN home by her hissy fit. It left her alone and unprotected, something that the Conspiracy Head has undoubtedly been LOOKING for with a Grey member. Gia NEVER thinks things through and acts impulsively. And this time, it may have backfired against her in the worst possible way.

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  28. Great chapter. Loved the family time. Can’t wait to see how everybody makes the day about Ana and not karla. And hopefully somebody tells her it’s about Ana and not about her, she deserves to be put in line. Can’t wait. Thank you.

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    1. AMEN, Dseiladmnd.

      Carla can either appreciate the loving and independent daughter that she has who KNOWS her own mind OR she should just absent herself. The day belongs to ANA for ANA’s accomplishment of realizing her childhood dream in attending AND graduating from HARVARD with such a high average. Ana worked HARD through a lot of trauma and drama to get where she is. And THAT deserves to be CELEBRATED. No one, PARTICULARLY a mother, should be taking ANYTHING away from Ana’s big day and her accomplishments.

      Ana knows Carla’s concerns. Carla has voiced them, and in the WORST possible way, making her daughter CRY at a time when it is DOCTOR’S ORDERS to avoid stress. So Carla should have been UNINVITED as a result of her pettiness and tantrums in order for Ana to have the emphasis of the day be about HER, as it should be. Above all else, Carla should try to do no harm.

      And if Carla can’t get in line and SUPPORT her daughter, then she should at least get out of her way. At least, in my opinion. Every parent knows that his or her child may not make the same decisions that the parent would make. But at some point, you have to hope you have raised a child with appropriate morals and values and someone that knows his/her own mind. Which Ana most certainly does. At that point, you love them and vow to be there for them no matter what, UNLESS it would be to enable something illegal, such as a drug addiction when the child refuses to get help. That is NOT this situation, so Carla should BE THERE for Ana or absent herself if she feels it is necessary to make a point she believes in, NOT cause further drama.

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  29. I agree with both of you Tori and Tara, that’s why I say that Ana’s Summa Cum Laude, because 4.0 GPA is that, to me it has a little more value because she HAD to work, and didn’t have the time for extra-curricular activities and networking, even though she collaborated with some articles for the Crimson and wrote a book, but I know that in the eyes of the university that doesn’t count. It’s true that Kate had the stalker problem in her freshman year but Ana was almost kidnapped in her senior year and was also pregnant. I don’t diminish by any chance Kate’s achievements but I value Ana’s accomplishments more because of her sacrifices. Thank you Tara.

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  30. Ok, I’m just seeing this & I agree with most of what you said. My opinion still stands though there was a lot of times where I felt like Ana could have been there for Kate more when she was going through her breakup with ellotte. Same how Kate was there for her during the 2 year break up, I love Ana but there’s times she put the greys before ppl who she counted on before she met them, Christian of course he’s her fiancé and baby father so I expect her to put him first. It’s just certain situations I cringed at. I don’t judge Carla for sending Ana to stay with ray it was the best thing for her to do as a mother, she trusted ray & new he would take care of Ana had Ana stayed husband number 3 would have probably raped her, however I do judge her for not just divorcing him sooner. I still feel like Ana never fails to put the entire grey family before (kate, ray, Carla,) for example the fact that she was ready to drop out of school & throw away 4 hard years ray has spend in the army just because Christian father had cancer. Not saying that’s not a bad disease! Her dropping out of school just shouldn’t have been a option I’d imagine it a slap in the face for ray. (My opinion) again I still adore the book, I still love Christian & Ana . 😘😘😘

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    1. Okay, please forgive me upfront if my answer sounds angry, but I was raised with different values and morals from what you seem to recommend. So my take on Ana comes from how I was raised. And I have tried below to explain why I feel Ana is fairly level-headed AND puts the proper perspective AND priorities on what she should, given what we know of her and her choices.

      First, I was taught that if a parent chooses CRIMINAL acts or omissions in allowing THEIR OWN CHILD to come to harm, the child then owes them NOTHING. In fact, refusing to leave an abuser that clearly plans on molesting your own CHILD should entitle you to a SEVEN year sentence IN PRISON, at the VERY least.

      But it sounds as if you hold Carla blameless for having married this horrid individual AND THEN not IMMEDIATELY separating from him when he CLEARLY intended HARM to her OWN CHILD, so much so that ANA made the decision to absent herself and go back to Ray’s home. Which is a decision that CARLA should have made, AND Carla should have gone with her. IF Ana had REMAINED in the home with Husband #3, she would have been harmed AND watched her mother be beaten. FYI, that is NOT recommended by ANY psychiatrist, as a girl child often MODELS her future behavior on her mother, which is WHY so MANY STATES in the US have now warranted removal by DSS of the child if the mother doesn’t leave the abuser. Period.

      You fault Ana with choosing Christian over Carla, Ray and Kate. (Ummm, didn’t CARLA set the standard of choosing her WORTHLESS husband over her OWN defenseless child? Ana choosing her DECENT spouse who TRIES as hard as he can to protect her over the PETTINESS of her mother is teh wrong choice HOW again????)

      First off, Kate is a friend, not a future husband. YES, Christian and her relationship with him SHOULD COME FIRST if she plans to spend her LIFE with him. And they are having a BABY, which means they need to be on the same page on as much as possible, which can leave little time for other friends, who SHOULD have made better decisions themselves. I know Kate was in pain, but she CHOSE to hang with Ainsley and Eliza, even when they insisted she do DRUGS. And that is ANA’s fault to you?

      Strictly speaking, Kate is a friend, NOT a spouse. And Kate was suffering a BREAK-UP, NOT TERMINAL CANCER, which was expected to KILL Carrick in less than a year without other surgery or intervention. Even WITH chemo AND risky surgeries, he was not expected to come as far as he did. And even ELLIOT credited Carrick’s DECISION to undergo treatment with WANTING to see and hold and be a part of his GRANDCHILD’S life, showing that Carrick’s priorities of FAMILY were in place, AS ANA’S CHILD IS A GREY, too. AND THERE WAS ONLY so much time in a day for Ana. She did the BEST that she could. She certainly wasn’t out partying, WHICH KATE did. I mean, Kate could have stayed home WITH ANA.

      You act like the Greys aren’t family to Ana. And Ana’s choice to voluntarily put off graduating college was motivated in knowing how little time Carrick might have left and wanting to ease the pain of her intended spouse and family. And CHRISTIAN rightly responded (at least, in my opinion) by telling Ana NOT to put her dreams on hold. (And Carrick would have ECHOED his sentiments, as we all KNOW how important it was to Carrick to see a child of his graduate Harvard.) And Carrick’s ACKNOWLEDGMENT of Ana as his own adopted daughter just shows how PROUD he is of her AND HER DECISIONS, that have MANY TIMES put the needs of OTHERS above her own.

      Ana, herself, felt guilty for not being there as much as she could have been for Kate after her break-up with Elliot. BUT Kate also made a LOT of bad decisions after that, such as going to NY most weekends to hang out with shallow social rich brats who encouraged her to do drugs. And if you look back through the chapters, though, when Ana did reach out to Kate, Kate told her that she wanted to be alone. And Kate DID still live with Ana during the week.

      And you seem to have forgotten JUST HOW MUCH Ana did for Kate AFTER the serious stalker events of ADSOF. Ana AND CHRISTIAN literally never left her alone. In EVERY WAY, Christian AND Ana were there for Kate without complaint.

      And Ana could not help what all she went through after she became pregnant. She had the REALLY severe form of morning sickness that can cause you to dehydrate, as well as keeping on top of all her Harvard courses as well as Carrick’s news regarding cancer. And in remaining as close as possible to Christian so that the two of them could remain close, something CRITICAL to Calliope both in the womb and afterwards.

      There is only so much time in a day, and it seems to me like you would require Ana to be there for EVERYONE at the expense of herself. Ana could not be there for Ray while he was abroad. And Ana was NOT responsible for Kate’s bad decisions that often left Kate hangover and scrambling to use what time she had not wasted on her studies.

      And so Ana SHOULD put Christian FIRST over Carla in my opinion. Hands down. CARLA made bad decisions that you want to excuse her for. Carla’s husband abused her AND her child. I was taught that when ANYONE abuses your child, you must leave that person to prevent harm to the child, if that person will not get help. IN FACT, that IS THE LAW. Carla should have been CRIMINALLY charged for her choices and conduct, but BECAUSE HER DAUGHTER had enough sense to separate herself from the abuser and go to a place of safety, this did not happen.

      AND CARLA chose to STAY with her abuser, even AFTER knowing of a strong RISK OF HARM to Ana. There is NO EXCUSE for Carla’s behavior. ANA chose to separate from Carla, not vice versa, in order to prevent herself from being abused. Quite frankly, a mother like that doesn’t then deserve to have her child put HER over her signicant other that has done nothing BUT try to keep Ana safe AND loves her. Christian would put his safety as secondary to Ana, something Carla FAILED TO DO when she had A DUTY OF CARE to her daughter, both legally AND morally.

      So your attitude that Carla somehow CHOOSING her ABUSER over her daughter as a reason why ANA should put her first now is ludicrous to me. And Carla’s choices CURRENTLY not only put HER in danger BUT ALSO RAY who must now bring Carla himself AS CARLA REFUSED OFFERS OF SECURITY. So she puts herself at risk AND detracts from Ana’s big day celebrating her accomplishment of graduating Harvard. (An education, by the by, that Carla did NOTHING to support EXCEPT for having her husband pay $1,500.00 which was LITTLE in comparison to the $40,000.00 A SEMESTER that Ana has taken out loans for or Ray paid through the army.)

      CARLA does not nor has she ever had CANCER. Had Carla gotten cancer AND been expected to only live 6 months, then I am sure Ana would have offered to come take care of her, DESPITE their history AND the fact that Ana really owes her NOTHING at this point.

      And RAY wanted Ana to go back to Harvard. HOW has Ana NOT been there for Ray? Ana EXCELLED at Harvard and had the grades to show for it, which was EVERYTHING that Ray wanted for her. Ana has written her own book and has real-world experience in the career field of her choice, because Christian KNEW Ana was up to heading SIP due to her work ethic and brains, things that Carla certainly hasn’t valued OR supported.

      Ray has been the one to not try to get to know Christian. He has NOT made it easy on Christian, even though most of us can understand WHY he is having so many issues with realizing that his daughter has fully grown up and is in a deeply-committed relationship, all that happened while he was away. So we excuse his less-than-warm reception of Christian, at least for now.

      So Ana should tell the Greys that she CANNOT be there for them in their serious time of need because Carla has petty concerns? CARLA did not even pay for an airline ticket for her daughter to come to HER home for the first THanksgiving that Ana was in college. THE GREYS, however, did NOT leave Ana virtually alone over this holiday. And they would have told Ana to return to Harvard, just as Ray would have done. Which Ana did, so WHY are you holding this against her?

      Carla has voluntarily chosen not to be there for her daughter during multiple times in her childhood. So I think Ana can be forgiven for choosing OTHER FAMILY that HAS been there for her. You reap what you sow. And the GREYS can be counted on to be there for Calliope, while Carla will pull tantrums and detract from Calliope’s hard-won successes and MAKE IT ALL ABOUT HER. It is a wonder that Ana is nothing like her drama-queen narcissistic mother!

      Sigh. I know the above probably sounds a little angry. I just can’t help but think of Ana as someone that I WISH really existed and could be my friend. Because she sounds amazing and the kind of caring, considerate person that is just not found, PARTICULARLY given some of things she has had to experience in her OWN life that could have scarred her for life that were NOT her fault AT ALL. So yes, I WILL defend her, as I would hope someone would do for someone of her caliber and values.

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      1. Torik You explained Carla behaviors as well as her actions directly to the point. I was going to comment prior that Ana made the choice to leave to live with Ray for her safety. Carla did absolutely nothing. I love how you referenced texts to support your writing. After reading your reviews It help me to remember more and more about the story.

        You should definitely try your hands at writing if you haven’t done so already.

        I have two stories that are very dear to me. This one and Bronze Goddess. Very similar writing and they’re 100% vested in their character.
        Now we wait until Monday. Have a wonderful and peaceful weekend everyone.

        Like

  31. Omg I’m late again I would have loved to reply to your comment sooner😩 Again I agree what most of what you said but my opinion will not change. Who’s fault is it that Ana didn’t make it a priority to write ray from the beginning or the time they got back together to get her father updated on her new life? Nobody which is why I don’t blame ray, it’s like Ana got a family with the greys & forget she has other ppl in her life who also love her, you say Kate shouldn’t have been hanging with whatever them girls name is well, I say had Ana been there for her more as a friend like I witnessed Kate there for her, Kate wouldn’t have had to hang with such ppl, no I don’t think ana is kate savor but as a bestfriend & knowing the feeling of being heart broken personally ( Christian taking the deal ) she should have been more sensitive towards what Kate was going through. She couldn’t even remember to give Kate a call & tell her she got engaged Mia had to do it, let’s admit there was times Ana completely forgot about Kate while she was at her worst, I can’t never agree with that because I have a bestfriend & id never not be there for her when she needs me. As for Carla I never said I excuse her for staying with husband number 3 if you actually read back to what I wrote I said that’s where I do judge her ( for not divorcing him right away ) I said what I don’t blame her for was sending Ana to ray it was the best thing Carla could have did for Ana. As for Christian father having cancer, and is not a doctor there was nothing she could do for him, like I said not finishing school for that alone would have been a slap in the face to ray not to mention when ray finds out Christian payed off all of Ana’s student loans we all no it’s a very “Christian thing to do” & it would have been cool, I just feel like ray deserve to say he did something for Ana, he deserve to feel like 4 long years wasn’t for nothing just for Christian to turn around & pay off what he worked hard for without blanking an eye. Ray would want to feel like after all that hard work he at least did something for Ana, Christian only payed it so he can feel like he did something when that should be ray. I might be stretching it but I love ray & I just feel like poor ray. I understand what you saying though, I don’t take offense to you debating with me about this story the fact that we can go back & fourth just shows what a good story this is❤️ I love it, it’s something’s I don’t agree with but I’ll live, pluse it’s not my story…

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    1. I get where you are coming from regarding Ana’s communicating with Ray about what was going on in her life. However, I think Ana did provide reasons why she did NOT tell Ray about her break-up with Christian because she did NOT want him abroad in a war zone and having to WORRY about her.

      Ana, herself, felt bad for not having told Ray about Christian sooner, but again, she did not want Ray to worry when he could do nothing to help her AND could be distracted at a bad time, JUST as Ana ended up missing a class after hearing how the jeep in front of Ray blew up in ADSOF. Ana knew how it affected HER in not being able to help Ray, and she did not want to put Ray in the same position.

      Christian had a LOT of baggage, due to the whole Elena affair, and Ana found it hard to write about that to Ray in a war zone, and I rather think Ana was right. I just can’t hold this against Ana. And had she just said “I met a boy,” then her father would have worried and wanted every detail, when he would be unable to meet Christian or form an opinion about Christian for AT LEAST a year or more.

      So I can’t blame Ana for struggling to figure out the RIGHT way to inform Ray about Christian AND for not wanting Ray to first hear about Christian through a LETTER. And Ana certainly did NOT want Ray to know about all the PAIN she was suffering from the break-up. And right after she got BACK together with Christian, the whole Leila AND then ELENA scandals broke, all while Harvard was basically threatening to EXPEL Ana for potentially inappropriate behavior.

      And when Christian got the phone call for Ana with Ray, Ana did NOT tell Ray about Christian at that point because she literally was having to face maybe breaking up with Christian THAT very night, so she again didn’t want to worry Ray. Had Ana ever not had drama with Christian AND had an actual opening to TALK to Ray, WITHOUT having to worry about how Ray would be affected by the news AND unable to be there for Ana, then I believe Ana would have willingly told Ray everything.

      If Ana had written to Ray about what all happened in ABSOF as it happened, Ray would have been worried sick and anxious to do something to help Ana, and he WOULD have been put at risk. He was a SOLDIER that was constantly faced with potentially death-causing ambushes on a DAILY basis, and being DISTRACTED could have killed him.

      The other thing you fault ANA with is Christian UNKNOWINGLY paying her tuition. AND ANA HERSELF had words with Christian for having done this, as it made it “pointless for him to be there” and that it was RAY’s sacrifice to make for her. So Ana TOLD Christian about being upset for his paying her tuition. So that should NOT be held against Ana. AND it will hopefully allow Ray more money to be able to live on while he gets himself reacclimated to civilian life.

      But Ray, himself, didn’t necessarily handle things well all-around since learning of Christian’s existence. AGAIN, I excuse him, because this is his ONLY little girl. And he APOLOGIZED to Ana for his behavior during the THanksgiving phone call. He just needs time, and now that he is back, I am SURE that Ana and Ray will both do everything they can to stay close. I just don’t think blaming Ana for her decisions that she AGONIZED over that we literally read how hard it was for her to decide about informing Ray WITHOUT placing him in danger. Ana CAN’T physically be ever-present for EVERYONE in her life, and she has done the best she can. And she HERSELF felt guilty over not having informed Kate of her engagement earlier, but she was literally IN THE MOMENT and should be allowed to ENJOY that moment FIRST before having to tell the whole world.

      I guess what I am trying to say is that although Ana is a human being that cannot be perfect, she certainly TRIES to be there for everyone. She has SACRIFICED for everyone, INCLUDING Kate, on more than one occasion. And I think it is a GOOD thing that her potential in-laws want her to be FAMILY so badly, as they RECOGNIZE what a good daughter Ana is. And if Ray values Ana’s HAPPINESS, then HE will make the effort to get to know Christian rather than verbally attack him. WHich for Ana’s sake, I think BOTH men will try, because they KNOW how important it is to Ana to have them in her lives.

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