Chapter 35

baby come back

Consciousness comes and goes like the beat of a heart. I know there are people around me, I can hear their panicked voices, but they sound far away, like I’m hearing them from underwater. I try to cling to the sound, searching specifically for Christian’s voice, but it’s so far away. I’m slipping and I’m afraid that I’ve gone too far until someone moves my body and my resulting scream of pain brings me back from the edge.

“Stay with me, Ana,” Grace says. I open my eyes and find that I’m lying on the living room floor. Grace opens my legs and then reaches under my dress to remove my panties, discarding the blood sodden fabric next to her, as she examines me.

“Here, Mom,” Mia says, flying down the stairs with Grace’s medical bag in hand. Grace nods to her and removes a pair of gloves. She reaches between my legs, making me whimper with pain again, but she only just touches me before she withdraws her hand and shakes her head.

“It’s got to be a placental abruption, a bad one. This baby needs to be delivered right now, and we need to get Ana into surgery or we’re going to lose them both.”

“L-lose?” Christian repeats, sounding dazed, but Grace ignores him.

“Elliot where are we on that ambulance?”

“They said they’ll be here in five minutes.”

She shakes her head again. “Not good enough, she’s losing too much blood… she needs blood.”

“Here,” Christian thrusts his arms towards her. “Take it. Take all of it.”

“What’s her blood type?” Grace asks, looking to my mother, but she just looks down at me, pale and shocked.

“B negative,” my dad says, stepping forward. “Same as me.”

“Congratulations, then. You just bought yourself a ticket on the ambulance ride. Pull your sleeves up.”

Christian shuffles to the side while my dad kneels down in the blood soaked carpet next to me and allows Grace to begin prepping his arm for a blood transfusion line. My whole body begins to shake as a wave of cold washes over me, and while my teeth start to chatter, Christian takes my hand.

“Hold on, baby,” he says, his voice shaking. “We’re going to get you to the hospital. You’re going to be okay.”

“Don’t leave me.”

“I won’t, I’m not going anywhere. I’m right here. Stay with me, baby.”

I shiver again as I feel the needle Grace is holding pierce my skin, and then shake off the impending darkness that’s trying to take me once more.

“C-C-Christian…” I stutter, knowing I don’t have long before I lose the battle and slip under again. “S-ave Callio-pe. I chose Calliope.”

“Don’t talk like that. You’re going to be fine, Ana. You’re both going to be fine. Just stay with me… we’re going to have a baby today.”

“Calliope, Christian.”

“Stop it. You are going to be fine, Anastasia.”

But I don’t know if that’s true or not, because as I lie there watching his eyes well with tears, the blackness overcomes my eyes and I’m lost again.

 

There’s no sense of time passing in the lack of consciousness. Sometimes I can see what I think is light, but I can’t hear anything and I can’t feel anything. There’s nothing and it’s terrifying. My baby is being taken from my body but I can’t feel her, so I don’t know when or if it’s happened. Grace said I was supposed to go to surgery, but I don’t feel any pain or movement. The black is all there is and all I can do is wait, helpless, with no idea when or if it will ever end. For awhile, I’m convinced it won’t, so I almost give up fighting it. But then I remember Calliope, and I think I can almost hear Christian, so I begin to push against the heavy abyss threatening to pull me down once again.

Fighting is exhausting. Again and again, my strength seems to fail and the darkness gets deeper, but then sometimes I feel like the dim light I’ve tried to hold onto is growing stronger, like I’ve almost reached the surface, but I can’t ever be sure. For a brief period, I almost think I feel something touch me, though I can’t decipher who it is or what part of my body is being touched. Then taste comes back, but it’s bitter and it stings the way alcohol does. Finally, after what feels like an eternity, I start to hear voices again, muted at first, but growing more concrete the more I concentrate on them until I can not only decipher the words, but also who’s speaking them.

“But what if she doesn’t, Elliot?” Kate sobs. “What if she never wakes up? What if she’s already gone?”

“She’s not. Okay, you listen to me, she’s going to be just fine. She’s too damn stubborn to go like this and Christian wouldn’t let her if she tried.”

“But the doctors said…”

“The doctors are idiots. Kate, Ana is going to wake up and she is going to be fine. Look at me… she’s going to be okay.”

Kate?

Slowly, I start to feel my body again. Not in the true sense of the word, but at least that it’s there. Everything feels numb, but I have legs again, and hands. I feel as though I’m being pulled back to earth and while I listen to Kate sobbing somewhere in the darkness next to me, I will myself to speak, but I can’t.

I try again, but nothing. Something is choking me. I try to take a breath but it’s cut off, like there’s something lodged in my throat. Panic begins to set in and, finally, my eyes spring open, bringing white, blinding light back into my world. I glance down and see that there’s something plastic covering my mouth, keeping me from breathing, and instinctively, I reach up to bat it out of the way. I’m weak, extremely weak, so my hand only just barely brushes against the thing obstructing my breathing, but the sound is enough to catch Elliot’s attention.

“K-Kate…” He says uncertainly.

“Oh my god!” I hear the scrape of her chair over the linoleum as she rushes to my side and begins fumbling with the plastic box in the bed next to me. “Ana? Ana, can you hear me?”

I reach for the thing that’s choking off my air and find that it’s connected to a tube. My fingers wrap limply around it and I try to pull, but the movement is so anemic it hardly moves.

“No, no, no!” a woman in light blue scrubs cries as she rushes into the room. “Leave it, dear.”

Leave it? I can’t breathe!

I try and take another breath, but end up coughing. Thankfully, the nurse or doctor or whoever she is begins to deconstruct the tubing in my mouth.

“Elliot, Christian is with Calliope,” Kate says quickly.  “Go get him right now.”

“Christian, right…” Elliot says, almost distracted. “What about Carla?”

Kate glares at him. “No, fuck Carla. When Ana finds out what she… We’ll call Ray once we know, but right now, go get Christian.” He nods and darts from the room just as several more medical staff come through the door.

“Anastasia, my name is Dr. Lapp,” the woman in light blue scrubs tells me. “The blockage you feel in your throat right now is intubation. I will remove it, but I need you to relax, okay? Can you do that for me?”

I close my eyes and will my body to stop fighting, but it’s difficult because it feels as though she is yanking my throat out of my body as she removes the tube. I cough and take deep gasping breaths, but each one of them burns. As air floods into my lungs, it actually makes me feel lightheaded, not stronger, and for a moment, I fear the blackness is going to return, but I refuse to let it. Now that I’m back in the light, I can’t allow myself to go under again. I need to know what happened. I need to know where my daughter is and that she’s okay. I brace myself while the doctors surround my bed and as I try to gain control over my breathing, Christian bursts into the room.

“Ana!”

I glance over at him and am shocked. He looks haggard. Worse than I’ve ever seen him. His hair is in disarray, there’s inexplicably several days worth of facial hair on his chin, and his eyes are marred by deep black circles. As he walks towards me, peeling away the light pink medical gown from his body, I see that he’s wearing the same clothes he was on graduation day. His shirt is still spotted with my blood. Still, as he glances over me, his face morphs into a melting pot of emotion so intense, I wonder for a moment if he’s about to have a breakdown. “Oh, thank god.” he breathes. “You’re awake. Thank god, thank god, thank god…”

I try to speak again when his hand clasps mine, but I can’t. My throat is too raw. All I can do is let out a hoarse, painful breath that means nothing. He looks up at the doctor with wide, panicked eyes.

“Is she…”

Dr. Lapp shakes her head. “We’re not sure yet, Mr. Grey. We’ve only just taken out her intubation. She hasn’t spoken yet.” She turns to me. “Anastasia, do you know who this is?”

I look between the doctor and Christian, confused by the question. Why wouldn’t I know who Christian was? I try again to speak, but am only able to make the same, incomprehensible wheezing sound, so I settle for nodding my head, and Christian’s entire body sags with relief.

“What about her?” She points to Kate and I nod again, so she moves onto Elliot. “Him?” Another nod. “Good, Ana. That’s very good. Do you know where you are?”

I take a breath again, forcing my voice this time, but the words comes out so hoarse it sounds like the strangled death cry of a zombie from some horror movie. “Calliope?”

“What was that, Anastasia?” Dr. Lapp asks.

“Calliope.” I try again, and this time, my voice is a little stronger, clearer, but the doctor still doesn’t seem to understand me.

“I-I…”

“She’s asking about our daughter” Christian explains, but I’m confused by the inflection in his voice. It’s like he’s overjoyed and in incredible pain all at once. Oh no… where is my baby?

“Oh, I don’t have…” Dr Lapp begins, but Christian cuts her off again, kneeling down by my bedside as he speaks.

“She’s here,” he reassures me. “She was born on May 7th at 4:53 in the afternoon. She’s 17 ½ inches long and weighs 4 lbs, 7 ounces, no… 9 ounces now. You made a perfect baby, Ana. She looks just like you and she’s absolutely wonderful.”

Relief washes over me.

“I-I want her,” I croak. “Bring her to me.”

He frowns, but Dr. Lapp intercedes before he can answer me.

“Ana, your surgery was successful, but not without complications. The blood loss you experienced before and after surgery was significant. We need to run some tests to check your organs and your neurological function…”

“I want my baby,” I say, trying to be firm even though my voice comes out in only a very painful whisper. “I want to see my daughter.”

“I can’t bring her to you, Ana,” Christian says. “She’s in an incubator. She’s okay, but she’s premature and she had a traumatic delivery. She can’t breathe on her own yet and she can’t eat on her own… she can’t leave the NICU.”

“W-what?”

“Don’t worry, baby. She’s doing well,” he adds quickly. “She’s getting bigger and stronger everyday.”

“Everyday? Wait… how long was I out? What day is it?”

“It’s Tuesday, the 10th.”

“The 10th?” My eyes begin darting back and forth as I count the days between today and Saturday. “Three days? My daughter has been born for three days and I haven’t… I haven’t…” My breathing sharpens as I feel the threat of impending tears and it aggravates the pain in my throat again. Calliope is somewhere in this hospital fighting for her life without my help, my love, my support… and she has been for days. She needs me.

Though I still feel incredibly weak, I reach down for the tubes connected to the inside of my elbow and begin scraping at the tape holding them in, trying to yank them out of my arm.

“Ana, stop,” Christian says, but I ignore him.

“I’m going to her. You’re going to take me to her right now.” My head starts to swim and my vision grows dimmer, but I’m determined. I’m going to go to my daughter’s bedside.

“Anastasia…” Dr. Lapp says. “You’ve had major surgery, you’ve only just regained consciousness. You still have a catheter in… I can’t let you get out of this bed.”

“Then you’re going to have to sedate me.” I wince with pain as I try and sit up and realize that it’s not just my throat, my entire body aches. It doesn’t stop me though, I won’t let anything stop me, but before I can even pull the thin hospital blanket from my lap, there are three different sets of hands on me, holding me down, and I’m not strong enough to fight them off.

“Miss Steele, you need to sit back.”

“No! No, I have to see her.”

“You will, as soon as we…”

“No, let me go. Please!” I struggle to pull my arm out of an orderly’s hands and my breath hisses between my teeth as the IV rips out of my skin. Dr. Lapp says something to the nurse next to her about bringing her arm restraints, so Christian takes my hand from the orderly on my right and forces me to look at him.

“Ana, Calliope is getting the best care that she can get right now. She is in good hands and she’s doing better every single day. Every hour. Soon, she’s going to be strong enough to go home and when she is, she’s going to need her mother. You can’t fix her right now. The best thing you can do for Calliope is to take care of yourself, do what the doctors tell you, and get better. Please, baby. Lay still.”

I stare into his pleading eyes and then break down into tears. “Christian, she’s been in this world for three days and I’ve never seen her. I have to see her.”

“I have pictures,” he says, reaching for his phone.

“Me too,” Kate interjects behind him, and both she and Elliot step forward with their phones out.

“This is going to have to wait,” Dr. Lapp argues. “It’s imperative that we begin tests to evaluate her condition as soon as…”

“Please,” Christian says. “One minute. Just let her see that her child is safe and alive and then you can run all the tests you need.”

Dr. Lapp hesitates, but nods and waves toward the door for the staff around me to leave the room. She quickly re-inserts my IV before she follows the others out, and once she gone I hastily pull Christian’s phone from his hands.

There aren’t the hundreds of pictures here that I want, in fact there aren’t even ten, but as I pull up the first one, I immediately start crying again.

“She’s so beautiful,” Christian says, settling down on the bed next to me. “My mother thinks she has my eyes because they’re gray now, but I’m hoping they’ll turn blue like yours. She does have your mouth though, and your dark hair. She’s perfect.”

“She’s so tiny,” I say through my tears as I flip through the photos. Her color is wrong. There’s too much purple in her pigment. She has tubes and wires covering her, coming out of her, and just the sight of them makes my heart physically ache. She looks so fragile and every instinct in my body is telling me to go to her, to protect her, to make her better… Seeing her that way, knowing I can’t go to her, that Christian will stop me if I try, is unbearable. I have to give his phone back to him. Looking at her on the screen of a phone is just torture right now.

“How long until I can see her?” I ask. “An hour? Two? When?”

“I don’t know, baby. I don’t know…”

“Well then get the doctor back in here. The sooner I do their stupid tests, the sooner I can get to Calliope.”

He nods and gets off the bed, pushing past Kate, Elliot, and Luke, who I hadn’t noticed standing in the corner before, to bring Dr. Lapp back into the room. As she returns with her staff and a whole new slew of medical equipment, I have to say goodbye to my family. Kate leans over and hugs me so gingerly, it’s like she’s afraid I might break. Elliot doesn’t even try, instead he leans over to kiss me on the top of my hair and tells me never to scare them like that again. I give him a weak smile and then reach out for Christian.

“Mr. Grey,” Dr. Lapp pushes him, glancing towards the door, and he nods.

“I’m going to be close. I’ll be back the second they let me, I promise.”

“Stay with Calliope,” I tell him. “Don’t ever leave her alone.”

“Never,” he agrees. “My parents have been with her ever since they were let back into the NICU and I’ve only left her when I’ve been with you. We’re taking care of her, I promise. Just get better, okay. She’s ready to meet you.” Tears prick my eyes again and Dr. Lapp lets out an irritated sigh.

“Mr. Grey.”

“I’m going,” he says, standing from my bedside, but not releasing my hand. “I love you, Anastasia. So very much.”

“I love you too,” I reply. “Go be with our daughter.” He nods and slowly exits the room, Luke hovering close behind him, and the moment the door closes I break down. Tears flow freely down my cheeks as the doctors begin prodding me, hooking me up to different machines, and piercing my skin for blood samples. They wheel my entire bed into a different room to give me an MRI, and when they truly move me for the first time, I feel the residual pain from my surgery like fire inside of my body. Once I’m in the claustrophobic tube I lie there, completely impotent, my body battered and riddled with pain, thinking only of making it through this torture so that I can get where I’m truly needed.

Calliope. At the end of this, they’ll take me to Calliope.

Unfortunately, the test results take hours to come back, and when they do, they’re not good. Dr. Baker is back on shift, so she comes to give me the devastating news about my weak heart and low blood cell count that means my blood isn’t clotting well. I’m at high risk for sudden cardiac arrest, sepsis, and even just bleeding out, and until they have my blood condition under control, I can’t leave this room. Dr. Baker tries to reassure me by telling me what a miracle it is that my neurological function and memories seem to be fully intact, but it’s difficult to find solace in simply maintaining something I didn’t realize I was in danger of losing when I know my daughter is in critical condition somewhere on one of the many floors of this hospital and I can’t get to her.

“So, where do we go from here?” Christian asks Dr. Baker, gripping tightly to my hand from the chair next to my bed.

“Unfortunately, we’re not exactly sure what is depleting her cell count. This kind of treatment is beyond my scope of knowledge,” Dr. Baker says. “I’ve requested a consult from a hematologist but it’s a very rare specialty and this hospital only has credentials for one doctor, who is currently in upstate New York at a conference. He won’t be here for a few days.”

“A few days?” Christian repeats incredulously, and Dr. Baker nods.

“I’ve sent him all of Ana’s charts so he can review them before he actually sees her but it will take him a few days to get back to Cambridge. In the meantime, we’ll be monitoring Ana’s condition around the clock and giving her the absolute best care possible.”

“But until she sees this specialist, she won’t be able to visit the NICU?”

“That is correct, Mr. Grey.”

My head falls back into my pillows as I fight the torrent of emotion this delay creates within me. The sound of my sobs seems to overpower Christian arguing with Dr. Baker about finding another doctor, about flying one here from anywhere in the US, from Europe if need be, but apparently there are all kinds of administrative roadblocks to prevent that from happening. I’d have to be transported to a new facility and right now, that’s impossible. There’s nothing we can do but wait, and every second that passes feels as though it’s going to kill me. Christian’s face is marred with agony as he holds me the best he can through the tubes and wires still connected to my arms and fingers while I cry long into the night, until eventually, I cry myself to sleep.

 

The next morning, I wake up and am surprised to find Christian isn’t at my side. Instead, it’s my father sitting in the chair closest to me and Luke in the chair resting under the window. Their eyes are both locked on the TV over my bed playing a baseball game but my father’s hand is wrapped around mine at my side.

“Dad?” I ask groggily, and he jumps in surprise when he hears my voice.

“Annie? Oh my god, you… you really know who I am?”

“Of course I know who you are. Where’s… where’s Christian?”

“He had to go down to the NICU, so I told him I’d sit with you. They’re taking Callie off the ventilator.”

“What? They are? Does that mean she can come down here?”

“No, not yet. She’s gotta gain a little bit more weight before they take her out of the incubator, and I don’t know if they’re gonna bring a newborn baby into the ICU, sweetie. Especially a preemie.”

“I’ve got to get out of here,” I wail, the desperate tone returning to my voice as I start to cry again. “I need to see my daughter. Please, Daddy, do something. Help me. I’ve missed her whole life so far, I can’t stay here anymore.”

“I know, baby. I know.” His voice begins to break too. “But I promise you, she’s doing just fine. The doctors are all very impressed by her and that man of yours is doing everything he can to get you to that baby as soon as humanly possible.” He pauses. “He… he really loves you.”

“I know,” I reply, but he shakes his head.

“I didn’t. I mean, I knew you said it, and it’s not that I didn’t believe you, it’s that… I didn’t see the way he loves you.” His expression shifts into something much more painful, so I squeeze his hand to get him to look at me again.

“What’s wrong, Daddy?” He looks up and there are real tears in his eyes now.

“I’m so sorry, Ana.”

“For what?”

“I was with you the whole time,” he begins. “I was giving you blood so I rode here in the ambulance and went directly into the OR with you. There was so much blood, and I’ve seen blood, believe me, but this… I didn’t know how you were going to make it through this. When they got you onto the surgery table, the doctors pushed me out of the way and told me I’d have to go to the waiting room with the rest of the family, but everyone was so distracted trying to save you, that I was able to sit right outside the operating room and no one even noticed.”

“I kept waiting for the sound of the baby crying. It felt like it was taking forever and I thought, ‘how long could it possibly take to open you up and deliver the baby?’. But I never heard her. Someone came through the doors not long after I’d left you, pushing a plastic bin filled with blankets as quickly away from the OR as they could, but they didn’t look at me. They didn’t say anything, so I waited. For a very long time.”

“Finally, someone came out and saw me sitting there. He was covered in blood, in your blood, and he looked like he’d just seen death. I swear my heart stopped. I was sitting there, preparing myself to hear that you’d died on the table, but that’s not what he told me. He said that you’d experienced very serious complications during surgery and that he’d like to speak to your mother and I about the repercussions of those complications. I went straight to the room they were going to put you up in to wait and a few minutes later they brought in Carla. When the doctor finally came in, he told us that the amount of blood from your abruption meant that it took them too long to find the tear inside of you to repair, and when they did, and they started to sew you up, your heart stopped. Again and again. Between reviving you and making the repair, you’d lost too much blood. Your heart was weak, your blood pressure was incredibly low, and with the amount of blood loss you’d experienced… the damage was already too great. He didn’t think you were going to be able to wake up, and if you did, there was a great possibility, almost certainty, that you’d suffer from severe brain deficiencies. You’d lose your memories, your motor function, everything that made you, you.”

“I realized then that that’s why they were letting us wait in your recovery room. They were gifting us time because they were certain we were going to lose you. I asked about Callie, your mother had already gotten an update on her when she was in the waiting room, so the doctor really just talked to me. He told me that she was placed into an incubator, put on a vent, and would be under intensive observation for the next 72 hours. If she made it through the first three days, they believed that her chances were good, but those first 72 hours were critical.”

“I was still reeling from the news about Calliope when they finally brought you in, and when I looked at you, I was shocked. You were so pale, you looked like a ghost. There was tube in your mouth and all kinds of tubes coming out of your arms. I thought, there’s no way she’ll make it out of this, she won’t make it through the night, and while you’re mother and I sat there, holding your hands, I actually thought to myself, where was Christian? Why were you slipping away from this world while the man who told me, to my face, that he loved you was nowhere to be seen? I’d heard him promise you as you bled in his arms that he wouldn’t leave you, but he did. He wasn’t there, and it made me angry. I told Carla she may have been right about him, that there was no way he wouldn’t be here if he loved you the way he said he did, and while she agreed with me, the doctor who was examining you, uh…. Doctor Baker, I think her name was, she told me that he was in the waiting room. She said your mother had asked the staff not to let anyone who wasn’t immediate family receive any kind of information about your condition or the baby’s. She said he’d been asking to see you every chance he got, but they had to turn him away, they couldn’t tell him anything. She said if we’d let her, she’d love to bring him back right then.”

“He didn’t know. He had no idea how your surgery went, how your recovery was going, where his baby was… and it had been almost a full day. I didn’t think that was fair. So, I got up and I went out into the waiting room to talk to him. But when I came through those double doors and saw him, he looked up at me and the look on his face… It was like I was watching a man burning alive. He was in so much pain, I could see it.”

He has to stop to collect himself, but I don’t say anything. I just stare at him with wide, pain filled eyes until he speaks again.

“I told him that you were alive and in recovery, but that it didn’t look good. I told him that you’d lost too much blood and the doctors thought you were already gone, that it was the machines keeping you alive now. You would have thought I shot him if you saw the look on his face, the pain, the helplessness… He looked up at me and begged, actually begged me to see you, so I brought him to your room. Your mother was furious when she saw him, but he didn’t look at her. He didn’t speak to her. He pretended like she wasn’t there. He sat in my seat next to your bed, took you hand, and started talking to you. I almost thought he’d gone crazy because he kept pleading with you not to follow Calliope, that he knew you’d want to, but he couldn’t live without you.”

“It didn’t make any sense. Callie was in bad shape too, but she was alive. She was in the NICU and the doctors hadn’t given us the grim prognosis for her that they’d given us for you. So, I told him, ‘Christian, Callie’s fine. She’s being taken care of right now,’ and he first looked at me like he didn’t understand what I said, and then at your mother. The pain on his face was gone instantly and replaced by fury, and as I listened to what he was screaming at her, I understood why. Your mother had stopped the hospital staff from giving him or his family any updates on the baby, and so after they’d told her about Callie’s condition, she’d told him that Callie was stillborn. That she’d never lived. She lied, and as I looked at your mother, the woman I’d been married to for sixteen years, it was like I suddenly didn’t recognize her. I didn’t understand how someone could be so cruel, and while the doctors rushed in to restrain Christian to try and keep him from attacking your mother, I grabbed her by the arm, dragged her out to the waiting room, and told her not to move again.”

“The rest of his family was still there, Grace, Carrick, Elliot, Mia, and Kate… Luke and Taylor too. They didn’t know what was going on, they still thought you’d lost Callie. Grace looked absolutely devastated, Kate was shaking… so I let them know what was happening. I think Carrick threatened legal action against Carla for lying to Christian about Calliope. I don’t what’s going to happen between her and the Greys, I don’t know if this is forgivable, and I didn’t know if I should say something at the time… I was going to, but then Christian was brought back out to the waiting room by two security guards. You’d coded again, and he was refusing to leave you, so they had to physically remove him. I thought he might try to chase them back into the ICU, but he didn’t. He just slumped into a chair, burning again, and I did the only thing I knew to help him. I took him to the NICU, and I introduced him to his daughter.”

“That helped, for a while. It probably would have done more if her color had been better, but he stared at her for a long time, throughout the entire night and most of the next day. He sat there, holding her hand through the side of the incubator and told her all about you, about the life he wanted for her. We all came to check on him over and over again, but he wouldn’t leave. He’d ask us about you and when we didn’t have anything to tell him, he’d ask us to go. Elliot finally got him out of there by convincing him that he at least needed to try and eat, but they came back just as the doctors came to talk to your mother and I. They were telling us that your heart couldn’t keep up anymore, that you had coded three times through the night and your blood count was in freefall… They reminded us of the improbability of you ever waking up, of you being in a practically vegetative state if you did, and then asked if we wanted to discuss withdrawal of care.”

“That’s why I’m sorry, because it was something I was ready to consider. I’d seen you and how frail you looked. I thought you were trying to go and I didn’t think you’d want the kind of life the doctors were talking about, but Christian… he flew off the handle. He wouldn’t hear it and when they let us back to say our good-byes, he refused to leave your side and refused to let anyone touch you. He was threatening everyone, I was pretty sure he was ready to fight anyone who came to take him away… Elliot tried to calm him down, make him see reason, but he said you always did things in your own time. He said that you just weren’t ready to wake up yet, but that you would and you would be fine. He wasn’t ready, and I couldn’t do it with him like that. I wanted to give him the time to accept what I thought was inevitable, so I told the doctors we were going to give you some more time. They continued your treatments, monitored your heart and your organs throughout the night, and somehow, miraculously, you improved. Your heart had been in A Fib, but it just… normalized. Your vitals grew stronger, your color started to come back… We waited another full day and then, you woke up. Like nothing had happened at all. I’ve never felt worse than I did when Kate came and told me that you were awake, because I was ready to give up on you, every one was, but not him. He fought for you, Anastasia. He refused to give up on you. He protected you. And now I know. Now I see the way he loves you. Whatever else is in his past, we can work through it, I’ll find away to work through it, but I trust your judgement now, Annie. If he’s what you want, I finally believe that he deserves you.”

I wipe away the tears flowing freely down my cheeks, and nod. My dad gets out of his chair and pulls me, gently, into a hug.

“But I don’t understand…” I say while his arms are still around me. “Why didn’t the doctors tell Mom instead of Christian about Calliope? Why would they let him think she was gone? Why didn’t they take him back to her the moment she was stabilized in the NICU?”

“Because I’m not her father,” Christian’s voice says from the doorway, and both my father and I start as we turn to look at him.

“What? Of course you…”

“Not legally,” he cuts me off.  “We’re not married, Ana, and the State of Massachusetts doesn’t assume paternity for unwed couples until the mother signs the birth certificate and names the father. You were unable to do that so guardianship and the ability to make medical decisions fell to Carla because she’s your next of kin. My father knew the law, it’s the same in Washington, so he’d already warned me that I was going to have to prove I was Calliope’s father. I was having my cheeks swabbed for a paternity test when your mother got the news about our daughter. She told me Calliope was… that she…” he shakes his head, unable to say the words. “She knew that if you… died, that I would fight to take Calliope from her and she wanted to avoid a custody battle. I think she thought this would be easier.”

“I would never have let that happen,” my dad interjects. “Carla has never been able to see or to admit to herself that a girl needs her dad. She tried to take Ana from me when she ran off with that son of a…” He stops, swallows, and then continues. “I wouldn’t have let your daughter grow up without knowing you, Christian.”

“Thank you, Ray.”

I stare at Christian for a moment in utter disbelief until the shock wears off and I’m left with nothing but anger. No, not anger… rage. Blinding, consuming rage that let’s me forget about the horrible pain and instead has my entire body shaking.

“Where is she now?” I ask through clenched teeth.

“In the waiting room,” my father answers. “Now that you’re awake… I think she’s afraid to come see you. I think she’s ashamed, which is impressive for Carla…”

“Bring her to me,” I tell him.

“Ana…”

“Bring her to me, right now!” Christian and my dad both fall silent as the forceful timber of my exclamation echos through the room. They both hesitate for a moment, looking as though they’re not sure whether or not it’s a good idea to do as I’ve asked, but eventually, my father nods, gets out of his seat, and leaves the room.

“I’m sorry, Christian,” I whisper once we’re alone. “I can’t believe she would do that… I can’t believe…”

“Hey.” He moves quickly to occupy the seat my father vacated and takes my hand in his. “You don’t have to apologize for her. If anyone should be apologizing, it’s me…”

“You?”

“From the moment the paramedics put you in the back of the ambulance, I’ve been going over this and over this in my head, trying to figure out what happened. What we did wrong… We knew you were bleeding, I shouldn’t have just accepted it was something as simple as a scrape. If I’d have taken you to the hospital, they could have delivered Calliope earlier in the afternoon and you both would have been safe. Instead, you almost bled out on the table and Calliope was so oxygen deprived, she was blue when she was born. I almost lost both of you. For awhile, I thought I had.”

“Christian…”

“And I shouldn’t have been so rough with you the night before graduation. What if I injured you? What if I’m the reason you…”

“No, stop. This wasn’t your fault, Christian.”

“You can’t know that.”

“Yes, I can. The doctors said I had a placental abruption, right? Well, I’ve known that was a possibility for months, since Dr. Baker first told me I was developing  pre-eclampsia. If this is anyone’s fault, it’s mine. I should have taken her warnings more seriously, I should have worked harder to manage my stress better… Besides, I’m the one who didn’t want to go to the hospital, remember? I put graduation ahead of my own baby’s life. What kind of mother does that?” I fall silent for a moment, letting the impact of my own words wash over me, and then break down again. Christian gets out of his chair and sits on the bed next to me, holding me and rocking me back and forth as he tries to soothe me.

“Baby…”

“Christian, I have to see her. I can’t look at pictures anymore or videos on your parents’ phones. She’s been inside of me, protected from the world, for seven months and now she’s just gone. It’s like she’s disappeared and if I don’t see her today I’m going to… I-I… I just can’t. I can’t. Please, Christian.”

“I want you to hold her, baby. I want to bring her to you. I’ve spoken with the hematologist Dr. Baker called, offered him double his salary, and he’s getting here as quickly as he possibly…”

“Ana?”

We both glance  up and see my mother and father in the doorway. She looks at me uneasily, almost as though she’s afraid of me, and honestly, right now, she should be. I’ve never been so angry with anyone in my life, not with Christian when we first broke up, not even with Elena, ever. Even though I didn’t agree with their actions, I could understand them, see the motivation and the reasoning they used to justify what they had done, but this… this was just cruel. If my father wasn’t here, if I hadn’t woken up to fix what she had done, she would have ruined the lives of everyone I loved. That’s something I can’t forgive.

“Sweetheart, I’m so happy that you…” she begins in a breathy kind of voice that’s ladened with impending tears, but I cut her off before she can really start.

“I want you to go back to your hotel, pack your bags, and get on a plane back to Georgia. I have nothing more to say to you except for that I don’t want you around me or my daughter. Don’t call me again, don’t come visit me, don’t send me letters in the mail. We are done.”

“Ana, please…”

“Good-bye.”

She stares at me, dumbfounded, for a moment. Her body seems frozen which means she isn’t leaving, and while she stands there trying desperately to find something to say, I glance over at the corner of the room to where my CPO is seated.

“Luke.”

He nods and gets out of his seat to physically remove my mother from my room, and as his hands clasp around her forearms, she seems to overcome her shock and starts pleading for me to listen to her. Luke looks back at me but I shake my head and in the next moment, my mother is gone, leaving us only with the sound of her increasingly frantic cries as she’s pulled down the hall.

“Ana, you don’t have to… I’m not asking you to choose between your mother and I,” Christian begins, but I shake my head again.

“You’re not, she is, and this isn’t the first time she’s asked me to do this. She made me feel like I had to choose her over my dad when she ran away with Stephen. I shouldn’t have chosen her then, even for the few weeks that I did, and I’m not going to do it now.”

“But your parents…”

“I still have the only real parent I’ve ever had. The one who would never betray me the way she did this week, the one whose love is more than just words. Right, Dad?”

“Always, sweetheart.”

Christian lifts my hand to his lips so that he can kiss each one of my fingertips as my father comes to sit on my other side and focuses his attention back on the game still playing on the TV over my bed. The atmosphere in the room changes as we sit there, becomes more relaxed, and while I settle back into my pillows and try not to feel like the worst mother in the world, Christian plays with the engagement ring I was only just able to put back on my finger last night.

“You a baseball fan, Christian?” my dad asks as the innings change.

“Not for the fucking Red Sox,” he replies lightheartedly. “My dad and brother are diehards for the Mariners. In fact, he might have words for me just for allowing this shit to be played in Ana’s room.”

My dad laughs. “Yeah, well I guess that’s what you get this close to Boston. You know, babygirl, if you’d just had your baby the way we’d planned, we could be home right now, watching real baseball.”

“Oh, I’m so sorry I’m inconveniencing your baseball game right now,” I say sarcastically. “How could I be so inconsiderate?”

“I don’t know, it’s not how I raised you,” he says, smiling but not looking away from the game.

I reach out and slap him across the arm, but when he turns to look at me, and probably to make fun of me for how weak that slap actually was, there’s a knock on my door and a new doctor I’ve never seen steps into my room alongside Dr. Baker.

“Miss Steele? I’m Dr. Wong, the hematologist Dr. Baker asked for.”

“Finally,” Christian hisses irritably under his breath, but I pay him no mind as the sudden appearance of the doctor I feel as though I’ve waited years for, the last doctor to stand between me and Calliope, has my full attention.

“Yes, yes…” I stutter. “How is my blood count? Can I see my daughter now?”

“No, and unfortunately the tests you’ve had done are inconclusive as to what your condition really is. I’m not sure what is depleting your cell count but if we don’t get it under control you risk developing permanent anemia or cardiac arrest.”

“So what do we do?” Christian asks, his voice urgent now and his hand gripped tightly around mine.

“We’ll start with an iron transfusion and overnight observation. If her counts aren’t better by tomorrow, we’ll have to consider steroid therapy.”

“Tomorrow?” I squeak. “I can’t wait until tomorrow. I haven’t seen my baby….”

“Anastasia.” Dr. Wong sits on the side of my bed and turns to face me. “Unfortunately, the iron transfusion is your best option right now. If we have to put you on steroid therapy, we’ll also have to give you an immuno suppressant. My understanding of what Dr. Baker has told me about your daughter’s condition is that she was born premature and has her own immune system deficiencies. If you’re placed on an immuno-suppressant, you will be unable to have any kind of contact with her until you’ve completed therapy and your system has stabilized.”

“What?” Panic rises inside of me but Christian squeezes my hand reassuringly as he addresses the doctor.  

“What time frame would we be looking at for her to complete that kind of therapy?”

“If the therapy is successful and we’re to ensure all of her symptoms and the related risks have been resolved, a minimum of four weeks.”

My breath catches in my throat, and stays there, choking me. My chest begins to heave as I struggle to take in oxygen and my head starts to feel light. Four weeks? I can’t go four weeks before I see my daughter… I can’t go another day.

“Four weeks is unacceptable. I can’t… Please. I need to see my daughter, now. Please, let me see her…”

Dr. Baker steps closer to the bed. “Ana, I know you need to see her and we’re doing everything we can to get you to Calliope. I promise, we haven’t lost sight of that. But we don’t just want you to see her today, we want you to take her home and have her every day. You’re not out of the woods yet, please let us help you.”

“I know how hard this must be, Anastasia,” Dr. Wong says. “But if the transfusion is successful, which I’m optimistic it will be, you could be able to visit your daughter as early as tomorrow morning. Let’s give this a try and worry about the other possibilities later, okay?”

I frown. I’m not happy with any of the options presented to me but I know that I have no other choice, so I nod. Dr. Wong smiles down at me and leaves the room with Dr. Baker. Twenty minutes later, I have a new IV and I spend the rest of the night counting each drop of the dark liquid from my iron transfusion as they drip with agonizing slowness through the tube and into my arm.

 

It’s a long night as Dr. Wong wakes me every 2 ½ hours to take my vitals, which means that I’m never really able to get any sleep. By the time morning comes, I’m so tired that I nearly sleep through the blood draw I have to go through so Dr. Wong can reevaluate my blood cell count. When he’s finished he tells me the results will take some time so I’m allowed to get a few more hours sleep, which is probably the only thing that keeps me from going out of my mind. Unfortunately, I’m able to sleep a little too well. The exhaustion seems to weigh so heavily on me while I sleep that when I’m finally being nudged awake, it’s almost difficult to open my eyes.

“Ana. Wake up, baby,” Christian says softly.

“Hmm,” I hum sleepily.

“Come on, wake up.”

I groan as I pry open my eyes and squint up at him through the sunlight pouring through the windows of my room.

“Did the results come back?” I mumble.

“Yeah, they did.”

“And?”

He pauses, and then smiles. “Let me help you out of bed. I want to take you to meet our daughter.”

 

Next Chapter

70 thoughts on “Chapter 35

  1. well, that was quite the ride, my heart was in my throat the whole time….one problem is solved, well at least her health, and Carla, who we would like to forget, but HE is still out there……such an amazing story……

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    1. Yeah, and my worry is that HE will hear about what happened with Carla in the hospital and reach out to her, like he did with Leila. And Carla is just selfish enough to FALL for the talk of just separating her daughter from Christian for “her own good.” Mr. Conspiracy Head is HIGHLY manipulative, so I could see him trying this tactic!

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  2. I cannot believe Carla. I would do exactly what Ana did. I would never want to see her again. That was downright cruel to tell Christian that his daughter died. I hope she stays gone.

    I’m glad it worked and she gets to see her daughter. ❤️

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    1. There are no words for how EVIL Carla was. Because that WAS evil for her to make Christian think that his own daughter had died, when he was ALSO being told that Ana would die or be a vegetable, at best. ALL so that she could get the baby for herself. The fact that she could care so little for what Christian AND his family would go through thinking Calliope was dead JUST so she could get the baby. Carla was BEYOND cruel, and I hope Carrick DOES help Christian take legal action against her, although knowing Christian, he won’t do it so that Calliope can have a relationship with her grandmother. Christian is NOT Carla and won’t deny his child anything, including family, as long as Carla shapes up. UNLESS Carla does something even MORE stupid now, like going in with Mr. Conspiracy Head. I just put NOTHING past Carla at this point!

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  3. I cannot believe Carla would do such a thing. It’s so horrifying and terrible. I just want to shake her. What did she think would happen if ana lived? what a despicable human being! On the other hand, I’m so glad mother and daughter survived. and finally, Ray gets it. yay. Thanks for the chapter.

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  4. Firstly, Carla is a piece of work. I’m glad Ana severed ties, and I’m hoping that she sticks to it. How she expected to get away with just stealing Calliope out of the hospital without Christian knowing, had Ana died, I can’t even guess. But the fact that she clearly planned on doing just THAT, taking a child away from her father, who would have been her ONLY surviving parent, while he was already grieving Ana’s loss. . . . I mean, what Carla did, was unconscionable.

    But Calliope AND Ana are both in a vulnerable state right now. And I’m wondering how safe both will be in the hospital over the next several days. At this point, it sounds like BOTH Ana AND Calliope need to stay in the hospital for the near future.

    At this point, I wonder how Mr. Conspiracy Head will get intel while Ana and Calliope are in the hospital. I’m also wondering how long Mr. Conspiracy Head will let both alone. He may want them stable before trying to pull something, as HE wants to be responsible for their pain, undoubtedly. Also a scary thought.

    At least Ray has come around. He can SEE how much Christian loves Ana and Calliope, and Ray will no longer listen to Carla. There is something SERIOUSLY wrong with Carla for her narcisistic tendencies to get THAT out of control! I’m just hoping that Carla doesn’t try something stupid, like going in with Mr. Conspiracy Head, in order to “get Christian away from Ana.” Carla is practically pathological at this point, and I don’t put ANYTHING past her!

    But Christian spent AT LEAST a full day thinking he had lost BOTH Ana and Calliope! I imagine Christian and Ana will listen to Carrick about legal documentation in the future.

    I can’t imagine what Grace must be going through. She didn’t encourage Ana to go to the hospital, and she probably blames herself for not advising Ana to be overly cautious. And poor Ana feels guilt over going to graduation in the first place. HOWEVER, neither Christian or Ana would have known JUST HOW CLOSE the Conspiracy Head was otherwise, as Ana would not have gotten that call, most likely, in the hospital.

    So WAY too much for Christian and Ana to worry about in this chapter to give even a thought to Mr. Conspiracy Head! But I’m sure he is hovering in the background somewhere, and he has probably found someone to bribe for information in the hospital. With everyone so preoccupied with the danger that Ana AND Calliope were both in, everyone is undoubtedly distracted. I hope Taylor is quietly compensating in the background and making sure everything and everyone is secure. I guess we will see next chapter!

    (And love that you are back already Tara! Amazing chapter, as always! Hope you are doing okay and that you can be with family during this time of such a loss. Know that you and your family were in my prayers, and I’m sure in many others’ prayers as well.)

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    1. To be really honest, had ana not survived and Carla had gotten successful in deceiving everyone of calliope’s death, she would have ruined everyone’s life( including that of her granddaughter) bcoz I think Carla knows that she is a mother and that she has to think of her child’s welfare, she lacks motherly instincts and is way too much selfish.

      The chapter is too much draining because u see this kind of behaviour from the villian of the story not someone like her coz its nothing else but CRUEL.

      As for Elliot and Kate, I think this is the breakthrough that they needed. They might have realised the true essence of love and relationships from our favourite couple and Elliot might have understood what that little girl calliope did for his family ( coz Carrick agreed to get treatment for his grandchild, and almost came back from death and Christian still held onto such a critical situation because of his daughter)

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      1. Like you, I always felt that Calliope’s birth WOULD be the catalyst to make Elliot realize that he DOES want a family of his own. In this situation, everyone of the Grey family AND Kate thought that Calliope was DEAD. And I think it drove the point home even MORE of how much the family had lost. And then to find out Calliope was alive and struggling for her life, that just HAD to make everyone appreciate her all that much more because they thought they had lost her. And all the above just HAS to affect Elliot, one way or the other.

        But that brings HOME another point: until the Grey family found out about Callie, she was ALL ALONE in the NICU without visitors since Carla was waiting on Ana’s fate (and making sure that Christian was kept out). Once the Grey family found out about Calliope, she has NOT been alone at all, as Christian told Ana that his parents were with the baby while he was up with Ana. After all, it is SO important for babies to BOND with parents and people by hearing their VOICE as well as touch.

        So Carla deprived EVERYONE all the way around, but particularly Ana and Calliope by her actions. And Carla WOULD have HARMED Callie in the long run as well by making her think that her own father had ABANDONED her at birth (because OBVIOUSLY in the internet age, Calliope would have gone online someday and found out about her own pregnancy and Ana’s relationship with Christian).

        Calliope would have thought that Christian did NOT want her, and she would have had SERIOUS daddy issues as a result, because you KNOW Carla would have told Calliope that her birth father didn’t want her in order to keep Calliope from making contact. I mean, CARLA DID NOT CORRECT RAY when Ray thought that Christian did NOT want to see Ana. IT WAS THE DOCTOR THAT STEPPED IN and told Ray about Christian PLEADING to see Ana. OTHERWISE, Carla was trying to MISLEAD RAY into thinking Christian had abandoned Ana as well.

        So Carla’s deviousness and destruction really knew no end AND would have had SERIOUS, LONGTERM repercussions for Callie had she succeeded AND Ana had died. At least, at this point, Carla’s actions are absolutely UNFORGIVEABLE unless it came out that Mr. Conspiracy Head had threatened to kill Ana AND Calliope had Carla not separated Christian from them. But I seriously doubt Carla did anything BUT for her OWN selfish reasons.

        But you are DEFINITELY right about it being draining to learn that someone who is SUPPOSED to be decent and someone you have seen in happier times in previous chapters doing something so vile and with such an INTENT at causing unnecessary PAIN to others for her own gain. Just despicable. Bad Carla!!! And absent ANY defense or SERIOUS therapy, I hope Ana DOES stick to her guns and keeps Calliope away from Carla because someone like that could try ANYTHING in the future and CANNOT be trusted!

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      2. I don’t think Carla is doing all this to save her daughter.

        I think it’s because she has already taken a hefty compensation from the MAN to maybe divulge internal information about the Grey’s.
        And the reason she wants to seperate ana and Christian is because she knows once ana is away from Christian’s life, no one would able to ever find out she was in any way involved with the conspiracy man

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  5. I wanna say I appreciate you reaching out to us fans after the tragedy you’ve endured. It’s not easy losing a loved one, and I hope things are getting better for you. I can’t get enough of this story, Monday’s are one of my fav days because of your story. I hope Elliot and Kate get back together, Carter is cool but he deserves someone who isn’t in love with someone else.

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  6. Still thinking of you and your family.

    How could one parent do such a horrible, vile thing to another parent. I’m with Ana 100%. I would’ve kicked Carla out too because she more than showed she can’t be trusted to follow Ana’s wishes. Thank goodness for Ray. Who knows what would have happened if he hadn’t been around.

    As always, a wonder chapter in an amazing story.

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  7. Little things to note—Kate and Elliot are comforting each other. Makes sense that both would be in the hospital waiting on news about Ana. However, I see that as being the death knell for any would-be proposal from Carter. After all, if he is not there full-time trying to comfort Kate, that is TELLING. And seeing Ana almost DIE, and seeing the grief that Christian was going through, Kate is not going to want a marriage that is not based on all-consuming love, something she KNOWS that she does not have with Carter!

    And while we have HEARD about the rest of the Grey family being at the hospital, we have yet to see too much of them yet. The ICU has rules usually that only 2 people, at most, can be back with the person at any given time. And I imagine that NO ONE wants to take time from Ray OR Christian when either wants to be in the room with Ana.

    And while no one should just get married because of HOSPITAL and medical decisions, I would say Christian ought to call a pastor to marry them ASAP just to make sure nothing ELSE prevents him from getting ALL medical information for Ana and his daughter. After all, Ana hasn’t signed that birth certificate yet, and if anything unexpected happened, then Carla could be back in the picture again.

    And I imagine Carrick WILL want to file something against Carla, if for no other reason than to try to keep something similar from happening to someone ELSE. How Carla expected to get away with what she did, I’ll never know, but she came perilously close, had Ana not made an unexpected and miraculous recovery. And ALL of Carla’s machinations might have been avoided if Christian and Ana had talked AND signed some legal documentation, but with everything ELSE on their plate, they probably never anticipated something like this happening!

    Well, I hope that this chapter will be the worst of the hospital drama, but I somehow doubt it, with the Conspiracy Head hovering somewhere close by. You KNOW that he will take advantage of Ana AND Calliope’s weakened states once the two are just barely stabilized! HE won’t like the fact that Christian and Ana aren’t obsessing over him at the moment. HE will want the attention back on HIM. Wonder how Christian will get his family home now?

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  8. Again, I am very sorry for you loss. You have been in my prayers.

    Carla… Good Lord what was she thinking. She lied to Christian and his family that the baby had passed. That is the worst thing I think I have ever heard of. That just horrible. (I am surprised that Grace, Kate and Mia didn’t beat the shit out of her!)

    Ray is finally a champion to Christian, I am so glad.
    I hope Carrick sues that pants off Carla, that they get a life time restraining order that bar’s her from their lives. What a vile, nasty, jealous, evil woman!

    Wonder if the psycho is knows that Ana and the baby are in the hospital.
    I hope they catch him soon.
    I love how much Christian and Ana love each other.

    Until next week, take care 🙂

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    1. The only thing that saved Carla from a female Grey beatdown, in my opinion, was that such an action, no matter HOW provoked, would get them banned from the hospital. A hospital HAS to keep a safe environment for patients, and so they can’t tolerate fights in the hallways, no matter how warranted said action may be.

      So Grace would have known that going after Carla would only mean Christian didn’t have their support when he needed it AND that they couldn’t see Ana OR Calliope. Plus, Carla could have taken out charges against them if they attacked her. (Although in all seriousness, I can’t see ANYONE convicting any of the Grey females had they attacked Carla!)

      I imagine Grace was more SHOCKED by Carla’s actions originally to really think about going after her. After all, BOTH of them had talked about planning Ana and Christian’s wedding, BOTH had talked about becoming grandmothers, and both had been at the baby shower. So Grace would NEVER think that Carla would be capable of that much evil. (After all, sadly, Grace was best friends with Elena for HOW many years?)

      Thankfully, Ana is NOT in a forgiving mood and sees Carla for who and what she is. The fact that Carla could just be sitting there planning how to cut the Grey family out and basically steal Calliope out from under Christian (AND somehow assuming that she would get Bob to go along with all this as well) ALL while seeing Christian’s grief at ALREADY thinking he has lost his child and will be losing Ana as well. Carla couldn’t get more selfish if she tried!

      But that WAS an interesting tidbit of information that Tara threw in to this chapter–Carla HAD tried to selfishly have her cake and eat it too back in the day when she tried to make Ana stay with her and husband #3, even though she KNEW husband #3 was abusive towards Ana. So Carla counts HER OWN needs above EVERYONE else’s. So that DOES now give her motivation to sign up with the Conspiracy Head.

      I want to HOPE that Carla goes away quietly, but I don’t think Ana will get that lucky. AT LEAST Ray is now completely supporting Ana AND Christian.

      Carrick may really NEED to plan a potential lawsuit against Carla, because Ana and the Grey family REALLY need to leave a paper trail of Carla’s deviousness. ESPECIALLY with the Conspiracy Head still in the background. Without a paper trail, Carla would be in a position of authority and calling the shots on Ana, still, if something ELSE unexpected happened. So I REALLY hope some legal paperwork happens for BOTH Ana and Calliope ASAP so Carla isn’t in a position to exploit her connection to Calliope if anything ELSE happens!

      And yeah, I’m sure the psycho Conspiracy Head KNOWS Ana is in the hospital. After all, he HAD been following Ana closely at graduation. And the ambulance would have come to the house so soon after everyone had returned to it. So the COnspiracy Head KNOWS undoubtedly. Just wonder WHAT ALL he knows at this point—whether or not he has a SPY in the hospital that can tell him what happened with Carla and that there has been a falling-out between her and Ana and the Grey family.

      HHHHMmmmmmm. So much to ponder between now and next week!

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  9. Oh Thank goodness. I was about to lose my mind. She can finally hold her baby. I keep forgetting that they are younger than in the original series, or at least Christian is. If this were Christian from the original series, dogs would be finding Carla’s body parts all over the state of Washington. What a horrible excuse of a human being. Good riddance to bad rubbish. Great chapter

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    1. Amen. I said in an earlier post that the Conspiracy Head is VERY manipulative, and I expect him to approach Carla, telling her that Ana is “under Christian’s influence” and wouldn’t be “mean” to her if not for him. And that getting rid of Christian would be best, so if she could just help with that. . . .

      You want to think that Carla would be smart enough to KNOW better and would use this occasion to try to get back into Ana’s good graces by reporting any such contact, but I can’t see Carla getting wiser after what she did this chapter. So I just hope that Christian does still have someone follow Carla, just in case the Conspiracy contacts her.

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  10. Tara, you outdid yourself again. In such difficult time, it’s incredible that you even updated. We, as your reader, are blessed. Thank you, and just have so much love for you.

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  11. Carla has become distant from christian ever since leila has joined the conspiracy.
    As if she knows something really bad is going to happen and she just wants ana out of the way or else she is aware of the consequences

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    1. I really think it is more that Carla has suddenly seen herself as AGAINST Christian AND the Grey family since Leila LEFT the Conspiracy (which occurred simultaneously with the Conspiracy’s attack on Ana).

      At that point, Carla blamed CHRISTIAN for Ana’s being attacked, since the Conspiracy Head is committed to bringing Christian down, both personally AND professionally. HOWEVER, as Ana pointed out, her leaving Christian would NOT stop the Conspiracy Head from coming after her OR Calliope, as the Conspiracy Head KNOWS that Christian loves them both.

      But it DOES make you wonder if anyone HAS contacted Carla that would be from the Conspiracy. I’m REALLY hoping Taylor looks into CARLA’s records and contacts. Sadly, I think Taylor is so overwhelmed with 1) protecting everyone and ensuring all Grey member whereabouts and Ana and her family and 2) trying to spot anyone in the area that might be tailing them that he does not have TIME to try to go on the defensive OR look into multiple individuals’ contact information.

      I mean, Carla has been ALL about FRANTICALLY finding a way to COMPLETELY sever any and ALL Grey contact with Ana since the attack. She tried to poison Ray against Christian and nearly succeeded, DESPITE Ray’s knowing about Carla’s history with Ana. So I’m wondering if this is Carla being Neurotic OR if she HAS had contact with someone from the Conspiracy.

      I would think that it would be a REALLY risky move to try to contact Carla. You would THINK that her fear would make her WANT Christian’s security. So I just don’t know WHAT exactly is going on with Carla. It may be that SHE has a pathological NEED for attention and is willing to subconsciously punish ANA to get it. I guess we will have to wait and see what she does next (because I don’t think she will go quietly into the night).

      But the COnspiracy Head was smart enough to MANIPULATE Leila into helping him, so I would think that Carla would be an easy target for him UNLESS her fear got the better of her. We will have to wait and see. (And I REALLY hate that waiting part!! Is is Monday yet?????)

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      1. I think someone might have noticed Carla’s rudeness towards Christian and might have strike a deal with her.

        Bcoz I seriously can’t believe that Carla is doing all of that out of love. She might have been offered a huge pay off and I think she is jealous of Ana’s lifestyle right now. So y not kill 2 birds with one stone??

        PS: I really hope they go to the court against her and ray should just realise the actual depravity of Carla’s actions coz it looks like he is still in some sort of denial and I think he may be the one who would convince the Grey’s to do otherwise

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  12. Oh Tara although I said it before you are an absolutely brilliant writer! This was absolutely the most tearful and emotional chapter you have written. Carla was absolutely selfish and horrible towards Christian and the greys. Maybe if she learned to be selfless and a better mother to Ana, ana would not have treated her as she did. I’m so sorry that it took almost loosing both Ana and Callie, by the way I love her freaking name now Calliope so beautiful to make Ray realize how much Christian loves Ana. My god this had me in tears especially when reading what Carla did. Take a bow Tara for you are pure greatness🦋🦋🦋
    Once again I hope getting you to write helped you with your grieving process. although I really wasn’t expecting an update this was fantastic, thank you.

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  13. This is not the Carla in the previous books, something is not right here. I hope she not working with the bad guy to separate them. Great chapter as always. Welcome back.

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    1. Yeah, your worry is my worry as well. I could see the Conspiracy Head having contacted Carla and told her to separate Ana from Christian if she wants her to live. HOWEVER, Ana always WANTS to see the best in people, and she may not have realized BEFORE about JUST how selfish and self-motivated (and narcissistic) that Carla can be.

      But Carla DID seem all happy about Ana’s engagement while in Paris. HOWEVER, she has now seen the OTHER side of wealth–the fact that you then become a TARGET for people wanting to get the money through less than ethical means (i.e. kidnapping).

      But Carla was willing to let the Greys think Calliope had DIED in order to get the baby for herself. Ana saw previously that Carla seemed in competition with Grace for “best grandmother,” but she didn’t see how FAR Carla might be willing to take it! I mean, Christian would NEVER have kept Carla from Calliope for Ana’s sake. BUT ANA then gave us some INSIGHT into how Carla TRIED THIS SAME type of “make her choose me” conduct back when Ana was being abused by her third husband. At that time, CARLA wouldn’t leave “her man,” but she wanted Ana to COMPLETELY cut Ray out of her life and CHOOSE her.

      So Carla may have some mental illness compulsion here at making people choose her FIRST. Or it could be EVEN deeper. We just don’t know. So we MAY just NOT have known Carla’s TRUE Character before, because even ANA didn’t realize it (and she is, after all, the narrator of the story).

      But there HAVE been hints to Carla’s true nature before in that we always KNEW that there was some SERIOUS reason for Ana to have left her to go back to Ray. And having MORE insight to her behavior BACK THEN shows that Carla ALWAYS put HERSELF first.

      But I REALLY wish there was a way for Christian to figure out just WHO the Conspiracy Head has working with him at this time. If there was only a way to trace some of the contacts he uses, then we could learn JUST how far into Christian’s personal and professional life that the Conspiracy Head has reached. AND if he has NOW approached Carla in some way.

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  14. Glad to see you back so soon. Continuing prayers of strength and comfort for you and your family!

    So much, were to I start. Yay Ana and Callie are on the road to recovery. Woow, how could Carla be so cold and heartless! Glad Ana didn’t entertain her foolishness. OMG your CG showed a level of tenancity, love and devotion for Ana and Callie that most men are capable of displaying…can we get you to write a book required for men to read before starting a relationship 😉 Glad to see CG won Ray over.

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  15. I have never read a story like yours, and I love it!! This chapter was truly heartbreaking!!! I cried like a baby(and I am work) I true,y hate Carla, how could someone be truly that cruel???? Could she be behind that attack on her from before? Does she have anything to do with!!!

    Sorry about your mother, your family will continue to be my prayers!!!

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  16. I can’t believe Carla. That’s despicable lying to Christian and the Grey’s that Calliope died. I’m so happy Ray finally sees the love and devotion Christian has for devotion. Hope Sawyer and Taylor are monitoring for any potential threats especially since Ana and Calliope are so vunerable. You’re such a talented writer. My prayers are with you and your family.

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  17. Thank you for the fast update, Tara, during this difficult time.
    This is such a fantastic chapter. So much emotions and worries about Ana and Calliope. So glad Ana is finally able to see, touch her baby. What a horrible human Carla is, beyond cruel! Can’t forgive her for the lies about baby Callie. Unforgivable what she did to Christian and the Greys! Ana did right, cut ties with her. So happy Ray witnessed the unconditional love Christian holds for Ana, they’re in good place. You’re such a talented and dedicated author and we’re lucky and blessed! Thank You, Tara. Take care. Xoxo daytona

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  18. OMG THIS WAS AN EXCELLENT CHAPTER! I AM SO HAPPY THE BABY IS OK AND GETTING STRONGER. AND I’M VERY HAPPY ANA IS GOING TO BE FINE! I HATE CARLA! THERE WAS NO NEED FOR HER TO BE SO DAMN MEAN AND LIE ABOUT THE BABY. POOR CHRISTIAN WAS BESIDE HIMSELF WORRYING ABOUT ANA AND THE BABY. HE DIDN’T NEED HER TO UPSET HIM MORE. SHE WAS SUCH A LOUSY MOTHER WHY DID SHE THINK SHE COULD RAISE CALLIOPE WITHOUT ANY OF THE GREYS KNOWING ABOUT HER? DUMB BITCH. THANKS FOR THE UPDAT. I AM SO VERY SORRY FOR YOUR LOSS. I KNOW HOW SAD THAT CAN BE. TAKE CARE OF YOU!

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  19. Tara,
    How are you holding up? Thinking of you and sending you continued love and strength. Chapter 35’s arrival, while unexpected, was incredible. Thank you for that. I often wonder what EL James would think of your story….bet she’d be in awe of how you’ve expanded her FSOG universe and made it even better.

    Stay strong, sister. ❤️

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  20. Oh my. Poor Christian… to think for any amount of time that your baby has died… oh my goodness. That was so cruel, Carla!

    And, then to have to hear that the love of your life is barely hanging on… my goodness, my goodness to it all.

    Awesome ending though… gotta admit. Yes. I was in tears when Ray was telling Ana what Christian went through.

    I hope, Ana takes better care of herself. I can’t say I blame her… who wants to miss graduation? And, you never know, maybe the stress from the phone call provoked it? Well, I suppose that happened at graduation, too.

    Oh dear. Christian will probably never want to have another baby! You totally took him saying, “you almost died” at the end of the original book three to a new level.

    *applauds*

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  21. What an update it must of been so difficult for you to write this with what has happened to your own mam. My congrats on a fantastic chapter it was gripping from start to finish. What the fuck is Carlas problem i think ive a good idea who is behind all of this. Where is carter no mention of him in this update? The best Christain Grey written you out done your self. Thoughrs to you and your Family xx

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    1. Yeah, I’m also wondering at Carter’s absence. After all, he would HAVE to know that Kate will be at the hospital as will Elliot. So you would think he would want to be there as well. I guess we will learn soon enough when things begin to calm down, and Ana and Kate have a chance to talk.

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  22. I don’t get why Carla did that? Can I get some explanation? Why does she hate Christian so much? Why would she rip Calliopes father from here? That was such a terrible thing to do to Christian. I’m happy Ray finally knows his intentions were pure. Very emotional chapter, I cried. Amazing chapter. Also, I hope all is well with you.

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  23. Glad you’re back. Please know that we love you! You and Your family are in my prayers.

    So So happy that Ana and Calliope are recovering. More importantly I think Ana seeing her baby will give her the strength she needs to fight and get stronger.

    I was extremely happy to read the support for each other between Kate and Elliott. I really hope that they reconnect soon.

    Why do I get the feeling that the conspiracy head are at the hospital watching everything or has a spy (Carter) that’s reporting all necessary informations to him. I’m so afraid for them. I really hope that Taylor and Luke are on top of their game. We have so many at risk here.

    Ray finally sees the love that Christian has for Ana. So sorry he initially listened to of all peoples Carla. Ray knows Carla history with Ana firsthand. He witnessed the decision she made with Stephen Morton over Ana. I guess that why I was disappointed with him in the beginning. Although I understood some of his concerns. Anyway that’s behind is. Let’s pray that Carla doesn’t make anymore dumb decisions. We never lnow what we will get from her. She loves wealth, fame, and attention and can easily be persuaded.

    I honestly don’t think the Grey will accept what Carla has put them all through. We know that Carrick still recovering, however, I don’t think this is done by a long shot. I just think they’re all afraid and just want a speedy recovery for Ana and Calliope.

    Please let them all be ok. Maybe in the next few chapters we can read about Gia. I do hope she’s ok. But we know that just wishful thinking.

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    1. Reading your comment made me think that HOPEFULLY Taylor and Sawyer HAVE had a chance to analyze the phone call information and look into more things since everyone has basically been stuck at the hospital 24/7. Most hospitals DO have visiting hours, and there may be some times that certain family members HAVE to leave the hospital, but with everyone being so close by at once, Sawyer and Taylor MAY have had the TIME that they need to regroup and look into things other than just having to immediately cover Christian and Ana.

      Obviously, with Ana being so near death, no one has had a chance to update Ana (or Christian) yet as to the latest developments. If Taylor had ACCESS to hospital videofeed OR someone posted at the entrance, then they MIGHT could see anyone that would be coming around their area on a somewhat regular basis.

      SO MANY things to wonder about that are going on behind-the-scenes. Carter is out there and probably irritated with Kate, even knowing Ana’s condition, and could be a potential TARGET or threat, depending on JUST how DESPERATE he is to try to get Elliot out of Kate’s life. Carla has now been revealed to be COMPLETELY self-interested, and with her having been booted from Ana’s life, she has NOTHING left to lose and might just be motivated/manipulated into helping the Conspiracy if SHE were promised Calliope! AND we don’t know anything about Gia. But the fact that the Conspiracy Head did NOT mention her may be encouraging. Or not. We just don’t know yet.

      But let us HOPE that Taylor and Sawyer have been able to USE THEIR TIME confined to the hospital to their advantage. After all, Sawyer is NOT having to go location-to-location following Ana. However, he, like everyone else, is probably on shock and sadness overload right now. AT LEAST Ray is now siding with the Grey family AND will hopefully LISTEN to Christian about protection or working with Taylor’s people.

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  24. Great chapter.
    I’m sure it was extra hard to have to write this chapter with both of them on deaths door, after your real life experience. Again I’m very sorry about your mothers passing. Hopefully you find a way to be at peace eventually. It does get easier, sadly I’m speaking from experience. Keep busy it helps. Thank you.

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  25. That was so hard and emotional to read. I read it for the third time and I can’t get through it without crying. I can’t believe the pain they’ve had to endure. I just don’t understand Carla. I’ve recently reread the two previous books and my mind goes over The Greys taking Carla to Bora Bora, to Paris for Christmas but what I remember the most is the sweet gesture Christian made at Thanksgiving when they told the family about Calliope and how he changed his clothes so Carla wouldn’t feel uncomfortable since she over dressed for the occasion. When Ana was kidnapped and Carla went off on Christian I didnt agree with her but I felt like maybe it was her mama bear instincts coming out not to mention some unresolved issues over seeing Ana suffer during the two years they were broken up and all the publicity from the last trial and the threat of expulsion from Harvard. I think all these things would of made a parent concerned but what she did at the hospital was unconsciousable. I don’t think this would excuse her behavior but there’s got to be aback story behind this. I don’t think she would ever, ever be part of The Conspiracy but I do feel that maybe some how, someone, got to her and twisted her view about Christian and clouded her judgment. I think there’s a good chance she could of been a unknowing pawn in this sick, evil and twisted persons plot. Christian thought he lost both of them and he was destroyed and that’s exactly what this person wanted. Thank God, Ray came around and saw the light! I hope Carla realizes that as painful as being kicked out of the hospital is and the loss she’ll feel from the separation and realization that she probably won’t be seeing her granddaughter for awhile it wasn’t a tenth of the pain she inflicted on Christian and his family. I’m really looking forward to seeing Ana hold her daughter for the first time and seeing the three of them together. This chapter was extraordinary. Your writing is extraordinary and such a gift that all your fans appreciate. Thank you for posting this chapter. I’ll continue to keep you in my thoughts and I hope you find solace in your writing and in the continued support and appreciation we have for you.

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    1. I like your take on Carla. I had been so mad at her behavior that I wasn’t willing to look at ANY possible “excuse” that she might have. BUT I think the Conspiracy Head has proven ADEPT at thinking AHEAD and illiciting certain actions from certain people. And I could SEE him having contacted Carla and manipulating her, especially if he promised her that he WOULD leave Ana AND Calliope alone if she got them away from Christian. (After all, that would be in Mr. Conspiracy Head’s best interests to get a defenseless Carla off alone with Calliope and/or Ana—would make it MUCH easier to get to Calliope and Ana this way.)

      So Carla MAY have had SOME misguided reason for her actions. BUT IF she DID have a reason for her conduct, then she had BETTER contact Christian or his people to let them know. After all, she has FAILED in her mission to separate Ana and Calliope from Christian, AND no one from his side, Ray or the Grey family will communicate with her. So she can’t be of further USE to the Conspiracy Head, and we ALL know what he does to people he can’t use anymore.

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  26. So sorry for your loss. Wishing your family prayers and peace during this time. Thank you for this chapter. It was a wild ride, so happy Ana will get to see her baby soon. Love this story thank you for sharing it with us.

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  27. WOW Carla is a horrible person to do that to Christian and his family and to Ana! Ana was right in sending her permanently away. I wouldn’t ever want to see her again either!

    You totally had me on pins and needles this whole chapter. I felt so bad when Dr. Wong told Ana that it would possible be 4 weeks before she got to see her daughter. Thank goodness her results came in and she has responded positively to the iron transfusion and now she gets to visit her daughter. So her daughter has grey eyes. Love that and I hope they stay?

    I thought about you and your family and your loss. I’m sharing a quote – May every sunrise hold more promise and may every moonrise hold more pease.

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  28. Quote about Carla and Ana:
    “Some people are like dark clouds, when they disappear, it’s a brighter day. Know when its time to let go. Removing negative people from your life doesn’t mean you hate them, it just means that you love yourself more.”
    ~ Anonymous

    “There is a secret in our culture, and it’s not that birth is painful. It’s that women are strong.” ~Laura Stavoe Harm

    “Babies are such a nice way to start people.”
    ~ Don Herold

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  29. Thank you for giving us this new chapter so soon. What a powerful one it was, too! I was all misty for a while there. I can’t help feeling that some of the poignancy might come from the fact that your own sadness over the loss of your mother might have crept in, though that might be me reading in some of the emotions I was feeling as it reminded me of being in the hospital with my own mother when she was dying.

    Thank you very much for telling it after the event rather than leaving us to live through it as it happened. There was still plenty of drama for Ana even after she woke up. I can only imagine the pain poor Christian lived through thanks to Carla. If anything good came of it all, it allowed Ray to see how much, and ‘how’, Christian loves Ana. I hope that birth certificate is signed very, very soon. I actually hope they have someone come to the hospital and marry them so there can be no risk of that cruel bitch being in a position to make any decisions for Ana’s medical care again. Maybe an advance care directive or power of attorney will do the trick though. Get onto that, Carrick! I’m so glad Ana is on her way to see her little girl now, and I look forward to reading about it.

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  30. Literally had goosebumps as Ray was explaining what happened to Carla, but glad he sees how much he loves Ana. The emotion in this chapter was flawless and so well put, so happy she doesn’t have to wait long to see calliope. Had to read through twice to focus on how Kate and Elliot were there and supporting Ana and Christian together, I really hope they work it out and realize how short life is and work things out. Each update is the only thing that helps me get up and not complain on a Monday, because i know a new chapter is coming! Can’t wait for next week i know now to have some tissues waiting

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  31. Ohhh Myyyyy…..**sighs** I honestly believe the eternal furnace fire in hell is too good for Carla after that cruel stunt. Perhaps her new name should Bitch Troll Jr!! Geez—i can only fathom she’s part of this conspiracy, because surely a “mother” could never be that heartless. Wouldn’t surprise me if C&A did a quickie wedding just for legality reasons to avoid these types of situations going forward.
    My thoughts & prayers continue to be with you and your family.
    Your writing is phenomenal, Tara, as always. We have such love & respect for you, and you giving your fans a new chapter so soon after your mom’s passing is courageous. Well done and thank you. (((HUGS)))

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    1. I’m with you. I’m ALL for a quickie wedding in the hospital. That affords Christian ALL the protections and rights to protect his family and to keep Carla out. If Christian EVER had a reason for needing that Husband title NOW, then he certainly has ammo for it. (Plus, all the necessary family members are right there as well, and there isn’t really a reason to have to wait, given the circumstances.)

      But LOVE your “furnace” comment—heeheehee!! I am in complete agreement with you. Still, like a few others, I would like to know if Carla had ANY justification at all for her conduct—like maybe the Conspiracy Head having contacted her and promised to SPARE Calliope and Ana if she got them away from Christian. I guess we will have to wait and see.

      (But that really was one of my first thoughts as well about marrying asap. And Christian and Ana REALLY need to BOTH sign off on that birth certificate immediately. But that ring on the finger gives Christian his BEST protections possible, both in regards to Ana AND Calliope!)

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  32. Thank you for updating this beautiful story. I’m sure your mom is in a far better place and I will continue to keep you and your family in my prayers.

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  33. Thank you, Tara, for such a wonderful chapter. I loved the way Ray explained everything to Ana and brought us up to date. I have to think Carla has somehow been gotten to by the Conspiracy; I can’t believe she could be that vile and cruel and heartless. Either they’ve threatened her if she doesn’t break up Christian and Ana or they’ve made some huge offer if she will get Calliope away from Christian. Either way, I hope she suffers for what she put Christian and the Greys — and Kate, who she’s known for years — through. I hope as soon as Ana’s seen Calliope Carrick has a healthcare power of attorney and the birth certificate for her to sign, shortly followed by a minister or judge or someone to marry her and Christian quietly and officially.
    I can understand Luke being close to Ana as much as possible, but I hope Taylor and Welch are really working on who’s behind the conspiracy, including keeping an eye on Carla. (What has/will she tell Bob, who evidently has NOT been at the hospital?)
    Please let Ana recuperate from the surgery before anything else awful happens.
    You have an incredible story going, and I’m more “caught” in it than the original books.
    I’m sorry that the timing of this chapter coincided with your mother’s passing, and I appreciate that you were able to publish today. My thoughts and prayers to you and your family.

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  34. I’m so sorry to hear about your Mom’s passing. My heart goes out to you and your family. Thoughts and prayers. (((hugs)))

    Thank you for always giving us a great chapter.

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  35. Continued prayers for you and your family.

    I can’t believe Carla thought she made the right decisions for Ana. I don’t blame Ana for never wanting to speak to her again. That was truly evil of Carla to keep Calliope away from Christian and to lie about her death. As for Ray I’m a little disappointed that he would give up so quickly on Ana’s condition but I’m glad he realized just how much Christian loves her. Thank you for an amazing update.

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  36. This chapter made me anxious the whole time but I’m so glad Ana and Calliope made it and are alive. I’ve never liked Carla and I don’t think I ever will that was pure evil what she did and Ana had all rights to have her escorted from her room and life another great chapter see you next time take care….Sweetie I’m sorry once again for your loss

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  37. Thank you for sharing this beautiful chapter.
    As beautiful as it was, it was also heartbreaking.
    Gosh, to read Ana and Christian’s pain was so horrifying. I can’t imagine thinking that you lost your daughter, while also trying to combat the fear about potentially losing your soulmate. And for Ana? Having to wake up to this complete nightmare and not seeing her daughter?? I can’t imagine anything worse.
    Carla is the worst kind of person in the world. Horrifying evil. I am so proud of Ana!
    I am a little confused about Ana’s condition…what exactly was the surgery that helped her, but also caused so much pain and heart attacks?
    This truly was an amazing chapter and it made me tear up so many times!
    Loved the end.
    Can’t wait for next week!! 🙂
    Again, I just wanted to say that I am so sorry that you had to go through that. It is so horrifying to lose anyone close to you, and I can imagine that losing your mother would be extremely hard. I am so sorry for your loss. 😦

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  38. Well written chapter. Christian had the most agonizing hours before Ray was able to speak to him. Carla took over all the decisions as next of kin and deprived Christian and all the Greys access to Ana & Calliope. Ray had seen the the uncomparable care and dedication Christian has for Ana and any doubts he had on him are now completely eliminated. Ana and Calliope both survived the almost deadly complication, and with modern medicine are basically out of danger. Ana took charged with Carla and she is now denied to have anything to do with Ana ever. Why did she do it, just selfish and cruel unless she had other ulterior motives. Ana is cleared to see her daughter days after birth & life is just bliss now, and give them time to enjoy the bonding of mom, baby & dad too. Hope they are given time to enjoy being alive for now. Thank you, Tara and take care.

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  39. Got quick question why Carla hate CG so much.. it so cruel to tell a father the child is dead especially child who fighting for her own life.. I really don’t understand why Carla do that..

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  40. I just cannot wait for Christian’s POV of this chapter. So brilliant. And I so rarely read the reviews hear, but now the fear of Carla joining Hyde has entered my head.

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    1. Like you, I also want to read Christian’s POV from the events of this chapter. I can’t remotely imagine what all he went through to think that Calliope was dead and that Ana was soon to follow her. Getting to read what all he went through and see how hard he fought for Ana would be something I would LOVE to read. ESPECIALLY after he found out Calliope WAS alive AND got to see her for the first time. Obviously, his first thoughts were how much she would resemble ANA, at least in his mind. And since the Grey family was WITH Christian, we would also get to hear more about THAT whole scene as well. So I am ALL FOR Christian’s POV of this chapter being one of the Outtakes. In fact, it now may be near or at the top of my Outtake-requesting List!!

      And the DOUBLY scary thing is that had it been left up to Carla, Ana WOULD undoubtedly have died as well. Ray obviously supported keeping Ana on life support SOLELY because he felt SORRY for Christian and wanted to give him time before they pulled the plug. (AGAIN, another reason for Christian to MARRY ANA ASAP, as the husband then gets priority to make medical decisions and receive information. If the parents dispute what the husband wants, they have to file a lawsuit. So Ana either needs to 1) fill out a medical power of attorney for CHRISTIAN to make decisions on her behalf if she is incapacitated or 2) go ahead and get married NOW.)

      My heart BROKE for Ray, as he felt SO GUILTY because he WOULD have pulled the plug on Ana because he didn’t want her to suffer. The DOCTORS had given up on Ana, but Christian was the ONLY one that did NOT. And THAT, more than anything, really showed Ray how much Ana meant to Christian and just how well Christian knew and TRUSTED in Ana’s fighting spirit.

      But I DO disagree with you on thinking Hyde is the head of the Conspiracy. I just think that if he had THAT much power to change so much AND get so many people from within and outside GEH to help him that he would have been able to get a MUCH better job than the one he has. I DO THINK that he is HELPING the Conspiracy and would be a ready recruit. At this point, I still think Andrew Lincoln has better motivation to go after Christian and Ana, but time will tell if you are right about Hyde being the head. (After all, he certainly had motivation from HIS perspective in the original EL James’ works. Here, however, we don’t have his backstory or REAL motivation yet, UNLESS he was tied to Elena’s club.)

      At least we will know soon enough about who the Conspiracy Head is, one way or another. And Tara has probably concocted some TOTALLY unforeseen way HE will be revealed!! Tara packs so much emotional wallop in these most recent chapters that you almost FORGET what you are still waiting to learn! I mean, I didn’t even really THINK about Carter until later when I realized that no mention of him was made in this chapter, and he CLEARLY hasn’t been around for the drama, YET Elliot and Kate are clearly dealing with all of this TOGETHER (I mean, Mia wasn’t a barrier in between them when Ana woke–it was JUST Elliot and Kate there). So the UNMENTIONABLE people NOT around in Tara’s story still hover in the background unseen and waiting to strike, yet you ALMOST forget all about them with everything ELSE going on!

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  41. I am so proud of you. I know that my opinion doesn’t matter to you, but regarding the circunstances, and writing this special chapter, I can’t imagine how difficult it must have been for you. I hope everything is going well, with time everything pass.

    And about the chapter… I think that this was one of my favorites because: there was drama with the Carla thing (what a bitch!), Ray saw Christian for what he is, and I could tell how much Christian loved Ana… I myself was in pain reading about him… I always say the same, I will never find any man if you keep raising the level.

    Lots of love.

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  42. Well, how can I begin, at first I was appalled, shocked and horrified by Carla’s evil behavior, (not that I didn’t know her selfishness). I knew that she would try to be the one calling the shots, I was expecting it, because she’s the most selfish, self centered person in the world, but I never thought that she would go so low and do what she did, deprive Christian of his right to see his daughter and although they weren’t married they were living together, his moral right to see Ana. And the worst and lowest thing she did, tell Christian and his family that the baby was dead, just to take the baby for her own care? There’s something or someone behind that, the whole thing is too suspicious, too fishy. I wonder how was she planning to take that baby away. Thank God that Ray was there and saw with his own eyes Christian’s love and devotion for Ana and his daughter. I hope that Carrick sue Carla for what she did, including the emotional distress she caused to the family. Please, please Tara, as I said before in other reviews, let them have a civil ceremony in the hospital and get married or at least get a power of attorney, now more than ever they should be married we don’t know (of course you do) if Carla is going to pose more legal troubles. Carrick must have friends in the legal community in Boston. They can have another ceremony in Seattle if they want, after she and Callie recover. Thank you Tara, this chapter was so well written (the whole story is) I usually don’t read stories that are too angsty, but the way you wrote and ‘resolved’ things in this chapter I can read.
    PS:
    Forgot to say, that although I thought of it before and discarded it because I failed to see the connection, now I’m thinking that Stephen Morton is in some way behind it, either as part of the conspiracy or in cahoots with Carla to later blackmail Christian or who knows what. In the ‘books’ if I remember correctly he was a businessman who had some money, he wasn’t as rich as the Greys or Christian but had a successful business, but he also was an abuser.
    I would like to see Ray more involved in this now, he has been too quiet, is he having some PTSD? Taylor, Luke and Welch should have someone keeping an eye on Carla, I don’t think that poor Bob has anything to do with what Carla was trying to do, but who knows. Thank you, and I send you another big hug.

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    1. You know, I had COMPLETELY discounted Stephen Morton as a possible suspect, given his lack of ties to Christian. HOWEVER, Ana’s MENTION to Ray that Carla tried to do THE SAME THING when STEPHEN was in the picture made me somehow think that Stephen had SOMETHING on Carla to the extent that he has gotten her to take these EXTREME actions, even for Carla.

      After all, Carla was supposedly FRIENDS with Grace. They acted like FAMILY together on the vacations, yet there was an extreme shift after the attack on Ana, ALL without REAL motivation. I mean, ANA is right that JUST separating from Christian would NOT keep Mr. Conspiracy Head from going after her AND the baby. YET CARLA seems somehow CERTAIN that it would.

      To be Stephen Morton, he would HAVE to have SOME reason for going after Christian. I see him as being CONTACTED by Elena previously as possible AMMO in the background to have against Ana. She could ALSO have encountered him AT ELENA’S CLUB. Stephen could even be the guy that went after Mia, as we KNOW from Leila that Mr. Conspiracy Head has MAJOR ties to Seattle, and SEATTLE is the base of Mr. Conspiracy Head’s operations previously.

      And maybe Stephen is still so focused on ANA because she got away from him AND kept him from getting ANOTHER minor, MIA. That would make sense. And because of his TIES to the club AND Elena, he would KNOW to bribe Isaac OR else have previously gotten tapes from the club if he worked there OR was a major client there.

      My question is still why CARLA would help Stephen, since she ultimately DID get away from him. So I DO think Stephen would have had to have REAL tangible threats for Carla if she did NOT help him. Because Carla HAS to realize that Stephen’s ultimate revenge and motivation WOULD be to torture/abuse Ana.

      There was another fanfiction story that DID make Stephen the big villain of the series. Like Christian (and Hyde), he engaged in BDSM, but he was all about the brutal aspects and truly tortured his victims, whether they were in consensual relationships or not. But he could NEVER accept that Ana had gotten away from him, AND he wanted money from Christian. He also had a woman under his thumb that he got to help him “frame” Christian into looking like he had cheated on Ana. That Stephen Morton as portrayed in that fanfiction was certainly devious enough and had motivation to go after Ana. So something SIMILAR could be in play here, and we just missed how the clues would later fit.

      Again, for it to be Stephen Morton, I still say he would have to have ties to Elena’s club to know so many details about Christian and how he operates. AND to see Ana as his way to revenge. AFTER ALL, it was ANA that Mr. Conspiracy Head contacted at the graduation. He could have gotten her number from CARLA’s records or the like. And Stephen Morton WOULD expect Ana to RECOGNIZE him, since she lived in the same HOME as him for at least a short time.

      AND, I am sorry to say, it WOULD help explain SOME of Carla’s actions if she TRULY believed that separating Ana from Christian would keep Stephen from going after them. But that does NOT make sense to me, given that Carla KNOWS firsthand of Stephen’s abusive nature and that she CANNOT believe him.

      STILL if ANY of the above were accurate, Stephen Morton COULD have contacted Carla AFTER learning about Ana’s rich suitor in the media. AND he could see ANA as his way to money and revenge against HER for getting away from him AND in getting back at Christian for having what he wanted. PLUS, it would make SENSE that he targeted MIA because he ALWAYS preyed on UNDERAGE girls. Stephen could have been the one to leave CARLA after he could no longer use her to get to Ana.

      Well, I guess I have to add Stephen Morton to my list of suspects after all. I mean, SOMEONE seems to have spooked Carla badly OR she is just truly this EVIL. I guess upcoming chapters will let us know for sure.

      And, once again, Tara is extremely clever in throwing in the REFERENCE about Stephen NOW in this chapter AND HOW CARLA ACTED WHILE WITH HIM and that she is doing the SAME thing NOW. Either it is another red herring, OR Tara is giving a HINT of things to come. Sigh. Is it next Monday yet?????

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  43. Thank you again for another great chapter. I’m so glad that Ray has seen the true love that Christian has for his daughter. I felt in the last chapter that Carla had taken a 180 in her opinion of Christian and Ana relationship. This is such a drastic turn of events that something or someone had an influence on her. This, to me, only points to Stephen Morton. He may have pictures of him and Carla and is blackmailing her because he was an abusive man. I agree with Torik on Stephen Morton’s involvement in the conspiracy. I think, he was a member of Elena’s club, he may have been the one that attacked Mia and Ana was the one that got away and he wants her back.

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  44. I do not think Carla would allow actual harm to Ana. She is a VILE, HORRIBLE PERSON, but I think she would draw the line at bodily harm. However, Stephen more than likely could have used what happened in the alley as a GIGANTIC threat of what might/could happen to Ana if if Carla did not cooperate fully with him. Since we do not know Stephen’s background, there just may be a connection with him to Christian as far back as Detroit. In fact – although this may be more than a bit over the top – perhaps Stephen may even somehow be connected to C’s birth mother or even – seemingly implausible – Christian’s birth father. If Stephen left Detroit before Christian was born, with C’s birthmother ruining his evil plans for her, he may not even have known his name and only discovered the link after reading press, bios, etc. about Christian when he was looking for scenarios to blackmail Carla in order to extort MAJOR MONEY, if nothing else, from Christian. In Stephen’s warped mind, this could be a two birds/one stone scenario with him wanting revenge on both Christian and Ana. I do realize that much of this may seem incredibly far-fetched – but that is why it is called fiction! Just Sayin’

    And, Tara – Please know you remain on my mind and in my heart and I hope that as you grieve, you will permit all the caring prayers and thoughts of your devoted fan-followers to engulf you and attempt to diminish your pain, at least to some extent. You are not only an amazing writer, but a remarkable woman whose devotion to your fan-base never waivers, even in this time of your personal sorrow. I salute you.

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  45. You know, every time I re-read this chapter, I get a little madder at Carla. I mean, you notice that SHE did not even KNOW Ana’s blood type—she just stood there staring while Grace explained that Ana had lost too much blood. It was RAY that knew Ana’s blood type.

    And it was GRACE that actually saved Ana and Calliope’s life since she got blood flowing (literally) between Ray and Ana. Even with that, it sounds like Ana was losing blood faster than she could get more, due to the tear, but it must have bought Ana enough time to actually LIVE.

    My only question is that it was reported that Calliope was “blue” at birth due to being deprived of oxygen. Nothing further has been said, but if you lose oxygen for too long, a baby can have serious mental complications due to the lack of oxygen and blood flow. Do we know yet if Callipe is actually fine? (I’m going on the assumption, until Tara tells us otherwise, that Calliope was saved just in time, like a potential drowning victim that is brought back fine despite the oxygen deprivation.)

    But all the above means that GRACE AND RAY saved Ana’s life, as the ambulance was too far out to have been able to save Ana, if nothing had been done prior to their arrival. So the idea that Carla was SO SELFISH and ungrateful as to have made Christian AND Grace believe that Calliope was dead!

    The only other observation that I would make is that it sounds like everyone was so devastated that not much has been done in the way of security with everyone basically being at the hospital. Ray said that Taylor and Luke are there, but Luke has just had to LEAVE with Carla to get her out of the hospital. Quite frankly, given the fact that Mr. Conspiracy Head has so much intel and ability to follow Ana, at the very least, right before this happened, I think it is safe to assume that he would KNOW that everyone is at the hospital. News stories have shown that it is still possible for people dressed as nurses especially have been able to get in and out of the hospital with a baby. At least at this point, Calliope was on the ventilator and in the NICU, which would make it harder to get to her, but not impossible. Now that she can officially breathe on her own, I hope Christian has security on BOTH Calliope AND Ana, as both are still in such weakened and vulnerable states.

    I HOPE that Christian (either himself OR through Taylor and/or Luke) have had a chance to report to the LOCAL Cambridge and/or Boston police about Mr Conspiracy Head’s CALL to Ana right before the placental abruption. OBVIOUSLY, Mr. Conspiracy Head is in residence near to them at this time, if not lingering inside the actual hospital. So SOMEONE needs to have security in place at the hospital AND watch for those entering anywhere near the NICU and ICU in case the SAME face appears in both places on a regular basis.

    I want to say that it is obvious that Mr. Conspiracy Head has NOT been in or done anything at this rate. HOWEVER, when Calliope and/or Ana’s conditions get downgraded, they can be placed in regular rooms or wards where FAR LESS security or protections are in place. So Ana AND Christian need to KNOW who EACH SHIFT’s nurses and doctors will be and who has access to EITHER Ana or Calliope. Christian is OBVIOUSLY sleep-deprived and on emotional overload, so I’m hoping Taylor has it all covered and a PLAN in place for their protection, because Mr. Conspiracy Head has shown AMAZING abilities to get himself or his people in close proximity to his potential targets.

    I suppose it goes without saying, but IS IT MONDAY YEEEETTTTTTTTTTTT??????

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